Hoosiers aiming for better result in State College

It’s not the Breslin Center, nor is it Mackey Arena. It is far, too, from the environment found at Assembly Hall.

But the Bryce Jordan Center in State College presents its own unique challenges, just like the team that calls it home.

When Indiana returns to action tonight at Penn State, the Hoosiers will meet a young and spunky Nittany Lions program on the rise. IU also knows from recent experience that this is a matchup that deserves its full attention.

“Last year they popped us because we didn’t come in there with the right mindset,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said on his weekly radio show. “On a veteran team, we did not come in there with the right mindset of knowing that we were going to be in a fight that day. If we don’t go into this game with the mentality that we are going to be in a fight in this game, then it will happen to us again.”

Last February’s 68-63 loss provided a minor scare to the Hoosiers, who made that trip East having won 14 of their previous 15 games. They looked uninspired, playing flat and sloppy basketball, unlike the brand they’d built during the previous month and a half’s worth of games.

The cavernous and seldom-full Bryce Jordan Center, which lists an official capacity of 15,261, can be a tough place to play. It requires teams to create their own energy and sustain it in an otherwise sleepy environment.

While trying to find its own identity in recent weeks, Indiana has not always brought the required focus and intensity — especially at the start of games. Another occurrence of those hiccups, which were again on display early in Sunday’s win over Rutgers, could cost IU.

“You have to come out with a really strong mindset from the beginning of the game,” junior guard Robert Johnson said. “Last year, we didn’t do that. That’s something we’ll have to do this time around.”

This appears to be the most talented team Penn State has had in Pat Chambers’ six seasons as coach. The Lions are young, but they can play.

Their lineup features a pair of former significant Indiana recruiting targets in freshman guard Tony Carr and classmate Lamar Stevens. The latter is second on the team in scoring (12.2) and rebounding (5.8), and has led Penn State in scoring in five games, including two of the past three games.

“Lamar Stevens has done a very good job for them as a freshman,” Crean said. “They are a deep team, and by deep, I mean when he goes to the bench – in the past with Penn State, at times when he would go to the bench, you could see a difference. When he goes to the bench now, you don’t see a difference. I think that is a tribute to what (Chambers) has done in his recruiting. He has some really good relationships out there and they work Philadelphia hard and he has done a good job. He has done a very good job.”

Penn State’s depth was recognized on Monday when forward Mike Watkins received his second Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor of the season. Watkins, whose four double-doubles are already a Penn State freshman record, started the first 14 games but has come off the bench for the past four.

The 6-foot-9, 246-pound Watkins scored 15 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in his last game against Minnesota. In his previous game against Michigan State, which Penn State won at the Palestra in Philadelphia, Watkins scored 11 points and pulled down nine boards.

“He is a very good rebounder,” Crean said. “He’s very athletic. He blocks shots. He’s very good in the screen-and-roll game. He rolls very well to the rim, especially off the side. He takes big strides. When he gets the ball, he does a good job of taking big strides with the ball to score. We have to be aggressive with him. We have to be aggressive with him when he has the ball in the post and the pick-and-roll. The biggest thing is we have to keep him off the glass because he is coming off a 15-rebound game.”

Watkins is part of the equation that has allowed Penn State to take a step forward this season. A win over Indiana would give the Lions their first 4-2 record to start conference play since the 1999-2000 season.

Defense has been at the heart of Penn State’s improved play. Through five Big Ten games, the Lions have the league’s top-rated adjusted defensive efficiency rating (90.1). They’re holding opponents to 43.8 percent shooting inside the arc and 29.9 percent on 3-pointers.

Penn State is also forcing turnovers on 20.1 percent of its opponents offensive possessions — the third highest mark of the young conference season.

“You’ve got to have a great mindset, an urgent mindset from the opening tip until the game ends,” assistant coach Tim Buckley said. “We know that in any game in this league.”

