Pride and Pettiness: Chapter 8, Ohio State Spoils Indiana's Conference Title Celebration with Upset Victory

By David Regimbal on February 11, 2021 at 10:40 am
Tom Crean

You've made it to Pride and Pettiness.

We're still living in tough times. Some people, like our very own Ramzy, like to cope by looking back at happy memories. I, personally, like to revisit moments of satisfying pettiness.

My philosophy is simple. From Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice:

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?

That we do, Jane. With Indiana on the schedule for No. 4 Ohio State this Saturday, let's go back and revisit a terribly cringy Tom Crean moment from the 2013 season.

The Setup

Tom Crean suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.

This is an indisputable fact that everyone recognizes. The former Indiana coach cut his teeth as an assistant under Tom Izzo at Michigan State in the late 90s before taking over as head coach at Marquette in 1999. After rebuilding the Golden Eagles and making it to the NCAA tournament five times (highlighted by an impressive Final Four run in 2008), Crean was brought on at Indiana in 2008.

He inherited an absolute mess in Bloomington. Twelve of the 14 players on the previous year's roster either left or were kicked off the team by the outgoing staff, so his first squad was comprised primarily of freshmen recruits.

It took a while for him to build a contender as he won just six games his first year at Indiana, followed by 10- and 12-win seasons. But it all came together in the 2011-12 as his recruiting started to pay off. The Hoosiers went on to win 27 games while making a run to the Sweet 16, but the core returning players of Cody Zellar, Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford made Indiana a title contender in 2013.

All the while, Crean became the coach many in the conference loved to hate. From his courtside antics to shady scholarship management, he became as welcome a sight as text messages with read-receipts attached.

But his 2012-13 team turned out to be quite good. The collection of talent played well together and ascended to the No. 1 spot nationally by the time Ohio State traveled to Indiana for a pivotal March showdown.

The Pettiness

When the Buckeyes made that trip to Bloomington in 2013, it was hoping to get even after suffering an 81-68 loss to the Hoosiers in Columbus. And to sweeten the pot, not only was it senior night in Indiana, but Crean's squad had a big opportunity after Wisconsin and Michigan State lost the previous Sunday. If the Hoosiers won, they laid claim to an outright Big Ten title. If they lost, they could at least take comfort in the fact that they had already clinched a share of the conference crown.

Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft spoiled Indiana's big night.

Thomas led the way with 18 points and eight rebounds and Craft was his usual pesky self, scoring 15 points to go along with four assists, four steals and four rebounds. Zellar and Watford combined for 29 points but Oladipo was held in check, scoring just seven points in the 67-58 Buckeye victory.

The win was huge for Ohio State, which was picking up steam for an eventual run to the Elite Eight. But it also made Indiana's postgame festivities a bit awkward. To a mostly empty and disappointed arena, a trio of seniors gave their speeches, and then Crean thought it'd be a good idea to cut the nets down to celebrate an already clinched shared Big Ten title despite losing on that floor that very same night.

It was both hilarious and sad at the same time, and it's a memory that will live with me until my very last breath.

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