69 comments

  1. Thanks again guys, and you are right, “A loss is a loss.”. We are not a program of moral victories, yet it is clear that the lack of posts to all stories has most of us pretty much knowing a loss was coming. Hell, I thought we would lose by 20 & posted that after the NW game.

    Facts are facts:
    -this team can’t shoot
    -this team takes bad shots because it can’t get good shots
    -this team is young and inferior to MSU, Mich, Iowa, OSU, Minn, Wisc.
    -this team can’t feed the post
    -this team can’t match up to all-Big 10 caliber players except at the point & with Vonleh
    -we are a 2 man team & one dribbles too much & the other cant get the ball

    We will be facing the “N-I-T” chant soon from everyone else & the usual “IU Sucks” at purdue.

    In closing, I do applaud the effort tonight. It was good after tough circumstances. And I also applaud Crean for using pine to motivate players. In 1 or 2 years, it will have proven very useful I’m willing to bet.

  2. ^Negative hogwash..This team will make the NCAA tournament.

    The lack of posts is because the blowbags that want to believe it’s all over without Zeller and Jordy..

    This is a good team. Vonleh is one of the best freshman post players in the country. Sheehey didn’t play last night.

    This team will come together..The talent is there. The belief in each other will fuel their stretch run.

  3. I was impressed with the way that our team played overall last night. 18 turnover was terrible, but still only losing by 5 in a place that we haven’t had much luck in recent history was solid.

    There was a lot more movement on offense. However, the times that I found myself smacking my forehead was when guys who had no business doing so, would dribble right into traffic.

    Yogi has had 2 tough games. If he just made a couple more of his shots last night, we would have come away with the upset.

  4. I’ve always thought Dawson was a hell of a talent…But I was surprised how many mind games Izzo had to play in order for for him to finally get his act together.

    I remember one play in the second half where Yogi got stripped from behind…No teammates warned him of the MSU defender trailing behind the break. Looking back, I think that was a one of those plays(usually three or four in various stretches when a game is teetering on the pendulums of win vs. loss)that it turned in MSU’s favor.

    If we could have just settled down a bit when we spurted out to a six or seven point lead…We had them almost on the ropes. The other missed opportunity that sticks in my head is a wide open miss by Howard after getting the ball flashing to the goal underneath(likely during the MSU run).

    In those two plays alone, there is a potential 8-9 point swing(plus the added possession time lost early in the shot clock when Yogi was stripped from behind).

  5. Glad to see Wisconsin got smacked around tonight. Michigan and MSU have pulled away from the pack, but the more the middle bunches up, the stronger our chances to get back in the hunt.

    Take care, DD

  6. Can’t complain with these posts at all. If we could avoid scoring droughts like 4 minutes in the first half, and 5 minutes in second half, we would be alright. I was proud how we played.

  7. Harv look at IUs schedule and tell me how they’ll make the tourney? 6-7 conference wins will not go Dancing

    AwinAZ is more on point here, IU simply isn’t good enough, it’s a disservice to the B1G to assume a roster with only 2-3 legit above average D1 players and a below average bench coach can compete in this league. The great recruiter is missing often, like a Troy Williams mid range jumper. My prediction, Noah is gone, top 10 pick. Troy might transfer. Yogi will try as hard as he can to be a late late 1st round pick. Would be a good back up PG. IU = in trouble!

  8. Harvard, nice outlook. Wisconsin getting smacked around always warms my heart. People talk about Bennett’s system being so great and how he is able to win by getting Brents, Bens and Brians to play fundamentally sound basketball. The other side of that coin is that his machine has to function almost perfectly night after night to be able to stay consistent. Their aren’t “off” nights where you can lean back on star power and pure athleticism.

  9. 12th Man Tom- that’s simply not a fair statement. There are pros all over the world, and in the NBA who played at Wisconsin. I don’t like Bo either but to assume they are a bland “system” program is wrong. They play hard and they play the right way, and they do it with talented athletes. Wisc knows what they are doing, they have less games where they aren’t “right” than most.

  10. Fab 5- Let’s take a look at the Wisconsin players currently in the NBA:

    Greg Stiemsma, 2ppg 3.5 reb.
    John Leuer, 8 ppg 4 reb.
    Devin Harris, 3.7 pts., 1.33 reb.

    Yep, that’s it, sir. A look at their alumni, furthermore, provides 1 mere distinguished name: Michael Finley. Note how is name is not Brian Brankowiczs or Butch Biggsley.

    They are a bland system, built to win at the college level, while drowning their opponents in a whirlwind of acne, fauxhawks, and blindingly white Scandinavian-American skin.

  11. Carl Landry, Trevon Hughes, Alondo Tucker, Jordan Taylor, Michael Flowers, Kirk Penney would not be “bland” system players who were not athletic and fun to watch.

  12. Geoff, explain……you’ve seldom been right recently on your overseeing elaborations so if something I said didn’t click with your thoughts, I’m pumped for that.

  13. If we simply take care of business at home, that’s six more wins. We’ve had two road games and two games against the best team in the conference(MSU).

