For one night, Indiana basketball felt like Indiana basketball again.
The big-game atmosphere returned to Assembly Hall Wednesday night, as the Hoosiers pulled out a tough win against a quality St. John's team. Indiana basketball was enjoyable again. For the first time in years, it felt like all was well in Bloomington. Mike Woodson finally appears to have Indiana heading in the right direction.
A 76-74 win over an unranked St. John's team in November isn't going to remind anyone of Bob Knight's heyday. But given what Hoosier fans have suffered through for, oh, about two decades, there was much to celebrate Wednesday night. This Indiana team finally has talent worthy of the brand. The squad is led by All-American big man Trayce Jackson-Davis, who is flanked by a host of tough, hard-nosed players and several teammates with big upside. The Hoosiers have a chance to do something this year.
Indiana jumped out to a 14-point lead in the first half against St. John's and looked like a team that belonged in the Top 15. The ball moved, the shots fell, the dunks were thunderous, the players cracked smiles on the court and appeared to be enjoying themselves as the crowd buzzed into a frenzy. But the Hoosiers squandered that lead in the second half, allowing the Red Storm to tie things up. It was a familiar pattern Indiana fans have seen repeated over the past few years. This time, the result would be different.