Tidbits: Tom Crean's connections to Pitt

Notes on Tom Crean's connections to Pittsburgh and why IU fans should feel good about Tuesday night.

Indiana coach Tom Crean opened his press conference on Monday afternoon by talking about his affinity for Pittsburgh's basketball program. As it turns out, Crean has quite a few connections to Pitt.

Crean was an assistant coach under Ralph Willard from 1994-95. His daughter, Megan, was born in Pittsburgh, and his wife, Joani, graduated from Pitt. Crean also coached against Pittsburgh during his nearly 10-year tenure at Marquette.

Does Crean have Dixon's number?

There's no denying Jamie Dixon is one of the best coaches in college basketball. He's always been a favorite of mine. But Crean is 6-3 against Dixon in his career, including a 74-64 win with the Hoosiers in 2009. That game was part of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

The Hoosiers finished that season 10-21. Pittsburgh was 25-9 and advanced to the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. My point: Crean beat Dixon with a far inferior team. That should give Indiana fans some optimism in advance of Tuesday night's game against Dixon and the Panthers.

Two-faced teams

Tuesday night's game features a battle between teams that have been hard to figure out through six games. That's often the case with young teams, but you usually get some idea by this point what a team will end up being. You get very little idea from Indiana and Pittsburgh.

The Hoosiers (5-1) looked strong against SMU in an upset win, then laid an egg against Eastern Washington and looked unimpressive in wins over Lamar and UNC Greensboro.

The Panthers (4-2) lost to Hawaii, were blown out by San Diego State and beat Samford by only seven, but then dominated Kansas State by 23 points.

Who are the real Hoosiers? Who are the real Panthers? Perhaps we will have some semblance of an answer after Tuesday night.

Ready or not, here comes Pittsburgh

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Column: Long way to go for young, small IU

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