Hoosiers get time to enjoy NCAA experience

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Hoosiers know they have a daunting task ahead of them when they play No. 13 seed New Mexico State at 9:45 pm. today. But they also understand how special an opportunity it is to be in the NCAA Tournament, and they’re enjoying every second of it.

The team flew into Portland Monday night, and Tom Crean gave his players most of Tuesday to tour the city and hangout together. Senior Kory Barnett, who used to live in the area, also took his teammates to some of the places he remembered going as a kid.

“He’s always telling us where to go, where to eat,” said junior forward Derek Elston.

The players also saw “Act of Valor” on Tuesday night, a new movie about Navy SEALs that go on a mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent.

“It’s a big deal for us just to be able to hang out with each other,” said junior guard Jordan Hulls, “because it doesn’t happen too much when we’re going full blow into the Big Ten season.”

Crean said days like Tuesday are the ones that bring teams the closest together.

“It’s fun to sit in the front of the bus and listen to them in the back of the bus,” he said. “I may not know everything they’re saying, but that laughter is universal. And those are the things that you really enjoy being a part of.

“I think when it’s all said and done, they’ll remember where they went. They’ll have experiences to think about, but it’s the lasting, shared memories of something somebody said that was silly in the back of the bus or silly at breakfast. That’s the stuff that really builds them when they come back years from now and reminisce about their time.”

More than just a shootaround

When most of the eight teams took the Rose Garden floor for their 40-minute public practice Wednesday afternoon, it looked like more of a shootaround. They walked through various drills, but rarely went full speed. Their real practice came off location.

Indiana took a different approach.

While the Hoosiers still did a good deal of shooting, they also ran full-court drills and played full speed with defenders on the floor. It was a fan-friendly practice — there were plenty of dunks — but the Hoosiers were all business during their on-court session.

“These guys are honored to be here,” Crean said before the team’s practice. “There’s nobody that feels like they’ve arrived or that they’re just happy to be here. There’s nobody that’s taking it lightly.”

Hoosiers aren’t stressing

It has been well noted that nobody on the Indiana roster has ever played in an NCAA Tournament game.

That doesn’t mean the players will be shell shocked when they take the floor against the Aggies. Freshman Remy Abell admitted he would probably be a little nervous before the game, but said he would be more worried if he didn’t feel any nerves. Hulls said the Hoosiers’ inexperience in the postseason won’t matter once they take the floor and start playing.

As for Cody Zeller? He’s all good.

“I’m not stressed out at all,” the freshman center said, smiling. “[The experience is] pretty enjoyable.”

  • http://twitter.com/CryinBarns CryinBarns

    Cool story. Cool perspective. Glad to hear the guys are having fun and making memories but, most importantly, taking this journey as a business trip. Do work, Hoosiers!

  • LondonHoosier

    Will be streaming the game online at 1:45am here in London with all my fellow Hoosiers who are studying abroad!  

  • Kreigh_Smiths_Short_Shorts

    I love this team!  And I love this coach.  Let’s make some noise in the tourney!

  • Kakolaki

    Tom Crean is such a class act.  Im proud he represents our University, and will be even more so when the banners come

  • http://twitter.com/RatKingCole Cole Phillips Allen

    Glad to hear that the Hoosiers have had time to rest and spend time as a team, as they get prepared to play in their first NCAA tourney.  I think what Remy said is very honest, and understandable.  Having butterflies and nerves before the game is completely normal.. that is, unless you are the “Big Handsome.”  I really hope the whole team plays physical and shows their toughness against NMSU.  It really seems like everyone is perceiving this as a business trip, and is prepared to do what it takes to make a run.  We’ll all be watching and rooting for ya.  HOO HOO!  

  • http://twitter.com/IUMitchell Deon M

    Just don’t PUke pUKe before the game.  

  • Dwmnyc

    Great perspective from a real coach – as a fan for 40 years, its nice to see 

  • Luke72

    After we’ve ben here for 10 seasons straight, hope we all remember what a honnor it is to be there! The more I listen to Coach Crean’s perspective the more I think we are fortunate to have him! GO HOOSIERS!!!!!!

  • Daburns0

    ditto

  • iufan4life10

     HOOSIERS!!!

    “The Big Handsome” doesn’t seemed fazed by anything.  Hopefully the team can get out to a quick start and get all of the butterflies out of the way early. 

    Completely different sport but I know the butterflies of being on somewhat of a “big” stage in a competitive event.  After the first smooth drive or good shot it always seemed to be downhill from there.  Once Hulls hits a shot and the team sees the ball go in the bucket everything will be good to go.  GO HOOSIERS!!!

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