Crean frustrated with lack of free throws

Tom Crean has wrestled with the question for most of the winter.

What can Indiana do to draw more fouls?

“I wish I had an answer for you,” Crean said on his weekly radio show. “I spend the majority of my waking hours trying to figure that out inside of the film.”

On the sideline during games, the IU coach has appeared exasperated at times with the lack of foul calls. Now in the final month of regular season play, Crean is still struggling to understand why whistles are blown during some sequences and not others.

“Maybe this puts me in the minority, I don’t know,” Crean said, “but I truly don’t understand from game to game sometimes what a foul is and what a foul isn’t when it comes to impeding the progress of the dribbler, or when it comes to putting a forearm on somebody when they drive the ball, when it comes to putting two hands on the back on a post-up. I don’t understand all that. I guess because it seems to change from time to time.”

With bigs like Thomas Bryant, De’Ron Davis and Juwan Morgan, Crean called it mind-boggling that his team can’t seem to draw fouls more regularly.

He points to Cody Zeller’s impact in helping IU lead the Big Ten in free throw attempts during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. Between those two seasons, IU averaged 24.4 attempts per game. The Hoosiers aren’t far from that mark this season, averaging 21.4 free throw attempts per contest.

But they’ve also watched their opponents attempt more free throws in seven of the 11 conference games to date. Of late, the number of shots taken and the shooting percentages between IU and its opponents have been relatively close, give or take. With free throws, that hasn’t always been the case.

During Sunday’s loss in Madison, Wisconsin attempted 31 free throws, while IU took 12 shots at the line.

“We’ve just got to continue to look for it and figure out ways,” Crean said. “Getting downhill with great speed — James (Blackmon Jr.) was getting better at that — it’s not the strength it was for last year’s team, but it’s better than what we’re getting rewarded for right now.”

Crean has at least one bold idea for getting more whistles.

“We might get to a point where we go 1-4 low, put everybody down on the baseline,” Crean said. “We might just get to a point where we put everybody over on the side and play one-on-one on the side. People might get bored with it, but we might get more free throws.”


  1. Hard to get a free throw when your team wants to shoot the 3 ball rather than drive to the basket…that and refusal the pump the ball down low…I have been a supporter, but quit complaining and coach, wow!

    1. Get em JPat.

      What the hell happened to the “Live Ticker” Wisconsin thread? No more commenting to be made?

  2. As though we don’t get the call at Simon-Skojdt Assembly Hall. This is what IU Basketball has come to: a Coach who prior to ‘the big game’ is whining for the refs to give us the game (as though they didn’t last time at home!)

    Pathetic. Hard to get behind this team with this type of theatrics.

  3. Yes darling. No dear. Ok sweetheart. I know dear. I am sorry sugar plum. That’s OK sweetie….I notice when to many truthful critical comments are made on live ticker thread they seem to disappear rather quickly….so be nice.

  4. What does IU do that would warrant calling a foul on the other team? They run the weave and then launch a three.

    I am aghast that this isn’t obvious to CTC. This is middle school stuff.

  5. Maybe trying Bryant out at the Center position would be a good Place to start instead of a 3rd guard. With no guards driving the lane ; not only aren’t fouls being committed by opposing teams but NO ONE else is cutting to the basket to receive the possibility of a “feeding pass”.

  6. As Chet alluded to this is an obvious outright and glaring display of the lack of understanding by our Big Ten basketball coach.
    Plus I totally agree with TJ’s point about Bryant. Why the hell even have a big man. If your post player playing guard is such a benefit then eqally so would be a 6’1″ player being in the post. I don’t get it as good big men are such scarce and coveted recruiting targets.

  7. Your brownies would have never come up to temp in our oven….of coaching. Hell, that thing isn’t even self-Creaning…I think the pilot light is out. Nothing preheats. Just unreliable. That “glass” door is never a window to anything rising. I believe it failed again shortly after a final breath of overly intense heat provided to some cupcakes….
    Do you have an outdoor grill? It’s unconventional and unconvectional(hee-hee), but Kansas St. may agree that a Weber grill can give surprisingly decent results. At least they were inventive enough to try…..

  8. As I said a few years back TC marches to the beat of a different drummer. His basketball philosophy is unorthodox to say the least. He lives on another planet. As the years go by fewer and fewer Indiana fans are willing to visit him there.

