Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ohio State Or Not, It's Time for IU To Win

So now Tom Crean gets the Mike Davis treatment. He can’t coach. He can’t motivate. He claps too much instead of kicking somebody’s rump. Indiana can’t fire him soon enough.

A month or so ago, fresh off the recruiting success of landing Cody Zeller, among others, Crean could walk on water. Now people want to waterboard torture him.

Relax, everybody. This, too, shall pass. Crean didn't direct Marquette to the Final Four and win 190 games in nine seasons because he made a deal with the devil. He can coach. The Hoosiers will win.

See what happens when you make $2.2 million a year coaching a tradition-rich program. Patience has never been a virtue among fans, especially in this instant-gratification world, and after a pair of 20-loss seasons and now three straight defeats, nobody cares about the Kelvin Sampson debacle.

They just want tough-minded players who win –- NOW, not a year or two from now.

There’s no reason IU can’t win this year. It has the potential to be a NIT team, it has experience and talent, so play like it and bury the Penn State mess that fuels fear of a 1-17 (or worse) Big Ten record.

A victory over Ohio State would fix that. For a day, anyway.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Get the Buckeyes in Assembly Hall, pack about 17,000 amped up fans looking for something to cheer before the big New Year’s Eve bash, get the Hoosiers to embrace their inner warrior (assuming they HAVE an inner warrior) and win the freaking the game. Specifically, win the last freaking crunch-time minutes of the game.

By now you know the Buckeyes are ranked No. 2 in the nation, are 13-0 and have stomped opponents by an average margin of 29 points.

Well, we’ve got some good news -- sort of. You could argue that Ohio State is 13-0 because it fattened up on patsies. rates its schedule at No. 149. By comparison, IU is at 270.

Yes, that means the Hoosiers’ schedule is almost twice as easy as Ohio State’s.

But we digress.

The Buckeyes have won at Florida and at Florida State. That might not rate with road wins at Duke or Wisconsin, but it’s solid enough. Those teams aren't patsies.

Yes, Ohio State has talent. How does coach Thad Matta keep doing it? He gets one-and-done players, guys who leave before their four years are up, some wisely, some not, and the Buckeyes keep cruising (169-54 in Matta's seven seasons). Why? Because the guy can recruit. Every year Matta brings in studs.

Take this season. You have Jared Sullinger, a 6-9, 280-pound double-double freshman machine who, if he keeps up his averages of 17.5 points and 10.1 rebounds, might challenge for national player of the year honors.

Another freshman is Deshaun Thomas, an in-state kid who got away, the Indiana Mr. Basketball from Fort Wayne Bishop Luers who averages 11.7 points and 5.4 rebounds.

You throw in these guys with a veteran group from last year’s Big Ten tri-championship team (the others were Michigan State and Purdue) and it’s almost not fair.

Jon Diebler is ruthless from three-point range. He already has the Ohio State record for most three-pointers in a career. He shoots at a 47.4-percent clip from beyond the arc. David Lighty is versatile and tough and averages 13.2 points. William Bufford averages 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds. Dallas Lauderdale is tough and strong and has 32 blocks this season.

These are guys you can win with, and the Buckeyes do.

So what does IU have to do to win? For starters, don’t fall into the big early holes as has happened the past few games. It needs production from its inside guys. Somebody has to contain Sullinger or he’ll total 50 points and 20 rebounds. IU will probably have to guard him by committee. Bobby Capobianco seems certain to get every allotted foul. The guy is a foul magnet, but if he can use those fouls to beat up Sullinger, that’s okay.

Yes, you can talk about IU needing better ball movement, defending the pick and roll better, closing out on three-point shooters, and all those other things, but the bottom line is the Hoosiers need to get tough. They need to make plays when the game is on the line.

That, too, sounds easy. As anyone who has watched IU in the last week or so can say, nothing is easy with these guys.

Unless it’s Savannah State. Ohio State is no Savannah State.


  1. Those people who are complaining about Coach Crean are not fans of IU basketball. They need to take a chill pill and start supporting the team. That's what's needed now also is continuing fan support!

