Indiana wins at least a share of the Big Ten title-- without lifting a finger on Sunday afternoon. The Hoosiers last took a Big Ten title in 1993-- ironically enough, the last year before this one they were ranked #1 for a time. Indiana is celebrating its seniors who suffered through a 20-loss season as freshmen. It has gone from 20 losses to 20-plus wins in 2 years (remember, they had 20-plus wins last year as well). Tom Crean has shepherded this program from unbelievable depths to the national heights. It's time to celebrate, right?
Wrong, according to some national commentators. Some people feel it was in poor taste to celebrate a share of the Big Ten title after losing to Ohio State-- but to Tom Crean's defense, it was planned for after the game, win or lose. OK-- i get it... you win at least a share of the title for the first time in 20 years-- enjoy it. But cutting down the nets?
It reminds me of a NCAA team winning a Regional title-- but not cutting down the nets. Why? Those weren't the nets they wanted-- they were waiting to get the nets at the upcoming Final Four. The message? They hadn't won anytning yet.
Indiana needs to regain its focus. They still have a major matchup against Michigan at Crisler Arena this weekend, and can still win the Big Ten title outright. After that comes the Big Ten Tournament-- not in Indianapolis, but in Chicago. If Indiana wants to see the friendly confines of Indianapolis-- (read: Midwest Regional, if they can get through the first 2 rounds--) they have to win-- starting this weekend in Michigan. No nets will be at stake against the Wolverines; instead, the stakes will be a lot higher. The stakes? A Big Ten title, an assured Number 1 seed, and most of all, growing respect-- inside and outside the state. Now THAT would be a great way to send off Indiana's seniors.
That's my take-- I'm Tom Lee.