1. All the coaches that beat Tom Crean this season: out!

    (Groce is still alive but just barely.)

    See? God is watching!

  2. Didn’t Indiana lose to Ohio State at home during Senior night? I’m sure Ohio State’s still in the tournament. I think I remember Craft hitting the game winning three with .5 seconds left.

  3. Great block by Christian Watford to keep the Hoosiers alive. I said all season that he’s one of the pillars of this team. Glad to see I was right all along.

    Knight and Alford beat Syracuse when it mattered most. Now let’s see if Crean can do it. Coaching award coming up for Crean’s avant-garde methods: “Let’s pray!

  4. Rmk and Alford have nothing to do with this team or the upcoming game against the cuse …this is a new era in IU bb and we should keep that in mind…btw K Smart was the reason we won they 87 championship!

  5. I’m noticing that few people are commenting on the wisdom of Crean’s substitution pattern in this game. And many have been complaining about that for months.

    But I just rewatched the game, and one of the things that stands out most clearly, is that Wyatt ran out of gas.

    Indiana’s substitution pattern and rotation of various people on him are what won the game for Indiana.

    By the end, Wyatt was hardly guarding anybody (that’s why Vic was so wide open for that three pointer) and then he didn’t have the energy to get his shot to the basket with Vic in his grill.

    By contrast, Victor was fresher although I’m sure he too was tired.

    Credit Crean for building toward that all year by his substitution pattern.

  6. I didn’t listen to the Illinois/Miami post game. Did Charles Barkley whine for ten minutes about Illinois having the game taken away by the refs like he did for Iowa State? Since he picked Miami to win big I’m guessing no.

    He’s so lame.

  7. Publico – I love me some Alford, but hopefully you’ll remember that Smart was named the Most Outstanding Player in the tourney. Besides hitting The Shot he did this:

    2nd Round vs Auburn – 20 pts, 9 rebounds, and 15 assists
    Sweet 16 vs Duke – 21 pts, 7 Reb, 3 assists
    Elite 8 – 10 pts
    Final 4 – 14 pts
    Title – 21 pts, 5 reb, 6 assists

    He also shot 33-55 FG (60%) and 20-24 FT (83%) in those 5 games.

    So yeah, Alford put up more points, but he didnt impact the games in as many other areas as Smart and I think maybe Alford got a few of those buckets off Smart passes. So maybe it’s the other way around – Alford wouldn’t have mattered without Smart.

  8. Meanwhile if we were to talk about Crean’s basketball history (by comparison with Alford) we can express that in many ways: zero, zilch, nada, nil, nothing, diddly-squat, goose egg, hill of beans, void, zip and zippo. It’s what can be said about his “coaching” acumen. For example his professed coaching plan towards the end with Temple: “Let’s pray!”

  9. If Tom Crean is The Lord of the Happenstance, whereby his team’s success has nothing to do with coaching, then Steve Alfalfird is the direct opposite; we might say the “Lord of Causality.” His team’s performance- their inability to beat lesser teams in the postseason- has EVERYTHING to do with his coaching.

    There you have it, The Lord of Causality!

  10. Wow, I just read that MN fired Tubby Smith. I guess Shaka Smart is the leading candidate since MN’s AD hired him at VCU.

    Hey Gophers, good luck trying to find a better coach to replace Tubby Smith. With that dump (a.k.a., The Barn) your teams play in, not sure any coach could recruit the talent necessary to compete for Big Ten titles. Your basketball facilities suck, your weather is about as bad as it gets (I was on business in Minneapolis on May 5th one year and it snowed), and you have no significant tradition of winning in basketball. Your administration is in denial if you think Tubby was the problem. My guess is that Tubby is relieved to be leaving and will take his substantial severance check and immediately retire in a warmer and sunnier location.

  11. Brad Stevens had “no comment” when asked about the UCLA opening. What an opportunity for him to clean up a program. Hope he is not interested.

