They said it: Indiana coach Tom Crean and players Yogi Ferrell, Troy Williams and Max Bielfeldt

They said it: Indiana coach Tom Crean and players Yogi Ferrell, Troy Williams and Max Bielfeldt after losing to North Carolina, 101-86:

TOM CREAN: First and foremost, I can’t even begin to describe how proud I am of this group — these three and their teammates. With everything that they’ve accomplished this season and the things they’ve had to endure, to get to this point, and then even the things in-house with the injuries and situations like that that we’ve had to handle.
And every team goes through different stages. And they either really bond together or they fracture apart. And all this team did throughout everything is bond together to where it was just incredible. And it certainly hasn’t hit me yet that it just ended. So I’ll probably struggle with the questions of finality. But they’ve given everything to Indiana.
Yogi is leaving here as one of the great winners, and it’s really no way anybody’s going to be able to take that away from him. He’s won two outright championships in four years. And he leaves obviously with the accolades, was a part of our two Sweet 16s in the last five years. And what these guys have done is remarkable. And it’s been an absolute honor to coach them. And I can’t put it into words anymore than that.
As far as the game, North Carolina played outstanding. If they play like that, even remotely close to that, then they’re going to be very, very hard to beat. And I hope they do. Because Roy deserves it. And they shot the ball — first thing Roy said coming off the court is they shot the ball extremely well. Obviously we didn’t shoot it nearly as well as we’re capable of. I was never down about where our offense was, because we were missing shots we usually make. And we were missing shots that — I mean, you can’t have the success our team’s had on both ends of the court without having that level of confidence that those shots are going to go.
And they just didn’t enough. And the first half really hurt us, no question about that. But we never really got the post game under control. The 3s hurt us, no question about that, but the post-ups, they destroyed us. We couldn’t overcome that. And so when you’ve got a team like that that’s got the depth, the consistency that they have, and then obviously we’re playing without another starter in Rob tonight which hurt our depth in the back court and hurt our depth defensively certainly, it was just too much for us to overcome tonight.
But these guys battled to the very end. And that’s exactly what you want. And I feel awful for them, because they gave everything. They gave everything to each other. And they were getting better up and to this morning — or this afternoon at the walk-through. When your team is getting better all the way throughout the year and you can look at that and you know they know they’re getting better, then we got a lot out of it. That’s why it’s hard to see a season end. It wasn’t like we were running on fumes. We were injured, but we were improving constantly. But Carolina deserved the win, no doubt about that.

Q. Just how tough was it to have them get out in the lead and try to play catch up the rest of the night, how hard was it trying to get back into the game and doing what you normally do?
TROY WILLIAMS:
The way we started it off, we had another slow start — this whole tournament we’ve been starting off slow and it came back to hurt us. I mean, we had games throughout the season where we would start off slow but we’ll find a way to get back. But — and they’re a great team. They just kept the lead and sustained the lead and also pushed the lead even more.
YOGI FERRELL: They were consistently making shots inside, outside, to start the game. And our shots weren’t falling. So going up against such a great team as North Carolina, can’t come out to a slow start. Gotta be clicking on all cylinders. We couldn’t stop them to start the game.

Q. All week we’ve heard that North Carolina doesn’t shoot the 3. They don’t make a lot of 3s and they come out and hit all those shots. How surprising was that for you guys and how did that take you off your game, so to speak?
MAX BIELFELDT:
Yeah, you know, they’re not traditionally known for knocking down all those shots. But today they did. And sometimes you’re in games like that and you just have to be able to adjust. And we tried to do some things adjusting-wise, but one guy stops, knocks them down. Paige started and another guy would knock them down after that.
So as far as the scouting report, a lot of the guys who are numbers-wise decent shooters, had a lot of great days. When you’ve got guys like that with a team like North Carolina, it’s a tough train to stop.

Q. Yogi, could you elaborate or describe your feelings when you checked out and the fans are chanting your name, just your emotions at that time?
YOGI FERRELL:
Emotions are high. To lose a game in the Sweet 16, didn’t get to where we wanted to get. But just reflecting back on all the four years I’ve had at IU, had a lot of accomplishments, and I felt I gave my all to IU. And at the end of the day I’m glad that Coach Crean took me to come to this university. I met a lot of people. Learned a lot of great things, and it’s just something that I’ll remember.

