Iowa 73, Indiana 57

Jordan Hulls' face says it all.

Tom Crean challenged his team to show up for this rematch with Iowa, which beat the Hoosiers in Assembly Hall earlier this year and sent them skidding, with intensity and renewed fight.

It, once again, did not.

Where do the Hoosiers go from this year? Has the progress ceased for the season? Will these last final games only serve to hammer home the difficult lessons already learned through these tribulations? Is an off-season of weight work and growing up the only thing that will help Indiana?

What next?

More to come, once we speak with head coach Tom Crean and a few of the players.

[9:05 UPDATE]

I stand, apparently, corrected.

Tom Crean, Christian Watford and Verdell Jones just told the assembled media that the Hoosiers did, indeed, fight and play tough.

Crean said it was a “very, very hard-fought game” and that his team needed to be in a fight and that it “answered the bell for that.”

Jones thought the Hoosiers made mental mistakes and therefore were not able to stick with the Hawkeyes, who, said Watford, hit tough shots.

It is very possible that I just had a skewered view of what happened here today. The drive here is long. The season has been winding.

I need to go watch the tape of this one.

We’ll have more in a bit, including a few thoughts on what Indiana did to change the way it defended the pick and roll (and how it faltered a few times today).

UPDATE, 10:21 p.m.

The audio follows.

AUDIO: Todd Lickliter calls it a big win for his team

AUDIO: Tom Crean says his team fought, just didn’t execute

AUDIO: Christian Watford discusses IU’s changed screen and roll coverage

AUDIO: Verdell Jones said the turnovers were a product of hurrying.

33 comments

  1. You didn’t see the game incorrectly. There is fighting, and then there is fighting to win. I now understand this rebuilding project is going to take 3-5 years….from now. I don’t know if my illusion of what IU basketball is supposed to be has skewed my expectations…but I now understand the unfathomable situation IU basketball has now become, is truly depressing.

    It appears the players are tuning CTC out on the sideline. I’m really just at a loss for words now. The talent isn’t there…the hustle isn’t there (it was last season)…the pride isn’t there.

  2. Gee, sorry I missed this hard fought game. Box score tells me my man Elston is back to his allotted 10-12 minutes. Nice reward for leading the team in scoring and rebounding last game. I’d sure like to know Mr Crean’s logic on that (among other things). I’m not anti-Crean, I hope things get better. Just don’t see how they can for a long time.

  3. Chris you are right. Not sure what Crean is seeing. Absolutely depressing times. There has been no improvement to this team. Zero progression and that is scary!

  4. How did we go from the team with Gordon and White that crushed MSU at assembly hall to the hot mess that was in iowa?

    I see Keeling and Holman flourishing in Detroit. Ebanks at WVU, Crawford at Xavier, MD rolling at UAB, Rupp in Louisiana and Alford in New Mexico…you have to shake your head at the mess Crean has made.

  5. I’m wearing thin with Crean some too, but to comment “the mess Crean has made” is laughable. Last I checked he wasn’t responsible for Knight’s firing, Davis’s ineptitude or Kelvin’s lack of ethics.

  6. I live in Tar Heel country; but have and always will be a Hoosier. I have loved Indiana University basketball since I was a young Hoosier growing up in Loogootee, Indiana (oh yea; with that coach Jack Butcher); most wins by a high school coach. Back to the thoughts at hand – not for sure what Coach Crean is doing; but I have to agree about Elston. If anyone there in Btown knowsn Coach personally; please pass on that I would like to know his thoughts on Mr. Elston; and also why Daniel Moore gets “any” minutes! I have a 6’4 son that could contribute!!! – or at least run around like all the others!!

  7. I have to agree. Playing Moore for any other reason than an absolute emergency is a question mark. The inventory of turnovers Dumes owns is endless.

  8. Wisco – Crean couldn’t close the deal on Ebanks, Holman and Crawford. Ran off the talent left from Sampson’s team and ran off players from last year and will again this summer. And Crean isn’t accountable for the regression in this team? Other than Bobby Cappo, no player’s game has improved from the first half of the year.

    It’s time for Korman and crew to ask crean the tough questions.

  9. I disagree with Korman and most of the commenters here…the team did fight today, but just made too many mental errors resulting in turnovers to be competitive. They could have easily mailed it in when they got down 12, 15 points, but they clearly didn’t.

    I thought Watford in particular showed up a little bit more and played harder. To my amazement we actually tried to get him the ball in the post (with mixed results, at best). I don’t understand why Rivers looked pretty good driving the ball the last five minutes and was a non-factor the rest of the game (other than defense and fouls).

    I wish we would have tried to press earlier in the game to shake things up. Why not? At this point, what do we have to lose???

