March 20, 2012
|No. 1 Kentucky (33-2, 16-0 SEC) vs. No. 4 Indiana (27-8, 11-7 Big Ten)
||Friday, March 23, 2012
||9:45 p.m. ET | Bracket
||Atlanta, Ga. - Georgia Dome (26,000)
||CBS (Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg & Tracy Wolfson)
|| IU Radio Network (Affiliates)
||Indiana | Kentucky
||Indiana | Kentucky
| Social Media
|| @TomCrean | @IUShanaDan for in-game updates
THE OPENING TIP
Indiana is in its 112th season of college basketball and will take on Kentucky in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament's South Regional on Friday. The Hoosiers, the fourth seed in the South Region, will meet the top-seeded Wildcats. The winner will face No. 3 Baylor or No. 10 Xavier on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four.
The Hoosiers have won seven of their last eight and 10 of 12 games since February 4. IU has four wins against the 16 survivors of the first two rounds with triumphs over NC State, Michigan State, Kentucky and Ohio State.
Indiana is ranked 16th by the Associated Press and 17th in the USA Today/Coaches poll. Using the formula how the NCAA ranks a teams improvement from one year to the next, IU has a 16-game improvement in the standings which ties the 1999 Ohio State team for the best reversal of fortune in a year for a school from one of the six BCS conferences. IU is 27-8 and was 12-20 last year.
IU returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008 and notched its first tournament win since 2007 after defeating New Mexico State, 79-66. IU followed that up with a 63-61 win over VCU to earn the program's first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2002 and just the second berth in the round of 16 since 1995. The last minute come from behind win was the Hoosiers' first since Keith Smart's famous shot gave IU a win over Syracuse in the 1987 National Championship game. Sophomore Victor Oladipo's conventional three-point play with 46 seconds remaining tied the game and sophomore Will Sheehey grabbed an offensive rebound off a blocked shot and drilled a 12-footer with 12.7 seconds for the win. IU's first weekend 3-point shooting of 50.0 percent was the best in the tournament and its 56.0 percent mark from the field was second-best among the 68 teams.
Indiana named Tom Crean as its 28th men's basketball coach on April 2, 2008, and he is in his fourth year with the Hoosiers. He is 245-170 all-time as a head coach and has five wins over nationally ranked foes in the last calendar year. Crean is 3-3 all-time vs. Kentucky, including an 83-69 win over the then-top seeded Wildcats in the Midwest region championship in 2003. In 2008, he recorded a 74-66 win over Kentucky in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. He is 4-4 in his career against teams ranked No. 1 or No. 2 and 8-10 vs. teams ranked in the top five. Crean was named National Coach of the Year by ESPN's Jason King, and Big Ten Coach of the Year by the Sporting News and the BTN's Tom Dienhart. He was also the midseason winner of the Jim Phelan Award which is the National Coach of the Year by Collegeinsider.com. SI.com also selected him as the Midseason Coach of the Year.
John Calipari is in his third season as the head coach of the Wildcats and has a 97-14 record. His overall record is 500-152 with stops at Massachusetts and Memphis over his 20-year head coaching career.
The Hoosiers will play their fifth NCAA Tournament game in Atlanta. In 2002, IU defeated Oklahoma, 73-64, in the national semifinals and lost to Maryland, 64-52, in the national title game. In 1984, the Hoosiers knocked off top ranked North Carolina, 72-68, in the regional semifinals and fell to Virginia, 50-48, for a Final Four berth.
The Hoosiers are making their 36th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the sixth most in the event's history and the most among Big Ten members. IU is 62-30 overall, the sixth most wins in the tournament and also a Big Ten best. Indiana is tied for third with North Carolina with five NCAA titles (1940, 1953, 1976, 1981 and 1987). IU has won two NCAA titles in Kansas City, two in Philadelphia and one in New Orleans. This year's Final Four is in New Orleans. IU's 62-30 record (.673) is seventh all-time in the tournament and 92 games are ranked eighth among teams in the event.
A YEAR OF FIRSTS
Fourth year head coach Tom Crean and his Hoosiers have enjoyed a season which has closed the rebuilding process that was necessary when he took over the program in April of 2008. The following is a list of many notables that rewarded the patience needed in bringing the Hoosiers back to national prominence.
With 27 wins, the Hoosiers are tied for the sixth most wins in school history. IU also won 11 games in the Big Ten. (During the last three years, IU had won 28 games overall and eight in the Big Ten).
Notched their first NCAA Tournament win since 2007 after beating New Mexico State, 79-66. The last time Indiana won two games in the NCAA Tournament was 2002 on their way to the national championship game.
Has had a 16-game standing improvement in its compared to last year, which is tied for the biggest turnaround in the history of the Big Ten Conference (since 1974). For the accomplishment, Crean was named Big Ten Coach of the Year by The Sporting News.