Q. Troy, you had a point in the second half where you scored about 14 straight points. And all it did was cut the lead to 10. How frustrating was that at that point to feel like you must have been doing all you possibly could?
TROY WILLIAMS:
It’s not really frustrating. I mean, those points, I mean, it always sparked the team. Since I’ve been here, I always had to find ways to impact the game, not only for me but for my teammates as well. If it’s by a dunk, rebound or pass I do it. I always put the team first. And just, if it has to be scoring, it’s going to be scoring.

Q. Coach, could you talk about, in Louisville, with the run you guys made just to get here, just how special was this and is that one of the things you’ll take away when you think about this team?
TOM CREAN:
I think they’re going to be so bonded. There’s going to be very few things in their life outside of personal issues or tragedies and things like that with what they’ve had to overcome. It’s been a bit crazy. And again we’re still talking about going in here yesterday, we’re talking about stuff that happened in November and December. I mean, I don’t know many teams that have to deal with that, but they’ve overcome that and continued to get better constantly.
And I think the way they were able to look at adversity or people’s version of it shut that out and absolutely focused in on what improvement is all about, what a level of commitment and connectedness is to one another. That’s why we had the success that we had. And the program has done a fantastic job of overcoming those things, and these guys take a back seat to no one on that.
So I’m proud of what they’ve done. And this loss will certainly become — it will hit me in a bit and that film will hit me. But it’s hit me every day that I’ve been fortunate to coach these guys.

Q. You touched on this a little bit in your opening statement. When Paige and the guards were making shots like they were, how much unreasonable does the task become because of how big and strong —
TOM CREAN:
Marcus was making video game shots to start the game. I mean seriously. He’s a tremendous player. And Roy, I’m sure, feels about him the way I feel about Yogi and deservedly so. I remember when they were both in the game as freshmen at Assembly Hall. But we never got him under control with what we wanted to do on the wings. And he’s a tremendous wing shooter, and what he did was he got hot and was able to make them from other places.
And no question I was — I had to think about going against doctor’s orders for a minute to get Rob Johnson into the game, but that wasn’t going to fly. But he did a great job and he brought a lot of confidence to his teammates tonight. When you’ve got that, with the level of what they’ve got inside, it’s hard to deal with.
Jackson was as scary going into the game as any of them, because he’s their Swiss Army knife, like Troy is for us. And he did a fantastic job in the first half. He’s a high, high level player because he’s in constant movement. When a guy can move like that, can make plays, make shots, that movement frees it up for other guys, and Marcus did a fantastic job throughout the game, and especially to start the game.

They said it: Notre Dame coach Mike Brey and players Zach Auguste, V.J. Beacham and Demetrius Jackson

They said it: Notre Dame coach Mike Brey and players Zach Auguste, V.J. Beacham and Demetrius Jackson after the Irish beat Wisconsin 61-56:

MIKE BREY: On Monday I told our group, I saw us showing us up as the 16th-rated team of the 16 teams left. But I thought we were the toughest team, the No. 1 team in toughness. And I think it’s played itself out again in a third game.
We have a great belief. We have a heck of a group. And maybe there’s some destiny involved in this thing.

Q. Demetrius, just talk about you’re down three and all of a sudden the swing, the big plays and the baskets and here you are now in the East Regional final.
DEMETRIUS JACKSON:
Feels amazing to be going back. We just did a great job sticking with it. We did a great job giving ourselves a chance to win. We had a lot of mistakes in the game but we kept fighting. We took our punches and we just kind of got back up, kept fighting, kept believing, kept communicating and we just made it happen.

Q. V.J., you guys were struggling offensively the first 30 minutes there and you hit some big shots to kind of get your guys going. What was your mindset in the second half and how as a team do you feel you were able to fight through that?
V.J. BEACHEM:
I think in the second half we were moving the ball better, getting it side to side, getting it inside and out. And we just had better movement and our shots were just a little more open. And all of us were able to knock them down. Just the way that we attack really opened up, really opened up the outside shot for all of us.