    Also, I agree that Elston should get at least 20 minutes a game, even if his defense is suspect. He brings a lot of energy and can create his own shot, which we need in this “offense.”

  10. Greg,

    I think Dustin sort of saw it the way you did, too, to some extent. You’ll see that when I post the ScoopTalk video in a little bit.

    He pointed out that Iowa is a terrible matchup for Indiana because of how tough they are.

    It’s just a bit surprising to me that this Indiana team can’t find a way to stay closer to that Iowa team. It lost two of its top players in the off-season (Kelly and Petersen) and then Tucker 11 games into this season. Even if Lickliter’s situation isn’t as bad as Crean’s, it’s far from good. The Hawkeyes did start two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior.

    I need to keep thinking about this one.

  11. I just got done watching the game on DVR (damn family birthday parties), &, as ITH used to say, I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly in this one.

    Our offense was far more efficient tonight, but not nearly effective enough in scoring points.

    Our defensive intensity was up, but not nearly focused enough to rotate in time or cover their open shooters.

    We came out with more fight, but beat ourselves to death with unforced turnovers- the story of our season.

    In sum, there were signs of measurable improvement, but the good still looks really bad when commingled with so much ugliness.

  12. Aruss,

    The reason Crean couldn’t “close the deal” on those players is because, more times than not, players commit to the coach — not the program. When Sampson left, those players migrated back to other coaches with whom they were familiar. They had neither the time nor the willingness to start the recruiting process over with Crean. To leverage their de-commitments against Crean is absurd.

    And as far as Crean “running off” players from the Sampson era — he “ran off” players who skipped practice, were routinely late to team meetings, failed classes and exhibited poor attitudes. If you have a problem with that, I don’t know what to tell you. At a school like Indiana, where winning the right way trumps everything, Crean did the right thing by exterminating any remnant of negativity, entitlement, and disrespect left when he took over.

    I would think fans of IU would respect that sort of integrity. We get so caught up in simply winning — and right away, that we forget how difficult it is to do what Crean’s trying to do. He’s trying to BUILD a program. He’s trying to restore us to our glory without cutting any corners. That’s both rare and commendable.

    People have pointed out that we simply lack the talent to be competitive. I completely agree. We don’t have even ONE complete player on our team right now. And if it truly is an issue of talent and youth, we can’t place blame solely on the coach. There’s only so much coaching to be done with players that simply aren’t good enough to be starting at this level.

    Right about now, IU fans need a dose of realism and patience.

  13. Thanks, Casey. Although, Aruss, I would have liked to keep Crawford, but Casey said the rest for me. And I can’t blame Crawford, who is an NBA player, to not want to be a part of this train wreck.

  14. I guess the several thousand games I have watched over the last 50 years doesn’t qualify me as a expert, but coach was surely watching a different game than I was tonight. I see nothing in either the talent or the coaching that leads me to believe that this mess we have is going to get any better over the next few years. We have digressed so far over last year’s walk ons and baseball players that I can hardly watch anymore.I would much rather watch last year’s team play with the heart that they played with than to watch the train wreck that we have become.

  15. TC is living in his own made up world. “I said they played hard so they played hard.” It is all smoke and mirrors with TC. He is the master of self promotion. He is destroying our basketball program and the most frustrating thing about it is there is nothing that can be done because we mortgaged the athletic program on a hair oil salesman. We are the laughing stock of Indiana, and at this point even ND is looking down at us. I can’t wait for football season!

  16. For the first time ever I turned off the game before it ended. It was just too painful to watch. What bothers me more than the losing is the way we lose. There appears to be no learning going on whatsoever. Strength training and conditioning will help but IU needs basketball training. IU needs to watch the tape of the game… how many times does Watford fail to square up to the basket? He is always taking shots off balance or drives too far under the hoop leaving himself no options. How many times does Watford or Dumes drive the ball only to kick it out of bounds or dribble off their own feet? Absolutely ZERO weak side help defense. We over play on defense giving up good defensive position. The weave IU runs on the top of the key accomplishes nothing but charging fouls, turnovers and desperation shots as the shot clock winds down. I see no basketball learning or improvement going on at all. Sad to say IU looks like they have never played the game before.

