Cardinals hold off Hoosiers, 77-62

INDIANAPOLIS — There has to be a sense of direction in games like these.

In a New Year’s Eve matinee against No. 6 Louisville, No. 16 Indiana didn’t seem to have one.

The Hoosiers struggled to find their way against the Cardinals’ length, while also competing against their own indecision in a 77-62 loss before a partisan crowd in Saturday’s Countdown Classic.

Too much dribbling, too many turnovers and disrupted shots. In its second game in two weeks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana found the result strikingly similar.

This, however, was IU’s worst offensive performance of the season, a 32-percent shooting day against the nation’s top-ranked defense. On the other hand, the Hoosiers saw just how far their defensive play must come to match their peers.

All around, this was a rotten way to end what had been a special calendar year.

“When we didn’t make the next pass, when we tried to dribble with the ball in front of our body against the length, we got rushed,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “That’s when we didn’t make shots. We had so many open shots we missed. That’s tough for us. … The defensive issues (were) we just weren’t active enough, and we didn’t get enough hands on balls. It’s our lowest deflection night of 37. We weren’t as good at that as we needed to be, and certainly we don’t have their length, but we need to have that kind of activity, and there were times that we didn’t get that done.”

So the Hoosiers didn’t get the win, dropping back-to-back games for the first time since the end of the 2014-15 season.

Indiana’s struggles Saturday were wide-ranging.

Thomas Bryant was outplayed by Anas Mahmoud. De’Ron Davis, while he brought the kind of toughness IU needed in his first career start, missed too many shots in front of the rim.

IU’s backcourt was all over the place, too. Robert Johnson went 1-for-13 from the field, while Josh Newkirk didn’t score his first basket until the 5:24 mark of the second half. James Blackmon Jr. posted a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds, but he was one of the Hoosiers Crean had to remind about offensive duties and his responsibility of moving without the ball.

At times, Crean mixed and matched lineups and asked Juwan Morgan to assume the role of point forward, while OG Anunoby came off the bench to score a team-high 14 points.

“We are a moving team, and we’ve got some guys that are not very good at moving without the ball,” Crean said. “We tried to put some things in for them that would get them to move conceptually. When we’re playing our best is when we’re randomly cutting, and we didn’t get enough of that today, and that’s the disappointing part. That was a huge part of our plan. As far as attacking the rim and driving it to make the next pass, not trying to shoot it on their shot blockers, I thought we did a pretty good job on that. But we missed too many 3s, we missed too many layups, we missed too many one-foot jump hooks, and it hurt us.”

There were 10 lead changes and five ties early in the contest, until IU got stuck in multiple stretches when it went several minutes between field goals. The Hoosiers’ turnover problems also remained largely unchecked, with nine of their eventual 14 errors coming in the first 12 minutes.

By the final media time out of the first half, IU (10-4) was mired in a 1-for-11 rut from the field. The Hoosiers were completely cold, allowing the Cardinals (12-2) to take a 34-24 lead with 1:40 remaining in the period.

Louisville’s advantage was 39-27 by halftime, at which point IU jogged into the locker room without a single field goal during the final 5:29 of the first half. The Hoosiers shot merely 24 percent (7-for-29) from the field and struggled to establish their footing.

There was nobody to take control, nobody to lift them up and provide the necessary guidance. Here were the Hoosiers, once again ambling without a voice.

“We’ve just got to step up,” Blackmon said. “We’ve got Josh, we’ve got Rob and me and also Devonte (Green) and Curtis (Jones) to call to in those positions, so I don’t think that that’ll be a big huge problem for us. We’ve just got to work more on it.”

Louisville’s advantage swelled to 15 points three minutes into the second half. Indiana brought it back to single digits three minutes later with some tough, confident play by Davis, who fought for a putback that got IU within 48-40. A run to the free throw line brought IU within 50-44 at the under-12 timeout.

But that was as close as Indiana could get.