    The remaining six road contests will all be highly contested.
    2-4 current record
    Scenario A
    5-1 @ home
    2-4 away

    9-9 would likely get us in.

    Scenario B
    6-0 @ home
    2-4 away

    10-8 and we’re a lock

    Any combination of 8 wins over the next 12 is a lock for the NCAA tournament. We’re finished with MSU and we had our likely split with Wisconsin. If we shut down Stauskas, we can beat Michigan..That’s a very winnable home game and a coin toss on the road. MSU and Michigan are going to have their bumps in the road.

    I honestly think we can finish out the last 2/3 of the season @ 8-4. Even if we drop one more at home, it’s not out of the question to go .500 on the road.

    Huge plus: We do not have OSU or Iowa on the road this year.

    We’re also relatively healthy. We have depth and athletes. Wearing down during the latter stages of the conference season should not be an issue. Hollowell and Davis have certainly not been physically tested. Crean has been very careful in pacing Vonleh. When your guards wear down, you become the most vulnerable..Robinson, Gordon, and Yogi can keep the backcourt legs running on all cylinders.

    Season has just begun.

    Last case scenario..?

    Win the Big 10 tournament for the first time in school history. There is no conference team thoroughly dominant from top-to-bottom this year. Don’t be fooled by the zeros currently in the loss column next to MSU and Michigan. They are going to have their bumps. They are not as strong as records indicate…nor are many at the bottom as weak as records indicate(OSU/Indiana). The Big 10 tournament is a complete crapshoot this year.

    Last thoughts…There are very small positive shooting signs/trends. Williams hitting that pretty little jumper @ MSU…Vonleh continuing with a confident perimeter stroke. Etherington hitting some clutch shots. Can the shooting get any worse than some of the hideous numbers we’ve seen? I don’t think so. I think this young team will start finding the bottom of the well.

  14. Four of the next six at home…

    Don’t want to add to much more other than @ Purdue could be an enormously big game. The season(in terms of NCAA berth) could very well hinge on the outcome at West Lafayette. And isn’t that the way it should be? …A great in-state rivalry dating back through the decades and a game that will have NCAA implications for both? It should be a fun. Our pipeline young guns will get a true indoctrination into the mutual hatred and they’ll become true cream and crimson blood in defending the candy stripes against the dark side. Against all conference competition, we always and forever will have the biggest bulls eye on our backs because of those five banners hanging in Assembly…But at Purdue…? It’s an inferiority complex like no other..The bulls eye becomes planetary in proportions. The envy for Bloomington grows every year into a hate blob. The background screams you hear at Mackey while listening to ‘Fish’ do the broadcast sound different than other road games..It sounds like a horror film…You hear young ladies belting out their blood-curdling shouts of anger at every ref whistle blown against their children of black and gold. It’s right out of an Upton Sinclair novel…It’s the pigs getting slaughtered in the Chicago stockyards…..

  15. Harv- loved post 16, can’t wait for that game!

    But post 15…. Mehh I’d say my fan hood side wants to believe that but my critical basketball mind sees nothing to truly hold out valid belief that this squad will be dancing with the prettiest tourney in the room later this spring

  16. Wagering isn’t legal here…but I’ll respectfully disagree.

    I believe we’ll be dancing with the hot chick. This team needed its back to the wall.

  17. Fab – you’re right, that I haven’t been right much… But that doesn’t make you on point.

    For starters, if Harvard isn’t willing to bet, I am… That Vonleh doesn’t go pro after this year. What’s your wager?

    NBA GM’s are valuing picks in this years draft like we haven’t seen in years, and it isn’t for the chance to grab a sub-6′ back-up PG at the back end of the first round.

    “Troy may transfer”….? Ok, and so might Sam Dekker, but just because there’s a 1% chance something could happen doesn’t make it a talking point.

    Further, Tom never used the word “bland”, although he may agree… it was your phrasing. They are a system team, and he recruits to the system. Those are all fair statements. Most people consider it brutal to watch… They don’t have that rep for nothing. Sure they have the occasional athlete, but not compared to what you see in most major conference programs. They do however have better basketball players.

    I’m pretty sure, maybe I didn’t see it right, but I pretty sure you just put Marcus Landry and Kirk Penney on a list of athletic, fun-to-watch players…

  18. I hope Vonleh doesn’t go pro so I hope I’m wrong, from what I’ve seen, he will. No reason to stay when you can be picked top 8 and be trained full time against the best of the best. Body wise Noah is ready, skill wise he is solid. Knowledge of the game and getting the best coaching will come after he leaves IU, whenever that may be. Noah Vonleh isn’t built to be a NCAA player for 4 yrs, kid is an nba player, an allstar, if things go well down the road. If he’s back that’s great for us.

    Yogi is playing like he wants to get drafted this yr, not saying he is trying to do too much or being a ball hog but he’s definitely playing with at times a borderline reckless urgency to prove himself, taking things on that he shouldn’t need to. Doesn’t look like someone who wants to grow old at IU. Seems to be rushing his development at a pace that hints at desperation to leave. Creans issues with Yogi (benching him for not running correct sets or poor shot selection) shows that they likely butt heads during practices also. If you are a McDonalds All American kid you believe nba is close, yogi seems that way to me.