  2. There were concerns when coach Crean arrived about the following:

    Could he recruit enough talent to win in the Big Ten........yes it appears he can.

    Is he a sideline tactician? Can he out-coach the other sideline in a conferene deep in coaching talent........that so far the answer is a no.

    The current handful of sets that are ran on the offensive end don't have anything to offer the likes of Zeller or Perea and never in the history of Crean has he had those types of players, so it will be interesting to see what corner of the playbook he'll pull those sets from.

    He's the best when it comes to everything other than the sideline. Here's to hoping he grows as much as we need our current roster to.

  3. Tonight's the night (Dexter Morgan). It's not likely Ohio State is going to double team our inside game for two reasons. Our post players are not as talented as OSU's and we (IU) rarely pass to a player on the block. But this game will be a rare opportunity to give Derek
    Elston a chance to use his Indiana aquired skills to execute well timed head and shoulder fakes to score or get to the line. Tonight's the night.

  4. How is it unfanlike to expect hustle, defense, shot selection, etc. IU was just beaten by three teams with vastly inferior talent. IU fans have a right to expect more from one of the highest paid coaches in America.

  5. We must not downplay the mentality factor. It is a huge part of winning and these guys have 2 years of losing and struggling to get past. Not to mention probably the toughest conference to do it in. Remember, they wanted to fire Coach K years ago for losing and it was Knight who talked them out of it. We need patience. Our day is coming.

  6. WE are I.U. fans since 1953 and it has not been easy to watch the team the last few years. Sampson did it not Crean and we all need to give him a chance to get things turned around. He has some of the Best Recruits coming in and they will have the Priviledge of helping bring us back to the top again.

  7. I'm a die hard fan. I was a student on campus when IU won in 1987. There is no excuse for the way these kids are playing. This is year 3 of the CTC era. If Butler can when with less talented players (do the research), then a sheer lack of coaching is what defines this team. Bizarre player substitutions, lack of offensive sets, no defense. I'm sorry that is CTC's job. So i disagree with you; I am a fan and i do not like what i see with the team... but, oh wait....the recruits in 2012 will save us!!! whatever....

  8. With both Watford and Creek (our two best players) injured, and a hole in the center, that is a tall order.

  9. Anyone calling for Crean's job is not an IU grad or simply a moron. Get back to me on his job status after 2012 recruits play a year.

  10. Hey, how about those grades those players are putting hard work into achieving. I am very proud of the coach and players for that accomplishement. Above all that must continue and I am very confident that will happen with TC at the helm. Now all they have to do is to achieve at man to man defense. Move those feet!!! Move those feet!!! Never slap down at the ball always slap up!!! Block out!!! Block out!!! With sucessful block outs the guards should be able to go in and catch the ball after it hits the floor!!! Then achieve at offense, like: Plant those feet!!! We can not tolerate moving screens!!! That's a turn over!!! The angle of the screen determines the ability of the shooter to square up to the basket. Anyone remember some of those hall of famer tips??? And there is more! But, what about some sidline issues? On the spot during the game issues. There are a number of coaches there along that bench. Does any of them have an idea of how to mess up or counter the opposing teams offensive and defensive game plan??? Just one other thing. I have never known IU spark plugs not to have a number of shooters among them. Now doesn't it make sense that after a dry spell, TC would unleash a bench spark plug or two, set a screen if need be and see if some one or all of them are in the ZONE. Some times it's the regular players that get to the zone, but some times it is that spark plug on the bench who can change the direction of the game. Well, those are a few things. What will the players try to pride themselves on correcting game wise? And the coaches??

  11. Every coach deserves three years; I said that from the get-go. Everybody said that from the get-go.

    But you want to see improvement: Going from 1-17 to 4-14 in the Big 10 was improvement...Granted, it is hard to celebrate finishing 10 games under .500 in the Big 10, but it is what it is: Improvement.

    However, they just lost a vital game at home to the team regarded as the worst in the Big 10, which means getting back to 4-14 again this year will undeniably be a struggle.

