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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top 10 Indiana Hoosier Basketball Wins of all time

Top 10 Indiana Hoosier Basketball Wins of all time

Publish Date: 11/23/2023
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Greatest wins

A no-brainer tells you that the top five are the Championship game wins, and they have to be, as they are what everybody strives for all season. This is a great collection of dominating title wins and tournament upsets. The Hoosiers played well in every one of these games.

10) 1987 Final Four Indiana over UNLV

After Indiana senior forward Daryl Thomas picked up three early fouls, it appeared as if the Hoosiers could be in trouble. But Steve Eyl stepped in brilliantly and helped IU’s running attack continue its strong performance. Nobody expected the Hoosiers to try to run with the Runnin Rebels, but they did just that and won the game.

Indiana led by as much as 14 points early, but the Rebels managed to close to 53-47 by halftime.

UNLV made an early second-half run at Indiana, outscoring them 9-2 and taking an early 56-55 lead, with Gilliam hitting a short jumper at the 14:25 mark to lead 63-61.

Indiana then responded with their own surge, racing to a 73-65 lead before increasing it further with Rick Calloway hitting an impressive shot that made it 82-70 with 5:35 remaining in regulation time.

UNLV kept attacking until the very end, but Indiana found enough solutions to hold onto a 97-93 victory.

Video: 1987 NCAA Final Four Semi Final UNLV vs. Indiana

1987 NCAA Final Four Semi Final UNLV vs. Indiana

9) 1992 Regional Final Indiana over UCLA

This season started with UCLA blowing out the Hoosiers; the season ended with the Hoosiers returning the favor.

Indiana Hoosiers made history, racing to an incredible 15-point halftime lead and further improving in the second half. Shooting 72% from the field after intermission and scoring 62 points after halftime to defeat UCLA Bruins 106-79, led by Cheaney with 22 scored by Damon Bailey; Matt Nover and Eric Anderson each chipped in 17.

Video: Indiana Hoosiers vs UCLA Bruins, 1992 NCAA West Regional Final, The Pit, New Mexico

Indiana Hoosiers vs UCLA Bruins, 1992 NCAA West Regional Final, The Pit, New Mexico

8) 1973 Regional Finals Indiana over Kentucky

The Wildcats were heavily favored in this game. Indiana had not made a final-four appearance since 1953.

Coach Bob Knight completed a quick turnaround making the Hoosiers once again relevant in college basketball circles.

The Hoosiers led big early, shocking everyone, but the Wildcats clawed back and even took a short second-half lead. The Hoosiers were too much behind Steve Downing.

Video: 50 Years of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall Celebration: Game #8 - March 10, 1973

50 Years of Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall Celebration: Game #8 – March 10, 1973

7) 2002 Regional Semi-Finals Indiana over Duke

Duke had become the nation’s undisputed No. 1 team and an overwhelming favorite coming into Indiana University’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 1994, giving no one in their right mind an edge for Indiana to reach the Final Four. Nobody gave Indiana any hope or chance of surpassing Duke; they were double-digit underdogs!

They trailed by double-digits… in the second half.

But thanks to impressive performances by Jared Jeffries (24 points and 15 rebounds), Jarrad Odle (15 points) and A.J. Moye (14 points off the bench), Indiana was able to cut Duke’s lead down to just one with 5:32 left in regulation. A Mike Dunleavy 3-pointer extended Duke’s advantage back up to four. Still, Indiana responded with a 10-0 run that eventually resulted in Tom Coverdale making a 4-footer that put Indiana ahead with just under 60 seconds remaining before Moye added two free throws for four points advantage, and it seemed game over.

Once Dane Fife fouled Jay Williams on a 3-point shot attempt that the Duke guard made, all looked headed for overtime until his free throw attempt bounced off the rim and fell directly into IU guard Jeff Newton’s arms.

Video: Indiana vs. Duke: 2002 Sweet 16 | FULL GAME

Indiana vs. Duke: 2002 Sweet 16 | FULL GAME

6) 1984 Regional Semi-Finals Indiana over North Carolina

They did more than shock the Heels; they shocked an entire Nation. Nobody gave the Hoosiers a chance to win this game. Most thought the Hoosiers would lose in the second round to Aunurn, but that game never happened as the Richmond Spiders upset Charles Barkley and Auburn before the game could be played. The Hoosiers took care of a good Richmond team setting up this Sweet Sixteen battle.

North Carolina was known as a powerhouse during this time, featuring future NBA stars like Brad Daugherty, Kenny Smith and Sam Perkins as future members of its basketball squad – not forgetting Michael Jordan!

Two early fouls limited Jordan’s first-half minutes. An effective strategy of sagging off on defense forced him into becoming an effective jump shooter – something the nation’s Player of the Year hadn’t yet accomplished. Dan Dakich gets credit for shutting down Jordan, but it was a team effort, and foul trouble didn’t hurt either.

Steve Alford scored 27 points, including clutch free throws in the final minutes as other Indiana players buckled under the pressure of North Carolina’s comeback attempt. Marty Simmons missed three consecutive one-and-ones, while Chuck Franz also experienced nerve-wracking misses, creating unnerved moments for Hoosier fans.

