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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

Column: Dream season has nightmare ending

IUBB vs. Syracuse CAROUSEL

WASHINGTON, D.C. IU’s road wasn’t supposed to end like this.

The journey that started with a preseason No. 1 ranking was supposed to be on the yellow brick road leading all the way to the wonderful land of the Final Four.

The path wasn’t supposed to guide IU right into an Orange brick wall.

But it did, and now the 2012-13 IU men's basketball season is over.

“We’ve had a heck of a ride with this group,” IU Coach Tom Crean said. “It doesn’t feel like it tonight, and it won't feel like that for a couple of days, maybe longer.”

The first half could not have gone much worse for the Hoosiers.

IU started off aggressive, drawing three fouls in the first four minutes, but the problem was the shots were just not falling and the basketballs kept getting turned over.

At times, the Hoosiers’ ball movement was spectacular against the zone, but when you can’t knock down open shots, great ball movement doesn’t matter.

Through the first six minutes, IU did not connect on one field goal attempt as they went 0-for-5 from the field and 0-for-3 from behind the arc before sophomore guard Remy Abell ended that drought with a driving layup to make it 11-5 Syracuse.

Shockingly, the awful shooting was not even IU’s biggest problem. Sloppy play and turnovers killed the Hoosiers against Syracuse’s zone.

Through the first 13 minutes of the game, the Hoosiers shot 3-of-12 from the field, 0-of-6 from behind the arc and turned the ball over 10 times.

With 2:48 remaining in the first half, IU almost had as many turnovers – 12 – as they did points, 13.

Leading the turnover parade was freshman guard Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell.

All season, Ferrell has really never played like a freshman.

The maturity that he has shown handling the offense has been beyond his years, but Syracuse made him look like an inexperienced freshman taking on a polished collegiate team.

At the half, he had four turnovers, zero points and zero assists. He finished the game with zero points, one assist, one steal and four turnovers.

Ferrell struggled mightily, but you can’t put all the blame on him.

In the most important game of the season, IU played its worst half of basketball of the season – heading into the break down 34-22.

“The first half is where it got away from us a little bit there,” IU Coach Tom Crean said.

The first half left the Hoosiers crippled and they could never fully recover from it.

But that doesn’t mean that they didn’t give it everything they could to fight back.

A 5-0 run in the first 1:28 of the second half gave the IU fans hope.

The Hoosiers even cut the lead down to six, 38-32, with 14:14 left.

But over the next seven minutes, the Orange would go on a 14-5 run that doomed IU.

The season might not have ended the way IU thought it would, and the enormous expectations that were placed on this team were not realized.

The Hoosiers would be the first people to admit this.

But the reality of the NCAA Tournament is a harsh, demoralizing feeling for 67 of the 68 teams that dare to dance.

There can only be one national champion every year and as we found out Thursday night, this was not the Hoosiers’ year to be crowned.

Although this season ends in a bitter disappointment that will linger in Bloomington for a long time, the beauty of sports is that this is never the end result.

Teams win and teams lose, but it’s the journey that makes us believe that anything could happen.

“They have done things that have not been done at Indiana for a long, long time, and they did it from scratch,” Crean said.

For this reason, we must not remember the 2012-13 season for how it ended; we must remember the team for allowing us to be a part of the ride that took Indiana by storm.

We must remember the three seniors, forward Derek Elston, forward Christian Watford and guard Jordan Hulls, that dreamt about bringing Indiana basketball back – and then fulfilled that dream beyond most of our wildest hopes.

Most importantly, we must remember this team for how special they were as a whole.

IU could not have asked for better representatives to embody the face of a university that loves basketball as much as humanly possible.

This loss leaves Hoosiers around the country feeling disappointment and sadness, but when the dust clears and those feelings subside, we will remember this IU team for bringing something back to Bloomington that is even more important than banner No. 6.

This team brought pride to every person that has ever considered his or herself an Indiana Hoosier – win or lose.

What more could you ask for?

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