Hoosier Morning

No. 1 Indiana is getting the job done at both ends of the floor, Dustin writes.

Defense and unselfishness were among the strong points of IU’s performance vs. UNC, I wrote.

Indiana football made strides in 2012 despite a rough finish, Dustin wrote.

IU football heads into the offseason with some interesting positional battles, Dustin writes.

IU women’s basketball gutted out a win over Clemson, Mike wrote.

A recap of Tom Crean’s appearance with Jim Rome on Showtime Wednesday night, courtesy of Alex Bozich at Inside the Hall.

Ohio State’s defense failed it down the stretch against Duke Wednesday night, Bob Baptist of the Columbus Dispatch writes.


  1. Lot of noise that Duke should be ranked #1.

    And I agree. Not that pre-season and Nov/Dec polls are that accurate but…

    Per Ken Pomerroys numbers IU is ranked #1 with wins over teams listed (as of yesterday) of #272, #88, #293, #94, #39, #270 & 30.

    We are scheduled yet for #75, #258, #322, #188 &249. Unsure about Mount St Mary’s, they may be ranked #66, looked at St Mary’s and Mount St Marys but could not fine IU on either schedule (or I may have missed it).

    Duke, Ohio State and Michigan State seem to have a different approach to pre-conference scheduling and I would think they would have an advantage going into the “real” games..?

    I can understand this approach two-three years ago but not if we have reached the “elite” status. I mean what are games with Jacksonville (#258) or Fl Atlantic (#249) going to show?

    I do think IU is probably at #1 but we have not had a chance to prove it yet and I would hate to have an eye-opener when the conference play starts…????

  2. We’re number on because we have the best collection of players and we haven’t lost. Plus we beaten some decent teams.

  3. Ron…

    Duke plays 6 cupcakes:
    Georgia State
    FL Gulf State
    Santa Clara

    OSU plays 8:
    Northern Kentucky
    Long Beach State
    Savannah State
    Chicago State

    And MSU Plays 9:
    Texas Southern
    Boise State
    Nicholls State
    Arkansas Pine Bluff
    Tuskogee State
    Bowling Green

    IU plays 9 as well…

    Scheduling really is no different, just happens that they’ve had more early tests… Plus its not like we can schedule the B1G teams in non-conference games… and we make up half the top 25.

  4. Really, Ron? Duke went 10 minutes last night without scoring. Duke didn’t win that game last night OSU gave them that game. Duke didn’t look that impressive last night. As a matter of fact, they looked pretty average and too reliant on Plumlee.

  5. Yes but;

    If I’m understanding Jeff Sagarin Ratings Schedule strength

    IU at #220
    Michigan at #3O
    Ohio State at #130
    North Carolina at #84
    Michigan State at #80
    Duke at #2

    Duke may have looked bad but they took the opportunity to win the game against a strong team. Likewise, I believe that IU took the opportunity to win an overtime game. Both are learning moments.

    There are 200 teams out there that have better records than who we have played, as an average. Throw a dart and you could pick a better challange than Sam Houston.

    Why would we play Coppin State (#322) and Sam Houston (#293).? We could win by 150 points and not impress anyone or add to the experience/game knowledge for our players. Not to mention the possibility of an injury for a nothing game..?

    I can see scheduling for the first 3-4 games of the year but I would think our team would be better off come March by playing higher ranked non conference teams even if that included some losses. ??

  6. Ron,

    You’re right, IU’s current strength of schedule is #212. Here’s a few things to consider:

    1) Schedules are made a year or more in advance. When this year’s schedule was put together, Crean didn’t know how good this year’s team would be. He also didn’t know Kentucky would drop out of the schedule and it would be too late to get another top-ranked team into that vacancy.

    2) Duke’s strength is currently #2 but some of that is by intent and some by circumstances. They were in a tournament with other top ranked teams who they played as they advanced. If they’d lost early, they would have ended up playing unranked teams and not have a current SOS of #2. When they scheduled that tournament they had no way of knowing where opponents would be ranked just as Indiana had no way of knowing where the teams in the Legends would be ranked. Circumstances.