    Troy is not a project, he isn’t a Perea. Dude believes he can play, his camp back home thinks he can play, his famous uncle thinks he can play. Again not saying he leaves but remember transfers happen a lot in NCAA and if you don’t believe in your system…you out. No one who knows Troy thinks he doesn’t have the skills and athleticism to flourish, if you aren’t getting used how you desire, you keep it moving.

  19. Absolutely Vonleh has the body and the talent, but he’s young and values development, including educational development. Again, I’m willing to bet… Doesn’t have to be anything big, but I’m fairly confident about this one.

    I see exactly what you’re saying about Yogi, but I see it stemming from a completely different place. While I am sure he has visions of lollipops and the NBA dancing in his head, I think the forcing and the urgency is because he’s had an enormous role change and he’s trying to figure it out at this level. He played about the same number of minutes last year, but was asked to play completely differently. He went from being the baby brother to the man of the house in 4 months. You can’t expect that to look smooth and effortless.

    Troy is getting opportunities. When he plays well he plays more. When he struggles he sits. I remember reading all the stuff on here and ITH about his history with the sport and his family. How he didn’t even start taking it seriously until a couple years ago. How his uncle thinks he has a lot of growing to do still and how Crean and IU would be a great match for that very reason. His big thing was that he was from a similar area to Dipo and saw what IU’s program did for his game. I feel like his uncle is a no BS guy and neither are the women in his family, and that they will make it hard for him to take a perceived easy way out (although I highly doubt he’s even considering transferring).

  20. I see all that as well in all 3 situations, I like to take my risks though and think one layer deeper about what’s going on cause rarely is the initial surface 100% true. But ya no doubt all 3 are doing a mix of both our prognostications. I think you must feel at least some thrill/ risk regarding what Vonleh will do or why even bet, no fun in a sure bet, unless you just need $- which if you do let me know and I’ll send some your way. And more than anything thanks for responding, I wanted you to say more than you did in post10 earlier, appreciate it. I like talking nba with IU fans and I remember you do as well. Also I know you met Vonleh and were really impressed but he loses none of the qualities you just mentioned if he chooses to go pro. He’ll always be a great kid, teachable and willing to learn, if it’s here or in The League.

  21. And I’ll hold nothing against him if he goes. It’s got nothing to do with what I want or wish or anything, but just a strong sense of his youth, humbleness, open…ness, and then the things his prep coach said about him and his family. I don’t think any of that changes after a few months at IU. I believe there is a plan in place, and part of that plan includes 2 years at IU.

  22. Oh, and I’ll gladly take whatever money you’d like to send. That goes for all Scoopers. Diapers, holistic dog food, and petrol aren’t cheap.

    I’ll also accept gift certificates…

  23. Oh, plus I’m juicing with a goal to get back to my college playing weight. Which means I’m going to need a new wardrobe. If anyone works at a Jos. A Bank I prefer to shop there for my shirts and sports coats… Pants are always tough because I have an athletic build… But I’ll definitely take store credit as well.

    Thanks.

  24. I’m willing to bet Geoff on the prospects of us making the NCAA tournament.

    I’m thinking we’ll make the tournament. Since he has remained quiet on the discussions concerning NCAA berth, I am thinking he’s not so confident. Assuming Geoff doesn’t think we’ll make the tournament, here’s the bet:

    If I win(Hoosiers make the tournament), Geoff is to purchase Dustin and Jeremy a $20 gift certificate to Trojan Horse.

    If Geoff wins(Hoosiers do not make the tournament)Harvard is to purchase same said certificate….and I’ll throw in a pair of yoga pants and a box of Graham crackers for Andy.

    How ’bout it, Geoff? I’m confident Noah and Troy and Stan are going to really play some ball over the next six weeks. I love the personalities these East Coast boys….I never thought I’d say it. They represent Indiana with real class and they play the game with heart and unselfishness than some I’ve witnessed come from our own borders.

    Dawson out for 4-5 weeks because of a wrist injury? Did I see that correctly on the ‘Breaking News’ ticker @ ESPN?

    Illinois put up a strong fight @ OSU….I was really pulling for the upset. Is any Big 10 team purely impressive and dominant? I’m not seeing it. Northwestern is probably showing the most heart…Really impressed with the new young coaches. Collins at Northwester and Pitino at Minny. Very smart and poised..I love their sideline demeanor. They are putting a fresh image on the conference long overdue. Nothing stuffy or egocentric….Sorta nice when we see all those old stale names at NC, Duke, Syracuse…

    Nadal vs Federer…I’m putting another log on the fire and popping open a Tsingtao. I feel two athletes of such unbelievable heart and talent deserve a live audience willing to lose a little sleep. Federer looks meaner and leaner… I think this is his last legit shot at breaking his losing streak against Rafael.

  25. I accept your bet Harvard. If for no other reason than it will give you something to bang me over the head with for the next 30 years…

    Scoopblog, stardate 2038.2.26

    Geoff – I really think that Jordan Hulls Jr is going to be better than his father. I’m not sure if he’ll have the defensive instincts, but he’s a better athlete and just as good a shooter.