NOTE: The status of Juwan Morgan remains unclear after the sophomore forward injured his foot late in Sunday’s win over Rutgers.

On Tuesday, Buckley classified Morgan’s injury as a game-time decision.

51 comments

  1. This game will be the defining moment as to the direction this season will take. If for the first time in a long time they play defense for the whole game and make the extra pass as well as play team ball this will be a battle. We have had a hard time with Penn State for years ! Most always out coached SHOCKING and out played . They will play hard all night and they want this game big time ! So depending which Hoosier team shows up a loss here will be expected by most . There are a lot if’s . if Bryant of 2015/16 shows up or the MIA that is here now. If Newkirk comes off the bench. If the defense shows up . If Blackmon finds the 3 range ,they will try and take him out of the game offensively and on defense he is not a factor. If OG gets his Mojo back. If CTC is smart enough to keep Green and Jones in the mix as well as Davis. I still can’t believe how he ripped Green on national T.V. that could have been done in the locker room. That was a act CTC is too soft to get tech in a game to protect his players. If CTC stops the crazy substitutions . A lot to ask for but it’s now or never . Just saw a interview with CTC on substitutions and his only comment was it’s complicated ! Really! Hoping for a Kansas /NC like performance ! GO HOOSIERS !

  2. This game is not a defining moment….Way too much basketball to be played.

    This team will be very well served as an underdog. Hope they remain out of the Top-25 and just squeak into the the Dance.
    It’s still Crean’s most deep and talented team. The young players will improve immensely by the time we get to March. They have a very good shot at being a National Champ.

  3. Oh, and Newkirk should most definitely remain the starting point guard. Don’t drop that trust. The kid has backbone.

  4. You know, with certain exception, most people on the Scoop are patient, reasonable, and thoughtful. That being said, the loss of confidence in the basketball program is palpable. Before they went on a run to win the conference last year you could hear the grumbling. If they lose to PSU I wouldn’t be surprised if the pitchforks and torches come out.

  5. You can count on it, Chet. It’s as if a segment of the Hoosier Nation has decided that unless IU wins the Big Ten championship or makes it past the Sweet 16 every year, the season has been a miserable failure and Crean should be fired. Based on the last two decades of history, that’s just no longer realistic, if it ever was. We’re all disappointed when IU loses, especially to a team like Ft. Wayne, but unrealistic expectations can become toxic to a program and that we live in a “what have you done for me lately” world. I recently read an article in SI about the heat that GB Packer fans were putting on Mike McCarthy because the Packers have not won the Super Bowl since 2010. I just started laughing out loud at the stupidity of that mindset, thinking “who could the Packers hire that would be better than Mike McCarthy? Bill Belichick is not available!” So the next time the pitch forks come out for Crean, we need to ask the critics, “who is IU going to hire that will be better? And how long would it take that new coach to lead IU back to a Big Ten Championship of the final four?” Coach K, Calipari, Pitino, Williams, Izzo, Wright and Self are not available. Sean Miller would have to take a $1.8 million per year pay cut. Hey, I know, maybe we can lure Mark Few away from Gonzaga! Oh that’s right, he’s never won an NCAA Championship, either.

    Too many Hoosier basketball fans are allowing perfect become the enemy of good.

  6. Without a doubt if they lose tonight the pitchforks, the torches AND the lions will be unleashed on Coach Crean. If ever there was a time for essential focus on fundamentals it was this week in practice.

  7. There is a ladder and a pathway for Crean to get to ELEVEN Big 10 conference titles in his lifetime(not to mention 5 Final Fours and 8 Elite Eights).

  8. It’s Penn State. There is no way Penn State should be competitive with what was once upon a time a great blue chip program (except for a fluke every once every decade or so). There are just to many flukes nowadays.

  9. Expectations. Big deal. So IU bb gets on a run and wins a big ten championship in a less than stellar conference. Low expectations not great expectations for what use to be a blue chip program. Unless IU (not just wins) but wins by 15+ @ Penn State; again low expectations.

