- Bradford Doolittle, ESPN Staff Writer
2012-13: 29-7 (14-4)
In-conference offense: 1.13 points per possession (1st)
In-conference defense: 0.98 points per possession (5th)
In half a decade, Tom Crean has rebuilt a sanction-laden Indiana Hoosiers program into a national power, with a climb that has been both steady and stunning. Now, after losing as much talent as any team in the country, this season we'll start to learn if Crean really has returned the proud IU program to its former level. If so, the Hoosiers will once again be the kind of blue-blooded program that reloads, not rebuilds, no matter who moves on to the NBA.
Indiana entered last season No. 1 in the AP poll, the first time in a decade the Hoosiers had been atop the ranking. They spent nearly the entire season in the top five, rolling up 29 wins, a total surpassed in school history by only three Bob Knight squads. Led by Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo (both Rookie of the Year candidates in the coming NBA season), the Hoosiers flashed the nation's second-most efficient offense per KenPom.com, and the top attack in the Big Ten. Indiana's season ended in the Sweet 16 for the second straight year, this time when a smothering Syracuse zone held the high-powered Hoosiers to 34 percent shooting and a season-low 50 points.
The last game was a bit of a downer, but with 56 wins over two seasons, there is no debating that Crean has re-established the Hoosiers as one of college basketball's marquee programs. Now comes the hard part: Staying there.