Tom Crean never wanted to coach against the guy who taught him everything he knows. In 2007, the NCAA tournament finally made him face his former boss when they seeded Crean’s Marquette team against Michigan State. Crean was sick, and his team went the first 10 minutes of the game without scoring as the master knew everything the his protege would try. But Tuesday night was different.
in 2009, Crean left Marquette for an Indiana team that was on probation, which included Crean not being able to leave town to recruit. He sufferred more drubbings by Izzo, and everyone else, as the Hoosiers went 6-25. The next year they won only 10 games.
But all the while Crean was amassing 5-star players with promises of instant playing time. Last year I watched him rev up the crowd and new recruits as Indiana beat No. 1 Kentucky – and the Wildcats wanted no more part of Indiana as they did not renew the series rather than let Indiana come into Kentucky this year and beat them on their own floor – just like Crean and Indiana did last night.
Crean has amassed more talent than his Hall of Fame former boss Izzo has in recent years. The Cleveland Cavaliers tried to hire Izzo, which would have avoided this match-up, but he chose to stay and now the closest of friends will have to face off twice a year in the best conference in the land.
For this year, give Crean the sweep and the No. 1 ranking as he tries to join his brothers-in-law, Jim and John Harbaugh, in facing off for a championship this year.