Northwestern 73, Indiana 58

This is how it ends.

Indiana had a lead into the latter half of the second half Thursday, and then Northwestern — which reached 20 wins for the first time in program history — began hitting shots. The Hoosiers, who finish the year 11-21, had no way of countering.

We’ll have updates from Indiana’s post-game press conference in a bit.


Crean’s here. He’s brought Christian Watford, Verdell Jones and Derek Elston with him.

According to the Crean, the story of the game was that the Hoosiers were up six and then had six turnovers and ended up down by four.

“Maybe we were tentative with the first post-season action for a lot of guys, maybe half the team,” he said.

The focus from here on out will be “building will” and the rebounding mentality that the Hoosiers showed late in the season.

Verdell Jones thinks Indiana did not follow the game plan against the zone, and therefore faltered against it.

Elston says many of the players wanted to do “their own separate thing” early in the year, but that the players came together.

Jones says the players “finally learned how to mesh” after not playing well together in the season.

Watford: “We came together toward the end a little bit and gave it a run.”

Elston reflects on his year and said he was beating himself up during the middle of the year. He wanted to be like his dad, who played at North Carolina. So a bunch of people, including Tim Buckley, sat him down and told Derek to just be Derek. So he did.

Question for the players on the summer ahead.

Main thing for Watford to work on: getting stronger.

Jones: getting stronger, improving his outside shot.

Elston: His defense, guarding one-on-one.

Now to Crean.

Repeating that Indiana was tentative and not alert. Laments the play where his guys weren’t awake on the in-bounds and Northwestern got an easy basket.

Crean’s asked what happened with Hulls today, who went from hitting eight 3s on Saturday and only had three shots today.

“He played like a freshman today,” Crean says. Hulls was “pre-determining” his decisions in the first half.

Overall, Crean says “a lot of guys have made a ton of progress.” But his guys need to get stronger and “learn how to defend at this level.”

Crean says this is the “best conditioned team in March” he’s ever been a part of. That shows a lot of spirit for these kids, who went through so much.

Crean says he is shocked at how far the program has come, even though the win-loss record might not show it.

UPDATE 9:33 p.m.

Dustin Dopirak here. We have audio, and some of it, for the first time all season, comes from the Indiana locker room. Gotta love Big Ten tournament access rules. There was apparently a snafu there, as the guys who stayed for the press conference apparently didn’t get a chance to get to the open locker room because of some miscommunication I didn’t quite understand. Because we rolled two-deep to this, though, we got it all covered. So audio follows.

AUDIO: Northwestern’s Michael Thompson and John Shurna talk about what it means to advance and win 20 games

AUDIO: Bill Carmody wonders how Reggie Miller ever made that many 3-pointers at Conseco Fieldhouse

AUDIO: Bobby Capobianco talks about how this team stuck with it

AUDIO: Jeremiah Rivers says the Hoosiers “played not to lose.”

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls says the Hoosiers were too tentative

AUDIO: Derek Elston says Michael Thompson’s threes were daggers

AUDIO: More Jordan Hulls

AUDIO: Christian Watford says he’s not transferring


  1. Crean says they have to, “learn how to defend at this level.” That’s true but you can learn all you want and it won’t make a bit of difference if you don’t have the foot speed and quickness to apply what you’ve learned.

    This team is slow. Yes, they all need to bulk up and they all need to learn how to play but they have to get faster and quicker. All season long they were too slow and weak to play man-to-man and they really weren’t that effective in the zone because they weren’t fast enough to close out on the perimeter. Had Nortwestern shot better in the first half and knocked down their wide open shots this game would have been over at halftime.

    Coach Crean, you better bring some speed to the equation.

  2. Laffy you troll you! This was not a pathetic end; this year was the start of something special. Watford has already said in the post-game he’ll be back. So will Jones, Hulls, Elston, and CREEK. Also VO, and either MA, Yeguette, or Wilkins will add a more athleticism. And, lest we forget, we have an extremely good, energetic coach. I CANNOT WAIT.

