Dec. 18, 2012
THE OPENING TIP
Indiana is in its 113th season of college basketball and will host Mount Saint Mary's on Wednesday night. The Hoosiers are currently ranked No. 6 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and by the Associated Press, the 20th straight week they have been nationally ranked, the longest since they were ranked for 71 straight weeks from 1989-94.
This was the first time since the 1979-80 preseason and the third time in school history (1975-76), the Indiana men's basketball team started the season as the top ranked team in the country. Indiana was also picked by the Big Ten media to win the conference championship.
Indiana named Tom Crean as its 28th men's basketball coach on April 2, 2008, and he is in his fifth year with the Hoosiers. In just five years, he has taken over a program that returned 36 career points among two walk-ons and built a team that was ranked No. 1 in the country this preseason. He is 254-172 all-time as a head coach and has seven wins over nationally ranked foes in the last two-plus seasons. Crean was named National Coach of the Year by ESPN's Jason King, and Big Ten Coach of the Year by the Sporting News last season.
Jamion Christian is in his first season as a Division I head coach and is a 2004 graduate of The Mount.
The Hoosiers have the top offense in the country and the 12th-best defense in the nation according to kenpom.com. The Hoosiers have wins over two nationally ranked teams, North Carolina and Georgetown, who are rated in both major polls. Indiana leads the nation in scoring (88.8) and point differential (+28.3), are fifth in rebound differential (+12.2) and ninth in field goal perentage (51.5). The Hoosiers also lead the Big Ten in assists (17.0) and free throw percentage (74.5).
Junior Victor Oladipo is fifth in the country and leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage (65.8) and in steals (2.7). Sophomore Cody Zeller leads the league in rebounding (8.5), is fifth in scoring (15.7) and fourth in field goal percentage (60.7). Senior Christian Watford leads the league in free throw shooting (91.1) and is eighth in the league in rebounding (6.8) and 3-point FG pct (43.3). Senior Jordan Hulls is second in assist/turnover ratio (41/9) and fourth in three-point field goal percentage (50.0). Sophomore Remy Abell leads the league with 10 triples made in 16 attempts (62.5). Freshman Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell is fourth in assists (4.7) and third in free throw percentage (89.7).
It's doubtful that you could find a player who has had more of an impact on a college basketball program over the last two seasons than sophomore Preseason National Player of the Year Cody Zeller of Indiana. Since he put on the Cream and Crimson, Indiana is 36-10 for a 78.3 winning percentage and the Hoosiers lead all Big Six Conference school's in field goal percentage (49.5 percent), 3-point field goal percentage (42.1 percent) and free throw percentage (75.9 percent).