Wisconsin eliminates Indiana again

WHAT HAPPENED: For the second straight season, Indiana’s Big Ten Tournament ended at the hands of Wisconsin. Though the Hoosiers quickened the Badgers’ stalling pace somewhat, Wisconsin still outshot the Hoosiers and walled off the paint defensively in a 68-56 win at the United Center, extending their winning streak over Indiana to 12 games going back to 2007.

The Hoosiers fell behind by seven points with 11:16 to go after Wisconsin freshman forward Sam Dekker scored seven points on two possessions. He made a layup and drawing a foul on the fast break, then hit a 3-pointer when he missed the free throw and teammate Frank Kaminsky grabbed the offensive rebound. On the next possession, he went to the bucket for an easy layup. The Hoosiers went on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 50-49 with 9:45 remaining, but they were outscored 18-7 the rest of the way and went 3-for-15 from the field from that point forward.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Wisconsin senior forward Ryan Evans scored the most points he’s had since Dec. 22, scoring 16 points on 7-for-12 shooting with eight rebounds, four assists and four blocks.

Senior forward Jared Berggren had a much better defensive outing against IU star center Cody Zeller than he dhdi the first time around and went 4-for-4 from the field for 11 points and five rbounds. He also had three blocks and a steal and held Zeller to 4-for-10 shooting and was only called for two fouls.

Junior guard Ben Brust had 12 points, two assists and two steals. Freshman forward Sam Dekker had 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting, including the aforementioned five-point possession.

IU senior forward Christian Watford led the Hoosiers with 14 points and Zeller posted 13 points and 11 rebounds. Junior guard Victor Oladipo scored 10 points, but got those on 4-for-10 shooting. He had four steals and three assists, but also had four turnovers.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: As per usual, Wisconsin was Indiana’s antithesis and its Kryptonite, playing a style that is the diametric opposite of everything the Hoosiers want to do. They slowed the game down, milked the shot clock, relied on their defense and rebounding to carry them but also shot the ball better than usual.

The Badgers practically built a wall around the paint, and as physical as they played, they were only called for 13 fouls with none of their forwards committing more than two. They blocked 10 shots and challenged every inside shot the Hoosiers attempted, making sure nothing came easy. They gave the Hoosiers some space on the perimeter to shoot, but that didn’t matter all that much, as Indiana was 5-for-17 from beyond the arc. The Hoosiers failed to score 60 points for just the third time this season, with Wisconsin being responsible for two of those. They shot just 38.2 percent from the field (21-for-55) and failed to shoot at least 40 percent for just the fourth time this season. Wisconsin is responsible for two of those as well.

The Hoosiers caused their own problem with 13 turnovers. They caused 15 Wisconsin turnovers and turned those into 22 points, but that still wasn’t enough for Indiana to truly control the pace. Plus, Wisconsin was shooting the ball well enough to play a little faster anyway. They shot 25-for-49 from the field (51.0 percent) and were above 50 percent form the field in both halves. they were also 7-for-18 from the 3-point arc, getting 3’s not only from guards Ben Brust and George Marshall, but also Jared Berggren, Sam Dekker and Mike Brusewitz.

Wisconsin also won the rebounding battle 35-30. Though both teams got 11 offensive rebounds, that’s a net loss for Indiana because when Wisconsin gets an offensive rebound, that basically means the Hoosiers have to defend for 70 seconds instead of 35. The Hoosiers didn’t necessarily get pushed around in the paint, as big men Berggren and Brusewitz combined for just eight rebounds, but the long rebounds seemed to always fall in to the hands of the Badgers, giving them even more power to slow the game.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: The only people who know the answer to this question are on the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

The Hoosiers have probably earned enough to earn a No. 1 seed, and were helped by conference tournament losses by Georgetown and Duke, however, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest, which would mean regional semifinal and final games in Indianapolis, is not a lock for the Hoosiers. Indiana has a brilliant resume with a 27-6 mark and nine wins over RPI Top 50 teams and seven against the RPI Top 25, but Louisville also has nine wins against the RPI Top 50 and beating Syracuse in tonight’s Big East championship game could add a lot to the Cardinals resume, perhaps enough to give them the path through Indianapolis. That would mean IU would end up in either Washington D.C. or Arlington, Texas, as Gonzaga appears to be a lock for the West Region in Los Angeles.

Would it means to the Hoosiers in terms of NCAA Tournament momentum is a trickier question still. The Badgers play such an uncommon style and one that is so diametrically opposed to Indiana’s that it’s tough for the Hoosiers to even measure their quality of play against them. Indiana is 3-3 in its last six games, which doesn’t bode well, and Tom Crean said repeatedly that he felt the Hoosiers got away from certain things that were working for them. That is somewhat concerning going forward. Overall, the loss doesn’t appear that damaging and should be easy to shake off, but the Hoosiers have to hope that they don’t see another team in the tournament that plays similar to Wisconsin.

WHO SAID WHAT: Again, I yield the floor to the amazing people at ASAP Sports who transcribed the press conferences.

COACH CREAN:  We made a couple of comebacks in this game, and we did an excellent job of that, and every time we made that ocmeback with what was working for us, we got a way from it.
We had some critical turnovers at key times.  We had some critical second shots we gave up at key times.  The biggest story for us is we’ve been defending the three the last six, seven games at an incredibly high level, and today we didn’t.  We didn’t.  And they got some kick‑out threes and things of that nature, but we got a way from what had been making us better.  We started to over‑help again, and tried to cover for one another when there was no need to do it.
Those are the things we just can’t do.  I mean, it’s possession by possession games.  And there were times we got the pace going in a good way and there were other times we just have to bare down and play.
They are all correctible, because they are all things that we do‑‑ but they are areas that we just have to be very, very consistent with.  But Wisconsin played well.  They shot the ball very well.  They made some open ones, and they also made some tough ones, there’s no doubt about that.  And they answered the bell every time we made a comeback.
But the biggest disappointment is every time we had something working, like I said, we had to come back in and we didn’t stick with it enough.

Q.  This was a goal but not the goal; despite the loss, how do you feel going into that event?
CODY ZELLER:  Obviously we wanted to get this win today.  We’ll learn from it.  We’ll figure out what we did wrong.  We’ll make the corrections and get ready for next week because that’s what’s most important.

Q.  In the first game against Wisconsin, you had 18 points in the first half.  What was different about the way they played you in this game?
CODY ZELLER:  Nothing, nothing too big.  You know, I always want to be aggressive.  You know, they do a nice job inside of not fouling me, going into the lane a lot.  They weren’t falling as well as they were.

Q.  How frustrating was it, you made a couple charges at the end and they would respond right away.  How frustrating is it to claw back in the game and see them gain more separation?
VICTOR OLADIPO:  It was tough.  Credit them, they did a gate job down the stretch, and you know, we had some key turnovers like Coach said that we have to look back and see what we did wrong and fix it and get ready for the NCAA Tournament.

Q.  Victor, how comfortable are you that this team is playing its best basketball at the right time of year?
VICTOR OLADIPO:  A little bit.  Like Cody said, we really wanted to win this one.  We are going to have to go back and watch the film and see what we did wrong, correct it, and get ready for the big tournament, because we want to be successful in that, as well.

Q.  Christian, are you shocked with what Evans has done?  Every time he’s played you guys he’s been a great player.
CHRISTIAN WATFORD:  We made some tough shots and we tried to take the ball out of his hands and stuff like that.  He made some tough shots, hats off to him.

Q.  How much do you think other teams are going to look at Wisconsin, the way they played you guys, as a way to blueprint a way to game plan for your team?
CODY ZELLER:  They have been trying to slow it down on us all year.  We always want to speed up the pace, and you know, with our pressure, if we are getting after them on the defensive end, getting deflections, then that’s how we want to play.  We didn’t do enough of that and enough to speed up the pace tonight, which is why we got beat.

