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A few brief thoughts on Indiana 72, Michigan 71

Really, Indiana? Really?

I mean, this was over, at Michigan 71, Indiana 66, with less than a minute to go. Done. Drop the curtain. Roll the credits.

And then the basketball gods blinked, remembering that this was 2012-13, the Season Of True Weirdness. And stuff began to happen.

Like Michigan missing a free throw here, a free throw there, the front end of two one-and-ones with the game on the line.

And Indiana scored a bucket here, a bucket there, and suddenly led 72-71 on Cody Zeller's contortionist's layup with less than 15 seconds showing.

And then there commenced all manner of wildness around the rim at the Michigan end, one last putback glancing off the backboard and hovering on the rim and -- through some bizarre law of physics, no doubt -- falling off instead of in.

And now a few thoughts, as Zeller hugs the basketball and Victor Oladipo, an afternoon of tension suddenly gone, bursts into tears ...

1. You can never say never.

Anybody think for a second the Hoosiers had a prayer today, after the debacle against Ohio State and the stretch in the first half when they were outscored 24-6 and fell down a 27-16 hole?

You're lying if you say they did. This was an inch from turning into a blowout at that point, frankly. And then, inexplicably, Indiana managed to claw its way back into it, closing to within three at halftime. It was the crucial stretch in the game.

2. Subs are sandwiches.

If you want to fault Tom Crean for anything, fault him for starting to sub with Indiana up 10-3 just three minutes in. It blunted Indiana's momentum, opened the door for Michigan, and the Wolverines came busting through. Lesson learned, hopefully.

3. An ounce of force = a world of consequences.

Has a putback put back with a smidgen too much force ever decided so much?

Because after Jordan Morgan's second chance off Trey Burke's miss trembled on the rim and then fell unblessed, it sealed Indiana's first outright Big Ten title in 20 years. And likely locked up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament for the Hoosiers. And changed the entire landscape of the Big Ten tournament this week, rendering it a nice trinket but little else for the Hoosiers but perhaps something more meaningful for Michigan, Ohio State et al.

And you wondered why you had to suffer through physics in high school.

Ben Smith's blog.