DAYTON, Ohio -- Indiana's Will Sheehey wouldn't give it up. Surely, inquiring minds wanted to know, he had some insight to offer on Temple.
“I don't know,” he said.
Sheehey is a smart guy. He is, as we know, an edgy guy. He works hard and pushes harder, a big reason why he won the Big Ten's 6th Man of the Year award.
What he doesn't do is spill secrets.
We didn't want secrets or whether he had ordered a Code Red.
Well, we did, but that's a topic for another day.
We wanted impressions of Temple, IU's opponent in Sunday's East Region third-round game at Dayton Arena. The stakes are high -- a berth in next week's Sweet 16 in Washington D.C. and another step closer to the national title goal.
“I don't know, man,” Sheehey said. He leaned back in a corner of a Dayton Arena locker room. Cameras, microphones and tape recorders pressed close to his unshaven face. “I can't answer that.”
Temple is 24-9 and plays in the Atlantic-10, which also includes Butler and VCU. The ninth-seed Owls beat eight-seed North Carolina State 76-72 on Friday to get to Indiana.
You won't hear that from Sheehey. He was asked for a general scouting report. Not the game plan -- just an overall assessment.
“I'm not going to say anything about the scouting report,” He said. “Sorry.”
Sheehey's smile suggested he wasn't really sorry, but we digress from the main point, which is getting the scoop on Temple. For instance, are the Owls similar to any Big Ten team?
“I don't know,” Sheehey said.
A media guy tried a sarcastic question -- have you even seen them play?
Then how about telling us something, anything, about them?
“I'm not answering that,” he said.
And then, for a just a second, he did.
“We've watched a lot of film,” he said. “We make sure we know what their tendencies are, what they like to do. We have a great staff that prepares us for pretty much everything.”
Everything includes Temple guard Khalif Wyatt, the Atlantic 10 player of the year and leading scorer, at 20.2 points. He had 31 against North Carolina State.
“He's an under-rated passer,” Sheehey said. “He can score in numerous ways.”
Temple has lost to Duke (90-67) and beaten Syracuse (83-79). It lost to Kansas (69-62) and Butler (83-71), then beat St. Louis (64-54) and VCU (84-76). So far the Atlantic 10 has rivaled the Big Ten for the nation's best NCAA tourney showing.
In other words, the Owls are fully prepared to beat a basketball superpower.
“They're confident,” Sheehey said. “Their conference has great teams.”
For the record, guard Jordan Hulls said Temple reminds him of Michigan because of its inside players' ability to score from the outside. Forward Cody Zeller said the Owls can put five scorers on the floor, and, “That presents a lot of problems in trying to stop them. We're going to have our work cut out in that area.”
Temple has played in six straight NCAA Tournaments under coach Fran Dunphy. That follows a tradition of excellence spearheaded by former coach John Chaney. The Owls have played in two Final Fours (1956 and '58) and seven Elite Eights, the last in 2001.
“We know we're playing against a team that can compete with anybody in the country, because they have,” coach Tom Crean said. “Look at the people they've played this year. It's like a who's who of teams in the NCAA Tournament with Duke, Kansas, Syracuse and the teams in their league.
“They're just an all-around tough team. You've got to characterize their program with durability, with toughness, with fearlessness in how they play and how they've scheduled all these years.”
As for the competitive Sheehey's tight-lipped answers, well, Crean has far more important things to worry about.
“I love his competitiveness and his attitude. He's a force of energy. He's one of the best athletes, combined with smarts and competitiveness, that I've ever been around.”
Given Crean once coached Dwyane Wade, is that really true?
We can't answer that.