Donovan Mitchell willed his way to a career-high 25 points, hitting 3s, driving to the rim and drawing fouls. Mitchell had started every game as Louisville’s shooting guard, but came off the bench Saturday. His previous two games saw him combine to shoot 6-for-23 from the field with six turnovers.

Against the Hoosiers, he demonstrated his potential as arguably the Cardinals’ top offensive weapon.

“He’s a really nice young man. We recruited him,” Crean said. “I hope for his sake and their sake that he continues to play like that, because obviously he played a little different than he’s played as of late, and it goes to show, you can be in a slump at a certain point in time, and you bust out, and I hope he plays great for them.

“But we’ve got some of the same type of guys. They had a tough day, and I’ve got great belief that we will recover from that.”

53 comments

  1. That and like of defense. Let’s face it, if the 3’s aren’t falling we could lose to anyone. Thomas Bryant is a spaz. OG and Juwan have regressed. Newkirk doesn’t do anything. This team is a mess. They represent its coach well. Crean has to be worried. Besides Illini, I don’t see many wins in Big Ten. I think it would be good so Glass won’t extend him. We need this kind of year.

  2. TB is a spaz, but it’s not necessarily a negative. OG and Morgan have definitely not regressed – that’s a foolish statement… they combined to shoot 7-13 from the floor and only turn the ball over twice in 60 minutes of play against the #1 defense in college basketball.

    This team is a reflection of Crean… spastic and low-IQ. It’s literally shocking how low-IQ Newkirk and Blackmon are. I’ve never seen a kid who’s played as much basketball as JBJ, who comes from a basketball family, consistently make such poor decisions. He would be a really good player if he had a scooby-doo how to play the game.

    That game had everything to do with IU playing poorly and very little to do with UL’s vaunted D. We missed bunnies, wide open perimeter shots, and FTs. We turned the ball over several times when not pressured to do so… our guards continually put themselves in tough situations for no discernible reason. JBJ took several gawd-awful shots. Newkirk was brutal again and stole lots of valuable minutes from Jones… it makes no sense.

    I was very encouraged by Davis’s play… he’s very close to being a dominant force inside. His moves were beautiful, but now he realizes he needs to go up stronger and finish more quickly. He’s close… he was relentless on the offensive glass too… he’s real close.

    If we knock down a reasonable number (say 4) of those wide open threes, and make 80% of our lay-ups, then that’s a whole different ball game… it could’ve easily been a win today with any level of composure and decent coaching.

    It makes no sense that IU outrebounds UL by 11, only turns the ball over 14 times, made more FTs than UL attempted, and lost by double figures… might be the only time that’s happened in the history of IU basketball.

    Jeff, I’ll make a bet with you that IU wins at least 11 B1G games… care to wager?

  3. It’s really despicable to call Thomas Bryant a spaz. Thomas Bryant is a great player, a marvelous athlete. It is all right to be upset at how Tom Crean is (again) causing a leaderless Team, and it is all right to note how, once again, Thomas Bryant is an angry Big Man this year. But it is NOT all right to label anyone, ESPECIALLY such a wonderful player as Thomas Bryant, with a slur. You owe a public (on this site) apology, Jeff H. And, to the person monitoring this site, you are not doing your job. Shame.

    1. A slur!!! What planet do you live on? Spaz is certainly not a slur and I don’t even consider it negative. Get a life dude… unless you’re just jokingly being a fake social justice warrior, in which case, kudos…

  4. Really a frustrating team…they could win the NCAA or not even make a postseason tournament. Before this game they were 12 points away from being #1 if you combine the total points they lost by. It’s almost as if they circled Kansas and UNC on the schedule and considered those games the only two they needed to win to have a good season.
    Crean is a good coach and he’s done a lot of good in Bloomington, but on the big stage he’s just not getting it done. We are lucky we got Kansas off the bat. Iu had lots of energy and it’s hard for either team to know what to expect. I loved the UNC win….but other than dackichs short stint as head coach, I think every head coach has beat a top 10 team in Assembly Hall. I tried to give Crean the benefit of the doubt but this team has a lot of talent and 0 discipline. The sad part is unless 2 of 3 players (bryant, OG, or JBJ) come back the future doesn’t look bright if your wins are going to come from pure talent. The buy out goes to a million this summer it will be interesting to see where things go from here.

