When the bracket was released just this past Sunday, this was thought by many to be one of the most interesting potential games of the entire tournament, and it was played in the second round. Very rarely do we get the entertainment of such a highly anticipated game in just the second round of the tournament.
Two of the most storied programs in the history of college basketball facing off for a chance to add another chapter to each of their storied histories. On this day, in the Round of 32, it was the Big Ten's Indiana Hoosiers that defeated the Kentucky Wildcats of the SEC.
Here are some of the things we can take away from this game for the Hoosiers as they continue to advance.
1. This game needs to be on the schedule every year
Whenever programs like these two meet each other on the hardwood, we always get entertained with a wonderful basketball game. When it happens in the NCAA Tournament with everything on the line, that is obviously amplified. But these schools need to get together and schedule a series for the sake of wonderful basketball.
Some of the best athletes in the country play basketball at these universities, and it sure has made for great basketball when we get them all on the floor.
2. Indiana doesn't have to shoot lights out to win
The narrative for a lot of people coming into the tournament and throughout the year for the Hoosiers was "This team can beat anybody if they shoot the three ball well". Well, on Saturday against the Wildcats, that wasn't the case. They shot 6-21 from the three point line as a team for a 28.6% clip from beyond the arc.
Certainly, the three point line is an extremely deadly weapon for the Hoosiers and will continue to be a huge factor as they seek to advance further into the tournament. Do they need to make the three to win? No, they don't. They got to the free throw line at a fairly good clip, going 17-23 from the free throw line.
While shooting 6-21 from three certainly sticks out, the Hoosiers shot 19-31 from two point range to finish 25-52, or 48.1% from the field total. If you're shooting 48.1% from the field and forcing 16 turnovers as the Hoosiers did, chances are you'll come out with a victory.
3. Defense is now a weapon for this Hoosiers team
At the beginning of the year, the Indiana Hoosiers were consistently blasted by the media and fans alike for their blatant inability, or rather a lack of desire, to defend the basketball. This team didn't keep anybody out of the lane, either off the bounce or off of passing.
Give Tom Crean a ton of credit. He, along with senior leader Yogi Ferrell took total responsibility for changing the culture and attitude that this team was going to play with. Since then, the Hoosiers have turned their defense into a dangerous weapon. This team can force turnovers, get out and run and make that spot up shooting ability all the more dangerous.