Keys for the #3 Indiana Hoosiers against the #1 Michigan Wolverines

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Fans, analysts and (surely) the teams themselves have had this one circled all season.

Indiana and Michigan were projected to be the Big Ten’s two best teams before the beginning of the 2012-13 college basketball campaign, and each has held true to form — even if in inverse order to this point.

And at 9 p.m. today, the Hoosiers and Wolverines — both with 7-1 Big Ten marks — will go at it for sole possession of first place in the conference in Assembly Hall.

The No. 3 Hoosiers have won 14 of the last 15 home games against the Wolverines, who are No. 1 for the first time since the infamous “Fab Five” squad, but this unquestionably is the most talented roster Michigan has had since Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King were causing sparks to fly in all directions in Ann Arbor.

How does Indiana win tonight?

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Indiana Hoosiers claim preseason No. 1 in USA Today Coaches Poll

Tom Crean’s restoration project of Indiana University basketball has pretty much come full-circle.

After being crippled by NCAA sanctions stemming from former coach Kelvin Sampson’s violations, struggling through six-, 10- and 12-win seasons his first three  years in Bloomington, and leading a remarkable turnaround in 2012-13 that resulted in a Sweet 16 appearance, Crean has his Hoosiers sitting atop the USA Today Coaches preseason poll, released today.

With key returnees in Player of the Year Candidate Cody Zeller, senior Christian Watford and juniors Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey — plus a loaded freshman class dubbed “The Movement” — Indiana appears poised for a run at a sixth NCAA championship, which is remarkable given all the program has been through in recent years.

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Cody Zeller and Christian Watford returning to Indiana Hoosiers for 2012-13

Let the preseason No. 1 speculation officially begin for Indiana basketball.

The Hoosiers, widely expected to enter the 2012-13 season at or near the top of the polls, got huge news for their chances on that front as the university’s athletics department announced in a release that forwards Cody Zeller and Christian Watford would return for their sophomore and senior seasons, respectively, rather than declare for the NBA Draft.

Such was expected. I never thought Zeller would leave after one season of college basketball (although he could have been a lottery pick), and I didn’t get a hint of any current interest in Watford as a NBA prospect — his skill set is a bit lacking in areas and he isn’t being listed in any mock draft I see — so it’s not a surprise to see both guys announce their returns. It’s going to be truly fascinating to see this Indiana team next season. It will have the firepower to do great things.

This announcement does create one minor issue for the Hoosiers, though: They are oversigned by one scholarship heading into next season. Coach Tom Crean will have to show one guy the door to make enough room for his key returnees as well as for “The Movement” of 2012 signees.

Follow the jump for the release from Indiana University Athletics.

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Kentucky looks for revenge against Indiana in sweet 16 matchup

One of the greatest moments from this college basketball season was Christian Watford’s game-winning three against Kentucky, a shot that gave the Hoosiers a once-unthinkable victory over the most talented team in the country. The good news is that these two illustrious programs are set to square off again in the Sweet 16.

Thanks to Will Sheehey’s go-ahead baseline jumper with 12.7 seconds remaining in the Hoosiers round-of-32 game against 12th-seeded VCU, Tom Crean’s squad will have a chance to prove that the Dec. 10 victory over the Wildcats in Bloomington was more than a fluke.

Guest post by Chris Johnson from bigtenorbust.com.

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Video: Kentucky Wildcats “300” movie spoof, revenge vs. IU Hoosiers

anthony davis

The top overall seed Kentucky Wildcats lost to the Indiana Hoosiers earlier this year on an iconic Christian Watford three pointer, but this video says they won’t let it happen again. We’ll see tomorrow night.

Check out this “300” movie spoof featuring Anthony Davis as King Leonidas telling (Davis is much more articulate here than in real life) the Hoosiers that he is out for revenge for the previous loss. At Coach Cal’s command, Davis finishes off Watford and the Hoosiers to avenge the first game.

Ashley Judd also makes an appearance in this clip, because ”This is UK!” She has to.

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Indiana Hoosiers appear tourney-bound after win against Michigan State

No. 1 Kentucky? Check.

No. 2 Ohio State? Check.

No. 5 Michigan State? Check.

Each of those three teams, while ranked as listed, has fallen at Assembly Hall this season, adding a feat to the already deep lore of Indiana University basketball: the Hoosiers (23-7, 10-7 Big Ten) have knocked off three top-5 teams in the regular season for the first time ever.

Knocking off the Spartans in a 70-55 win Tuesday night adds yet another key victory to IU’s tournament resume — one that probably doesn’t need any more work to ensure the Hoosiers will go dancing for the first time under coach Tom Crean. For Crean, the players and Hoosier Nation, that has to feel good.

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Indiana Hoosiers’ Christian Watford League-Bound?

When Christian Watford committed to Indiana University at the beginning of his senior year of high school in 2008, he dubbed himself Christian “LeagueBound” Watford on Facebook.

The Birmingham, Ala. native just might have been on to something.

Now a junior forward at Indiana, Watford has displayed tremendous progress from as recently as last season, enough so that fellow TSB contributor David Kay pegged him as the 21st pick in a 2013 NBA mock draft, the actual event occurring the summer after Watford’s graduation.

Is Watford really league-bound? And a first-round pick, at that? 

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College Basketball’s Most Surprising Teams This Season

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Yesterday I looked at the most disappointing teams of the 2011-2012 college basketball season thus far, now it is time to analyze which teams have exceeded expectations and the reason for their surprising success.  At the top of that list, the resurrection of the Indiana Hoosiers.

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NBA Draft Stock Report (1/7/12)

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The NBA Draft Stock Report checks in on which college basketball players have made a name for themselves in the past week; either helping or hurting their future draft position.  With conference play starting, we get a better understanding of how NBA Draft prospects respond to playing better competition than some of the cupcake opponents they face in the non-conference.

Click here for The Sports Bank’s 2012 NBA Mock Draft.

Take a crazy early look at The Sports Bank’s 2013 NBA Mock Draft.

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Indiana Hoosiers Are Back After Beating No. 1 Kentucky

Welcome back, Indiana University basketball.

It’s been way too long.

Fans in Bloomington and across the nation have been longing — aching — to utter those words after the fallout from the Kelvin Sampson fiasco and the subsequent 28 wins over the first three seasons of the Tom Crean era.

And what better way to usher in the Hoosiers’ resurgence than with an epic 73-72 upset of long-time rival and No. 1 Kentucky at Assembly Hall with a last-second 3-pointer by Christian Watford?

After what might have been one of the best games ever played in the famed basketball arena, fans legitimately can say their program is relevant again.

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Indiana Hoosiers Take Program’s Buzz into Kentucky Game

The week leading up to the Indiana University basketball game against No. 1 Kentucky at 5:15 today at Assembly Hall has been, in actuality, a rather controversial one in Bloomington.

IU Athletics sustained a bit of a public relations hit in reprimanding a group of students who planned to camp out in front of Assembly Hall for the entire week so that the fans could be first in line for the student section’s best first-come, first-serve seats on game day. The group dubbed itself “Camp Crean.”

The move initially was aimed at preventing the group from setting up a tent as the “Occupy” movement has hit Bloomington hard and heavy, but the students stayed a bit longer into the week before being encouraged to return home with front-of-the-line vouchers courtesy of the school’s athletic department.

While this saga has sparked a good bit of debate among social media, the overarching message is undebatable: The fact students were willing to stay in front of the storied arena is clear evidence that the buzz surrounding Indiana Hoosiers basketball is back.

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