Tom Crean knows what major rebuilding jobs look like. When he took over at Indiana five years ago, the vaunted basketball power had been knocked to its knees by NCAA sanctions and academic neglect under Kelvin Sampson.
So when Crean praises the work of first-year Nebraska coach Tim Miles, it’s worth a listen.
“Tim has done a really good job of going in and making those guys better and making them believe and getting them to play extremely hard,” Crean said Monday.
“They approach each game with the mindset of winning the game. That’s what makes Tim such a dangerous opponent. He’s not locked in to just one way to play the game. You can see a lot of different things from them.”
Indiana lost to Nebraska last year in Lincoln, and Crean doesn’t want a repeat upset Wednesday.
“We’ve got to stay locked into doing what we do,” he said, “and try to set the tempo and the pace.”
Co-players of the week: Illinois guard D.J. Richardson and Wisconsin guard Ben Brust. Richardson, a 6-foot-3 senior from Peoria, Ill., scored 23 points in a win over Indiana, and had 13 points, two assists and two steals in a win over Minnesota. Brust, a 6-1 junior from Hawthorn Woods, Ill., scored 14 points and had the game-tying shot in a win over Michigan, and had 18 points and six rebounds in a win over Iowa.
Rookie of the week: Michigan forward Mitch McGary. The 6-10 freshman from Chesterton, Ind., had 14 points, six rebounds and four steals in a win over Ohio State, and 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals in a loss to Wisconsin.
Quote of the week
Michigan coach John Beilein, on how to rally your players in overtime:
“You’re always saying something, even if you’re lying like crazy. Tell them, ‘Guys, we’ve got them where we want them. We’re in better shape.’ It’s the idea of what we’re doing.”
Stat of the week
Nebraska’s two opponents this week are No. 1 Indiana and No. 8 Michigan State. The last time the Huskers met consecutive opponents ranked that high was in 1989-90 when they faced No. 1 Kansas and No. 5 Missouri.
Bits and pieces
Northwestern has two starters ailing with injuries. Center Alex Olah will miss Thursday’s game at Ohio State after suffering a concussion in Saturday’s game at Iowa, and forward Jared Swopshire (knee strain) is doubtful. ... Nebraska coach Tim Miles tweeted congratulations Monday to his former team, Colorado State, which has cracked the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1954. ... Iowa’s Devyn Marble, who scored two points in the two previous games combined, exploded for 21 in a win over Northwestern.
Contact the writer: