Hoosiers show why they’re No. 1

When Indiana shocked the country and beat Kentucky last December, it took a last second shot. It took squandering a double-digit lead. It took overcoming several defensive lapses.

It took, well, an upset.

Tuesday night’s win against No. 14 North Carolina was, to put it simply, different. This time, the Hoosiers’ first matchup against a nationally-ranked opponent didn’t require any drama. It didn’t have any valleys.

This time, they climbed on top, stepped on Carolina’s throat, and then stomped on it — over and over again. It was a massacre with the entire nation watching, and it proved to everyone why Indiana is ranked No 1.

Indiana 83, North Carolina 59.

“It’s a huge statement,” junior forward Will Sheehey said afterward. “I mean, you saw the score. We played hard, we played well, we played together.”

The Hoosiers (7-0) did those things last year, too, but this season has a whole different feel to it. To a certain extent, they have now been there before. There are no more surprises, there will be no more court stormings, and yet the level of play hasn’t dropped off. If anything, it’s gotten stronger.

Indiana wouldn’t have put this Tar Heels’ team in a 32-point hole last year. It would have let them climb back in the game and would have been forced to win at the end.

But this team — particularly the upperclassmen — want no part of that anymore. They’ve been on the bottom, they’ve been run over by the bigger and stronger programs. Now that they’re on top, the Hoosiers want to embarrass those that did the same to them only a couple of years ago.

For guys like Sheehey, Victor Oladipo and Jordan Hulls, opportunities like Tuesday night are even more sweet. All three were under-recruited, sorely overlooked by programs like North Carolina. Watching Sheehey explode with emotion after he hit his final 3-pointer of the night tells me that being underestimated still drives him.

“[Cody] Zeller … and two other guys I never even heard of when they were in high school just kicked our rear ends tonight,” admitted North Carolina coach Roy Williams, referring to Hulls and Oladipo.

He’s certainly heard of them now.

The thing about this team, though, is that all of the players — even former McDonalds All-Americans like Zeller — refuse to feel entitled or comfortable. Everybody on this team seems to have a chip on their shoulder.

“We had to be the hunters, not the hunted,” Zeller said. “We can’t be comfortable with where we’re at. We have to take every game like we’re the underdog.”

They approach it with the hunger of an underdog and the confidence of a No. 1 team. The second part wasn’t always there last season. The first part always was, and still clearly is.

“I feel like we haven’t even scratched the surface,” Oladipo said, Sheehey continuously nodding his head as his teammate spoke. “I feel like we can be so much better, I feel like we can accomplish so much more.”

There will be more challenges this season, more times when the Hoosiers will have to prove themselves as a top team. If they perform in each of those games like they did Tuesday night, they could very well have one magical season. That’s not something I could have said last year.

This team is No. 1, and it knows it.

“We some bad boys. Whatchu wanna do?,” Oladipo said.

  • azhoosier

    just crazy seeing IU splattered all over the sports pages…news…and internet…after their return from purgatory…LOL

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daren-Patrick-Collentine/1498325427 Daren Patrick Collentine

    Man can Cody run. They should call him Cody GaZeller

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daren-Patrick-Collentine/1498325427 Daren Patrick Collentine

    I love that when Hulls drove and had the sick dish-out to Hollowell he drained the 3 which always make that kind of play look so much better. Just don’t force shots and you will end up getting open looks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daren-Patrick-Collentine/1498325427 Daren Patrick Collentine

    I love that when Hulls drove and had the sick dish-out to Hollowell he drained the 3 which always make that kind of play look so much better. Just don’t force shots and you will end up getting open looks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daren-Patrick-Collentine/1498325427 Daren Patrick Collentine

    Don’t forget that when our offense gets stale he can come in and drop 8 unanswered points like in the VCU game last year and that was the turning point of that game. Or the 27 against UK or the 20 the first UK game plus the game winner

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daren-Patrick-Collentine/1498325427 Daren Patrick Collentine

    I love how we literally shot the lights out too.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Yeah, that’s entirely possible. You know when CWat will show up and have a great game? When IU needs it because that’s what he’s done the last two years! At MSU his sophomore year. Against pUKe, OSU, and MSU last year. He just plays well when he needs to and it seems like sometimes he struggles when we don’t need him.

    I expect IU to get a test early in the B1G season when they travel to Iowa (a much improved team) and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that’s when CWat kicks it in gear and starts playing the way we all know he can.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    He’s never been much of a “slasher”. He still lacks in athleticism what players like Vic, Will, and even Jeremy have.

  • Daburns0

    They have to be able to do it on the road. That is where the really great teams make their name.

  • HoosierPat

    Dude, nice avatar. Seems familiar.

  • HoosierPat

    Dude, nice avatar. Seems familiar.

  • HoosierPat

    Yes a huge role. He was a four year starter and was a senior leader last year when things really got turned around.

  • HostileHoosier

    Daburns0 Man I know your right IU has to be able to win on the road BUT I cant help but think a IU team playing this well will do just that. We will see very soon in the B1G.
    Has anyone else noticed (and I in no way mean this to be degrading to any IU player)
    That noone is reporting that the only starter or true bench man on the court was CWat for the last 3 min.
    CWat (Hoosier Fans LOVE you) had an off night and he was the only starter/true bench player we had on the court for the last 3 min! This could have been a 40 point win!

  • HostileHoosier

    Daburns0 Man I know your right IU has to be able to win on the road BUT I cant help but think a IU team playing this well will do just that. We will see very soon in the B1G.
    Has anyone else noticed (and I in no way mean this to be degrading to any IU player)
    That noone is reporting that the only starter or true bench man on the court was CWat for the last 3 min.
    CWat (Hoosier Fans LOVE you) had an off night and he was the only starter/true bench player we had on the court for the last 3 min! This could have been a 40 point win!

  • marcusgresham

    Not so sure about Hulls’ father; Elston’s dad played at UNC.

  • Kenneth234

    Is Trey leaning toward UK? All I have heard is speculation, but have not heard anything concrete.

  • Kenneth234

    Is Trey leaning toward UK? All I have heard is speculation, but have not heard anything concrete.

  • Geoff_85

    You’ve got to be kidding me.

  • InTheMtns

    All that I’ve heard, too, is rumor and speculation. Maybe someone has something “concrete” and if so, they’ll probably chime in here; but as far as I’m aware, Trey hasn’t announced a lean toward any team.

  • Oldguyy

    I took it as a compliment to Crean’s ability to coach and/or assess developing talent. I thought that was the tenor of the entirety of his remarks. I thought it was pretty clear that he admired IU’s players and the way they played.

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