  17. Excuse me if I have to run off and barf some more. Being doing so since witnessing that debacle of a basketball game last evening.
    How does a team manage just 4 points in the first 10 minutes? Fewest I have ever seen in a HS game was 5 points, in 8 minutes. My local HS teams could have scored 10 in 10 minutes, on a bad day.
    This is rediculous. Turnover after turnover. And apparently defense is defined as fouling the opposing player to prevent him from scoring (and even then, the player manages to score so often. And what offense do we run? I must say, we really know how to work the shot clock – even when down 15 with six minutes to go, game after game we manage to run dribble and pass for 23 seconds before either turning the ball over, or taking a forced shot with 2 seconds left.
    A coach has to understand what he has in each of his players, and then get the most each has to offer. That means customizing the offense around those specific players. CTC is trying to run plays these guys are not capable of executing. So what is the point? And he plays Rivers and Dumas who would be fulltime bench riders on 80% of the other BT teams. No one on this roster understands how precious each and every possession is. They try to make fancy passes and scooping underhanded shots, and when they turn the ball over, they shrug and run down the court. These games are not practice, this is the real thing. Trying to make a play which has a 15% chance of success is something you do in a pickup game, not a BT contest. I wonder what % of the time when we take posession of the ball (usually after the other team has scored, it seems), that we actually get a high percentage shot off (as opposed to committing an offensive foul, illegal screen, bad pass, travelling violation, etc.). 20%?? I mean, if you have say 65 possessions in a game, can’t you manage a good shot 25-30 times? I guess not, when you turn it over 20+ times, and wait out the shotclock before shooting.
    Give me VJIII, Elston, Creek, Bobby (off the bench), and Watford (assuming he will agree to step it up all the time, become a determined force, and learn to simply go to the iron and dunk when in close), and a couple of recruits. The rest of the group – they will never make it on my team.
    At this level, coaching and teaching still makes a major difference. I don’t know if our coaches don’t know what they are doing, or if our players are just not capable of being taught. But there is no improvement. When you get 2 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist from your starting point, something is very wrong. The group just does not play together. No one knows what the others are doing at any time. Don’t our coaches watch teams like Syracuse, UK, Tenn., Villanova and such, and see what works – what we should be doing? Do our players not see that the successful teams go to the hole with authority, play aggressively (not simply play hard), play above the rim (can Watford even dunk the ball??), use their bodies on defense? Other teams do not have their inside shots swatted away all the time. Their shooters get open and make those shots.
    A head coach needs to be a leader, not a manager. And not a cheerleader. He needs to run his team like a business, set expectations for individuals, make them accountable. Hire people who can accomplish the goals. When there is failure, it usually starts at the top, and that is only where we can look for the fix. I know the players are young, but so are players on most teams, including yesterday’s opponent. Somehow, we manage to make every opponent look like a national contender. They have their “best game” of the year against us. Well, what does that tell you?
    Excuse me – I need to run to the john again..

  18. Aruss,

    The players you wanted to keep have sketchy characters, at best. Holman was involved in a bunch of stuff in Cali (got shot and couldn’t play a lot his senior year) and Ebanks already got suspended for drugs this year at WVU.

  19. It is not how we are playing it is WHO we are playing!!!!!!! Coach Crean, people in Indiana will understand if you play the young kids and lose, really they will.

    1. He has already realized that Pritchard is a fourth post player at best.

    2. As others have said, Moore should never play unless it is a blowout.

    3. Dumes is the worst scholarship player in the big ten and he is a senior, he should never play.

    4. He needs to get over the Rivers experiment. He just isn’t that good, period.

    Focus the last two games on the young kids. Play Hulls, Jones, Elston, Watford, Jobe. What is the worst that could happen—we might LOSE. Play Bobby C., Prtichard, and Rivers off the bench.

    The losing we can handle it is the lack of adjustments that is confusing.

  20. YouWillNeverKnow,

    First of all, Jobe is a senior also. He’s not a “young kid.” There’s absolutely no benefit to playing him ever — the “Dumes rule” applies there.

    I agree there’s no reason to play Dumes — other than the fact that we simply lack depth and he’s going to have to spell some of our guards sometimes. It’s an unfortunate necessity.

    But every other player you listed will be back next year. You may not like Rivers, but he’ll be back. Jones, Watford and Hulls all get significant minutes as it is.

    I understand that people like Elston a lot — as do I. But I have a feeling that if Crean did play Elston as much as many are demanding, we’d quickly see why he doesn’t get those kind of minutes. He’s just not quite there defensively yet.

    I think it’s just kind of a toss-up, and Crean is playing the players he has to. No, none of them are perfect. Most aren’t even ideal, but we’re kind of playing with one hand tied behind our back right now. It’s an issue of talent and underdevelopment, and the only thing that’s really going to fix the situation is what’s done in the upcoming offseason, in my opinion.

  21. Not a fan of Rivers but I saw that he is 3rd or 4th in the Big 10 in assist right?

    Dumes is not the worst scholly player in the Big 10. He won us our games last year and he played at a Juco for a year so he is fundamentally flawed somewhat. He has not improved like he should have but only had 2 years here. You should be happy he came here or last season we might have not won a single game. Lastly, he is the toughest kid on the team!

