Notre Dame 88, Indiana 50

To Tom Crean, the Hoosiers’ loss in Maui today came down to lack of communication.

And lack of communication stems from lack of experience.

“They like each other,” Crean said afterward. “That’s not an issue. The game got fast for us, and it got faster because our communication was down.”

Indiana’s inefficiency on defense led to 13 tipped balls, Crean said. That’s the lowest in any game he’s ever been around, he said. The stated goal for each game is 35 deflections.

Fighting Irish coach Mike Brey sympathized with what Crean is going through.

“They’re in a huge rebuilding process,” he said. “He has ‘em competing and playing really hard. They’re going to grow together as the year goes on.”

No. 8 Notre Dame moves on to play No. 6 Texas.

The Hoosiers play St. Joseph’s at 8:30 a.m. local time tomorrow (1:30 EST). I’ll post something about that matchup a little later.


  1. I love this team, blowout aside. A few things that stood out in this game to me:

    1) Tom Pritchard is a hero. I didn’t realize what a manimal he was around the basket. I have a feeling he will progress very nicely.
    2) Energy level. This team looks way too young and makes way too many mistakes – but they play intensely, and there will be a few nights this year when they click and upset someone.
    3) Nick Williams’ jumper. Can’t wait to see him catch fire.
    4) Luke Harangody IS a LITERAL reincarnation of Bryant “Big Country” Reeves.
    5) I hate all Zellers, and by extensions, Plumlees. I am so thankful none of them play for IU.

  2. I love em too…..but…..Verdell Jones is too slow to be point guard, and Matt Roth might be the slowest player on the team. Good effort, but its gonna be a long season.

  3. It is going to be a long season, and despite the blowout, this was a fun game to watch. The guys played hard all game long even though they were out of it. Pritchard is going to be a beast inside in the future. I can’t wait to see ’em in person at “The Drum” against Gonzaga!!!

  4. I said I would give Crean this season but I was hoping to be a bit more competitive I guess. If Brey was so sympathetic, why did he keep his horses in for so long? Then again, I quit watching around 4 or 5 min to go.

  5. I’m embarrassed, flat out humiliated to ask this having been around the game for 40 years…but what is a deflection or tipped ball Coach is referring to?

  6. J pat, the only reason that Harongody was in for most of the game was that they wanted to build a player of the year case for him. Not very classy, but if we can’t stop them, then they can do whatever they want.

    Gotta admit, I didn’t really expect this years team or even any team for the 2 years after this to do that well, but at least they are fun to watch.

  7. And so began the “cruel tutelage of Pai Mei.”

    It’s gonna be a while until the wood fears our fist, but it’s begun.

    Now, we carry buckets of water up stairs and bloody our knuckles. It will be painful. It will take a long time.

    Someday, however, it will get us out of this hole.

    And by the time he graduates Pritchard may yet learn the Ten-Point Palm-Exploding Heart Technique.

  8. Just because we don’t expect to win many games this year does not mean for a minute that I’m going to give this coach a free ride. It was obvious from the first ten minutes of the game that Crean had no desire to win this game.

    There was great improvement from game one to game two but that progress was shot to hell with this game. First, you play to your strenghts and so we had absolutely NO BUSINESS trying to take the ball inside against double and triple teams and forcing up garbage shots.

    Second, these guards need to learn to STOP dribbling and PASS the ball with a heck of a lot more speed and most importantly stop trying to pass to someone who is already double-teamed!

    Crean called no timeouts to correct obvious flaws in strategy. I was not impressed with Crean’s coaching at all.

    Jobe should play until he fouls out or falls down from exhaustion. He can’t get experience sitting on his butt.

    Taber is not in shape enough to play.

    There were obviously tired players on the floor and so rather than bring in someone new in, Crean just let them get their ass whipped. Wow, now that’s good coaching.

    I’m not against Crean, he’s doing many things well, but he hasn’t proved to me he can coach.

