Hawkeyes edge Indiana 63-61 to receive automatic bid.
CHICAGO - There were ex-Hoosiers everywhere, but this was Iowa's celebration, not Indiana's.
There was freshman guard Brody Boyd, the Indiana prep star shooting like he did for his tiny high school, dropping in 3-pointers and leading the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten tournament title.
There was former Hoosiers star Luke Recker, sitting injured on the Iowa bench after leading the team in scoring this season, hoping he'll be ready for this week's NCAA tournament.
And of course, there was Steve Alford, voted to Indiana's All-Century team, the former guard with the unflappable hair now coaching the Hawkeyes to a huge win over his alma mater.
"I've got great memories from there," Alford said Sunday after the Hawkeyes' pulsating 63-61 victory.
"I'm just happy we were able to win it. Regardless of who the opponents were along the way, to win a Big Ten title is very special."
As the final buzzer sounded, moments after tournament MVP Reggie Evans blocked a last-second 3-point attempt by Kirk Haston, Alford embraced Recker.
Recker, who spent his first two years as a Hoosier before two transfers, has been out since breaking his right kneecap in Iowa's Jan. 27 victory over his old school.
Boyd, the No. 3 scorer in Indiana prep history, got more playing time with Recker and Ryan Hogan both sidelined. And Sunday, he played a pivotal role, scoring 22 points, including a second-half stretch of three straight 3-pointers.
Indiana didn't recruit Boyd, but Alford saw something in the guard.
Read the rest of this story in the 3/13 Pilot Tribune.