  3. Thank goodness this season is over!

    Indiana should give Crean one more year to prove he belongs and that’s only because he inherited a huge mess from the idiots at IU. The facts are obvious, Crean builds his teams by being a so called “great” recruiter and hopes that the talent he brings in will make up for his lack of coaching skills. Now, maybe in Michigan or where ever Crean thinks basketball is great, people enjoy watching NBA wannabes mindlessly throw the ball toward the hoop in some reckless fashion but not here.

    If Crean is truly the Indiana historian that he claims to be then he should already know that the Indiana fan base wants, and rightfully demands that at the very least, players that understand the fundamentals of the game. This team, with few exceptions, did not only show that they had no clue about the fundamentals of the game, they made no progress as the season went on that they were learning anything about the game.

    This lack of basketball intelligence, effort, and most of all team orientation, provided some of the worst basketball this 40 year fan has ever watched at any level. I certainly would have given Crean the benefit of the doubt if I had seen improvement over the course of the season but I didn’t see the kind of improvement that will make Indiana a decent team, let alone a powerhouse in college basketball.

    There are too many players on this team that don’t know when and where to shoot! There are too many players that don’t know how to pass the ball faster than a turtle can walk. There are players that have NO BUSINESS taking the ball up the court or touching the ball anywhere but where they have a chance for a short shot or rebound.

    There are too many players on this team trying to pad their stats for an NBA scout with bullcrap one-on-one and one-on-three moves that have no place in Indiana basketball unless there is a 30 point Indiana lead and the subs are in.

    When I see players tossing up shots whenever and where ever they feel like it, no matter what shooting skills they have, or in this case, don’t have, then I know without any doubt we have a coaching problem. A major coaching problem…

  4. do you not understand the hoosiers are basically the least experienced college basketball team in the country? 2 years in a row? sweet mercy give it some time. Tom crean can’t recruit kyle singler and cole aldrich.

  5. Back2Basics,
    I must say that was a pretty good post. You hit on some very key points and are spot on regarding the lack of fundamentals.

  6. B2B, who made you an expert on coaching?? What’s your resume?
    Are u a coach or have u been a coach or are u this couch potato who thinks he knows how to coach? You are going to have ups and downs when most of your skilled players are freshman. They need time to learn and time to mature and grow. Do you forget that everyone had this class of freshman rated in the top ten so Coach does know how to recruit. They make a great foundation and they are all coming back next year along with their leading scorer and 2 athletic recruits and the hope of getting a big man. Coach could not made chicken salad out of chicken crap this year. Maybe some of the upper class men will leave and take their turnovers and selfish play with them. They showed little leadership with the exception of maybe Jones. They will be better next year.

  7. I don’t think getting our butts kicked by Northwestern in Indy is a disgrace?

    I can handle losing. What I can’t handle is when players mail it in. Did you even watch the second half?

  8. Back to my old name. Not used to the new one yet. Anyways, Back2Basics, last year, a lot of people could have said the same thing about the team. However, in the game of basketball, the most important thing is wins. Last year’s team had 6, this year’s team had 10. That is progress, albeit slow process.

    As the season ends, I would like to encourage people to have a little more faith. You can hate losing (I certainly hate watching 20 losses), but don’t give up yet on this team. The best thing to do is keep expectations in check. Expect only one thing: more wins. If it doesn’t happen, then you (and the rest of us) might have very good reason to get upset. But the fact of the matter is, if we improve our win total each year, we’ll get back to where we should be. It might not happen next year, it might not happen the year after that, but if the win total keeps growing, we’re headed in the right direction.

  9. I don’t think I said give up on IU, I simply said that Crean does not seem to me to be a very good coach. He’s a fine recruiter but his player development and style of play is questionable on several levels. Like I said, I’ll give him another year, I want to see a TEAM playing, not a bunch of yahoos throwing the ball towards the hoop.

