Some people can’t stand prosperity.
Minutes after his team celebrated the program’s first outright Big Ten championship since 1993 with a 72-71 win at Michigan on Sunday, Indiana coach Tom Crean found himself in a confrontation with a Wolverines assistant.
Crean apologized Monday for heated words he directed at Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer, saying he called Meyer to apologize later Sunday after the incident.
“I wish I would never address anybody after the heat of battle, after a game,” Crean said Monday.
A day earlier, Crean was restrained after interrupting a midcourt conversation between Indiana assistant Tim Buckley and Meyer. Buckley, a former Iowa assistant, had to pull Crean away from Meyer as the Hoosiers’ coach chirped at the former member of Kelvin Sampson’s Indiana staff, “You know what you did, you helped wreck the program. You helped wreck the program.”
The confrontation was caught on tape by an Indianapolis television station as it taped the impromptu on-court celebration that followed the Hoosiers’ victory.
Meyer was part of an Indiana staff that was overhauled after multiple violations of NCAA rules forced Sampson to resign during the 2008 season. Eventually cleared of any major violations by the NCAA, Meyer joined John Beilein’s staff at Michigan as an administrative aide in 2008 and was promoted to an assistant’s role two years later.
Beilein said he learned of the situation after seeing it on video Monday. He declined to confirm whether Crean had spoken with Meyer.
“I’m not commenting on other coaches,” Beilein said. “All I’m saying is that Michigan will win or lose with class and that we would never use victory or defeat to vent our frustrations about anything.”
Beilein added he felt Meyer showed great poise, adding, “He has helped us build our program here brick by brick.”
Nothing for granted
Minnesota coach Tubby Smith doesn’t want his team taking an NCAA berth for granted, especially after road losses at Nebraska and Purdue last week dropped the Gophers (20-11) down to the No. 9 seed for the Big Ten Tournament.
“I think we’re fighting for it all the time,’’ Smith said. “The only guaranteed spot is the one for the team that wins the tournament. I feel like our overall body of work is as good as anybody else, but when you look at what we’ve done lately, we’ve got to step it up now.’’
Putting it in perspective
Asked how challenging his first season in the Big Ten was, Nebraska coach Tim Miles referenced a conversation he had with someone who asked how top-ranked Gonzaga would fare if it played in the conference.
“There is more parity than ever in college basketball, and that started with Butler and VCU reaching the Final Four,’’ Miles said. “... People wonder where Gonzaga would fit in and I remind them that they lost at home by 11 to Illinois, the eighth seed in our conference tournament.’’
Former Illinois coach Bruce Weber was named Monday by his peers in the Big 12 as its coach of the year after leading Kansas State to a share of the league championship one year after he was ousted from his job with the Illini.
Purdue coach Matt Painter praised Weber for the help he has provided him over the years, first at Purdue and later when he followed Weber as the head coach at Southern Illinois.
“He’s a great coach and an even better person,’’ Painter said. “When he fell at Illinois, he fell upstairs. He’s in a place now that is a perfect fit for him.’’
Wisconsin’s win over Michigan not only dropped the sixth-ranked Wolverines to a No. 5 seed for the Big Ten tourney, it gave the Badgers the No. 4 seed and their 13th straight first-round bye in the event.
Even so, Badgers coach Bo Ryan still considers the regular-season league title the prize he wants.
“The conference season shows you what your team is made of,’’ Ryan said. “Tournaments are made for money, made for a lot of reasons other than what sports were originally designed to do.”
Indiana’s Cody Zeller, honored for the third time this season, and Ohio State’s Aaron Craft share Big Ten player of the week honors. … Averaging 16.5 points and 5.5 rebounds vs. Michigan and Minnesota, Rapheal Davis of Purdue is the Big Ten freshman of the season. … If higher seeds Illinois, Michigan and Purdue win Thursday at the Big Ten tourney, all four quarterfinals will be games between teams which met just once during the regular season.
Trey Burke, Michigan: At 20.2 points, the sophomore led the Big Ten in scoring in conference play. That’s a first for a Michigan player since Glen Rice led the league with an average of 24.8 points during the Wolverines’ run to the Final Four in 1989.
Overall, Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas is in a position to become the third Buckeye in five years to top the Big Ten scoring charts. He’s averaging 19.7 points per game for the entire season.
This week’s top matchups:
Thursday: Minnesota vs. Illinois, 11 a.m., BTN; Iowa vs. Northwestern, 8 p.m., ESPN2
Friday: Minnesota/Illinois winner vs. Indiana, 11 a.m., ESPN; Iowa/Northwestern winner vs. Michigan State, 8 p.m., BTN
Saturday: Big Ten semifinals, 12:40 and 3:10 p.m., WHBF
Sunday: Big Ten championship, 2:30 p.m., WHBF