Crean: ‘It’s a big deal to have this day’

Verdell Jones had waited four years for this moment.

As Indiana was about to be selected to its first NCAA tournament in the Tom Crean era, Jones was all smiles. The senior guard sat in the front row of chairs surrounding the projection screen in the Memorial Stadium’s Henke Hall of Champions, celebrating with teammates that are about to experience something he never will.

Jones won’t get to play in the Big Dance because of a torn ACL injury he suffered against Penn State in last week’s Big Ten Tournament. If he’s feeling sorry for himself, though, he sure isn’t showing it. Jones knows what this moment means for the program and, even though he won’t get to play, he understands the role he’s played in getting Indiana back where it belongs.

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Jones said. “I’m happy for our team and all we accomplished to get to this point, but at the same time my heart’s a little saddened because I won’t get to participate in it.”

Jones will be with the team when the 4-seeded Hoosiers travel to Portland to play No. 13 seed New Mexico State on Thursday at approximately 9:45 ET. Most prognosticators had the Hoosiers as a 4-seed, so Indiana coach Tom Crean and his players weren’t overly surprised by the announcement.

Before the season started, the announcement would have been much more surprising. Few projected the Hoosiers to even make the tournament, much less as a top 4 seed.

After a three-year hiatus, Crean said it’s special to get back to the postseason.

“It’s a big deal to have this day,” he said. “When you coach and when you come into Indiana, this day is a really important day but a day everybody got used to. My family got used to this day. And then this day goes away for different reasons, and you can’t ever lose belief that you’re gonna get back to it. We never did.”

As soon as the Hoosiers’ part of the bracket was announced on CBS, analyst Seth Davis predicted Indiana would lose to No. 5 seed Wichita State in the third round. Not even a minute after the Hoosiers had been selected to their first tournament in four years, somebody was already picking them to lose.

“Seth has been giving us ammunition all year,” Crean said. “Seth is the gift that keeps on giving right now with his predictions. We look forward to that, and I never have a problem when anybody picks against us.”

Added Jones: “He’s been doubting us all year. I think we like being underdogs.”

The Hoosiers are part of what is probably the toughest region. The No. 1 overall seed, Kentucky, is in the south region, along with Duke (2-seed), Baylor (3-seed), and Connecticut (9-seed) — last year’s national champion.

If Indiana and Kentucky each win their first two games, they would play each other in the Sweet 16. It would be a highly anticipated rematch of the Hoosiers’ 73-72 upset at Assembly Hall in December.

“That’s one thing he (John Calipari) said, ‘You know we’re gonna end up in the same region,’” Crean said. “So to see that up there like that, it wasn’t a shock. … I think that was one of his guesses, more than anything else. But that’s him, he’s got some conspiracy theories.”

  • Kokomo_Joe

    Who cares what Seth Davis says!  Who cares what Dick Vitale says!  Both of these clowns never had a prime in their coaching or playing careers.

    Thanks for the motivation fellas!

    I expect IU to get to the Sweet Sixteen. 

  • Kokomo_Joe

    Gottlieb picked 13 upsets; he obviously is just trying to get one upset right so he can sound omniscient on the air.

  • Kokomo_Joe

    Gottlieb picked 13 upsets; he obviously is just trying to get one upset right so he can sound omniscient on the air.

  • Kokomo_Joe

    We will miss VJ, but there are guys in VO who can spell time at PG and Remy who is pound for pound the best defender we have oputside of VO.

  • Kokomo_Joe

    Some IU fans are complaining about heading west for the first 2 rounds.

    Reality is, if they took care of business against Wisc and kept the bench warmer from blowing up for 30 points, they would have been in a better position, even if they were still a 4 seed.  They would not have been the #4 of the 4 seeds.

    We should be happy they are a 4 seed and firmly back in the tournament.

    If this team can be in teh Sweet 16, then we should be a top 10 team next season.

    Then Seth, Doug and Dickie V can start swinging from our nuts the way they do UK, UNC, and Duke.

  • pops

    Not saying that Moore should start, but he does have some experience in the past. He can play, maybe not as good as Remy, but he does have some playing time under his belt.

  • pops

    Not saying that Moore should start, but he does have some experience in the past. He can play, maybe not as good as Remy, but he does have some playing time under his belt.

  • SCHoosier

    I love Remy’s potential..but to say he can step into Verdells shoes is a bit of a stretch in my opinion.
    as a freshmen he plays tentative as one would expect. My biggest concern is that Jordy gets in foul trouble…nad leaves us without a primary ball handler.

  • Lockmike5000

    yeah.. round 3 is just stupid. it implies teams in round 3 have won 2 games when almost none of them have.

  • A_Schick

    Beer is probably cheaper at home too, iudawg

  • Pfunk999

    “we don’t have a lot of white guys”

    Maybe not intended to be but a racist statement. Agree with me or not it is what it is. There are plenty of white guys who can dance and plenty of black guys who can hoop. I am just a white guy who can’t dance or hoop.

    Not judging anyone here just pointing it out.

  • rogueofcrazies

     What ledge I’ve been on the edge of my seat sense I was 6 but Scott may broke his arm & our best team lost! And yes Knight said the 75 team was better! So what ledge know who & what U are talk to & about before U open Ur trap!!!!!!!!!

  • rogueofcrazies

     What ledge I’ve been on the edge of my seat sense I was 6 but Scott may broke his arm & our best team lost! And yes Knight said the 75 team was better! So what ledge know who & what U are talk to & about before U open Ur trap!!!!!!!!!

  • rogueofcrazies

     Remy is at best half the player of Verdell! I seriously doubt he will ever make a complete player! I am HONEST grow up people! If he does I eat crow! I ate crow on Verdell! I am hard but I have many many years of IU ball & they just now compare! I am glad & not being mean but honesty does hurt! It usually jumps up & smacks U square in the kisser so when I tell the HONEST TRUTH sorry but it is going to HURT!!!!!!!!!!

  • Daburns0

    Calm down buddy.  You told us we were going to be sent packing by WSU.  One game at a time.  I realize that injuries can derail things, but you are out of perspective with Jones’ injury.  That is all I was saying.  I have two IU degrees and we have been season ticket holders for 25 years, so YOU need to know who you’re talking to.  Same team here.

  • Daburns0

    Calm down buddy.  You told us we were going to be sent packing by WSU.  One game at a time.  I realize that injuries can derail things, but you are out of perspective with Jones’ injury.  That is all I was saying.  I have two IU degrees and we have been season ticket holders for 25 years, so YOU need to know who you’re talking to.  Same team here.

  • rogueofcrazies

    I did not get my from IU me I’m a techie I work on campus before my disabling injury! I grow up in the shadows of Btown! My first memories of watching IU was what Knght call his best team! So if U are an IU fan U know what year I am talking about! I glad to see there are logical thinking people on this broad I had my doubts! Today we face VCU go IU!!!!!

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