Q. Zach and Demetrius, you’ve been asked before about the team-of-destiny idea. The way you guys pulled out this game late, does it play into what your coach is talking about?
DEMETRIUS JACKSON:
Yeah, I think the whole year and how many game situations we’ve had throughout the whole year kind of prepared us for moments like these. All throughout the year we’ve been down, fighting — all throughout the year we’ve been in late-game situations where we really had to execute and believe and go out and win it defensively. So we were able to just do that again today. And so that’s all credit to Coach making us work on those things in practice and in games and helping us believe and help keeping us loose.
ZACH AUGUSTE: For sure, definitely gotta give a lot of credit to coach. Early on he emphasized we could be a special team and we can be better than last year. And it was just a matter of us trying to figure that out and trying to believe it. And that’s what we’ve done. And we’ve been competing and working hard and trying to get to where we want to be.

Q. An injury report, what’s wrong with you?
MIKE BREY:
Trainer said I should be able to go Sunday. About the 15-minute mark I was excited and jumped up and I pulled a calf muscle. Thank God it wasn’t Achilles. So little calf strain, no surgery needed, but I’m a little sore. I told the guys I’m the first one taped on Sunday.

Q. Just talk about the fact that your team is now one game away from a chance to go to Final Four, East Regional, regional final, and maybe your first as a coach, I’m not sure as a head coach. But just talk about that challenge, that opportunity, regardless of who you’re playing and how exciting is it?
MIKE BREY:
I’m proud that our group got back to this point. We were there last year and played one of the great games in the history of the NCAA Tournament against Kentucky. And we’re back in it again. We have another opportunity to go to a Final Four.
I’m very proud of this group because last year’s team had no pressure. We were coming off of a 15-17 year. This team had expectations from day one, and to get us back and deliver with expectations, I’m really proud of them and I’m extremely proud of the leadership of those guys that just left us.

Paige, Tar Heels took care of business against Hoosiers

Marcus Paige sent early notice that North Carolina was determined to uphold its top seeding in the NCAA East Regional, knocking in his first four 3-point attempts Friday night before the Tar Heels’ game against Indiana had reached the five-minute mark.
Paige finished with 21 points and North Carolina continued its offensive prowess in March, moving to the Elite Eight for the 20th time since 1975 with a 101-86 victory over the Hoosiers.
The top-seeded Tar Heels (31-6) will meet sixth-seeded Notre Dame on Sunday, determining one of two guaranteed Atlantic Coast Conference spots in the Final Four.
The Fighting Irish also beat a Big Ten team in the regional semifinals, knocking off Wisconsin 61-56. The Badgers lost to another ACC team, Duke, in the NCAA Championship game last season.
The Midwest Regional will also be an all-ACC affair with top-seeded Virginia facing 10th-seeded Syracuse. That means Sunday’s games will resemble a reboot of the ACC tournament.
It also guarantees the conference will have a team in the championship game again since the East and Midwest regions are paired up in the Final Four in Houston next week.
But back to the UNC-Indiana game, which was essentially over as soon as the Tar Heels built their lead to 20 points midway through the second half.
It was still an 11-point game, 65-54, when Troy Williams made a 3-pointer with 15:10 left in the game. But the Tar Heels then went on a 19-10 run over the next five minutes with Brice Johnson scoring eight of his 20 points. Johnson also had 10 rebounds as the Tar Heels advanced to a regional final for the seventh time in Roy Williams’ 12 years as UNC’s head coach, but first time since 2012..
Indiana ends its season 27-8 and fails to advance from a Sweet 16 game for the second time in Yogi Ferrell’s career. Ferrell finished with 25 points.
The Hoosiers also got 21 points from Williams, 15 points from Max Bielfeldt and 12 from Thomas Bryant. But as a team, IU made just 41 percent (25 of 61) of its shots and 13 of 31 3-point attempts (41.9 percent).
Meanwhile, UNC shot a blistering 51.6 percent (32 of 62), including 11 of 20 from behind the arc. The Tar Heels also outrebounded the Hoosiers, 37-32.