  10. t- They are grand apologists. Don’t even bother. I honestly don’t know why they bother. Tom sat on the committee to hire his own AD. Joey Glass, by pure coincidence, was a huge advocate for Tom Crean while both were at Marquette. You do the math. We have Tom Crean for life. Breaking up the mob would be easier than separating these brothers of another mother…. Teresa.

  11. “in a less than stellar conference?” WTF? The Big Ten is one of the best conferences in the country for Basketball. “Get’s on a run?” IU won two OUTRIGHT Big Ten Conference Championships in the last four years? When was the last time IU, or any other school, did that?

    Come on, man!

  12. How many key players did IU lose from last year’s team? Let’s see, one of the best point guards in the country (and in IU history), a fifth-year senior forward, a dynamic and highly athletic Junior forward, and a solid 3-point senior shooting guard. Oh, but we expect Crean to have a team that immediately get’s right back where last year’s team left off. Yep, totally realistic.

    By that logic, I guess MSU should fire Tom Izzo at the end of the season. LOL!

  13. Tom Izzo’s best coaching move was never bringing Crean back as a graduate transfer. He fixed our butts.

  14. Oh, but we expect Crean to have a team that immediately get’s right back where last year’s team left off. Yep, totally realistic.

    That was the hype. We didn’t start the fire. We didn’t start the “We’re Back!” bs t-shirts…We didn’t produce the ‘Hoosier Rising’ video tape. If you can’t grow the corn, get out of the field. We’ve heard so much bs in the form of cheesy slogans…So many reunions…So much gibberish of the great recruiter with all his lottery picks.
    Please forgive us for thinking something beyond a Sweet 16 might be possible on the winds of so much foolish hype(and foolish rankings that never seem to live up to all the overblown roses the Establishment heaps upon a Tom Crean team).

    Mitch McGary during a reefer break did more in March Madness than Crean’s showstoppers in the last six seasons. No point guard is the best in the country without something beyond a Sweet 16 in his four year career to show for it(unless he has an absolutely totally inept coach).

    Hype..hype…hype. Apologize…apologize…apologize.

  15. In keeping a calm head about this. Let’s look at Crean’s resume (tossing out his first 3 seasons):

    2 Conf Championships, 0 Conf Tourney Championships, 3 Swt 16s, 0 FFs thus 0 National Championships.

    In 5 years, his tournament seedings are as follows: 4, 1, MISS, 10, 5.

    Do these seedings matter? Beyond the Cinderella stories that we all dearly love, how many Hickorys (who bring home the banners) are out there?

    Since 1985, when the tourney expanded to 64, the breakdown for those who made the Final Four by seed:

    1 – 52
    2 – 28
    3 – 14
    4 – 13
    5 – 6
    6 – 3
    7 – 2
    8 – 5
    9 – 1
    10 – 1

    Here’s the breakdown for those who made the Finals by seed:

    1 – 30
    2 – 12
    3 – 10
    4 – 3
    5 – 3
    6 – 2
    7 – 1
    8 – 3

    And those that won:

    1 – 19
    2 – 5
    3 – 4
    4 – 1
    5 – 0
    6 – 1
    7 – 1
    8 – 1

    Being an elite program means not just the hardware (conference championships), it means securing the top 2 seeds in the NCAA. The data shows the path to not just hanging a banner, but even a FF is drastically reduced by getting a 3 or lower seed. Crean has only managed, over the 5 years he didn’t have a high school program to look over, to get a seed in the top 2 only once.

    This is why I keep saying the Conference Titles don’t matter as much. I’d rather finish 2nd in the conference to some juggernaught, but end up with a #2 seed in the NCAA. Unlike last year, we won the B1G, but only ended up a #5 seed. So, we end up in the S16 losing to a #1 seed (pretty badly), who ends up losing the NC on an epic last second shot.

