Monday, March 12, 2001

Knight gone, but Indiana is back

The Associated Press

        Indiana's Hoosiers, who withstood the turmoil surrounding the firing of coach Bob Knight and won 21 games under interim coach Mike Davis, received a No. 4 seed Sunday and will open the NCAA men's basketball tournament on Thursday against Kent State.

        The Hoosiers lost in the Big Ten tourney championship earlier on Sunday, possibly costing them a higher seed in the 64-team field. But the NCAA selection committee put them in the West Regional for a first-round game at San Diego.

        “Any game we play, we're going to play hard. We can't overlook anyone,” Davis said of playing Kent, the Mid-American Conference tourney champion.

        Mike Tranghese, NCAA selection committee chairman, said Indiana helped itself “significantly” by its late-season surge, which included upsets of Wisconsin and top-seeded Illinois in the Big Ten tourney.

        “Indiana was going to be a No. 4 seed. We'd concluded this process by mid-afternoon and I think Indiana was still playing,” Tranghese said. “We can't bracket that quickly, so they were slotted at No. 4.”

        IU is in the tournament for the 16th straight year, and its first since Knight was fired in September.

        Davis, who was an assistant under Knight, was named interim coach and guided Indiana to a 21-12 record including Sunday's 63-61 loss to Iowa.

        The Hoosiers won three NCAA titles under Knight (1976, '81 and '87) but have not advanced past the second round since 1994.

        Davis still doesn't know if he will be named the permanent coach.

        “They told me they would wait until after season over,” he said. “I think I should be head coach, but I haven't asked them anything. ... I've done a wonderful job with this team under the circumstances.” tournament coverage

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