  9. He lives on another planet.

    Correct. But once in a long (emphasis on long) while his teams are also playing like it. I don’t know but I have this vision that Purdue won’t even know what hit them tomorrow. Then again not sure how that could happen but then I see threes pouring from everywhere and Assembly Hall rocking again and … down goes Purdue… it could happen.

  10. Given the basketball coaching expertise expressed by some of the people on this string, I expect you guys to apply for the job when Crean gets fired.

    Anybody notice that Maryland got beat by PSU last night? I think IU has beaten PSU twice this season. Given all the talent on that team and the fact that Maryland did not win the Outright Big Ten Championship last season, I guess their fans will begin bringing the pitchforks out and demand Turgeon be fired.

  11. I did notice…I also noticed you said “by” PSU rather than “at” PSU. Unlike IU, Maryland will not get to play PSU at home this season. I doubt they would need three overtimes on their home floor.

    The bigger shocker was watching the Illini go up to Evanston and spank the team now our new “Wildcat” rivalry. For God’s sake…The crappy Illini can get it done up there! On the bright side, we took another heartbreaking loss in Evanston against faux UK to fuel our anger in the triple OT demolition of the mighty Nittany Lions at Skjodtland…All is well as we go 1 for 2 against Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom of BIG Hoops.

    Outright Malarkey: Maryland had a much more demanding conference schedule last season….Northwestern(a.k.a. Faux UK) would have won the title if handed our cushy conference schedule so incredibly weighted with bottom tier BIG teams(in unprecedented fashion) and only home games against the historical contenders of the conference. Big thank you to Mr. Delany. It’s nice to know he has our backs….Where did he go to college?

  12. We need Marlin Perkins as our coach….He could tame the Northwestern “Cats” and bottle feed the Nittany Lions….while Jim Fowler (No relation to Dexter) cuts down the nets. Jeremy is probably far too young to remember Marlin…Consult Graham.

    1. At the risk of giving away my age, I remember Marlin Perkins. Wild Kingdom was must-see TV growing up, especially with only getting five or six channels. Never had cable until after college.

  13. I decided to hold my comments on CTC, until after the smoke and fire clears away after the Ohio State game on March 4th and the Big Ten regular schedule is completed and then I will see where the team’s record is after subtracting the early cup cake games from the win column. The passage of time will answer most of the questions.

  14. I decided to hold my comments on CTC,[………]The passage of time will answer most of the questions

    The passage of something from my colon could adequately evaluate CTC.

  15. Why do IU fans now feel it is good to compare IU standards to other teams in big ten…Maryland for example. I expect IU to have their own winning standards. I don’t care about other programs standards or what they do. I want domination by IU men’s basketball program in big ten and own its own pedestal nationally where very few set.

  16. RAM, you are absolutely right. CTC has his own ideas. The thing about that is, lots of people have seemingly amazing new ideas. Some are great. Some are not. Sometimes you come up with Microsoft and sometimes your idea is building the DeLorean.

    The Delorean has some strong points but, at its core, it could not last over the long run and it was not versatile enough to adapt to the unforeseen.

    The current Hoosier philosophy is certainly capable of pulling off some unexpected wins when everything is going just right. Unfortunately, in the real world, everything seldom goes just right.

    IU has extraordinary built in advantages. North Carolina, my home for 30 years, doesn’t have great high school basketball but Duke and UNC find the players, many from Indiana, to routinely be outstanding while Wake Forest, NC State, Charlotte, Davidson, and a host of other schools shine on occasion.

    There’s no reason in the world that Virginia should be able to put better teams on the floor than IU. Or Baylor. Gonzaga? For God’s sake…Gonzaga?

    Fish or cut bait.

  17. I agree…Chet’s post was excellent. This is Indiana. Crean said it himself. Gonzaga? I’ve been to Spokane…Gonzaga?

  18. Chet, you sound like a Yankee baseball fan, who expects the Yankees to win the World Series every year, no matter what. Do you expect IU to be able to “put a better team on the floor” compared to Virginia, or any other team in a major conference, every season? If so, I suggest your expectations are unrealistic, not based on realistic interpretation of the past, and ones that will rarely been satisfied. Bob Knight was not always able to create a better team than Virginia. By your standards, Bob Knight had many “bad” seasons while he coached IU.

    Did IU have a better team than Virginia last season? How about four years ago? And I’ll give you 30 years of reasons why IU is not always going to have a better team than Virginia.

