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The Indiana Hoosiers return to action tomorrow  in the Sweet Sixteen round of the men’s NCAA tournament.

Five years after Tom Crean took over a program that had only two returning starters, he has Indiana two wins from reaching its first Final Four since 2002.

The top-seeded Hoosiers face number four seed Syracuse in the NCAA regional semifinals.

Indiana won just 28 games in Crean’s first three seasons, but the popularity of Indiana basketball never waned during those dark seasons. Instead, fans stuck by them, celebrated the turnaround last year and are now waiting one more weekend to break out the biggest party of all.

“I don’t want it to end, I really don’t,”  Crean said.   “I love being around these guys.   They are smart and cerebral and tough-minded and together of any group I’ve ever been around.”

IU and Syracuse are meeting in the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 1987 title game, when Indiana’s Keith Smart sank a last-second shot to win the championship.

Thursday’s tipoff is at 9:45pm in Washington, D.C.

Louisville returns to action Friday at 7:15pm against Oregon. 

Rick Howlett is WFPL's Broadcast Managing Editor and also produces feature and general assignment radio stories.