Hoosiers celebrate after a big victory.
The Indiana Hoosiers won a thriller against the Michigan State Spartans on Tuesday night.
It was the toughest game the Hoosiers have had all season, but they were able to persevere through a back-and-forth second half and end the night with a 72-68 victory. The win put them in first place in the B1G conference and gave them a better chance at a No.1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
However, close games are always filled with lessons.
Here are 10 that the Hoosiers learned on Tuesday night.
Victor Oladipo didn't look like he injured his ankle on Sunday.
Perhaps the biggest concern going into the game Tuesday was the health of Victor Oladipo.
In their game last Saturday against Purdue, Oladipo suffered an ankle injury. He did not return for the remainder of the game and it was uncertain if he would be able to play on Tuesday.
However, Oladipo understood how important this game was and made sure to play.
It didn't take long for Oladipo to show everyone that the ankle wasn't a concern. Early in the game, he blew past his defender and made a quick cut to the basket with ease.
It seems like even injuries can't slow down the National Player of the Year candidate. He had 19 points and nine rebounds for the game—including a last minute tip-in to put the Hoosiers ahead of the Spartans.
Oladipo showed the country that he can play through pain, which will go a long way in the Wooden Award voting.
Zeller had a terrific game on Tuesday.
Cody Zeller had another big game.
He scored 17 points on the day and eclipsed 1,000 career points at Indiana—putting him in some good company.
Before the game, everyone knew that Zeller was a monster in the paint. What they didn't know was that he also has a good mid-range game as well.
Zeller made two jumpers from outside of the paint pretty quickly in the first half. It surprised the Spartans and they started guarding him more aggressively near the key. He made another jumper later on in the game.
This hidden aspect of Zeller's game will be valuable in the tough stretch of upcoming games and help open the floor for the team.
Watford didn't let the fans get in his head.
Early in the game, Christian Watford set up for a three-pointer. He ended up missing the rim entirely.
And the Michigan State fans let him know it.
This didn't seem the upset Watford at all since he had another solid game. He ended up making two three-pointers after that shot, quickly quieting the crowd. He also had 12 points for the game which made him one of four Hoosiers players in double figures.
Watford has had more pressure on him than just some college students yelling "Air Ball." He didn't let them get in his head, but rather helped his team get the win.
Yogi made some big shots in this game.
At halftime, it was pretty evident that the Hoosiers were playing well.
They were up 36-30 and had silenced the Spartans' home crowd.
Despite the close ending, it's pretty evident that the Hoosiers are a great team against tough opponents. All three of their losses went against teams that weren't ranked at the time.
The Hoosiers are now 6-0 against ranked opponents. The ability to consistently beat good teams is a great sign for the Hoosiers as the NCAA tournament approaches. This kind of competition will help acclimate them to the tourney, and give them a better shot at reaching the Final Four.
The Spartans took advantage of some turnovers by the Hoosiers.
Turnovers have been a problem all season for the Hoosiers all season—and the Spartans took advantage of that.
The Hoosiers only had 10 turnovers on the day, but it seemed they all came at really bad times. Whenever there was a solid scoring run by the team, they made a bad pass or were reckless with the ball.
Against aggressive teams like the Spartans, Indiana will have to be extra careful with the ball. One turnover could quickly turn the game around.
Something the Hoosiers have discovered already this season.
Gary Harris is deadly from behind the arc.
The Hoosiers have lost some big leads against teams due to three-pointers and defending players behind the arc.
But that wasn't the case on Tuesday.
The Spartans only made four of their 15 shots from behind the arc. It was one of the better defensive performances for the Hoosiers in this regard. It also helped them keep the lead.
Gary Harris is one of the more deadly long-range shooters in the B1G, but Indiana was able to contain him. He only made one three-pointer.
Even though Harris had 19 points, the fact that the Hoosiers contained him from behind the arc was a big lift to the team.
The Hoosiers aren't afraid to play away from Assembly Hall.
At the beginning of the year, the Hoosiers were criticized for being a team who can only play in big games at home.
Those critics were silenced on Tuesday with a huge win in East Lansing.
The Hoosiers now have six road wins on the year. That's as many wins away from Assembly Hall as they have had in the past four years—combined.
Road wins against the Spartans and Buckeyes are good signs that the Hoosiers are ready for the tournament.
Zeller converted a big shot after being fouled.
One of the better parts of the Hoosiers' game is that they excel at getting to the free throw line. They average around 26 free throw attempts per game—the highest in the country.
On Tuesday, however, the Hoosiers only attempted 15 free throws and made 10 of them. The Spartans made 16 free throws.
This is usually a good strategy to winning against the Hoosiers, but they were able to hold on. Big shots and solid defense helped lead the team to another big win.
Oladipo made some big plays in the clutch.
With most teams there is usually one player they turn to when the game is on the line.
With the Hoosiers, they have a few.
Oladipo was one of the clutch men on Tuesday. He made several big plays at the end of the game, had a tip-in, a big breakaway dunk on an inbound pass, and two clutch free throws to seal the game.
Zeller and Watford are two other guys that have shown to be good at the end of games. Watford is known for his final shot against Kentucky, and Zeller has made some big plays at the end of close games as well.
The Hoosiers are truly lucky to have three options in the clutch. The other team is clueless as to who will take the last shot—which gives Indiana a serious advantage.
Crean was angry more than a few times during the game.
The referees were quite unpopular on both sides of the ball Tuesday night, but that didn't get the Hoosiers rattled.
The fans were so upset with the calls that Ted Valentine was trending on Twitter.
When a referee is trending, that's usually not a good sign.
There were quite a few questionable calls in the game. Many were upset that there was no flagrant foul after Derrick Nix hit Zeller in a sensitive area. There were also calls that the refs took far too long to call.
The big one that upset Coach Crean at the end was the clock not running. There were several instances in the last minute of play when the game clock simply didn't run. Crean was very upset by this, but luckily it didn't change the game.
The Hoosiers kept their poise and came out with a win. That's a sign of a very mature team.