  12. Ron, I know UCLA can throw a lot of money at Stevens, but I hope he is smart enough to avoid the mess he’d inherit at UCLA. Talk about delusional, UCLA Alums still think they can bring back the glory days when Wooden was the coach and won consecutive championships. I mean, UCLA just fired the coach that won the PAC 12 Conference Championship!

    It’s getting harder and harder to recruit the best athletes to schools located in Los Angeles. UCLA is still a very good school, but the city and state are sliding into the abyss. It’s a very expensive city and it’s not particularly safe, so a man like Stevens, who may have a young family, would be wise to avoid LA. Expectations for the basketball team are outrageous (kind of like Kentucky) and LALA fever is a real issue for young people that did not grow up in the area.

    But then again, UCLA did just complete a major renovation to their basketball facilities, and the city does enjoy the best weather on earth. Those factors plus about $4 million a year might be enough to lure Stevens to UCLA.

  13. UNM history of post-season flops is not directly related to Alford. It was there long before Alford came. Ummmm… Sarkisian and the UW Husky football program would be a far better example. Yes, Rico, that must be what you have in mind: Husky football and the Apple Cup of 2012. Or the Alamo Cup of 2011 and Nick Holt’s demise. Or, Boise State last year. Or, pick any season, and there you have it: failure after failure. Toilet bowl after toilet bowl.

    Now the fact remains that Alford and Knight beat Syracuse when it mattered most. Let’s see if if Tom Creap can do it.

  14. Tubby coached at Kaintuck so he could handle any stench that might surround UCLA. They could do a lot worse than to hire Tubby, if he’d have them.

    If Calapari didn’t already coach America’s basketball cesspool he’d certainly be a great fit for the UCLA.

    I’m pretty sure Minnesota WILL do a lot worse than Tubby. They are kidding themselves if they think a new face will fix everything.

    Big Ten or not, I’m not sure that the players that Shaka Smart recruited to VCU would have any interest in coming out to the Big House On the Prarie. He’s no doubt an excellent coach but, as Po suggested, coaching isn’t their problem.

    Tubby’s firing is probably good news for the Hoosiers, though.

  15. Smart hit THE game-winner in ’87…(And why are we even discussing players and championships from 26 years ago? I thought Tsao and Harvard were the guys on here that were supposed to be clinging to the days of short shorts..?), but aren’t there really “game-winners” scattered about an entire game?

    Didn’t Alford hit a monumental last-second 3-pointer to end the first half of the ’87 Championship? What does that momentum do for the team?

    I always look at big games like a title fight..There isn’t two halves…There are multiple rounds with multiple momentum punches that create surges in a team’s confidence…Conversely, the opponent can deliver a series of shocking blows, a flurry of buckets, that could kill an otherwise relatively even contest.

    Jordy’s pair of buckets yesterday were every amount as big an uppercut as any 3-point shot the sealed the victory. The pull-up jumper he hit while moving hard to his right and squaring from 15 feet was a much more difficult bucket(especially considering the pressure-packed tension in the arena that comes with a long grind-it-out game; a game an entire season hinges and every stroke of a jumper carries potential exuberance or disappointing conclusions of unrealized goals)than his open 3-pointer, but they were both huge.

    Sheehey’s late second-half triple was also a dagger..

    Watford’s block was as powerful as any standing eight count in a title fight. That block was analogous to ducking a George Foreman killer right hand when the Hoosier legs and fortitude had already been tested to the near breaking point. That dunk goes in and Watford fouls in the process? Fight over. We’re knocked out.

    Game-winners encompass an entire game…Sometimes they’re far less obvious than big buckets and stupendous blocks…It could be the simple denial a passing lane or the saving of a loose ball from heading out of bounds…

    We all love the last-second heroics, but to deal, harness, and dispense of the “bigness” these games, subdue in your mind the level of pressure in these games, takes a rare athlete with a fighter mentality I doubt many of us can understand…I think my feet would just freeze…My elbows would lock. I would move about the court like I was holding back some doo-doo I had accidentally released and piled into my shorts.

