Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Indiana Shouldn't Have Celebrated BigTen Title Like That

Only UCLA and Kentucky have won more NCAA tournaments
than Indiana, so is a Big Ten title celebration necessary?
For those who missed it last night, Indiana held off on their senior night festivities until after their game with Ohio State in Bloomington.  They also decided to hold a Big Ten Championship celebration ... complete with cutting down the nets ... even though they've only clinched a share of the crown.

I don't like it.

First off, I don't like having the senior night festivities after the game at all.  To me, they belong prior to the game as those kids are emotionally preparing their final game in their college gym.  Furthermore, waiting until after the game also has a chance to do what it did last night -- be an emotional letdown of sorts. 

See, Indiana lost to Ohio State ... so not only did those seniors get emotional over their final game at Assembly Hall, they also know that they have ALREADY PLAYED that final game and that it was a loss.  To me, that final moment you walk off your college gym floor for the final time is a personal one.  Personal reflections and personal memories.  Not one where you look around and know that your last effort at home was a loss with everyone a bit melancholy and bitter.

Second off, I'm not big on those post game celebrations unless you just achieved the goal.  Say Indiana needed to beat Ohio State and they were Big Ten champions.  Indiana wins and then they celebrate.  That's cool.  But when you already had (and, really, all they did was clinched a co-champion spot), I don't think that kind of celebration is necessary.  Do what many schools do and just hold a pep-rally or student assembly to mark the occassion.  Don't schedule a celebration like that after a game ... especially when you lost it.

Sure, Indiana probably figured they would win the game and it all would be golden.  Probably right.  If Indiana had won, a post-game senior night would've been glowing and the celebration would've been more meaningful since the Hoosiers would have been outright Big Ten champs.  But that didn't happen.

Third ... you are freakin' Indiana!  I know that's confusing since this program was near death several years ago.  After the Kelvin Sampson era, Hoosier Nation has watched this team come from a squad of walk-ons and outsiders to one with two possible Player Of The Year candidates and the favorite to win the 2013 NCAA Tournament.  I get that.

But still you are Indiana.  You are in that exclusive club with Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, Kansas and UCLA.  Schools that were good for a long, long time.  All of them had their down moments and all of them have had recent highs.  Since 1991, Kentucky, UNC, Duke, Kansas and UCLA have won 12 NCAA titles ... yet each one has missed the tournament at some point.  I know Indiana hasn't won since 1987, but they were a finalist just over a decade ago. 

You are Indiana ... not Northwestern.  If Northwestern or Nebraska won the Big Ten title then I'd expect them to go nuts.  That doesn't happen so that one moment in their history would be worth the love.  I know that these 18-22 year olds are in the moment now, but they also came to Indiana to be in a situation like this and be in a place where success is expected. 

I'm not too angry about all of this and it isn't that big of a deal that Indiana had this celebration, it was just a bit shocking to me.  Crean is doing a fantastic job getting Indiana back on the map and instilling pride of the program to the community ... but doing so also means knowing where your place is at the big table even if you hadn't been there in a while.

No comments: