22 comments

  1. I’m not so sure this was just a “letdown” today. Iowa has been playing much better ball of late. And I’m not so sure we can assume this would have been an easy victory with Watford available. In this blogger’s opinion, our Hoosier team has not looked as crisp since Jones’ return. Though Hulls had a very nice game and got off to a fabulous start, he began to look a bit of of sync when relinquishing the role of running things from the point guard. I know guys don’t necessarily have to adore each other to perform well together on the floor, but there just seems to be zero chemistry-a resultant energy drain on the team-when Verdell and Jordan are sharing the leadership role. I’m not sure if it’s a true power struggle to be head of the class per se or just a drop-off in inspired play the whole team because of too much ambiguity to decide who’s in charge when they’re both on the floor together. Is it enough to say “the ball needs to be in Jordan Hulls’ hands”, or does this squad need their coach to do more in acknowledging/communicating the singular player he has the utmost confidence running the show. Who is the leader in practices? Wouldn’t that translate to games? Are we going to have to endure watching this play out for another season? It’s a tough line to balance for Crean. He doesn’t want to damage the confidence of either player. Hulls is ready to lead this team and I’m not sure the upperclassman is so anxious to move aside for the betterment of the team.

    Unfortunately, I think we’ll continue to see stagnancy and confusion at the most importune times in games until roles are more clearly defined and accepted. You can put the ball in one kid’s hands, but you still must have everyone on the same page. Can that happen between these two? Personally, when I see Jordan forced to surrender running the offense(scattering about all over the floor..moving off screens back and forth along the baseline and looking for a pass)I immediately sense things are soon to head south.

    Something’s gotta give.

  2. Oops.

    Unfortunately, I think we’ll continue to see stagnancy and confusion at the most [inopportune] times in games until roles are more clearly defined and accepted.

  3. I thought that CTC consistently recognized that Hulls needed to be in the game and running the show. When he was getting a short rest and the lead started slipping away- Hulls was put right back in.

    As they increasingly got up in Hull’s grill and face guarded him- I thought that Verdell’s short jumper was a really good look at the end of the game. With Iowa coming out in man to man and our two freshmen guarded by less mobile bigs- perhaps it was also an option would have been to let Sheehey or Olidapo drive it and score or get fouled. I am also wondering if we don’t let Rivers shoot alittle more as he outside shot looks more reliable and he is knocking down FT’s.

    I agree that Hulls is a great option but to argue between one of two good options seems alittle much (Hulls vs Jones).

  4. This game was lost because IU could not run its offense when Iowa changed to a zone. That’s why Moore threw it away,etc. Yes, our defense wore out,Jones got selfish,etc. I wish Crean would run out of timeouts because every time he calls one- we blow it. He needs to have confisence in the team without the timeouts. Apparently, Roth was injured taking away an outside shooter. Why no Pritchard to set a screen at the end?

  5. Lets take a look at the Big Ten, there,s only one team that belongs in the top 15 and thats Ohio St. and if they were , in the East or far West they would not be mno. 1.The Big Ten has at best two teams inthe top 25 they rest of them are also rans. If they get four teams in the NCAA it will have been a gift.

  6. Masterson-

    Completely and unequivocally disagree. That Iowa team is much stronger than their record indicates. Don’t be shocked if those crappy Hawkeyes make it to the championship game of the Big 10 tournament once again. Very athletic with a coach that has a confidence about him that’s beginning to show in the body language of his players. Though some are acting like bringing out their ‘A’ game is only a phenomena demonstrated against the struggling Hoosiers, I would contend they are young with a new coach and just beginning to gel. Minnesota is another team in the middle of the standings that could also make some noise in the NCAA. I think the conference is stronger than ever-exactly why so many teams are having difficulty on the road. Unless a huge upset occurs in the Big Dance, OSU is without doubt a team with all the components to take home the championship prize. Yet, the Buckeyes have barely escaped against some bottom-dwellers of the Big 10 when on the road. Out of the 65 teams that get into the tournament, I don’t think there’s a Big 10 team(including the Hoosiers with a healthy Watford)that couldn’t come out on top in the first round against 4/5 the teams invited. Our rebuilding has come at a very difficult time because of the strength in the conference. This isn’t the Big 10 of old when those that had the year-after-year bragging rights of being the cream on top were assured a pair of victories(home and away) against 3 or 4 totally out-matched teams in the league. Not to take anything away from our great teams of the past, but the conference used to be weaker midway to bottom. It seems no team can ever let their guard down. I think we could have given Purdue all they could have handled with the surging Watford in our lineup. Unfortunately, the pundits will judge us as if were 100%. The ’75 Hoosiers would have likely hung a championship banner if May doesn’t get the broken hand against Purdue near the end of the season. You can’t take away a top-performing forward with the versatility to step out and drain threes and fill the void so easily.

