Hoosiers rise to No. 12, but should they be higher?

  • 01/02/2012 4:25 pm in

Fresh off a 74-70 win over No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday night in Assembly Hall, Indiana received a bump in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN coaches’ Top 25 Polls.

Despite a loss earlier in the week at Michigan State, Indiana jumped up one spot to No. 12 in the AP Poll and climbed three spots to No. 12 in the coaches’ poll.

But even with the upward movement for the Hoosiers in both polls, there’s still one team ahead of IU that’s drawing some controversy from the national media: Louisville.

Eamonn Brennan, our former ITH colleague and now of ESPN.com, weighs-in:

And this is why the polls are the polls: At this point, of course Indiana deserves to be ranked higher. The Hoosiers are 13-1 with a win over Kentucky and a win over Ohio State; few teams outside of UNLV can boast one win of that quality, let alone two. Indiana’s only loss came on the road at now-No. 11 Michigan State. Contrast that with Louisville, whose best win is probably a 62-60 overtime victory over a then-struggling Vanderbilt team. The Cardinals lost twice last week, and while the Kentucky loss was actually somewhat impressive — the Cardinals hung tough on the road with a much more talented team — the disappointing home performance to Georgetown early in the week raised appropriate questions about this team’s true quality. If you’re willing to use per-possession statistics as even a general sign of ability — and why wouldn’t you be? — Indiana’s numbers rank them among the best seven or eight teams in the nation. As of Monday, Louisville is ranked No. 17.

As did Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com:

The only loss is a loss at Michigan State, and Indiana actually led that game with less than nine minutes remaining. (Michigan State, by the way, is 13-2 with losses only to North Carolina and Duke. So, like I said, IU’s loss at Michigan State is not a bad loss.) Meantime, the Hoosiers have wins over Kentucky, Ohio State and Butler. That’s really good at this point in the season and why I can’t understand the coaches ranking IU 12th.

Let’s compare the Hoosiers’ body of work to one team ranked ahead of them — Louisville. The Cards are 12-2. They have zero wins over teams currently ranked. They have a loss to the Kentucky team that IU has already topped. And, if you’re into this sort of thing, the Cards are nine spots behind Indiana at KenPom.com. So how is Louisville ranked ahead of Indiana? And why is Indiana still outside of the top 10? If the Hoosiers are fraudelant, we’ll find out soon enough and adjust accordingly. But for now, they probably belong in the top 10, and they definitely belong ahead of Louisville.

This is, of course, something that happens every season in college hoops and football thanks to preseason rankings. The Hoosiers were off the radar when the season started and only received a spot in the top 25 poll after knocking off Kentucky, which was fair. Louisville, meanwhile, was a preseason top 10 team and reached No. 4 after winning 12 straight games to start the season.

At some point, however, those casting a ballot must replace their preseason prognostications with reality. No, Indiana has not proven it can win on the road in the Big Ten, but the Hoosiers did win at Evansville and N.C. State. Survey the teams in front of IU in the polls and only Baylor, Georgetown and Syracuse can also boast two wins in true road games. And no team has a pair of better wins in Kentucky and Ohio State.

In the end, polls in college basketball are rendered meaningless when Selection Sunday rolls around. But for now, they’re a fair topic for debate and discussion every Monday afternoon.

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  • Anonymous

    So when you’re talking about alumni you’re saying that IU’s own people don’t like him?

  • Anonymous

    I’m with @Hoosiergirl:disqus  I think UM is a game we can win, and probably should expect to win.  I am more concerned with going to W. Lafayette.  Also, as unpopular as this will sound, this is still a pretty young team.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see us drop one or two we shouldn’t drop as the season progresses.  Playing in Williams Arena later in the season will not be a picnic!

    Still, how great is it to be talking about a team that may only lose 5-7 games for the season!?!?!?

  • Anonymous

    what i’ve read from most people here (perhaps between the lines) is that we don’t care about who thinks we’re top 10, top 15, or whatever until conference play is winding down and the selection committee is looking at the entire body of work. THEN, the wins over #1 and #2, NC State, ND, Butler, and the strong B1G conference schedule…then we’ll care about which bracket we’re in and what our seed is. At this point, unless there’s a complete meltdown, we play like we have been…we’re dancing. Beyond that is bonus material as far as most of us projected back in October.