    Recruiting: I don’t know where to look this up easily, so maybe someone more enterprising can do so, but Crean had two top tier recruiting classes and, since then, it’s been down hill. Now it’s all about “diamonds in the rough” with the occasional top guy (like Bryant).

    Also, the recruiting trends are going against the things that are supposed to woo recruits today. Assembly Hall has been rebuilt. Cook Hall is an unbelievable place to spend your days getting better. We still turn out the loudest and most passionate maniacs in the game. But, not only are the recruiting rankings getting worse, we’ve almost entirely ceded the state of Indiana to anyone else who isn’t wearing the name of the state on their jerseys.

    Lastly, on recruiting, while supporters of the program tout our 2 B1G Championships in 4 years, it doesn’t seem like the top recruits in the country are as impressed. Man, how have we managed not to parlay that hardware into anything meaningful? I guess recruits, their parents and high school coaches are able to see past it.

    I’m sorry. This just isn’t the resume of an elite basketball coach. Besides that freak of nature Brad Stevens, the coaches that regularly put their teams in the last week of the NCCA are the Top 1-2 seeds in the tournament. And the correlation to top ranked recruiting classes is fairly elastic.

    I’m not hating on the team this year. We have an insane amount of talent on this team. But even if IU wins out there year, we won’t even sniff a Top 2 seed.

    I tire of the propaganda that the Indiana program has been a success by the standards of an elite program. And this is from a guy that’s been rooting for Crean to succeed from the moment we hired him.

    I’m just not seeing how we’re going to do any better than this. The BEST that we can hope for this year is a miracle run that beats the all of the odds. And this is with two projected NBA lottery picks on the team.

    And what are things looking like the following year? Who knows for sure, but it does look like it’s in line with trends and the trends aren’t exactly those of a big time program.

  16. Bob Knight last went to Final Four in 1992 and Elite Eight in 1993. He was fired in 2000 and Mike Davis took Knight’s recruits to a Final Two in 2002. Basically no more than 9 years without an Elite Eight during Knight’s years (besides the 11 conference titles and the three banners). Crean is in his 9th year now and letting him go would be the most sensible move for Indiana. Following the IU football program’s example I think Tim Buckley can do an excellent job as a head coach (interim or on a more permanent contract).

    Indiana used to have a rivalry with Kentucky. We now have a rivalry with Penn State.

  17. Podunker. You make a great point in your own analysis that I try to make. You describe where the 21st century IU BB program peaks (the best it gets, the top of its pinnacle) and that is not good enough for a program of what IU BASKETBALL expectations should be.

  18. Knight did have a bit of his own happenstance early….It’s pretty nice to arrive with Steve Downing and George McGinnis already in your lap. Didn’t hurt to have John Ritter too.
    Seems so long ago….I still remember listening on the radio as the Hoosiers made the historic run to meet Walton & Wooden at the Final Four. Ironically, nobody expected such a run and IU was very much a Cinderella while Walton and UCLA were hoarding most of the attention in the press.

    It’s not going to end well for Tom Crean. He hit one home run when he landed Zeller. I sort of think the big guy let him down. I know that’s not fair to Zeller, but given the strong connection in faith to Crean, and all the soundbites about “bringing Indiana back”…and all the mission statements surrounding every “Movement” recruit that forever suggest banners or nothing….? The door was shut rather quickly for Crean.
    Sure, it’s about seeding and never having bumps in the road in landing the top recruits to help you get there, but IU was in a very unique drought. If Zeller returns for his junior season, I highly doubt things end tumultuously for Crean. Zeller was designed for college ball. He does a Frank Kaminsky at IU, it would have been hard to bet against one of those seasons not ending with a banner.
    Dipo and Zeller are still heroic figures to many IU fans…I only think of the absolutely wild times they could have had at Final Fours and Kirkwood celebrations. Yogi lost out on much as well….Final Four trips look very good on a resume.
    Vonleh…leaving far too early….The Holt and Davis tragic events on a Halloween night?
    We get caught up with Crean(I know…that’s hilarious coming from me), but let’s not kid ourselves…These young men that came to restore IU and bring back banners controlled their own destiny. They won the gold of playing the game at its highest level, but they lost on so very much. I know that for the simple reason of how Downing sticks in the heart of this blabbermouth. To see those candy stripes appear from the tunnel at a Final Four are the goosebumps and the memories that stamp upon the heart forever. There are no time machines to change decisions. There are no reunion parties for your draft night decision to leave at the alter all of the dreams of unsung teammates and faithful fans. Because it’s Indiana? Not really. ‘Because it’s the NBA’ is what matters to most.

