Sunday, February 17, 2013

No Way IU’s Oladipo Misses Michigan State Game; Crean Milestone

Victor Oladipo is gonna play at Michigan State.

No way the junior guard misses this game, which just might very well determine the Big Ten champion.

Yes, he sprained his ankle late in the first half against Purdue. Sure, he didn’t play in the second half, but that was the smart thing. Indiana didn’t need him against the Boilers. The Hoosiers will absolutely need him at Michigan State on Tuesday night.

Oladipo seemed fine after the game, and the Hoosier medical staff, including veteran team trainer Tim Garl, will ensure he’s fine for Tuesday night.

Here’s what coach Tom Crean had to say:

“I would say right now I would go between precautionary and day-to-day in the sense of just wait and see. He did some things in the back, and I just don't think that any of us were comfortable enough to say, ‘Let's go do it’.

“I don't think he…he sprained his ankle, which you saw there…he wanted to go back in, but we just weren't going to do that at that point. I don't think anybody felt medically that it was the best thing to do at that point.

“I hope he is going to be okay. He think he is going to be okay, but it's going to be a lot of time spent in this building getting it back to where it needs to be. So wishful thinking would be that he will play, but we've got to wait and see how the next…I'd say the next 24 to 36 hours or so…how those turnout.”

Here are the stakes. IU and Michigan State are tied for the Big Ten lead with 11-2 records. IU is 23-3 overall and ranked No. 1. Michigan State is 22-4 and ranked No. 8. The Hoosiers already have beaten the Spartans once, so another victory would give them the tiebreaker edge, which means, in essence, they’ll have a two-game lead.

Indiana and Michigan State already have a two-game edge on the rest of the field, so there’s a built-in margin for error.

As far as who has the toughest remaining schedule, it’s hard to judge. After Tuesday’s game, IU is at Minnesota, hosts Iowa and Ohio State, and is at Michigan. Michigan State plays at Ohio State and at Michigan, then hosts Wisconsin and Northwestern.

The Big Ten championship, and the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tourney, perhaps even a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney, could come down to Tuesday night’s game. Yes, that’s a lot at stake.

IU will need to be at full strength to beat Michigan State. It will be.

Victor Oladipo is gonna play.


There once was a time when Tom Crean was winning at a Roy Williams pace.

In his last seven seasons at Marquette, he never won less than 19 games. He had three seasons of at least 25 victories, including the 27-6 Final Four squad of 2005 led by Dwyane Wade.

Then Crean came to the train wreck that was Indiana in the aftermath of the Kelvin Sampson sanction-filled era and everything blew up. Players left. Players were kicked off. Players, well, let’s just say nobody could have won with what Crean was left with.

And he didn’t win.

IU went 6-25 in his first season, 10-21 in his second, 12-20 in his third. It was the worst three-year stretch in school history. It was enough to make a coach consider a career in telemarketing, although to be fair, given Crean was making $2.1 million a year, that switch probably wasn’t happening.

Last year, things turned around fast. IU went 27-9 and reached the NCAA tourney’s Sweet 16. This year it is 23-3 and ranked No. 1. It has positioned itself for a Big Ten championship, and a lot more.

The Hoosiers are 50-13 in the last 15 months. That’s enough to even Crean’s Indiana record at 78-78.

He’s going to win a lot of games in the seasons ahead. He’s too good a coach, too good a recruiter. He won’t let the program slip again.

Those are our thoughts. Here are his:

“When you're a younger coach and you look at those things and you do know what you're averaging win-wise for your program and things, but coming in here and dealing with what we dealt with, I got over personal goals really quick because if I didn't I was going to be depressed…and I wasn't looking for that. I have no trouble being driven and motivated by the fact that we had such tough times early on.

“I do think to get it back there it's nice, but coming in to Indiana I gave up on all those things that…winning percentages…and individual goals…and will you win X amount of games in this amount of time.

“There was a time when I was interested in that. We had it going at Marquette. If we would have stayed there, my odds are good we would've kept building those wins, but we didn't. We chose to come here, and when you get into it you do it for what is most important, which is making sure that you're developing a program, getting it back where it needs to be, and that every player continues to develop.

So in one sense it's nice. It says a lot about the fact that this group has won 50 games in the last year-and-a-half. But again, when it comes down to me personally, I gave up on that…somewhere along the line in that first year I realized that wasn't going to be important anymore in my career.”

1 comment:

  1. And choose to come here you did and I for one am very thankfull! Go Hoosiers!