IU’s disappointing Maui trip ends with 72-69 loss to UNLV #iubb

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Serenity eluded Indiana over its three-game run in Hawaii, a trip that saw the Hoosiers fail to find their footing.

After a 72-69 loss to UNLV in its Maui Invitational finale on Wednesday, Indiana returns to the mainland facing serious questions about its defensive capacity and general ball security after a troubling trip west.

In the middle of arguably the toughest two-week non-conference run in Tom Crean’s eight-year tenure as IU coach, the Hoosiers are — more than anything — stuck. Indiana returns Monday at home against Alcorn State before traveling to Duke on Wednesday night for a primetime showdown with the defending national champions in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

The Hoosiers committed 21 turnovers and never led, dropping the second of three games to one of the tournament field’s bottom-tier teams. IU shot 11-for-20 from beyond the arc, but only 10-for-19 at the free throw line.

Nick Zeisloft scored a team-high 17 points for Indiana, while James Blackmon Jr. added 13 points and seven rebounds.

A day after being removed from the lineup due to poor play in the tournament opener, Blackmon and Troy Williams each started for Indiana.

Williams, especially, was part of another sloppy start for the Hoosiers, who committed three turnovers — two by Williams — in the first four minutes and trailed 13-7 at the first media timeout. That deficit only swelled as the Hoosiers committed eight turnovers in the first eight minutes. It was easily the most troubling of IU’s three-day run on the island, a start that was only further torpedoed by Indiana’s struggles at the free throw line, where the Hoosiers hit only five of their first 12 shots at the line.

After UNLV’s lead extended to as many as 15 points, the Hoosiers responded with a 12-0 run to get within 27-24 with five minutes left in the half. The Rebels led 41-34 at halftime before Indiana forced its way back and tied the game on a 3-pointer by Blackmon five minutes into the second half.

After tying the game, IU failed to score over the next five minutes — a span that saw three IU turnovers. A 3-pointer from Max Bielfeldt and a layup from Williams got IU within 55-53, but turnovers, missed shots under the basket and an absent defensive approach from the Hoosiers allowed UNLV to a 7-0 run and a 62-53 lead with six minutes remaining in regulation. Two minutes later, that Rebels advantage expanded to 13 points.

Indiana charged back in the final minutes, inching as close as three points with seven seconds left. Following an inbounds play with three seconds on the clock, Nick Zeisloft’s potential game-tying 3 was blocked and IU hung their heads and walked off the court in defeat.


  1. You are right, Dman. This team has not been well prepared. The players are going to have to do some soul searching, and this coaching staff has got some explaining to do. Way too much talent on this team to be losing two games in Maui.

  2. Is Crean going to throw the team under the bus again at this press conference? That has been pretty standard so far this year.

  3. JBJ & TW get going too fast without an idea of what they want to accomplish. Constantly dribble into trouble. IU should scrap this awful offense and run something similar to what Butler does. It would cut down on the turn overs and allow IU to create mismatches and utilize their own athleticism. This idea of going fast all the time will keep the turn overs embarrassingly high. Frustrating as IU has so much talent but coaches are not allowing the players an opportunity to use that talent within a disciplined approach. Go fast, but go under control. Look for opportunities rather than stupid passes because we have no idea what we want accomplish.

  4. It’s not Cean’s fault! Haven’t you heard the expression you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink it? Oh wait a minute the Bill Walton in me came out. Crean sucks! He must go!

  5. Wow, to finish ahead of only Chaminade and St. John’s at the Maui Invitational and then have that long plane flight home. There is so much to say but for what purpose. Tom Crean is ultimately responsible for the team and the way they play. I am certain this was a wake up call for everyone involved in IU basketball and if the team gets destroyed by Duke next week, the call for Crean’s head is going to be intense.

  6. It appeared to me that Bryant and Ferrell were frustrated with each other…this team is very close to a complete meltdown.

  7. crean had been given more than enough chances and a few too many years at the helm. Time for him to hit the road.

  8. Time for the boosters to pony up the money to buy crean out… Can’t be that hard to get rid of him… No team Defense!!!! Rick Barnes would be an upgrade from this clown… Least when he was the coach at Texas they played hard and played Defense…

  9. IU SUCKS!!!!! GO Purdue!! IU is not good enough to be ranked 13th!! I don’t even think IU deserves to be in the Top 25! There is NO WAY IN HELL that IU is beating Purdue, especially what we did last year to Indiana!! IU is terrible! Purdue is going to DESTROY the frekin’ Hoosiers in the lame assembly hall at stinky IU!! BOILER UP & GO PURDUE!!!!! #GoPurdue

  10. Oh look, someone left the door open and let the Purdue troll in. I bet he struggled doing the math on the spam protection. This coming from the team with the laziest center to ever wear a Purdue jersey in Hammond. What a waste. Hammond should be talked about today as a top 3 pick in the draft and one of the best centers in the country. He isn’t even the best center on his own team. Ask most Purdue fans and they say the same thing. It is a shame that that talent was wasted on a kid like that.

