On an episode of Seinfeld, George Constanza realized every decision he ever made was the wrong one.
So he decided he would ignore his instincts and make every decision based on the opposite of what he was thinking. To his surprise, he famously landed a job with the New York Yankees and had a new, beautiful girlfriend.
Thursday night, IU had the same outcome. By ignoring the instinct to go ice cold at the end of the game, and stand up to the higher ranked team, the Hoosiers overcame their biggest demon: beating a ranked team.
It still feels surreal. Some might say itâ€™s a dream come true.
No, Indiana University did not win an NCAA Championship. No, it did not earn a spot in the Final Four.
It beat, believe it or not, a ranked team. Now, teams such as Duke or UConn might brag that they do that week in and week out, but they are not IU. At least, not IU as currently known.
Ironically, the last time the Hoosiers beat a ranked team was February 19th, 2008, against who? Our biggest rival Purdue, of course. Since then, both teams have gone in opposite directions. Purdue ascended to the top of the Big Ten, garnering national attention, while IU faded into the night.
Three years ago. The last time Hoosier fans felt on top, the last time it really felt like Indiana. That win came when the Hoosiers were respected nationally, before they even knew the program would take a nose dive just days later from NCAA allegations. Before they even knew what the next three years would hold.
Since that February Friday when Kelvin Sampson was forced to resign, Hoosier Nation has been fighting, clawing, and scratching for every possible win. Suddenly the little things made all the difference, and Indiana University faithful were brought closer together for it.
Thursday night, the clock finally struck zero. Almost 18,000 fans in Assembly Hall were biting their lips, nobody could believe it. With just minutes left, IU was tied with Illinois, and everybody held their breath.
The team and the fans had been there before. Kentucky twice, Illinois last season, Wisconsin last week. Close games against ranked teams just seemed to bounce the other way.
The south lobby of Assembly Hall flooded with diehard fans swarming head coach Tom Crean, celebrating his first win against a ranked opponent as IUâ€™s coach.
Nobody said â€œFuture National Champs,â€ nobody said â€œFuture Big Ten Champs,â€ and certainly nobody said â€œweâ€™re back!â€
Because IU is not back, not quite yet. This was one game, and everybody, including the team, knows it. For every close game against Kentucky, there has been a blowout against Iowa. Plus, the rest of the schedule looks like a death march.
But Thursday, the tension was eased, and a huge sigh of relief swept through Assembly Hall as Hoosier fans yelled like they had won a national championship.
Are we over the hump? Not yet.
To become a consistently great team again, itâ€™ll take multiple nationally ranked teams getting knocked off at the hands of the Hoosiers, but that is for another day.
Thursday night was for Bloomington, for the fans, for Tom Crean, and most importantly, for the team. Each player turned down other scholarship offers to play for the Cream and Crimson, a program shattered by allegations and a free fall to the bottom.
Thursday they saw the light, how much their hard work finally paid off. Thursday the Hoosier fans lit up campus like IU just cut the nets down.
Thursday, we let everyone know WE ARE HOOSIERS!!!