  5. IU was in the bonus with 13 minutes to go and never did anything to take advantage of the situation. (like drive the ball to the basket) Yet another game where this team was not mentally prepared to play. I hope Crean has an answer for this free fall or this could be a long season. Very disappointing.

  6. Geoff,
    I want you to be right and wrong at the same time. I want them to win 11 but I am just so tired of CTC. IU basketball is the definition of insanity right now. You are spot on with your analysis as usual.

  7. TB plays like he has ALREADY left IU for the paycheck; using THIS year as an audition for the pro scouts. Standing at the 3-point line waiting to take a shot. Attempting to dribble the ball as if he was a guard. If he isn’t a spaz…would a COACH please “kick him in the ass” and tell him to wake up. Blackmon continues to AUDITION for the pros with his offense and no defense. Josh Newkirk will NEVER be the point guard CTC hoped he would be and never will. I’d rather see Greene play and Learn the position than Newkirk continue to exhibit the bad habits he learned at PITT. Crean has no Passion. There was a camera shot of Pitino getting in his Players faces because of defensive lapses. Crean ASKS his players IF they COULD perchance stand in someone’s way, preferably the opponent, and attempt to stop them from scoring. Bryant IS the “poster child for what’s wrong with 1 and doners. This time of year they are looking to land an agent and a BIG contract and his playing shows.

    1. Neither Bryant nor JBJ are going to be NBA players… Bryant will get drafted, but doesn’t have the skill or athleticism to play in today’s NBA… Blackmon won’t even get drafted. The only other player I’ve seen rival his stupidity on the court is VJ3…

      Bryant is certainly not mailing it in… guy plays with passion. If he were simply playing to go to the NBA then he would’ve gone in the draft last year when he was a projected first rounder.

  8. A comment that IU could possibly when the NCAA….IU has 0 chance to win NCAA unless a cow is going to jump over the moon. They have so many problems and will have competitive games against teams like Northwestern losing a few of them.

  9. IU has the talent to bring home a banner. I don’t see it happening. CTC has a talent. He can find undervalued recruits. What he does with them, in a team setting, is another matter.

    It’s quite odd. He brings home Big Ten titles yet looks bad doing it. This is probably the best combination of talent we’re gonna see.

    Let’s see what he can do with it.

  10. And for those of you who refuse to believe our most legit path to national relevancy should include more than a primary focus on basketball, take a look at those BIG football results featuring the teams we are stretching out our arms to be a dreamy version of a near equal.

    Watching OSU get blistered by Clemson makes me believe our football program is as close to the relevant big stages of pigskin as Ball State getting to a Final Four in hoops.

    Meanwhile, 8 years of Crean and counting…8 years of teams who don’t play with any collective heart or identity. 8 years of decent kids getting constantly bashed instead of the teacher.

    1. Crean doesn’t get bashed? Do we need to use more colorful metaphors so you’ll understand our criticisms?

  11. This is all that ever needs to be said about Crean;

    “When we’re playing our best is when we’re randomly cutting”

    Has anyone ever seen a Final Four or legit title contender randomly cut?

    1. That is hilarious, and it’s also false… they play their best when they don’t have to get to the point in the offense where a random cut would be appropriate. I should probably read the articles more often so I don’t miss such gems. He should be embarrassed that that statement came from his brain and out his mouth.

  12. Short layoff since Nebraska…? What the hell happened?

    Many seem to be ignoring UNC’s rather strange loss. Maybe beating that team in Bloomington wasn’t such a momentous victory.

