Celebration Strange

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Established October 31, 1996
Front Page Columns and Features
Last updated: 03/07/2013 12:21 PM
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Men's Basketball
Hoosier Celebration After Defeat a bit Strange
By Patrick Murphy

There is a perception that arrogance is a bad thing. This is not always the case. Arrogance is the perception that one’s self is better than another. Sometime that is simply true.

The No. 2 Indiana Hoosiers’ arrogance had that quality. They have two National Player of the Year candidates and had been ranked number one for 10 weeks this season. Yet arrogance may have ultimately been their downfall at the hands of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

It was all set up for the Hoosiers. On Senior Night they were looking to send the four-year players out with the team’s first outright Big Ten regular-season championship in 20 years. All they needed was a win over the Buckeyes.

It seemed like a sure thing. Indiana had already gone to Columbus and won in dominating fashion, 81-68. Even the local Ohio State media had trouble picking the hometown team against a team that exposed all of the Buckeyes’ weaknesses in the victory.

The Hoosiers brought back members of the 1981 National Championship team, including Isiah Thomas, to celebrate. They decided to save the Senior Night festivities for after the game, when they could celebrate the Big Ten Title as their seniors were honored.

They picked the wrong team to do it against, because if there is a school that knows arrogance, it is Ohio State. The football team has won six Big Ten titles since 2002, seven if you count the 2010 season that was vacated, and was undefeated last year under first-year head coach Urban Meyer. Not to mention a National Championship and two other appearances in the national championship game in that time.

Thad Matta’s basketball team has won three-straight regular-season Big Ten titles, five of the last seven, three Big Ten Tournament Titles, had three more appearances in the Big Ten championship game, and a National Title appearance.

And those are just the two revenue sports.

This is a program that exudes confidence and swagger, both from the players that wear the jerseys and the fans that support them. While Indiana is a historical basketball powerhouse – and is back to prominence – Matta had his teams dominating the conference while the Hoosiers were losing 20 games a season. They had no problem showing arrogance the door.

While it is unlikely that Indiana was looking past Ohio State – they are still a top-15 program – they clearly felt this game was in the bag. Tom Crean’s men were ready for their coronation before the Big Dance, but the Buckeyes were having none of it.

The Buckeyes ruined the celebration plan by winning the game. The Hoosiers were left staging a celebration after swallowing a tough defeat.

What was definitely the best performance of the season for the Scarlet and Grey had to be tough to take for the Cream and Crimson, but it could have been easier to deal with if they had handled things differently.

While Hoosier fans may forget all about this if their team ends up winning the Big Ten title outright with a win over Michigan on Sunday, or if Indiana goes on to win a national championship, it had to be a miserable experience for those who braved the snowstorm that hit Bloomington to be present.

Next time take the precautions and honor your oldest players before your last home game. That way the seniors, their families, and the fans get to enjoy it regardless of the game’s outcome.

The perception that arrogance is bad may now be creeping over Bloomington, but in Columbus, Buckeye fans are proud of their team for spoiling the party.

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