    Different stanzas become almost separated out of the blended whole..Title fights find home in key individual match-ups ..It all plays out in confusing overlay of individual battles and team momentum…And with every blow delivered is the chance to kill six earlier rounds of momentum. We segment the games into neat halves and review statistics in packaged condensed time intervals, but it rarely tells little of the true moments games precariously hinge. The one big shot that finally ends a long scoring drought…the huge defensive play or steal that slows an opponent on the cusp of running away with the game.

    Sometimes it’s just a matter of how much fight is in the fighter. When all the scorecards say your team should throw in the towel, they come out of the next corner bell with a refusal to die more admirable than any that may actually be given the praise a so-called “winner.”

    And sometimes we get too caught up in the X’s and o’s and the coaches that micromanage the game to what we believe is perfection..I think there are some coaches that have the gift to see all the parallels, the fights within the bigger battles, the various ways to seize momentum, and win key rounds, the mysteries of capturing the energy in a game, and how it all interacts and overlaps. We only see the big canvas and we oversimplify because we’ve never been involved with the brushstrokes. We jump to criticize an untimely substitution when the fight manager in the corner, our coach, may be looking at things we just don’t have the ability to see or the experience to judge.

  16. I love conspiracy theories. Just throwing this out there, but why would MN fire Tubby unless they thought they had something already in the works? They had some bad losses, but also some big wins as well as an upset win in the tourney. It’s unlikely that Mbakwe comes back for a 7th, 8th, and 9th season (you never know with that guy…), but they have some athletes and it’s not as if their outlook is completely bleak. If they’re truly rolling the dice, who do they think they’re going to lure in to coach? I almost have to assume they’re hedging their bets with one specific guy in mind. Maybe they know something we don’t.

  17. “Didn’t Alford hit a monumental last-second 3-pointer to end the first half of the ’87 Championship?”

    Harvard, my fading memory recalls that he was even fouled and it was a four point play.

  18. And isn’t it just as big a story that an Indiana shut-in, a kid that has lived in the backyard of Bloomington his entire life, and dreamed all his years for nothing other than a shot to one day wear the candy stripes and uphold the honor everything embodied in that uniform, is taking his little dream all the way to Washington? All the kid had his entire life was doubters…Just a small town hick that stared at Assembly Hall fooling himself that he could one day belong in that locker room…And now he takes that childhood vision a thousand miles to a world he’s never known, to a city representative of our freedoms paralleling the dreams our Founding Fathers, holding onto a hope of no dream being too big, the ideals that anyone’s right to dream and achieve is what freedom is all about? Maybe it’s Jordan Hulls that’s “going home.”

  19. Chet-

    You may very well be correct..But I seem to have a memory of him quickly scurrying off the court, heading for the locker room, as the ball swished through the nets….all kinda “day at the office.” business casualness Friday, motion without a hair falling out of place. Enigma..? For all the stiffness in that hair came a cool as a cucumber mentality.

  20. Now that I think about it the four point play, I believe, occurred in the UNLV game.

    Or, it could have been a third down punt. It was a long time ago.

  21. Great posts, Harv. You may be a smart guy after all.

    While you and I may not have as acute an X’s and O’s acumen as some of the other fine basketball minds we have on here– Geoff and many others come to mind, and especially our resident professional CoachV– you have a great sense of the moment.

    Devising a good game plan is important, but scheming and diagramming plays will only take you so far. It’s all the other innate, intangible qualities of a team and within the game that too often determine the outcome. Who steps up to hit that crucial basket? Who steps in to take the charge or make a huge defensive stop? Who is able to seize the momentum of the play that was just made? I’m no professional, but even limited time leading my daughter’s tee-ball team has taught me there’s far more to coaching than just calling a play. It’s every bit as much managing energy as it is a play book. And I’m glad that’s the beauty you seem to recognize in sport and in our Hoosiers. Well done, sir. Go Big Red.