Pyle returns to Evansville to coach SPHL team

Jeff Pyle, who coached the Evansville IceMen to their only winning season in the ECHL during the 2013-14 season, is returning to coach the city’s new Southern Professional Hockey League team.
Team owner Mike Hall expects to announce the name of the hockey franchise within a week.
Pyle, who coached in the ECHL for 13 seasons and in the American Hockey League for one season, has more than 500 wins in minor league hockey. The IceMen finished his only season as head coach of the franchise with a 31-30-11 record but just missed out on earning a playoff berth. Overall, he has a 482-339-97 record in 13 seasons in the ECHL, including a 36-36 record in nine playoff appearances. He was 31-40-5 in his only season coaching the AHL’s Texas Stars in 20-11-12.
Pyle, 57, was dismissed by IceMen owner Geary after disagreements on how best to run the operations side of the franchise. He has been given assurances by Hall that he will have input in front office decisions but Hall intends to run the business side of the franchise.
Hall, who has been a season-ticket holder with the IceMen, became friends with Pyle during his previous stop in Evansville. When Hall began exploring the option of bringing another hockey team to town after lease negotiations for the Ford Center between the city and Geary broke down, Pyle was one of Hall’s primary consultants.
The more they talked, the more Pyle became interested in returning to Evansville.
“I just liked the idea of building a team and getting to work with people that you like,” said Pyle. “It’s a great market. A great building … I just wanted to help Mike keep a team in Evansville.
“I’d like to see if we can really tap this market. I think if we win and we work hard and put a product out there that is all about the players, the sponsors and the fans, it could really take off. It is a hockey town.”
Geary has announced he is moving the ECHL franchise to Owensboro, Kentucky, but the franchise will not operate next season because of the lack of a suitable facility. Geary’s plans to expand the Sportscenter to accommodate hockey, and then take ownership of the arena, will require more time and cost more than originally projected. Owensboro is now also exploring the option of building a new arena.
Hall said the thing he liked about Pyle from the start is how he allowed him and other fans to be around the team as much as possible.
“I believe I was one of the first people he met when he got here,” said Hall. “He was just kind of blue-collar; a lot like myself. When I started looking into this, he hooked me up with the right people to talk to … I’ve just been real impressed with him. We’ve been on the same page on everything … We just get along.”

They said it: Indiana coach Tom Crean and player Yogi Ferrell

Indiana coach Tom Crean and player Yogi Ferrell after beating Kentucky 73-67:

Tom Crean’s opening comments:
“We’re obviously elated to win a game of this magnitude, not just because it’s the NCAA Tournament and the round of 32 but because it’s against such a great program. We got a lot of respect for Kentucky, obviously got a lot of respect for John and admiration for how he coaches and what he does. That team was every bit as good as what we thought they were from watching them on film. Saw just a little bit of it the other night, but really the film didn’t lie.
“Our guys did a great job in a short period of time of getting ready for what we knew would be a tremendous physical and mental battle and they really stayed locked into the concentration. I think the fact that we rebounded so well and kept them from getting second chance points. We didn’t have a lot of costly turnovers, for the most part, and this group of guys right here along with guys like Troy and Nick Zeisloft has gotten so much better, and I hope somebody asks me about his defense in a bit. I don’t want to talk for too long, but it is an absolute honor for me to coach these guys, to work with this staff, and I love it.
“The bottom line for me is what drives me right now is that I want to just keep coachin’ ‘em, and I want to keep game planning and preparing and going to meeting with them and going to practice with them and getting on the bus with ‘em and I just want to be around them because they inspire me so much with their resiliency and the way they want to be coached and the way they care and love each other and it’s fantastic.”

Q. Does this rank as the most satisfying victory of your tenure at IU?
TOM CREAN: “I don’t know about that. I haven’t had time to think that way. It’s obviously up there, especially the way we won today. With losing Robert and then losing Juwan. The fortunate thing is Juwan wasn’t hurt as badly as he’s been a few other times, but he couldn’t go back into the game. But there was not a way for Rob to go back in.
“But I think the satisfying thing for me is as concerned and even sad when I knew Rob wasn’t going back in for him because I know who he’s done to come back in this. It never — I never overreacted to it. I have a lot of belief in these guys. As a coach, when you are around people that you believe in them and the biggest reason you have confidence in them is because of the confidence they have in each other and the fact that they can continue to get better. I thought we got better inside of the game.
“So satisfying wins for me are when we make improvements, when we learn, all right, when we are really concentrating and when you get into an environment like this and with everything on the line that’s on it and the time of year, it’s obviously a great feeling when you walk out of there with a win knowing that they put everything into it, under adverse situations and the adversity being the injuries that we dealt with in the game.”

Q. Yogi, you guys got it tied at 50 late in the second half, you guys hit a couple of quick threes. Did you feel a momentum shift? Take us through the rest of the game from there.
YOGI FERRELL: We knew it was going to be tough having to defend Kentucky, so we just tried to stick to our keys on defense, take away what they wanted, and I felt like when we got those multiple stops in a row, that’s when our break happens and good things happen with that.