  19. And that’s the true ironic/tragic tale of sorts…Tom Crean is akin to Galileo when it comes to finding a barely glowing star in a distant galaxy. He knows he has that talent. But it’s the lore of the candy stripes that sort of let him down. He believed our blood was rich enough to fight against the lure that robs many a bit too soon for the narcissistic delights of the NBA. He believed the fans were enough…He believed the mystique of McCracken…and Knight…and that silly movie with Gene Hackman were all enough. Maybe the root of our own passions for the game no longer trickle into the lifeblood of young Hoosiers and our own once storied high school traditions in the sport.
    Tom Crean came to Indiana as if he was the prince who so valued the real Cinderella in his belief that she had merely been left unnoticed. He believed the candy stripes were still young at heart. He thought his eye for unnoticed talent could feed that heart, restore the fires, rail against the rational decision of a young man to go where the money is….simply “because” there is no better place in the world to bounce a round ball on maple. Is it Tom Crean who really let us down? I tend to think we let ourselves down. Candy stripes don’t live in slogans…They must infect the heart. It’s really not about being “elite.” Beautiful brides can be bought. Hoosier basketball was always something never for sale.

  20. DD some of these IU players who some are seeing NBA; I must be blind to it. The more they play and their weaknesses exposed I see borderline NBA prospects at best.

    1. I agree, t. But until OG’s injury last night, the NBA projections I saw had him Top 10, and Bryant Top 20.

      Granted, I have no idea why. They certainly don’t seem to be playing at that caliber.

  21. Bare with me on this comparison:

    I lived in Tucson as a kid. I was there as Lute Olson was turning the Arizona program around and made it into a top tier program. Yet, it took him 13 years to hang Arizona’s first (and only) NCAA Championship. Are Wildcat fans just more patient?

    No. Arizona’s program was regularly positioning themselves for deep tournament runs. Here’s why:

    In his 4th year in Tucson, Lute’s teams began a run where they absolutely dominated the Pac-10.

    Lute was an insane recruiter. It seems like Tucson would be an easy sell to recruits with almost 300 days of sun/year. But Tucson (even to this day), has a rinky-dink airport that is a huge pain in the rear to get to. To get the top players in the country, they regularly scheduled high profile games outside of league play and got the national exposure they needed to recruit. In the late 80’s, even early 90’s, Arizona’s box scores wouldn’t be in the paper the next day on the East Coast, so the national exposure was critical.

    A recruit Indiana fans can remember: Jason Gardner out of Indy. A Mr Basketball in Indiana, McDonald’s All American and Lute got him to come out the desert. Gardner led them to the Finals and lost to a very friendly Duke officiated game. I felt like I was watching the FF of Indiana vs Duke in 1992 (33 to 18 fouls!!).

    Lute Olson’s Wildcats NEVER missed the tournament. Their blemishes were a couple of ugly early first round exits. The big one, at the time, might need a little revision to history. In 1993, they came in as a 2 seed and lost to a “bunch of surfers” at Santa Clara. At the time, it was considered unconscionable to drop that game. Well, one of those “surfers” was 2x MVP Steve Nash.