    Harvard – (wheeze) are you kidding me! He’s Polish! All that grit, gumption, and guts migrated to Europe and stayed with his father. Kids these days (wheeze) don’t have the heart that they did back in northern Indiana, where the Amish Butter made everything taste like heaven. Forget being as good as his dad, he won’t even be as good as that kid Spike Albrecht. I don’t understand why Coach Marlin doesn’t recruit the state anymore… Heck, he doesn’t even recruit the country anymore! Now he’s built this teleportation line to EuroAsia and I barely even recognize what a Hoosier is. Oh, and by the way, remember that time you lost that bet to me? Always such a man of little faith Geoff. You should’ve listened to Harvard and saved your $20. If your up for another bet, I’ll bet you a 50M Peso gift certificate to Planet Google that IU.us beats Syracuse.us for the Northern Big Ten title this Sunday. Proceeds to Dustin of course (I always thought he’d leave on the Mothership, poor kid).

  26. It’s sorta clever.

    It’s rather sad that he had to go off and build a bridge of diversion because he has such little faith in the “worst offense in college basketball”(translation: Afraid to name the untouchable name responsible)and such little faith in 2/3 the pipeline(translation: He’ll just have another excuse next year).

    And now you mock Jonny Marlin….But you’re mocking him through me which is another rather brilliant diversion. But it’s the coach that all of you have put on a pedestal that is determined to give “coach Marlin” his minutes.

    All you’ve ever been is afraid, Geoff. Terrence Jones would be too much for us…Sullinger will be too much for us. You really have no faith(much like the supposed football fan above that had none in Watford). You mock and you have no stones. Every year is a bridge year for cowards. Brad Stevens took no less talented teams to two Final Fours. We have the talent. We lack faith(the type of faith absent in hollow symbols and hollow preaching) and we lack cohesive belief.

    You can mock it all you want. But I’m not hearing the conviction. You’re to afraid to designate how to fix what you believe is “the worst offense” in college basketball because you’re incompetent of heart. When there is no conviction and belief in today, there is no bridge to get you to tomorrow. I believe something special exists in Bloomington…You believe you’re better than Bloomington and thus deep in the reserves your cute little story you’re indirectly mocking the names you so wanted to be Hoosiers.

  27. We broke the losing streak against Wisconsin…

    Why was it really so shocking? Why was there such little faith? If you step onto the court without conviction, you will lose. Talent is the lumber to build your bridge. Conviction is the hammer. The nail rests in balance and box without a care in the world until your heart, determination, and belief pounds it otherwise.

    Do your team a favor and believe in them now. It’s next Sunday they play with timber of varied strength and some quality lumber named Vonleh. It is selling today to talk of what he’ll build in the NBA and when he’ll go to the NBA. It’s stealing the ‘nails of balance’ from all the rest of lumber that needs his conviction today. It’s sets his determination on a different course in search of a shorter bridge to build. It’s a disgrace to the game and the beauty of what can be built together..(even with tiny 2×4 studs like Jonny Marlin)across a river thought too wide.

  28. College basketball….It doesn’t need laminated wood. It doesn’t need shortcuts and steel bolts that can prove how quickly to get to the NBA’s other side. We need belief, conviction, and heart.

  29. Not the worst offense in college basketball… The worst “half court” offense.

    The rest of your response is classic. I wasn’t sure what a good job I had done until you responded, but now I can see I was spot on.

    Really though, I was only trying to get a chortle out of HC… Soooo mission accomplished.

  30. Geoff. Seems as if every game the TV guy says the same thing. IU has no effective half court offense. But, seems as if every game, every team I watch goes the same way. Around the parameter, throw it in, back out and shot a 3. Ohio State last night, what’s-his-name stands for 5 seconds, bounce the ball twice and than shoots a 3. Or somebody gets a lay-up. Just seems to my uneducated eye that IU is doing what everybody else is doing – Just keep missing and not getting the points. Seems as if their offensive plan is a step above last year and the endless back court weave..?

  31. Other than Dan Dakich, I’ve heard no TV guy make such remarks about our half court offense. This is the beginnings of backlash against Tom Crean. Now they see their opening. They’re very slow and careful….some may even say slithery.

    Williams shut Dakich up.

  32. I guess I’m naive…I was astounded when Dustin said Seltzer was probably most responsible for bringing in the talent from the East. Does that mean Seltzer discovered Oladipo?

  33. Most teams I watch seem to have some movement and system on offense. There are generally rules, based on spacing, or position, or timing, or sometimes match-ups. Even last year, as bad as the weave was, at least there was motion. I have seen a repeated lack of anything resembling a purpose. The majority of time is spent with 4 players standing still outside of the 3 point line, and then Noah trying to figure out if he’s going to get shrugged off and then go find Yogi to ball-screen.

