Indiana's season ended just past midnight Saturday in Atlanta. But the Hoosiers 102-90 loss to top-ranked Kentucky in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament represented the IU basketball program's return to prominence.
According to a tweet from IU the team will arrive back on campus at Cook Hall around 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The game was a Kentucky horserace, the highest scoring game of the tourney so far, with Indiana keeping pace most of the way. But too many lay ups and too many free throws gave the Wildcats revenge for their only loss of the regular season.
"They're a really good team," said Indiana coach Tom Crean, 3-4 vs. Kentucky. "They've got a lot of guys. They've got a guy coming off the bench that's going to be a first round draft pick in Darius Miller. They're tremendous."
Kentucky made 35 of 37 free throws, including 16 in a row to end the game.
"They're great drivers," said Indiana freshman Cody Zeller, who scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds. "They're attacking pretty hard throughout the game. Late in the game, we had to foul just to try to close the margin a little bit. They got in the bonus pretty early, and that really helped them out pretty well. And once they got there, they were knocking them down."
Indiana took its first lead late in the first half on a scoring burst from junior Christian Watford, who scored a game-high 27 points. But Kentucky regained a three point advantage by halftime, and expanded that to as many as 13 in the second half.
Kentucky (35-2) advances to face Baylor in the Elite Eight Sunday at the Georgia Dome. Indiana (27-9) finishes a season that exceeded most predictions.
"I know when I first got here it was rough for this program," said Indiana sophomore Victor Oladipo, who fouled out with 15 points. "We've been through a lot of ups and downs. Our seniors are the big reason why we're so successful right now. Now that we brought it all together, it's a bright future for this program."
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