    The “fire-Crean-now” crowd fail to understand that replacing Crean is not going to reverse the damage done to IU basketball’s reputation created by 20 or more years of horrendous mismanagement of IU Athletics and the Men’s basketball program. Like wasting $1 million to buyout a coach’s contract early. The only people who remember IU was once an elite basketball program are now over 50 years old, and not likely to be eligible for a basketball scholarship. In fact, wasting IU’s limited Athletic budget is just as likely to exacerbate the problems that caused IU to fall from the ranks of the elite college basketball programs in the first place. And even if IU does find its next Bob Knight, his teams will not always put a team on the floor that is better than Virginia.

    IU Basketball returning to the same level of elite status we enjoyed during 75 and 76 seasons, and only occasionally thereafter, is a fantasy. Too much damage was done to the program for decades before Crean was hired. And IU simply does not have the money to buy a coaching staff that can resurrect the program to that same elite status. Those coaches are already taken and firmly embedded in their elite basketball programs.

    Can IU find a coach that will be more effective than Crean is right now? Probably, but it’s not a sure thing. And of course, he could turn out to be worse. The question is, do you want IU to waste $1 million and more to find out? I’m already feeling sorry for Crean’s replacement. Given the unrealistic expectations, no matter how good he is, he’s already doomed to disappoint a lot of Hoosier fans.

    1. Why are you taking this so personally? Chet has been one of the measured people around here when it comes to talking about Crean. I have also taken a realistic wait and see approach. After 9 years, I’ve come to the same conclusion about the direction of the Indiana Basketball Program under Tom Crean. Just because I think the program should find different leadership, does not mean that I expect Indiana to be the 75-76 Hoosiers every year.

      I’m simply at odds with you over the fact that I think Indiana can do better than after their first #1 seed since 93, they missed the tourney, then had a 10 and 5 seed with another bubble season this year. I’m at odds with you that peaking in the Swt 16 is a reasonable standard to measure Indiana basketball by. In any given year, anything can happen, but after 9 years, we’ve seen enough to assess whether or not Indiana is going to get any better. Based on diminishing recruiting on a year by year basis, it seems likely that not only can we expect things won’t get better, they may actually get worse.

      No reason to take this so personally. Tom Crean makes $3 mil a year and part of the job description that comes with that exorbitant salary is minimal job security and criticism from those who are fans of the team.

      It is a total strawman to compare ANY team to the 76 Hoosiers.

  19. Podunker..finding a coach who could do better or finding one who can do worse …starts with DEFENSE!!! Coach Crean’s teams have historically been terrible defensively; yet ANY coach on ANY sport will tell you championships are won with defense. The sad part is that , while CTC may be a great recruiter he NEVER gives his teams a chance to win because IU’s defense is like a sieve; add to that their propensity for TO’s and the chances of advancing very far in post season is grim at best. Start playing defense .reducing turnovers and watch the WINS accumulate which will then attract the recruits

  20. OK, Po. Give me some of those reasons why Virginia..or Baylor…or Gonzaga is putting better teams on the floor than Indiana year after year.

  21. Bottom line, Crean isn’t cutting it at IU.
    Season after season piss poor D, with no discernable half court offense and enough TO’s per game to account for 6 quarters of sloppy play.

  22. Double Down, I’m not taking anything personally, and I’m not attacking Chet. I respect Chet for his reasoned comments on this blog. That’s why I was so surprised by his comment posted above. I understand and share everyone’s frustration about this IU basketball team. No one wanted IU to under-achieve this season (accept perhaps those extreme Crean-haters who want him gone no matter what), and there are aspects of teams coached by Crean that have driven me crazy for years. But some of the comments posted of late suggest that this is becoming a feeding frenzy conducted by a few Hoosier fans that have lost their perspective. Like HC saying, “bottom line, Crean isn’t cutting it.” For God’s sake, the man’s team just won the Outright Big Ten Championship less than a year ago? He was named 2016 Big Ten Coach of the Year. Even taking into account Hoosiers’ super-high expectations for basketball, that’s just irrational. It’s ridiculous. Not cutting it? Two Outright Big Ten Championships within four years “is not cutting it”? No matter the reason (graduation of four key veteran players, plus injuries to four of the best six players on this team) and Crean deserves to be fired? Good luck finding any coach who can live up to your expectations. Most likely, some of you good people are going to be frustrated by IU Basketball more many, many years to come.

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