  22. I can understand all of the points made here about youth, the need for weight training, the need for maturity, lack of depth, tough matchup, et al. What I can’t understand or accept is the lack of fight the team has put up the last month or so, and the lack of improvement among the players.

    Last year, we had less depth and talent than we do this year, but yet we very nearly beat Penn St. on the road, and PSU went on to win the NIT. And we very nearly beat Michigan St. at Bloomington, and they got to the national title game. Those were both down the stretch of a dismal season, so the team kept fighting and improving until the end. This year that is not the case.

    As such, my optimism going into this year and sustained through the close losses to Illinois and Purdue has been totally destroyed, and I’m expecting at least 2 more years of bad teams before we can hope to have any kind of a good team.

    The blame for this situation is multi-faceted, but I have to lay a good part of it on the coaching staff. If they could get the team to keep fighting and improving through last year’s 6-25 disaster, why couldn’t they keep it going this year when the team started 9-9 and 3-3 in conference? Talent, maturity and depth issues I accept; also the undeniable difficulty of the second half of our Big Ten schedule; but just letting the team quit, I can’t get past that.

  23. The team has not quit. Only arm chair coaches think that. Frustration does not equal quitting.

  24. Coach Crean said it all the other day. No mental learning by osmosis on the pine because depth talent is so young. This will probably raise some comments but the graduation of Taber may have something to do with Pritchard underachieving. Was Kyle a more positive factor than we can appreciate.

  25. Eric,

    I understand your point. I really do.

    But don’t you think our issues could be attributed more to factors other than coaching, given that Crean was able to motivate last year’s team so well?

    I think your argument (“The blame for this situation is multi-faceted, but I have to lay a good part of it on the coaching staff. If they could get the team to keep fighting and improving through last year’s 6-25 disaster, why couldn’t they keep it going this year when the team started 9-9 and 3-3 in conference? “)could be used in Crean’s defense.

    Crean’s shown he can motivate a team in the midst of such turmoil. There must be other large factors, then, if this year’s team can’t maintain motivation with more (but still not enough) talent.

    I think ultimately, losing this many games just wears you down. The difference between this year’s team and last year’s is that last year there were absolutely zero expectations. And while no one expected a tournament run this season, people were much more optimistic and expectant compared to last season. I think the best thing that can happen for our team right now is for the season to end. They need a summer to improve and start fresh.

  26. Hoosier Clarion, Casey, YouWillNeverKnow: You are on every post bad mouthing Dumes,, Dumes is not and has not been the problem we all know you are part of the staff, your Coaches mind games won’t work for long. After Dumes is gone what’s gonna be your next excusessssssss Sorry to disappoint you all of the opposing coaches don’t worry about the team they worry if Tom is going to allow him to play his game. Sorry personally heard Thad tell him sorry you have to go through this BS, wish we had You!!! SO GET READY FOR YOUR NEXT PACK OF LIES,,, AND PACK

  27. be4realpack,

    I’m incapable of deciphering that mess of a post.

    Regardless — I’m not “bad mouthing Dumes.” I know nothing of him as an individual. I’m sure he’s a hard working, nice kid.

    What I and other posters have seen way too much of is Dumes playing selfish basketball — driving blindly into the lane with no regard for the players around him, firing 25-foot three-pointers with 30 seconds still remaining on the shot clock and failing at attempted circus shots/passes. I think we’re justified and entitled to criticize him as a basketball player.

    None of us has made any sort of stab at him as a person. Criticism and “bad mouthing” are two very different things.

    I assure you I’m not part of the staff.

    Speaking of lies — I highly doubt you heard Thad Matta tell Dumes anything of the sort. OSU would be warming the bench on the OSU sidelines.

    Try posting something coherent next time; it’ll help your cause, I think.

  28. Casey, first, let me say, be4realpack’s post was basically gibberish. And to think that Thad Matta would be moronically stupid enough to make a comment like that to an opposing player is patently ridiculous.

    I see your points, and the team did stay motivated and keep fighting last year, even though they obviously had little chance to win most of the games they were in. That is to Crean’s credit. But I just can’t get past how the team has just shown no will to even play the last few games. I guess I’m being too negative, I’m just terribly disappointed we haven’t been more competitive the last several games.

  29. Eric,

    I’m disappointed too. And I think that’s an appropriate reaction.

    I’m just trying to think of this from the players’ perspective. Think about it — even when they played their guts out against Purdue, Illinois and Michigan State, they STILL came up short. After a while it must seem to them that no matter what they do, they’ll never quite outlast their frequently superior opponents. Losing becomes a forgone conclusion — the game, a simple formality.

    I think it’s much more subconscious and mental. I doubt most of the players are intentionally letting up.

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