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Hoosiers fine with spot in NCAA tourney

BLOOMINGTON – If Indiana players were upset that they were not going to get to play in Indianapolis if the Hoosiers reached the Sweet 16, they were not letting it be known Sunday.

IU earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but it was not the No. 1 overall seed and will play in the East Regional, which is in Washington D.C. for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. Louisville got the No. 1 overall seed and the top spot in the Midwest Regional, which goes through Indianapolis.

"We don't worry about it too much, there are Indiana fans every where," Hoosiers forward Cody Zeller said.

The Hoosiers did get one thing they wanted Sunday night, a close-to-home game on opening weekend of the tournament.

Indiana (27-6) will play in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday and Sunday.

"That will be great, I'm sure we will have a great fan base," IU forward Christian Watford said. "We will be ready to play."

With the seed and place in place, now all the Hoosiers need is an opponent.

Indiana will play the winner between Wednesday's first-round game in Dayton between LIU Brooklyn (20-13) and James Madison (20-14).

It is a situation the Hoosiers are familiar with after not knowing if they were going to play Illinois or Minnesota when IU started play in the Big Ten tournament.

"I think the bottom line last week is we were able to spend time on things that we really needed to improve upon," coach Tom Crean said of an advantage of not having a specific opponent to focus on while preparing for a tournament. "It was certainly going to help us last week, but it is going to help us over a period of time. You are self scouting your team as much as possible.

"Certainly, it will change a little bit this week, because we won't have the familiarity with these teams that you have with the Big Ten teams."

While Crean said he will use the time that IU doesn't have a specific opponent to focus on his team, he will also make sure his players are aquatinted with LIU and James Madison.

"We will know those teams before (Wednesday's) game is played," Crean said. "They are smart guys. We will have some film. We won't dive into one and not the other. We will find some of the commonalities and how those things fit into to where we need to go with our improvement. They will have an idea of who they are going to play or what those players look like or how they play before Wednesday night."

Indiana has never played LIU, and it defeated James Madison 84-52 in the two programs' only meeting on Dec. 11, 1987.

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