    I am optimistic to the extent that Matt Carlino, a South Jr. and IU recruit, will be there in a year and a half but until then, there’s not much to look forward to. I look forward to getting Creek back but will he be healthy? Who knows? I look forward to seeing Roth back but it doesn’t matter how much TALENT this team has if it can’t PLAY as a TEAM. In other words, learn to pass the ball, set screens, play in-your-face defense.

    Carlino is better than most of the current team right now and so I know Crean can recruit. I’m real concerned he doesn’t know how to develop the talent he has now. Rivers is clearly not a point guard but yet Crean’s decision was to let him lead this team was a huge error all season. Crean doesn’t seem to learn either.

    I watched Hulls drive the ball four years in a row at South and this year I can count on two hands how many times Hulls drove with the ball. This is not Hulls fault this is piss-poor coaching. Hulls is not as fast or as big as some of the players he must play against but so what, it was like that in high school too. I’ve seen him do it against the best players in this state so don’t tell me about a lack of skills.

  10. I have to agree with you again. I am pumped to have Carlino coming, and even Etherington I think is a good get. This years class is attrocious. Oladipo and Shehey are the 3rd best players on their high schools teams. Oladipo can’t hit a shot outside 5 feet. Last years top 10 class is inflated due to the size of the class. Hulls, Elston, Creek, and Watford are great gets, but Muniru doesn’t even belong in D1 and Capo is just not very good. This class is going to set us back tremendously and it is his 3rd class so don’t say he hasn’t had time.

  11. I, too, agree that B2B makes some good observations. Crean is a good personality and translates that into good recruiting. But as far as game coaching is concerned, being able to adjust to conditions, exploit opponent weaknesses and capitalie on his own players’ strengths a specific times under specific conditions, he just does not seem capable. I truly wish I felt otherwise. I don’t have a solution. Last nights second have was reflective of this, and we have seen it time and time again. Thompson torched us on Sat., and he comes back and does it again. Hulls torched NW Sat., and NW made sure he never got his confidence back from the start. Terrible substitution choices – Rivers playing 20 minutes? Why, cause his dad was there to watch? We have witnessed the flood of turnovers most every game this year. Well, after 15 games, the coaches should have been able to do enough teaching to get that number down (NW hade just 9 TOs last night, and they pass the ball like its a hot potato.) So at some point, we have to face the fact that while coaches are still supposed to be teaching at this level, particularly with young players, it just does not happen with this group of suits. Can they do it? Well, maybe but I fear they cannot.

  12. Quick Comments:

    -I have a hard time ready long posts, I’m not very smart.

    -Since Hulls drived the ball in high school, he should be able to in college…..very bad logic…..Bloomington North guards and Purdue guards are two totally different things

    – I think player improvement has not been an issue. Look at Hulls against Ole Miss, then look at him in the Big 10. Rivers free throws got a lot better. Elston turned from a guy who didn’t play D, to a very formidable threat. I have more but I will keep it short.

    – You realize Dematha and Sagemont both have 5 star players?….I don’t think we expect them to be Maurice Creeks….would like it though

    – Verdell Jones ranked #133, Oladipo and Sheehey both ranked in the 130’s.

  13. All the trolls said Watford would trasnfer, sure didn’t sound like it last night did it? The trolls will grasp at anything until something holds. Crean will be here for many years, so their pain will continue as IU rebuilds. They only seem to come out of the woodwork when we lose. Great IU fans!

    As for Hulls, he really played poorly yesterday, but this is no surprise for a freshman. He will learn from his mistakes and will be a better PG next year. Elston must have blown some assignments on the defensive side, hence his benching. We were getting destroyed on the boards. I liked his energy though, and Elston will be a force by year 2 and 3.

  14. Elston getting destroyed on the boards? The guy had 9 rebounds, and was about as aggressive and tenacious as I’ve seen him thus far. For about 3/4 of that game last night, I couldn’t believe how much he had had matured before my eyes. How about the put-back dunk off of the missed Watford shot? We haven’t had a play like that all year. He was pumped after that – I frickin’ loved it.

    This team is on the rise. We went from 6 wins to 10 wins, a small but significant improvement, with a couple impressive wins to pad the sting of some bad losses. Most critics, before the season, had us finishing with between 8-12 wins, and that was with Mo and Roth.