    This makes me think back to when we hired Crean. I'm sure all of us drew a line in the sand as to what we expected from Crean. Some of us (like me) wanted to see significant improvement in 3 years; I don't think any of us expected a National Championship, or even a Big 10 Championship in the 3rd year--or even to make tournament, for that matter. But to be on a trajectory to finish somewhere around last place AGAIN in the Big 10? Give me a break; we're talking about IU basketball here, one of the Top 5 traditions in the country. How hard--really--is it to win here? Almost every coach that has ever coached here at IU has managed to put together a group of kids who compete. If Crean was such a great find, why aren't we seeing ANY tangible results nearly 1000 days down the road? Where is the accountability? With all due respect to these players who bust their butts for Crean, go to class and stay out of trouble, this team is not much better than the squad who went 1-17 two years ago. To anyone who wants to argue with that, I say, "Look at the standings." The standings don't lie, folks; Crean's conference record is the only way we can logically hold him (or any coach) accountable.

    Furthermore, Crean's Marquette record was decent but disturbingly far from deserving of a 10-year contract to coach at a Top 5 basketball program. Unfortunately, it appears "the people now in charge" are going to ignore the lack of progress and give him 4 or 5 years to show results (if we don't see any improvement after the 4th year, it would be a crime if he earned a 5th year).

    What evidence is there to believe that Crean is good enough to win us a Big 10 championship?

    He only did it once--that's right, ONCE--in ten years at Marquette, with Dwayne Wade (that's reality, folks, not opinion). How the heck is he going to do it regularly in a much tougher, more competitive conference?

    Here's another Crean factoid that I'll bet most people don't know:

    In his last 5 years at Marquette before being hired by IU, Crean's teams finished 4th, 5th, 5th, 8th and 9th in his conferences (Conference USA and then the Big East). Even Crean supporters have to admit that is not the resume of a coach who deserves to be on the sidelines at Assembly Hall. It may be an impossible task to hire a coach that wins National Championships on a regular basis, but is it too much to ask that our new coach finish somewhere in the Top 3 of his conference in the last 5 years??? Crean failed to do that.

    People say, "Be patient." Well, at this point, when factoring in Crean's record at Marquette and (almost) three years at IU, I don't think it's profoundly impatient to start questioning whether a mistake was made in hiring this man.

    At the very least, I must know what other IU fans' proverbial "line in the sand" is. Does he need to get to the N.I.T. this year? Next year? Does he need to go to the NCAA tournament next year?

    Whatever it is, let's officially carve a line in the sand, so that we can--once and for all--finally hold a coach accountable, and not spare him his job because of the outstanding class of 2016-2017 that he has supposedly recruited...


    I'll draw a line in the sand for you right now that NO ONE should argue with: If they finish in last place in the Big 10 this year, Crean is gone.

  12. All of the teams IU has lost to has Senior leadership which also contributes on a consistent basis through defense or offense. We start freshmen and sophomores which also play major roles for us. We have one junior and one senior who play major minutes. Neither one of them have the ability to make major plays for us when the game is on the line. We must have patience and wait for our freshmen and sophomores to become juniors and seniors before we begin to judge.

  13. You don't need juniors and seniors to win!!! Look at half the teams in the top 20. Look at Ohio State, for cryin' out loud. What you need is a coach who can do more than clap his hands and crouch down. This guy is the biggest fraud I've ever seen. They won't win 3 BT games this year and more than 4 or 5 next year and he will continue to make excuses. Finally in his sixth year of running the program further into the ground, he'll be fired and will live out his days winning championships in some hot high school conference. My God, people, open your eyes.... Crean is a con man.

  14. Your the one who needs to open his eves and start getting facts before spatting off. You do not know what you are talking about!

    Ohio State has

    Buford 3 yr starter JUNIOR 14.2
    Diebler 2 yr starter SENIOR 12.4
    Lauderdale 2 yr starter SENIOR 5.2
    Lighty 4 tr starter SENIOR 12.8

    These support the Freshman players.