    Then again, it’s a strange time of year…During the holidays, there always seems to be a ton of bipolar results in college sports. I’m beginning to not take any Hoosier win or loss very high…or very low. I’m just not invested because investment takes belief in the product and in the person.

    I’m not sure about Geoff’s rhythm theory. All I know is, generally, I haven’t watched many games that show a learning curve. I wouldn’t know where to begin on what it takes to build a competitive basketball team. I’m not Geoff. I only know that watching IU Basketball is painful…..For all it’s “fast and loose,” it’s excessively haughty and ostentatious. There is nothing humble at its heart and thus never has a sincere starting point for five guys to be drawn in. All teams need a center point…They need somewhere….someone…something to ground them in purpose. Purpose is found in conviction and trust in each lesson/experience building upon the next. I may be currently lost in my support for this sort of product. More wins will not serve as a cure..More losses will not serve any theory or “I told you so” moment to reel me back onto the train of optimism.

    I started out uninspired by Tom Crean….I thought he was very unfair and painted young men with a heartless and simplistic brush. I’m not even sure if a humble coach could pull me back in. Guys like Coen and Stevens…are fantasy. Indiana has left me disappointed. They have insulted the name of the institution by presenting itself as just another carnival bandwagon act. IU Basketball was once something I could never describe. It just was. It was a pride in the uniform that I haven’t seen in a very long time. Maybe I just can’t get past the shaking the whole place upside down for the pocketbooks of petty ambitions ….It’s always the young men who should come first. They need a leader who can somehow instill the beauty in a humble pursuit where no teammate abandons the simple honor to play to the fullest with all his brothers in candy stripes.

    That’s the closest thing I can ever get to a theory….My hope is to one day see my Hoosiers in love with the game again.

  13. Maybe Crean misspoke(a case of merely accidental vocabulary and choosing the wrong word)…when he used “randomly” to describe what he’d like to see in cutting to the basket…Maybe he intended something more like “instinctive”…or “subconsciously?” Where to set the screens…? Where and when to make the cuts…..should come naturally within a team syncing the experiences of practice with game situation. If it is too thought out…If it is too mechanical, it is too late? Just a theory.

    No matter how all this turns out for Crean and the Hoosiers, there should only be a feeling of deep thankfulness for the second chance given to Devin Davis. A new year is a time to reflect and be thankful. It wasn’t so long ago when that young man was strewn across a dark 17th Street with only the coldness of death presenting itself at the next sunrise. For all the foolish arrogance we slather upon being the next NBA this or that……comes the humble ride of how little we control ….We must sometimes abandoned the critical science and rely more on the eternal thankfulness found in reducing all the weight of things so little in importance; abandoning the self-righteousness and transforming the next ray of sun into a happiness found in a new morning with our memories of loved ones and our family.

    1. Great basketball is a result of making the most of every possession, getting a good shot; 1. dunk or lay-up, 2. open jump shot in the paint, 3. open jump shot.

      Possessions are created with defense. Great defense turns the opponent over, often. This factor is multiplied by a team that is sloppy. (ref. JBJ’s pass to RJ behind him and into the stands, unforced, from < 10 ft. away) It is why Butler, Wisconsin and Louisville kick our butts.

      Fast break points are highly correlated with opponent turnovers. I always look at 1 turnover = 1 pt. for the opposition, assuming that opposition shoots 50% or the equivalent thereof.

      Great offense is created by great defense. If you are a team that likes to play fast and in transition, having a great defense would only supplement that ambition. Otherwise, without a fast break bucket, a team has to have a plan. Back to the "randomly cutting" quote…IU's motion offense of the 70s and 80s was not "random", nor is Butler's offense of today, or MSU's year after year. The motion offense was built upon simple principles that allowed scorers to rely on screeners and an opponents' reactions to both to create good shots. If the defender cheats the screen over the top, cut backdoor…if the defender trails the screen, curl around & drive or shoot. These are things I learned in the 5th grade. As many will recall, Knight's teams would progress on the way they'd run their sets throughout the year. By the time the Big 10 came around, there were plenty of options on each possession depending upon the defense's reaction. It is similar to the QB's check downs in the NFL. Option 1, 2, 3, etc….

