Indiana hoops: Hoosiers far behind state’s top 3
Basketball still rules in Indiana. Even if the Hoosiers no
longer rule basketball in the state
They’re not even in the top three.
For the 20th time in the past three decades, at least three
teams from the state of Indiana have made it into the NCAA
tournament. For the first time, however, the Indiana Hoosiers were
not one of those three.
They weren’t even eligible.
Purdue, Butler and Notre Dame are all preparing for the
tournament, which will end April 5 with the championship game in
Indianapolis. Indiana is on spring break with nowhere to go.
Purdue (27-5) landed a No. 4 seed and will play Siena in
Spokane, Wash., on Friday. Butler (28-4) got a No. 5 seed and will
be trying to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 21 games
when it faces UTEP in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday.
Sixth-seeded Notre Dame (23-11), which won six straight games
before losing to West Virginia in a Big East tournament semifinal,
will play Old Dominion in New Orleans on Thursday.
Hoosiers fans? It was the second straight season and the fourth
time in the past seven years that they had no reason to turn on the
NCAA selection show other than to see where their in-state rivals
were headed. All Indiana coach Tom Crean could do Sunday was tweet
about his hopes that the Hoosiers will be back.
“From the cornfields to the Capitol we are out and about
today,” Crean posted on his Twitter account. “We need to get the
guys added that can help us get back to Selection Sunday.”
He later added: “Size, toughness and athleticism is the
ingredients of the day.”
Crean has been urging Hoosier fans to support the Hoosiers,
urging them to wear crimson and cream to high school games,
tweeting: “WE NEED TO ALL TAKE BACK THE STATE.”
Indiana hasn’t been among the best teams in the state since
Kelvin Sampson resigned because of recruiting violations two years
ago. That left the Hoosiers with only eight scholarship players and
one senior for the 2008-09 season, when they finished with a 6-25
record, winning just one Big Ten game, and posting the school’s
worst winning percentage in nearly a century.
This season, the Hoosiers had a big win against Pittsburgh and
played well for half against Kentucky. But they also had an
embarrassing loss to Loyola of Maryland, struggled against South
Carolina-Upstate and narrowly avoided becoming the first squad in
school history to lose 12 in a row.
Indiana lost by 15 points to Northwestern in the first round of
the Big Ten tournament, ending the season at 10-21, including
losses in 12 of its last 13 games.
Freshman guard Jordan Hulls, who was Indiana’s Mr. Basketball a
year ago, said afterward that it will be hard for the Hoosiers to
watch the NCAA tournament on television.
“We know that we’re a good team and we can play with a lot of
other teams, and it’s going to be tough seeing those other guys
thinking we should be out there playing as well,” he said. “But
like I said, we’re just going to have to move on from this and try
to get better.”
Guard Jeremiah Rivers, a transfer who was a backup at
Georgetown, said he probably won’t watch much of the
“This is the first time I’ve played and not gone to it. I was
spoiled my first two years, and went to the Final Four with
Georgetown,” he said. “It’s not going to be the same thing.
Missing the tournament hurts.
“Things can turn, you know. Look at North Carolina in the
championship last year and not making the tournament.”