Hoosier Morning

Indiana was missing James Blackmon Jr. but what the Hoosiers really missed was defense in a loss at Wisconsin, Mike writes.

The old wound of Indiana’s defense had the scab ripped off once again by the Badgers, I wrote.

Kevin Wilson’s latest recruiting class is on par with previous ones, maybe better, Mike writes.

Wisconsin won a battle of contrasting styles, a style the Badgers could sustain and the Hoosiers could not, Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes.

The gap is still quite wide between league leader Wisconsin and Indiana, Zach Osterman of the Indianapolis Star writes.

Frank Kaminsky led Wisconsin’s offensive onnslaught against overmatched Indiana, Jim Polzin of the Wisconsin State Journal writes.

In the big picture, IU still controls its own destiny despite the loss at Wisconsin, Sam Beishuizen of the Indiana Daily Student writes.

The Hoosiers’ struggles continued, but they have to move on quickly from an embarrassing loss at Wisconsin, Casey Krajewski of the Indiana Daily Student writes.

Dan Dakich is controversial and opinionated as a radio show host, and not being the head coach at Indiana might be the best thing that happened to him, Keith Roach of Indianapolis Monthly writes.

Former Hoosier Randy Wittman understands the NBA grind, but he wants his players to give all-out effort, not pace themselves, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post writes.

Since I was talking wounds, let’s go with “Wounded Bird” by The Black Crowes live on David Letterman.


  1. You know, Disney just laid off something like 300 IT’s. Maybe one of them could match the “It’s Indiana” topic to the appropriate website? And Mr. Walker may be really old, I have no idea, but clicking on his latest comment takes me to the archives. With no-match of course.

  2. I read that entire Dakich article. Surprisingly, it is a heck of a piece. It has made me come around on him, but regardless of your opinion of him, there is a lot of good stuff in there for all Hoosier fans.

    So, there is an interesting part where they talk about him taking over for Sampson. After going 3 – 1 something that no one has ever talked about supposedly happened and it ripped the team apart:

    “Dakich won’t explain what happened next—he’s vowed never to say—but while he was away on a recruiting trip, something personal transpired among the players that left the team hopelessly divided. They gave up on one another, and Dakich lost them for good. “I don’t care if you brought John Wooden in there,” he says. “It was done.” The Hoosiers didn’t win another game.

    Wow. That’s kind of explosive. This eludes to something way beyond EJ’s comments a couple years ago about guys smoking too much weed. Does anyone have any idea what happened?

  3. I’ve never believed Dakich to be a shepherd for Indiana…I could care less about his secrets.. Maybe half the team was doing LSD….which would be fine if they were part of the billionaire’s club working as software developers in the Silicon Valley.. Dakich will forever be the coach left at the alter…Good for him for reinventing himself….As a coach he had absolutely zero “it factor.” I wish we had a coach that could shut Dakich up by mere silence held in solid credentials, authenticity, and expertise at the game.. Dakich can get away with his loose idiotic tongue because we have a current basketball coach that garners nothing of respect from fellow coaches around the league. Under those conditions, what ex-bozo can’t sound like he’s in full understanding of all the inner workings at Indiana…..Dan is always “in the know.” Unfortunately, acting the expert doesn’t make you one…nor make you a quality coach(even if you played for one of the best).

  4. I also(painfully and regrettably) read the Indianapolis Monthly article in its entirety surveying the career and life of the Queen of the Candy-stripes that Stopped MJ…..It read like an encyclopedia page…There was no rhythm and flow….The piece felt like cookie cutter journalism… If Dan was going to have someone write his eulogy to date, it would have been nice if he could have found a journalist that didn’t write like Dakich played hoops. Let’s just say that this was a piece of writing craft that could have stopped Jordan….It’s a product of the moment and it’s importance is monumental to a very small sample set. 99/100 times Jordan would get his average or higher against Dan…Nobody would have cared who was guarding him anymore than the anomaly of the guy that was assigned to stay glued to his navel during an off night…

