Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hoosier Turnaround Will Come

Indiana’s season is over and it’s not man-bites-dog news. The Hoosiers faded down the stretch, treated the ball like a time bomb and lost their offensive way in Thursday night’s 73-58 loss to Northwestern in the Big Ten tourney.

That’s what happens in a 10-21 season.

Still, you see the way Derek Elston played (10 points, nine rebounds) and Verdell Jones thrived (20 points, six assists, four rebounds) and IU hustled. You recognize the youth and the prospects even while understanding how much effort it will take to get past this patsy phase.

The Hoosiers will get past it, by the way.

Yes, IU had beaten Northwestern five days earlier in overtime, but that was at Assembly Hall. This was a neutral court, although Conseco Fieldhouse’s ability to sap the accuracy from Wildcat shooters caused coach Bill Carmody to quip, “I just hate these rims. That’s why I always voted for Chicago (as the conference tourney site). It’s nothing about the city. It’s closer, collegiate, all that stuff. I just hate the rims.”

Indiana coach Tom Crean hates losing, and he has an off-season to devise ways to prevent it. Players will get stronger. He’ll recruit better players. Today’s mistakes will become tomorrow’s successes.

It’s not guaranteed, of course. There will certainly be more stumbles along the climb to the basketball mountaintop. But this is, in almost every way, the first year of Crean’s rebuilding project. And if he can land some impact big guys -- no projects, please! -- if the players use the struggles to fuel their fire, the program will be back. And then IU basketball will be fun again, and spring break will be reserved for NCAA tourney action and not, say, Florida beaches.


  1. I truly hope IU will be back. Watching them has been extremely painful. Why is it our freshman struglle so much more than the others. I see young teams all around the country that put forth better effort and make fewer mistakes than ours. After all they are basically sophomores now. Lets hope we can get a player or two that does not take 3 years to grow up.

  2. We have to keep in mind that the Seniors, Juniors, and Sophomores on this years team were basically bodies to put into jerseys. I think Jones III is the only quality player from that group. Crean is wrong in putting blame on Roth's absense due to injury as a reason for IU's poor performance. Roth has a nice-formed jump shot but he reminds me of an extremely poor man's Kyle Hornsby. Hoping Jeremiah Rivers was Doc Rivers was also a mistake. He is athletic, but he cant shoot to save his life. Crean also made mistakes in not letting Muniru play more. Yes he's a project, but playing 2 minutes every other game isnt going to do anything. I think the freshman class from this year is decent but is crucial to back it up with reinforcements. From the looks of it, Crean didnt accomplish that. I think it will be 2014 before IU challenges in the Big 10 and thats if they can get some JUCO's, transfers, or recruits.

  3. Anon-
    Other freshmen have older players around, with experienced programs to mold and shape them coming in. Simply put, other programs had a margin for error that IU did not. Every player that stepped onto the court for IU had a new role to play, especially Jones & Pritchard. Jones did alright in his new role, Pritch not so much.

    Indiana ranked 336th on experience in Division-I college basketball. 96.8% of college basketball teams in the country are more experienced than the Hoosiers this year. And they lost the best freshman in the conference before Big Ten play started. Give them a break.

  4. We are climbing out of what is comparable to the death penalty, it will take more that 2 years to recover...has Crean made some mistake, sure, but we continue to get better. We gave some great games this year, remember last year we we like the globe trotters opponent team. Keep the faith!

  5. We have a point guard that can't shoot free throws well, plays out of control, makes poor decisions with the ball, and basically NOT a scoring threat, we have no inside presence to be a legitimate scorer/rebounder, we have freshman that need time to bulk up for big ten play, we have players filling uniforms that are NOT Big Ten caliber players (bless their hearts)and two scoring threats that did not play most of the year. WE WILL GET BETTER as we address the above mentioned issues

  6. IU made dumb decisions, and River's lack of outside prowess cost them every game. That all said, IU will be a tough out next year. I hope Verdell gains another 10 pounds and Christian another 20. Elston and Capo will be better, and Pritchard too. Hopefully Muniru gets some starts like Jobe did this year. That was a good way to start the games. Notice that it helped?

    They should run a lot more because of depth next year. Their offense was not only mistake prone this year, but slow...

    I believe in Crean and Indiana.

    Go Hoosiers!

    That should change.

  7. I agree watching freshmen are difficult to watch,
    and they need our support more then ever. Last year they were playing with managers. They had 0
    upper classmen to teach them how to be student athletes. Per NCAA rules coaches are limited with
    time with the kids. For them to be were they is
    not even good, but it's not surprising. We should not like, but I have faith change is coming. It will take all of us to achieve it.

  8. Our plight was worse than the death penalty. With the death penalty our team would have had a year off. You would have been able to start with a more solid foundation in that time. Crean was forced to put a "team" out there the first year. I love what he and the players are doing. We will get back. Don't forget, the elite players expect coachs to recruit them by at least 9th grade. Tom Crean's first ninth grade recruits are now juniors. Two to three years out we will know where this program is heading under Crean.

  9. Sorry folks. I'm as big or bigger fan than all of you out there. Unfortunately for all of us adult IU fans out there, IU will be second tier as long as 16-18 year old kids from Indiana and the surrounding area continue to want to play at Duke, NC, OSU, Illinois, etc., rather than IU. When we were the real IU, we not only got everyone we wanted from Indiana, but also Illinois and Ohio. Mays, the Plumlees, all know the list, or should. As long as the children decide IU is not the place, we're done.

  10. I find it comical that some pointed to the "mistakes" committed by Crean. On what basis are these accusations founded? Many of you out there will cuddle up to the notion that you are a better coach than Crean and thus if you were coach you would have done certain things differently...right? Well, how many power conference wins do you have on your resume coaching college basketball? Furthermore, I gather that these negative accusations also include the level of recruiting we've witnessed during Crean's tenure...right? So, you could also do better than a top 25 recruiting class (2008 per rivals) and a universally regarded top ten class the following year? I would venture to suggest no way. Having mentioned the recruiting, what is the problem then...right? They are young! I routinely read blogs and postings of people blasting not only our "big" recruits, but also the likes of Pritchard, Rivers, etc. The bottom line is that Pritchard is only a sophomore. How many sophomore power forwards across the country are depended upon more than Pritchard? Rivers, well his play was disappointing. However, he also has an entire off season to improve. Also, in terms of recruiting, someone had stated that our 2010 class is not up to par. Are you kidding me? Victor O. has been reported as being arguably the most athletic kid in the entire class, and an automatic improvement on the defensive end. Sheehey had an amazing year. I believe his 6'6 190+ frame will greatly improve our depth immediately. In addition, we are still in the hunt for some post players in the 2010 class. The bottom line here is that a very young and talented team lost two key players during the course of the season. I don't need to mention the devastating loss of Creek. On the contrary, whoever suggested that the loss of Roth did not negatively affect our team this season is crazy. We struggled, ultimately, due to our lack of outside shooting and lack of depth at the guard position. That is, our opponents simply had no one to fear beyond the arc. As a result, opposing defenses simply keyed on our "bigs."

  11. Easy to second guess Crean, but I think someday maybe soon some of you naysayers will see that he is a really good coach that tries to build character while building a team. Like I read in a article yesterday, Crean is the one that put together the Marquette team that is doing really well. I'm afraid we are possibly two years away from signing a big guy that can impact the team, probably going to take some success to get one. I think Verdell Jones is going to be one of the best guards in the big ten. I felt he grew alot just this season. At the first of the season he would charge to the basket out of control making a lot of erros. At the end I saw a more poised and confident player. Go Hoosiers, comes guys get of Creans back and give him a chance.