I’ve lived and worked in college athletics in 4 states. As a basketball junkie, 2 of those 4 stood out: Indiana and North Carolina. Very different places, but the passion for hoops (and red hats, sadly) is strong. The appetite for college hoops is rabid in NC, and for the sport itself and its identity in Indiana.

As a native Hoosier, I always feel a little twinge of pride when on Selection Sunday I see schools across the state represented in the bracket. I want high school hoops to be good, and I want schools in Indiana to keep them home and so Indiana has a presence all across March Madness.

But last year didn’t have it. Save for a good Purdue run, I spent last winter wondering if 2018-19 was the worst season statewide for college basketball in Indiana.

So I looked it up. I went back to 1995-96, which is my self-imposed time for when sports became modern, and put together college basketball data for Indiana, Purdue, Butler, Notre Dame, Ball State, Valpo, IPFW, IUPUI, Indiana State and Evansville.

How Indiana College Hoops In 2018-19 Went

Largely, what I felt was correct. Butler was down. Notre Dame was down. Valpo was down. Indiana wasn’t very good. Ball State had back-to-back 21-win seasons and took a dip. Indiana State took a dip. Purdue held it down for the state, coming a wacky play within the Final Four. The problem was…Purdue was the only state college team in the tournament. 

But I did find that last season WAS NOT the worst for Indiana college basketball over the 23-year period. The 10 teams last year combined for an exactly mediocre .500 winning percentage and 3 NCAA wins, but the years when I was an undergrad were definitely worse.

The worst college basketball season in Indiana was 2004-05, when the 10 D-I schools combined for a .424 winning percentage and zero teams made the NCAA Tournament. In the previous season, 2003-04, only Valparaiso made the dance (as a #15 seed with a 17-12 record) and lost in the first round as the teams in Indiana combined to win at a .478 rate.

Here are the 5 worst Division I college basketball seasons in the Hoosier State since I was in 6th grade:

Worst Indiana College Hoops Seasons
(since 95-96)

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Of course, we can’t have that. So, here’s a list of the 6 most successful college basketball seasons in Indiana since the days of Brad Miller and A.J. Guyton:

Best Indiana College Hoops Seasons
(since 95-96)

Screen Shot 2019-11-05 at 9.56.32 AM.png

As we lift the lid off another college basketball season, let’s hope the fans in Indiana have a fun winter filled with winners across the state. Things should probably be better than last season.

You can find and download all of my data here: INDIANA COLLEGE BASKETBALL WINS

Picture Of My Kids


Finish With A Laugh

In my managerial economics MBA course, I used this Curb clip as an example of price collusion. Only one person commented! Let’s make online discussion boards great again.

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