    It would have been far more interesting to read about some unheralded high school baller(maybe a kid like a Sampson thug that never went on to college or ended up in jail…Nonetheless, just one hell of a talented baller from “the Region”…Maybe a kid from East Chicago Washington, etc), that Dan had to guard in high school and couldn’t stop…..I want to hear about the nobody he couldn’t guard rather than the inflated story of nothingness that repeatedly beats the dead horse. Anyway, Jordan gets his ass mentioned enough….Dakich should try to go down to NC and stop him again….Talk some sense into MJ…Ask him why in the hell he keeps picking Indiana kids in an attempt to build a winning NBA team…”Mike, just because a slow white kid from Indiana can hold you under 20 when you’re off your game….doesn’t make the slow white Hoosier you’re picking as an owner on draft night the next Bill Russell…..We had a phenomenal coach back then…It was the college game…It was many, many years ago….We ran around in short shorts…You set picks…We all played defense…My teammates helped denying the ball getting to you as much as I denied you once it was in your hands…And you were still developing a game that could play at the next level…My game was level and soon to be like a soapbox car rolling fast down a hill….My point…? You want to win at Charlotte..? If you want to win at the NBA level, go afer bigs from Kentucky….Don’t draft the guy that’s just a big version of me! Don’t get the stud that can stop you once a week but offensively forever remains clumsy and meek….You were one of the best to ever play the game…But as an owner..you’re no Dan Dakich as a radio host.”

  5. I remember a NCAA tournament game in the early 80’s. It was Indiana vrs. Virginia. It was late in the game and IU had a one point lead and the ball.Dakich was bringing the ball up the court and he got his pocket picked. Virginia won. When he is blabbering on the radio does he ever talk about that?

  6. so I don’t have a subscription to HT and I can’t read those top 2 articles… I know that sometimes headlines can be deceiving, so I won’t pass too much judgement. Here is what I will say – those 2 headlines are not accurate. Not sure if it is a slight lack of understanding or if it’s laziness, and Jeremy I feel bad accusing you of either one, but “defense” was not the problem against UW. It’s easy to look at the number of points scored and the FG% and just assume that IU played poor defense. If you look closely though and break it down then you’d see the elements of very good defense, but a team that was overwhelmed. Personnel was the issue… Size was the issue… To a certain extent, stamina was an issue… but to say “defense” was the issue is just off base.

    Defense has a lot to do with positioning and scheme. IU based on it’s personnel actually had a good scheme going into the game – it was basically a match-up zone… they simply switched everything, and strategically had certain players playing post defense. IU players, for the vast majority of each possession were positioned correctly – they weren’t continuously breaking down and just handing UW opportunities like they did in the Louisville game.

    Defense has a lot to do with communication and heart. Honestly, I thought that was the best communication I’ve seen from an IU team under Crean. Definitely the best communication this year. Players were constantly pointing and talking and helping each other out as all the switching was happening. It was actually really great to watch and something that the team can build on going forward. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen players work as hard in the post as Yogi, Emmitt, and Colin did the other night. Just battling to do their best to deny post feeds and fighting after the catch to not give ground.

    Here’s the thing though… at some point you just have to admit the other team is too good. UW was too big inside and there was only so much that our fight and positioning could do to keep them from scoring. UW was patient, knowing that if they didn’t settle for bad shots they could eventually get almost anything they wanted. All they had to do was find a mismatch, wait for help to come and then move the ball one pass ahead of the defense passing down good shots to get a great one… It was actually beautiful to watch. It was completely efficient offensive basketball that, based on IU’s personnel they could really do nothing about.

    If you want to remember what bad defense looks like go back and watch the UL game. No talk… constantly flying at jump shooters… losing discipline in rebounding positioning… not paying attention to where the best players on the floor were… constant ball watching.

    None of those thing were an issue on Tuesday. They were very disciplined. They had great communication. They helped each other to the best of their abilities. They rebounded well when there were rebounds to be had. Sure there were a couple of glaring examples of breakdowns where guys went for steals or closed out poorly and led UW to the basket for dunks or layups, but I can count those on one hand… they just stood out because they had loud endings, but it wasn’t a constant problem.

    The problem was UW’s size, skill, and discipline on offense. No matter what we did right it was simply too much to overcome on that night.

    1. Geoff,
      I think you make a good point overall, which I think we recognized in the articles, in spite of my teaser lines. Others who read them can speak to what they took away, but I felt like Mike focused on Blackmon’s absence, it’s impact and the fact Blackmon couldn’t have made up for Indiana’s inability to stop Wisconsin. As for my story, here’s a line: The difference from the Ohio State game a week and a half ago was that this time the Hoosiers’ deficiencies were less about effort or focus and more about just simply not being good enough.

