Thursday, March 4, 2010

No Easy Answer for IU Struggles

What can Jordan Hulls say, really, beyond the obvious?

“There’s no reason why we can’t be physical,” Indiana’s freshman guard says. “We have to keep working it at practice every day and get better.”

What, you were expecting the secret location of the Fountain of Youth?

If it were EASY to stop Indiana’s unprecedented losing, if there was some sort of strategy that could turn youth to experience, soft play into tough-as-nails performance and defeat into victories, the Hoosiers already would be doing it.

They’re not, of course, and have the school-record-tying 11 straight losses and second-straight 20-loss season to prove it.

Still, inquiring minds want to know what's going on because, well, that’s what they do. Questions are asked, answers are given and truth sometimes emerges. And if it lacks the drama of, say, Kanye West enjoying rewards show time with Taylor Swift, well, IU has enough drama these days.

The Hoosiers insist they do what is necessary in practice, but not in games. There’s no verification because coach Tom Crean keeps practices closed tighter than the Colonel’s secret recipe, but assuming it’s true, maybe Hulls has an explanation.

“There’s no answer,” he says. “(Practice effort) doesn’t carry over to the games.”

There is an answer, of course. It works in practice because the Hoosiers are going against themselves and not, say, the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans are older, stronger, tougher and better. They will not allow it to work against them, and the Hoosiers aren’t tough enough to force the issue.

Some day, they will be. Today’s misery will beget tomorrow’s success. For now, though, all IU (9-20) has is one remaining regular season game. Mercifully, it is at Assembly Hall. It comes Saturday against a 19-11 Northwestern team that flirted with NCAA tourney at-large prospects before a recent slump seemingly guarantees a NIT appearance.

After that comes what seems to be a one-and-done showing at next week’s Big Ten tourney in Indianapolis. Then the Hoosiers can take a second straight unwanted spring break instead of a NCAA tourney trip. They can get away from each other, and let’s face it, you lose this much and getting away from each other can’t come soon enough.

A break will let passions cool and give coaches time to find a much-needed inside presence. Coaches have offered 6-9 Moses Abraham of Maryland a scholarship. They've also offered 6-7 forward Will Yeguete of Florida.

IU coaches likely will explore the junior college option to try to land a instant-impact player it needs to jump-start the rebuilding project.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. For the Hoosiers, for now, all that matters is beating Northwestern.


  1. Good sumation but there for a while the team bought into improvement, heart, desire on fire and coach Crean. A team was developing. Then what happened? Was it just the heart breakers or was there more to it? Is there a click rebellion?Coaching player(s)feud? But definitly nobody is having fun playing basketball and chemistry has been diluted. Yep. Time for a break. But there for a while a few million people were saying YES! IT'S INDIANA! Thanks guys for giving us that.

  2. We now have "bigs".
    Top ten recruiting class
    What happened?
    I said from the start of the season it depends on Bawa in the middle. # 16 ranked center in the country. He should play 20 every game. He still looks like a stopper in the middle. Convert his blocked shots to 20 min. per game and he has more than the rest of the team put together. Playing him could have been no worse!

  3. big al @yahoo.comMarch 7, 2010 at 3:56 AM

    coach crean, and all players its been a long rough season,but as coaches, and players people like myself from hooiser nation love the gut grit and fight you displayed this season. you all will bring iu back to glory days soon, and as always hold your heads high because you attend and play for the best damn school in the nation. thanks again Big Al