This year it even came a week early so that the sheer joy of it all could be shared with a few thousand fans at New York's 20,000 seat Madison Square Garden.
"You can start with probably the first 12 (minutes) and say that's who we've been", first-year IN coach Archie Miller said afterward.
With just over eight minutes to play, IN appeared to be running away with the contest as they had a 24-8 lead.
But as poor as IN looked offensively, it was abhorrent defensively.
But the team wasn't ready to go home.
Junior forward Juwan Morgan scored 15 points in the defeat, while freshman guard Al Durham came off of the bench to score 10 points, all from the free throw line on 10 attempts.
"I love the environment", Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said of the Garden. I told the guys I believe in what we do, I believe in our defense, I believe in our players. "We just toughed it out, and we get 40 (minutes) more so we're excited about that". Year after miserable year whether the Hoosiers are Big Ten champions or just another team.
That's what happens when you have another dismal effort in the conference tournament. They didn't think Rutgers deserved to essentially host the tournament and that it was another mistake by commissioner Jim Delany. Since that game the Hoosiers are 4-15 in the tournament. They did tonight. I'm really proud. "But to play them on a Friday night, 9 pm, late tip in Madison Square would be huge for both programs to be able to move that rivalry to that venue".More news: Would've run sans gun into school: Donald Trump
Not only did Rutgers win, but it looked like winners.
The Scarlet Knights almost stunned the Boilermakers (now 26-5) when they were ranked No. 3 in the country, falling 78-76 in Piscataway on February 3.
After coming up with a turnover in the first half, Sanders sprinted down court, launched himself, cocked his right arm, cradled the ball and slammed it home. "This team relies on being able to play through him, and it became that much harder for our team when we didn't do that".
With Rutgers up 54-50 and two minutes left, Sanders delivered again, hitting a 15-foot jumper from the top of the key to ignite the crowd, and free throws down the stretch sealed the victory. Reality. "I don't think any team can sustain that". "The whole time (I was) just telling myself that I gotta be special and step up for the team". It felt good when I let it go, but when I saw where it was going, I thought, 'That's not in'.
But the Knights never would have been in that spot if it weren't for the second straight dominant night by Sanders.
The he Scarlet Knights, who shot 51 percent with only 10 turnovers, also got 11 inside points and six rebounds from Victoria Harris.
But Rutgers' Corey Sanders, the only player on either team who had a good shooting night (a game-high 23 points), responded with a 3-pointer of his own to push the lead back to five, and Minnesota never got closer than two the rest of the way.
No one saw this, as the 2018 Big Ten tourney now has a darling team. One of Knight's main objections was the impact on the schedule. "It reminds you of the old AAU days where you get to play back-to-back-to-back". "We have a great résumé".
"It would make it a lot of fun, but they gotta win and we have to see who comes out", Edwards said.