Q.  Did you feel like the problem on offense was stagnant ball movement?  Looked like at times you were reversing the ball and then Wisconsin went after those charges and seemed like the ball slowed down a little bit.
CHRISTIAN WATFORD:  We knew what we had to do.  We knew we had to move the ball in order to be successful against Wisconsin.  We just tried to force the ball in; it happens.

Q.  This is 12 in a row for Wisconsin over Indiana.  Is there any explanation for that?  I know you had some lean years as you rebuilt the program, but they seemed to really give you guys problems.
COACH CREAN:  They are a very good team, extremely well coached, disciplined, great staffs, inside‑outside scoring, great balance, and just an all‑around great team, they are an excellent team and have been for a long, long time.  As long as he’s the coach there, they will be.

Q.  The last time I saw you, you were turning your focus maybe a game a little bit, your first year at Indiana, you won your first conference game and you were struggling since then, all these years later, can you give me a sense of why you guys are where you are right now?  You come in as a very high seed and you’re probably going to have a really good run in the Tournament; is there thing that you can point to over the years that’s brought you to this point?
COACH CREAN:  Consistency of work habits; getting better team, constantly because the talent upgrade has been most importantly because the work ethic continues to get better.

Q.  Same question I asked Victor.  Are you comfortable that your team is playing its best basketball right now?
COACH CREAN:  Well, I guess we just need to improve.  Bottom line is there’s certain things we can get better at.  That’s an all of tough question when you get beat today like this, but if you asked me the question yesterday, I probably would have had a different answer.  But we didn’t play as well today, so it’s just a matter of going and looking at the film, making the corrections that we need to make and moving forward.

Q.  How much stock do you put into winning a conference tournament when you’re trying to win a National Championship?  I think in 2003, you guys didn’t win the USA tournament‑‑
COACH CREAN:  That’s a hypothetical in the sense of 2003.  My mind-set is you try to win every game and take the next one as it comes, and certainly we would have liked to have won it.
But it doesn’t undo what we have done to this point.  It doesn’t undo any of that.  We have had an excellent season.  There’s room for growth, there’s no doubt about that.  But we would have liked to have played better today, no question.

Q.  You had an extended conversation with Coach Ryan, can you talk at all about‑‑
COACH CREAN:  I told him he’s a great coach and always looked up to him and what he’s done in his program.  I hope they go a long way in the NCAA Tournament and I hope his father starts feeling better.

Q.  Bill Carmody got fired today from Northwestern.  Like to know your thoughts on a fellow Big Ten coach.
COACH CREAN:  First thing that came to my mind is when Rob Ryan lost his job with the Dallas Cowboys, he said he would be out of work about five minutes.  I doubt Bill Carmody will say that, but that should be the case.
He’s a great basketball coach.  He’s done a phenomenal job at that university, did a phenomenal job long before that.  He should be one of the more higher‑demand coaches, and all anybody needs to look at is what Bruce Webber has done this year at Kansas State after leaving Illinois.
Bill Carmody should get the same opportunity at another league, there’s a lot of prestigious leagues out there and get an opportunity to coach in, and I would be shocked if he didn’t have great success.  I don’t know him well personally but I know him enough to have great respect for him.  When I see on film and going against him, I have incredible respect for him.

Q.  Quick turnaround and different styles you’ve played over the past couple of days, how does that prep the team for the tournament?
COACH CREAN:  I think it always helps, yeah.  I think it’s a matter of understanding.  But we didn’t do some of the things that we do on a consistent basis today, and that hurt us as much as anything.  They played an outstanding game, but like I said at the beginning, you’ve got to understand what got you there, and we did a great job coming back and then we got away from that a little bit.  But we can play better.  We will play better.  We have played better and we are going to go find out next week.

COACH RYAN:  I just again can’t tell you how proud I am of the defensive effort on a very good offensive team.  So every guy that went in there, was pretty much sticking to the rules and trying to force Indiana to make some tough shots.  I thought our guys accomplished that, and then we had streaks where we were hitting them.  Fortunately made enough free throws at the end to keep that separation.
Again, it’s nice to be able to play in a championship game.  I know our guys are looking forward to that, so are we, and we’ll see what happens here in the next game.

Q.  Ryan, you were struggling to the point at the free throw line where you were starting to take jumpshots.  How did you keep looking forward and not allow that to affect your confidence and your overall game?
RYAN EVANS:  This man here.  He gave me the courage to go up here and try something new.  I think it’s been effective to this point.  I’m no longer shooting 40 percent.  So I mean, it’s a good thing right now, and I’m going to stick with it for now.

Q.  Mike and Jared, first, can you talk about Jared’s overall play, especially on the defensive end?  And then Jared, you had not even looked to shoot a three‑pointer until the one that you had open from the wing; what made you take that one at that juncture?
MIKE BRUESEWITZ:  Worked extremely hard, everybody talks about Cody Zeller and he’s a great player, he really is.  He puts up numbers and there’s a reason he’ll probably be a lottery pick.  But Berg (ph) did a great job, he set the tone early, knocked a couple balls away.  Forced him into some tougher shots early, and just kind of made life miserable for him.
And when he knocked down that three, he shot it and I knew it was cash.  I was excited when he shot it, because I was like, he needs to start knocking these down because he’s been doing that for the last three or four years, just finally come to fruition.
JARED BERGGREN:  You think I wasn’t looking?  I was looking, just biding my time.  Just picking my spots.  I mean, you know, it was open a couple times, my teammates told me, keep looking for it.  Coach told me be aggressive, knock that down.  I was just waiting for a good one, a great shot, not a good shot.  You know, teammates caught me wide open and finally knocked them down.  Felt good.

Q.  Ryan, what’s the key to you guys being able to slow Indiana down?
RYAN EVANS:  Defense.  I mean, I think we played great defense.  You know, that forces them to take better shots, or if they want to go and take bad shots and play fast, that’s on them.  But I think it’s the defense, defensive side of the ball.

Q.  Mike, there was a sequence in the game, I think Sam had the seven‑point run, but a sequence when you guys were beating them down the court and beating them on the fast break.  What do you think people watching the game, watching you beat them in transition were thinking?
MIKE BRUESEWITZ:  Hey, those boys are athletic.  (Laughter) That’s all I got for ya.  (Laughter)?

Q.  Ryan, can you just talk about your overall day and how effective you were and how important you felt like that had to be for this team to get going early for you to be successful?
RYAN EVANS:  I was just trying to start off inside, guys finding me.  Trae making sure I get the ball.
Then, you know, really feeding off of kicking it out and guys like Mike and Sam coming in and hitting threes, and that’s a lot that we don’t talk about is guys like Frank and Sam coming in and stepping up, how big that is for us, guys off the bench.  That’s needed if you want to win a championship in any tournament.

Q.  Ryan, you blocked Oladipo’s shot three times today.  How hard is it to stay in front and play defense on a guy as quick and athletic as he is?
RYAN EVANS:  He’s a great player.  Reminds me a lot of Russell Westbrook.  I just have a lot of respect for him.  I’ve seen him work his way up, up the ranks.  They really start at the bottom as a team, and him as an individual, and he’s really worked his way up.  I was just trying to stay in front of him the best I can, and you know, I was able to do that this game, not always, but this game I was successful at that.

Q.  Mike, give you another hanging curve over the plate.  Indiana is considered a team that can win a National Championship.  You’ve beaten them twice.  What do you think it says about this team‑‑
MIKE BRUESEWITZ:  Just means we have a bunch of guys that want to play and play hard.  Kind of how college basketball has gone this whole year.  I think we have had numerous times a change in No.1, and I think it’s going to make for a great NCAA Tournament, because I don’t think a whole lot of 1‑seeds are going to be making the Final Four.  If they do, it’s great, but it’s a wide open thing and anybody can beat anybody on any night.  We have to make sure we bring our AGame otherwise we might be one of those teams.

