2015 NCAA tournament: Previewing Big Ten matchups

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The Big Ten is sending half of its teams to the 2015 NCAA tournament, as seven of the league’s 14 teams were selected into the field of 68. Each of those teams also avoided the play-in games in Dayton, setting up match-ups on Thursday and Friday across the United States.

Wisconsin holds the highest seed out of any Big Ten team as the league’s regular season and tournament champion. At 31-3, the Badgers earned a No. 1 seed in the West region and get to play in Omaha, Neb., to open the tournament. Michigan State has become a trendy Final Four pick after its Big Ten tournament run and faces Georgia in the second round with a chance at playing Virginia in the round of 32. And Purdue, with a win over Cincinnati, could face undefeated Kentucky. Those are some of the storylines the Big Ten faces in the round of 64.

Below is a look at each Big Ten team’s opening matchup in the NCAA tournament:

No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 16 Coastal Carolina (Omaha, Friday, 9:20 p.m., TBS)

With their Big Ten tournament title, the Badgers earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and the right to play Coastal Carolina, a team that finished third in the Big South Conference, in the second round in Omaha. And the Badgers are big favorites for this one. The Chanticleers come into this game with a defense not particularly known for having great success — it ranks No. 162 in the nation in defensive efficiency at 1.02 points per possession allowed per game, and it will be going against the country’s No. 1 offense in Wisconsin.

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Roundup: National writers weigh-in on IU’s tournament chances

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After missing the NCAA tournament last season, Indiana is back in the field and tips off Friday afternoon at 2:45 p.m. ET against Wichita State at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

Here’s a roundup of what writers from around the country are saying about IU’s chances in March Madness:

· Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com took a look at all 68 teams in the field and ranked the Hoosiers at No. 42:

When the ball is moving, the break is breaking and the shots are going down, Indiana might be the best value proposition in college basketball. A child of Tom Crean’s roster necessity, IU is essentially a team full of guards and wings that sprints, spaces, shoots and plays almost zero defense. Is this strategy sustainable? Of course not. Is it fun to watch? Oh, yes.

· Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News broke down the Midwest Region and listed the Hoosiers as his “sleeper team”:

Indiana. The Hoosiers might not even be a wise pick in their opener, but their greatest vulnerability is to teams with great size, and they could get a while in this particular bracket without this becoming an issue. For Indiana even to get past their first game – Wichita State would be a wise pick on any bracket – it will have to control the Ron Baker-Fred VanVleet backcourt. But we’ve seen small-school teams get hot from 3-point range and do some damage. What about a small big-school team?

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News and notes from Tom Crean’s radio show

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On Monday evening, Indiana coach Tom Crean spoke at his final weekly radio show of the season hosted by Don Fischer and looked ahead to the Hoosiers’ NCAA tournament opener against Wichita State on Friday, among several other topics.

Below are news and notes from what the Hoosiers’ coach had to say:

On Indiana women’s basketball coach Teri Moren

At the start of the show, Crean glanced at a TV, which was showing NCAA women’s basketball tournament selection show. It sparked the seventh-year Hoosiers coach to open with a vote of confidence for Indiana women’s coach Teri Moren.

The women’s team finished the season 15-16 after Moren took over the squad on August 9, less than three months before the start of the season following Curt Miller’s resignation.

“It’s just a matter of time before she and her staff get this program exactly where it should be,” Crean said. “They walked into a tough, tough situation. And those girls lost a coach obviously that they cared a lot about. And those are hard deals.

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Notebook: Hoosiers have ‘work cut out’ against Wichita State

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Just a couple hours after the Hoosiers found out they would be facing Wichita State in their 2015 NCAA tournament opener, several players had the chance to react to the draw.

One player who took particular interest in the match-up was junior Nick Zeisloft. Just last season as a sophomore at Illinois State, Zeisloft played the Shockers twice during their undefeated regular season.

And he has made sure his teammates know Friday’s game will not be an easy one.

“They’re a great team,” Zeisloft said. “Well-coached, very tough, physically and mentally. I mean, I think coach (Tom Crean) has told us they’re one of the winningest programs in the past three years from a winning percentage wise, and they went to the Final Four a few years ago, and I’ve played them several times. They’re very good.

“We have our work cut out for us, but we’re very excited we have them, as well.”

The Hoosiers were made well-aware of Wichita State’s success over the past three years. During the 2012-13 season, the Shockers made it to the Final Four and lost to the eventual national champion, Louisville. Just last season, they finished the regular season undefeated and lost to eventual NCAA tournament runner-up Kentucky in the second round.

And this season, several significant contributors from those previous teams have made another big impact. The Shockers are 28-4 heading into Friday’s second-round game in Omaha.

“They’ve got a couple of bona fide stars in (Ron) Baker and (Fred) Van Vleet,” Crean said. “And the bottom line is they’ve got a bunch of other guys that really know how to play and that make each other better constantly.”

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First look: Wichita State Shockers

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Indiana will face Wichita State in the NCAA tournament round of 64 on Friday in Omaha, Nebraska at the CenturyLink Center. We’ll have our in-depth What To Expect preview later in the week, but here’s a first look at the seventh-seeded Shockers.

Wichita State is located about 303 miles southwest of Omaha, so the Shockers should have a strong contingency of fans in the arena on Friday, especially with a potential matchup with Kansas looming on Sunday if they are to advance past Indiana. Gregg Marshall is in his eighth season at Wichita State and the Shockers were actually in the same bracket with Indiana back in 2012 in Portland, but were knocked off by VCU as a No. 5 seed.

This is the fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance for Wichita State and the program went to the Final Four back in 2013 where it fell to eventual national champion Louisville. Last season, the Shockers went undefeated in the regular season and earned a No. 1 seed, but were knocked off in their second game against eventual national runner-up Kentucky.

In a year in which it appears the NCAA tournament selection committee really valued who you played and who you beat, Wichita State’s lack of a marquee win over a major conference team is the likely reason it slid down to a No. 7 seed. Despite a lofty No. 14 national ranking by Ken Pomeroy and a top 16 ranking in the AP Top 25 all season, the Shockers only beat two NCAA tournament teams in the regular season: New Mexico State and Northern Iowa.

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Video: Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall talks NCAA tournament

Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall met with the media on Sunday night following the NCAA tournament selection show to discuss his team’s draw in the field, Friday’s matchup with Indiana and more.

Watch the full press conference below:

Podcast on the Brink: NCAA tournament draw reaction

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Podcast on the Brink is back for another episode with host Jerod Morris of The Assembly Call.

The Hoosiers are back in the NCAA tournament and Morris is joined by Inside the Hall editor Alex Bozich to look at Indiana’s draw in the big dance. Among the topics discussed:

· Indiana safely making the field after all of the bubble discussion
· A first look at Friday’s matchup with Wichita State
· The players Indiana needs to play well to advance
· Inside the Hall’s coverage plans for the tournament

And plenty more, so tune in and enjoy. As always, feel free to drop the show a note at jerod@assemblycall.com.

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