Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 12/19/11

When college basketball season started at Big Ten media day on Oct 27th, you would have been very hard pressed to find any journalist who believed the Indiana Hoosiers would become the final Big Ten team to lose this season.

No one saw this renaissance happening this year, and certainly not in this convincing manner. Their 10-0 record includes a win over then #1 Kentucky, and it’s something IU Coach Tom Crean believes should be a building block:

“I don’t want them to put it behind them. I want them to build on it. I think it can be a springboard to future opportunities. I think it would be very stupid and it wouldn’t make much sense for us to come in here and try to downplay that game or downplay that it happened,” Crean said.

“It wouldn’t make any sense. At the same time, it would be ridiculous as a coach to downplay that there were mistakes made in the game. The old adage in coaching that you don’t accept in victory what you won’t accept in defeat, even when you beat the No. 1 team in the country, I don’t think you get away from that and we didn’t. You want confidence to grow, but at the same time, you want them to understand the bottom line is there’s a lot of room to get better and that’s exactly how we’ve treated it,” he continued.

So what’s changed? Well a lot of things, but the main addition is Cody Zeller, McDonald’s All-American.

Zeller notched 21 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks in Indiana’s 69-58 win over Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis. He converted on eight of 14 field goal attempts in the win and took in his fourth conference Freshman of the Week award. He’s won 4/6 awards this year, and exactly like Jared Sullinger last year, he’s pretty much won the award by Christmas.

Senior Forward Tom Pritchard talked about how well Cody Zeller has started his freshman year:

“You see it every day. He comes in every day with the right mindset and he continues to work. He’s a hardworker and I wouldn’t expect anything less than that.”

Indiana had absolutely no post game last year, and the addition of the 6-11 super frosh from Washington, Indiana gives them an inside presence they’ve sorely lacked during the Crean era. They really haven’t had legit bigs since D.J. White.

Imagine how good IU would be if Maurice Creek were healthy? Ranked #17 in the nation, they have two more non-conference cupcakes before visiting Michigan State on December 28th in the conference opener.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio shows all across the world. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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