  9. Backtobasics,

    Leave the coaching to Crean. He may have done things you disagree with, but he probably has very good reasons for doing what he did. He sees these guys play day in and day out in practice and he’s got a long term strategy. You’re absolutely right he wasn’t trying to win this game… no coach is going to take a bunch of guys four months removed from high school and seriously gameplan to win against the #9 team in the country unless they happen to be like Ohio State from a couple years back with Greg Oden and Mike Conley on the roster. Leave the coaching to Crean. Until he makes a mistake worth criticizing, let’s keep it positive.

  10. Look, no coach deserves a complete free-pass. But, no coach could turn this group into a winning team at a high level. Nothing against the guys, I love how hard they’re going at it, but they need some help before it gets much better. We barely have the horses to play in the best high school league in the state, yet alone the Big Ten.

    Tijan actually makes us worse, he looks like he just started playing basketball 2 weeks ago, but he’ll get his time. If this team wins 8 games or more, Crean oughta be in consideration for Coach of the Year. Give me a break.

    If you’re critcizing Crean for these problems, especially already, you obviously know nothing about basketball.

  11. Iagree with Michael and Wisco. Leave the coaching to Crean and don’t start badmouthing him already for losing to an experienced team like ND in a meaningless preseason tournament. I think he looked at this game like he should have: yes, win if you can but also look like it as a practice against good competition. It looked like he played about everyone, rotated players in and out, tried different combinations and gave a breather to those who needed it. The guy has already blown the stink off of the past ugly years and you can see him teach in every game. The only way a group like this will get better is through experience and by the end of the year they WILL surprise some if not a lot of teams. Jones does need to spend the summer in the weight room as do some of the others who are actually still filling out and Jobe may not get a lot better due to a rather thin background but with some incoming help next year and the years following, the Hoosiers will come back strong. Bilas said himself that TC was one of the best recruiters in college basketball and I have little doubt that he’ll bring in the type of player(s) we need. I love the fact this young and inexperienced kids are fighters and didn’t back down from Harangody or any of the others either.

  12. Backtobasics, it’s time for you to put your copy of “Hoosiers” back in the cabinet. You’ve got totally unrealistic expectations of both this coach and this team for this point in time. If anyone needs to go back to basics, it is you my friend.

  13. For the good of this discussion, I should mention that we asked Crean after the game what he was trying to work on in the second half.

    He got a little snippy, sensing that we were insinuating that he might be tailoring his coaching to try to develop the team rather than cut into the lead.

    “We were trying to win the game,” he said. “It wasn’t like we came out not trying to win. We were just coaching the game.”

    Take that to mean what you will, but it seemed germane to the conversation.

  14. Don’t respond to Back to Basics; she’s just a rabble-rouser trying to get a reaction from everyone early on. My advice: save the criticism of coaching for the football team, where it rightly and urgently belongs.

    Watching Crean roam the sidelines and direct the action has been exciting this year, and it will continue to be so. There is a different feeling about basketball, suddenly. The tension of watching last year’s overrated, disappointment-prone squad is gone. Remember, folks, before the Sampson scandal broke wide open, IU, a team with two All-Americans, was blown out by an injured, unranked UConn team AT HOME. They were also tested mightily by a painfully average Georgia Tech squad. Last year, the collective feeling around the team was “hold your breath and hope we don’t blow it”. This year, the mentality has changed to “which overconfident team are we going to topple?”

  15. Well, the blowout was NOT unexpected. I pretty much figured ND would be beat IU by 25 or 30.

    However, the team continued to play very hard with heart and passion, something the IU football team could learn from.

    Plus, I see this team with numerous players that can develop their game into something special. The 2009 season will be around a .500 season. But, I’m seeing 2010 around .800 to .850 season!

  16. Did I miss it? What time is the St. Joe game today. I have read and heard three different times. What Bloomington time? Thanks.

  17. ww:

    The ND vs. IU game was on at 5:30pm B-town yesterday on ESPN2.

    Today’s game against St. Joe is at 1:30pm B-town time on ESPNU.

    I’m not sure if it’s being streamed on Big Ten Network website or not at this time, though.

    Hope that helps you and anyone else that might not know. Go Hoosiers!

