Wednesday, February 17, 2010

IU Basketball -- It's Gonna Get Better

It is going to get better, this Indiana mess of a basketball season. The Hoosiers won’t be fodder for Michigan State and Ohio State forever.

For now, though, it’s tough, watching IU up and down its way through the season, pretty much exclusively down the last month.

The Michigan State loss showed the Hoosiers can occasionally do some good things, even rebound. Yes, IU did actually out-rebound the Spartans, the best rebounders in the Big Ten. It did make free throws at an impressive rate (25-for-28).

But the Hoosiers couldn’t defend well enough because they had no answer for the likes of Kalin Lucas, Raymar Morgan, Chris Allen or, well, any of the Spartans.

Sophomore guard Verdell Jones has turned into a warrior. He totaled 20 points and four rebounds to continue his February dominance. He got some help from freshman forward Christian Watford (14 points, six rebounds) and a bit off the bench from Devan Dumes (six points).

That, of course, wasn’t nearly enough.

IU needs a true point guard, somebody can handle the ball, pressure the ball and do what needs to be done against the Lucases and Evan Turners of the Big Ten world.

Mostly, though, it needs a strong big man. It would be nice if Tom Pritchard or Bawa Muniru could develop into that, and maybe they will, someday. For now, though, the Hoosiers continue to get hammered inside.

Tom Crean didn’t suddenly turn stupid. He was a good coach before he came to Bloomington and still he, but there’s not enough talent and experience to survive in the Big Ten. That needs to change. Figure it will change.

Tom Izzo insists that it will, and said as much after his Spartans beat IU.

"When there are major, catastrophic issues, whether they're academic problems or violations or whatever, they really decimate a program, and it doesn't just bounce back like that," Izzo said. "If you looked at this (IU) team and added (Maurice) Creek, that's a big difference. You're looking at a guy who lost Kalin Lucas for two games and we looked like a fish out of water -- and we have a lot more depth than they do."

He paused.

"I will say this, and I've said it since the day he (Crean) got the job: He'll get it turned," Izzo said. "Look me in the eye: He'll get it done and he'll get it done sooner than most, as long as they don't have the major injuries. It doesn't come back overnight."

The bottom line -- it will come back. This mess of a basketball season won’t last forever.

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