MSU Men's Hoop Team Is Picked 2nd In The Big Ten

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) -- Tom Crean's approach to revamping basketball at Indiana following a program-rocking phone scandal has been to meet everything head on.

But the former Marquette coach acknowledged Sunday at the Big Ten media day that the situation has at times been even more difficult than imagined. That's why a housecleaning was part of the process, one that left the Hoosiers with just two returning players.

"It's just the way it's worked out. It's in a situation where there really was no choice. There's been no regrets in any area, taking the job or the decisions that were made," Crean said.

"Now we've just got to move forward. That's what I'm saying all the time."

The NCAA phone call scandal led to the ouster of former coach Kelvin Sampson, and now the once-proud program is picked by most to finish last this season in the conference.

But the challenge has been one that Crean has embraced, despite all the bumps along the way.

"I'm energized by the whole thing. There were a lot of days in April, May and June that left a lot to be desired, but that was part of it," Crean said.

"It's not like you can take a left turn and go sit at the beach for a few days and hope it goes away. You've got to come in and attack it straight-on."

And Crean does have somewhere to turn as he tries to revamp the program -- his former boss Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.

"We talk all the time about really everything. He's been great with me about everything and this is no different," Crean said.

Izzo, who has built one of the nation's most consistent programs, said he's confident Indiana hired the right person. He added there's always a chance a team that is depleted can rally around the trying circumstances and win more games than expected.

"That's what Tom has to try to do. If he can get it going and those things take over and you win more games than should. But I don't worry about Indiana and Tom Crean," Izzo said.

"Indiana is too good a school and he's too good a coach. I don't have a timetable, but he'll get the job done."

Izzo has guided the Spartans to 11 straight NCAA tournament appearances, four trips to the Final Four and a national title.

"I never feel secure," he said. "I never feel we've accomplished enough."

Michigan State was chosen to finish second in the Big Ten in a preseason poll of 22 media members.

Purdue, which went 25-9 last season with 15 conference wins and returns all five starters back, was chosen to win the league. And Wisconsin, which has back-to-back 30-win seasons under coach Bo Ryan, was picked third.

Purdue sophomore Robbie Hummel was chosen preseason player of the year after averaging 11 points and six rebounds a year ago.

Hummel is already showing the way for the Boilermakers in preseason drills. He sported two discolored abrasions above and below his left eye Sunday, the result of diving at the end of a running drill and scraping his face on a wall.

Hummel knew if he didn't finish in a prescribed time, the entire team would suffer.

"If I didn't make the time, the whole team would have to run," Hummel said of his fully extended effort.

"Robbie is a guy a lot of coaches and fans admire because of the way he plays the game," Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said. "He plays the game the right way. He's unselfish."

Also named to the preseason all-league team were Michigan's Manny Harris, Michigan State's Raymar Morgan, Purdue's E'Twaun Moore and Wisconsin's Marcus Landry.


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