Q.  Jared and Mike, could you talk about the energy Ryan provided on the offensive end tonight and how important that was to staying in pace with Indiana throughout the game?
JARED BERGGREN:  Yeah, he was huge for us.  We were getting him a lot of touches inside and kind of running our offense through him a little bit.  Same thing yesterday, too.  Yesterday he had a lot of big plays where he was either scoring or finding teammates.  He had a lot of assists.
Again with four assists today, that’s doing a good job of finding teammates and helping make plays for others, so it was a good job by him.
MIKE BRUESEWITZ:  Ryan, yeah, he just stepped up, he’s been making plays and when he does that we are a much better team.  And same thing with everybody, Sam, Trey has been playing better‑‑ we are playing our best basketball at the end of the season and that’s what you want to do.

Q.  Mike, that prediction that there won’t be a lot of 1‑seeds, are you a practice bracketologist?  Is that based on intensive study?
MIKE BRUESEWITZ:  I’ll let you guys decide all that.  I was just giving y’all a quote.  (Laughter).

Q.  Jared, do you have more confidence coming into this game knowing that you have this streak of 11 in a row?
JARED BERGGREN:  We don’t really think about that.  We just take it one game at a time.  We wanted to come down here to try to win a championship.  Indiana happened to be the next game, so we just take it one game at a time.
But I mean, you know, we knew that we were capable of having success against this team; if we stuck to our rules and played our style of basketball, we are were able to do that today to come up with a win.

Q.  How has Ryan been able to continue to play with confidence?
COACH  RYAN:  Well, it was A, B Or C.  A was the jumpshot, Hal Greer‑style.  Hal Greer had a little jump.  It wasn’t quite as accentuated, for the older people in the room, as Ryan’s is.  Ryan’s is his game jumpshot.  Hal had a little jumper, mini‑jumper.
B was Globetrotter, kick the ball in.  Drop kick, you drop it down, you kick it up.  And third was underhand.  So it was A, B Or C.  Ryan chose A.  He’s okay with it.  His numbers are up.

Q.  Can you talk about Frank’s contribution, particularly in the first half?
COACH RYAN:  Well, on the glass, I thought he did a pretty good job.  Zeller is a very good player.  I’m glad we had two bigs to be able to operate in there.  I was glad we had two bigs yesterday.  I’m sure we’ll be glad‑‑ we’ll need six tomorrow, no matter who we’re playing.
But he stayed within himself.  He didn’t try to do things that he couldn’t.  Good ball fakes.  Took care of the ball.  Got on the glass.  Played D.  That’s all we ask for.  And if you can hit some shots while you’re doing all that, that’s a bonus.

Q.  Just going back maybe to yesterday real quick, you guys came in at halftime yesterday‑‑ hitting shots, but I still got the impression Michigan was in a load of trouble.  There was a lot of offense in this game and still got the same feeling that Indiana was in trouble.  Help me get my head around your team.  Why is it you are able to neutralize whatever they have been doing, the way you’ve been, regardless of your offensive putout?
COACH RYAN:  Okay, but I’m not sure what you’re referring to‑‑

Q.  I still got the impression you were in the flow regardless if you had points on the board or not‑‑ the contrast between the two days.
COACH RYAN:  It’s still points per possession, and sometimes teams will shoot a little quicker and sometimes we’ll shoot a little quicker if we have an open look.
So much is made about pace and everything else, you know, I never heard one fan at the Palestra when Penn would hold the ball on Villanova in the 50s tees and 60s, there’s no shot clock, there’s no anything, I saw a lot of pass and cut, pass and cut‑‑ I’m sure if you get some footage on that, send it to me, because I don’t have any; pass and cut, move.  And if a shot opened up right away, you take the shot.  If it doesn’t, you work for the next one.
So the game wasn’t any different here today than any team I’ve coached.  You take advantage of what you can.  You try to take good opportunities every trip down.  You try to limit another team’s good opportunities, and it’s that constant clash.  And the game never changes.  And my guys understand that.
I’ve never out‑coached anyone.  I’ve never out‑maneuvered anyone, out‑strategized anyone.  I’ve got to be careful going much further, Barry is here, but I get to coach and work with these guys and teach, and with the assistants.  You know, as long as they keep listening, keep working, we’ll keep doing the things that we do, just try to do them better all the time.  There aren’t any secrets.

Q.  Could you talk about Mike’s play, he’s kind of a thorn in the side of India narcotics the stat line does not pop off the page, often doesn’t for him but he made all the hustle plays.  What did you think when he made that steal, to me that kind of sealed it for your team.
COACH RYAN:  He’s ‘Johnny On the Spot.’  He’s a guy that’s always opportunistic.  He is so happy to be playing this year after what happened earlier.  You give somebody a second lease on his basketball life, so to speak, and he’s not going to waste a minute of it.
It’s not like he doesn’t play like that before last year, but he’s just a guy, high energy, and he’s going to try to make good things happen without going outside of himself and hurting his teammates behind him defensively or offensively.

Q.  I don’t know if you heard but Northwestern announced today that Bill Carmody is not going to come back.  Your thoughts on that?
COACH RYAN:  Well, first of all, I know administrators have a profession, the university officials have a profession, and coaches have a profession.  So whatever decisions are made in that profession, I’m not going to get into.
I can tell you this:  Bill has not forgotten anything about the game.  He knows the game.  His system is so tough to prepare for, and, you know, he did a lot of good things.  I know he’s very well respected in the coaching field and I know he’s a guy that has done our profession a lot of good and he’s made us proud.
All I can say is I wish Bill the best of luck because I have a hell of a lot of respect for him.  Whatever decisions are made are made by other people, but you won’t find a coach that won’t tell you that they respect Bill Carmody‑‑ that they don’t respect; they all do, top to bottom.

Q.  What is it about your team that makes it so tough for opponents like Indiana to beat you seems like it’s been a consistent thing, especially when you get to the tournament.
COACH RYAN:  When we scored those‑‑ we had 10‑points with about, what, two minutes to go yesterday; I don’t think anybody was preparing that kind of a question.  You see what I’m getting at.
There are just things in this game where no matter how you try to explain them, they defy explanation or reason.  And other things are because the coach is so obstinate he’s only going to accept certain things.  So maybe it’s a combination of that.
And you have players that are willing to listen, willing to work and willing to buy in.  So there are guys that know a lot more in this profession than I do that have their teams go out there sometimes and look like they have never played together before.
We have had moments where we looked like we never played together.  You just have to play the percentages, you’ve got to keep driving, you’ve got to keep working it, and when you’re surrounded with good people, it sure makes it a lot easier.  It’s never easy, just makes it easier.


  1. I’ve been thinking about this game all day,trying to figure out why they played so bad. One thing that bothers me is that they did not seem to have any leadership from anyone on the court today. When Jordy is cold, he seems to withdraw a little bit, and no one else filled the void, whether verbally or by example.

  2. As I’ve blabbed before, a game like this is based upon what is done with precious possessions. Wisc. is no Princeton, but they hit their shots today when they had their opportunities and we didn’t. It is easy to criticize the result, the effort, the players, the coach, the game plan, etc… But I truly saw a team that executed (Wisc) and one that didn’t (us).

    Every key miss where we needed a stop they got the RB on a long bounce. Then we’d foul or they’d hit a 3. Ce la vie….

    Chances are Wisc is a 3 seed and may go to our region. The committee in their wisdom would love to see that right after we see UK and/or Butler. Our region is set to be stacked against us now…we “earned” it. Fact is, this time of year anyone can beat anyone on any given day. Starting Thr., it just boils down to who can win 6 in a row. And that depends on match-ups and how a team plays.

    The good news is that we are off for 4 days and can practice shooting (Hulls), ball handling (Oladipo), defense (Watford), game planning (CTC & Staff), toughness (Hollowell), etc…. There’s a lot to work on.

  3. Podunker…exactly. Nobody taking over. Hulls has quit doing what got him here. I see more from Yogi in terms of leadership than Hulls. Frankly, we look a helluva lot better with Remy & Sheehey in the game than Hulls. Hulls isn’t supposed to be “an assist guy”, we need him to get open, hit open shots, and extend the defense. He’s been off for weeks.

