Thursday, December 20, 2012

Indiana’s Hulls Plays It Smart; Lynch Back Coaching; And More

Jordan Hulls is up for the Bob Cousy Award.

That means something for those of a certain age who remember the former Boston Celtic great who set standards for ball handling and passing and overall guard play few have ever matched.

Anyway, Hulls is a candidate for the national award. Indiana's senior guard has plenty of Big Ten company in Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, Michigan’s Tre Burke and Michigan State’s Keith Appling, and more across the nation.

Hulls has become as good an assist guy as there is in the Big Ten, if not the nation. He has 46 assists against 12 turnovers. That’s basically a 4-1 ratio, double what is considered good.

Why is Hulls so much better with the ball than ever before? Maturation and wisdom are two factors. So is having teammate Yogi Ferrell around to run the show when Hulls isn’t.

“I have always wanted to be a good decision maker,” Hulls said in a university release. “I have always wanted to have a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. It helps a lot to have Yogi in the game with me, because he can handle the ball too, so I don’t have to have it in my hands all the time.

“So having him helps, but it is something I have to do in order for us to win.”

Sixth-ranked Indiana (10-1) hopes to continue winning tonight when it hosts Florida Atlantic (5-6).

“We have to have good transition defense becaue they like to run and shoot three-pointers,” Hulls said. “They have good players who can score, so we have to focus on that. We can’t have any miscommunication on defense. That is going to be the biggest thing for us.”

That is the company line. Here is the reality -- IU will win by at least 30 points.


Are you like us? Have you about had it with the patsies that keep showing up at Assembly Hall?

We have two more sacrificial lambs with Florida International tonight and Jacksonville on Dec. 28 before Big Ten play begins at dangerous Iowa and we can really see if Indiana has learned its Butler lesson.

Every major team plays guaranteed home games, another way of saying it buys victories. The Central Connecticut States of the world can make $40,000 to $70,000 a game if they don’t mind the road.

For instance, this week Ohio State hosted Winthrop, Purdue hosted Ball State,  and Iowa hosted South Carolina State. Iowa also will host Coppin State on Saturday. That’s the same Coppin State team that got buried by 36 points at Assembly Hall a few weeks ago.

Such games help finance athletic departments. Every Big Ten school needs a bunch of non-conference home games, and home games overall, to help meet the athletic department budget.

Still, some schools are more aggressive about scheduling than others. Michigan State played AT Bowling Green earlier in the week and will host dangerous Texas (which just upset North Carolina) on Saturday. Also on Saturday, No. 8 Ohio State is hosting No. 9 Kansas, and No. 10 Illinois is playing No. 12 Missouri.

For the record, IU has played nine teams with a RPI of 51 or worse, four with a RPI of 200 or worse.

And then, when you see the great atmosphere for the Crossroads Classic showdown with Butler, don’t you wish you could get more of that and less of, say, Mount St. Mary’s?

Just sayin.’


Has Maurice Creek played his last IU basketball game?

Not if he has anything to say about it.

Yes, the junior guard is once again injured. This time it’s his right foot, which was hurt during a Sunday practice. He was wearing a boot during Wednesday’s win over Mount St. Mary’s. IU officials would only say Creek is out indefinitely, but Creek tweeted his certainty that “indefinitely” doesn’t mean “permanently.”

“I appreciate the love #HoosierNation, this is not the end of my season…I will be back.”

And then:

“This is just a little bump in the road, but I’ll keep my head held high with a big smile because I know that God has a plan for me.”

While Creek was hurt on Sunday, nothing was said about it until a release was sent out a couple of hours before Wednesday’s Mount St. Mary’s game. It was another blow for a guy who doesn’t need anymore.

Creek has had two major knee surgeries, plus a surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, that has cost him a couple of seasons.

This season he’s played in 10 games, averaging 3.0 points, 1.6 rebounds and 11.3 minutes.

In a release Crean said, “Maurice has been doing so much to improve and help our team. Hopefully this is just a temporary setback.”

Crean later added that, “It’s sad that he’s injured. You never want to see anybody hurt. You don’t want to see him go through hard times.”

As far as when Creek could return to action, Crean said, “We don’t have a time frame on it. We hope it’s not very long.”

As far as how Creek got hurt and what the specific injury is, all Crean would say was, “He got injured in practice. It’s one of those things.”


Bill Lynch loves coaching football. The way things ended at Indiana was not the way he wanted to end his career.

The good news is he’ll get at least one last coaching shot. He is the new head coach at DePauw, a Division III program.

He coached at DePauw once before, going 8-2 in 2004 before Terry Hoeppner hired him at Indiana. He took over the Hoosiers program in 2007 when Hoeppner died, and guided the Hoosiers to a 7-6 record and a berth in the Insight Bowl.

Three straight losing seasons cost him his job. He became an assistant athletic director at Butler, where he had stared as a multi-sport athlete.

Lynch is as good a guy as you’re likely to meet. Here’s hoping that he has a ton of success at DePauw.


If you’re Paul Bayt, you’re living the dream and if it costs you (or, at least, your parents) about $15,000, so be it.

The 6-4 Bayt, a freshman, gave up a scholarship to Manhattan to transfer to IU. He wanted to be closer to home, and home is Indianapolis. He also wants to be closer to IU freshman guard Yogi Ferrell. Bayt and Ferrell played on the state title winning Indianapolis Park Tudor team last year.

Bayt spent the first semester at Manhattan. He never played in a game, but still must sit out a year to meet NCAA eligibility requirements.

“We are excited to have Paul at Indiana,” Crean said in a university release.  “He is a well-coached, well-rounded winner who is an outstanding representative in the classroom. Along with Yogi, Paul played an integral part winning two state championships for one of the top programs in the state of Indiana in Park Tudor. He brings some Division I experience to IU but more importantly he brings a great attitude and an ability to shoot the basketball.”

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