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Wednesday, Feb. 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

IU selected to No. 1 seed in East region

B1G Tournament Game v. Illinois CAROUSEL

The road to the Final Four will not run through Indianapolis, at least not for IU.

Louisville rode a 10-game winning streak and a Big East Tournament title to the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 overall seed. That accolade placed the Cardinals in the Midwest Region, featuring regional semifinal and final games in Indianapolis.

IU was relegated to the No. 1 seed in the east region that plays fourth- and fifth-round games in Washington, D.C. The Hoosiers will open the tournament Friday in Dayton, Ohio, against the winner of a play-in game between LIU-Brooklyn and James Madison.

“It definitely feels good to be a one seed,” sophomore forward Cody Zeller said. “Where we came from to where we are now is a big step for us and we have a tough road ahead of us. Every team that we have to beat is going to be good. It’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The tipoff time for IU’s first game will be at approximately 4:10 p.m. Friday.

This marks just IU’s third No. 1 seed in history. The team had one in 1987 when it won its last title and again in 1993 when the Hoosiers reached the Elite 8.

Kansas and Gonzaga garnered the other two No. 1 seeds.

IU’s potential opening opponents will play at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday in Dayton. LIU Brooklyn (20-13) made the tournament by virtue of winning the Northeast Conference tournament. The Blackbirds defeated IU opponent Mount St. Mary’s 91-70 on the final.

James Madison (20-14) was also an automatic qualifier for the tournament after winning the Colonial Athletic Conference tournament as the third seed. The veteran Dukes employ a much slower game plan, averaging 65.2 points per game and allowing 64.8.

Two teams that have defeated IU, Butler and Illinois, are in the Hoosiers’ bracket as the No. 6 and No. 7 seeds, respectively. Every team that defeated IU this season made the tournament field, none lower than No. 11 seed Minnesota.

Miami is the No. 2 seed in IU’s region, while Marquette, Crean’s former school, is No. 3 and Syracuse is No. 4.

If IU wins it’s first game, it will play either North Carolina State or Temple.

Either way, players said they are looking forward to seeing teams from beyond the Big Ten for a change.

“We’ve definitely beaten each other up all year,” senior forward Christian Watford said. “Any chance you get to play somebody else, it feels good.”

After IU, the Big Ten’s highest seed is No. 2 Ohio State, followed by No. 3 Michigan State, No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Wisconsin and the aforementioned Illinois and Minnesota.

Other in-state teams in the field include Butler, No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 14 Valparaiso.

Former Hoosier Steve Alford’s New Mexico Lobos are a No. 3 seed.

Any of these teams could theoretically oppose IU down the line, but for now, the path to a sixth banner begins in Dayton on Friday, every game potentially the team’s last from this point on.

“You’re only guaranteed one more game, so every team is going go out and prepare the best they can and play their hearts out,” Hulls said. “Every team in the tournament is going to do that, so you’ve got to approach it with that mindset of one game at a time.”

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