  4. DD, you’ve missed the point entirely. Nothing plodding, boring or stalling about the game, or Bo Ryan’s coaching. It’s basketball and most Hoosiers are sophisticated enough fans to recognize it. Stall ball- as you’ve called it- is usually holding the ball with no clear idea how to attack, but holding on neverthelsess on the 10-20% chance of pulling it out or losing close enouogh to avoid embarrassment . Wiaconsin simply stopped us from running (the only style that makes us stand out over maybe 20 other teams near the top), and very intelligently controlled the tempo and forcing us to play in half court where it is clear we have very little to offer.

    But to call it stall-ball…plodding or a ‘boring’ style is simply missing the point of good coaching. Indiana fans are much more sophisticated than to even consider that a good guess.

    Please DD! Wisconsin scored 68 points… stalling? It’s like saying Penn State’s football tradition of great linebacking is due to their lack of confidence in their offense.

    Try to focus on the fact that for the past two weeks (since losing to Minnesota and finding out we can’t just play to pound the ball for a 20 inch shot inside, our offense has no idea how to deal with teams that can protect the area immediately under the basket, block out and rebound their own basket. And, as others have realized we have absolutely not leadership; not Hulls not Zeller, not anyone. Watching this team (the last two weeks)is like waking up to find out that you are on a Caribbean Cruise Line ship and the stuff floating by your bed is not supposed to be part of the cruise scenery.

  5. Jody has been a huge disappointment when it comes to leadership. As others have said, when he’s not hitting his shots, he should be doing other things to help the team instead of hiding/pouting.

  6. Yes Jordy has been a disappointment with leadership but so have the all the seniors.As the article said we better hope we dont face anyone like Wisconsin cause if we do its game over. We simply have no answer for that style of play. Bo Ryan owns us and I dont see that changing anytime soon.

  7. Has it dawned on anyone that maybe these guys just had a letdown game?

    We have two starting seniors .We have a sophomore and a junior that will be both entering the NBA draft..

    We have a freshman point guard that will not be bringing the ball up the court next year to one familiar face.

    There has to be a roller coaster of emotions going on…A team becomes a family..Maybe it just hit some of these guys like a ton of bricks. They are soon to be splitting apart..Lives will take different pathways. Soon there time as Hoosiers will be a distant memory.

    Yes, they were outplayed..But to this fan, they just looked like they were preoccupied..Preoccupied with the inevitable ending of a once in a lifetime experience.

    They are one of the best teams in the nation, but yet they are fragile. They are very young men that look to a future with colliding hopes and fears. For Oladipo and Zeller, the NBA cannot pay enough money to fill the void of lost teammates grown so close. Soon will fade the echoing laughter of familiar voices in the locker room. Soon will be gone the comfort of having your closest friend and teammate sharing late night conversations in a quiet dorm room where hearts opened up and walls protecting the biggest of a star’s ego could finally be lifted the burdens its weight and fall with ease in the trust a friend. All the bus rides, the plane trips..the dinners..the breakfasts..the practices..all the highs and all blend with the lows. Suddenly the poetry in game doesn’t mean as much as the prose.

    So maybe this was a mourning of sorts for all these boys we pretend already men are facing. Maybe a letdown rooted in a deep sadness a day not so far ahead. Thank goodness there is still room in this game for such sadness that grows out of a group of great kids that realized staying together was bigger than anything they may ever achieve individually. In my heart, they’ve already won by defeating the temptations of selfish and individualistic pursuits that can so often strip the game its beauty. They brought Indiana back because they believed in the power of their collective and united determination to revive the soul of Indiana Basketball.

    We should shed our aging bitterness and ungrateful attitude that holds their achievement as commonplace. These Hoosiers were far from common. They were some of the best to ever wear the uniform. How quickly we all forgot how uninspiring the candy stripes looked just three years ago. We should never devalue just how much they gave us. I would be more than proud to have any one of these Hoosiers as my own son.

    Maybe they needed this loss as a final tear their days they must soon face without the identity that molds so many unique young men into one soul called a team.

    Now it’s time to celebrate its life..Now it’s time to lift the weight and cherish it all without a care. Head into the NCAA with knowing we’ll always believe in them because they believed in Indiana.

  8. Play physical and turn it into a half – court game. If we play a team or teams that can do that reasonably well in the tourney, we likely make a quicker exit than our expectations would have led us to believe for most of this season.

    We just can’t effectively play sustained half – court offense. When we are shackled from a more free flowing offense we quickly lose our confidence. Plus, we have an issue with careless turnovers.

    We could be a Final Four team, but I don’t have that vibe. In fact, I had a better vibe from last year’s team (lower expectations of course) in terms of where they were at mentally/emotionally. At this point, I would be surprised if they surpass last year, if they even equal it. They don’t have the “eye of the tiger” about them.

  9. Adam Ahfeld was the best ever.

    How soon we forget the great ones.

    Maybe this was a mourning of sorts for how Crean “coaches”.

  10. A let down game in the Big 10 tournament? To a team that has already beaten you? At home? Ain’t buying it. This team just isn’t tough, plain and simple, neither mentally nor physically and has no senior leadership. And speaking of seniors, Derek Elston didn’t play yesterday? I just do NOT understand Crean’s substitution patterns AT ALL!

  11. Well you guys did it. Pushed Louisville into that Midwest bracket so they will be playing in Indy! Way to screw it up Hoosiers!!

  12. I woke this morning had my morning coffee and said to myself “I bet the Scoop is full of haters this morning”. I am surprised that Debbie hasn’t made an appearance yet!

    Last week the Scoop was full of fans saying how tough we were by beating Michigan for the REAL B1G championship, not the made for TV tournament in Chicago. I think this team knows that that game yesterday meant nothing in the big picture.

    If you want to see senior leadership then go back and watch the Michigan Game and watch how Jordy is rippin into Remy’s ass for not switching when Burke was driving the lane and dishing for wide open 3’s. You want toughness then look at the same game and watch CZ demand the ball and score the last six points.

    Making absolute statements is foolish, the sky is not falling and IU will look different come next week!

  13. 3-3 in last 6. Dominated in two of those games as they were held 20 points below average. Just one inch from being 2-4. Your right, don’t worry about the final (most important) month of the season. Maybe they will cut down nets and pose for pictures after their first round victory!

  14. ‘Jordy needs to do other things when not hitting’

    Bet he wished he’d thought of that.

    Illnois game – Jordy had ONE point. And 3 rebounds, 7 assist and 3 steals. Team highest assist and steals.
    0 turnovers.

    Wisc game – Jordy had 5 points. And 2 assist, a turnover and a block. And a block for Jordy – damn – wow.

    Look at the 7 minute mark of the Illinois game and you will see what Bart is talking about. Leadership from Jordy.

    He got beat bad on a couple of plays yesterday. Also saved a couple of points. Not sure if he is the backbone, the heart or the soul of this team, but he’s one of those.

    Where’s Elston? Will needs to dial it back a couple clicks, he’s just trying to hard. Good to see Remy stepping up and regaining his confidence. Vic – when his pass works, it’s great, maybe needs to sharpen those up a little.

    Potential of 7 games yet? They could win it all or get beat by anybody depending on the night. Playing in Indy would/could be nice but I think it’s secondary to them.

  15. Indiana is now third in kenpom.com lowest we’ve been all season. Alford cut the nets yesterday after winning at UNLV the MW tournament and the regular season. That’s when you do it. Why didn’t Crean cut the nets yesterday? I mean: we lost.

  16. Talent seeks its own level. Alford did well at Manchester and again at SW Mo. St. but surrendered to the B1G at Iowa and he is now champion of the mighty MW. He has a very solid grasp as to where his success lies.

  17. Ouch. We’re 3rd? Out of 350 teams. Double ouch.
    Here Debbie, let me hold that ladder for you while you cut the net.

