Monday, February 14, 2011

IU Basketball – Igniting Hair, Playing Scared and the Marquis de Sade

In the Tom Crean scheme of things, it’s okay to play scared -- as long as it’s done with purpose.

Does that seem confusing? It’s not. Sometimes fear can be a great motivator. You just have to control it, use it.

Crean was talking about Indiana’s road woes. Yes, it’s a seemingly never-ending problem. The Hoosiers have just one true road win in Crean’s three seasons. They’ve lost 18 straight times away from Assembly Hall.

Still, they’ve come close, especially the overtime defeat at Michigan State.

While addressing that issue during Monday’s Big Ten teleconference, Crean brought up fear.

“There has got to be a tinge of fear that leads to a collective toughness. Not a tinge of fear that leads to comfort or play as usual. We’re not good enough to do that.”

What Crean wants IU to do sounds like it comes straight out of a Marquis de Sade manual, not that we admit to knowing what that looks or sounds like.

The Marquis, in case you didn’t know, was famous during the late 18th Century for doing and writing some not very nice things while living in France. It’s where we get the term “sadism,” and, no, it doesn’t mean, “watching IU play basketball on the road.”

Anyway, Crean talks about the Hoosiers having to play with a higher level sense of urgency, like somebody “took a lighter to their hair” and set it on fire. “We have to play with that edge,” he said. “That’s how we have to be.”

Crean could actually TRY that. Bring out a lighter and starting igniting players’ hair during a timeout. It would be a great motivator and great spectacle, although it would probably break a few sportsmanship, legal and ethical rules.

Go figure.

So, for now, Crean is left with words instead of action.

“We have got to have that our-hair-is-on-fire mentality that we are just going to play all out.”

IU has plenty of time to develop that mentality. It doesn’t play again until Saturday night against Northwestern. And since Crean’s practices are closed and lighters are easily concealed …

Hey, we’re just sayin.’

After that it’s a brutal finish of Purdue-Ohio State-Wisconsin-Illinois, with Ohio State and Illinois on the road.

Oh, no.

Maybe the Hoosiers don’t need a lighter. That closing schedule should be more than enough to scare/ignite them.


It’s almost more than an IU basketball fan can take -- a chance to watch 2012 super recruit Hanner Perea play in Bloomington right before the Hoosiers putting whupping on Northwestern and …

Okay, when it comes to IU basketball, no victory is assured. Northwestern did beat IU last month.

But Perea, at least, will play when his LaPorte La Lumiere team plays at Bloomington South Saturday afternoon. The 3 o’clock tipoff will allow fans to see that game, then head to Assembly Hall for the 7 o’clock tip-off between the Hoosiers and the Wildcats.

South has won 45 straight home games. It is 17-2 on the season. La Lumiere is 13-7.

The 6-8 Perea is still raw, but he’s developing. The main thing is he’s very athletic. Put him on a frontcourt with Cody Zeller and it’s easy to get excited. A lot of work is required to turn that excitement into results, but that’s another topic for another day.

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