      What disturbs me most is that we have front court in the Big 10. Bar none. Bryant, OG, Davis, Morgan…that IS our strength. So why turn your C into a PG, or your rebounding F (Morgan)? It makes no sense. In the last 2 games, we played our best with Bryant AND Davis in the game together. Rewatch the games if you do not agree. Then you have OG who is a complete beast and Morgan who is one of the most instinctive rebounders I've ever seen. He's always near a rebound. We have 4 interchangeable players for 3 spots.

      I'm also not sure why Green isn't getting more PT. Jones is spastic, but he has to learn somehow. Neither JBJ or RJ can guard anybody. Our backcourt simply sucks outside of when the shots are falling from downtown. Live by the 3, die by it. And we have.

      Wisconsin will defend the 3, just like L-ville did. Because we have NO plan to get the ball inside to our superior front court.

      And 1 more thing…. why the hell are we dribbling the ball at midcourt, down 15, with 4 min. to play? Why were we dribbling out there all game for that matter?

      All of these weaknesses are the result of poor coaching and preparation. We all know that by now, but it makes me feel better to write it so I can remember it every now and again.

  14. Yesterday was a goofy day in basketball. Duke and UNC losing their conference openers. Butler losing to a bad St. Johns team on Thursday. Villanova struggling with Dayton. I think this college basketball season will be interesting with not one team being overly dominant. Right now Purdue looks like one of the top 5 or 7 teams in the country.

    1. Actually Nova struggled with the #10 team in the country, undefeated Creighton, on their home floor… creighton is a very good team.

      Duke lost to a 12-1 VT team at home with Buzz Williams fully in place there, who’ve already beaten Nebraska and Michigan. Duke played without Allen for the first time… That isn’t an odd loss.

      Nova and UCLA are dominant teams. There are lots of very good basketball teams right behind them:

      Duke has a chance to be dominant once healthy and whole.
      Oregon is now healthy and unbelievably talented.
      Baylor and Kansas are legit.
      Kentucky and Louisville are great.

      It’s simply the best year of college hoops in a long time, but those 2 at the top are dominant teams that would challenge the best for a title in any year.

  15. If things continue with such glaring deficiencies in coaching this marks the beginning of the end for Tom crean at IU. There is now a large and growing ground swell openly complaining and easily identifying the poor coaching of very good talent.

  16. Part of I U ‘s problems started before the season began, when Collin Hartman had his knee injury. Hartman has really good basketball instincts and is like the glue that holds everything together. The current team really needs him now.

  17. The STATE of Indiana Basketball by the numbers:
    Through games of Saturday, December 31, 2016

    RPI … Butler – 13, Notre Dame – 36, Purdue – 45, Valparaiso – 55, IU – 134, Indiana State – 142

    SOS … Indiana state – 33, Butler – 50, Notre Dame – 84, Valparaiso – 121, Purdue – 133, IU – 226

    Too many cupcakes will make you fat.

      1. Geoff, curious. You don’t seem to be a big fan of the “IU plays a weak schedule” meme.

        Just wondering what your specific thoughts are on it.

        I personally hate the schedule. Not because I think it makes Indiana any better by playing better teams. I think the Hoosiers struggle for other reasons (read my last post). I just find the volume of bad teams to be soporific. We do play a weaker non-con schedule than our peers, no?

  18. Guys, if you read the board, how hard would it be to post a stat regarding players that have their career highs against IU in the Crean area. Amazing to me how many kids seem to shoot lights out against us. This is more than a coincidence.

  19. Guys, if you read the board, how hard would it be to post a stat regarding players that have their career highs against IU in the Crean era. Amazing to me how many kids seem to shoot lights out against us. This is more than a coincidence.