    Take away the cupcakes, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue, all of our games this year have been rather close. Seems as if the team plays hard enough to just win.
    Not saying thats good or bad, just the way it is. Be nice to play some non B1G games. I hope.

  18. Looks like IU will be the #1 seed in the East and open up in DC. Louisville’s come back last night was pretty impressive. They could be playing well at the right time. I guess St. Louis is Butler’s Wisconsin. Lost 3 times to them this year. Could be interesting for #1 seeds. If Miami wins does that give them a shot at #1? Kansas winning their conference, does that give them a #1 seed. Hard for me to see Duke as a #1 especially after not winning the conference regular season or the conference tournament.

  19. Harvard, you have now proved it you are a hillbilly. You brought tears to my eyes with your long spiel. Try to shorten up your comments it takes too long to grasp your thoughs.

  20. Key turnovers and missed shots. That seems to be what it always boils down to against Wisconsin. And the Badgers always shoot much better than their average against us. It’s hard to explain, but I can tell you once again it wasn’t lack of defense or effort, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as the 12 point final spread (or the Chicken Littles) would indicate. Wisconsin just took care of the ball and made shots when they needed to, and we didn’t.

    If Jordy doesn’t miss a wide-open three, or a usually reliable Wat doesn’t miss the front end of a one-and-one, we’re only down 2 or 3 with a minute to go. Yeah. blowout city, right? We’re just awful.

    I was just bummed I stayed up all morning after work to watch the game, only to miss most of the first half (thanksfor nothing, CBS!) and then see us unable to execute down the stretch. Missed opportunities are always bummer. But we’ve always responded after we get knocked down this year. I see no reason that we don’t rebound a make a strong run in the real tournament.

  21. Here comes the trolls!!!

    The margin of error in the B1G is smaller than any other conference in the country. We need to play some teams that don’t know every play we run and have scouted us 100’s of times. Stop freaking out people.

    “3-3 in last 6. Dominated in two of those games as they were held 20 points below average. Just one inch from being 2-4.”

    Hey BZ can you name those 6 teams and how do you think any of the other #1 seeds would fair in the same situation????

  22. MSU, Minny, Iowa, OSU, Michigan, Big Ten tournament. Given our first round bye in the BTT–where most of the “cupcakes” get knocked out anyway– that is one hell of a juggernaut stretch run. Even Iowa is considered a bubble team. Who in America would be expected to get through that without a few losses? Nobody. Relax, people.

  23. So much for the Hoosier storied record in the Big Ten tournament. Until CTC came along we OWNED this thing. Yep, year in, year out, you could always count on the Hoosier cutting down those Big Ten Tournament nets every year.

    Wait…what’s that?…they haven’t?…EVER?…even when Knight?…

    Never mind

  24. ^ Your Dimness, you never disappoint.

    As per stats posted by Jeremy a few days ago when Knight was here we beat Wisconsin every time. Since Knight was fired Bo Ryan came and Wisconsin owned us. Crean came and Wisconsin’s owning us still. Crean is Clown of the Decade.

  25. Hoosier Clarion
    Sunday, March 17, 2013 – 9:23 AM UTC

    Talent seeks its own level. Alford did well at Manchester and again at SW Mo. St. but surrendered to the B1G at Iowa and he is now champion of the mighty MW. He has a very solid grasp as to where his success lies.

    Hoosier Ritalin: Alford’s team is #1 in the national RPI rankings. You’re right: talent seeks its own level. Alford was a great player and he’s now a great coach.

  26. spreading the floor and running some back-cuts would be really helpful against a team like wisconsin, who challenges the perimeter so agressively. remember the back-cut, coach. old-time basketball. still works.

  27. @Bart295 – you can makes excuses for schedule or whatever else. IU had similar stretches all year in league and never went 3-3. The entire point, that your missing, is that many teams are playing their best basketball of year right now and IU isn’t. Forget potential or future guessing…as of right now the following teams are playing better than IU : Wisconsin, Ohio state, Louisville, Kansas, Miami, even maybe Gonzaga. That’s a short list. I’m not giving up on season, just realistic that final four run might not be in cards!

  28. Alford is a great coach in the D111 HCAC, Missouri Valley and now the MW. Barely mediocre in the B1G. He tried the Big Time and just could not handle it.

  29. I’ll never understand how people start wetting their pants calling people “trolls” because they point out when we suck in games.

    Victor was awful with his turnovers. Just pure laziness. We’re not “trolls” for pointing that out.

    Whichever physical team we meet…..Wisconsin/Georgetwon/St. Louis….is going to knock us out of the Dance.

  30. All teams are fragile.

    The team was emotionally down against Wisconsin. They were preoccupied. Focus will return for the NCAA tournament.

    Conference tournaments are a waste. They were designed for the sole purpose of infusing dollars into lackluster economies.

    Conference tournaments take away from the best measure of a team’s accomplishment in winning the race that matters most; the season’s long grind that saw the Hoosiers finish in first place.

    I’m about as interested in a conference tournament as the bastardized Indiana class basketball tournament(another form of diluting a unique product for the sole purpose of dollars and anointing champions that aren’t true champions).

  31. Lousiville didn’t look “fragile” to me.

    Or about 10 other teams.

    In your litany of excuses, you ignore the fact we looked awful against every physical team this year.

  32. Louisville winning the Big East Tournament, coupled with Indiana losing to UW, will likely cost the Hoosiers Indianapolis. This can be seen as either a bad omen, or a good one. Since I have been positive all season, I think IU will take this as a perceived slight from the selection committee (even though it really is not), and use the neutral/hostile crowd at each game site (Lexington folks hate the Hoosiers for some reason) as fuel to make their engine run all the way to Atlanta. If the Hoosiers were not “tough” in many aspects, they would have not won the “rough” and “rugged” Big Ten outright, and certainly not won at MSU, OSU, and Michigan. Trolls be damned.

  33. You should start writing your excuses now for when we get bounced before the Sweet 16:

    1) Refs hate us

    2) Jet lag

    3) Refs hate us

    4) Big Ten season wore us out

    5) Refs hate us

    6) Sun was in our eyes

  34. 7) Coach yelled: “You wrecked our program” during every time-out.

    8) Coach yelling: “Did you bring the scissors, ’cause I want to cut the nets NOW!” in the general direction of the refs for most of the game (except during the time-outs).

    9) Coach tweeting: “I think we proved enough. We won the Big Ten, the hardest conference in the history of human sports.”

    10) Coach thinking out loud: “Talent seeks its own level. My coaching talent is proverbial. Hey, where’s the bathroom? I am seeking a bathroom!”

  35. It seems like we struggle against physical teams. Minnesota and Ohio State come to mind. CZ has yet to develop a “warrior” personality and that it what it takes to face these physical teams. I am sure we will see more physical teams in the NCAA.

    We need to face this problem from the opening tip off.

  36. Punjab, I always appreciate what you have to say. How quickly people forget that we beat both MSU and UM twice, at home and on the road. They don’t play the same style Wisconsin does, sure, but those are both tough, physical teams. Or rather, MSU is, and Mitch Mcgary is just a moron. But for everyone moaning and lamenting the waste of a season, I agree-there are games it seems like we just didn’t show up. And we WON some of those. This team has great talent and depth, and we should be extremely proud of the product we can put on the court. Even if you don’t like Crean, he is responsible for bringing some of these guys here who helped resurrect our program. I still remember 5 dollar tickets, don’t you? You can talk about lack of toughness or lack of leadership, or whatever you like, but just three years ago what we had was a lack of talent, and a lack of in-state recruiting. Jordy and Cody made it cool for Indiana kids to come to IU again, and more than cool, they made it something to be valued again. You’re lucky if you get to wear those candy stripes (and didn’t have to buy them from Kohl’s like I did). This has been a great season, and I still expect greatness from these guys. But no matter what happens, IU basketball is back for real, and I’m proud of our guys and grateful for this season.

  37. Louisville looked like a championship team when the couldn’t put away a mediocre ND team on the road?

    There’s not a team in the country that hasn’t had their ups and downs.

