The Hoosiers are going dancing.
“I didn’t cry actually, which is rare," Crean said. "I was stunned. I’d be lying if to say that I saw a 10-seed coming. Honored to have it, we’re grateful for it. And it came up so fast. It’s like, there’s Kansas and then there’s Wichita State. And I’m saying, ‘Wow, Wichita State could play Kansas in the second round’ and boom! there’s Indiana. It was just one of those deals.”
The Hoosiers (20-13) are indeed a 10-seed, despite the thoughts of ESPN's Joe Lunardi, who had IU on the outside of the tournament looking in. As it turns out, Indiana wasn't even a bubble team. It was in safely, and will be rewarded with a matchup against 7-seed Wichita State on Friday afternoon (2:45 p.m. ET) in Omaha, Neb.
“It’s a great feeling. It’s one of those moments that you never, ever get tired of," Crean said. "You’ve had the thrill of seeing your name come up, but when you get to watch somebody else watch their name come up, that’s bigger to me now. In the old days, it was different. But that’s bigger to me.”
Crean may have been calm, but his players certainly will not. He said he felt his players' nerves when he saw them on Sunday morning, but he just let them deal with them on their own. The team practiced in the afternoon to be ready in the event they had to play a play-in game on Tuesday or Wednesday.
“We just had a lot of doubt about it," junior Nick Zeisloft said. "We didn't know."
But their name came up, and they were in safely. A season that began in disaster will end in the NCAA Tournament. That's something few saw coming in November.
“We wanted to do that from the beginning of the season when our backs were against the wall," James Blackmon Jr. said.
Now, the Hoosiers have new life and a clean slate. Hit the reset button. You feel that? It's called relief, the weight of an angry Hoosier Nation lifted off of Crean's shoulders for at least a few days.
"I wouldn't call it relief," Crean said. "I'd call it pure joy."