  20. Tom Crean deserves credit for bringing IU basketball back from the abyss but has he hit his ceiling in terms of what he can do for the program? We should have a clear and definite answer to that question by the end of March.

  21. Also, it should be noted that Crean’s teams tend to struggle mightily against the same types of teams. There’s a reason that Butler and Wisconsin are his kryptonite historically. They make up for their lack of athleticism and talent by relying on deep preparation. In short, they get the Hoosiers to slow down and play in the half-court. Crean talks about movement so often. His teams do move in the half-court, but there doesn’t seem to be much purpose behind it. A lot of wasted motion. The ball just seems to rotate around the perimeter with little to no threat of the paint being penetrated.

    Crean has this commitment to “movement”, pace and running . But his main scoring threats, in the half-court, are often taken out of their best position to score. It’s why we have a 6-10 three-point shooter vs a beast in the paint.

    At risk of turning this into a Bobby vs Tommy thread, it is where there is such a strong contrast in Knight’s motion offense. The movement away from the ball in the half-court many times is about putting your best scorers into advantageous positions away from the ball. Duh….I know that’s obvious. But, to contrast, when was the last time you saw us run a play where Thomas Byrant screens away from the ball and gets his guy to switch with OG’s guy and our guards deliver the entry pass, IN MOTION?

    I’m not saying that the motion offense is some kind of superior doctrine over all other things in principle either. But it sure as hell is better than what we currently run in the half-court.

    Our teams are loaded with talent. So we can clearly beat good teams. However, the inconsistencies and the way we continue to struggle against the same types of teams year after year no matter the roster, should point not just to the fact that we’ve reached peak Crean, but why.

  22. Double Down, I’ve touched on it before, and for several years, but I’ll try to lay it out clearly here…

    I disagree with the weak scheduling theory for many reasons:

    1. Schedules are difficult to make in general, and the most difficult thing might be knowing what small and mid-majors are going to be good-decent-bad from year to year. I’ve done the research before to show examples of how team’s were conference contenders when they were actually booked, and then by the time the game comes up on the schedule 12-24 months later, they no longer are any good.

    2. By the end of the year, WHEN IT COUNTS, IU always ends up playing one of the toughest schedules in the country because they play in the B1G. So the argument that these people are trying to get me to buy is that replacing 2 or 3 Southeastern States with St. Louis, Providence, and Washington State in November and early December is what will make this team get past the Sweet 16 in late March… it’s asinine. If IU was having trouble competing for B1G titles then maybe I’d listen, but they’ve won 2 in the past 4 years.

    3. They always have 3-5 tough pre-conference testers… that’s enough, and there’s no real reason to burden yourself with more. It gives you the opportunity to pad your resume for seeding. It also gives you a reasonable number of games where you can pad your win total while playing freshman and bench players significant minutes so they get comfortable on the court and with each other.

    4. If anyone can show me a correlation between pre-conference SOS rating and NCAA tournament success then I’d be happy to have a change of heart, but the 3 attributes that I always see late in the tournament are massive concentrations of talent, great coaching, or veteran teams that have won together for years.

    1. Geoff, great thoughts. I agree with a lot of them. However, I think I’d caution against being too dismissive.

      The Big Ten was down last year and we played an incredibly advantageous schedule to win the conference title. Apparently, the selection committee felt the same way. Indiana scored a 5 seed. I don’t know the history, but when was the last Big Ten champion seeded that low? It has to be close to a record low.

      So, instead of a solid top seed, we have to go through Kentucky and then UNC to advance. The only NCAA champion I can remember that pulled off knocking off teams of that calibur was 97 Arizona. They beat three #1 seeds to win. Including a one-loss Kansas team in the sweet 16. Not saying UK was that tough last year, but not securing a 3 seed or greater vastly diminishes your chances in any year.

