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Friday, November 30, 2012
Indiana has the tools to win it all

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

Recently, I had a chance to do a game featuring the No. 1 team in America, the Indiana Hoosiers.

The big question was, do they pass the eye test as the No. 1 team? You can make a case for Duke based on its resume, beating Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, Minnesota and VCU. That is three of the top five teams in America when they played. Mason Plumlee has emerged as one of the premier players in America. Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly also have that veteran experience that pays dividends.

I would love to see Plumlee go up against Cody Zeller. That brings me back to the Hoosiers.

Well, my friends, Indiana passed the test. Bloomington is rocking and rightfully so. There is a buzz surrounding Tom Crean's team and it has all the parts to win it all.

I have often said that you have to cover all the parts of the floor, and this Hoosier team does that.

First, you have to be strong on the perimeter. Indiana has strength there. Diaper dandy Yogi Ferrell understands his role as the point guard. He is a solid ballhandler, penetrator and passer. Jordan Hulls is one of the most underrated players in the nation with his tenacity. He is automatic shooting the trifecta when he gets an open look, plus he is dynamite on the foul line. Hulls can defend, pass and lead. He is a flat-out winner.

Then you have the wings. They are strong there as Victor Oladipo is the most improved player in America, especially on the offensive end. Then you factor Christian Watford in, plus Will Sheehey off the bench and you can see why they are tough in that area.

In the post, nobody does it better in America than Mr. Zeller. He is a multi-skilled post player who is so effective on the inside, rebounding, scoring and drawing fouls from opposing big men.

They were absolutely sensational in dominating North Carolina. They were absolutely brilliant over the last 23 minutes against Roy Williams' Tar Heels.

On both ends of the court, if they play to that standard, they are going to be tough to beat. There could be another banner flying high in Bloomington.

It won't be easy as the Big Ten is loaded. Michigan, Ohio State, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan State, Wisconsin ... the hits will keep on coming in league play.

Indiana has all the makings of a champion and it will get stronger. Derek Elston will be returning from injury and end of as nine-game NCAA suspension for Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea. It will give them more big bodies to work with. Mosquera-Perea figures to get time in the rotation.

Crean has got that place rocking and rolling. He has brought back that feeling of Hoosier Hysteria which was thrilling during the Bob Knight era. There is excitement galore in that arena.

As I walked the beautiful campus in Bloomington, I could feel that hysteria running wild, and rightfully so.