The Morning After: A brief time of sincerity

  • 12/04/2008 8:00 am in

Usually, The Morning After is a combination of the following:

1. Me talking about basketball in a barely informed fashion, including but not limited to offensive sets, efficiency, tempo-free/possession-related statistics, and how irritating it is when people take too many bad shots, or

2. Why the Big Ten Network sucks.

3. Why Player X is incredibly interesting to me, even if that player isn’t particularly effective. Last year: Eli Holman.

You get the idea. Even better if you’re a regular reader, you know the idea. Unfortunately, today’s TMA will not look much like the idea.

Why? Let me tell you about my Wednesday night.

I got off work, which was sort of busy but not too busy (which could describe just about anybody’s work day four times out of five), and I got on the train and went to the store and then to Starbucks and then I walked home. I sat down, got on my computer, approved a bunch of live blog comments, and watched IU play Wake Forest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. I saw a scrappy, well-disciplined, seemingly focused IU team hang on for about 10 minutes or so before getting blown out. I approved some more blog comments. I whined about ESPN a bunch. I ate some pad thai. I approved some more comments, and watched some more basketball, and winced as IU got torn to shreds by a team that was barely even trying, barely even sweating. I approved some more blog comments. And then the game ended.

Somewhere in all that, I got a little bit sad. Not too sad. It’s just basketball, after all. I didn’t get overwhelmingly, crushingly, end-of-Where-The-Red-Fern-Grows sad. Like I said, it was just a little bit. But it was sadness all the same.

What happened? I’m not too sure, but this is what I think. I think I realized, for the first time, just how bad this team could be. I realized that no matter how well-coached this team is, how hard they try, or how much they care, they are going to be inferior in nearly every way to nearly every team they play against, and with few exceptions, they will lose.

It took me a little bit to get there. I knew they would be bad, sure, but how bad? How to gauge it? The first few games, against supposed cupcakes, don’t tell us anything; they’re as useless as preseason football. I didn’t get to see much of Maui, because I was on vacation. I saw scores, but I didn’t see the games, you know? I couldn’t actually witness it with my own two eyes. Last night, I could. I did. And it was way, way worse than I thought.

I know I’m being overdramatic here. It’s bad, but it’s not that bad. There is some talent and potential scattered throughout IU’s lineup. It’s not desolate. But it is bad.

Which is why I’d like to make a humble proposal, both to myself, and to everyone else who made it this far down the page, because I’d imagine you care about this stuff more than you probably should, like me:

Don’t be cynical. Allow yourself a soft spot. Enjoy the means, and not the end.

What do I mean by that? Let’s see if I don’t butcher this analogy.

ESPN is an annoying network. It’s filled with people that irritate me viscerally, with people that attempt to appeal both to the lowest common denominator and to the casual fan, because they know the hardcore people will stay no matter what. This is a place that continues to allow Chris Berman to crack the same jokes, over and over, time and again. It’s a place that took a great thing, SportsCenter, and stuffed it full of nonsense and screamers and people whose idea of football analysis is to laugh uproariously at things that aren’t funny. In almost every way — but of course not every way — ESPN annoys me.

This includes ESPN’s “I Wish” segments. You know the ones. They take the little kid and put Vaseline on the lens and do these sappy, supposedly heartwarming stories about children that are sick, and who get their one big wish thanks to the benevolence of ESPN. I don’t know. These shouldn’t bother me. They’re innocent enough. But they always feel creepy, like a small, insidious form of exploitation. If I was a little kid, the last thing I’d want to do is have the best day of my life filmed by ESPN. But that’s just me. I’m cynical like that.

So it goes for the saying “they play hard.” It shouldn’t bother me. It’s innocent enough. But I hate that saying. It’s so condescending and wrongheaded. Everyone plays hard, OK? With few exceptions, you can’t be a legitimate college basketball player or team or whoever without playing hard. I hate when people throw that around. I hate it like I hate ESPN’s soft-focus segments.

But I allow myself one exception to the ESPN soft-focus rule. His name is Jimmy V. Every year, I watch that speech, and I allow myself to be inspired. To be idealistic. To understand that yeah, you know what? That’s damn right: Every day is a gift, and we forget it too often. Cherish it. Work for it. Always do your best. Keep trying. Don’t give up. Never give up. The whole deal. It rips me to shreds every time.