      I think a program like Indiana should take SOS into account, because seeding is so important. I understand that scheduling is hard, but the cupcakes that Indiana scheduled this year were not exactly mid level teams a couple years ago. Some of these programs weren’t even D1 then. It mostly looked like a preseason/exhibition schedule. Top heavy indeed, to be fair.

      Big Ten looks to be down again this year. Doesn’t look as if this is going to help us come NCAA time even if we manage to end up on the top of this year’s pile again.

  23. To summarize:

    1. Other than the Cody years, heavy on wing spans and athleticism while low on inside the paint readiness and b-ball IQ. Compound that with Crean’s low IQ for the game and team development is stymied.
    2. Only the dotting of natural scorers/shooters. Blackmon is pure, but nothing like the amount of pure shooters with natural perimeter punch that was on the Mike Davis team that went to a Final Four.
    3. Always turnover plagued due to the required slope of improvement from certain “upside” guys running in the back starting positions of a trackfest to the NBA. Team synergy/maturity always struggles because individual NBA attributes can still function within a very immature team development process.
    4. A lot of gifted scheduling of late to sell a product far better than the reality. Rarely many tests on the road in hostile environments until well into conference play(and most of those last year were of the lower tier BIG teams).

  24. Okay, looks like Purdue isn’t the team I thought they were. There is no excuse for the way they played today.

  25. Thank You Geoff, I thought it was all me . Yogi being gone was just the beginning. Max was the steal of the year and then Ziesloft was pretty good ! But in my opinion there’s a kid named COLIN HARTMAN who turned out to be the most devistating loss equal to Yogi . He is the heart and sole of this team and ireplaciable. In my opinion in order to win and be competitive in todays game it takes Coaching ,Defense ,and scoring . At this time we have none of them. Calling them like it is, Newkirk is a train wreak ,horrible is a complement , Bryant is a whinner and was a better player last year. Blackmon is has no interest in playing defense ever and were stuck with him . He will be back in Fort Wayne next year playing for the D league Ants. CTC cannot coach a lick and continues to recruit the same type player. Why not start Robert Johnson at point ,how in the hell can you not start O.G.? bring Morgan off the bench Davis should be a quick sub for Bryant . Where were the freshman guards during the cup cake season ? They are both quick and will play D ? McRoberts should play after Priller he is a hacker with no shot ! CTC has once again pushed the asst. coaches out of the picture unlike last year. His no position offense is a circus and the players are as confused as he is. CTC is 0 for INDIANA for recruiting again and we have no point guard like a few years ago when he forgot to recruit any bigs ! He just doesn’t get it hopes to out score everybody so defense does not come into play.You can’t win with your 6’10 guy bringing the ball up the floor and shooting 3”s . CTC good person who cannot coach we have seen this for 9 years . He needs to set on the bench and watch the game he might learn something? I would start every practice watching film of the Cardinal defense it text book. I am really scared to see what happens with Wisconson. We are stuck with CTC . I wonder where the defense from last year went? I missed Troy Williams being in the NBA ! Who would of thought?

    1. TJ auburn,
      Good comments. Hartman was not athletic, but hustled and had a high basketball IQ. He made the other players better. Crean’s no- position offensive scheme is ridiculous. What is Morgan doing on the top of the key running the offense? Why are OG and Bryant leading a fast break instead of passing off to a guard? I live in Kansas and also follow KU basketball. Yes, IU beat KU this year, but watching Bill Self coach compared to Crean is like night and day. Crean needs to figure out his main ball handler and it cannot be Newkirk. What Crean saw in Newkirk is beyond my understanding. I am not sure Jones is a good enough dribbler so unless it is Johnson, not sure what the answer is.

  26. Geoff,
    Nebraska has played the 2nd toughest schedule in the country. The fact that they were battle tested and played some true road games certainly prepared them to come into Assembly Hall and win. In fact because of their difficult schedule, IU with their high RPI, was essentially a cupcake game for them.
    If you want to look at the correlation between pre-conference SOS rating and NCAA tournament success take a look at Michigan State the past 20 years. Iron sharpens iron.The proof is in the pudding.

