1. Just another old foolish contrarian opinion from Harvard, but I think there is way too much made of all the terrible stuff the seniors that had to endure…The poor, poor seniors that had “done so much, been through so much, suffered so much losing..the so much..so much..so much suffering Hulls, Watford, and Elston had to experience. This is a game of basketball played in front of the BEST fan base in the country. There are millions of Americans that are truly suffering. Can we please shed the puritanical desire to hang onto suffering like Linus with his blankie(as if losing some basketball games was some form of true suffering)?

    It’s an honor to wear the candy-stripes under any circumstances. And what a privilege to know you’re playing the game for the love of your school more than anything else. Almost more of a privilege to play with a group of young men that would never abandon that pride even when a program is getting the crap knocked out of its teeth on a nightly basis. These young men, still basically kids, had a true chance to build long term friendships and an inseparable brotherhood in their hearts they would likely never have the JOY to experience under the warped motivations that now permeate the world of college sports.

    Greed, self-interest, and entitlement is the true “suffering” that sticks for a lifetime. What a privilege to taste victory when not infected with such individualistic pursuits that now infect every level of sport from high school to pro. Amidst all the hard times the many Hoosiers that wore the cream and crimson during the bottom-feeder years likely came some of the most rewarding lessons how much better victory can taste when it’s not just about you.

    So can we stop with the Establishment perspective that doesn’t get what it meant to be a Hoosier. When a coach comes in here and talks of “decimation,” he is about as far from being a Hoosier as one will ever get. In Indiana, it’s never been about image. It’s about heart and brotherhood. It’s about loving the game when most believe you don’t deserve to be on the same court with a team anointed supreme. When we abandon the spirit rooted in a joy to just play the game for all its beauty that never grows from a result on a scoreboard, is when we’ll join the rest the Joe Lunardis of the world that dumb down the game to records, rankings, and brackets…I feel much more sorry for that have ripped the soul from the game. The consumption with draft picks and Rivals lists and predictions and statisticians and self-proclaimed experts that dominate the airwaves infecting the minds of youngsters with the wrong messages a reason to pursue competitive endeavors. I’m pretty sure that Jordy, Christian, and Elston will never see the “suffering” those so empty of soul have experienced in the long nonchalant numbing of the brain and heart that has come with almighty dollar signs as the sole master the only reason to put on a uniform.

    I’ve been too hard on Crean. I’ve been too hard on young men that play for faith in each other and faith in something more than just winning. Christian, Jordy, and Derek have been very lucky to experience the joys of sportsmanship and team at a level most will have forgotten to even dream. That’s what Indiana basketball has always represented. Making your teammate shine..Making a brother in the trenches better can make yourself better in the process. That’s the blessing and joy that comes to the few we entrust the honor of wearing the candy-stripes.

    And though the Establishment would love nothing more than to distort and deceive, infect and manipulate future eyes looking to McCracken as representative something unique beyond titles, polls, and individualistic goals, they shall never transpose their own envious suffering upon our “tried and true” Hoosier spirit serving as a beacon for the soul of the game.

    Congrats to our seniors. But more importantly, congrats and thank you to all the Hoosiers for being a great example to kids. Thanks for your attempts to just get through to a very, very few. Thanks for not giving up on playing the game for something more than you.

  2. I feel much more sorry for [those] that have ripped the soul from the game….

  3. Crean’s message has been precise and concise since he’s arrived in Indiana. His message has always been about the collective power of a team forever a stronger chain than any over-glorified singular member serving within the many links.

    And maybe it’s hard to maintain a humble purpose when 15,000 fans begin to take it all for granted. The winning did not come from pursuing the most talented in the game. The winning, the “rising” came as a result the precise and concise faith that resides in unselfish growth that elevates no one unless it elevates all.

    I’ve already heard of how much better we might be next year..I find that type of talk very sad. Very sad to ignore just how much we’ve taken for granted what the Hoosiers of the last five years have meant to Indiana. What a disservice to expect a team to win on senior night when it was such short time ago so many pundits ridiculed Indiana under their breath for hanging onto ideals that just can’t function in today’s world.

    It must hurt a bit to watch fans you thought loyal to those ideals suddenly love you more for the superficial prizes and banners now assumed as an entitled right than the simple joy in putting their hands together for what you uniquely represented in darkest hours such quests. Hard to not imagine some of the energy can get sucked from the spirit a team when your own fans serve to disenfranchise the ownership of ideals you fought so hard on their behalf.

    I honestly think this team plays better when they separate themselves from the fans that only grow a love for the winning. They’ll regain their bonds and the collective truth of “all” stronger than “one”(or a team of one-and-done’s) when they remove themselves from Bloomington. In the quiet locker rooms unfamiliar arenas, the NCAA tournament will remind them again the spirit of being a Hoosier. They will embrace again their unbeatable collective strength that comes with molding the talent and god-given gifts with the work ethic and humble goals precise and concise in a faith something bigger their individual existence. This is a team built on brotherhood more than limelight. IF they stay the course Crean’s message, the rest will come easy.