    As far as I am concerned, the only thing to worry about next year is not letting the tiny sect of looney-bin “fans” influence the majority opinion.

  15. I’m trying to stay positive, but if we have to play 5 walk-ons, we shouldn’t go 9+ minutes in the second half without a basket. I mean, a set play out of a timeout should manufacture a basket somewhere along the line, not to mention the novel idea of actually making a shot in a half cour offense. But, some of our players did improve over the course of the season, so I guess that’s something positive to cling tenaciously to for the next 8 months.

  16. I said the team was getting destroyed on the boards. If you didn’t see that, then you must have watched a different game. You can’t beat a team when they get 3+ shots on a single possession. This is what killed the game for us. Although Elston did have a good stat line for boards, that doesn’t mean that he didn’t make mistakes and could have played even better. Just like Hulls, all the freshman will make mistakes, whether it’s readily apparent to fans or not. Who knows if coach asked him specifically to do something during a timeout or at the half, and he didn’t. Dont get me wrong though, I’m a big Elston fan, and he has been pleasantly surprising in the last few games. We have a lot to look forward to, even if we might struggle again next year.

  17. J Pat, my sentiments exactly. It does appear that 4disreguards has finally found himself a confidant, even if it only took all season.

  18. Clarion (Hospital or Hotel)?
    If you could get out of your grandma’s basement and actually interact with real IU fans, you would see a great number of them feel the same way i do. That number grows and grows with each loss.
    Steve Alford is now 29-3 with only one senior on the entire roster.

  19. I don’t know who 4 guards is interacting with, but the majority of fans I’ve talked to aren’t getting that unsettled. At the very least, you have to give him 2 more years to get some of his own players through the system.

  20. Jubilee,
    Crean’s first recruiting class will have exhausted eligibility in 2 years (the ones who haven’t transferred already). The excuses have to stop.

  21. 4guards,

    Technically, I wouldn’t even count that class….he didn’t even have time to recruit that class.

    He started in april. Which is about a month from now. What team in America could pull in a good recruiting class starting in April?

  22. Yes, there has been some measurable progress this year, I agree. Elston the most – he is a true IU type, gritty player who hates to lose and will do whatever is asked of him.

    Watford has of late shown he can rebound very well.

    Crean stuck with Pritchard and Rivers too long this year. I mean, if those guys were JUCO players preforming as they did for IU, would any D-1 school even be trying to get them to transfer in? I doubt it.

    My big thing is every team has the same number of players, right? Unless you have a Benson as a big, or an Isiah as a guard, the talent level is roughly (I say roughly) the same at the majors. The difference is the coaching. Even at the HS level, look at the schools which win year after year. I am not talking about the DeMatha’s and such which recruit. But the public schools. Why do certain ones have winning programs? Because the coach can take what he is given, and win with those ingredients. That is what I saw missing this season. Yes, the material was somewhat raw, but the material was there. The wins were not.

  23. Rob, you aren’t seeing the whole picture if you think coaches of powerhouse HS programs don’t recruit players into their district, or have parents that voluntarily move, in order to play for a team that wins “year after year.” These coaches are also partly responsible for building a culture of basketball in their area, which grooms young players for future success. It’s called a system, and it’s a big reason why successful coaches consistently get better talent.
    Crean did make mistakes this year, but his record proves that he knows how to win. He will need to get a couple standouts to supplement the core we have now in order to consistently win 20+ games a year once again.

  24. Rob- I agree with you on the progress and the talent thing… It does come down to coaching and player development. Crean has proven he can field winning teams, though. He went three seasons in the Big East with 23+ wins, and before that had several 20+ win seasons in CUSA, so the only questions are how long it will take him to get our program there and if the fanbase and athletic department will give him the time he needs to get us there. I think (and hope, and pray) that the wins will come next year. We were in a lot of games this year, we blew a lot of leads, and then yes we were blown out a lot as well… But it doesn’t seem a stretch to think some of those games could go the other way next year, and even more the year after that, etc…

    All that said, it does seem like there are aspects in which CTC needs to improve his coaching. He’s in a different league, with a different style and different expectations now than what he saw at Marquette and he has to adjust. Not much more to it than that. I’d still like to see him get a fair amount of time to do it, though.

