Indiana has one of the nation's most storied basketball programs, but in recent years, its story has been more troublesome than triumphant.
From former Hoosiers coach Kelvin Sampson's numerous recruiting violations to new coach Tom Crean's struggle to get the program back on track, Indiana basketball has certainly seen better days.
Yet this season, Crean's third at the helm, it looks like Indiana is finally headed in the right direction. The Hoosiers are a perfect 6-0 entering their match up with Boston College at Conte Forum in the 11th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge Wednesday night at 7:15 p.m. ET (ESPNU).
Boston College has faced Indiana three times and leads the all-time series, 2-1. The Eagles won their last meeting, 64-51, in 1996 in Orlando, Florida. The series began in the 1983-84, season with a 72-66 Hoosiers win.
Crean has led Indiana to victories over Florida Gulf Academy (88-60), Wright State (67-44), Mississippi Valley State (71-54), Evansville (67-54), N.C. Central (72-56) and Northwestern State (100-66) on the young season.
In their win over Northwestern State, the Hoosiers reach the triple digit mark in scoring for the first time in the Crean era. In three seasons at Indiana, Crean is 21-46 and a dreadful 5-31 against Big Ten opponents.
The Hoosiers have been led by the trio of Christian Watford, Verdell Jones III and Maurice Creek. Watford leads the team in scoring with 17.5 points per game and also averages a team-best seven rebounds a game. Jones III is second in scoring, averaging 14.2 points and leads the team in steals with two per game. Creek is the only other player to average double-digit scoring for Indiana, averaging 11.3 points.
Boston College (4-2) enters Wednesday night's game having won two of three games in the Old Spice Classic. The Eagles defeated Texas A&M 67-65 in the tournament opener but lost to Wisconsin 65-55 in the semifinal round before defeating California 68-46 in the third-place game on Sunday.
Prior to the Old Spice Classic, the Eagles defeated St. Francis (NY), lost to Yale and topped Holy Cross in their first three games at Conte Forum.
The Eagles have received tremendous contributions from junior guard Reggie Jackson, who has been their runaway MVP through six games. Jackson is averaging team-highs in scoring (17.7 points) and assists (4.3).
Joe Trapani and Corey Raji have also been solid contributors, with Trapani averaging 13 points and 5.8 rebounds and Raji averaging 11.5 points and a team-best 6.3 boards per game.
The transition to new coach Steve Donahue's style has been steady, but as expected, there have been some problems along the way. Several of Donahue's biggest changes to the Eagles' system is the transition of Jackson to point guard and his frequent first-half substitutions.
Jackson has been excelling at the point, scoring at will while still being able to set up his teammates. Donahue's many substitutions in the first half, regardless of the opponent, are based on his philosophy that subbing frequently in the first half will lead to fewer substitutions in the final 20 minutes. As he told the media, you can't lose a game by subbing too much in the first half, but you can in the second.
So far, Donahue's new methods have brought Boston College a solid 4-2 record. In reality, the Eagles were one bad half against Wisconsin away from being 5-1.
Nevertheless, they'll have their chance to win their fifth game on Wednesday night against Indiana before facing the University of Massachusetts in the Boston Tip-Off Classic on Saturday night at TD Garden.