After defeating #4 Iowa Thursday night in Assembly Hall, Indiana's record against AP Top 25 ranked teams at home in the Tom Crean era improved to 18-13. Having a record above .500 against the Top 25 is pretty good, but in the interest of NOT SETTLING FOR MEDIOCRITY, I investigated the records for some other noted basketball powers during the same seasons (08-09 through the present). Against the AP Top 25 at home, Duke is 18-2. Michigan State is 17-9. Kansas is 25-2.
The first thing you can take away from these numbers is that Indiana has played a lot of highly thought of teams at home in the last 7 years plus. Most of that comes as a result of playing in the Big Ten, which includes the yearly match with an ACC team in the challenge. Kentucky choosing not to return to Assembly Hall deprives Indiana of some additional opportunities to play against/defeat ranked teams at home, as the Wildcats more often than not find themselves ranked at some point during the college basketball season. And perfectly timing when to play a foe, like when SMU made the trip to Bloomington last season, is very hard to do without committing to a long-term series. But when you can get all of those factors together properly, you get a lot of chances against top teams, and Indiana has more often than not made the most of those. In fact, this year's IU squad has had fewer than normal opportunities against ranked foes at home, since Iowa was the first, and there might only be 1 or 2 more chances ahead depending on how Purdue and Maryland fare ahead of their visits to B-Town.
The second thing you should take away from the 18-13 record is that it includes the first three years of Crean at IU. You know, the rebuilding years. While there were a couple of near misses against very good teams in those seasons, in general that period is dragging down the win percentage in a MAJOR way. Remove those 13 games, and suddenly Indiana's record is much more in line with those of Duke and Kansas above (16-2 from the 2011-12 season onwards).
Finally, for the "Bring Back Bobby"/"Fire Crean" crowd, a few comparisons: From the 1986-87 banner year forward to 93-94, IU was 14-4 against ranked foes at Assembly Hall. For Coach Knight's first eight years at Indiana, the Hoosiers were 18-4. And lastly, cherry-picking the best eight years between the first and last banners under Knight to maximize wins, Indiana was 23-5. So even at arguably his peak, Bob Knight couldn't go undefeated at home against ranked teams for eight years.
Only time will tell if Indiana can continue to hold serve at Assembly Hall, but they've certainly made a habit of doing so thus far. And if they want to claim another conference title for the Cream and Crimson, they'll need to keep holding strong at the Hall.