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Eyeing IU

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Tipping off

Indiana has improved a lot since coach Tom Crean took over the program, which was hit hard by NCAA sanctions before he arrived.

And the No. 2 Hoosiers (25-4, 13-3 Big Ten) have a chance to collect one of the awards for their improvement tonight when they play host to No. 13 Ohio State (21-7, 11-5).

Indiana, which already has its first share of the Big Ten title since 2002, can win the outright conference crown for the first time since 1993 with a win tonight.

It's a long way from where the Hoosiers were in Crean's first three seasons when Indiana went 28-66 and only 8-46 in Big Ten play.

Crean wants everyone to remember how hard everyone worked to get IU into the position that it is in tonight for this season's last game in Assembly Hall.

"The one thing that all of us have learned that came from different programs and came to Indiana and dealt with everything that happened is, you never take winning for granted, ever," Crean said. "When you lose it, it is so hard to get it back. You have to work that much harder to get it back. Our fans need to really look at it as there's a ton of excitement around it right now, let's remember where we were. Let's not take anything for granted, and let's keep building on what's been happening."

The Hoosiers will be going for a season sweep of Ohio State, as well as the outright Big Ten title tonight.

Indiana defeated Ohio State 81-68 on Feb. 10 in Columbus, Ohio. Victor Oladipo led the way with 26 points, and Cody Zeller and Christian Watford each added 24 and 20 points, respectively, in the victory.

"Indiana is a great basketball team and there are certain things you have to attempt take away from them or at least make them difficult, and we probably didn't do a good enough job of that (in the first game) in terms of defending them," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "We gave them some easy points. They get it. We get it. They always seem to get it and put it back in. Their transition is something if you let them get rolling, they are very, very effective.

"Obviously, Zeller, Watford and Oladipo had tremendous games. They accounted for like 70 of their 80 points or 82 points, whatever they had."

Indiana should be able to clinch the outright conference title tonight based on what the Hoosiers did against the Buckeyes on the road.

Prediction: Indiana 85, Ohio State 74

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