    But, around those blemishes were a couple of Final Four runs (’88-’94). They were regularly getting 1, 2 & 3 seeds in the NCAA. Interestingly, their only championship came as a 4 seeds, being the only team to beat 3 #1’s on their way there. Gardner’s team was runner up in ’00-’01.

    The NBA has been and is still full of players that made it through that program.

    Ok, enough. I know this stuff because I lived there and it was the only thing in town to follow. Point is, I think this is the minimum standard with which Indiana University should base the success of their program on. Crean came in and got the program back on track. But, for those who think Indiana University is doing ok under his leadership now, what actual evidence is there that Indiana is getting better and is headed towards the breakthrough, which gives the Hoosiers the best *odds of making a deep tournament run….and not just once, but regularly? All of the indicators are pointing in the other direction.

    *BTW, on the note of NCAA tournament success. Due note that I emphasize the word ODDS. FF runs every year is a ridiculous standard and a strawman. The tourney is it’s own monster. Coach K has even had his share of failings early in the tournament. However, Dukie-V’s muse is regularly positioning itself as a top seed. The odds of a deep run increase. The banners hanging in Cameron speak loudly.

  22. Great stuff, DD. Thanks. Lute was a great coach. And as I remember, his Iowa teams used to give Bob Knight’s IU teams all they could handle and then some. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that Crean is as good a coach as Lute Olson was. Clearly, he’s not.

    So, after IU spends millions of dollars to fire Crean (his severance), who is Glass going to hire? Which coach is going to return IU to the elite status that we’d all like to see it get back to? The obvious list of college basketball’s best coaches are not available. Is there another Lute Olson, a potentially great coach stuck at a school (Iowa) that doesn’t allow him to compete for national championships out there? Can IU afford him, or is he biding his time until one of the coaches at one of the elite schools chooses to retire?

    Funny, I don’t recall reading any comments about firing Crean after IU beat Kansas and UNC just a few weeks ago. It’s amazing how fast things can change.

  23. Po,

    I agree that people get too wrapped up in the emotion of current loss or win. People are emotional and tend see things temporally. However, I think that there are solid number of folks who have climbed up to the top of the tower and are looking broadly over where things have been, where they are and where they are going. I’m not entirely sure about this, and totally admit to potential confirmation bias, but just based on comments around here and elsewhere, it seems a lot of those folks taking the long view feel that Indiana basketball has reached its peak with the current leadership.

    In comparing replacement strategies, let’s look back when Davis resigned/was let go. Indiana had a hacked up budget and facilities which hadn’t been upgraded since Nixon was in office. The pot that Eli Holeman threw against the wall was probably the nicest thing in that building. The men’s and women’s teams had to coordinate when they were going to practice, because AH was the only floor they could play on. Indiana now has a much bigger athletic budget, ramped up fundraising, hoops facilities that are 2nd to none and a crazed fanbase in which Roy Williams admonishes his fans to emulate.

    Indiana can afford to pay top dollar for any coach, as well as buy out Crean. I know there are a lot of mixed feelings around here about Fred Glass, but one thing he’s been excellent at is getting people with money to dig into their pockets.

    Good question about a replacement. I have no idea. There are many around here who far better equipped to answer that question instead of me.

  24. “Indiana used to have a rivalry with Kentucky. We now have a rivalry with Penn State.”

    Swedish chef, that’s one of my favorite quotes around here in a while. Well said.

  25. Crean should be allowed to finish the season. Severance is only one million in July, less than his salary for one year — so if it has to be done it’s a bargain. Tim Buckley should lead the team until we find a good replacement. I’m not worried, I am confident we’ll find someone. What I am less sure is where Crean will go. I think he’ll do Bill Lynch type of things … administrative stuff … I don’t see him coaching anyone after he leaves IU. Who would want him? Ohio State? Let’s pray…

    I really think Crean is like Lou Watson (minus the part where Lou actually played for us and had been the leading scorer in conference play in 1950.) Lou “stepped down from head coaching [in 1971] to become a special assistant to the athletic director.” I think Crean is just like Lou. Or like DiNardo or Dakich: time to do some TV, some radio. Maybe go buy milk for brother in law…

    Double Down — thank you and I’ll try to look up the recruiting aspect that you mentioned.

