Indiana coach Tom Crean had a sports weekend better than you could ever imagine.
On Saturday night, his Hoosier basketball team knocked off No. 1 Michigan 81-73 — a victory that vaulted IU into the No. 1 spot in both polls on Monday.
On Sunday, he caught a flight to New Orleans for the Super Bowl, where he had access beyond belief. That’s because Crean is the brother-in-law of both head coaches, John and Jim Harbaugh.
“It’s been unique,” Crean said Monday morning from New Orleans. “You’ve got one family member you’re overwhelmed with happiness for. You’ve got another one your close to heartbreak for.
“It could be a once-in-a-lifetime thing. So there was incredible joy at being able to be a part of it.”
Before the game, among the pantheon of stars that gather at the Super Bowl, Crean talked with two of his coaching idols: former Lakers and Heat coach Pat Riley and new Football Hall of Fame inductee Bill Parcells.
During the game, Crean was in the skybox of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell when the Superdome power outage hit.
“To watch the commissioner deal with that with such grace and calmness under pressure was amazing,” Crean said. “I’m just standing there taking it in. That applies to things we all do in life.”
Reality returned late Monday morning as Crean caught a flight home in time to continue preparing for Thursday’s game at Illinois. He watched film on the flight to New Orleans, and would do more of the same going home.
“I’ve got five or six pages of notes in my pocket,” he said, “so you’re never too far away from it.”
Co-players of the week: Indiana center Cody Zeller and Michigan State point guard Keith Appling. Zeller, a 7-foot sophomore from Washington, Ind., had 19 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Purdue and 19 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Michigan. Appling, a 6-1 junior from Detroit, had 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in a win over Illinois.
Rookie of the week: Purdue center A.J. Hammons. The 7-foot freshman from Gary, Ind., had 30 points, five rebounds and five blocks in a loss to Indiana and 19 points and 13 rebounds in a loss to Northwestern.
Quote of the week
Purdue coach Matt Painter on his center, Hammons, being named rookie of the week:
“He had good numbers. But I was kind of shocked to see he was freshman of the week because we lost both games. You probably shouldn’t get an award when you lose.”
Bits and pieces
Nebraska walk-on point guard Mike Peltz (torn patella tendon) had successful surgery last week. Coach Tim Miles said more damage was found than expected, making the decision to operate now a good one. ... Northwestern’s Chier Ajou, a 7-2 freshman, is done for the season with knee problems. The Wildcats will seek a medical redshirt since he played in just seven games. ... Michigan State’s Travis Trice (concussion) and Gary Harris (back spasms) will undergo further testing this week.