Indiana earns third No. 1 seed in school history

With its first-round opponent still to be determined by a play-in game on Wednesday night, Indiana could only do so much looking forward on Selection Sunday, so IU coach Tom Crean and his players took at least a little time to look back.

There was some level of disappointment among Indiana fans on Sunday when the Hoosiers learned that they would be the No. 1 seed in the East Regional instead of the Midwest, meaning their path through the regional semifinals and finals would go through Washington D.C. instead of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

But it wasn’t long ago that getting any sort of NCAA bid was a pipe dream for the Hoosiers. Four years ago at this time, the Hoosiers were coming off a 6-25 season in Crean’s first year following the Kelvin Sampson scandal and the cratering of the program. Two years ago, they were 12-20 with no chance at any sort of postseason.

Sunday, they became just the third Indiana team since the NCAA began seeding the tournament in 1979 to earn a No. 1 seed.

“To think about where we were 24 months ago being four, five wins or whatever it was away from even being eligible for the NIT and to be where we are right now with a No. 1 seed is an amazing, amazing accomplishment for all the people in this program,” Crean said. “… To have this team and this program back there and have that seeding behind it is fantastic.”

Crean wanted no part of entering in to any sort of discussion about whether or not the Hoosiers deserved the No. 1 overall seed and the Midwest No. 1 instead of Louisville, which apparently passed the Hoosiers on Saturday night with their comeback win over Syracuse in the Big East Tournament championship game. Kansas also finished ahead of the Hoosiers as the No. 2 overall seed and the No. 1 seed in the South region in Texas. Indiana was the No. 3 overall seed and Gonzaga had the fourth No. 1 seed and the top seed in the West Region in Texas.

“I think the fact that we’re a No. 1 seed speaks for itself,” Crean said. “There’s only four of them, and we’re one of them. I think that’s a big deal. I really do.”

The Hoosiers claimed that they weren’t paying attention to their potential placement in the tournament. They will play their second and third round games in Dayton, Ohio, first playing the winner of a play-in game between Long Island-Brooklyn and James Madison on Friday at approximately 4 p.m. after the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds in the East region, North Carolina State and Temple, play at 1:40 p.m. If the Hoosiers win their first game, they will play the winner of that N.C. State-Temple game on Sunday at a time to be determined.

“The people who made it, that’s their job and that’s what they felt,” junior guard Victor Oladipo said. “We’re just going to take it one game at a time. We’re looking forward to playing in Dayton, Ohio. We just gotta win in Dayton.”

Oladipo, who grew up in the suburbs of the nation’s capital in Upper Marlboro, Md., wouldn’t even bite when asked if he was secretly hoping to play in Washington, D.C. the whole time.

“I didn’t even know the places and stuff like that,” Oladipo said. “I’m not really aware of all that kind of stuff. I’m just looking forward to playing, man, just getting this thing started. I’m glad that our season isn’t over yet. We could have a lot of basketball left. It’s just going to be up to us whether or not we do.”

IU senior forward Christian Watford said he actually thinks it might be in IU’s best interest to play way from home. The Hoosiers were 16-2 this season at home, but they were also 7-2 on the road and 3-2 at neutral sites.

“I expected our road to be kind of rough,” Watford said. “It’s been that way since I’ve been here. Why would it change now? We’re just going to take our road mentality. I feel like we play better on the road anyway, to be quite honest with you.”

It’s could be argued that their road is actually easier than it would’ve been if it went through Indianapolis. To get to the Final Four, Louisville could have to get by a red hot No. 4 seed in St. Louis and either No. 2 seed Duke or No. 3 seed Michigan State. The Hoosiers have No. 2 seed Miami, No. 3 seed Marquette, No. 4 seed Syracuse and No. 5 seed UNLV in their bracket, which is a difficult road but the early reaction from most pundits was that Louisville had a tougher road.

The Hoosiers refused to get ahead of themselves, though, and said that they do need to clean up their recent play to keep advancing.

“We just need to get back to what we know wins basketball games,” Oladipo said. “If we do that and we stay focused and keep that edge, we’ll be fine. Playing defense at a high level and just play Indiana basketball. If we just do that, we’ll be fine.”

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls

AUDIO: Victor Oladipo

AUDIO: Cody Zeller

AUDIO: Christian Watford

9 comments

  1. While I’m disappointed we aren’t going through Indy, I beleive we got a much better draw going through the East Bracket. Don’t think it will happen, but one could make an argument for an all BIG TEN Final Four (Indiana, Michigan, Michigan St & Ohio St). So ready for a deep run in the tourney, so let’s get this party going.

  2. I read that Vitale picked 3 Big Ten teams for the Final Four.
    I’m predicting zero Big Ten teams make the Final Four.

