Indiana Basketball: Lessons Learned in Top-Ranked Hoosiers' Shocking Upset Loss

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2012

Dec 15 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Yogi Ferrell (11) drives to the basket against  Butler Bulldogs center Andrew Smith (44) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 1-ranked Indiana Hoosiers lost in overtime, 88-86, to the Butler Bulldogs in what was an instant classic for the early 2012-13 college basketball season. 

The heavily favored Hoosiers came into the game and seized the early lead in the first half. However, their inability to put the Bulldogs away in the second half came back to bite them, as Butler kept playing hard and took the lead. 

The Hoosiers were able to knot it up by the end of regulation, but couldn't come through for the win in the overtime period. The potentially game-winning three-point attempt by Jordan Hulls fell harmlessly to the ground without touching the rim or backboard. 

A loss to the unranked Bulldogs is definitely shocking and leaves a bad mark on the Hoosiers' previously unblemished record. Here's what we can take away from this stunning game. 


The Hoosiers Aren't No. 1

Indiana was ranked No. 1 coming into this game, but after earning their first loss of the season, that just won't be the case anymore. 

It's easy to see why they were ranked No. 1 previous to this game. On paper, Indiana has everything you want to see in a team that is the best in the country. Cody Zeller is a dominant player in the post, and the Hoosiers' starting lineup is one of the most experienced groups in the country.

The previously undefeated Hoosiers haven't even really been challenged all season. Sure, they went into overtime with Georgetown, but ultimately, they dominated the extra period and won the game by 10 points. 

However, a loss to an unranked team like Butler won't be excused by pollsters. With plenty of undefeated teams remaining in the country, it could be a while before the Hoosiers find themselves near the top of the polls.


Perimeter Defense Could Be An Issue

A loss like this one isn't necessarily a bad thing. 

There are valuable lessons to be learned from this game, and adjustments can be made to have the Hoosiers ready to contend. 

One thing that must be altered is the defense on the perimeter. Going against an inferior team like Butler, there's only one thing that can equalize the talent disparity: three-point shooting. 

The Bulldogs were dominant from behind the arc. Led by Rotnei Clarke's 5-of-11 performance, Butler was 11-of-24 from three-point land and used an outside-in attack in the second half, which ultimately set up the easier buckets inside. 

With Zeller and Christian Watford on the inside, the Hoosiers were able to keep the paint relatively clean, but outside shooting was their downfall.


The Hoosiers Could Be on Upset Alert Come March

You never want to take away too much from a college basketball game in December, as these teams are far from the finished products we will witness on the national stage in March. 

That being said, a performance like this one is sure to have Hoosiers fans sweating out close finishes when the team goes to the Big Dance. Despite the loss, Indiana should bounce back and put together a great campaign that earns them a top seed.

The problem with being a top seed is navigating a bracket filled with hungry underdogs whose sole goal is to pull off the big upset that will have the nation talking. Teams like, say, the Butler Bulldogs. 

Ultimately, the Hoosiers have plenty of opportunities to put this game behind them. A dominant run through the Big Ten will make people forget about this loss. 

However, this may not be the first time a scrappy underdog has them on the ropes; they must improve from this experience to make a great run in March.