    I wish this were hyperbole, but it simply isn’t. The only “rules” I’ve been able to observe seem to be if a guy dribbles at you either come for a handoff or cut back door, and if you don’t get the ball in the post go set a ball screen. Crean still makes the most elementary mistakes in spacing, especially around post play… There are so many times in the last 3 years when we’ve had the best post player on the floor, a wing in good position to make an entry, and some player hanging out in the ball-side corner with his defender playing halfway and preventing us from going to our strength inside.

    Anyway, this year I am just trying to say as little as possible and stay patient for next year. While its maddening to watch such brutal offense, if I just remind myself it’s part of a process, then I can enjoy watching our youth try to figure things out.

  34. I don’t know if this will be acceptable to Scoop’s PG-13 standards, but jumping to the 00:56 mark of the following clip thoroughly explains the churn.

  35. Harv, I love this newfound optimism, but I’m going to go the coward route and split the difference. I give it a 50/50 shot we make the Dance. I continue to see improvement, even in a loss. We’re beginning to make the extra pass– next step is to avoid dribbling back into trouble after we get that pass. That would go a long way in avoiding those disastrous scoring droughts we all to often put ourselves in. We’re putting it together bit by bit, and that bodes well for our chances down the stretch. But we’re still prone to collapse at crucial times when we’re in position to put the the game away. There’s still time to correct all that and convince the selection committee we belong, but as so many have said– there is very, very little room for error.

    Crucial stretch coming up. We have a series of games against up-and-down teams and we should be able to win at least five of the next seven heading into Madison. That obviously puts us in good position with a maturing, surging ball club. But it assumes we don’t suffer a repeat of Northwestern, which is just as likely as any other scenario. I’ll remain cautiously optimistic for now.

    Geoff, you know I’m the first to admit I don’t have the savviest of basketball minds as far as play calling and ball movement is concerned. You’re far better at diagnosing that stuff than I. In my playing days– which didn’t go beyond high school frosh hoops–I was Geoff Howard. Tall and relatively unathletic, I rebounded and defended and left the rest to the skill players. Probably half of my points came on put backs. Approximately 3% of our offense went through me, and if for some reason I did find myself with the ball outside the paint, I handed it off to someone far more qualified to execute a play. Probably my finest basket was a beautiful, Jordanesque fadeaway for which I was promptly benched for not knowing my role and going up strong. So I never fully developed an understanding of how organized (vs playground) basketball was played outside of my small little world under the basket.

    All that being said, I can’t say I agree with you about the worst half-court offense in America hyperbole. Does it get stagnant at times? Yes. Sloppy? Absolutely. Do we have a plethora of guys who can be trusted and/or have the confidence to consistently put the ball in the hoop? Nope. At least not yet. I’ll agree that we’re probably a below average offensive team– particularly when you adjust for athleticism. But there aren’t 300+ teams that execute better than we do. I don’t even think there are 25 ranked teams that do. Kentucky? They have several elite athletes and their offense is still mostly hand it to Randle down low or let Young, Poythress, or he Harrison boys create their own shot. Same with OSU and Ross. Or Illinois and Rice. Almost all high level basketball is organized chaos these days, which is probably painful to watch for true connoisseurs of the game. But the reality is, our offensive system is no less “let the playmakers make plays while the role players create space” than countless other teams across the country. So far, we haven’t made them as often as we need to. But that’s far different from saying we’re the worst in America. If I had any credibility, I’d say that you’ve lost all credibility…

  36. I agree with the “crucial stretch” coming up…I also agree with most everything else.

    Often, great defense creates better offense(not necessarily half court). Last year’s team had one of the best defenders in the game. We also had a superb trailing forward that could hit the 3-pointer in transition. We also had a superb shooting guard that never really did fully benefit from a point guard that could also shoot the ball. Nonetheless, the team had many more offensive opportunities and experienced outside threats that had secured their roles on the team and understood their strengths.

    Hitting shots cures a lot of ills…Creating more turnovers would also do wonders. I truly believe it’s going to come together. It’s mostly a function of confidence and chemistry.

    I think you’re assessment is very on target. Dawson(out 4-5 weeks0 and Payne(still coming off ankle injury and questionable)for MSU..Michigan team that’s been successful and riding some great play from Stauskas…But the loss of McGary is going to eventually hurt their prospects. The Big 10 is wide open…(especially in the middle of the standings).

    There is no way in hell it makes sense to write off the season while only 1/3 into the campaign. So, maybe it is a very immaturely developed and inefficient half court offense…But is it enough to conclude this a season already scratched off the books? I simply don’t buy it…and I don’t adhere to a belief that this team is defunct because it’s some sort of ‘bridge year.’

  37. And we’re currently one of the best free throw shooting teams in the conference. That, in itself, leaves a lot of room for hope. We’ve missed some layups and we’re not always going to get the calls(especially on the road) when going to the hoop, but is it necessarily a worse strategy than an inside-outside game in the absence of deadly 3-point shooters not playing at the point guard position?

    And if you can hit foul shots, you’ll eventually start finding the jumper. These guys aren’t a sea of Tom Pritchards…They will start falling. They all have decent form, balance, and release. Even Howard looks very secure from the stripe. We can win a lot of games from the foul line. I have no problem with continuing to take it hard to the glass….even if it involves some one-on-one play. Vonleh, Hollowell, Davis…all have very good instincts going to the offensive glass.

