Indiana Basketball: The Hoosiers Played Hard When They could have Quit.

Indiana Basketball ended the season on a four-game winning streak after four embarrassing losses. Is this a sign of the culture Mike Woodson is building in Bloomington?

Michigan State v Indiana
Michigan State v Indiana / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

This time, one month ago, there were hundreds of think pieces about Mike Woodson's job, the roster he built, and wish lists of coaches who could take Woodson's place. It's understandable, after all. Hoosier fans have thirsted for a winner for nearly 20 years. Former head coach Tom Crean led Indiana Basketball to three Sweet 16 appearances.

The Hoosiers haven't been to a final four since 2001-02. Mike Woodson's first two seasons looked like Indiana was back on the road to being one of college football's elite once again. However, many things needed to go right for this season to be as successful or more successful than last year.

Xavier Johnson and Kel'el Ware have battled injuries this season. Mackenzie Mgbako has taken most of the season to round into shape. Despite the season falling below expectations, the Hoosiers continued to play hard.

It Wasn't Always Pretty...but...

After a gritty come-from-behind win against Ohio State, the Hoosiers looked like they were getting off the mat, poised for a run late in the Big Ten season. A 20-point loss to Purdue sent the Hoosiers spiraling on a four-game losing streak.

Except for the Purdue game, Indiana did not play poorly against Northwestern, Penn State, or Nebraska. Those teams exposed Indiana's weaknesses in free-throw and three-point shooting.

The Streak

One of the contributing factors to this streak is the play of Kel'el Ware. The Oregon transfer is playing like an NBA lottery pick, averaging 22.5 points per game. Indiana has stepped up defensively as well. While the Hoosiers could have packed it in and said, "Maybe next year," they've continued to show maximum effort, playing their best basketball of the season.

Only time will tell how far this team can go in the conference tournament, but one thing is certain: Mike Woodson has not lost those young men in the locker room.

NEXT. Indiana Basketball. Trey Galloway is a Breath of Fresh Air. dark