Dec. 20, 2012
THE OPENING TIP
Indiana is in its 113th season of college basketball and will play host to Florida Atlantic on Friday 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. The Hoosiers will play one final non-conference game on December 28 against Jacksonville in Assembly Hall.
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 255-172 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.
Mike Jarvis is in his fifth year at Florida Atlantic and has a 57-78 record with the Owls. He is in his 24th season as a head coach and has a 378-279 overall record.
The Hoosiers have the top offense in the country and the eighth-best defense in the nation according to kenpom.com. Indiana has wins over two nationally ranked teams, North Carolina and Georgetown, who are rated in both major polls. Indiana leads the nation in scoring (89.2) and point differential (+29.3), and are third in field goal perentage (52.1), fifth in rebound differential (+13.2) and sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (41.5). The Hoosiers also lead the Big Ten in assists (17.9), 3-point field goal percentage (41.5) and free throw percentage (73.8).
Junior Victor Oladipo is fourth in the country and leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage (66.3) and in steals (2.7). Sophomore Cody Zeller leads the league in rebounding (8.3), is fifth in scoring (15.7) and third in field goal percentage (62.2). Senior Christian Watford is second in the league in free throw shooting (91.3) and is ninth in the league in rebounding (6.9) and sixth in 3-point FG pct (45.3). Senior Jordan Hulls is second in assist/turnover ratio (46/12), third in 3-point field goal percentage (52.0) and fifth in assists (4.2). Sophomore Remy Abell leads the league with 11 triples made in 17 attempts (64.7). Freshman Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell is second in assists (4.7) and fourth in free throw percentage (87.1). Junior Will Sheehey is seventh in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (57.6).
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 37-10 for a 78.7 winning percentage and the Hoosiers lead all Big Six Conference school's in field goal percentage (50.0 percent), 3-point field goal percentage (42.7percent) and free throw percentage (75.7 percent). Five times this season he has not played in the final six minutes of a game, including the final 6:20 against North Carolina.
The Hoosiers are assisting on 58.4 percent of their made baskets up from 51.3 percent a season ago. Defensively, IU is eighth in the country allowing an assist on a basket just 42.0 percent of the time. IU is second in the nation in free throws made per game (20.2) and attempts (27.4).