So I’m going to try to apply that exception to this year’s Hoosiers. Will I get sick of hearing, constantly, as we did last night, that IU is disciplined and focused and gutty and gritty and hard-working, but gosh, if only they weren’t barely a mid-major in the talent department, they’d be good? Shucks, this team is just bad! Yes, I will grow tired. Very. But instead of getting angry about every time, instead of getting annoyed, I’m just going to suck it up. I’m going to avoid cynicism. And I’m going to remember that the whole point of watching is never just about wins and losses, that the means are often as much fun as the end, that every day — even a day as mundane as going to work and coming home and watching college basketball — is a gift.

At the end of the day, it’s still college basketball. It’s a gift. We might as well enjoy it while we can.

Filed to:

  • Kelin Blab

    E-

    You summed it all up.
    *As much as I like D. Moore, he should be starting at Eastern Illinois or Northwestern, or being that back up that comes in, slaps the floor, gets the team fired up, takes a charge, and get the towel waving going….

    *Tijan is 7 foot tall and calling him a project is really too high of a compliment.

    * I look forward to just a few games this year, Illinois at home, Purdue, and Kentucky. Although all of these teams very well could pound us, I think we could hang tough a little longer than we did last night…..

    Last night was the LARGEST disparity in Talent I have seen in a long time and unfortunately it was IU who has to make up the talent gap.

    The ACC/ Big Ten challenge has become unwatchable because the Big Ten's best CANNOT compete with the ACC's best….PERIOD! END of STORY!

    The Big Ten possibly should look to another conference to challenge but I just don't know which one…..

  • mtmays

    Well done E. I totaly agree. I have a question for you and all the readers.

    I keep reading here, and other places, that this is going to be a tough year and that things will be better next year.

    My question is… What can we expect next year? We will still be a very young team. Will we make the tourny next season?

    My thought is probably not. After watching us play so far this year I am going to say that we are still a few years away from the top half of the big ten and the NCAA tournament.

    What do you all think?

  • Disco_Briscoe

    This is an all Freshman team (Dumes doesnt count and neither does Taber), with no real top recruits (Williams? VD3? Pritchard? How many recruit stars?), and no leadership (Rivers at practice?). We are starting and playing walk ons (and baseball players). What can you expect? Nothing. You just hope for improvement, balls out hustle, and few W's here and there. Next year will defintely be better and may shock some people but we are going to take it on the chin this year over and over especially playing a talented and more so, a well above the norm atheltic team.

  • NC Fat Boy

    What were your expectations at the start of the year?

    Did you expect this team to be able to hang with a top 20 team half a dozen games into the season?

    Let's be realistic. Not to mention that talent and length-wise (as the ESPN idiots kept referring to WFU's HEIGHT advantage), WFU is better than 17th I think. I think we were playing a team that quite possibly is Top 10 material with the balance they displayed across their starters last night. Not to mention they have 2 7-footers and at least 3 at 6'9″.

    I was pleased that they hung in there for 10 minutes. Regardless as to whether it was because WFU was cold or they turned it over to much. You don't have that many turnovers just because you're turning it over or miss that many shots just because. As we saw, later in the game, IU's lapses corrected that problem for WFU.

    If you've ever played ball, you know that when your 20+ down, it's really easy to get discouraged. Yes, we're going to hear “played hard” many times this year. It seems memories are short. Our team didn't “play hard” in every game in 2007-8, remember?

    And if I recall, “playing hard” was an issue RMK had with a number of his teams, and for that matter, players in his time at IU.

    While I did notice some standing around on offense last night, I'm not sure why that was, be it confusion, lack of concentration (running the offense), etc. We saw them play hard-nose ball for most of the game.

    As for Daniel Moore, you need to let up on the negativity, he's a sparkplug that keeps them going. He should be starting somewhere else? Yes, he could probably be starting at Eastern Illinois or Northwestern…. and possibly on a scholarship at any of a number of smaller schools. He bit the bullet, his Hoosier pride shines and he CHOSE to walkon at IU and be a part of the rebuilding. He's a FRESHMAN for pete's sake.

