IU men's basketball played with grit and determination this season, despite losing 25 of 31 games. We applauded and celebrated that grit even though it comes with a tablespoon of humility mixed with horror and anger.
The best part about getting knocked down is getting up – because we can get up. The U.S. basketball gold medal at last year’s Olympics was that much sweeter because we hadn’t won it since 2000. The U.S. returning in 1987 to win the America’s Cup after its first-ever loss four years earlier was that much more epic.
We’ve heard it all year. IU basketball will be back. And once we are “back” it will be all that much sweeter knowing how low we sank and the hardship we had to endure.
The IU players are better because of this season, as hard as it is to believe. Hoosier fans are better fans as well. Because we know how low a program can actually go, we can appreciate all the more the nine Final Fours and five national championships. We can better understand the sustained excellence coach Bob Knight brought to Bloomington.
We were lucky. We were spoiled. We won’t be spoiled again.
Note: Interesting piece about what Tom Crean said to his team after the Big Ten Tournament loss Thursday.