BLOOMINGTON – It didn’t take long for Indiana to receive added motivation for the upcoming NCAA tournament.
Shortly after Indiana’s name appeared on the selection show, Seth Davis of CBS said the Hoosiers wouldn’t last past the opening weekend.
“I love it, but that’s just Seth. Seth has been giving us ammunition all year,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said Sunday. “Seth is the gift that keeps on giving right now with his predictions. We look forward to that. But I never have a problem when anybody picks against us.”
The winner of the Indiana/New Mexico State game faces either Wichita State or VCU on Saturday.
The Hoosiers landed a No. 4 seed, in line with most of the projections.
“You learn over a period time that the seed is nice because it reflects the body of work,” Crean said, “but then it truly becomes, ‘OK, how do you match up? How do you match up in the first game? What are the possibilities of the second game?’
“And then you look ahead and see what your bracket looks like. After (Sunday), we probably won’t be looking at the bracket other than the first two games that we would potentially play. The majority of my time and the team’s time will be spent on New Mexico State.”
By the numbers
New Mexico State ranks third in the country in rebounding margin (plus-8.7), 11th in scoring offense (78.3 points per game), 26th in scoring margin (plus-10.5) and 31st in field-goal percentage (47.2).
“They have a couple of things that stand out about them that make them really unique,” Crean said. “Certainly it is something we are partial to because we work really hard to get to the foul line; I can’t remember a team that averages 30 free-throw attempts just like they do. That is an incredible number. And they average almost 15 offensive rebounds,” Crean said. “… They get guys that come from different parts of the country and they mesh into a very good team.”
Against the WAC
Indiana has never played a team from the Western Athletic Conference in the NCAA tournament. The Hoosiers are 10-1 all time against WAC schools. This is the second meeting between the Aggies and Hoosiers. Indiana won the first meeting, 74-68, in Bloomington on Dec. 7, 1961.