    I don’t for moment believe a semifinal loss in a meaningless, anti-climatic tournament, is indicative of what we’ll do in the NCAA tournament.

    Yeah, I don’t know sh*t. Tell me how many of the geniuses on here we’re predicting our Hoosiers to be a top 10 team at the beginning of last season? How many were foreseeing a season with at least 22 wins?

    I hope we get sent out of the Midwest. Playing in Indy will be no advantage. This team plays better when the challenge is perceived as greater.

    They gave Ryan ‘Coach of the Year’ because they had already written the Hoosiers off in their final game @ Michigan. It’s criminal that Crean did not receive the award. First time the Hoosiers have won the conference title outright in 20 years. Doing all of that while having a huge target on your back(every team and every conference rival you play getting more pumped than usual because of the hype and high ranking preassigned our team by blowhards and bracketologists that really don’t know their a$$es from one massive Establishment hole in the ground).

    Tell me how many of you experts saw Victor Oladipo being a POY candidate and a possible top 5 draft pick three years ago? I sure as hell didn’t.

    What our coach did with recruits like Sheehey and Oladipo that barely broke into a top 150 Rivals list…Crean took a team with a giant target on its back, a freshman point guard, and overblown hype surrounding the preseason POY, and did what know Hoosier team has accomplished in the last 20 years.

    How do you live up to the expectations to any greater degree than finishing at the top in the conference standings?

    Crean deserved Big 10 Coach of the Year. The haters are the only people looking for excuses…Attempting to take away the achievement of a team that still managed to win a Big 10 title outright..attempting to take away the credit from a coach that was the first to lead an Indiana team to a conference title in two decades. Any your excuse? Your excuse to take all the deserved accolades away from a great bunch of young men is a loss in a conference tournament that is built for nothing other than dollars lining wallets by way of redundancy.

  38. …..and did what [no] Hoosier team has accomplished in the last 20 years.

  39. Harvard, you lost it man.

    In the last 20 years Indiana has played for the national title once. I want to see Crean take us there before you make a hero out of it.

    Crean deserves to be COY because Purdue beat Wisconsin?

    Crean deserves to be COY because Penn State beat Michigan?

    Or is he COY because he lost at home to Matta?

    Is Crean responsible for the overall lability in Big Ten and elsewhere this year?

    Is Crean deserving of a COY when Bo Ryan plays Knightball with him day in day out and beats the hell out of him every single time?

    Crean has two brothers: Hap and Stance. When these two guys are in the building the team is unstoppable. When one of them is missing Crean is hapless and often takes that smirk-induced stance.

    Crean has daddy issues. This time when he sees Knight he’s going to put the freeze on him and after that he’s going to wipe a tear discreetly during press conference and call it a season.

  40. Sure, every team has it’s ups and downs.

    All we’re saying is, this team cannot handle physical teams. Period.

    And sooner or later, we’re going to run into one in The Dance and they’re going to chew us up and spit us out and we’re going to hear the same excuses we heard all year.

    Only in your warped mind does that mean we “hate the team.”
    We’re just pointing out the obvious. If the only way you can have self-esteem is to tell yourself you’re the only “real fan”, then go for it.

    And it sure is cute how you’re Crean’s “biggest fan” now after you crucified him non-stop for the Jesus stuff.

  41. Gonna beat a dead horse in the head here. I have posted numerous times on the lack of Zellers 5ft+ plus outside game. Other than his OSU @ OSU game, he is like 7-32. I saw only the 2nd half yesterday, on 3 occasions Wis had left a space of 5ft between their defender & Cody when he got the ball 10ft from the basket. His offense is simply 2 pronged, catch ball, turn, dribble drive to the basket and attempt to score or attempt to draw a foul period.

  42. Louisville has earned the #1 seed. If they get the Midwest, so be it. Getting to play in Indy does not guarantee anything. As CTC and players have noted numerous times, IU plays best with back against the wall–when they have to earn it.

    I’ll repeat a post I made on another board here. We should all appreciate what this team has done. More to come.

    By any measure other than NCAA tourney (which is yet to happen), this Season is a HISTORIC success for IU.

    IU has only ever been a #1 seed twice in NCAA:
    1993–Elite Eight
    1987–Last NCAA championship

    Last time IU was ranked #1 in AP poll: 1993

    Last time IU was ranked #1 in AP polls for 10 or more weeks in one season: 1976

    Last time IU beat 7 or more AP top 25 opponents in regular season: 1992-93

    IU last won the B1G outright: 1993

    Last time IU won at MSU: 1991

    Last time IU won at MSU, UM and OSU in same season: 1989

    Last time IU went 7-2 or better on the road in B1G regular season: 1993

    Last time IU won a regular season tournament: 2002 (Maui)

    Last time IU went 14-4 or better in B1G: 2008.

    Last time IU won 28 or more games (at 27 now): 1993

    If success is only measured by banners, then IU has been a failure for 25 years.
    If success is only measured by final four appearances, then IU has had 2 successful seasons (1992 and 2002) in 25 years.

    I look forward to pulling hard for IU. But, I am deeply appreciative of the success that this team has had AND the kind of players who represent IU right now.

  43. Swami-

    Why can’t you just stick with Laffy?

    All we heard all season long was how the “cupcake” preseason schedule would be our undoing. Hey, guess what?
    We won the Big 10 title OUTRIGHT. We went on the road and put the final nail in it by beating a very good Michigan team on their senior night.

    We have our vulnerabilities, but I honestly believe it should not take away from a team that put the doubters in their place.

    The Big 10 title banner will hang in Assembly…and it won’t be a shared title with three other teams. Big Ten Tournament banner…? Meaningless redundancy to a season that already played out. Crean should have been Big 10 Coach of the Year?

    And please enlighten me…If we’re talking national prowess, please tell me of a Final Four team or Championship game that Bo Ryan has coached?

    In 2002 Ryan won Big 10 Coach of the Year with the Badgers as co-champs.

    In 2003 Ryan won Big 10 Coach of the Year with the Badgers as outright champs.

    In 2013 Tom Crean and Indiana win the title outright. We live up to the preseason hype(often more difficult than exceeding expectations when the team is not under the national microscope). Tom Crean deserved Big 10 Coach of the Year. Doesn’t matter if I think he’s the biggest blowbag preacher on the planet..He still deserved the award.

  44. Keep it coming Spanky. Good stuff.

    Team will start practice tomarrow with;

    Cody fine-tuning his jump hook.
    Jordy will hit 300 straight 3’s, with one eye closed.
    Elston will show his new tatoo…”Don’t touch the ball
    when it’s on the goal Will”.
    Yogi does his practice on outside goal. Drives to the basket putting the ball over 15′ trees.
    CWat tries out his new shorts with coach-activated electrical stimulator built in.
    Jeremy tries out his new crash-avoidance sensors.

    Another posibility. Crean is trying to get the LA site for the Hoosiers. Be kind of a ‘thank you’ to the HT guys, Dustin, Jeremy and Chris for their kind coverage this year. Knowing that the HT guys would like to spend some time in LA.

  45. When you have Crean, whose M.O. Is to take out anyone who has just gotten hot and we lose momentum, you just may very well become the first #1 seed to be beaten by a #16. How disappointing. Please, someone who is a statistics professor…..plot at what time in each game this year a player hit one or more shots and then how soon after that they were taken out of the game. He did it all year long, go back and look at the tape. We erased a 7 point defecit and he immediately sits guys and we give it right back with Hollowell on the floor. Love his recruiting, hate his coaching. He is losing me. Trying to be supportive rah rah go team go, clap, clap…but it’s getting very hard.

