No. 1 Indiana Loses: Hoosiers Upset By Illinois On Buzzer Beater, Fifth Straight Top Team To Lose In NCAA

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Feb 08, 2013 02:21 PM EST
Indiana Hoosiers
Following the game, head coach Tom Crean had an explosive exchange with Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer, who used to work for the Hoosiers.(Photo : Reuters) "

The top ranked Indiana Hoosiers were upset on Thursday night by Illinois, becoming the fifth straight number one team to fall while holding the position.

The Hoosiers were upset on a buzzer-beating lay-up by Tyler Griffey, giving Illinois a 74-72 win at home against the top team in the nation. Indiana was caught off guard by Griffey, who was able to drive the lane unguarded to put in the basket. Indiana became the fifth straight team to lose after being No. 1, following Michigan just a few days ago.

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Indiana coach Tom Crean, whose team opened the season at No. 1, had a hard time figuring out why the top spot has been so vulnerable.

"I can't answer that. I'm not sure," Crean said to the Associated Press. "I just know that these games are 40-minute games. We played at a high level for most of the game."

Indiana fell to 20-3 on the season, but they are still sitting pretty in the Big Ten with an 8-2 record. The Hoosiers had the game in hand late in the fourth quarter, but Illinois put together a solid run and took over the lead with less than three minutes to go.

"I know this: When we turn the ball over, we're not very good," Crean said. "And the biggest difference tonight was 28 points off turnovers to our 16."

The Hoosiers have an upcoming game against No. 10 Ohio State on Sunday, which could account for the upset as Indiana could have looked past the unranked Illini.

"We just didn't execute when we needed to," guard Jordan Hulls said.

Indiana should fall from No.1 on Monday when the rankings come out and Florida is most likely the beneficiary of the loss. The Hoosiers were stunned with 0.9 seconds left, as Griffey cut off defenders Cody Zeller and Christian Watford from an inbounds pass and slid through to score the uncontested buzzer-beater.

"I just made a simple curl cut and left two guys behind me, and Brandon got off a heck of a pass," he said. "Zeller and Watford were both right in front of me and just kind of stayed there."

The win was a huge boost for Illinois, who had lost eight of 11 games since opening the season 12-0.

Illinois will take the momentum from the win to a big showdown Sunday against 18th ranked Minnesota.

"It was good to get back to having that toughness and togetherness and trust that we needed," Illinois coach John Groce said.

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