Indiana finished up the season with a 20-13, including a 9-9 record during the B1G conference schedule. These results landed them the top #10 seed in the tournament - or #37 overall. The Hoosiers will matchup against the #7 Wichita State Shockers in Omaha on Friday. This marks the third time in four seasons that Indiana has had its named called on Selection Sunday and the 38th time in its long and storied history. The Hoosiers combined record all-time is 64-32.
The Golden Years
The Indiana Hoosiers have won 5 National Titles - 1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, and 1987. These were the glory days - especially the years of 1973-1987 where Indiana was consistently a contender under coach Bob Knight. Indiana compiled a 27-8 record in the NCAA Tournament during those years and won 3 National Titles and really should have won a 4th with the 1975 team who was undefeated in the regular season and is commonly known as the best college basketball team in history - better than the 1976 Hoosiers who were the last team to go undefeated. The team's best player in Scott May was injured against archrival Purdue at the end of the regular season in 1975 which allowed Kentucky to beat the Hoosiers in the NCAA Tournament. That game is the root of most of the hate against Kentucky to this day from Hoosier fans.
The Dark Ages
Since 2003, Indiana has made the tournament only 7 times out of 13 opportunities and has only advanced to the Sweet 16 two times in that period. While that would be successful for many teams across the country - this is Indiana - and simply getting into the tournament is not what Hoosier Nation gets excited about. Indiana has only advanced past the Sweet 16 one time since 1993 - and that is unacceptable for many Hoosier fans out there. Even when Indiana was a #1 seed two years ago - they fell to Syracuse in the Sweet 16 in one of the most disappointing games in Indiana's storied history. Tom Crean has felt the pressure start to grow as he has now only made the tournament three times in seven chances and the only way to relieve that pressure is to make a deep run.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of Indiana's tournament history was 2002. Indiana had just fired legendary coach Bob Knight two years prior and Mike Davis had taken the reigns of the program and was under a lot of fire for not deserving the head coaching job at Indiana. The Hoosiers came in as a #4 seed and blew by both #12 Utah and #13 UNC Wilmington. That set the stage for a Sweet 16 game against #1 Duke which is one of the more memorable games in Indiana history - especially for younger Hoosier fans. Indiana prevailed 74-73 and then shot their way past #10 Kent State in the Elite 8. Next up was #2 Oklahoma and future Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson in the Final Four. The Hoosiers were able to continue their hot shooting and win 73-64 to set up a National Championship game against #1 Maryland. Unfortunately for Indiana, their hot play was ended here as they lost to the Terrapins 64-52. This was the only National Title game the Hoosiers have ever lost - but even with the loss - this was as surprising a result as has ever occurred in Indiana basketball history.
While the Hoosiers are not likely to have success in this year's NCAA Tournament - they still made it after being picked 10th in the B1G Conference by many media outlets to start the season. While that does not satisfy many Hoosier fans, it still represents a step in the right direction. If Indiana can find a way to return the core of this basketball team and recruit a big man such as 4-Star Thomas Bryant - the future could be very bright in Bloomington and that future might be as soon as next season. If Coach Crean wants his seat to cool a bit, he needs to find a way to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. This year's team has at least shown a glimpse of what may be possible next season.