Road win gives Indiana outright Big Ten championship

  • 03/02/2016 1:34 am in

It was senior night in Iowa, but it was Indiana’s star senior Yogi Ferrell who had the best night.

Ferrell hit a dagger of a 3-pointer in the final minute to seal No. 12 Indiana’s 81-78 win against No. 16 Iowa. The win makes the Hoosiers sole Big Ten regular season champions, the second time they have won the title outright under Tom Crean. It is also the second time in the last four years the Hoosiers have won it.

“(Crean) never gave up on us, he kept believing in us,” Ferrell said. “What he wanted to do was prove the doubters wrong.”

Indiana (24-6, 14-3) built up a 14-point lead in the second half, but an 11-0 run by the Hawkeyes combined with some sloppy play by IU led to an Iowa comeback.

“We just couldn’t get discouraged,” Ferrell said. “Iowa was a great team obviously playing at home, so we knew they were going to make a run. They punched back, we just had to punch back a little harder. I felt like we stayed with it.”

Going back and forth until the final minute, it took the Ferrell 3 and some free throw shooting to secure the win.
Iowa had multiple chances in the final seconds to tie the game, but Peter Jok’s attempt missed, starting the Hoosier celebration which was felt all the way back at Assembly Hall, where a large crowd gathered to watch the game.

“It’s special man, all our hard work paid off,” Ferrell said. “We stayed together the entire year, had a few losses here and there but I felt like we battled back.”

ESPN captured Crean delivering his speech to his players in the locker room following the game, he addressed IU’s final home game against Maryland on Sunday.

“There is absolutely no way, there’s no way, there’s no way, there’s no way that we aren’t walking out of that place Sunday with a win and our seniors heads held extremely high,” Crean told his players. “There’s no way that this group is not going to walk out that way.”

With the victory, Ferrell cemented his place among IU greats with two Big Ten championships. Only Max Bielfeldt, who won an additional two at Michigan has more.

“It means a lot to me, as a player, as a human being,” Troy Williams said. “The way I view it is it’s even bigger for the program, it’s even bigger for our seniors. It’s big for Max, it’s big for Yogi, it’s big for everybody.”

Despite the big shot and scoring a game-high 20 points, Ferrell said that it was OG Anunoby and Juwan Morgan who were the game’s MVPs.

Freshman big man Thomas Bryant shared his thoughts on the senior point guard after the game.

“He’s very special, there’s nobody like him,” Bryant said. “Yogi doesn’t get enough respect. This guy is the real deal.”

Meanwhile, Crean said part of the reason this team is so successful is that it truly takes things one day at a time. Something that at first sounds like coach-speak, but ended up being how players viewed each game.

“As far as winning the championship with this group,” Crean said. “I probably don’t have all the words figured out for that year I just know it’s an absolute honor to be with them every day and I love them as much now as I loved them in the Duke locker room because I believed in them then.”

(Photo credit: Photo credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports)

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  • MarkHoltzHoosier

    So great to clinch it on the road! And they’re not done yet…

  • Ole Man

    Just wondering….where are all the Troy Williams critics now? Haven’t seen any crow eating. LOL!

  • pcantidote

    There is no crow to be eaten. Troy clearly had some challenges and he silenced the critics by stepping up his game and making many of the improvements that have been needed. We would not have gone on this late season push starting with the Nebraska game without Troy being at the top of his game. As everyone says, we are a different team when Troy is on his game.

  • PalmettoHoosier

    I don’t think it hurt Troy having those freshmen behind him making him compete for his spot either.

  • VanPastorMan

    This was such a great win by the Hoosiers. Yogi was clutch on that 3 towards the end. Go IU!!!!!

  • Hoosier Brews62

    Really glad for Yogi and the entire team! Hard work does pay off!

  • Ole Man

    Yeah, right.
    Why is it so hard for people to admit they were wrong?

  • Arch Puddington

    Come on, Ole Man. Let’s talk about basketball, not try to settle scores.

    Troy played well last night, especially on offense. He also rebounded well. He did not defend so well. He still does not have the high-level footwork and timing of a great defender, and can be beaten off the dribble. Still, what happens to the Hoosiers from here on out depends on a few critical factors, and he is one of them. If RJ and JM are healthy, and if the Hoosiers shoot well, and if Troy plays to his capabilities, we’ll have a fun tournament.

  • Ole Man

    Who’s settling scores?
    Easy to criticize unfairly and OFTEN.
    Seemingly hard to say, wow, was I ever wrong.

  • Arch Puddington

    It doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong. It’s just basketball, and this is just a fan site. Taunting others just drains the fun out of it. I mean, do you plan on showing up here and saying how wrong you were the next time Troy goes scoreless or has 6 turnovers? Of course not, and you shouldn’t. Just have your opinion and let others have theirs. We’re not deciding the fate of the universe, just talking about our favorite sport.

  • pcantidote

    You eat crow when you make definitive statements like: “Troy will never improve” or “Troy is not good enough to play in the B1G”.