  25. “…the talent level is roughly the same at the majors.”

    Wow. That’s quite a statement. It’s hard for me to imagine anyone who follows college basketball at all would make such a claim. Do you honestly believe that?

  26. I would just like to point out how many times we have scored on out-of-bounds (under the basket) plays this year.

    I believe Crean is a good coach, and his offense will come out once he gets a guard who can create (Dominic James, McNeal, Matthews, Wade)….hopefully Creek can be that guy.

  27. I agree with Dave, there is always football! LOL

    Does anyone want to speculate on why Crean suddenly got rid of one of his assistant coaches? He didn’t even bother to let him finish the season! Unless the guy committed an offense, I think it’s a poor way to treat a fellow coach. Crean should know better. It will make the next coach he considers for the position think twice about being on his staff. Be professional and show some class…

    Did the former Duke player just not fit in with Crean’s NBA style of play? Miss a couple of recruits and “you’re outa-here”!

    Losing as badly as we did this year makes recruiting a lot more difficult.

  28. Chet,
    You must be a journalists, quoting me out of context. Re-read my e-mail. Point is, our coach did not get the max out of his players, plain and simple. So I am merely asking, did he fail in his coaching of this group, or did they not have the desire to play all out and use the talent they have? Coaches make a difference (well, not in the pros, for that is true). I am not sure our coaches made all the difference possible this year. If you ask our players if the talent on this IU team about equals the talent of the majors overall, excluding a handful of guys like John Wall Scottie Reynolds, they would say yes, they are as talented. And they are the one playing the game, not any of us. You misunderstand the point I am making in thie regard.

  29. Butler has an impressive young coach. He’s a good recruiter too. Smart enough to go after Fromm, from South.

    Whether Fromm ever becomes a starter may depend on his other recruiting but no matter what he’s a solid 6’9″ player that knows how to play the game. Knows when to stop dribbling and give the ball to a guard. Plays in-your-face defense,a decent shot blocker, and I think he’s an excellent shooter. He needs to bulk up for college but I think he’ll do fine a Butler.

  30. Rob, look at any top 50 team, and I think most people would agree that we do not have similar talent levels, even when you exclude standouts like a Wall or Reynolds. We arent even close to being a top 100 team, so what makes you think the blame falls on Crean? Sure there are games that we could have won, some that we shouldn’t have won, and some that we should never have even competed in. Is it always about the coach when things go bad? I don’t think so.

  31. B2B, you’re just looking for an excuse to bash Crean. From all reports, and even McLeod’s own statement, he did something that warranted his immediate firing. I applaud Crean for taking action right away, and showing that he is serious about the rebuilding project.

  32. Jubilee,

    I like you know numerous IU fans and the majority are not jumping with glee about the W/L record but their optimism for next year and beyond is as high as ever. As in every arduous project it is a shovel full at a time. Coach Crean rebuilt one low flying program at MU albeit was from a shallower hole than IU was pushed into by Kelvin Sanctions.

    It so happens 4disreguards is more concerned as to whether I am a hotel or a hospital. I think I’ll let him do the choosing. It will be more relevant than anything else he has ever posted.

  33. I am not prepared to toss Crean overboard or anything. Do you think he got everything that could have been gotten out of Watford, Elston and Hulls this year? Even Rivers and Dumas? I sure don’t think so. Are they player of the year candidates? No, of course not.

    But to win 4 our of 19 league games? I consider it a blowout when you lose by 15 points or more, and we managed than 13 times in 21 losses. Lost two more by 12 points. Take out the 4 early seasnon wins against teams which collectively last nearly (approx. 80%) all of their games this year, and you have 6 quality wins, 13 blow outs and 8 other games. Hell, we lost at home to Loyola, MD which won a total of 13 games this year and did even face one other major besides IU.