  11. Wolfer,
    That is Tom Crean’s offensive philosophy. Not included in that twisted mess is fundamentally sound basketball AND defense is WAY DOWN on his list of priorities.

  12. Okay boys, we got to help out the IU President with Crean’s replacement next Spring. Don’t leave it to Fred Glass because he was hired by a group that included Crean.

  13. I would like to go on a rant right now after watching the Maui invitational…uh..I mean fast forwarding through the recording of the UNLV game, but instead I only have one word. Abhorrent. Okay, a few more words. TC must go.

  14. All one needs to do to evaluate Tom Crean are the two < 4 sec. Inbound "plays" in this tournament.

    Not that they had an impact on the game outcomes, but all one needs to see.

    Remember the Einstein definition of insanity. This is it fans.

  15. Been a lifelong IU fan and it boils down to this, we should not lose to a UNLV or a Wake Forest, period. We are Indiana and should expect to beat those programs with ease. Crean has brought a program that is now thought of as being second tier. Nothing personal, but we should expect more. Float the head coaches position and you will see we can attract a top tier coach. It’s time

  16. If only the overrated Zeller would have just picked NC. I knew that one decision gave an incompetent coach another decade to suck the blood out of the candy stripes.

    Where are those hundreds of voices that never stopped blabbering “everything hinges on Zeller?”

    Everything hinges on turkey dressing…..

  17. Zeller was not overrated. Period. Many on the entire team knew one another before they joined IU and had played each other throughout high school. Crean had not the slightest idea of the superior talent that made up the team his first year here…..and he still wastes young talent due to his inability to coach a Division 1 team.

  18. Imagine this year’s roster being coached by any of the top 20 coaches in the country. There is no doubt we would be much more competitive and would bring back the respect of our proud name.

  19. And that was part of the problem, Lydia. Zeller was a package deal. We lost on a lot of top Indiana talent that could have complemented our team because of the numerous wasting of scholarships on AAU friends and A-Hope projects. Crean had to take the A-Hope projects and provide video coordinator jobs within the Athletic Department to appease Adams and find homes for his A-Hope toe-trippers. The entire state of proven talent was not recruited. Northwest Indiana was ignored. He lost on Gary Harris.

    Sure, Zeller was a phenomenal player, but he was no Anthony Davis. I won’t bother listing the numerous names Crean didn’t get. Been there, done that. If you want the names, I’ll gladly list them Too many spots already secured via cronyism. It’s old news and it’s not how you build respect from within. Crean is a manipulated man. His players appear as if they don’t have any fears of losing PT. … There is no accountability. There is no leadership. It’s merely guys that think they’re far better than they actually are. They plan press conferences at steakhouses in thinking every dimwit is sitting on the edge of their seat concerning an NBA decision. They are too into themselves and zero into the team.
    The whole deal surrounding the Zeller recruitment was sold by the Crean apologists locals as ‘The’ recruit that would bring back banners.. We simply needed.one or two solid ballers instead of friends and A-Hope projects…And when that day arrived with Noah Vonleh, Zeller had already left for the NBA.

    Zeller left for the NBA with many weaknesses in his game…Nothing of a turnaround jumper …People talk as if he’s Bill Russell. It’s all rather silly. The last six players 6′-10″ out of UK are tearing it up in the NBA…And if they’re not tearing it up, it’s still easy to see their skill sets eclipse Mr. Everything Hinges.

  20. Jurkin, Jobe, Bawa, Perea…..And let’s not forget guys that never saw the floor as in Guy Marc Michel….

    Without the landing of Zeller, Crean would have long ago been history. How much do you think the BIGs on Purdue challenge each other in practice currently? Zeller never had a complement(nor did he stay long enough to have any because he likely didn’t trust Crean’s coaching to make it worth the risk) to hone his skill and truly be challenged in practice. All his chalkboard schooling at the post position ended in high school…He had digressed under Crean. No post philosophy adhered to in our style of play and no real challenges in practice Zeller looked half the player against Syracuse than the kid that played on McCracken his first September after high school. He ruined his game by coming to play for a carnival salesman. And it was all sold as if the very first Barnum & Bailey train had picked Bloomington for the first show under the big tent. …Floodgates? Well, here is your floodgates. We couldn’t commit a foul against Wichita to stop the clock in critical final moments of an NCAA tournament game.

  21. …and “superior” to what? They got their superior butts handed to them in a Syracuse game and let that define their final mark upon the memories of just how superior they made Indiana. They had no undaunted to spirit to get the job they had planned in their AAU camps competed……Banners, bitches. Instead, they allowed Syracuse to abuse their jello dispositions….They raised banners after losses…and they raised the surrender flag to a school from the East. And now most are gathering dust on their sneakers or playing for awful teams that make for easy stat piling. Yippee. They did nothing to honor the coach that risked so much on their behalf….. He put all their buddies of Indiana Elite in uniform….Where did it get Crean? Now we just use his forehead as a piss target.