  • Anonymous

    what i’ve read from most people here (perhaps between the lines) is that we don’t care about who thinks we’re top 10, top 15, or whatever until conference play is winding down and the selection committee is looking at the entire body of work. THEN, the wins over #1 and #2, NC State, ND, Butler, and the strong B1G conference schedule…then we’ll care about which bracket we’re in and what our seed is. At this point, unless there’s a complete meltdown, we play like we have been…we’re dancing. Beyond that is bonus material as far as most of us projected back in October.

  • Timsterd

    So I didn’t really know where to post this but this seemed as good a place as any. After the OSU game I was out enjoying the BTown nightlife. A little after midnight I saw Will Sheehey walking down Walnut near Brothers. He wasn’t wearing a boot and looked like he was fine walking. Sure it isn’t game action but it is still a good sign if he is walking on his own power, I think he was wearing a boot during the game.

  • Anonymous

    What a difference a year makes

  • HoosierHysteria

    I agree with everything but… I think IU has earned it to not have anymore wins against ranked opponents (like OSU, Wisconson, Michigan, Michigan State, etc) be called an “upset”. Any team IU beats, no matter how good they are, will not be an upset and I think it’s time we realize that IU should win against almost any team:) Go Hoosiers!

  • HoosierHysteria

    I agree with everything but… I think IU has earned it to not have anymore wins against ranked opponents (like OSU, Wisconson, Michigan, Michigan State, etc) be called an “upset”. Any team IU beats, no matter how good they are, will not be an upset and I think it’s time we realize that IU should win against almost any team:) Go Hoosiers!

  • MillaRed

    Good grief. Never mind.

  • Andrew

    The UCF loss was actually in the Bahamas, but you’re right.  IU should be ahead of UConn.

  • Anonymous

    That is crazy if you consider Pitt got a #1 seed last year with 5 losses, and UNC, Florida, and Notre Dame got #2 seeds with 6 and 7 losses…….could you imagine if we got a 1 or 2 seed……..it is surreal to know that is a possibility if we can live up to our new expectations

  • esiti

    While I don’t know 100 alumni, everyone I know that is involved with the program seems to think of Crean as a god. 

  • Anonymous

    Its January 2 and we have a whole lot of tough basketball left. Who cares about a few spots in the rankings. Indiana’s success has nothing to do with the opinions of a few coaches and media people.

  • Anonymous

    Its January 2 and we have a whole lot of tough basketball left. Who cares about a few spots in the rankings. Indiana’s success has nothing to do with the opinions of a few coaches and media people.

  • Anonymous

    I just wanted a little clarification on who “alumni” was.

  • HoosierSmitty

    Watching the IU vs. OSU replay. I praised Oladipo last week, and will again this week. 

    He has a dangerous crossover that helps him get open jump shots which he is now hitting, and he has a quick spin move to get to the hoop. Last year, all he did was bull rush to the hoop. 

    Color me impressed. 

  • Hoosier4life23

    Well were not on the road Thursday and it’s doubtful Sheehey plays. I like to see him be able to rest up two more games and be able to join the team after we get back from happy valley.  We do need to improve on the road that’s for sure! Michigan hasn’t really had much of a test on the road, they’ll find Thursday…lol I looked up their schedule and it’s pretty weak. I don’t even see them as a top 20 team.

  • Anonymous

    Worry Worry Worry, OMG IU is winning once again & all I here is a pack of fools worrying about things that are insignificant! We have our 6th man hurt, another wearing a mask! We’re strong on the wing’s, but C, PG, & PF we’re not deep, but we’re good! And here we sit having beatn’ 1 & 2 within the same year WOW, how special is that? But work there is yes & it is yet to be done, so roll your shelves & grab your lunch pale, for I believe it will be a long hard winter!

  • Anonymous

    I have to sit down here in Harrison County and listen to the Louisville and Kentucky fans all the time, but I don’t really care at this point about U of L being ranked ahead of IU.  I think Indiana should be higher, but I will give Louisville the benefit of the doubt with their struggles due to the fac that they have had an absurd amount of injuries this year.

