As a University of Illinois alum, all I can say it that it was nice while it lasted. Following the implosion of Kelvin Sampson, Indiana became irrelevant for a few years. The decimated Hoosiers went 6-25 (1-17 in the Big Ten), 10-21, 12-20 during Tom Crean’s first three years.
However, Crean definitely was the right man for the job. Indiana jumped to 27-9 last year and with cover boy Cody Zeller (Note: SI used five regional covers), the Hoosiers are the preseason No. 1 in Sports Illustrated and ESPN Magazine.
Perhaps, it’s just as well. Things always are a bit more interesting when the traditional powers are in play.
Now let’s see if Zeller and Indiana live up to expectations.
Richard Deitsch has a comprehensive preview of TV coverage of college basketball at SI.com. It includes a Q/A with Jay Bilas, who had an interesting comment on the lack of a defined started to the season.
We have no recognized start to the season. The NCAA owns the NIT, which is nearly invisible at the end of the season. Why not move the NIT to the beginning of the year, invite the top sixteen teams (which could include at least the top four mid-majors), and have a national championship event to start the season? In our game, everyone knows when practice starts. It starts on Oct. 15, but nobody knows when the season starts. We can fix that, and we can place greater emphasis on the regular season and make it more meaningful to fans. That is where the success of the NCAA tournament has negatively impacted the overall game.