  7. It’s not very difficult to play the apologist in the “simply not good enough against Wisconsin” argument when considering this is not anything close to the team Tom Crean should have on the floor this year(based on his recruiting and pretty reasonable expectations of NBA aspirations for certain recruits).

    a) Davis was to be the banging/power forward complement to Hartman’s more dangerous outside game.
    b) Fischer backed up by Hanner, backed up by Holt, was closer to the vision/expectation of our inside presence and inside versatility/depth…Any developing and evolving combinations of Fischer/Holt or Fischer/Hanner against teams with strong to great post players would have left our cupboard a lot less empty…
    c) Transfers and injuries happen, but the timing of Fischer’s departure and the devastating events leading to Davis possibly never stepping on a basketball court again, are pretty impossible to anticipate…We still may not have been an experienced Wisconsin, but this “defeatist” attitude on the talent side of the equation doesn’t hold water if Crean puts on the floor the team we should have had this season.
    d) When you’re built primarily for perimeter shooting and transition, the loss of Davis and Fischer becomes the breaking ice on an already very thin wide lake….
    e). Add in Hanner’s recent injury….In a vacuum, it doesn’t look like an integral piece of the puzzle that should make our team extra thin…But it’s not in the vacuum of such evaluations of only Hanner’s ability and transformation…Without Fischer and Davis, even a healthy Hanner playing at a level we all know he possesses in raw ability, the paint and baselines and backdoor plays remain severely exposed without the inside savvy and awareness that Davis and Fischer could have offered in covering the flank of some of his weaknesses..
    f) Holt has done a marvelous job, but he also plays the inside on very thin ice…We have 15 less fouls to give on the inside by simply not having Davis, Fischer, and Hanner. Without even giving an ounce of credit to the varying skills and help via communication on defense, just the mere absence of bodies and fouls makes any remaining inside player buried in burden of expectations that Bill Walton couldn’t live up to.
    g) Vonleh….He wasn’t ready for the NBA in any manner whatsoever….He came to IU earlier than he needed to and he left earlier than most with any reasonable point of view would have expected…If Zeller was a 2-year talent, then I don’t know how in the hell Vonleh becomes a one-and-done.

    Hanner, Fischer, Vonleh, Davis, Holt, Hartman. That’s the inside game we would have had without much the bizarre, tragic, rarely anticipated, and impossible to adjust …And, much as any detractor of Crean as any could fairly and willingly admit when blabbering of being out-shined against mighty Bo Ryan and his glorious Badgers, this team is not thin by design…It’s thin on the inside by mostly misfortune, homesickness, and egos that boarded an NBA bus when nowhere near ready.

    Bottom Line: Defeatism on the talent side of this team just isn’t fair…I’m not going to claim Crean is deserving of the ‘Coach of the Year,’ but he envisioned and planned for a very good basketball team…Without some very poor luck(albeit the chance you take when stacking a team deep in talented guards and a highlight reel wing with NBA skills), this is a potential Final Four team…Could he have managed it to perfection even if by his design all the parts in place? Debate away…But be honest and be truthful…Hanner or Holt on an island of thin ice in such evaluations is not fair.

  8. And to even begin to imagine a team with Cody Zeller(senior), Vonleh(sophomore), Hanner(juinor), Fischer(sophomore), Davis(sophomore), and Holt(freshman)…..?

    Ralph Sampson stayed in college for four years….I understand…Different era…different drive of a player that wanted a banner and the brotherhood of loyalty to teammates more than anything in the world for his Virginia team…But is it such a disgusting thought to think there is still room in this day for such a player…? Is it so farfetched to think of a Cody Zeller living outside the norm of the luring “me world” in sports and think of the possibles if he loves the college experience and the Indiana experience enough to stay in candy-stripes for 4 years…? How “homesick” is Fischer’s missing the love his mommy and daddy if he’s playing next to Cody Zeller? How much PT does Noah get as a freshman if Cody and Fischer are taking much of his minutes? Does the NBA become the same driving force behind his quick mission to leave when his Hoosier team is stacked with inside help/dominance?

    All it took was for Cody Zeller to be something of a Ralph Sampson saying no to the sexy life of fast money instead of unmatched memories….Crean could have been finally given his validation….It’s hard to imagine we would have been stopped.. We all bet the farm on Cody being somehow different in his dreams for Indiana and the coach that risked so much his own skin on the very thin likelihood that staying at Indiana was personal….The bitch-slappings from Wisconsin while Cody was being recruited..? I had this fantasy that it was becoming deeply personal…I had this fantasy that this might just be the guy that will take it to the level of being 4-years in candy-stripes personal…..The floodgates opened when Cody signed on the dotted line to be a Hoosier….And the moment he left after only two years of building around such massive floodgates, the fantasy died along with the heart of any “elite” longshot based on a kid that was different left only in a dream.

