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March 11, 2013Indiana coach Tom Crean might have felt fortunate to escape Ann Arbor with a win, and an outright Big Ten title, after Michigan's missed free throws down the stretch fueled his team's 72-71 win. Instead, he embarrassed himself by berating Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer, a former IU assistant.
Meyer was part of the Indiana staff under coach Kelvin Sampson, whose violations at the program led to his dismissal.
"You helped wreck our program!" Crean screamed at Meyer while his Hoosiers celebrated a title, and while an Indiana official tried to block television cameras from recording the bizarre scene (video below).
He then walked away with a smirk like he'd stolen someone's lunch money.
Meyer, though, had been cleared by the NCAA in 2008, a fact Crean knows well. Hired by head coach John Beilein in 2008 and promoted in 2010, Meyer is known as a man of high integrity and has been cited (to us) by several recruits and their families as one of the most down to earth and honest coaches in the profession.
Michigan and Indiana have been recruiting head to head for some of the Midwest's (and Hoosier State's) top prospects. The U-M coaching staff won't show this scene to them - that's not their style. Chances are, however, that many will see it for themselves, perhaps seeing a side of Crean of which they weren't aware.
Unfortunately, the sideshow helped detract from a great day for Crean's team, which accomplished something outstanding in capturing an outright title. It also added fuel to a rivalry sure to gain steam in the near future - perhaps in less than a week, when the two teams could meet again in the Big Ten Tournament.