Saturday, February 20, 2010
Watching IU Is Getting Painful
Sometimes, when you watch Indiana play basketball, you just want to turn the channel. Maybe to the Discovery Channel. Maybe the Food Channel. Maybe Housewives of Atlanta. Anything other than the misery that is the Hoosiers.
Take, for instance, IU’s 81-58 loss to Minnesota. It was another example of how far the program has fallen, how far it has to go and why the heck was Kelvin Sampson ever even in the discussion for coming to Bloomington.
It wasn’t about effort. The Hoosiers played hard. They just couldn’t shoot or defend.
Williams Arena has that affect on visiting teams. Just ask Wisconsin.
You might survive this if you’re a veteran team at home. An inexperienced team on the road? You have no chance.
But then, as the season slides to its painful conclusion, chance succumbs to reality.
Here was Saturday’s reality. Minnesota, an average three-point-shooting team, suddenly seemed intent on setting a NCAA accuracy record. It hit its first five shots from beyond the arc. It was 7-for-11 on three-pointers in the first half before cooling down to finish 9-for-20.
The Gophers shot 55.4 percent overall. They had 23 assists against 11 turnovers. What does this mean?
Mostly, it means IU can’t play defense. It compounded that problem by shooting just 32 percent. It really compounded that problem with bad post defense. Statistics show Indiana has allowed a thousand post points in the last four games.
Wait. It only seems like a thousand. It’s really like 150, still WAY too much.
On a positive note, the Hoosiers only had nine turnovers against a turnover-producing Minnesota defense. They also got a season-high 20 points from Devan Dumes, and if he launched a few shots not normally associated with a disciplined offense to do it, well, at least he scored.
Starting forwards Christian Watford and Tom Pritchard were a woeful 2-for-14 from the field for a combined five points. Watford, at least, still managed nine rebounds. Pritchard managed four fouls.
And yet, Bawa Muniru and Tijan Jobe barely played, which shows you how vulnerable IU’s inside game is. Maybe coach Tom Crean should just play five guards.
Sorry. We’re just getting a little grumpy, although probably not nearly as grumpy as Crean, whose IU record is now 15-42 overall, 4-28 in the Big Ten. Indiana (9-17) has lost eight straight with six of those losses by 14 or more points.
Remember, this is the same guy who took Marquette to the Final Four. He CAN coach. This will get better. How? Crean offered one way.
“I told (our players) that if we don’t get better defensively and they can’t do a better job of guarding their man, guarding the dribble and getting up into shooters, they are not going to be a part of this moving forward. I don’t have any patience for lack of getting up into people defensively… I do not understand when we don’t have the heart and the desire. That is what we have to get established.”
Until then, anybody want to watch Sponge Bob?