In the first three years after Tom Crean took control of Indiana's scandal-tainted program, the Hoosiers' old-school red-and-white jerseys were the only reminder of their glory days. Playing in front of tepid crowds, they struggled against even middling competition and lost 20 or more games in all three seasons.
A couple of strong recruiting classes and an 8-0 start to this season revived hope Indiana was on its way back, but Saturday afternoon's matchup with top-ranked Kentucky provided the ultimate litmus test. And that's why the game-winning three that Christian Watford sank as time expired will be discussed long after the junior forward graduates. It will be remembered not just as the shot that toppled rival Kentucky but as the moment that Indiana exorcised three years of frustration and returned to college basketball's national stage.