  22. I might be over analyzing here, but to me what I saw in these three games was a deeper rooted problem with personalities, and a team that doesn’t want to play together. To me Crean is in danger of losing this team and until someone steps in to address what I perceive as locker room problems, it will continue to manifest itself on the floor.

  23. watch for a lot of no shows or empty seats at Assembly Hall Fred Glass, You have a sold out Hall this year but without a coaching change, you will selling $5 tickets in balcony again

  24. Per KenPom, IU ranked #8 10 days ago, now #27 and my unskilled eyes see a free-fall continuing.

    IU will probably win some big games this year. At home. Road wins may be hard to come by. Duke and Nortre Dame, hate to consider the outcome.

    With a few game adjustments this team would be hard to beat. But how many years has turnovers been a concern. Missing the free throws – can’t understand that part. Gave up talking defense. It is what it is and has been for years. I would call that a recruiting deficiency. A recurring deficiency.

    CTC has had a positive impact on IU and I believe he is honest, hardworking & a decent guy who wants to win. At this point there is way too much noise for him to succeed. Maybe it’s time for him to resign or be fired. Let Tim Buckley finish out year. Give IU time to search for the next head coach. Would also give a heads up to other coaches who may be interested. At least IMO. If the right guy comes in we may not lose any new recruits?

    I still wonder if distance was the only issue for Luke Fischer leaving for Marquette?

    Bryant just needs time & experience. Looks like we will have him more than one year and that will be big for IU.

    Between Maui games, a discussion between ‘ 3 long time successful coaches’ . Interesting it would include the Syracuse coach who is looking at a 9 game suspension and NC coach who looks like he will dodge any damage from the NCAA probe.

    Than there is Ben Simmons & LSU. Attended two of his HS games and he looks even better playing college.

    I’m done now. On to the turkey. Happy Thanksgiving all and stay safe.

  25. Yeah, that about sums it up. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen so may talented players on such a bad team. As you alluded, they’ll no doubt get hot some nights and upset some teams but, let’s face it, unless that happens soon against Duke and/or ND the ship has sailed. They just don’t seem to be putting the pieces together to win consistently in the B1G.

    This looks a whole lot like a tipping point to me. If they get crushed by Duke and ND it’s gonna be a long season.

  26. Is the poor defense a recruiting deficiency, or a coaching and desire deficiency? Not criticizing the post — just asking. It seems these guys are athletic and talented enough to be able to play good defense — if the ambition and proper coaching is there. I’ve always been of the impression that CTC’s focus has been on outscoring the opposition — as in it doesn’t matter if they score 85 if we’re scoring 95 or 105, and that defense was an afterthought. But when the offense is deplorable (like in Hawaii) and we turn the ball over 20 times a game, we’re not gonna outscore anybody. If you have any defense at all, you can still win games like that. … BTW, my favorite part of the past three games was watching Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams nearly go in shock while reacting to how bad we played. Williams even asked: “Why do these guys always jump with the ball when they don’t know what they’re going to do with it?” … Welcome to our world, Jay. I’ve been asking that question for eight years.

  27. every year we see them leaving their feet to pass, drive the baseline BEHIND and UNDER the basket, fail to have out of bounds plays that are successful, get 10 second calls when pressed and play NO defense. I believe if troy Williams sat on the bench or left, we would not be negatively affected in the won-lost column. and yes, I do think we may have a locker room/ego problem.

  28. “Defense a recruiting deficiency?” For most “high-star” recruit kids–yes, probably. It’s a rare HS coach who can convince some kid to learn to play defense who has been coddled by the AAU/Nike/A-Hope/etc. juggernaut since he was about 6 y/o…convincing him that he is the second coming of MJ hisself.

    But (god, do I hate to admit this…) people like Calipari manage to draw in TENS of those kids [5-stars] almost every year…..knowing that they will only be there for ONE year…..and yet HE manages to teach them enough defense in a year to not only get them millons of $$$ in a hurry…but unlike guys like Vonleh (and YES, Mr. “Everything…Hinges on Him” too…) actually get lots of NBA playing time because they DO know how to play “D”.

    It may be difficult to recruit really good defensive players these days…buts CTC has proven EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY of the past 8 years that it’s apparently much tougher to coach it.

    Please…..make the pain stop…….

  29. BTW—-if Troy’s mother wants him to “GTF out of IU”…have her or Boo send a plane/bus ticket—preferably via FedEx—the sooner he’s back living in her basement working on his “NBA skills” [hah!!!])the better for the rest of this team.

  30. Ky ranked #2 in defense (KenPom) . I would guess Calipari places an emphasis on defense, but being #2 in November? Guessing when 25 5 star kids a year who want to play at Ky, he picks those with defensive skills?

    And they look as good, if not better than last year.

    Indy Star has an interesting article. ‘The Finances of College Athletics’ Example of Rutger’s deficit last year equivalent to losing $1.00 a second, for a year.

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