    I agree, the ACC has had our goat in the challenge. I believe things go in cycles… There's no doubt that the ACC has the best talent across the conference and that is a result of past successes, it greatly improves recruiting. Coaches factor into recruiting and I think with the influx of new coaches (Motta, Smith, Painter, Crean, etc) in the Big Ten, the conference will get stronger. I don't think we should find another conference to challenge, play the best, it's the best way to grow and the only real measuring stick.

    Next year? We have a great class coming in… anything is possible

  • As much as I love IU, I still think that they got what they deserved with the Sampson hiring. Now it's time to press reset and start over, and I remind myself every time I watch them that this team is an all new cast. It's a bunch of high school kids who don't know each other well enough yet to play as a team.

    And, honestly, it might sound bad, but I love it. I'm going to be able to watch a team grow together and see a program literally rise from the ashes. Sure, it'll suck for a few years, but it's still IU Basketball. Not much in life makes me happier than being able to sit down and watch a game, even if it is a mauling like ND and Wake put on IU. I still watch and I still love it.

    That's my take on it. The World Wide Leader annoys the living crap out of me, so I watch a lot of games on there with mute solidly pressed (especially now since I can line up names with numbers on the jerseys and faces on the players…finally). I can make my own assessment of the talent and the team and how well they're playing just as well as or better than Jimmy Dykes.

    Maybe my glasses are too Crean-and-Crimson colored, but I still love to watch, no matter how ugly it gets, which is a welcome relief after the debacle that occurred down the stretch last year.

  • I think the other thing is that the challenge is always stacked for the ACC. Duke played their first game on the road when they went to Purdue since they came to Bloomington in 2005. Maryland never plays on the road. And this is the second time Indiana's gone to Winston-Salem; how many times has Wake come to Bloomington? Or even Indianapolis. And since Carolina is “always a big seller”, they constantly get put on a neutral site to play. As long as ESPN is calling the shots, the Big Ten won't be winning the challenge.

  • JerryCT

    I hear you guys but what really IS a BAD team ? Measured by W's ? I suggest measuring a BAD team on a different standard.

    1. Does the team give up during the game or during the season ?
    – last year's team was a BAD team
    2. Does the team go to class , make grades, graduate , no NCAA penalties ?
    – last year's team was a BAD team, could have killed recruiting
    3. Does the team get better, rises to the occaision or stagnate and fail to reach potential ?
    – last years team was a BAD team as they never reached potential
    4. What is more fun, a poor ND football team stopping OK 47 game winning streak or beating teams you are supposed to beat ?
    – yet to be seen
    5. Does the coach have IU values building a program or is he diluting it in order to win ?
    – last year's team and staff were a BAD team

    Why are you all so depressed ? We have nowhere to go but up .

    Learn to enjoy the journey we are on and the mystery of who, when, where and how this team contributes to the IU comeback.

  • Permanent4

    Jimmy Johnson was 1-15 in his first year with the Dallas Cowboys. They won a Super Bowl three years later.

    This is our 1-15 year, folks. We're just going to have to be patient. Better things are coming, I'm sure.

  • JerryCT

    EXACTLY Matt_J !

  • NC Fat Boy

    If we could just get the Big Ten Network to broadcast Don Fischer's audio……..

  • Sallad

    Amen!

    I could easily cut and paste bits from everyone else's comments to sum up just how I feel. Even if we only get a couple more wins (3, maybe?), I really enjoy watching this team play. That's why I bought tickets this year. This really is going to be an Indiana team for the ages–a team that persevered in the face of adversity and never gave up.

    I think when the season is said and done, Indiana's going to be one of the real stories. What other team has had such a night-and-day difference between two seasons, two teams, and two coaches? All this team has to do is play hard, all game, every game and they've made a substantial improvement over last year's (With the exception of Gordon and DJ….and Ahlfield, I guess) me-first team. When they finish the Hall of Fame in the new practice building, I'd really like to see a picture of this year's team in there, just to remind people what it means to play for Indiana.

  • i agreed with that up until this year.

    besides IU playing at Wake, i thought the matchups were outstanding. UNC would've beaten the crap out of whomever they played, so throw them out the window. they got matched-up against the supposed #1 team in the big ten, but they would've ruined Purdue as well. five of the games were decided by five points or less. illinois/clemson, ga tech/PSU, wisky/va tech, miami without their two best players/ohio state were all great matchups.

    what makes it lopsided is that NC/Duke are usually a cut above any team in the Big Ten, which already puts the ACC 1/3 of the way to winning the Challenge every year.