    1. Double Down, found these (just change 2017 to 2016, 2015, 2014, etc., … in the page address and you will see recruiting rankings from years past or there’s a menu next to the Basketball link that can let you select from 1999 to 2022 — though for 2022 understandably you don’t get anything if you select it). Unfortunately I won’t have time to look at them today or this weekend although it would be interesting for sure to try to corroborate perceived recruiting success with success on the court.

      Crean still can pull it off. Win Sat in Skjotdland and confidence increases. Talent is already there. Get to an Elite Eight this season (surely he’s going to stumble upon some serendipitous circumstance, or at least he’ll have a chance or two) and BOOM! he’s getting a new contract extension! That’s Crean #1 priority I’m sure as his contract runs out in 2018 (so we would not have to pay anything for him to go away) at that time. Injuries usually (and strangely) help Crean with the lineup since they limit the nonsense in his rotations: if VJIII does not get injured Jordy Hall does not play; JBJ hurt last year has weird effect of a slightly improved defense and gave opportunities for development to other players; this season he chokes up periodically but look how the freshmen are stepping up, would they have had a similar chance (read: prayer) in Crean’s spasmodic rotations? I doubt. In any event I believe this team can still get to an Elite Eight this season — at least. Maybe also win the ever elusive B1G tournament?!… It’s possible.

      Then again the way Penn State came back at us during the last few minutes Wed night was downright scary….

        1. Thanks for reading. Hulls of course.

          Yuoo knoo I speek veet un eccent dun’t yuoo?

          Epulugeees.

          Bork.

      1. Thanks chef for pointing me in the right direction.

        Agreed that this team has the components to make a serious run. We’ll certainly see. This is why they play the games.

  26. DD,
    Great post. The only point I’m not sure about is that Indiana can pay whatever they want for a basketball coach. Maybe they can. I don’t know the numbers. I do know that football drives athletic department budgets and the contribution from that sport at IU isn’t what it should be.

    Of course, if that was the only factor Alabama would kick everyone’s ass in basketball.

    1. You’re absolutely right. It certainly makes it harder to pay your hoops coach when the stadium across the way sees more red outside than in. I’m only guessing, but it seems like every time the Indiana basketball program needs some major upgrade, there’s someone(s) there willing to write a healthy check.

  27. DD, you make sound arguments. But I think you’re leaving out a few things that will make it much more difficult for IU BB to return to elite status in college BB regardless of who the coach is. The program was all but dead nine years ago, and it takes a long time to recover from the level of destruction that our beloved program suffered. Today’s best HS basketball stars have no idea that IU has ever won an NCAA Championship, because none of them were alive the last time that happened. Heck, they were three years old the last time IU made it to the final four. So, for all practical purposes, IU is not an elite basketball program in the eyes of this latest generation. IU’s AD is an attorney, and it should be obvious to everyone that he’s extremely risk averse (just ask Wilson). I believe it’s more important to Glass that IU remains squeaky clean and avoids scandal and/or rules violations than it is for IU to win championships. I’m not saying that philosophy is wrong, but let’s be honest, that philosophy makes it more difficult to recruit, especially after the troubles some of Crean’s players got into at the start of the 2015/2016 season. And lastly, as I’ve written before, IU insists that its varsity athletes be real students, pursuing real degrees, go to classes, doing the school work, etc. for as long as they are on campus. Many of today’s elite BB programs just give lip service to academic achievement and recruit likely one-and-done players who have no interest in having their academic feet held to the fire. What percentage of Kentucky’s starting five players do you think are actually going to class this semester?