  4. Dearest Chet,

    You were so, so far from the truth when you attempted to paint me as someone forever hung up on one coach defining Indiana.

    Indiana has always been about the little guy. It’s always been about the unsung humble pursuits found in the spirit of determination…Steve Downing…John Ritter…Jordy Hulls…Damon Bailey…Landon Turner…A.J. Moye…Danny Moore…Ray Tolbert…Jarrad Odle shocking the world and scoring 15 when the eyes are fixated on #1 Duke with their #1 coach…The dumb innocence in the kid waking up a dawn, strapping on his Converse, and losing himself/herself in the mysteries of loving the simple sounds a ball splashing through a net in the summertime of dreams. It’s never been about coaches for Harvard. There’s something about Indiana basketball that flourishes eternal outside the realm any mark a coach could ever leave at her doorway. It isn’t necessarily always captured at Indiana University. I love my alma mater, but I love the spirit of Indiana basketball far and beyond my selfish desires to see all the glory of the unsung only bringing banners to campus my shoes once strolled.

  5. Was Damon Bailey really the little guy? Wasn’t he the first guy ever offered a scholly in middle school? Wasn’t he on the cover of SI before he ever wore candy stripes? If not on the cover, he was definitely written about in SI on multiple occasions while in HS.

  6. Dustin-

    Not sure if it’s less than a 1000 words…Not sure if it’s my “World According to Garp,” but you can put it into your Funk & Wagnalls as a taste of my belief in Indiana basketball. Bottle it and share it with your Establishment buddies that come here with cynicism galore and live to mock us when we let you in with open hearts at our door.

    Sprinkle some of the lines on you as if it were holy hoops water. Maybe it helps you at the next Media Challenge..Maybe for five minutes you’ll mimic Lance Stemler ..Maybe you’ll crush Jeremy’s ego and hit the game-winner from the corner in a 3-point contest of ‘Horse.’

    Put down the pen this weekend. Find a court outside where from all the world you can hide. Take a basketball in the suitcase of solitude and dribble her sounds into the chest your memories of days in Bloomington you’ll forever hold. Think of the friends that you’ve made at HT. Think of truth. Think of Harvard….and watch the nets rip like never before.

  7. Dustin & Jeremy, good points regarding the gravity of the night & although it was an emotional burden, the game still boils down to execution. As crazy as it sounds, it looked as if their was no urgency or “desire to prove” anything in this team all night. Even on TV, 2000 miles away, it seemed as if everyone in the place was thinking “this is not and cannot happen to us”. I felt that way the whole game & it really showed in the team the last 10 min.

    And the Big 10 trophy presentation & hat ceremony was just wrong. They should’ve called that off when they lost. Where will that trophy reside after Sunday, or will it be on tour of Wisc, MSU, MI, OSU & IU during the offseason? Knight must’ve been rolling around in his grave.

    The one bright spot is that the DO have something to prove again Sunday, but word is out….play a half court game & body up Z and CWat & we’ll rollover like puppies. Isn’t that why Crean pushes the ball anyway? He wants more possessions because our team is more athletic, can wear down most teams, and nobody can outscore us in a 92ft game. All of these losses were to half court foes where we couldn’t score.

    Now imagine our 1st or 2nd round matchup…..vs. Harvard or similar.

  8. Harvard; You have a relative in Columbus Ohio? Named Ruth Ferguson? Reading the comments of the Columbus Dispatch “Buckeyes stay Alive”.

    Ms. Ferguson feels that Matta needs to be fired. He’s not of the OS culture. And worse his “Italian friends in New Jersey” are financing something with OS.

    Think a ‘write-off’ between you two would be interesting & my $$ would be on you.

  9. Lonnie, since you don’t want to be considered a troll I will respond.

    Bragging? Example please…

    Reaching? How does that apply to the current conversation?

    If your only gig is to follow me around and make silly jabs like Rico does to Chet then I’ll be forced to ignore you going forward. If you actually want some honest back and forth, please follow up.

  10. I’m sorry but the Big 10 trophy, hats, T-shirts, and of all things cutting the nets down are all premeditated “It’s over and we won” type actions. This was Pre-planned and hence the team knew about it and the feeling of “what they have accomplished” clearly crept into the mindset. How could it not have?!?! These are 18-22 yr olds whose coach has that mentality, or else the “celebration” would have been postponed. How about a “you win this game and we are going to hoist the trophy and cut down the nets!” instead of “no matter what happens you deserve this”.

    I relish IU being back to prominence, but I won’t be satisfied until we compete for outright Big 10 title and national championships year after year. That wasn’t too much to ask 25 yrs ago and it isn’t today.

    I’m with Harvard on this annointment mentality softening up this team and program lately.

    The ONLY thing to atone for last night is to go up to MI and promptly kick their arse.

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