FERRELL: “I feel like we shared the ball really well in the second half, and, you know, Nick hit a three and we were just driving to the rim playing inside out. We’re unstoppable.”

They said it: Kentucky coach John Calipari and players Tyler Ulis and Marcus Lee

Kentucky coach John Calipari and players Tyler Ulis and Marcus Lee after Wildcats lost 73-67 to Indiana in a second-round NCAA tournament game on Saturday, March 19:

Q. John, their depth, I think they were 18-7 in bench points. Do you feel like their depth made a difference tonight?
JOHN CALIPARI: Yeah, but we had — and, again, we’re normally the most efficient offensive team in the country. There’s two things that happened. We had six offensive fouls. I don’t know if in my career I’ve had a team have six offensive fouls. Then we couldn’t make open shots so we have 8 assists. Like all these open shots we missed. We missed a ton of really good shots.

Q. Marcus, obviously you guys have a tremendous roster and talent, but when you look at Indiana’s roster and the athletes that they were able to put out there, the depth, what would you say about, you know, how they were able to match your athleticism it seemed?
MARCUS LEE:
They are very athletic. They did really great today. Our players are really great players. They’re great people. The one thing we did do is we didn’t break down and we didn’t give up. We just didn’t go away.

Q. Tyler, thoughts about this season. You guys had to replace 7 players and went through a lot of adversity to get to this point. Thoughts about the journey and the bumps and it ending tonight and where that places in all that?
TYLER ULIS:
It was a great year for us. I felt like we went through a lot of ups-and-downs, had a lot of young players and guys learning how to play the right way. Everybody got better individually and today we didn’t play our best as a team, but I feel like we had a good season up to now.

UNI is a good team, but even better at being lucky

If buzzer-beating shots are the lifeblood of the NCAA tournament, then Northern Iowa is definitely living large these days.
Ben Jacsobsen’s Panthers have now won their last two games on last-gasp heaves.
Perhaps the game-winner in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship game in St. Louis wasn’t that unexpected. After all, the ball was in the hands of UNI’s top player, Wes Washpun and he had time to pick his spot at the top of the key with the score tied, 54-54. He also had time to pick his his moment against D.J. Balentine, the University of Evansville star who had the challenge of defending the crafty Washpun.
As we know all too well (and have seen much too often since that day two weeks ago), Washpun was up to the challenge. And even then, it took an astonishing lucky bounce high off the back of the rim to give UNI the win.
But what Paul Jesperson did Friday night in UNI’s 75-72 win over No. 6 seed Texas in an NCAA tournament first round game in Oklahoma City was as miraculous as it gets. His half-court heave with the game tied found nothing but net.
“The one last night, that was incredible,” said UE head coach Marty Simmons, who said he had just tuned in to the final few minutes of the game to see what the Panthers would do with that NCAA berth they stole from the Aces.
The Panthers done good – that’s all.
The win at that point made the MVC 3-0 in March Madness, earning perhaps a little more respect for the conference (even if that won’t do the Aces any good now).
Simmons said that when TBS showed a replay of the Washpun dagger against UE in the final minutes of the Texas game, he was inclined to hit the off button on his TV. But he stuck around for the final drama.
But it did bring back the memories (or nightmares).
“I’m not sure you ever recover from something like that,” said Simmons. “I think it will probably stick with us all for a long time for a lot of different reasons.”
Simmons is just proud of the way the Aces battled back to briefly take the lead after trailing by as many as 17 points.
But as much as the loss still stings, Simmons will be pulling for UNI on Sunday against Texas A&M, especially after Wichita State was bounced on Saturday by Miami.
“I suppose we got a little lucky at the end, right,” Jacobsen said of the win over Texas. “But these guys have found a way and they’ve continued to find a way, so I’m happy for these guys.”

