Tom Crean’s whirlwind week got even crazier Monday.
Upon returning home from the Super Bowl, the Indiana coach found out he’s leading America’s No. 1 college basketball team. Again.
It was another crowning moment in a week full of big wins for the Crean clan. Indiana beat No. 13 Michigan State, archrival Purdue and No. 1 Michigan in a seven-day span, before Crean headed to New Orleans. There, he watched one brother-in-law beat his other brother-in-law for the Super Bowl title. Finally, he saw the Hoosiers reclaim the top spot in The Associated Press poll after seven weeks.
“Our guys appreciate winning. They appreciate the task that it is and I think because our older guys have been through so many hard times, they appreciate it that much more,” a weary-sounding Crean said during Monday’s weekly Big Ten conference call. “And I think our younger guys were raised on winning. Guys like Yogi (Ferrell), Cody (Zeller), Remy Abell, those guys were really raised on winning, and that helps.”
It’s the fifth straight week there is a new No. 1 team.
Duke started the current streak and was followed by Louisville, Duke again, Michigan and now Indiana. The last time there were five No. 1s in as many weeks was the last five polls of 2008-09, when it was Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Connecticut again, North Carolina and Louisville.
The Hoosiers, the preseason No. 1, held the top spot for the first five weeks of the regular season. They moved up two spots Monday after their win over the Wolverines and then-No. 2 Kansas’ loss to Oklahoma State. They received 58 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel, while Florida, which jumped two spots to second, got the other seven.
Michigan, which made its first appearance atop the Top 25 in more than two decades last week, dropped two spots to No. 3 and was followed by Duke, Kansas, Gonzaga, Arizona, Miami, Syracuse and Ohio State.
The change at the top of the poll came as no surprise in Bloomington.
Even before Saturday’s game ended, fans were chanting “No. 1, No. 1.”
“We’ve been playing with a chip on our shoulder since the day I got here,” junior swingman Victor Oladipo said Saturday. “We’ve got to continue to play with that chip because it can be taken away at any time.”
Indiana found that out the hard way with an overtime loss to then-unranked Butler on Dec. 15.
For the next seven weeks, the Hoosiers were trying to get back to No. 1.
The only stumble was a home loss to Wisconsin. But last week, they played their best basketball all season, leading almost from start to finish in all three games and handing Purdue its worst home loss ever.
For Crean, that was just the start of the whirlwind weekend.
He flew on a private plane Sunday morning to New Orleans, where he watched the Super Bowl with his wife, Joani, the sister of John and Jim Harbaugh.
“It’s really hard certainly for Joani and her parents because you’ve got such great joy for one and such pride,” Crean said.
He received a text message Sunday from Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who has had three children play college sports, that Crean showed to his father-in-law late that night.
“He said as a parent, you’re only as happy as your unhappiest child, and I think it’s an amazing statement and one of the most profound things that I’ve ever heard, and it probably fits what Joani’s parents are going through,” Crean said. “But in a sense, it could be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so there’s incredible joy in being able to be a part of it and see it.”
Crean was scheduled to return home Monday afternoon, in time for practice after a mostly sleepless night.
There were four newcomers to the poll this week: Georgetown, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, all of whom were ranked at some point this season. They replaced Wichita State and Mississippi, which both lost two games last week and fell from 15th and 16th; North Carolina State, which was No. 6 in the preseason poll and also lost twice last week; and San Diego State.
Tom Crean’s whirlwind week got even crazier Monday.
- Improved Gibson proves key for Bulls' success DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Taj Gibson flashed back to the grueling workouts in the searing Southern California heat last summer. There he was with Derrick Rose, running and jumping and trying to take his game to another level for the Chicago Bulls while thei
- PREP BASEBALL: A pitcher's duel EMMA -- The pitchers were dominant early on until the offenses could getting things going in a high school baseball game between the Northridge Raiders and the Westview Warriors Friday night at Westview. Both starting pitchers hurled four innings of
- NBA: Pacers switch into playoff mode against Hawks INDIANAPOLIS -- The Pacers believe things have changed. Instead of chasing the top seed in the Eastern Conference, all they have to do is protect their home court. Instead of pressing, they've been joking around. And instead of trying debating what w
Paul George making big play for endorsement deals
Paul George already has a winning resume
- NBA: Bulls ready to start playoff push against Wizards CHICAGO -- Lose a franchise player, trade away another star. Snag home-court advantage for at least one round in the playoffs? It's not the way the Chicago Bulls mapped it out at the start of the season. But here they are, holding the fourth seed and
- PREP BOYS TRACK AND FIELD: Warriors triumph GOSHEN -- The Wawasee Warriors showcased a couple of very talented athletes in an NLC meet with the Goshen Redskins and the Northridge Raiders Thursday night at Foreman Field. Juniors Clayton Cook and JJ Gilmer were involved in six first places finis
- PREP BOYS GOLF: Goshen easily downs Central in 2014 opener ELKHART -- Sometimes, the third time really is the charm. After the first two scheduled meets of the season were postponed due to inclement weather earlier this week, the Goshen High School boys golf team was finally able to start the 2014 season Th
Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil
The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.
- TGN Sports Roundtable, Ep. 26
- NBA: Pacers rest 3 starters, cruise past Magic ORLANDO, Fla. -- Rasual Butler and Chris Copeland each scored 19 points as the Indiana Pacers rested their key players and cruised to a 101-86 victory over the Orlando Magic in the regular-season finale for both teams. The Eastern Conference's top se
- More Sports Headlines