Sunday, January 23, 2011
For Indiana, It's Basketball Blues, Football News
Let’s face it. Next season can’t come soon enough for Indiana basketball.
By then Maurice Creek might be fully healthy, the Hoosiers might finally figure out how to play consistent defense and Cody Zeller will be around to help ignite a program turnaround.
For now, though, we have to endure another train wreck of a season.
The Hoosiers lost to a bad Iowa team, 91-77 on Sunday, to move into a last-place tie with the Hawkeyes and Michigan. The defense reverted to its earlier why bother ways. Verdell Jones has an inflamed knee, missed the game and no one knows when he might return. Jordan Hulls was sick and throwing up before the game, which explains why a guy shooting 57 percent from the field and 51.4 percent from three-point range would go 1-for-8 and 1-for-5.
This drops Indiana to 10-10 overall and 1-6 in the Big Ten. It can’t win on the road (14 straight losses). It can’t make crunch-time plays.
Let’s not kid ourselves. This is a bad basketball team. It might win two more games the rest of the season, even if Jones returns along with his 12.9 scoring average.
You’d like to think that at least the Hoosiers would be showing improvement that would suggest a brighter future and there are signs of that. They did beat Michigan. They did push a very good Wisconsin team hard.
Even at Iowa, there were positives. Forward Christian Watford scored a career-high 30 points. It’s the most points scored by a Hoosier since Creek had 31 against Kentucky last season. Watford also was 7-for-7 from the line.
Coach Tom Crean wasn’t happy with Watford’s defense, but when your team gives up 91 points to one of the Big Ten’s poorest scoring teams, you’re not going to be happy about anything.
Forward Derek Elston had 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds for his first career double-double.
Guard Matt Roth came off the bench for 14 points and three assists.
Still, it wasn’t nearly enough.
Now the schedule really gets brutal. It plays three top-25 teams in Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan State, hosts Iowa, and then travels to No. 12 Purdue.
Yeah, it could get ugly. Like we said, next season can’t come soon enough.
Indiana is down to 15 football verball commitments now that four-star defensive back Raymon Taylor has dropped the Hoosiers and committed to Michigan and new coach Brady Hoke.
Taylor told the Detroit Nets that he was swayed while making an official visit that included standout quarterback Denard Robinson.
Taylor had originally committed to IU, then backed off when Bill Lynch was fired. He was set to go to Michigan, then backed off when Rich Rodriguez was fired.
At least the Hoosiers still have one four-star recruit holding firm on his commitment: linebacker Zach Shaw of Ohio.
In the meantime, new coach Kevin Wilson is pushing hard to complete a class he hopes is a mix of instant-impact guys plus players with big upsides. For instance, there’s 6-7, 275-pound offensive tackle Mike McQueen of Ohio. He played football as a freshman, skipped the new two years and then played last season. He’s big and athletic and has the kind of potential a staff can develop.
A staff like, say, Indiana’s.