    The good thing about it all is that college basketball isn’t run by the same clueless dinks who operate the BCS so rankings truly don’t matter.  The selection committee doesn’t pay any attention to the top 25 when they set the tournament—you can go back in history and see years when there have been teams who were ranked at the end of the year who didn’t get in (I think it happened to Utah St. one time and maybe New Mexico St, too.  I may be wrong on the teams, and if I am someone on here will probably know it and rightfully point it out, but it’s happened.)  What you should pay attention to instead is the RPI, which the committee does take into account (incidentally IU is 14 and Louisville is 12, which is pretty close to the top 25.)  However, the RPI adjusts more accordingly than the top 25 and there will be a lot of teams up there currently who’ll begin to plummet when we get farther into conference play.  For instance, Long Beach State is currently #7 due to the #1 strength of schedule, but has a projected strength of schedule of #147.  IU’s current SOS is 124 but the projected number is 39, which gives some validation to the “cupcake” schedule with which some people took issue (including Kentucky fans, whose team’s SOS is currently rated at 72 and is only projected to improve to 62.)  Here’s the link if you want to look anything up yourself:  http://statsheet.com/mcb/rankings/RPI

  • Anonymous

    People are so naive and think that the selection committee will get it right but I can see the Hoosiers getting the shaft on selection sunday. I could see IU only losing 4 games this year and still being a 3 or 4 seed.

  • Anonymous

    I know this may sound greedy of me, but still there is no reason for this team to get the disrespect that they have received from the coaches and the media.

  • Anonymous

    I know this may sound greedy of me, but still there is no reason for this team to get the disrespect that they have received from the coaches and the media.

  • I just went back and looked at the Prediction blog. LOL at everyone.  10-3 non conference was very common.  Page 54

  • Adadamso

    MillaRed, what are you talking about? I’ve never heard of one person that dislikes CTC. You’re alumni friends must be grumpy old men that won’t accept anyone not named Knight.

  • InTheMtns

    I agree with you that some voters are reluctant to let go of the pre-season polls. They remain influenced by what they think is a team’s potential, instead of basing their vote on the performances through last week. Listen to how many are saying that IU has yet to prove themselves with a significant road win. While that is true, they aren’t applying that same criteria to the teams they ranked higher and you have to wonder what it has to do with current rankings.  Nothing really, but it shows they aren’t ready to believe IU yet and want more proof. I think the same thing is happening to MSU – in my opinion they should be ranked higher than 11th, but I think many of the voters remember how they underachieved last year and are still waiting for more proof from them. too.

  • Nikola_Tesla

    No one is asking you to name names, but you prior post was unclear.  If that’s what you’re going for, great; if not, some amplifying remarks would be nice.

  • Nikola_Tesla

    No one is asking you to name names, but you prior post was unclear.  If that’s what you’re going for, great; if not, some amplifying remarks would be nice.

  • Anonymous

    No disrespect, a great post.  Just an observation.  The projected SOS after the big ten season puts IU at 39 which I think is not representative of how tough the BIG will be.  OSU’s does not jump as much as well based on where they are at now.  Interesting that MSU’s jumps the most given they’ve played more ACC top tier.  Big East jumps are high also. 

  • Anonymous

    Tempered enthusiasm my man.  That’d be cautiously optimistic and a forecast based on last year’s flameout.  How often has a team gone from 12 wins to 13 wins at mid-season and a top 15 ranking?

  • BFowler

    Rankings do matter in recruiting. When you are highly ranked, you get on Sportscenter earlier, there are more highlights, and you are discussed by analysts. That matters to recruits. Now, I think the disrespect gives it more of a spotlight because if the discussion. I personally think that this disrespect is good for recruiting and for motivation.

  • 888

    i predicted 24-7 before the season started. I thought wed be alot better than basically everyone on this site. Just thoughtr they were close last year and with Cody coming in things would be better

  • Christopher

    true, but it is something to talk about on a Monday

  • Anonymous

    I’m with the “who cares” brigade.  A real postseason tourney = meaningless rankings.  

    If we protect homecourt and win 3 or 4 on the road, we’ll get the seed we deserve, I believe.  

