IU Insider Blog: The Appropriate Banner

Indiana basketball raised a banner to commemorate the 2013 Big Ten champions. Some think it's excessive. Others say with Zeller and Oladipo it should have been a given. My take: Nicely done.

I read a column in the Indiana Daily Student on Tuesday talking about the decision to raise a banner commemorating winning the 2013 Big Ten Championship in men's basketball.

The article defended the decision. It talked about how from the moment the banner was raised on Friday night at Hoosier Hysteria that there was a lot of Twitter chatter taking shots at IU for the decision.

It was a good column in the IDS and it clearly served the purpose of getting me thinking what my thoughts on that topic would be.

Here's my take on the decision to raise a banner: Nicely done.

Are you kidding me? Anyone that lived through the last five years of Indiana Basketball has to appreciate how far Tom Crean and his staff have brought this program. This program was beyond recognition when Crean walked in the door.

We've been down this road in blog conversation before but what do the names Northeastern, Lipscomb and Loyola (Md.) all have in common? They are all schools that defeated Indiana in basketball those first two years after the Kelvin Sampson debacle. And all three of those games were in Assembly Hall.

Things were bad when Crean took over the program. Two returning players: Kyle Taber and Brett Finkelmeier. Heck, you could make a case that Taber and Finkelmeier deserve their own banner in Assembly Hall.

To have started there and to now have experienced back-to-back Sweet Sixteen performances and the school's first outright Big Ten title in 20 years is more than enough reason to put a banner up in the north end of Assembly Hall.

To those who point at Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo being top five picks in the NBA Draft and that somehow means that a Big Ten title was a given, I just think that's a ridiculous argument. A lot of things have to happen for a TEAM to win a Big Ten championship. And it's not like this has happened frequently in recent years at Indiana. IT HAD BEEN 20 YEARS SINCE IU'S LAST OUTRIGHT BIG TEN BASKETBALL TITLE.

Bob Knight did the same thing with the 1983 Big Ten champions because of all the adversity that team had overcome. He honored them with their own banner. But in 2013, this was a case of program adversity. And Indiana overcame a ton to get back to respectability in an incredibly short period of time.

I've had people suggest to me since the banner's raising that maybe the names of all the players that had a hand in bringing Indiana basketball back should somehow be on that banner. Myself, I think that would have been going too far. No other banners in Assembly Hall have names on them. If you're going to start doing that, the first one up would need to have the names of every player on the 1976 national championship team, the last unbeaten team in college basketball. That would be the right starting spot.

But IU basketball has never been about the individual names. That's why there are no names on the back of jerseys. That's why there are no retired number or jerseys hanging from the rafters of Assembly Hall. That's why there are no names on the banners, too.

No, I thought the banner idea was a nice touch and an appropriate move by the IU athletic department to recognize a truly special accomplishment.

Now the focus needs to return to adding another banner at the South end of the building and I'm confident that's what the mindset within the IU basketball program is at this point.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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