    And as for IU being willing to pay whatever it takes to get the right coach, I disagree. IU is not going to pay a basketball coach anything near the money (north of $6 million per year) that the top college coaches currently get paid, at least not until that coach wins an NCAA Championship for IU. My guess is that $3.5 million per would be IU’s limit for a head BB coach. Once again, below average football revenue limits our Athletic Department’s budget.

  28. So, for all practical purposes, IU is not an elite basketball program in the eyes of this latest generation.

    Complete bull crap from a complete apologist. You guys are all playing a ridiculous game of “what if’s” that will never come. Podunker defends his record as if it matters. It doesn’t matter. Everyone knew Crean’s ceiling long ago. Anyone with a brain a set of eyes watching us against a Syracuse team at a Sweet 16 saw that ceiling. He should have never been given his huge contract extension.

  29. Isn’t it interesting that Kentucky has been caught in more scandals than any other college athletic program yet they just keep on going? This is, incredibly, the first decade since the inception of the NCAA that UK has not received sanctions. They were playing dirty before the NCAA even came into existence. I’m sure a big part, as Po stated, is that they have no pretense to providing an education. That certainly simplifies things.

    The model IU has been following is hiring an unknown RMK at 29 years of age. That happens once. UCLA hasn’t found another young Wooden. UNC didn’t hire another 27 year old Dean Smith. IU isn’t gonna find another 20 something basketball savant and pay him the going rate for 20 somethings.

    Or…CTC will tap his magic wand and give us just enough success to keep the dogs at bay.

    1. We got the wonderful cartel that is the NCAA because of Kentucky. They’re the herpes of college sports.

  30. Good stuff, Swedish Chef.

    Where did you find Skjodtland? You’re clever. Bobby Knight was often referred to as the Patton of hardwood….? He did wear plaid…. And Patton was famously portrayed in film by George C. Skjodt? Thus, it is Skjodtland in a Princeton offense sort of way.

    1. I think you Sir came up with it one day. You called Cindy Simon Skjodt “the Queen of Skjodtland” can’t recall right now what the rest of the post was about but the association quite stuck with me. I should have put &tm; and © next to it but I forgot. Sorry. Thanks. Epulugeees (I em toorneeng intu un epulugeest tuu… Dern.) :mrgreen:

      I really think Buckley (just by himself) could get us to a Final Four in no time. So much of what Crean received credit for over the years has clearly been a product of Buckley’s discreet but hugely beneficial presence and influence. He certainly deserves this opportunity.

  31. Great point, Chet.

    It’s just so simple and convenient to blame everything on the head coach. With that thinking, Crean is to blame for AG’s season-ending injury, JBJ’s injury last season (oh what could have been) and the mis-behavior of some very talented young players in the fall of 2015. Coaches must be omnipotent and have total control, at all times, over the behavior of these young men. If a key player gets injured jumping to make a dunk, it must be the head coach’s fault. If a star HS player can not meet IU’s academic requirements, the head coach is to blame for being an ineffective recruiter. Some Hoosier fans don’t care what IU’s policies and values are, or what rules out risk averse AD insists be followed, we just want to see IU return to elite status and win championships, no matter what. It’s simple; Crean hasn’t won a National Championship since he’s been here, so obviously he will never get it done. We must fire him and find a coach who can. What ridiculous thinking that is.

  32. Even with consideration of multiple injuries the HC is responsible for his team not playing full time energetic D, style of offensive play(TC’s)that breeds year after year unforced turnovers in large unacceptable #’s, no set offensive plays to call during clutch/crunch demanding situations, OOB’s plays that everyone complains about and laughs at and a coaching attitude nobody pays a price for repeated poor plays. Those are absolutely ever reoccurring problems that Crean is the only person who can be blamed. It is apparent he cannot toe the Hoosier mark. It is presently becoming his undoing at IU.

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