  46. I have most likely seen IU play more basketball games over the years than most of you because of my age. You folks talk about the lack of leadership with the ‘seniors’—these were the same ‘seniors’ who formed the basis for the highly ranked team IU is today. Without their tenacity we wouldn’t have this blog to even ‘vent’. I am frustrated, too, but not as much as those young men who have worked their tails off to resurrect a program that was in a shambles. A coach can only do so much –these kids brought this team back with determination, leadership & hard work. Our job –as fans — is to support them even when they make mistakes. I suspect that many of the complainers on this site were ‘fair weather’ fans & not even watching IU basketball when these kids were building this team. I am proud of them & what they have done in the last 4 years. I hope they will be successful in the NCAA Tournament but they have already exceeded my expectations when I think back over the last few years. I am proud of this ball club, I am proud to be a Hoosier & they have my full support!

  47. Typical of the Scoop to see names posting only after an IU loss…Ron and Rico will never fully support IU due to their hatred for CTC, and love for RMK, and we know they could both coach better than CTC with their eyes closed…where will these haters be when we win?
    H4H is right when he says that every team in this tourney is vulnerable and the brackets show how close the college BB world is this year.
    I love our s run to a 6th banner in the East region…look at what the committee did to L’ville…Duke and Mich St. that’s brutal!

  48. Crean needs to adjust his style of play,sometimes you must do this to compete ,dribble-drive is not always the answer. He has a one track mind.

  49. Elmo, I agree that adding offensive options is important. Scouting, especially once the Conference season is underway, makes it imperative. But, it can’t be done now. Only minor adjustments and some variance within our present approach. Still, if Tom Crean is who we think (and hope) he is he will consider this. I also think he was somewhat restricted given the guard combinations we had to direct the offense early.

    We really could have used the option of having Matt Roth on this team. Our loss, one player we did miss.

  50. I agree with Swami on one point;what is all this “hater” thing. Why is any criticism a “hater” or a “troll”. I would venture to guess that at least 80% of the comments all com from big Hoosier fans, some of whom make use of their right to post their honest opinion and to be ‘critical’ in the real sense of the words (in other words, not being this so-called ‘hater’ towards the team they love. Any other way makes this blog useless.

  51. OMG, Tsao…You can’t read the cynical tone in the posts. Many of these comments are not constructive criticism.

    And where is the counter argument to how difficult it is to live up to expectations?

    We finished the season as top 3 ranked team.

    We earned a #1 seed in one of the four regions.

    We won the Big 10 outright.

    It’s fine to criticize. But there is also a time to realize that achievements be recognized.

    As Geoff has said many times on this blog…You’re a smart guy. And being a smart guy, you should be able to read the tone of cynicism and mockery in many of these posts.

    If we don’t win it all, these same cynics and hypercritical searchers for the negative will play the “I told you so” game. Do you know how easy that game is to play? 67/68 times you’ll be right when voting against a team to win it all. Yippee. But how many would have put money on the Hoosiers winning at Michigan to seal the Big 10 title? Can you show me any bloggers that were predicting such an event after we lost to OSU at home and the sky was falling a just two weeks ago?

  52. Crean has two brothers: Hap and Stance. When these two guys are in the building the team is unstoppable. When one of them is missing Crean is hapless and often takes that smirk-induced stance.

    Crean has daddy issues. This time when he sees Knight he’s going to put the freeze on him and after that he’s going to wipe a tear discreetly during press conference and call it a season.

    Seriously, Tsao? That sounds like the tone of someone that can ever get past their contempt? I can only imagine your reaction if a blogger wrote such a glowing endorsement for Coach Wilson.

    Again, your own lack of objectivity in evaluating Crean’s performance(not to mention the way you blew up over Smirkgate at a Northwestern postgame press conference before facts were unveiled)appears to lean toward a desire for a quick trigger of criticism because no coach could ever live up to the RMK standard of your perceptions of the past. I don’t think you hate Tom Crean, but I have a feeling you’ll always temper the achievement anyone that doesn’t gain Knight’s acceptance…And since Knight will likely never get past his bitterness, I doubt you’ll ever be able to be truly objective and give credit where credit is due. And I’m not talking about overhearing personality traits, egos, or questions pertaining to the appropriateness of using a a prominent job to sell one creed/faith as superior ..I’m merely talking about achievements as a basketball coach.

  53. So, Hillbilly, are you saying if IU wins it all, you won’t come on here with “I told you so”?

    And stop whining about “hyper-critical.” You think ANY criticism is “hyper-critical.”

    Lastly, please stop lecturing others for “not being objective” because the LAST thing you and others are is “objective” when it comes to the team.

  54. HfH..truthfully, I wasn’t looking for the sarcasm…therefore likely I didn’t find it. So, if I misread your intent…my fault.

    Just as truthfully, last year I had serious questions in what I saw basketball wise and your critique here may have held true initially. Then I watched and began to think that perhaps I wasn’t being fair and holding on too tight to a particular way of playing. So I paused.

    I was, admittedly, dubious about all the fuzz with the pre-season ranking. I remembered last year’s achievements and decided to tell myself to just watch. So, I watched…absolutely not expecting an undefeated season. Watched how we played, threw some doubts about my own perception of what ‘playing well’ consisted of. As the season went on I began to see a common thread in our losses..tough, fundamentally sound teams who value possessions and ‘good’ shots are teams that beat us and in pretty convincing fashion (the number of points difference does not matter- convincing in that they simply outplay us and control us). For instance, I don’t consider the win over Michigan there. Michigan has some outstanding players but as a team, especially on defense, they are nothing special (in my eyes).

    On the other hand, Wisconsin does not have the basketball skilled players we have, but they play much, much better than WE do as a team, the product of five players understanding their roles and playing to how he sees them playing. Their center is not nearly the bball player ours is but he is exactly what they want and need. I really think that Ryan and Izzo and, probably Matta develop their individuals and their teams during the year and have teams that can adjust and play any nyriad of ways or force us to play theirs. We are good, some times very good and some times excel…but playing one way. I think Crean has done an excellent job, recruiting, bringing self-respect back and sustaining a tradition of good basketball. I think he merits his rewards and we should have good basketball for a while. But,generally and not demeaning Crean, I think we’ll have years in which we’ll flow between good and very good with some years of very, very good at our current level.

    Your point was that I continue to think that RMK brought much better basketball here. I do. That’s my personal judgment after the roundball self assessment I discussed. It was much more cerebral, physical and disciplined. Which does not mean I lay around pining for those days or RMK’s return (it ain’t going to happen). It’s like thinking that having an Argentine Pope will somehow get the Falklands back to Argentina renamed as the Malvinas.

    Can I enjoy our basketball now. Absolutely, I don’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a player and his development, charisma and attitude as much as Oladipo’s. But, I can see flaws, even serious ones, and hope we overcome them and somehow… And, I can expect, that I can share my doubts here without other fans feeling I am rejecting the Hoosiers all together. That is silly and I think you of all people know that.

    By the way, the tsk! tsk! thrown at me several times (not by you necessarily)about my view of CKW has also been said before and I’ve let it pass on simply because it also shows most read what they want in each post. I do respect and admire CKW. I respect how he has held everyone, including fans, to his perception of a football culture (I think his record says he probably knows one a hell of a lot better than we Hoosiers do- the opposite of basketball). But mostly, I admire his values, his command, his leadership, and- like RMK- his holding his players to his standards for how you play the game. And, if I’m wrong…I’m wrong, but I don’t think so at this point.

    OK Harvard… OMG!!!! What a concise answer I’ve written. WOuld have Twitted it to you if you had a Twitter address. (But do you really think that I would ever even own a Twitter- that’s why folks like you and I exist…we still think that whole thoughts and good writing is a worthwhile activity (besides, DD probably get a commission from management for the number of inches we use on this blog and we want to help the guy during this crisis of the written word).

  55. On the other hand, Wisconsin does not have the basketball skilled players we have

    They look pretty damn skilled to me. Maybe they don’t win a high jumping contest against Victor, but they are very skilled at not overplaying their skill level..and that’s a skill in itself. If they had Jordan Taylor in the backcourt with the rest the pieces on that team, they’d probably be one of the front runners for a championship.

