Indiana basketball is back in the national spotlight. After three seasons of irrelevance, IU is once again making noise in college basketball.
With a solid coach, a talented team and high-profile recruits on the way, things are looking good in Bloomington.
If you are a fan of the Hoosiers there is a lot to be happy about. Here are five reasons why life is good for IU faithful.
To say the Hoosiers went through a rough patch in Tom Crean's first three seasons would be an understatement. In those years the Hoosiers were 6-25, 10-21 and 12-20.
Two years ago, things started to turn around. IU's record improved (27-9 in 2011-12 and 29-7 in 2012-13). It won a conference title, made the NCAA tournament twice, went to the Sweet 16 in both appearances and was a No. 1 seed in last year's tournament.
Indiana basketball is back.
IU fans knew it was going to be a long and difficult road to return to the national spotlight, but they didn't know how long. Three years of bad basketball isn't that awful of a wait, considering the state of the program when Crean arrived. Hoosier faithful could have had it a lot worse. Instead, the program is once again thriving.
Indiana fans have to be content with the fact that Indiana is once again a force to be reckoned with in college hoops.
When Tom Crean arrived, recruiting was at an all-time low. Indiana wasn't in the running for any star players and the teams looked as if they had been thrown together at the last minute.
The quality of IU's recruits is much different now.
The recruiting trail has gone from ice cold to blazing hot. Suddenly, IU is in the running for top talent and has even secured some of the best players in the country. Cody Zeller, Yogi Ferrell, Jeremy Hollowell and Noah Vonleh are big time recruits that decided to play at Indiana.
Recruiting is essential for college basketball programs. It is how the top programs in the nation stay ahead of everyone else. Refreshing the roster with elite talent is even more important now because most of the best players only stay in college for one season. It's a great sign for IU that the cream of the crop want to be in Bloomington.
Now that Indiana is once again getting quality talent, the future is very bright for the program.
What does every fan want to see his or her team do?
The Hoosiers are once again contenders in the Big Ten and on the national level. They proved that with their first outright regular-season conference title since 1993 and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Indiana believes that it can beat the best teams in the nation.
Now that the Hoosiers are playing well, it will be an expectation that they win the Big Ten and have a good showing in March. Fans should be excited that a championship culture is back in Bloomington.
The future is promising for Indiana because it is loaded with young talent. Sophomores Yogi Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell are the future of the team. If their classmates Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin pan out, IU's sophomore class has the capability to be great.
Vonleh could be IU's best player next season. Luke Fischer, Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson will see significant playing time as well. Once these young bucks get some experience, the Hoosiers are going to be a tough team to beat for years to come.
Tom Crean has embraced the culture of Indiana basketball. After two unsuccessful coaches before him, IU seems to have found its man.
Mike Davis took over after Bobby Knight in 2000 and made a Final Four with Knight's players. In the end, he couldn't recruit enough of his own talent to keep the program competitive and left in 2006.
Kelvin Sampson took over and ruined the program. The fallout from his tenure left Indiana basketball in shambles. He resigned and Tom Crean took over a team desperate for stability and a coach with integrity.
Crean has been a reliable figure for Indiana.
He brought the program out of the Big Ten cellar and made it a contender once again. He seems to have good rapport with his players and is a very good recruiter. If you are an Indiana fan, you have to be extremely pleased with the way Crean has turned the program around.