Tom Crean Archive

Indiana needed — and deserved — this win

It almost felt like it was supposed to happen this way.

The Hoosiers blew their 10-point lead and trailed No. 1 Kentucky 72-70 with only 5.6 seconds left. But some way, somehow, you just knew something magical was about to happen.

After everything Tom Crean and this program has been through over the last three-plus years, Indiana needed –- and probably deserved –- a win like this one.

“I hate to lose, but if I’m to lose, losing to Tommy’s [Crean] fine because of what he’s done here in four years,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “And having to do it the way he did it, where you’re undermanned and now you’re trying to fight everybody [saying] ‘why aren’t we winning?’

“For him to have this happen to him, for he and his family, I’m happy for him. They deserved to win the game.”

Even after Kentucky’s Doron Lamb missed one of two free throws, the Hoosiers needed so much to happen for them to win.

They had to avoid getting fouled when Kentucky had two to give. They had to get the ball down the court in a hurry and stay spread. They needed a Wildcat defender to forget about Christian Watford. And they needed Watford –- who played the best game of his career -– to hit the biggest shot of his life.

No foul, Verdell Jones rushed the ball down court, Darius Miller got sucked in, Watford splashed it.

Game over.

“It was like a dream, like slow motion,” Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said afterward. “In some ways, I couldn’t believe it, but in other ways, I couldn’t believe it would end any other way. It was kind of like it was a game of destiny.

“IU basketball is back. There couldn’t have been a bigger signature win.”

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A night to remember in Assembly Hall

Once the raucous crowd on the Assembly Hall court finally began to subside, Christian Watford made his way into media room — still in partial disbelief over what had transpired less than 45 minutes earlier.

“It’s indescribable. I don’t even really know what happened. I couldn’t really tell you,” said Watford, who knocked down the biggest shot of his career to lift the Hoosiers past No. 1 Kentucky, 73-72. “All I know is that I saw Verdell [Jones] driving and I just tried to loop behind him and he did a great job of finding me and I got a shot.”

A picture-perfect ending to a signature win for a program that has made little more than a national whimper the past three seasons. A win that should carry Indiana into the top 25 polls that will be released on Monday. A win that the NCAA Tournament selection committee will put an asterisk next to when March rolls around.

And a win that confirms what so many were cautious to say after eight games: Indiana is back.

But perhaps more important than all of those things, according to Tom Crean, this was a moment that everyone associated with the program could share together.

“This is one of the most shared moments that I’ve ever been a part of, maybe the most shared moment where you want to share it with everybody that’s been a part of this program long before we got here, the ones that have joined in, in the sense of becoming fans over a period of time,” Crean said. “This is the epitome of what Hoosier Nation is all about and the fans and everybody that supports this program from close and far, young and old, they deserve it because it’s one of those moments that everybody’s going to remember.”

Remember it they will.

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HD Video: Tom Crean on Kentucky win

Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 73-72 win over No. 1 Kentucky. Watch and listen to his comments in high-definition video in the embedded player below:

HD Video: Crean, Hulls and Zeller preview Kentucky

Indiana coach Tom Crean, junior Jordan Hulls and freshman Cody Zeller met with the media on Thursday afternoon to preview the Hoosiers’ upcoming meeting with No. 1 Kentucky. Watch and listen to both press conferences in high-definition quality in the embedded media players below:

Around the Hall: Zeller honored, Harbaugh on execution

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall crew. So go ahead, get your read on. 

+ Will Sheehey is among ten sophomores to keep an eye on this season according to Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated.

+ Cody Zeller was named the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Week for the third time.

+ The Big Ten tops the first conference ratings compiled by ESPN.com.

+ Tom Crean tells ESPN.com that he received a text from his brother in-law Jim Harbaugh following the Hoosiers’ win at N.C. State. The text read: “You guys had execution with an edge.”

+ Indiana is seeded eighth in the west in the first NCAA Tournament bracket projection by NBC Sports.

+ Associated Press Top 25 voter Michael Phillips of the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch tells Zach Osterman of Inside Indiana why he voted the Hoosiers No. 24 on his ballot this week.

+ Don Fischer voices his displeasure to Dan Dakich about student attendance at Assembly Hall and offers this solution: “My theory on this is, every time you don’t get 7,600 (students) there, you take away 1,000 tickets.” (Note: Fischer’s comments can be heard at the 9:40 mark of the podcast linked.)

+ Avi Zaleon of The Indiana Daily Student writes that Remy Abell enjoys being underestimated: “I like being underestimated because nobody really knows how good you are until you show it.”

+ Rick Bozich of The Louisville Courier-Journal examines this season’s historic start for Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville.

HD Video: Tom Crean on Stetson win

Watch and listen to Indiana coach Tom Crean react to the Hoosiers’ 84-50 win over Stetson on Sunday at Assembly Hall in high-definition video in the embedded media player below:

HD Video: Tom Crean on win at N.C. State

Watch and listen to the postgame comments of Indiana coach Tom Crean following the Hoosiers’ 86-75 win at N.C. State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in the embedded media player below:

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