Indiana’s decision to play its first-round NIT game at Georgia Tech when the program had the option to host it in Bloomington came as a shock to many. The Hoosiers are a disappointing 18-15 in Tom Crean’s ninth season in charge, and it seemed possible those two events were related.
Indiana athletic director Fred Glass denied that Crean’s standing among Hoosiers fans and the program’s decision to play away from Assembly Hall had anything to do with each other.
“I know there is a perception out there that we did this to somehow protect Tom from being booed at or something like that, and in my view that’s just not the case,’’ Glass told CHNI Sports Indiana.
While ESPN’s broadcast suggested renovations behind Assembly hall were the reason behind the decision, that idea was quickly debunked. Rather, Glass says that because students’ spring break is this week, it wouldn’t be an environment fitting for playoff basketball.
“I think reasonable people can disagree about that,” he said, “but it was a decision we made two weeks ago and it was based on the fact that not only would our students not be there, which was the prime reason, but the fact that Bloomington kind of becomes a ghost town when everybody is on spring break.”
Crimson Quarry’s Kyle Robbins points out that 10 other schools are also on spring break for the NIT, but are hosting home games anyway. Indiana’s “home” game at Georgia Tech will be televised at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday on ESPN.