  18. I don’t think there is any need for Crean to be defensive. Personally, I think he SHOULD be trying to work on different aspects of the game, when the game is obviously out of reach. There was no way in hell we were going to come back and win in the second half so all you can do is make the players play hard and have them work on things that will make them better. There is no strategy that would have gotten IU to win the game and anybody like Backtobasics who thinks there was obviously has zero basketball knowledge. RMK, Coach K, Coach Wooden, Roy Wiliams, none of those great coaches would have gotten this team to within 20 points with the players we have. Strategy only takes you so far, the rest is talent and experience. We started 4 freshman and a JUCO transfer. They started 4 seniors and a junior. Big difference in experience, knowledge of the game, teamwork, talent, etc. etc. Hopefully there won’t be too many dumba$$es like this tool who thinks that we should go 28-0 with a handful of freshman and a larger handful of walkons by coming up with the perfect strategy each game. If there are, then Hoosier Nation is not nearly as knowledgeable as we proclaim.

  19. After watching this game, there is one important thing I think we all learned… This team WILL be scrappy and hustle their butts off. It’s pretty easy to see that talent-wise, this team is probably somewhere near the bottom of the Big Ten at this point, but there is no doubt that they are hustling and giving 100%.

    For anyone to give these guys crap for getting blown out by a top 10 team, is just insane. What did you expect? This is a MAJOR REBUILDING PROCESS!! Do I have to remind you that we have 2 returning players who have probably scored a total of 30 points combined in their careers. Both of whom were walk-ons initialy.

    It’s gonna take time and patience. If you don’t have both, then you might wanna jump on another team’s bandwagon you fair weather ****!!!!

  20. Slow,

    I am not totally sure, but I’m guessing that “tipped balls” mean anytime a Hoosier defender deflects, or tips, a pass (or shot?). So with his goal of 35, the team obviously did not get in front of the ball very well. I may very well be wrong, but this is what I’m guessing Crean is referring as a “tipped ball.”

  21. I don’t think I’m saying anything that hasn’t been said, but I believe the team gave no less than 100% from start to finish. That’s more than I’ve seen a lot of the “good” IU teams do in recent times.

    They certainly made some mental and athletic mistakes. Shots didn’t fall as well as one could hope. But they never hung their heads, even when down 20-30 points.

    I’m just hoping the NCAA sees a program that doesn’t require any more punishment than what it’s already received at 4 PM today. Or maybe they’ll throw a one-year post-season ban at the team, as if that would make much difference this year.

  22. Steve 0-

    I can’t forgive you for your erroneous belief that no one worth a dime will want to coach football at IU, but you are dead-right about the basketball team and their hustle. Watching them last night, I felt the strangest sensation of pride, probably similar to a paternal feeling. After every jumper, hustle for a loose ball, or Tom Pritchard energetic rebound or slash to the basket, I was fist-pumping.

    Am I right that this year will be so much more exciting, in a different way, than last year?

  23. There weren’t many suprises here. A few of the problems can be addressed as the season progresses: Shot selection (I’m looking at you Roth) Blocking out (everyone), playing fundamental, solid defense and finishing easy shots. Some can’t – small, slow and no depth. IU gave effort and will improve, I believe, to reach their potential. There are bright spots too: Pritchard, Dumes & Williams are legit, Jobe could be servicable, Taber will improve as he get’s back in shape. I’m a little disappointed in Roth & Jones so far, but it’s unfair to judge too much already.

  24. I think it’s a little premature to criticize the team for not being more competitive against the #8 team in the country. ND has a mature, experienced, talented roster that’s played together a lot. We’ve got an immature (only because they’re young and new to one another), inexperienced, talented roster that’s hardly played together at all. If the coaches changed sides, the result would be about the same.

    I’m claiming an ‘I told you so’ on Tom Pritchard. I’ve been singing his praises since seeing him play on ESPN last year about this time. He’s playing now the way he played then, which is to say, well and with toughness.

  25. I simply didn’t realize that T.P. was so aggressive inside, with such touch around the basket. I was more excited about Roth at the beginning of the season, truth be told.

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