Hoosiers don’t mind East destination
By LaMond Pope email@example.com March 28, 2013 11:42PM
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 28: Cody Zeller #40 of the Indiana Hoosiers goes up with the ball against James Southerland #43,C.J. Fair #5 and Rakeem Christmas #25 of the Syracuse Orange during the East Regional Round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Verizon Center on March 28, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Updated: May 1, 2013 3:02PM
WASHINGTON — Many experts thought it was important for Indiana to secure a top seed in the Midwest Region.
That way, the Hoosiers could play in the Sweet 16 in Indianapolis.
IU earned a No. 1 seed, but a loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament semifinal coupled with Louisville’s run to the Big East tournament title pushed the Hoosiers to the East Region in Washington.
The players weren’t disappointed about the final destination.
“There are Indiana fans across the country,” Indiana sophomore forward Cody Zeller said Wednesday. “I’m sure we will have a good showing. We don’t worry about it too much. We just play the hand that’s dealt to us.”
Super fan: Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh made the short trip to root for Indiana. Harbaugh’s brother-in-law is IU coach Tom Crean.
“I love the team, I love the way they are playing,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “They have a lot of heart.”
Harbaugh’s Ravens defeated San Francisco in the Super Bowl. His brother, Jim, coaches the 49ers.
“I’m just really excited for the family,” John Harbaugh said. “It’s been a crazy year. It’s been a great ride.”
Harbaugh sounded like a basketball coach when he was asked if he had any advice for IU.
“Go hard, keep the turnover down, play good defense, get rebounds,” Harbaugh said. “Isn’t that what they say?
Big Ten verses Big East: Crean sees some similarities between the Big Ten and Big East.
“Every night you’re going to play against star players, great coaches, deep teams, and I think that’s what prepares you to get to a point like this,” said Crean, who coached at Marquette.
Crean also compared his recruiting philosophies in the two conferences.
“We knew what we liked doing in the Big East, and the kind of players that we liked to recruit, the versatility, the athleticism. If anything, we have tried to put even more of a premium on shooting,” Crean said. “In the Big Ten, none of us came in with the mindset that we’re going to recruit to the standard, prototype Big Ten team. That wasn’t relevant for us at the beginning.
“It was more relevant, let’s get length, athleticism, multidimensional players, athletes and at the same time because we’re at Indiana let’s increase the skill level every chance we get and I think that’s what we tried to do.”