    In the 21 losses, we were outscored 1,574 – 1,259, an average of 15 per game. Are players inexperience and talent partially to blame. Of course. But in my book, these players were better than what the stats show. And that tells me that coaching was at fault. Not preparing properly, not managing the game correctly, etc.

  34. I read something recently and if I have remembered it correctly here are some figures to figure with. If anybody else saw this please fix what I may have wrong.

    IU Lead the B10…
    Points by Freshmen (by all most 3 to 1)
    Rebounds by Freshmen
    Turnovers by Freshmen
    Fouls by Freshmen
    Minutes by freshmen (obviously)
    Foul Shots by Freshmen

    I don’t recall the assists or three point shooting.

  35. Rob-

    I got what you meant about getting the most out of our talent, it was what I was referring to as well. I’m not sure Crean did get as much out of them as he would have liked. Whether its his fault or the players… Well, I can tell you what 4guards would say.

    For what its worth, I think it really comes down to these guys not being used to losing like this and letting it get them down, which may be why Crean came off like such a cheerleader this season. Maybe that’s not the way he should have handled them, but there’s precious little anyone can do to change the psyche of another person unless that person wants to change it for themselves, right? Personally, I can’t wait for next season to start to see where this team goes in the offseason though…

  36. Anyone watch OSU over Michigan this afternoon? Matta played six players, four of whom played all 40 minutes.
    Begs the question as to why Moore got any minutes, and Rivers played as much as he did. Even Dumes, until the final games, was getting more minutes than were justified. In H.S, these guys typically played 32 minutes in every close game. By mid season of freshman college career, Watford, Elston, Hulls were conditioned enough to play 35+ every game, as was Jones. Then 15 for Bawa and 20 for Bobby, and there would have been very little left for Pritch, Dumes, Rivers and Moore. These freshman and Jones are the future, and should have been given the chance to learn and grow all year.

  37. Hulls was a leaking ship with all the turnovers (picking up his dribble nonstop), and Crean had to try some other backcourt combo. I didn’t blame him for sitting Hulls at that point. Dumas was supposed to provide a scoring threat, especially at the 3 spot, because the game was getting out of hand real fast. It didn’t work, because we live by the 3, and no one could hit anything.

  38. I thought about that too Jubilee. But it balances the class and does not balance the scholarships. The scholarship situation is so bottom heavy that recruiting the “11” and “12” classes is gong to be thin.

  39. My concern is running somebody off only to replace them with somebody from 2010 class that is not any better, such as Yeguette. We are then back at square 1.

  40. Can someone make a poster that we can send to Crean that reads “4Guards for Assisant Coach”

    Maybe include a picture of Steve Alford and have 4Guards coaching him from the bench. Also, maybe involve a recruiting action shot (one of him with John Wall, because he would have got him).

  41. The last 15 min. of the second half was one of the worst coaching I’ve ever seen!! By throwing away this game, Coach we don’t get lottery picks!Overall TC needs a long talk with his buddy at MSU to figure out how to put together a Big Ten ready team!

  42. I didn’t intend for your quote not to have context. In fact, I just re-read your original post and I don’t really see any pertinent contextual information that would change anything. I did not intentionally try to change the content of your post.
    I think Rivers is a talented athlete but unless he develops a consistent outside shot and improves his ball security he cannot be relied upon as anything other than for depth at pg.
    I don’t think 4tards would give up his pizza delivery gig to take orders from CTC. Too much pride.

  43. one day i went shopping outside,and in an ed hardy store,I found some kinds of ed hardy i love most they are Your website is really good Thank you for the information ed hardy ed hardy ed hardy clothing ed hardy clothing ed hardy shoes ed hardy shoes don ed hardy don ed hardy ed hardy clothes ed hardy clothes ed hardy bags ed hardy bags ed hardy swimwear ed hardy swimwear ed hardy jeans ed hardy jeans ed hardy mens ed hardy mens Thank you for the information

Comments are closed.