  22. The managing of energy is one of the things that I believe CTC is typically very good at, by the way. Some of his detractors have some valid arguments, and he’s certainly not a master-of-all-trades kind of coach. But he picks his people well, and given where he’s led our program from where he inherited it, I’d say he’s done a pretty masterful job of playing to his strengths and augmenting his weaknesses with great assistant coaches, then working on how his players can maximize their physical, mental, and, yes, spiritual energy. Crean’s job is then to control the pulse of his team (even if he can’t seem to control his own heart rate at times…) and he does that well. Focus on the negatives if you want, but the results are still speaking for themselves.

    And with that, I’m off to softball practice. Have a great evening, fellas.

  23. Chet, Tubby gave brought and shared dignity and respect around the entire conference. Minnesota was a couple of levels below him (and Kentucky 4 or 5). The best to you Coach Tubby Smith.

  24. Trying to figure out why all the hate for Alford. I remember him as a great player on a great IU team that had other excellent players like Keith Smart. They all belong up there. (Whatever gigs he had after that does not lessen what he represents, the great history of Hoosier basketball). And Alford was one of the great ones.

    Question: What do you think other former Hoosier greats think when they read the daily demeaning of Alford or others who wore the Hoosier shirt)?

  25. I don’t care. Crean is working with kids that come to IU to follow in Alford’s footsteps, to mirror his exeptional skills and successes on the court as a player. Alford never had the chance to coach these kids; he is working with players that come to New Mexico to follow in Crean’s footsteps as a player. That’s the whole difference.

    Now be it as it may, the fact remains that Crean is coaching IU. So, pass the rosary, please—it is what it is.

  26. Punjab-

    Thanks. You elaborated on the thoughts quite impressively.

    There are so many facets to coaching…Managing the energy and building a belief in the power of their cohesiveness can often be the true difference-maker in these tight tournament, go forward or go home, games.

    The handling of pressure-packed moments, where the pendulum of momentum is only a true constant in its seemingly unpredictable precariousness the team most able to seize its allusive nature, is the culmination of character building and confidence that extends far beyond and in addition to the visible coaching and chalkboard adjustments our limited “expert” view in the 40 minutes of a game.

    The synergy, energy, belief, chemistry are part of the coaching a kid his first step onto campus. Nobody becomes a Player of the Year without unselfish teammates and the years of coaching and teaching all those that invested and believed in you along the way.

    I feel the one-and-done is robbed of those gifts and lessons that blossom from unselfish motives and flourish through the lifelong bonds a true team that has grown together and experienced the series of up and downs that build its energy and defines its lasting character beyond the moments on the maple.

    So much of instilling belief in a student or a player must extend far outside the knowledge of the text or the chalkboards. The best can seem to transcend the roles and switch the roles..They relinquish control in order build belief. They fuel the interest and passion with their own desire to learn and be receptive.

    And maybe that was where Knight finally began to outgrow the success..Maybe he quit learning from his students. Maybe he forgot how receptiveness and relinquishing power can instill as much strength in a young man as directing and dictating. Maybe he was too afraid his old ‘systems’ percieved as flawed if he he open the old playbooks to new ideas….?

  27. Post #20 is a great comment Harvard. (You’ve been inspired lately haven’t you?); as is your excellent synthesis:

    “We segment the games into neat halves and review statistics in packaged condensed time intervals, but it rarely tells little of the true moments games precariously hinge. The one big shot that finally ends a long scoring drought…the huge defensive play or steal that slows an opponent on the cusp of running away with the game.”

    Can not be stated any better. The problem of storytelling by the numbers is that they blot and eventually erase each (worse than ‘every’) of the important and meaningful moments. Great post.