    It’s not Tom Crean that let Indiana down….It’s Indiana and something that died in the soul of those Hoosier banners that no longer speak to young dreamers that let Tom Crean down.

  9. Thank you Goeff….You identified the effort many of us refuse to see.. I have a very bad habit of not seeing the dream that Crean was attempting to rekindle in the hearts of Hoosiers….It’s easy to live in the downtrodden world of defeatism and negative choices…I do it far to much. It’s often just a product of giving up on my own dreams…To belittle is simple when not the dreamer….To only see weakness when not acknowledging effort is the world of coward. I don’t like myself very much when I go there…I still have some fight…and I’ll fight for Indiana when she calls.

  10. I’m tellin’ ya…..these little gems are just scattered all about the country….

    Prep at Warsaw HS: Finished runner-up for 2011 Indiana Mr. Basketball… Ended his prep career with 1,891 career points, the second-most in school history behind Missouri State’s Kevin Ault (2,028)…During his senior season, averaged 27.2 points, 4.7 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game…A three-star recruit by Rivals.com…As a junior, led the Tigers to a 23-3 record and a berth in the state championship game…Averaged nearly 21 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals per game…Three-time Warsaw Times-Union Player of the Year…First team all-state selection in 2011 and named second team in 2010…A two-time all-conference selection…Participated in the 2011 Indiana vs. Kentucky All-Star Classic…Coached by Doug Ogle.

    That would be #11, Nic Moore of SMU…..

    Just catching of few minutes of SMU vs Cincinnati….Bob Knight serving a guest commentator for ESPN’s “Showcase” game….Nic Moore goes to the charity stripe and Bobby can’t help but mentioning(repeatedly) just what a beautiful release and stroke demonstrated by the kid from Winona Lake(Warsaw H.S.), Indiana….Indiana gems all over this country. Larry Brown found one…And Bobby is on his game tonight as well…Bob and Dakich: The pride of ESPN…And who is the gorgeous woman(probably in her late thirties) sitting behind Knight….Wow..movie actress looks and really well-dressed… Geoff, you seem to know a lot of nice looking women…Any ideas? Did you catch a glimpse before the start of the second half? Larry Brown’s wife?

  11. Harvard, there’s a reason why, when it comes to ’roundball’ you’re the guru and resident King (capitalized K deliberate) of this site. Sometimes, you out do yourself, as in #s 8& 10. They should both be preserved in bronze and given to Jeremy to hang in the HT; while framed copies are sold by the Sports Dept. to some of us who are fans and admire your candor and honesty, including with yourself,

  12. An observation, for what it’s worth (maybe doo-doo). I remember when I first saw the report by Meek (loving handle), thinking “whoaa…way too early to be awarding ‘legend’ status to Blackmon, particularly when he’s still playing ‘D’ like a high school rumor. Even considered the possibility Meek was trying to ‘ingratiate’ himself with a ‘future’ as some sports scribes sometimes do with rising ‘moon’. Here’s hoping at Indian, status is first earned…to be followed by ink.

  13. Harvard you’re going to pull a tongue muscle soon. Too much tongue in cheek baby, people will start to take you seriously. Think about it, they go on the road with Tom Crean: they lose big. They come home, play in Assembly Hall, they hang on, barely, but they do it. They win. The constant: Tom Crean is always with them. The variable: Assembly Hall and those banners, the people who fill the stands and cheer in spite of the incompetence that is bubbling overflowing spreading like a sickness from the sidelines. Indiana never let Indiana down, nor will it ever. Tom Crean is not Indiana and you of all people should know it.

    Michigan comes over. We usually beat Michigan don’t we? We have their number. Now Blart in his statistical wisdom says Indiana has an awesome percentage against ranked teams. Too bad. Michigan is unranked.

    UCLA slowly but steadily climbing up in KenPom rankings. Alford won the Pac-12 tournament last year and might have his team in shape and positioned for a repeat in 4-5 weeks. Has Tom Crean ever won a second game in the B1G tournament in hos seven years here? He got there twice. He lost each time.

  14. B1G tournament wins? Waste of time and energy prior to the Big Dance. It’s a gravy tournament for the B1G conference. Gravy = $$$$.

    H4H. really good points.

  15. Harvard,

    Your post #8 is probably the most insightful one you’ve made on this blog. Congrats!

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