Indiana basketball has regained its heart and soul, and it comes in the form of head coach Tom Crean. Although IU lost a tough game 79-71 to Wisconsin today in the Big Ten tournament, the young squad gave Penn State a beating yesterday. Unfortunately, the team also lost its team leader, senior Verdell Jones III, in the process. Jones, who has been with Crean and IU through the entire rebuilding process awkwardly landed in the first half of IU's 75-58 win, tearing his ACL and putting him out for the rest of the season.
"We were stunned when Verdell went down," coach Crean said as he choked back tears. "There is no question about that, but we had to regroup. ... I would ask everybody out there to keep praying like I am and he has meant a ton to our program. He's meant a ton to us and he's represented this school so well. There's no doubt about that, I'm just going to hope for the best."
After the firings, violations, and the period of horrible basketball that IU has gone through over the past five or six years, this has been the first season in which the Hoosiers were relevant again. Ranked No. 15 to end the season with a 25-8 record, this team has beaten three top-five teams this year and has proven that they will be no joke in this NCAA tourney. Attribute that to coach Crean. The entire campus praises the man for the way he has dug this team out of a hole using the right methods. Seeing him cry about one of his seniors like this just proves that that school means just as much to him as he does to the Hoosier constituency. We have a feeling losing Jones will only pull this team closer together.
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