Indiana Basketball: Top 5 Teams in Hoosiers History

Eric SmithCorrespondent IIIOctober 29, 2012

Indiana Basketball: Top 5 Teams in Hoosiers History

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    The Indiana Hoosiers have been one of the most successful college basketball programs of all time. The Hoosiers have won five national championships, went to eight Final Fours, appeared in 20 Sweet 16's and made the tournament 36 times. Indiana has also won 20 Big Ten conference championships.

    It's pretty safe to say Indiana is a dominant, well-known college basketball school.

    The Hoosiers also are rich in tradition as they still use many of those traditions today. That's what makes the program so widely followed. They're not moving toward modernizing but rather going forward with what's gotten them noticed and put them on the map.

    Ranking the top five teams in Indiana's history is hard, but these are the top five in my mind.

5. 1991-1992 (27-7)

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    This team is one of the best Hoosier teams ever assembled. Some members of this team included Calbert Cheaney, Alan Henderson, Chris Reynolds, Greg Graham, Pat Graham, Matt Nover, Todd Leary, Damon Bailey, Eric Anderson and Jamaal Meeks.

    This year, the team is just as deep and talented as this team. Let's hope for the Hoosiers sake that they do something this team couldn't do, and that's win the title.

    Granted, the Hoosiers got screwed by horrible officiating in the Duke game in Minneapolis in the national semifinal. The refs did everything they could to keep Indiana out of the title game. If they stayed out of the way, this team could have honestly won their sixth title.

    Another thing keeping this team away from dominating and being hyped like this year's team was there were so many other teams with talent.

    Michigan had the "Fab 5," Duke had just won the title the year before, Ohio State was strong, UNLV was good and Kansas was great. This was before teams would just have players jump to the NBA. They had program players like IU has now.

    If this team was around now, they'd go undefeated easily. I'm not going to hold that against them they didn't win the title. This team is one of the top five teams, and making a Final Four appearance doesn't hurt their cause.

    This team, from 1990 until this season, has the most Big Ten victories in any three-year span, spent 51 of the 53 weeks in the top 10 and 38 of those weeks in the top five. This was a very good era in Indiana basketball, and this is where we're heading now.

4. 1980-1981 (26-9)

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    This team is ranked third due to their championship season and solid play. They weren't barnbusters all season as they finished with nine losses, but what they did do was build for the tournament and got hot when it counted.

    Isiah Thomas was the star on this team and led the Hoosiers in the backcourt and was their main scoring option. Many think of this team as only his, but they overlook some big stars.

    Overall, 10 players off this team would get drafted to the NBA—the most out of any Hoosiers team of all time. This team had talent and was special.

3. 1974-1975 (31-1)

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    This team was one game away from honestly being No. 1 on this list. They ran the tables during the regular season to finish with a 29-0 record. The undefeated Big Ten season extended the Hoosiers' Big Ten win streak to 37 consecutive games.

    It was such a dominating team that they beat their Big Ten opponents by an average of 22.8 points and had four of their five starters on the All-Big Ten first team.

    The lone loss came in the regional final to the dreaded Kentucky Wildcats. If it wasn't for Scott May breaking his arm against Purdue, the Hoosiers likely would have not only beaten the Wildcats but won the title.

    Many could argue that one of the national championship teams should be on here instead of a team that didn't, but this team was one of the best to ever put on the candy stripes.

2. 1986-1987 (30-4)

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    The Indiana Hoosiers have been the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament two times. The 1986-'87 season was one of them. It also was the last time the Hoosiers won the national championship.

    This team was loaded. It was comprised of Steve Alford, Dean Garrett, Keith Smart, Daryl Thomas, Ricky Calloway among many other stars. This team is comparable to the team now, as not many of them are NBA level talent but are extremely good at the college level with a team surrounding them.

    Everyone on this team worked together, and not one guy was forced to do all the scoring. Five games came to near last-second shots, including the final game against Syracuse.

    The Hoosiers were co-Big Ten champions this year and won the NCAA title. This team will forever go down for its team-orientated play and greatness.

1. 1975-1976 (32-0)

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    This team isn't just the best in Hoosiers history, but they're quite possibly the best team in the history of college basketball. It's the last team to go undefeated for a season, and they did so in dominating fashion.

    The Hoosiers had three All-Americans and returned four starters from a dominant team the previous year. They entered the season ranked No. 1 in the nation and never relinquished that spot.

    Indiana started the season off with a big victory over the Soviet Union in Market Square Arena. They, then, beat UCLA by 20 points to kick off the regular season and never looked back. Many claimed this team was the best in the world.

    Scott May went on to win Big Ten Player of the Year and National Player of the Year. Bob Knight won Coach of the Year while Kent Benson won Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament.

    This was a very special team. I wish I could have been around to see them play.