  38. I think Dawson being out actually hurts us, though. After being swept, we can close the gap on MSU, but it’s irrational think we can pass them. We’d benefit more if MSU could continue beating the teams we can surpass. A Big Ten title is probably out of reach, but a dominant MSU means more losses for the Iowa/OSU/Michigan/Minnesota/Purdues of the conference, clogs up the middle of the pack, and gives us a better chance for that top five or six finish we’ll likely need to secure a spot.

    Like it or not, we probably all have to be a Spartan fan of sorts going forward.

  39. I think the middle of the conference will still be plenty clogged..Some teams may get a false sense of security going against a weakened MSU. It’s their backcourt that separates them from everyone else. And if Payne gets healthy, they’ll still be a force. Teams often rally around injuries and play more sound basketball.

    And we still may see MSU again in the Big 10 tournament…Will Dawson be back by then? Will he be confident, as strong with the ball, and have good touch on his shots? And will inserting him back in the lineup mess with the chemistry that developed in his absence?

    Illnois is in even more desperation mode…They narrowly missed getting the upset @ OSU and we can’t take them lightly. Tomorrow is a crucial game…We can start moving near .500 with a victory. Illinois nearly buries their hopes with a loss. Big, big game…

  40. Purdue game, Florida Gators & the Rolex 24. Need more TV’s. And the Gators are looking Final Four good.

  41. Iowa moved to 5-2 today(win @Northwestern), but look at their next four:

    Michigan St.
    @Illinois
    Ohio St.
    Michigan

    Then they have @Indiana two weeks after Michigan. Brutal. They’ll have to play their a$$es off to be .500 in 3 weeks.

  42. If there were chaos, at least that would imply movement. Go back and watch the first five minutes of the MSU game. Tell me how many screens and cuts you see. There is no motion…. No movement other than the person with the ball and sometimes the person who he’s dribbling at or Vonleh. I don’t need Knights perfect motion offense, or the sound execution and solid screening of Wiscy, but at least give me a flex or something.

    Lots of people complain about dribbling into trouble spots… Well the reason it happens so often is because defenders don’t have to do anything except sit in driving lanes with active hands. They don’t have to work though screens or chase their man. For the most part they don’t have to worry about their guy until he gets the ball or a shot goes up.

    I distinctly remember a possession last game where Stan brought up the ball, but the defense retreated well, so he handed it off to Yogi about 15′ above the elbow…. He then ran about 10′ away and then promptly turned around and grabbed the ball back from Yogi…. Yogi then ran 10′ away and then abruptly turned around and ran to grab the ball back from Stan… Meanwhile no one else did anything…. No cutting or screening or anything…. The ball literally never moved…. By the time yogi had the ball in the same exact spot for the second time there was about 15 seconds on the shot clock and I believe Noah scrambled up and set a ball screen…. And of course nothing good came of it.

    Punjab, I’m seriously dumbfounded (cue the gallery)… Please tell me what you think 5-on-0 offense looks like in practice.

  43. Let me first qualify this by saying I wouldn’t recognize a motion offense if it slapped me in the face. And I’ve already stated that I believe that the current version of our half-court offense looks below average at best, even to my untrained eye. What were the words I used? Stagnant. At times. Maybe even most times. Nobody is accusing IU of running a terribly efficient offense right now. But to use the first five minutes of a game to make a point — while omitting the other 7/8 of the game– is hardly conclusive evidence that we’re the worst in America. And it doesn’t help that our lack of shooters also contributes to a defense being able to sag back and clog the lanes. To point out the obvious, better shooting would make our whole system look a lot better, and allow it to function in the way it was designed to. But right now we don’t have it, and our guys (coach included!) are still learning/figuring out how to compensate. Hopefully the entire offense continues to develop. Until then, we have to rely on transition and free-throws to keep us afloat.

    Geoff, I’m not going to get into a battle of basketball wits here. I’ll lose. And I’m not going to argue that we don’t have 3-4 guys standing around way, way too often. But I have seen spurts of us running a much crisper set of late, and I’ve seen it more frequently. Hollowell’s increased off-ball activity especially stood out to me vs MSU. Troy got a lot more active as the game went on, too (side note: what irks the ever-loving you-know-what out of me is that he tends to lurk on the perimeter, waiting for that SC highlight moment to present itself rather than making the routine plays to help his team. Then gets nailed with a T for showboating when it does happen. But I digress…)

    I guess my point is, there’s a subtle but powerful difference between running plays, and making them. Crean recruits guys for the latter. That’s just his style. And frankly, aside from the occasional Milans and Butlers of the world who execute their way into being a contender, the overwhelming majority of Championship teams are built that same way. That may be nauseating to basketball purists and guys who, however progressive a basketball mind they may be, will always see things through the eyes of a point guard. I myself would love to see more underdogs beat the bigger, stronger, faster boys by simply player harder, better basketball. But it usually won’t happen. Athleticism usually wins out. That’s just the way it is. Wave of the future, dude. In the mean time, we have to grin and bear it while our collection of athletes learns how to play as a

  44. …team.

