The Indiana Daily Student sports desk revisits the top Hoosiers seasons from last year. All spring sports are not being considered due to the small sample size of games that were played.
5. Men’s swimming and diving
Coming off of a 2018-19 season where the men’s swimming and diving team captured a Big Ten title, last year was a little bit of a disappointment. As a heralded program with 27 Big Ten championships, high expectations are the norm every year.
The men’s team underperformed to its usual standards, placing third in the conference championships, despite hosting the event in Bloomington at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center. Regardless, the men’s team still earns a spot at No. 5 on this list.
IU finished with an overall record of 8-3. The Hoosiers defeated four ranked opponents, including No. 12 the University of Notre Dame, No. 6 Michigan and No. 23 Iowa.
Eleven swimmers qualified for the NCAA championships on March 25-28 in Indianapolis, before it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
4. Men’s cross country
Senior Kyle Mau led the men’s cross country team to a 13th place finish in the NCAA championships last fall. Individually, Mau placed 12th in the event and earned All-American status.
To start the season, IU took first place in the Miami Opener on Aug. 30. Later, the Hoosiers placed second in Vanderbilt’s Commodore Classic.
The Hoosiers ranked second at the Big Ten conference meet with performances from junior Ben Veatch, who finished fourth, and Mau, who finished sixth. IU continued its momentum in the Great Lakes Regional as a part of the NCAA Championships, finishing fourth and advancing to the national meet.
The 2019-20 season was a huge step for IU head coach Tom Allen and the football program. The team ended the year with an overall record of 8-5, its first winning mark since 2007.
Four of IU’s five losses came against ranked opponents. The Hoosiers were drubbed by No. 6 Ohio State 51-10 at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 14. IU was toppled by No. 13 Michigan and No. 9 Penn State by a combined score of 73-41.
After freshman quarterback Michael Penix Jr. suffered a season-ending injury in the Nov. 2 game against Northwestern, junior Peyton Ramsey stepped into his place. The efforts of Ramsey, sophomore running back Stevie Scott and junior wide receiver Whop Philyor helped the Hoosiers bring the Old Oaken Bucket back to Bloomington with a 44-41 double-overtime victory against Purdue in the last game of the regular season.
In the postseason, IU escaped the frigid temperatures of Bloomington and traveled to sunny Jacksonville, Florida where it earned a matchup with Tennessee in the Taxslayer Gator Bowl. From there, the Hoosiers blew a 22-9 lead with only four minutes left in the game. The Volunteers raged back to complete a 23-22 upset.
Regardless, it was the Hoosiers' most successful season of the decade.
2. Men’s soccer
To say the IU men’s soccer season started off in dramatic fashion would be an understatement. All of IU's first five matches needed extra time to be decided, four of which went to double-overtime. The Hoosiers prevailed in three of the five occasions, with the other two finishing as ties.
The top-tier program turned in another impressive season, ending with a 15-4-3 record and 7-1 mark in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers took a regular season conference crown and fought their way to a Big Ten tournament title after beating Michigan in, yes, penalty kicks.
Fittingly, the Hoosiers luck in extra time finally caught up to them. In the second round of the NCAA tournament, IU was upset by the University of California at Santa Barbara 1-0 in double-overtime with a walk-off goal at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
The season didn’t end with IU’s ninth NCAA championship, but it was yet another solid showing for head coach Todd Yeagley’s squad.
1. Women’s basketball
This season, the IU women’s basketball team was likely headed to the NCAA tournament for the seventh time in program history before the coronavirus pandemic ended its hopes. It would have been only the second time the team made the big dance in back-to-back seasons.
Two years removed from a NIT championship, head coach Teri Moren has continued to push the Hoosiers in the right direction. Entering last season, the Hoosiers had eclipsed the 20 win mark in each of the last four years. IU continued its streak in the 2019-20 campaign, posting a 24-8 record and a 13-5 conference clip.The Hoosiers reached No. 12 in the country during a stretch of games in January.
Junior guard Ali Patberg led the way in scoring for IU with 15.6 points per game and sophomore Grace Berger added an average of 13.1 points per game of her own. The Hoosiers built momentum early in the season with a victory against top-10 ranked the University of South Carolina.
Though the Hoosiers dropped some games in the conference season and finished fourth in the Big Ten regular season standings, they were still in a strong position to earn another bid in the NCAA tournament and get past the second round for the first time in school history. But, the coronavirus robbed the chance for it to come to fruition.
The Hoosiers will be loaded again with both Patberg and Berger returning next season. Behind the leadership of Moren and the experienced roster, the Hoosiers may be destined for their first sweet sixteen showing next spring.