Jess Settles, BTN men's basketball analyst, January 16, 2016

With its 70-63 win at Minnesota on Saturday afternoon, Indiana guaranteed itself a piece of first place in the Big Ten following three weeks of conference play.

The Hoosiers are 5-0, and there seems to be much debate about whether they are for real.

Here are five reasons they could be for real:

1. The favorable schedule. Look, we knew entering Big Ten play that Indiana received one of the most favorable draws. The 5-0 start has come against teams with a combined 8-20 conference clip, and here is Indiana's upcoming schedule, before hosting Iowa and traveling to Michigan State in mid-February: vs. Illinois; vs. Northwestern; at Wisconsin; vs. Minnesota; at Michigan; at Penn State.

2. They have seven to eight players who can score. Seven Hoosiers have scored in double figures in at least one Big Ten game, and six of them are averaging at least six points per game. Yogi Ferrell, of course, leads the way, pouring in 19.8 points per game. Thomas Bryant and Troy Williams can beat opponents on any night, too. So can guys such as Nick Zeisloft, who notched 15 points in Saturday's win at Minnesota.

3. When the initial break isn't there, if they run good offense, they're very difficult to stop. Yogi Ferrell is a sage distributor; in fact, his next assist will tie him with Michael Lewis for the lead in Indiana history. With Ferrell running this offense, and with an athlete in Troy Williams on the wing and a developing big man in Thomas Bryant down low, Indiana can score on foes with relative ease.

4. The defense has improved since non-conference play. Indiana allowed 70 points per game in non-conference play, however it has allowed just 64.4 in its first five Big Ten games. The injury to sharpshooter James Blackmon Jr. forced the Hoosiers to refocus on the defensive end, and the extra minutes for Robert Johnson and Collin Hartman have helped remedy some of the defensive issues.

5. Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers are 28-10 in their home gym vs. conference foes since 2011-12. Even more impressive: They're 12-2 vs. ranked foes during that same span.