    3) OSU played Duke in the Challenge. If Duke hadn’t done well in their Atlantis tournament, they wouldn’t be as highly ranked and therefore OSU’s SOS wouldn’t be as high. Circumstances.

    3) By the end of the season, Indiana’s strength of schedule will be much higher because as Geoff said, the BigTen makes up about half the top 25.

    4) I bet IU’s schedules are more difficult beginning next year.

  7. I don’t put a lot of stock in power rankings. Never ceases to amaze me how some very low seeded teams can play with the big boys in the NCAA tournament…They usually don’t have the depth and staying power for the quick turnarounds and short rest before another powerhouse team a couple days later…But as they often say in a game of five-on-five, “On any given night” there is a chance for David to beat a Goliath.

    I’m not sure beating a traditionally strong team in November is going to make you anymore prepared four months later for March. There may be a better argument to early season experimentation with lineups and playing teams that are less familiar, unorthodox, and unheralded. And why wear your team down before the grind of a long Big 10 season? Build confidence in your bench by allowing some of your role players to get more minutes in some of the games our starters can overwhelm…. Secure a win while building unity and getting all involved. If you schedule to tough of match-ups throughout the early part of your schedule, a coach may be reluctant to go as deep into his bench. The lost opportunity(opportunity cost?) a developed and confident bench could cost you dearly those hard-fought games pushing starters for 30+ minutes against “elite” competition in November.

    A little softer schedule with some tough competition sprinkled in as seasoning is more to my liking this stage of the season. One of the ‘cupcakes’ will inevitably surprise and give you a battle unanticipated..There can often be good lessons learned from games against a feisty bunch of no-names that don’t get wrapped up in being undervalued in a Jeff Sagarin ratings list(hopefully not to early in the season to be absent a lasting imprint on the memory to never take any team too lightly come tournament time).

    Being tested by Lipscomb for a good stretch of minutes may be a more humbling experience than annihilating a UNC team that was just gutted from losing a lineup one-and-done’s stronger than the next recruiting class you just grew your big head on.

    It’s rankings and pigeonholing that ruined the real beauty of the all-inclusive tournament that once made Indiana high school basketball truly inspiring and unique. Plymouth marching to a state final to take on East Chicago Washington. Heaven forbid ever letting a “cupcake” with a more heart and some damn fine talent not always under the bright lights to prove the pundits wrong.

  8. Oh Harvard, always back to the same points. Can we let go of cupcakes and high school tournaments, once and for all?

    Also, let’s see where Georgetown and Butler end up at the end of the year before putting too much stock into the earl-season strength of schedule rankings.

  9. If I’m not mistaken Coppin State makes regular appearances in the Big Dance. I’ve seen their name in the brackets from time to time.

  10. HforH–#7

    Thanks for writing a well thought out post in a cogent manner. You made a very good point for playing some “cupcakes” and also some tougher competition for “seasoning” in the preconference season.

    The preconference season gives CTC a chance to play more guys and see where they fit in and where they need to make improvement.

    The college basketball season is longer (30vs.18 games), faster, has more all stars than high school, etc.

    As a coach, you do not want your starters playing 35+ minutes in the games leading up to the start of conference games. Tired legs in March are not desirable

  11. I agree with most of what you said HH. Couple of exceptions.

    1) I don’t think its important “beating a traditional strong team in November”. I would think it would be the exposure to the stronger competition. Win or lose it has to add to the resume of experience come March.

    2) I agree with the increased usage of the bench during the pre-conference. IU has maybe 8 starters currently?
    Ball State game was a second half blow-out and Cody was still playing. I would think it would be more productive to let Holloway, Remy, Mo, Austin (plus whoever) to get actual floor time for an extended time. How do they react/respond as a unit?

    Of course with Hanna, Elston and Jurkin soon to join the team, it’s a whole new ball game blending them into the sustem. As I read this realize I have a weak argument, can’t argue with Crean’s meathods.

    3) Don’t understand rankings and HS basketball. Some newspaper/magazine was ranking Junior High teams back in 1958. My team was ranked 18th in the state. After a few injuries my parents would not sign the relase for me to play and we had a couple of kids move in. In my senior year the team ranked 18 in 1958 and made in to the Sweet 16 in 1964.