King’s decision to swim at Indiana was right move

The AT&T Winter Swim Nationals is a U.S. championship, but that doesn’t mean all of the best swimmers in the country were in Federal Way, Washington. And not all the swimmers who competed had U.S. citizenship.
The meet was an open-ended competition that included unattached swimmers, club teams and college teams.
It’s why Lilly King, who won the 200-meter breaststroke and finished second in the 100-breaststroke to a Russian champion, was cautiously excited by her performance while representing Indiana University.
She knows some of the swimmers who are ranked ahead of her in those events were at the meet.
Still, King, a former Reitz High standout who is now a freshman at IU, gained confidence from her performance.
With the U.S. Olympic Trials in late June and early July, King now knows that if she continues her dramatic improvement since arriving in Bloomington, she will have a strong chance to qualify foru the U.S. team in the 100 and 200 breaststroke.
“Now that I actually have a shot at two events it’s kind of nice because I don’t have to put all my eggs in one basket,” said King. “It definitely takes a little bit of the pressure off.
“It’s kind of crazy (that she won the 200 breaststroke) because I was 16th at nationals this summer and now I win it. I went from being 16th to first.”
She swam 2:24.47 in the 200 to break an age-group record for swimmers 17-18 that had been held by former Olympian Amanda Beard. The time was five seconds faster than her previous personal record.
In the 100, which she had hoped to win, she swam another PR (and setting another IU school record) with a time of 1:06.43.
But she was beaten by Russian Yulia Efimova, 23, who won the bronze medal in the 200 breast at the 2012 Olympics in London. Efimova was 7th in the 100 in London. And four years earlier she was 4th in the 100 and 5th in the 200 in Beijing.
The weekend validated King’s decision to swim at Indiana under head coach Ray Looze, who has a program that strives for team success in the Big Ten and NCAA but also wants his swimmers to aspire for greater things.
The Big Ten was well represented in the meet with four of the top eight women’s teams in the standings, including Michigan, Indiana and Ohio State finished 2nd through 4th behind California-Berkeley. In the combined standings for men and women, Michigan was first followed by Indiana and Ohio State.
“There are some programs that have a more collegiate approach and at Indiana we have an international approach,” said Looze. “NCAA and Big Ten is important to us but we also want to produce Olympians and help people thrive at the international level.”

A winning drive for the ages gets Michigan State in playoff

When it comes to making a clutch drive in the final minutes of a college football game, what Michigan State did Saturday night in the Big Ten championship game against Iowa was remarkable.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more dramatic, determined and meaningful drive ever in a conference championship game.
The Spartans covered 82 yards on 22 plays while burning more than nine minutes off the game clock. Freshman running back LJ Scott finished the game with 73 yards on 22 carries. He picked up 40 of those yards on 14 carries on that game-winning drive that Scott capped with a bullish, twisting run with 27 seconds left.
“It was amazing,” said Scott after the 16-13 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has a motto, “Reach Higher.” Scott amended that with his “Reach Further” effort to get the football across the goal line by clutching the ball in his right hand after it was clear he wasn’t going to get his body into the end zone
“Nothing’s been handed to us,” center Jack Allen said, so a 22-play drive “describes us pretty well.”
Quarterback Connor Cook was named the MVP of the game. Cook did pass for 191 yards and rush for 8, accounting for 199 of MSU’s 365 yards of total offense. But after the game, he didn’t just praise the Spartans’ offensive line, he handed off the MVP trophy.
“They grinded it out, opened up the hole for LJ. They put the team on their backs that last series,” said Cook. “Whoever was watching, I mean honestly, couldn’t be more obvious they deserved that award.”
Now Michigan State (12-1), which was denied a spot in the playoffs last year, will be the No. 3 seed this year and will face No. 2 seed Alabama (12-1) in a semifinal on New Year’s Eve in the Cotton Bowl at 7 p.m.
ACC champion and top-ranked Clemson (13-0) will play No. 4 seed Oklahoma (11-1) in the other semifinal in the Orange Bowl that day at 3.
Both games will be televised by ESPN.
***
No doubt the disappointment of not completing an unbeaten season and being included in the four-team playoff was crushing for head coach Kirk Ferentz and his Iowa players, but they did receive a nice consolation prize. The Hawkeyes (12-1) will play Stanford (11-2) in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. It will be televised by ESPN.
If you are keeping score at home, there will be 10 Big Ten teams in bowls, matching the most by any conference. It’s the second-consecutive year that many teams have earned bowl bids, but the first time two teams with losing records were part of the crowd.
Nebraska and Minnesota both made it with 5-7 records because there were enough teams with at least six wins to fill the 80 spots in 40 bowl games.