Guided IU to its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2008, the program's 36th overall. Every four-year player from 1973-present will now have participated in the NCAA Tournament. The win over New Mexico State marked the first for IU since 2007.
Saw senior's Verdell Jones III, Kory Barnett, Matt Roth, Daniel Moore and Tom Pritchard become the first four-year players during his tenure.
Saw the team's three-year NCAA probation expire and guided the group to a 1,000 APR which put the program above the NCAA threshold with a score of 929.
Seen the Hoosiers ranked nationally for 12 straight weeks, ensuring that every IU four-year player since 1950 will have been on a nationally ranked team.
Defeated the No. 1 (Kentucky), No. 2 (Ohio State) and No. 5 (Michigan State) ranked teams in the regular season for the first time in IU history. It also marked the first time in Big Ten history since 1952-53 that a league team had defeated the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the same season.
Finished with the top non-conference RPI after posting wins over Butler, NC State, Kentucky, Notre Dame and regular season conference champions Savannah State and Stony Brook. The Hoosiers set a school record with a 14-0 non-conference mark.
Defeated NC State, 86-75, for the team's first road win in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge since 2001 against North Carolina.
Saw freshman Cody Zeller earn Big Ten Freshman of the Year and sophomore Victor Oladipo named to All-Defensive team, the first major conference awards earned by a player during Crean's tenure. Zeller was also Big Ten Freshman of the Week seven times.
Saw sophomore Victor Oladipo and junior Christian Watford earn Big Ten Player of the Week honors, the first Hoosiers to earn the distinction during Crean's tenure.
Saw Zeller earn Second Team All-Big Ten accolades, the first ever Crean player to be named to one of the top three all-league teams.
Saw Zeller become a finalist for the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year Award and the John Wooden and Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Awards.
Leads the Big Ten Conference in scoring (76.9) after finishing 11th in the league in scoring (60.1) in 2008-09.
Is ranked second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (43.7) with the same shooters as last season when IU finished 162nd in the country (34.5) a season ago. The only major addition has been Zeller, who has not attempted a 3-point field goal this season.
Won nine games away from Assembly Hall with double-digit victories at Minnesota, Purdue, NC State and Evansville and neutral court double-digit wins over Notre Dame and Penn State at Indianapolis' Bankers Life Field House and New Mexico State in the NCAA Tournament. IU had won three games away from Assembly Hall the last three seasons, and just one true road game.
Set a school record with an 18-1 record at Assembly Hall with such notable wins over Butler, Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue.
Posted a 5-0 record against other teams from Indiana with an average margin of victory of 14.8 points.
COACH CREAN IN NCAA TOURNAMENT
This is the sixth time head coach that Tom Crean has guided his team to the NCAA Tournament and the first as the head coach at Indiana.
In his seven seasons at Marquette, Crean led the Golden Eagles to five appearances including the 2003 Final Four. Crean is 7-5 in 12 NCAA games following the pair of wins in Portland last weekend.
The VCU win was the Hoosiers 27th which tied the 2002-03 Marquette squad that went to the Final Four for the most wins under Crean.
HOOSIERS VS. KENTUCKY
The Hoosiers trail Kentucky in the all-time series, 24-31, but defeated the Wildcats on Dec. 20, 2011, in Assembly Hall on Christian Watford's 3-pointer at the buzzer, 73-72. Indiana is 1-2 all-time against Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament.
3/17/1973 - W, 72-65 Nashville
3/22/1975 - L, 90-92 Dayton
3/24/1983 - L, 59-64 Knoxville
The Hoosiers are 39-28 since the beginning of last season and took just 26 games to win 20 this year after winning 16 in two seasons from 2008-10. The Hoosiers' 11 Big Ten wins was three more than the number of conference victories Indiana had from 2009-11. IU will likely move back into the top 10 in the nation in attendance, averaging 16,462 fans over 19 home games, and averaging more than 17,000 fans over its last five games.
IU has wins over five teams that are currently nationally ranked in Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame.
Indiana has shot 49.1 percent from the field, 43.7 percent from 3-point range and 76.3 percent from the free throw line. The Hoosiers are second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage, sixth in field goal percentage and led the Big Ten averaging 74.5 points per game.
IU leads among BCS teams making 18.6 free throws per game. The Hoosiers are also the leader in 3-point field goal percentage, third in field goal percentage and free throw percentage, and fifth in scoring among major conference teams.
Cody Zeller's presence inside has allowed the same players to improve the team's 3-point field goal percentage from 162nd (34.5) in the nation last season, to second in the country (43.7).
This is Tom Crean's sixth 20-win season as a head coach. In his final seven seasons at Marquette, Crean's teams averaged 22.8 wins per season.