Hoosiers’ quest for No. 6 begins today

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That headline, of course, refers to IU basketball’s bid for a sixth national title and its first since 1987. The Hoosiers open NCAA Tournament play today against James Madison; I’ve got a preview for the Tribune-Star (and at least one other CNHI paper), while for the Post-Tribune, I’ve got a look at IU’s Jordan Hulls and Yogi Ferrell. And a shout-out to P-T colleague (and former IU beat writer for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette) LaMond Pope, who likely gets to go to D.C. next weekend to keep following the Hoosiers. He’s got a preview of today’s game.

Yes, this is likely my final weekend covering the Hoosiers this season, unless some rich benefactor decides on a whim to pay my way to D.C. One of the “perks” of being a freelancer is most, if not all, travel expenses are on your own dime. But enough whining, eh?

A couple extraneous thoughts from yesterday’s press conferences:

* There was a notable difference in the countenance of James Madison’s players compared to IU’s players. While the Dukes seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves, the Hoosiers were all business. It makes sense, though, when you think about it. JMU is not supposed to win this game, as no No. 16 seed has ever beaten a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, IU was the preseason No. 1 team and was ranked in that spot more weeks this season than anybody else. So even if Louisville is the overall No. 1 seed, there’s plenty of high expectations for the Hoosiers.

* And of course, there’s more pressure after President Obama picked the Hoosiers to win the tournament. Tom Crean noted, though, that someone told him the president was 1-3 in his tournament picks before this year, so he’s obviously hoping to buck that trend.

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