The 2013-2014 season wasn't exactly a thing of beauty or anything that Hoosier Nation wants to remember to be honest. Expectations were that the team would take a bit of a drop after the majority of the 2012-2013 team exited for the pros, but there was still the expectation that Indiana would be good enough to get a middle seed in the NCAA Tournament and potentially make some noise. However, after a very soft non-conference schedule, Indiana just couldn't gather any momentum and ended up missing not only the NCAA, but the NIT as well.
However, despite the down season, the Hoosiers did beat four ranked teams which included one Top 5 and one Top 10 team - so there certainly were moments where you thought the team was getting it together. Unfortunately, there were also some extremely bad losses mixed in which more than countered the bright moments. Let's take a look at a few of the bright moments below (and ignore the bad moments of course).
The best games of Indiana basketball in 2013-2014:
3. Indiana vs. #20 Iowa - Indiana 93-86
For many, this match-up will always be known as the game that was postponed because a giant metal beam fell from the ceiling hours before the game was supposed to start. It became the symbol of the Hoosier season - "The Sky was Literally Falling" on the program. The Hoosiers were just coming off of their worst performance of the entire year in an 82-64 shellacking at the hands of rival Purdue and were also coming off of the DUI arrest of sophomore forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea. However, Will Sheehey was honored before the game (which took place 9 days after the initial date) for becoming a 1,000 point scorer during the Purdue game and he showed the Hoosier faithful how he reached that mark on this night. Sheehey shot 13-20 and scored a career high 30 points on this night in a game which not much defense was played on either side. Stanford Robinson also had a career high 17 points and Evan Gordon has one of his better games of the year with 12 points. The game was one of the fastest played games in recent memory and there were a combined 128 shots which explains the high score. Iowa took a 52-49 lead into the half, which is more points than some B1G teams scored in a game this year - including the Hoosiers, but Indiana closed hard in the second with a 44-34 half to take the game by 8 points. Indiana would go on to beat #22 Ohio State in their next game before collapsing down the stretch with three straight losses.
2. Indiana vs #10 Michigan - Indiana 63-52
Michigan always struggles in The Assembly Hall and it was no different on this night as Michigan played one of its worst games of the entire season. It also didn't help Wolverine fans that Yogi Ferrell decided to go out and drain 7 three pointers (only took 8) on his way to a 27 point performance. Not only did Yogi play well offensively, but he also teamed up with Stanford Robinson to absolutely shut down Michigan star Nik Stauskas, who only scored 6 points on this night, four of which came from the charity stripe. Michigan came into this game 8-0 in the B1G and was viewed as a heavy favorite, even in the confines of one of America's largest home court advantages - The Assembly Hall. Coach Beilein was quoted after the game saying he had never seen a defense like the one Indiana employed on this night. The focus was to keep the ball away from Stauskas and the Hoosiers switched like their lives were on the line to make sure that goal was accomplished. It was a major defensive battle as Indiana only had 3 guys score 8 points or more. The final score of this one was essentially the halftime score of the Iowa / Indiana game above - but Indiana proved it could win a close defensive battle as well and knock off yet another Top 10 at the same time even in what can only be described as a very down year in Bloomington.
1. Indiana vs. #3 Wisconsin - Indiana 75-72
Wisconsin had won 12 straight games against Indiana. Bo Ryan was the man that Tom Crean could never beat no matter what the situation. In addition, Wisconsin came into the game 16-0 and obviously red hot. There was no way Indiana would break the streak in this game was there? Well - that is why they play the game. The Hoosiers just shredded the vaunted Badger defense all night long - led by Yogi Ferrell who finished with a game high 25 points. It could have been a much larger win if Ferrell had shot a little better than 10-24 from the field, several of which were blown layups. Stanford Robinson and Will Sheehey also chipped in with 13 points each as the Badgers had no answers for Indiana off the dribble. In addition, the Hoosiers only turned the ball over 9 times which was unheard of in what has been referred to as The Season of the Turnover. All of this added up to an absolute stunning victory which included a post-game national debate as to whether the Indiana Students should have rushed the floor or not. They of course did rush the floor and got hammered for it in the national media for days afterwards - but it was a big victory. Crean proved he could beat Bo Ryan and Indiana was still very much in the thick of things at this point of the season as far as the NCAA Tournament was concerned. It also sent Wisconsin into free fall mode where they lost 5 of 6 games, but would recover to make the Final Four as you all know.