BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The No. 1 chants rained down from the student section even before Saturday’s game ended.
By Monday afternoon, it should be official.
Cody Zeller finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Victor Oladipo added 15 points, leading the third-ranked Hoosiers to an 81-73 victory against No. 1 Michigan on a day that the nation’s top two teams lost. The results will likely send Indiana back to the top spot, which it held for the first seven weeks this season.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Oladipo said after about the expected climb. “You know we started there, we had a hard road to get back here. We’re just going to continue to keep working.”
If the Hoosiers (20-2, 8-1 Big Ten) keep playing like this, they might even change the trend and hang around for a while.
Since Indiana’s loss to Butler on Dec. 15, the No. 1 spot has been held and surrendered by Duke, Louisville and Michigan. Kansas, which may have been poised to move up, also lost 85-80 to Oklahoma State on Saturday.
That puts Indiana, on top of its game and the Big Ten standings, in position to rule the college basketball rankings, too.
It has won five straight since losing to Wisconsin last month, broke through a logjam atop the conference standings to take sole possession of the league lead at the midway point and became the first team in school history to beat No. 1-ranked teams at home in back-to-back seasons.
They did it on a night that the students bounced, cheered, booed, pointed, sang and finally closed out the game by not rushing the court as they had with the Hoosiers’ other two wins over No. 1 teams in Bloomington — Michigan State in 2001 and Kentucky in 2011. And they did it on a weekend Indiana coach Tom Crean is off to watch his brother-in-law coaches, Jim and Jack Harbaugh, coach against one another in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Players kept their celebration in check, too, though Oladipo did apologize for trying a tomahawk dunk that was ruled to be after the buzzer.