Just before tipoff of Sunday's Big Ten clash between Ohio State and Indiana, the Buckeyes took a memorable jab at the visiting Hoosiers.
The video board at Value City Arena played a taped message from Bob Knight, the onetime Ohio State player who became the face of Indiana basketball while leading the Hoosiers to three national championships from 1971 to 2000. Said Knight to the delight of the Buckeyes crowd, "I used to coach a little bit, and there's nothing better than Ohio State basketball."
According to Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz, the quote from Knight was from a speech the former Indiana coach made years ago at halftime of an Ohio State game. In that case, give the Buckeyes credit for finding a clever time to use it to pump up its crowd and rub salt in old wounds that have yet to heal at Indiana.
Knight has severed all ties with Indiana since former school president Myles Brand controversially fired him 13 years ago. The final straws were a series of incidents that included an Indiana freshman accusing the coach of grabbing him by the arm and ex-player Neil Reed alleging Knight choked him during practice.
Indiana officials have since made repeated but unsuccessful attempts to mend fences with the man who brought the Hoosiers 11 Big Ten titles and won a school-record 661 games.
In 2009, Indiana inducted Knight into its athletic hall of fame but he declined to attend despite multiple written invitations from athletic director Fred Glass. Indiana coach Tom Crean has also reached out to Knight to no avail, even hiring former player Calbert Cheaney onto his staff.
If Knight's comments on the video board stung Indiana fans, they can take solace in this: For at least one day he was wrong. The Hoosiers were better than Ohio State on Sunday, riding 26 points from Victor Oladipo and 24 from Cody Zeller to an impressive 81-68 road win.