In the days leading up to the matchup, the energy could be seen all over Bloomington.
Fans in cream and purple, messages projected on the side of the assembly hall, the memorial stadium’s jumbotron doing the same, baby blue buses arriving in front of nearby hotels, and Jon Rothstein tweeting even more than usual.
You really would have to live under a rock to avoid the news that the North Carolina Tar Heels men’s basketball team, last year’s national runners-up, is coming to town.
The last time Indiana fans saw UNC around town was on countless TVs when the team lost to Kansas in the NCAA Division I championship game. Now they’ve seen them lose a hyped-up matchup against a historically successful program from far and wide.
When this duel was announced, the Tar Heels were the presumed No. 1 team in the nation. Then they really were. Then the state of Iowa happened. Alabama too. All of a sudden they weren’t anymore.
Try as much as UNC might, they just couldn’t break the ice with a convincing win.
Like a sad rock kicked into a shallow pool, has UNC lost enthusiasm among Indiana fans in the polls?
They came in droves, dressed in white thanks to the theme of the evening. They camped near the meeting hall the night before, pulling on tarps due to a no-tenting policy and snuggling into sleeping bags to ward off the cold.
If you think temperatures hovering around 28.4º Fahrenheit with some added wind chill is cold, just wait until you see the Tar Heels shoot up 34% during the night.
In fact, the students, who filled every empty space they could find, seemed to bring the chill with them.
The Tar Heels just couldn’t find an answer all night, most clearances appearing to last a full 0.1s ahead of one from Race Thompson, Xavier Johnson, or Jalen Hood-Schifino [insert literally any other guy] it seemed to close.
On the other hand, Indiana had no trouble finding the rim at a whopping 50 points in color compared to UNC’s 24. That lead more than offset the Hoosiers’ shooting from the periphery, which was a relatively modest 23% on 13 shots all night.
Now I’m going to include an image of Trayce Jackson-Davis, which I personally found quite amusing when I was looking for the best image to include with this article:
I mean look at him. is he angry Will he crush the ball in his hands? That would be impractical, but it’s not like UNC would statistically likely score with it, so would it really matter?
Jackson-Davis had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Pretty good!
Mike Woodson also appeared to be in control throughout the game. Hubert Davis was constantly on his heels, looking for a way to get back on top. The office helped him a lot as the Tar Heels had 27 free throws to the Hoosiers’ 18.
But Woodson had an answer for everything, enabling the Hoosiers to score on almost every possession while the Tar Heels only led against Tantalus. Held. To get. one way
Between the fans and filming the Tar Heels, you’d think I’d run out of cold references now, huh?
Well, you, dear reader, would be wrong.
Xavier Johnson gave me one reason for another as he seemed to take every free throw with ice in his veins to defend Indiana’s lead in the closing minutes.
It only took the Hoosiers 40 minutes to send the tar heels into the cooler
The cold willing Indiana students, the need to yell at UNC, and probably some DoorDashed Starbucks worked in the Hoosiers’ favor and Tar Heels’ detriment.
All in all, Indiana had a pretty cool night.
(I am sorry)