    BTW, I trust you know I was kidding about the credibility nonsense. I think you have a great mind for many things and we see most eye to eye. I just thought that “lost all credibility” stuff was a laughable thread a couple of weeks back, and I gave myself a chuckle that just so happened to be at your expense. No offense, my friend. (Just like the Hoosiers!) Cheers.

  45. Punjab-

    Don’t sell yourself so short…Those were all excellent observations.

    And lets not forget that what you learn or not learn at the high school level has an influence in how much each individual talent needs to learn new good habits and unlearn some possible detrimental habits/ideas that their sole athleticism is going to keep working at a higher competitive level.

    Say what you want about the unfairness of the disposed one class basketball system in Indiana…I tend to think teams learned to play as teams when they needed to make up some of those differences in depth and the advantageous of numbers that allowed for higher levels of pure athleticism and raw talent in larger schools. Yet, a couple very talented players and a great understanding of sharing the ball and running crisp offense, could get an underdog pretty deep into a state tournament.

    Maybe the lumping of elite talent in academies and the club atmosphere of AAU squads catering to the best of the best, has destroyed the element of unselfish play and sharing the ball. Does it perpetuate the even playing field and styles of more selfish play(e.g. dribble drive and do all your own shot creating)because you already have been convinced success is attributed to what you bring to the table more than the unheralded kid that does all the so-called “little things” on the floor?

    So, maybe a coach has a considerable amount of retooling/reteaching and some changing of mindsets that offense is just not a product of “me?”

    Can there be geographical and cultural influences on how kids view the game?

  46. And, obviously, much of that can be said of ‘defensive’ play as well. How many squads often have great individual defenders but can still be weak at communicating and overall team and helping defense?

  47. You’re a measured dude Punjab, so I took no offense…

    Your thoughts in post #56 are why I’m trying to say as little as possible this year. Because as ugly as it is to me, I understand Crean’s vision… Or at least I thought I did. I think it will come together next year with the maturity of our current crew and the addition of Blackmon. The one issue I have is that we haven’t really worked towards a “style” or “brand” of basketball… As Harvard has ridiculed me for over and over, I see this as a bridge year, and what I was sorta hoping was that we’d use our athletes to create a lot of chaos and pressure, gradually wearing the opponent down. I, for one, was willing to take some lumps to create an exciting and eventually overwhelming, style of basketball. Instead it seems to be vanilla on both ends. I don’t see the current philosophy I’m witnessing attracting great talent (I think “IU” can still attract great talent, and Crean’s clearly talented in a living room). I’m still wait-and-see, but I’m a tad disappointed, and a less confident it will go as I’d envisioned over the next few years.

  48. In a couple more years you can just call it a “bridge decade.”

    I’m not ridiculing your ideas, Geoff. I’m laughing at your excuses. There is never going to be the ideal. We have players on this roster that were highly anticipated at bringing everything we were lacking the last couple years. Now the ‘bridge’ is hinging on Blackmon? Now the ‘bridge’ is going to collapse because Crean’s not doing enough to enhance a style of play that will buy him enough time until the next ‘savior’ recruit comes to town?

    Crean’s bridge has plenty of structure that he is solely responsible…It has plenty of talent combined with a solid point guard and post player that is gobbling up Freshman of the Week awards..It has senior leadership and a versatile talent in Will Sheehey.

    It’s time to put up, shut up, or jump off of it. It is time for this team to own its weaknesses with its strengths and decide what they want to leave as their mark on one year they may never get back.

    There is no certainty in tomorrow. Landon Turner could sadly and inspiringly explain. Scott May could explain the bridge of a wrist getting broken in ’75. Maurice Creek met a bridge three months after scoring 30 points against UK.

    What good is a bridge for Will Sheehey right now?

    There is high level talent coming in..But there is always the prospect of high level talent leaving early. Chaos is always present in coaching and if you continue to position your thoughts as some crucial element from your team missing as a reason for substandard results, then I don’t know why you’re in coaching.

    You should be coaching to surprise yourself. You should be coaching to instill belief in the talent you have as being irreplaceable and unique. You coach above the parts to make a stronger bond. You play smarter and defend. You relish the fact Vitale, Bilas, and Digger give now mention of Hoosiers anywhere in the race this season. You feed off the lack of respect and those that say the team can’t shoot the ball. And your leader should be coaching to spit in the face of ‘ideals’ never present and to make something special of what he’s been blessed where others see what he still lacks.

    The season is young. Once you hit Key West, there’s no more bridges, just an island. It’s not like our skipper still can’t get it done with the crew on board. It’s a solid crew…We’ve just hit a little storm.

  49. My first duty station was Nellis AFB in Las Vegas. I didn’t gamble a whole lot, but I played a lot of $10-20 amateur poker games. I was decent– probably came out ahead when all is said and done. Played two casino tournaments. Won some money at my first with an unbelievable string of successful bluffs and lucky catches. Lost big on my second try when someone else caught the breaks. And after a young Punjab was unceremoniously bounced, an older gentleman whose name now escapes me told me– as I’m sure he’s told a thousand other chumps like me since then… And you’ve probably heard yourself– that you’ll always remember more losing hands than winners. So true.