    Also, nobody hates Kentucky more than I do. However, I have to respect them for thinking their season is a failure if they don’t win it all…………especially if they actually have a decent chance of winning it all.

    And yet, we have the majority of IU fans already playing the “even if we lose the first weekend, it’s been an awesome season” baloney.

    Sorry, but NONE of the greats think they had an “awesome season” if they flamed out early when they had a legitimate chance to win it all.

    Ask Gretzky, Jordan, Kobe, Elway, Manning or 10,000 other athletes if they think they had a “good season” if they didn’t win the Championship when most people called them the favorite almost the entire year.

    Does that mean I “hate the team”? Of course not. But I’m certainly not going to slobber all over them how “great” they were.

    The ELITE teams care about CHAMPIONSHIPS…..not “moral victories.”

    Don’t tell me about “2 years ago.” So what? This isn’t “two years ago.”

    I hope…..HOPE…..they prove me wrong when I predict they lose to Miami.

  3. Nobody is claiming that’s how they should feel about losing. But what can you do other than give it your best?

    And why can’t they be given accolades for what they’ve already achieved?

    Why must we take away what they achieved during the regular season? Last time I checked, everyone else in the standings is looking up. That’s a nice feeling. A feeling Hoosier teams and Hoosier fans haven’t had in quite a few years…Say, maybe, twenty?

    Of course, they are not satisfied. And they didn’t care about “moral victories” when they went up to Michigan and finished the regular season as outright champs. Hell of a feat..Hell of a game. Coach of the Year stuff.

    And just because you’re hungry for more is no guarantee all the intangibles will go your way..At this level of competition and stage, you can do all you can do, and still end up the team going home.

  4. Give them all the “accolades” all you want.

    But the last time I checked, the only goal in sports…..in any league….is winning it all.

    Go ask the Packers if they thought their last season was a failure or not. Or the 49ers. Or the Lakers. Or the Broncos. Or Kentucky this year.

    They will all say one word: failure.

    Yet, most fans, like you, keep saying, “We should all feel warm inside because we were number one a few weeks.”

    See, THAT is why this team is going to lose. They take comfort in moral victories like that.

    It’s why we choked in the Big Ten tournament. It’s why we choked on Senior Night. “Hey, we already won a share of the Big Ten title. Who cares if we lose tonight? We’re still going to cut down the nets.”

    Louisville won their tournament and didn’t cut down anything.

    We’ll see if they are “already satisfied” or not. I won’t believe it until I see it.

    One thing we know for sure: If they flame out early, you will be the FIRST person here spouting off “moral victories” instead of being upset they didn’t play to their potential.

    I’ll take the side of Kobe, Jordan, Bird and the rest of the GREATS at thinking the season is a FAILURE unless we win it all when we were the FAVORITES almost the ENTIRE year.

    Do you REALLY think they sit back and say, “Well, we had a good year even though we lost in the the second round when most people thought we’d win it all”?

    Like I said…..I hate Kentucky. But at least they don’t relish “moral victories” like most of you do.

    And THAT is why this team isn’t TOUGH. Crean has them celebrating moral victories too much. Cutting down those nets was a joke.

    You’re already making excuses about “intangibles.”

  5. Oh, and I do agree about “giving it your best.”

    If they “give it their best”, and lose, I won’t rip them one single bit.

    Not even a little.

    But when they’ve lost this year, they didn’t come CLOSE to “giving it their best.”

    Yet “fans” like you STILL made excuses.

    The “big boys” don’t make excuses.

    They say, “We sucked” and try to get better.

    Doesn’t mean you “hate the team.”

    The people that “hate the team” are people like you who are satisfied with moral victories. It’s the DEATH of the team because when the fans are satisfied with moral victories, so are the players.

  6. Winning the Big 10 is not a moral victory…Expectations that came with the hype of a preseason #1 ranking was to win the conference. We won the conference even though doubters, like yourself, claimed “cupcakes” on the schedule would strip them of their needed toughness to get it done.

    Great Dustin has let you back on here..

    But let’s not kid ourselves, if the Hoosiers don’t win the Big 10 outright you would have been dedicating on their lackluster finish.

    It has nothing to do with accepting “moral victories.” Sixty eight teams will go into the tournament believing they can make the magic happen and bring home the banner. Unfortunately, for 67 of them, sh*t happens. It doesn’t make them weak or accepting of losing.

    I don’t doubt for a minute that every single Hoosier on our roster will play their hearts out to bring a banner back to Bloomington. Our they the best team in the land? Probably not. You can win it all without being the best team in the land..That’s the beauty of March Madness.

    Good having you back, Laffy.

  7. HfH, Swami’s 1st post had Laffy written all over it. Glad I wasn’t the only one to catch on to that. Different name…same pointless BS.

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