Sunday, March 17, 2013
Tom Crean, Mark Few battle for top seeds
By Andy Katz
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Hoosiers coach Tom Crean and Gonzaga Bulldogs coach Mark Few made their cases early Sunday why they should be No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament based on the consistency and strength of their teams' regular-season work.
Crean and Few told ESPN.com Sunday afternoon that each of them did everything they could have possibly done this year.
The top-ranked Zags won the West Coast Conference tournament on Monday and didn’t lose a game to a conference opponent this year. The Hoosiers won the Big Ten regular-season title outright, but lost Saturday in the conference tournament semifinals to Wisconsin.
"Look at our number of top 10 wins, the number of top 25 wins and winning on the road," said Crean, whose Hoosiers have a 3-0 top 10 record, are 7-2 against the top 25, and have 10 road/neutral wins.
"We lost a game with 0.9 seconds left (at Illinois) and (against Wisconsin) we were in it until the last minute or a half," Crean said. "We’ve won with two seconds left and everything in between. We’ve been very consistent and won the toughest league in the country and you would think there is value in playing in the toughest league."
Indiana is likely to get a No. 1 seed, but the question remains whether the Hoosiers will be the No. 1 overall seed and would earn the right to play in an advantageous situation in the Midwest where the regional finals are in Indianapolis. Or will the NCAA selection committee reward Louisville with the overall top seed and Indianapolis as a destination?
"I don’t have a real thought on that but you want to be where you feel you’ve earned it," said Crean. "Selfishly I want to be where we don’t miss more class time and it’s accessible for your fans. We’ve done enough to consider us as one of the very best."
Few said the Zags have controlled “everything we could control." Gonzaga played a strong non-conference schedule by beating two of the top three Big 12 schools in Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Gonzaga had one top 25 win, though, six in the top 50 and was 16-1 in road/neutral games.
The Zags lost at the buzzer at Butler and had one bad half, a second half at home to Illinois.
"We pretty much aced it," said Few of the schedule. "No one can say for sure we could not have won the Big Ten, ACC or Big 12. Maybe, or maybe not. You can’t say for sure that other teams could have went 31-2 with our schedule. But with that being said it is an honor to be in the conversation with this group of teams. They’re all great."