    1. By the same token, Nebraska may (probably) not even make it into the tournament because of those early season losses. Is that better?

      1. Non-conference losses(and wins) effects seeding more than “making it into the tournament.”
        I’m not going to research it, but I would be willing to bet its a very rare case when a 6th or 7th place BIG team is not given an invite because of non-conference losses to strong SOS opponents.
        Nebraska is more of the exception this year because they really went for broke. Ballsy move. If they can’t win enough conference games to achieve a record a couple games above .500, then a 6th place finish may not be enough. But I still love the risk-taking and desire to test your team. And there’s always the slim shot at winning the Big 10 tournament(automatic invite). Wouldn’t that be something…..if a team like Nebraska achieves it before a “blue blood” like Indiana? I don’t believe we’ve ever won the thing. Knight hated it…I guess Crean is mirroring Bobby again.
        Nothing like you’d ever see from AD’s attempting to protect some false image of a “winner”…or with low confidence in their leadership.

  27. Iron sharpens iron

    I like this scwartzie dude….Good post.

    Sadly, even with a stronger SOS, I still don’t think Crean’s teams would have much of a spine. Teams tend to mirror the leader and our head guy just doesn’t have that quite confidence/assurance/calm/steadiness that you see in so many top coaches(college & NBA).
    There have been certain teams in the past 8 years with essential roster elements possessing the spine and leadership skills. Those leaders carried a lot of weight(in b-ball IQ and steady grit) primarily on their own whereas other elite teams with elite coaches value those traits as more of a complement/reflection of the man on the sideline.
    Thus, I somewhat agree with Goeff but not for the same reasons. I don’t think a tougher non-conference schedule would make significant difference. When’s the last time you’ve seen an IU team have something of a true swagger or aura of belief and togetherness? And I’ve seen the competency test and steadiness during our biggest NCAA games…It’s usually not too pretty.

  28. Comparing Indiana to Nebraska is apples vs oranges. Regardless of the schedules of the respective schools, Indiana shouldn’t have given up a loss to Nebraska at home to open the Big Ten season. There were double-digits reasons why Indiana lost that game, which were far more important than both schools’ scheduling.

  29. Double Down is 100% on point. Nebraska in a discussion with IU Basketball is akin to Oladipo being compared to MJ. Apples and oranges..? More like a Stouffer’s frozen dinner at the doublewide home compared to dining with Jacques Pépin in the French countryside…It’s silly and an insult to think we’ve become such blind narcissists and apologists….

  30. Maybe one of you coaches can tell me how you get good baseline looks…?

    Throughout the Crean Dynasty years, I’ve rarely seen any of his teams find shots along the baseline …or from the corners. Seems like we’re always running screens at the top…Didn’t Knight’s great teams also run a lot of stuff to free up the baseline…? I can remember Turner and Kitchel…and May…always hitting 10-15 ft. soft jumpers splashing through the nets. It wasn’t drive and kick garbage…It wasn’t all pick and roll…and screens designed around the post….There was a lot of side-to-side…Somehow Knight got the rock to a player on the baseline who could exploit an advantage…We always seem to be bottled up at the top…Am I on to something? Maybe I’m just not seeing it with Crean’s teams, but it seems like its a motion offense that never exploits or makes the baseline available….Very rarely a backdoor play as well….If you need a backdoor play, call Bill Carmody….or maybe call him for a coaching job. Bill Coen seems quite the tactician as well.

    Even hitting baseline jumpers is a bit of a lost art….Don’t see much deep stuff from the corners either(other than the highly contested bomb Wisconsin hit to down Xavier in the tournament last year). Alford hit a very big corner pocket shot at the halftime buzzer of a Syracuse game in 1987….or was it 1907?

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