    So I don’t think it was rankings. I would guess it was the new equality / fairness / bring more schools into the spotlight thing. And you are right, it takes something out of the championship process.

    (Why is Ky wearning the white uniforms?)

  12. VgBmg- You are most graciously welcome.

    Captain Ahab-

    I have rarely talked in a negative fashion when it comes to playing “cupcakes”…I merely used the term in response to not getting too caught up in those power rankings. There are benefits to playing teams you are not used to seeing or preparing for…If it turns out to be the predicted one-sided affair, then there are additioal benefits in giving your bench more experience and confidence. If it becomes a better battle than anticipated, then the frustration levels are appropriately tested. How often have we seen teams succumb to frustration when a nobody starts challenging their ego and prowess? It’s a good character building exercise to keep your composure when choking and fear of a huge upset begins to stare you in the eye.

    Knight played plenty of cupcakes to go along with ‘seasoning’ the early schedule with some stronger opponents.

    December in Bloomington was a cupcake party under Knight. Who can forget the many boring Hoosier Classic tournaments where the stands would be packed with prune juice drinkers?….Cupcakes and prunes when empty were the dormitory rooms.

  13. Harvard, forgive me, I was confusing you with another poster on here who makes photo collages about cupcakes denigrating Tom Crean year after year. I concur with your analysis. Last year was a “cup-cakey” non-conference schedule and yet it didn’t hurt our Big 10 play one bit – it may have even improved it.

  14. Remember, UCLA was ranked to start the season. It’s not IU’s fault that they lost, and therefore did not advance to play IU in the final of the that tourney in Brooklyn!

    As for playing cupcakes, all the best teams do it. Sometimes, it’s one coach or AD doing a favor for a friend. Those smaller schools get a lot of money from getting the hell kicked out of them by the big boys. And once in a blue moon, they win the games too. Just look what Cal Poly SLO did to UCLA this week! Ouch, and given that two of his players just quit the team, my guess is that Howland is not long for UCLA.

  15. UK is going to lose again to an unranked (Indiana-based) team, and any time that happens, I consider it a gift from the basketball gods.

  16. Well, conversely, if you realistically don’t have a team that will make much noise(Crean’s early years when Jeremiah Rivers was our top scorer and Brett Finkelmeier was our “Super-Sub” off the bench), then why and the hell not schedule heavier with some strong teams if they are willing to put you on their schedule?

    Cupcakes now can serve an entirely different purpose than cupcakes four years ago.

    I sure missed on the Kentucky vs. ND prediction. The Irish could be pretty tough in Indy. Guess we should be thankful for getting Butler.

  17. Virginia Tech and New Mexico State are famous for winning 20+ games a year and not getting to the Big Dance, though I think VT should have gotten the ‘ACC Entitlement Vote’. All NMSU could do was beat New Mexico. They’d have 23 wins and stay home.

  18. MEMO

    FROM: Coach Cal

    TO: Scheduling Co-Ordinator

    Date: 11/29/12

    Please find us ONE team in Indiana we can beat. PLEASE

  19. I don’t consider ND winning as a “gift”…Nor was our win last year in Assembly solely due to a “lucky” shot from the basketball gods.

    Gene Keady? Now there’s a gift. His hairpiece was a gift from the ‘God of Trout.’

  20. Since they’re in the SEC all they’ll have to do is show up to get a bid. My dog and I would be good for a 5th place finish.

  21. H4H’

    I went to near every Holiday Classic(Bloomington) and Hoosier Classic(Indy) Tournaments held and there were many times more young people than “prune juice drinkers” in attendance. RMK liked showcasing the team around the state(there was for years an intra-squad scrimmage in Fort Wayne till the NCAA said no more)for fans who did not trek to B-Town. The Classic in Indy was particularly unique for fans who would not normally see the Knight led Hoosiers at AE. Also was a bit of the early stimulus that predetermined that downtown Indy would be an outstanding venue for any sporting event.

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