Alford, who boasted one of the nation’s highest free throw shooting percentages at over 90%, provided a steadying influence. At the same time, Uwe Blab and Mike Giomi added late free throws that ensured the Hoosiers victory.

Video: 1984, UNC vs. Indiana, Sweet 16: Second Half Highlights

1984, UNC vs. Indiana, Sweet 16: Second Half Highlights

5) 1940 NCAA Championship Indiana over Kansas

Branch McCracken’s Hurryin’ Hoosiers stunned Kansas in Kansas City for their first national title. It marked a historic win for this program which one its first of five National Championships.

Indiana didn’t score its first basket until 8 minutes into the game, but once they learned their trick it was no stopping them. At halftime, Indiana led 32-19 over their local opponents – shocking and silencing many spectators along the way. Tournament MVP Marvin Huffman contributed 12 points, while reserve Jay McCreary contributed 12. Each played well in this eventful contest marred by many fouls.

Video: Indiana vs Kansas - 3/30/1940 - Men's Basketball Title Game

Indiana vs Kansas – 3/30/1940 – Men’s Basketball Title Game

4) 1981 National Championship Indiana over North Carolina

Bob Knight got the best of Dean Smith in this huge matchup of two Basketball Blue-Bloods. The Tar Heels had beaten the Hoosiers earlier in the season, but Indiana was red-hot in tournament play, winning every game by double-digits, and this game was no different.

Jimmy Thomas was the star on defense as he played well, with Ted Kitchel getting in early foul trouble. He played so well that Kitchel never got back in the game!

Randy Whitmans baseline jumper gave the Hoosiers a huge momentum boost at the end of the first half and behind the stellar play of Isiah Thomas the Hoosiers ran away from the Tar Heels in the second half.

Video: 1981 NCAA Mens Basketball Final Four Highlights

1981 NCAA Mens Basketball Final Four Highlights “Indiana Celebration”

3) 1953 National Championship Indiana over Kansas

Hoosiers led 68-65 with 1:50 remaining and had the opportunity to run down the clock (there was no shot clock back then). But Charlie Kraak, whose 17 points helped propel Indiana to victory, drove into Kansas’ Harold Patterson before suddenly veering away to the corner and being whistled for charging. Kraak immediately committed a technical foul by throwing his ball in the air before being penalized with another charge foul.

Down three, Kansas had three free throws to try to put the game away; unfortunately, they only made one out of three free throwa, meaning Dean Kelley’s jump shot only tied it at 68-68 rather than giving them the lead.

With just 30 seconds remaining in regulation time and following a penalty on Indiana University’s side of the court, Bob Leonard returned to the free-throw line, missing one attempt but converting on his second. Indiana claimed a great victory of 69-68!

Don Schlundt was the tournaments MVP.

Video: Reid Duffy Chronicles: Bob Leonard Indiana University 1953 NCCA Basketball Champions

Reid Duffy Chronicles: Bob Leonard Indiana University 1953 NCCA Basketball Champions

2) 1987 NCAA Championship Indiana over Syracuse

Steve Alford’s 7-of-10 three-point performance gave Syracuse’s defense plenty of reason to pause during the closing seconds – and that is when Keith Smart made an indelible mark in NCAA tournament lore.

“We expected Alford to get the ball, so it came as quite a shock when Smart took control and shot it,” according to Syracuse big man Rony Seikaly. “I was ready on the weak side for a rebound, but unfortunately, it hit the bottom of the net instead.”

This was, to date, the last Hoosier National Championship.

Video: 1987 NCAA Mens Basketball Final Four Highlights

1987 NCAA Mens Basketball Final Four Highlights “Hoosier Hysteria”

1) 1976 NCAA Championship Indiana over Michigan

Perfection is achieved, yet it was not easy.

Never before had a Hoosier team entered such an important game with such an unblemished record and No.1 ranking – – never mind losing one of its key players on an early ‘knockout’ punch – only to emerge still victorious! Never again would such an unprecedented scenario play out!

Bobby Wilkerson got elbowed, and it knocked him out of the game, and Indiana found themselves down 18-10 early as Michigan hit eight of 12 shots to take an early 18-10 advantage. Led by seniors Quinn Buckner, Scott May, and Kent Benson – Indiana rallied in time to take a 27-26 lead before falling 35-29 behind Michigan by halftime.

Indiana outscored Michigan by an impressive margin in the second half, winning their first title in 23 years.

57 remains the NCAA championship record for a half, even though that wasn’t an exceptional offensive team. Yet they played that half as effectively as anyone can hope.

Video: 1976 NCAA Mens Basketball Final Four Highlights

1976 NCAA Mens Basketball Final Four Highlights ” ’76 The Year Of The Hoosiers”

Honorable Mention

1976 Regional Final win over Marquette

1980 Ohio State at Indiana

2012 IU beats UK

1987 Alford at the buzzer to beat Michigan

2023 IU wins at Purdue

1992 IU Beats Shaq

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