PINSTRIPE BOWL: Saturday, Dec. 26, Indiana (6-6) vs. Duke (7-5), Yankee Stadium, New York, 2:30 p.m., ABC
FOSTER FARMS: Saturday, Dec. 26, Nebraska (5-7) vs. UCLA (8-4), Santa Clara, Calif., 8:15 p.m., ESPN
QUICK LANE: Saturday, Dec. 26, Central Michigan (7-5) vs. Minnesota (5-7), Detroit, 4 p.m., ESPN2
HOLIDAY: Wednesday, Dec. 30, Wisconsin (9-3) vs. Southern Cal (8-5), San Diego, 9:30 p.m., ESPN
OUTBACK: Friday, Jan. 1, Northwestern (10-2) vs. Tennessee (8-4), Tampa, Florida, 11 a.m., ESPN2
CITRUS: Friday, Jan. 1, Michigan (9-3) vs. Florida (10-3), Orlando, Florida, Noon, ABC
FIESTA: Friday, Jan. 1, Notre Dame (10-2) vs. Ohio State (11-1), Glendale, Arizona, Noon, ESPN
TAXSLAYER: Friday, Jan. 1, Penn State (7-5) vs. Georgia (9-3), 11 a.m., ESPN

Indiana football coach Kevin Wilson on getting bowl bid

The Indiana University football team accepted a bid to play in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 26 against Duke at Yankee Stadium. IU coach Kevin Wilson and his players talked about ending the Hoosiers’ eight-year postseason drought.

Q. What is the key to preparation so you go there fully prepared?
COACH WILSON: “You want to win the game. The greatest bowl experience is the victory. It’s not the ring. The watch is going to break. I still got my Blue Bonnet Bowl sweater from 1980, first one. I got ‘em all. Got every T-shirt, every hat. They sit there and collect dust.
“But I can tell you some games … You remember, to me, the ultimate is the game experience. It’s nice to get the reward, but ultimately as a program and competitor, it’s about the game. You just want to get prepared to give yourself a chance to go win.”

Q. You have a chance to get some guys back?
COACH WILSON: “Yeah, I think so. You got Danny Friend going out there, Andre Brown. Yeah, we’ll see. Some of those guys have been hurt long enough, they could get a medical. Danny Friend can get a medical and go a sixth year. I don’t know if guys want to play college football for six years, especially when you’re lifting and squatting and running. We’ll talk to some of those guys.
“Jordan Howard had a knee scope. We were trying to get through the game. The deal was, we thought we might go through Purdue, then scope him, get him back for the bowl game. Well, when he came to Maryland, we sped it up a week. We’ll see what his timeline is. I don’t know anything about that. The thought process would be he might, could.
“At the same time, he’s a great player, a lot of things to consider. We’ll be smart there.
We have other backs. You guys don’t talk about it, but the line and tight ends block good and helps the running game a lot. The runners are good, but we ran it good.”

Q. Does it help in recruiting to know about a contract extension?
COACH WILSON: “Well, it helps in recruiting that they know you’re going to be at a place. That’s always something. But it’s not my decision. It’s the administration’s. Like I say, our deal is we keep trying to do everything we can to make the team better every day, whether it be program development, academic development or right now recruiting.”

Q. Talk about your connection with Duke in terms of them being a rival when you played at North Carolina?
COACH WILSON: “That’s a good deal because, like I say, I’ve been fortunate to be at places. It’s the same deal. A guy a few years ago took me to a Carolina-Duke basketball game. I’m a Carolina guy. This guy was a huge Duke alumni guy. Took Coach Stoops and myself and the AD, go up into Coach K’s office, see the facility. If they won, we were going to get a chance to go in the locker room after the game. Even though I’m a Carolina guy, I’m like, ‘This is cool, I’m all in. I want to go see Coach K and his guys.’
“I appreciate how great that program is and how great that school is. I have a lot of respect for Duke. What Coach Cutcliffe has done is one of the premiere jobs in the country. It’s no accident what he’s done. It’s going to be a strong, strong test. But I got a lot of respect for their program.”

Q. Whenever we talked about bowl games the last five years, you mentioned it, is young guys getting those extra practices, the ones that maybe aren’t going to play this year or redshirting. How much more can they get out of this?
COACH WILSON: “It’s huge. We’re making recruiting decisions right now based on looking at practice. That comment was made today. Where are you going to week? I’m going to X school. Why? Well, if this guy ain’t ready, I need to go get me one of those, whether it be high school or junior college. It gives you an opportunity to build your team, gives you an opportunity to eval your team.”