  28. Husky, how many of today’s kids do you think even knew Alford played for IU? He was playing a good 5-10 years before they were born. Unless they’re Indiana kids whose parents are rabid Hoosier fans, they likely don’t know much history beyond the five banners and the current top five ranking. To them, Alford has always been a coach just like Billy Donovan or Cuonzo Martin. It wasn’t until I was much older that I came to really learn the likes of May, Benson, and Buckner. They were just before my time. And I even read the HT (back when it was the Herald-Telephone) and grew up less than a mile from Assembly Hall– I should have known these things. Historical romanticism is mostly lost on kids who aren’t even a full generation younger than I.

  29. Doubt it Punjab. You speak like today’s kids think Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar never existed. Have you heard of Pistol Pete? If not you are an uneducated fan which disqualifies you as a fan. If on the other hand you have — you know what I mean. He’s more than just a guy who isn’t any more. Same with Alford whose image Crean has sold many times over during recruits’ visits to AH.

  30. Husky, you don’t even know your own team (no surprise). Washington football owns a natty to their name and 7 Rose Bowls. Ty Willingham caused them to spiral downward to an 0-12 record. All Sark has done is cause them to be relevant again- although more in an Alfordish way then a Creanish way. Honestly, your team needs a coach more like Crean and less like Alfalfird, ir, someone who won’t lose toilet bowls against inferior teams.

  31. Harv, you’re absolutely right. The only caveat I would add is that there are some one-and-doners who get it. I remember reading an article on Kevin Durant last year. As you know, he was the #2 pick to OKC after a POY freshman campaign at Texas. After his rookie year– his ROOKIE year– he assembled his team for some sort of summer workout at his place. Of course they practiced together and did the sorts of things that all teams do. Remember, these are all millionaire professional ball players, many of which are grisly old veterans of the league he’s leading here. But what really impressed me was, during their minicamp he took them all to the Oklahoma City Memorial. He stopped them all mid-tour and said (paraphrasing here) “take a look at all these names. Always remember, THIS is who you play for.”

    I have no connections with the Thunder, but I will always be a fan as long as Durant is on their team. He gets it. Not only is he a basketball superstar, but a humble man with great perspective. I have nothing but respect for him.

    It’s a shame that Durant couldn’t stick around our college game for a while longer. Even though he wasn’t a Hoosier, we could’ve all benefitted. But sometimes– just sometimes– players have a bigger role to play in the grand scheme of things. Not all one-and-doners are the same.

  32. The difference, Husky, is that they’ players you mentioned are all NBA HOFers. Alford wasn’t. Nor are just about any of our Former Hoosiers. For the prospective recruits coming in, how many do you think know who played for an Indiana or Kentucky or North Carolina team 25 years ago? If it’s not constantly replayed on Sportscenter (or maybe ESPN Classic) probably very, very few.

  33. Punjab we’re talking college basketball and specifically Indiana basketball. I am glad you agree that a reasonable amount of attention to the past negates the superficial perspective you were putting forth earlier. Take a look at this. See if any of those moments is related to Alford, Knight, or Indiana in any way. (Don’t look for anything related to Crean, there’s nothing to find.)

  34. Didn’t Alford write the Emancipation Proclamation for solid colored warmups? Or did he fight some Indians with William Henry Harrison at Tippecanoe? Grew up in a log cabin in Kentucky and the moved to French Lick..One of those big important historical guys…One of the Floundering Fathers of Hoosier Hoops?

  35. Invented the Hostess cupcake squiggly curly design as the signature mark atop its frosting?

  36. First guy that decided to go from peach baskets to strings tied together with a hole at the bottom?

  37. Punjab ignore for a moment HfH’s (aka Baloo the Big Bear) comments above and answer this: do you know who Kapil Dev Ramlal Nikhanj is? Do you think HfH has any idea? If he ever decides to pick up cricket (to play or watch, he’s a big Cubs fan) do you think he has a chance to never find out? Same with Alford and the Hoosier recruits.