    Another poignant moment for me was when, after a particularly bad practice, my JV baseball coach told me that it’s when the coach stops yelling at you that you need to worry. Heard several variations of that since then, may have even used it a few times, but it rings true.

    I say all this because, as Geoff said, we’re in the midst of rooting for a team still looking for an identity. I’m as surprised as anybody that we didn’t start from the outset pressing and creating chaos on defense. With our personnel it could’ve (should’ve?) been very effective. But it’s failed us almost every time. Same with our zone. I’ve since been on record stating I hope we don’t see them again this year, but I’ve secretly hoped that we’ve been working on it every day in practice and are now ready to unleash. And… they become our identity. Half-court offensive play a bonus. Just be bastards on the defensive end and let the rest take care of itself. But no.

    Maybe I’m overstating the failures. Maybe I’m “misremembering” the success rate. But we have guys that are ready to pounce that don’t seem to know when to do so. Let them pounce. If they make mistakes, so be it. But let them go down fighting…(without dribbling into the strength of the defense…) and let them prove themselves. Our focus should be tenacity on defense, spacing on offense, and for goodness’ sake take the shot when it’s open. Don’t dribble. Have some confidence; that’s why you’re out there. Marlin, Etherington, Hartman, Hollowell, Williams… I’m talking to you. Don’t chuck up shots, but when your coach has brought in multiple top ten recruiting classes, it means that he can win with you, and we believe in you. If you miss, have faith that we can rebound, and if not get back and play your ass off on defense.

    I believe you can achieve greatness. But you’ll fail so long as you’re tentative and don’t play as a team. Attack. And make us proud.

  50. Can you coach my Olympic hockey team?

    And here’s the final stats…

    Punjab Details Post #62
    * 462 Words
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    * Sentences 36
    * Paragraphs 6
    * Avg. Sentence (words) 13
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    * 22 points off melancholic turnovers

    Harvard Details Post #61

    * 429 Words
    * 2351 Characters
    * 1933 Characters (no spaces)
    * Sentences 27
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    * Avg. Sentence (words) 16
    * Avg. Sentence (chars) 88
    * 32 Deflections on off-topic possessions

  51. 1700 Keys to Victory:

    Bridges

    There are 42 bridges connecting the islands of the Florida Keys. The longest is the famous Seven-mile Bridge, which is 35,716 feet long. The shortest is Harris Gap, which is only 37 feet long. The Overseas Highway is comprised of 18.8 miles of bridges – 15% of total travel time in the Keys is spent on bridges!

    Three of the Keys bridges have been named National Historic Sites – old Seven Mile, Bahia Honda and Long Key.

  52. Michigan still winning…Sometimes you don’t have to play to be a bridge…I dedicate Michigan’s success and a song to Mitch. Did anyone catch the ESPN camera getting a shot of McGary during the game right after Stauskas buried a triple in the first half…? The jubilation in his face was just incredible..That damn kid is so in the moment…So positive and happy for his teammates. Sure doesn’t look like a young man worried about the possible millions he missed out. And though his back is in repair, his spirit is a sturdy bridge like no other. And here’s the song

  53. Dammit, Harv. I was all set to go to bed, and you reminded me that I didn’t answer your great question. There are absolutely differences. I stand torn. My frosh team went on to win the last single state title as seniors without me. Don’t even lament it as I would have likely played the same role from the bench as I did from the stands. (Would’ve been cool to get a RB or two in the state finals, though…). But I feel bad for Eastern Greene, who would’ve challenged for the 2A title had it existed that year. They had some great players and gave us fits. But they just didn’t have enough. You can only expect so much with a school of 200 students.

    The difference then, is that Eastern Greene– and almost every school like it– was playing for a Sectional title. They had no delusions of a State championship. Everything beyond sectional was gravy. As with almost every small school, win the Sectional and you’re local legend. Union (Dugger, with future Iowa PG Brody Boyles) broke through against some big schools, made the regional, and it was monumental for the community. My grandparents retired there a few years ago and I can still talk about it with the locals. That’s the romance a single tourney has to offer. But I’ve also witnessed and tried to talk about the Lady Cardinals of Bloomfield, who won a dominant 2A title a mere 20 miles away a year or two later, class divided, and I get quizzical look at the local Dairy Queen if I bring it up. Had Bloomfield beat the Muncie girls in the 1950’s, there might’ve been a movie. But as it stands, even a state title is greeted with a… meh…

  54. Ha. Thanks Fab. It’s posts like my last two rants that prove my mom was right: nothing good ever happens after midnight.

  55. Harvard, I would respond, but it’s pointless. None of what you said accurately portrays my thoughts or opinions. You simply decide to talk about your agenda, like a politician who answers every question with his talking points, regardless of what was actually asked. So it’s fine, but for the record you’re way off for about the 30,456th time in the last year.

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