    Constructive criticism like “Troy needs to use better judgment” or “Troy needs to be more fundamental or aggressive on defense” is not only fair but warranted. I won’t eat crow but I will say great job Troy for making the necessary improvements. Keep it up! Please tell us what is wrong with this?

  • pcantidote

    Great post. I have to take issue with the fate of the universe though. I am quite sure that IU basketball and the fate of the universe are somehow cosmically intertwined. Just ask my wife.

  • calbert40

    We also aren’t seeing a lot of Crean crow eaters either. People like to gripe more than compliment. Troy has been fantastic down the stretch. Last night, he rebounded like a monster a few times when we really needed it. Great game by him.

  • Arch Puddington

    OK, OK, I took it too far. “I was wrong.”

    Hopefully that restores the cosmic balance.

  • Koko

    I was floating among the stars after the game last night.

  • todd

    Congratulations to the whole team! Can we please not have Max inbound the ball anymore? It appears that is what Bryant was shouting at him at the end as well! Someone please help OG on his reverse layups. He continues to attempt to use the glass instead of going straight to the rim and using it as a blocker/defender against the defense. Easy fix that seems to have gotten overlooked continually! Oh, and it is a shame that CTC had Juwon & OG riding the pine for the first half of the schedule. Imagine if he let them loose earlier on? That type of stuff causes fans to question him. I hope he learned from that “coaching” gaffe!!!? Makes me wonder if Priller has something to show that CTC hasn’t unleashed. He will surprise if given playing time. I think he is a far more superior defender than we give credit for. Last year he came in (didn’t move his feet) and got two fouls in the span of 30 seconds. But, those fouls were hard and without any remorse. Reminded me of Laimbeer. I think he is much tougher than we imagine. Why don’t we see if that is true!? Come on CTC!? Speaking of which, when we are up by a significant amount, why in the world would we risk injury to any of our starters when there is talent on the bench? Remember, you wouldn’t be on the squad if you weren’t capable and worthy! Happy for our guys and wish we were healthy going into the post season!!!

  • No reason to come in and eat crow in this case because the TW criticisms at the time were justified, and now they’re not. TW was definitely struggling earlier, and now more lately (other than at MSU) he’s been playing better. The only possible crow to be eaten, IMO, is to say kudos to CTC for sticking with TW and giving him a chance to play better. And seriously, being critical of TW’s play wasn’t being a “Troy Williams critic” in some generalized sense. He wasn’t playing well, and now he is, that’s it.

  • SFIU

    Purple font?

  • David Macer

    WOW !! What would you have said if IU lost.

  • David Macer

    And the CTC critics too !! LOL

  • hoosierswain

    This is for todd, are you an Indiana fan or some kind of troll. Your comments were absurd, have you ever played basketball in your life? You do realize that there will be mistakes made during the course of the game, thank God we have somebody like you to point out every deficiency. You come across as one of those anti-Crean enthusiasts. Let it go, we just won the Big 10, be happy, SMILE!

  • Ole Man

    Bull feathers. Troy was being blamed for the downfall of western civilization and the black plague.
    He wasn’t being critiqued; he was being crucified.
    Too bad that few are man enough to admit they were constantly over the top with regard to him.

  • I do not remember a single person blaming TW for the downfall of Western civilization OR the black plague. Nor do I remember him being nailed to a cross. So, I think someone is guilty of hyperbole, and it’s not TW’s critics.

    I kid, I kid. Seriously, I suppose you could find some people who were inappropriately negative toward TW. Some people might think you were inappropriately defensive. In any case, TW is playing now like he’s capable of playing, and that’s what matters.

  • Exactly. I wrote a longer response, but then realized I was just repeating your words.

    Incidentally, I was actually (mildly) critical of Yogi a little while ago when I thought his leadership was less than it could be. I envisioned him being the leader he is today, that is, a type of leadership that is currently defining his legacy. Should I be “eating crow” now that Yogi is playing the way I thought he could? (Leaving aside for the moment if I was actually correct.)

  • See pcantidote’s post immediately below. The same goes for CTC criticisms. He had some glaring flaws, and he improved. It’s enough to come in and give him kudos for his improvement, which many people _have_ done. It’s not necessarily an occasion for “eating crow.”

  • Indiana_Banners

    The game ended with a 3-point margin, what are you talking about? And Priller? Priller? Contributing hard fouls is not a real asset in college basketball, unless you can point to a counter-example I’m missing. And Morgan was injured up until about conference play. Maybe stick to the armchair, coach.

  • Koko

    Very funny but I don’t think you created the effect you had hoped you would.
    Are you practicing a stand up comic routine?

  • todd

    Indiana fan since birth. Not missed a game in 20 years, including btn+ so allow for my expression that doesn’t follow your criteria. I like Crean but am critical where it is warranted. I thought my comments were measured and rational with logic. Go back and re-read them without being charged up with the “have you ever played basketball?” attitude and perhaps you might even agree. As for the BT title, it’s quite an accomplishment! But, we are only one injury away from needing Priller to play significant minutes and he hasn’t seen much live action. Think about that when he is called into action. Why wouldn’t he have seen some game time in order to gain that experience? Certainly there were games that would have allowed for him to be on the floor, right? He was a 56% field goal shooter in high school and averaged almost 18 points a game on a Texas team that played at a high level. He is 6’9″, do you think he is not worthy of being on the squad? Because if he is, then he should have seen some action. It just makes sense fella! Injuries happen and our front court just got thinner!