    I sure hope Hap & Stance, Crean’s only seniors, are healthy and ready for battle come game time on Thursday.

  38. Harvard is right. Alfalfird invented the cotton gin and the printing press, and during his down time he mentored Pete Maravich and lent a sympathetic ear to struggling Len Bias.

    He deserves credit for every positive thing that happens on the court today in Hoosier games. When Dipo missed his late free throw, he was thinking of Crean. When he made the three pointer, on the other hand, it was because he conjured up Alfred’s perfect coiff as the ball was passed to him even though he never saw the guy play and probably is a much bigger Eric Gordon fan than of any old white guy).

    Hap and Stance might be there on Thurs. We will know it if IU loses, because they are the only possible reason we won’t win the title.

  39. Sorry, Internet crapped out for a while down here. Love that. To answer your question though, Husky, no I don’t know who he is. I also don’t know who Kareem is as it relates to college basketball, specifically Indiana basketball, since he never played and that’s what we’re talking about.

    The link you provided does indeed relate to Indiana, Knight, and Alford. Just not until about 15 years after RMK took control. How long has Crean been at the helm? I try to not be so quick to judge.

  40. Sorta interesting looking back at the stats for that ’87 Championship game.

    Four Hoosiers accounted for all their scoring. No points coming from the bench-Thomas(20pts), Garrett(10pts), Smart(21pts), Alford(23pts).

    3-pointers: Alford owned the box score. He went 4 for 4 in the first half…He finished 7-10. 70%! for the game.

    Alford and Thomas never took a seat..They played the entire 40 minutes.

    For those of you that don’t know Steve Alford, you should. Putting on that type of shooting clinic would be pretty amazing in a practice. He put up those numbers while never taking a rest in a Championship game.

    Final Note: Watch this old game summary/highlights from ESPN…The post game analysis is pretty fun..Old shots of Vitale, etc. The comments from Knight about going fishing a couple hours later if the Hoosiers would have lost. I wonder how many people realized that Knight went to a zone defense for part of that game…? And, yes, Chet..Alford hits the 3-pointer in the last second of the first half and casually dashes for the locker room as if it’s just another day at the office(00:35 mark).

    Does the way Smart effortlessly flows on the court remind a bit of Oladipo(minus the short shorts and the exponentially greater athleticism now found in the college game)?

  41. The coolest thing about that Alford 3-pointer to close the first half was the nifty little screening off of a pursuing ‘Cuse defender from teammate, Joe Hillman. Always an unsung hero.

    So Syracuse has a Brandon Triche in 2012-13 and the ’87 team had a Howard Triche? Yup, Howard Triche is Brandon’s uncle.

    I’m sure most of you sports junkies already knew that tidbit of trivia…I actually just stumbled on it. Quite the basketball bloodlines in that family. See how their loyal at Syracuse…Unlike Scott May that somehow allowed his trader son to go to UNC.

  42. I think you meant ‘traitor’ unless he got a job on Wall Street.

    I remember the first time I saw Smart play. I thought we might go all the way with him alongside Alford.

  43. Harvard, your comment above about the mentality of handling the ‘big moment’ made me think about my son. I rarely wrestled in front of more than a couple hundred people. When I watched him at the NCAA Championships, just him and his opponent, with 25,000 screaming fans (and ESPN) I nearly vomited. Just thinking about it makes my palms sweat. One tiny mistake and it’s all over. No teammates providing help out defense.

    Those young men are special.

  44. That’s funny, Chet. My bad..Can I blame it on working midnights and some carryover fatigue? Nope. My stock has just gone down..

    So much for being a smart guy(no pun intended).

    Did you know Southern University turned away Keith Smart?

  45. I’m sure there are plenty of schools hating themselves for passing on Vic. That being said, there’s no way of knowing how Victor turns out if he goes somewhere else.

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