    So much of it is simply great timing and how your recruits overlap. Crean came to IU with a kid named Cody Zeller coming down the pike…Where are we if he doesn’t land that one name? Our Jordy and Watford..and Elston..and Creek all percieved as “losers” because in all likelihood the same level success would not have happened without one of the most premier big men in the country wanting to play a hand in our resurgence?

    We’d like to attribute success to the man in charge…But often it is just being at the right place at the right time. But with being in the right place comes expectations and pressures…Sometimes landing the most highly heralded recruit comes with unreasonable expectations that winning should now fall into the team’s/coach’s lap. It’s almost as if an unexpected loss becomes more inexcusable because your team has what every so-called expert has deemed as the best center in the country..If he’s not unstoppable, it must be the coach’s fault.

    I don’t see the talent disparity that you are claiming. I don’t think the overall differences are great enough to explain the large differences in rankings. We get very conditioned to it all. We look at rankings and listen to the experts on ESPN as if its delivered down from the heavens an all-knowing level of supreme intelligence..The game is far from predictable and the talent differences can be very meaningless if just one or two players on either side play below or above their averages…And our the pundits eyes really so discerning to know when a player is ready to break free many of those averaged-out and lazy perceptions? Crean has beneifted by the good fortune of timing(being able to fully invest in recruiting Zeller when the IU job opened), but he has also proved to be a master at finding talent and young men with determination that will make the most of their talent where others aren’t seeing it(Oladipo, Sheehey, Abell)..And maybe that talent will explode at just the right time. Maybe now is that time.

  56. And sometimes coaches are just a little ahead of the curve…

    Michael Jordan…Walter Payton..As good as they we’re in college, how many ‘experts’ could have ever predicted how they would soon dominate their sport at the highest level?

    Bo Ryan is a master at finding young men that peak by their fourth year of college. I doubt we’ll see many of his players tear up the NBA..Sometimes having an eye for great potential, potential that can grow exponentially even beyond college, can somewhat pull a coach away from the immediate and short term of building rosters on solid recruits with skills already fully matured.

    Crean may have a gift at identifying the talent when it’s barely a sprouting seedling…But the challenge will always remain to increase the slope of improvement in the recruits natural abilities in a time frame fast enough to take advantage of that potential while in a college uniform. I wonder if that foresight, that eye for “future greatness” others don’t possess, can end up being your worst enemy because it may turn you away from the ‘boring’ talent, the recruits that have matured earlier and have honed their skills at a younger age(though those skills may never increase to a degree an MJ..a D-Wade..a “Sweetness”..a Victor Oladipo), can bring you greater returns in the immediacy, remain somewhat out of the vision an NBA scout, and stay with your program for four years?

  57. How were all the doubters “put in their place”?

    We’ve said all along this team can’t handle physical teams. And each time we’ve faced one, we’ve either lost or barely won (even though we had far better talent).

    Forgive me for laughing when you rip the experts for “not knowing what they’re talking about” and then turning right around and saying, “The Big Ten is the best because all the experts say so.”

    Nothing I love more than cherry-pickers.

    Let’s make a bet. Put your money where your mouth is. If the Big Ten is the TOUGHEST CONFERENCE AROUND, they should get at LEAST one team in the Final Four, right?

    I say ZERO does.

    Will you agree to not post for a month if none make it, or will you whine about “circumstances” as to why it didn’t happen?

    You would lose it if you couldn’t post here for a week so I know you’ll chicken out of the bet.

  58. No, I agree that Wisconsin has ‘skilled’ players within their definition of skills, and Bo Ryan had a great definition of what those skills are and how to develop them. There’s where you do get the center of gravity, “they are very skilled at not overplaying their skill level..and that’s a skill in itself.” That is exactly what RMK brought to the court and Bo does so well. What is there to not admire in him?

    One other really interesting issue and you bring it up. What an unfortunate and tragic loss the injury to Creek. Seeing Oladipo, can you see what would outcomes would change had Maurice been 100%? Or, how much of the flaw we’ve shown the last few games would have been corrected if Matt Roth had been on this team? (He was a great 3-point shooter but just as important- I think- he was pretty steady).

    We do agree, Crean seems to have a really special eye for talent. I remember an old man who worked for soccer teams when I was a kid (55 years ago+) who would see a kid walking and say ‘that’s a star, look at his gait, how he holds his arms when he runs’…and 8 years later he was.
    What impresses me is the great growth from one year to another of players like Victor and the potential in Sheehey and Hollowell. Hanner (and I suspect Jurkin)…it will take time but the product may be way out there. They have the experience of a high school freshman, given where he started. Abell is another with great potential and could be a surprise somewhat like Victor. We’ll see.

    I really don’t pay any attention whatsoever to the services, rankings, the ‘experts’. It’s about the quality of the seed, the ground, the water and how it is nurtured and ‘trimmed’ (and tied to support) when needed. That’s why I liked RMK’s ‘gardening’. (Remember the Peter Sellers movie where he played a gardener?).

  59. Here we go again..Back to making comments like “lose it.”

    You could be so worth listening to without the vile spew you need as your crutch. It’s sad how quickly you go right back to it.

  60. And when you recruit based on your unique foresight, it has a more inherent gamble that you can harness that potential, develop it in soon enough time for it to benefit your team.

    Bo Ryan plays it closer to the vest. Does that make him a better coach because he’s less likely to take the gamble on a kid that has enormous potential but is behind on the development curve?

    Wisconsin can win the grind it out games when they’re hitting shots. But what happens when the shots aren’t falling. What happens when you get into the tournament and you suddenly find your team is out of sync? Do you have the one or two truly dynamic players that can still carry you when the old formula isn’t working?

    Do you have the NBA caliber stud that can energize the entire team…? Do you have a Victor Oladipo that make a gigantic play when nobody else has the answer?

    Recruiting like a Butler or a Wisconsin can certainly build fundamentally strong teams that can go deep in a tournament…as long as there is never a hiccup. It’s safe and disciplined basketball and it can look pretty impressive until an infectious cold spell tightens up the whole group. Then they are screwed. Then they are looking up and down the roster for a Victor Oladipo to bail them out…a kid that can put the game on his own shoulders and push the team on to victory when everything in a stat column would indicate they should have lost.

    You need the discipline and the steady…But you also need the dynamo, the ‘star’ player that can grab the moment when a wheel comes off the team.

  61. Laffy-

    I’ll take your bet. I do think at least one Big 10 team will make the Final Four. I will gladly refrain from posting for a month if I lose the bet.

  62. As intuitive a premise as it may seem, I’d never really thought of using an eye for talent as a gamble before, Harv. But I suspect you’re right. If Victor turns out to be another Steve Hart– a guy with almost limitless athletic ability that never fully harnesses his gifts– we have a much bleaker outlook on the season. Fortunately for us, Vic did harness his gifts, and the gamble has paid off.

    I guess you need to look no further than our neighbors to the south and those pesky Badgers to the northwest to see the difference in approach to recruiting and gambling on talent. Kentucky has routinely hauled in the best collection of individual talent of any program in the country for, what, five years running? (Granted, some of that is just subjective analysis from hype-machines like Rivals.com, so take it for what it’s worth.) And UK’s obviously had some successful seasons assembling that talent, culminating in last year’s championship. But just as gambling on likely one-and-doners without any long-term cohesiveness and continuity from year to year can bring greatness, we also saw what happened this year: A ton of talent, minimal production. They didn’t even make the tournament. The gamble didn’t pay off.

    Now say what you will about Kentucky’s recruiting advantages. They have the deep tradition, they have the hardware, they have the all-access shows on ESPN, and they have the coach who’s proven in the past that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to land players. Wisconsin has none of those. But they do have consistency, belief, and the ability to over-achieve with what few would call exceptionally gifted individual players. Some of that is just good coaching and team development. But, I suppose, much of that is gambling less on an eye for talent and and more on finding players who will buy in to and best maximize your system. As much as I hate losing to Wisconsin, I admire how they’re able to consistently do more with less.

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