  • ForeverIU

    Troy has always been a pillar of the team. He drives (no pun intended) me crazy sometimes, but he has been consistent in his type of play. He hasn’t changed. What changed is that we won the B1G championship.

  • Well, his play the last four games has been much improved in terms of focus, which I’ve always thought was his problem during the bad stretches. I’ve also presented my pet theory in the past that “Bad Troy” emerges when the offense is stalling and TW thinks he needs to get it started, that it might not be TW causing poor team performance but rather responding to it. A sort of “hero” ball, but not in a self-centered way.

    I’ve always loved the kid, always pointed out how great a team player he is–he’s always first to run to a teammate who goes down to make sure he’s okay. Note him running to congratulate Yogi after the made three last night–sprinted half the court to do so.

    So I’m not eatin’ no crow. 🙂

  • calbert40

    There have been plenty of declarative statements made by many posters RE: Crean. Most of what is said isn’t constructive criticism. It is armchair coaching.

    I hope I’m wrong, but should we lose in the B1G tourney, or not make the Final Four, I have a feeling a lot of posters who haven’t made a peep since the PSU game will be very loud once again.

    Regardless, the team and staff have exceeded even the most Crimson-colored glasses predictions of any of us this year. They deserve congratulations.

  • I’ll take it a step further: there are people like you’re referring to who would rather see the team lose than give up their anti-CTC positions and admit that they were wrong. Or, they would say, CTC is incapable of “leading IU to the promised land,” whatever that means, and they consider winning the B1G regular season to be insufficient and downright detrimental–it’s only good enough to keep CTC around and stop the program from moving on to a “better” coach. And yes, those people will be back the minute IU loses–and if IU were to win the NCAA championship, they’ll just remain under whatever rock is their refuge at the moment. Incidentally, I don’t think those people would be happy with a Final Four.

    And, of course, this a great team that’s accomplished something special already. I’m not referring to just winning–they’re great kids who clearly care about one another, play with great sportsmanship, represent the program exceptionally well, and work harder at playing basketball than most of us work at whatever we do. The fact that they’re all these things and just won the B1G outright after all of their adversity is just icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned.

  • calbert40

    Great comment, Mark. The money line is “they would say, CTC is incapable of “leading IU to the promised land,” whatever that means, and they consider winning the B1G regular season to be insufficient and downright detrimental–it’s only good enough to keep CTC around and stop the program from moving on to a “better” coach.”

    That is so true. RE: the value of a B1G championship, I remember back when the B1G didn’t have a conference tourney, and RMK fought against the conference ever adding one. He claimed that the best indicator of a team’s abilities was the long, hard slog of the B1G regular season, and a 3-4 day tournament only told you who was better on one weekend. I think he was right (though I enjoy the tourney and am glad they do one).

    If this team loses in the 1st round of the B1G tourney to UM, and turns around and gets upset by the 12 or 13 seed in the NCAAs, I will still consider this year’s team an unmitigated success. Obviously, those loses would be extremely disappointing, and some of the weeping and gnashing of teeth would be warranted, but we can’t overlook the importance of winning our 22nd B1G title, 13th outright, and our 2nd outright in 4 years, which happens to be something RMK hadn’t accomplished since the ’83 season. Those great Cheney, Henderson, Bailey, Graham, Evans, etc teams never won 2 outright B1G titles in four years.

  • Koko

    Sometimes it is hard for a person to say they are wrong when they feel they are right. Emotions make it hard to see the difference between a crow and a red bird. That said, if JM is out of the Mary game then I think we will see Troy step it up a notch. And that will be fun to watch.

  • I agree with most everything you wrote here, of course. By the way, this team is my favorite since ’92-’93, maybe ranking right there with them. I’m repeating myself, but I just love how close-knit this group is. The real definition of “team.”

    Where I disagree is about the BTT. I don’t like it. It’s a cynical money grab that risks injury. Some might argue that it prepares teams for the tournament format, and I get that. But I still don’t like it, and the B1G regular season championship will always mean more to me than winning the BTT.

  • calbert40

    You aren’t wrong about the motivation behind conference tournaments, but I’ll admit that I LOVE them. For my money, the most exciting college basketball played all season (not including IU games, because I am invested in the outcome) is the small conference tournaments like the Big Sky, Sun Belt, NEC, etc. Those teams are playing their guts out just for the opportunity to play Kansas in the 1st round and lose by 25. So much fun to watch those teams play.

  • Ole Man

    Wouldn’t that be sweet!

  • Gotcha, I can see that. Wish I had the time to watch more than just IU’s games and a few others here and there, but unfortunately, not so much.