  • Anonymous

    While I think we deserve a higher ranking, its nothing to truly worry about. If we keep playing at a high level, it will come in time. With a team as humble and motivated as this one, I believe this plays in our favor. 

    As the fans have truly given 110% of their support to this team over the last couple years, this time has taken on the personality of the rabid fan base. It truly is hard to decipher the line where this team/staff seperate from the fan base in terms of desire, passion, and expectations. Its truly an honor to feel as if they are including the fan base so completely every step of the way. Crean is a mastermind of motivation.

    Also, I think one thing that most critics/media don’t know and has contributed very much to the success of this team is the participation by many of the players in the Indy Pro/Am League. Beyond the obvious step up in competition it gave them, it has also boosted their confidence but soothed egos and humbled them.  Many across the nation won’t know this, and this partially answers the “How are they winning with practically the same team” question. Kudos to the players that made the trip to Indy countless times this summer to help their game.

    Its paying off.

  • MillaRed

    Guys it isn’t the IU folks that dislike Crean. I’m just saying even many IU folks know Crean is not liked by many coaches and it’s 100% jealousy. He was not a favorite while at Marquette either. Everyone in Wisconsin can’t stand him. And it’s due to success I’m sure.

    If this is a news flash I am sorry to bring the news, CTC’s sideline demeanor is irritating to non-IU folks. I hear about it all the time. Personally I don’t care, but for the most part it’s viewed as peculiar. And there isn’t any debating that.

  • Jack Nolan

    Let’s not be greedy.  There is a lot of hoops to play and the polls don’t mean much at this juncture.  Strength of schedule is what really matters and now that Big Ten play is under way, it’s going to be a real test.  Michigan, P-U, MSU at home, OSU at their place, it doesn’t let up.

    They have a target on their back now, let’s hope they play like it.

  • Jack Nolan

    Let’s not be greedy.  There is a lot of hoops to play and the polls don’t mean much at this juncture.  Strength of schedule is what really matters and now that Big Ten play is under way, it’s going to be a real test.  Michigan, P-U, MSU at home, OSU at their place, it doesn’t let up.

    They have a target on their back now, let’s hope they play like it.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    The crossover in front of our bench in the 2nd half that ended in a double pump two handed tomahawk was sweet.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I like being at 12! I want to be higher but I am still thrilled. Too many people ate scared of the name Indiana because they realize it is a juggernaut and when it gets going it is going to be hard to stop. If the coaches realize this then that is just another blue chip program they have to contend with when fighting for recruits.

    What matters most is us and all of those recruits sitting behind our bench cheering us on to beat Ohio State and knowing they are already part of the family.

  • Anonymous

    I understand the psychological component to all of this. This team feeds off of having a chip on their shoulder and being “disrespected”. 

    However, as a fan this really chaps my hind end. As fans who have gone through the struggles of the last three years, we deserve to see our team in the top 10. We deserve to hear them talked about in the media on the same par as the elite teams of this season. 

    As a fan, it is not fair to the guys I have grown to love. The guys who put blood, sweat, and tears into bringing a program that I love back to national relevance. I don’t mean to be melodramatic about this, but Hoosier basketball means a lot to me (as I know it does to all of you as well). They deserve better. For the likes of Louisville, UConn, and maybe even… dare I say… Duke to be ahead of our team is crap. All of those teams have dropped games to worse teams than Mich St. or teams that we beat (UK and OH St.). They do not have signature wins to the caliber of ours. And none of their big wins have come away from home. I hope this disrespect fuels a drive and we see the ceiling continue to rise for this team. 

    I predicted 24-7 at the beginning of the year thinking I was crazy. Maybe I wasn’t quite so crazy. GO HOOSIERS!!!

  • Anonymous

    I understand the psychological component to all of this. This team feeds off of having a chip on their shoulder and being “disrespected”. 

    However, as a fan this really chaps my hind end. As fans who have gone through the struggles of the last three years, we deserve to see our team in the top 10. We deserve to hear them talked about in the media on the same par as the elite teams of this season. 

