Indiana Hoosiers Fans Should Say Thanks: Sweet 16 Appearance Only the Beginning
The season is over for all but four teams in college basketball, and people feel many different emotions about their team's successes and failures in the always-exciting tournament.
If you're a Tar Heel, you're disappointed in being knocked off by Kansas and falling a game short of playing in the Final Four. For Ohio fans, you should be ecstatic that your team made a Sweet 16 and took perennial powerhouse North Carolina to overtime before losing.
But if you're a Hoosier, how should you feel after the loss Friday night to rival Kentucky?
The obvious negative is that at Assembly Hall, where we hang national championship banners, this season was unable to bring banner No. 6. But as a sports fan in the state of Indiana, there should be a great sense of pride for what this team accomplished, winning one less game this season than they did in the previous three combined.
The Indiana Pacers haven't been relevant since Reggie Miller retired, although they may be able to shake things up in the East this year. The Colts had the worst season in the Peyton Manning era, if we can even call last year part of his era due to the fact that it was most likely known by ownership he was going to be released even during the regular season.
Sure, Butler has been to two national championship games, but sole allegiance to the Bulldogs is limited to alumni.
"The Indiana men—and quote me, the Indiana men, these mighty men—they gave it all. They left it all on that court. I'm proud of what we did. We don't take the moral victory in any sense, but when you give every ounce of fight you have, you can move forward," said Hoosiers coach Tom Crean following Friday's loss. And he's exactly right.
As a fan of the state's major sports teams, you have to be appreciative of the season had by the Hoosiers because of recent downfalls by our other teams. It should be a resounding "thank you" to the players for what they did this year.
Thank you, seniors, for sticking out the most difficult seasons this program has seen in some time. Watching Verdell Jones III go down in the Big Ten tournament was heartbreaking, because his career was over and he couldn't help see the process through. His improvement this year alone was remarkable.
Thank you, Christian Watford, for hitting the shot that made Indiana basketball relevant again. That moment is one of the greatest of my life, proving either it was a huge event or I'm just incredibly boring.
And thank you to coach Crean, for making this all happen and doing it the right way. The Movement has started one year early, and every Hoosiers fan should know that the sky is limit as time progresses.
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