  7. I haven’t heard an analyst all year that hasn’t called the Big Ten the top league in the country. The ACC sucks this year. The Big East is still pretty good.

  8. I don’t know if this has been posted or not but I just learned that Tommy Baker died following a bout of pneumonia last October. He was 51. Tommy started part time as a freshman at IU and was later dismissed following allegations of marijuana use. It was an ugly time with a lot of accusations about other players. He resurfaced at EKU and was eventually drafted by San Antonio but never made the team. Tommy was a couple years behind me in high school. I didn’t know him well but he was a good kid and a hard worker. Well liked. Very humble young man. After not making it in the NBA things apparently went to hell for him. He died destitute following stints in prison and was buried in an unmarked county grave. I was truly saddened to learn of his death. Rest in peace.

  9. Sad story, Chet. Those were beautiful words of recognition you wrote for a man that struggled to find his way. Hope he’s in a better place.

  10. Cupcake Hogwash, I think you have hit the nail on the head with the leadership comments in your first post. I couldn’t agree with you more. Very insightful. Jones is a good player, but he does not mesh well with the team. He is one that can create his own shot, but that tends to go overboard at times which plays havoc with the team chemistry. Funny that the team was jelling with Watford, Creek, and Jones out. That tells a bit of a story there. It is great to see Hulls come into his own. Great kid and tough competitor; the embodiment of a Hoosier!

  11. RedX, it is also interesting that IU wasn’t getting much defensive energy from Creek, Jones and Watford, this year but all demanded the ball on offense. Watford’s defensive energy had been improving,for a few games, just before he went down with his injury. This team’s success stems from it’s defense as CTC as said repeatedly.

  12. Jones has played well at times and this team needs him. All that said, JH has been amazing. I’m glad he has two more years with help coming. Would love to see him shooting FTs at the end of these close games…

  13. Hate to hear about Tommy Baker. He was a Jeffersonville kid. He was a tremendous athlete who could jump out of the gym. I got to witness his athleticism in high school. The pot incident blew up after the team had played poorly in Alaska at the Shootout. I believe there were 3 kids who were kicked off the team. I think Jim Roberson was one of the 3 but don’t remember any more about the issue than that.

  14. Tommy’s play could be described as a more controlled version of VO. Athletic, indeed, but great fundamentals (not saying VO doesn’t have great fundamentals) as had all the players coached by George Marshall (such as Wayne Walls at Purdue and Mike Flynn at Kentucky). Three players were dismissed and seven put on probation, including Mike Woodson. There were many unanswered questions about the whole situation and how it was handled. Such things happen. Life rarely seems to follow the plan you’d like to make for it.

  15. Since Tommy Baker was before my time, and because he was from Jeffersonville, I was curious–was he related to either Edward Wright-Baker or Darryl Baker?

  16. funny that someone bring up Darrly Baker because he might be the most overrated player in the class of 2013, i saw him play against rival New Albany and he was pretty much shut down by a player who is getting recruited by Hanover and saw the same thing in a AAU game of his, Tom Crean doesnt need to waste time on him.

  17. not an acc fan i.u. grad we,ll juist have to wait and see . Iowa Indiana, Michigan. Northwestern,Penn st. won,t make the ncaa Minnesota has only one shooterm, Illnot very good Michigan st. doesn,t deserve to get in forgive my typing.

  18. Chet…thanks for your words on Tommy Baker. I too feel they were a great gesture towards a kid who merits we remember the love Hoosiers have for our own…RIP.

    I agree with Mike P…it is so sad to hear stories like the Fridge’s and Tommy’s. We need to keep our ‘games’ in perspective. Raising our young to be wholesome, good and happy people is really what it is all about.

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