    As a fan, it is not fair to the guys I have grown to love. The guys who put blood, sweat, and tears into bringing a program that I love back to national relevance. I don’t mean to be melodramatic about this, but Hoosier basketball means a lot to me (as I know it does to all of you as well). They deserve better. For the likes of Louisville, UConn, and maybe even… dare I say… Duke to be ahead of our team is crap. All of those teams have dropped games to worse teams than Mich St. or teams that we beat (UK and OH St.). They do not have signature wins to the caliber of ours. And none of their big wins have come away from home. I hope this disrespect fuels a drive and we see the ceiling continue to rise for this team. 

    I predicted 24-7 at the beginning of the year thinking I was crazy. Maybe I wasn’t quite so crazy. GO HOOSIERS!!!

  • Anonymous

    You can throw Georgetown on that list too. I just forgot about them.

  • stonaroni

    I am OK with our current poll spot.  We still have a lot of business to take care of and we are slowly gaining the respect from the naysayers in the media as well as coaches.

    Keep in mind, IU did this to their reputation themselves by hiring a proven cheater that got busted in our program as well.  The program is being restored by an ethical top notch type of guy.

    I believe that this team would not persevere they way they do had they not taken their lumps like they did.  This team has a drive and purpose that we haven’t seen since 1993.  Our Indiana based recruits (Hulls, DE,AE, CZ, Yogi, Buss, Hollowell) want to come here to restore the tradition so they know what is in front of them when they get here.

    Look, The Big 10 is very deep this year.  A 11-7 team in our conference would be 15-3 in the ACC or Pac 12, probably 14-4 in Big 12 and SEC.  So the rankings do not matter.  We just need to improve and try to stay into the top 12 by season’s end to lock up a #3 seed in the tournament.  From there we will be in a place to be very dangerous.

    Remember to be the best you have to beat the best or play the best over a 6 game spread.

    The disrespect fuels these guys.  What stinks though is Duke will lose 3 games in conference and be 30-4 by tournament time and have a #1 seed not beating #1 or #2 during the season.  IU could go 12-6 in conference, be about 27-7 by tournament time and have a #3 seed but with a much better resume.

    I say let’s not be too picky, IU is playing well and a year ahead of schedule.  I predicted 22-9 and they are on pace to exceed those expectations so I am very pleased.

    A #4 or #3 seed would be awesome since we have beaten the 2 best teams in the country this year.  A #1 seed would be quaking in their shoes to play us and we would have nothing to lose.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe you should place as much scrutiny on your own ranking methodology, putting IU ahead of MSU in your Big Ten power rankings is just dumb.  The reason this site is so popular is it covers the Hoosiers objectively, and isn’t just some ra-ra cheerleader site.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I certainly understand what you are trying to get across Milla.  Non-IU people are annoyed by Crean’s rah-rah, clap-clap coaching and intensity.  They don’t like to see him win.  IU people love him, non-IU people don’t.  Those feelings will only increase with success.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I certainly understand what you are trying to get across Milla.  Non-IU people are annoyed by Crean’s rah-rah, clap-clap coaching and intensity.  They don’t like to see him win.  IU people love him, non-IU people don’t.  Those feelings will only increase with success.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I have to add at Purdue to that list of games.  Mackey is a really tough place to play, it’s a rivalry game with probably a lot more than pride on the line for the first time in a while and I think Purdue is probably better than Michigan.  

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes the best thing to be is wrong!

  • Lynn Hart

    I just enjoy the fact the Hoosier Nation can take pride in our program, the coach and the kids. I don’t understand the mentallity of not liking Coach Crean. His enthusiasm without berating the players and using profanity is refreshing. The program is clean and the kids have brought the mental toughness we use to see in the 70’s. When the coach talks about the kids coming to time-outs with the “we will win this game” attitude, its great.! Rankings mean nothing, its what happens on the floor that matters. Look at Butler the last few years. Do you think those kids let the rankings get them to the championship game. WE ARE BACK! Let enjoy the moment. GO HOOSIERS!

  • WALT

    Please remember that cream rises to the top. Crimson and Crean also will rise to the top.  To me 12 is great from where we have been.  A lot of basketball left.  Would rather see IU enter top 10 slowly and strong and consistent. Had to have 2 of my diet A & W rootbeers during Ohio State game (ran out of one at 1st 1/2). Forgot the A & W during the Michigan St. game. Vowed to not let that happen again. Whatever works?