  • JerryCT

    I also keep thinking that these young men are learning something more important and lasting in life as they learn who they are in the face of adversity. I keep thinking that they all graduate four years from now and look back with pride at the life long friends and fans they have made. Look back with pride at the distance they have come from when they started. And then translate these lessons into a good life. Now that would be the biggest WIN of all.

  • Yeah, this year the scheduling was a little more fair, especially in the match-ups. A lot of times, it always seemed like the middle-of-the pack ACC schools would be matched up with the bottom teams in the Big Ten while the Big Ten got the schools who you knew would lose anyway.

    That being said, especially this year, the ACC started out with three wins without having to play the games.

  • For real. Even when I lived in the Midwest, I'd still listen to Fischer's call on the radio with the volume turned down. Especially on nights when Dick Vitale was doing the game. Nothing against Dicky V. He's great and everything, but if the outcome of the game wasn't what I wanted, I didn't want Vitale's nonsense to make it worse.

  • cooper

    lets all face the talent on this team is not good and we probably won't win 10 games but I think it would be a disservice to constantly think oh well they play hard, they should expect to win and the coaches should expect them too. I also liked seeing Bernie Seltzer doing some yelling on the sidelines last night, I think its important to get called out on your mistakes, its how you get better. I realize save Pritchard and Williams and maybe Jones and maybe Dumes if he stops having Bracey Wright disease, we don't really have quality talent on this team, and every player has some glaring faults. I think they play hard but I don't think they are that disciplined, way too many turnovers. Jimmy Dykes whom I believe to be a moron really said it all when he said this IU team has the talent level of Chaminade.

  • We will get to see if Crean is a good coach this year. The fact that I heard last night that he calls all set plays kind of bothers me. And his constant screaming and clapping bothers me. I hope that he hones his coaching skills this year. And don't give the the crap that they don't have the players… I don't care about wins and losses, but if they play good fundamental ball, this will be a huge benefit for all the players incoming in the next couple of years.

  • bz

    i, as well, hate the phrase “at least they played hard.” but after last year, this phrase has new meaning. after watching a team that had final 4 talent go “up in smoke” and look like they were giving up, it's really is nice to be able to say, “at least they played hard.”

  • ChicagoHoosier

    Are you kidding? It bothers you that he screams and claps and encourages and teaches these kids how to play basketball. Maybe your game is in the NBA.

  • My point was, you can teach without being a spaz. A college basketball player shouldn't need to be encouraged every single second DURING THE GAME. That is what practice is for. Watch Butler's coach Brad Stevens. He is a great TEACHER, yet remains pretty calm on the sidelines.

    I like Crean and am saying this is a great opportunity for him to be one of the best… nobody gets a program like IU rock bottom and get's time to build from ground up

  • ichaser

    What did people expect from this team? It sounds to me like much more than myself. Did I think we would get killed by Wake Forest last night? Well – yeah. By more than 20? Probably. Who is on this team? No seniors (worth mentioning anyway), juniors, sophmores (I may be barely wrong here). These are kids playing against men. What are people expecting? Yes they are bad – news flash? – not to me. Did I think they would be this bad? YES. I haven't ever seen a team start from absoulutely nothing like this before. This is a complete renovation that started just some months ago. We have walkons starting and playing major minutes, baseball players, and others who would never have dreamed they would be wearing an IU basketball jersey. We all know this is going to be a long season, but let's not be disappointed or surprised that we are going to get killed most games. It's all about the future – we got our coach and with it championships to follow. Lastly I was more impressed with SOME of the teams fundamentals last night than in years past. If we start making our free throws, some more wide open shots (preferably 3 pointers), and create 20+ turnovers like last night I believe some of these games will be closer.

  • ChronicHoosier

    I feel you, E. It ain't easy transitioning from high-level, Big 10, NCAA dancin' hoops to barely D-1 ball. As Crean keeps repeating, it's all about measurable improvement. Maybe I should hire someone to count the cuss words I let fly each game and see if I'm measurably less incensed with our team as the season rolls along. I don't think my chances for improvement are as good as, say, Dumes learning to stop forcing plays that aren't there or taking shots only suitable for Eric Gordan, but it might be fun to try. My wife keeps asking me why I get so mad when even she knows we're awful. Aside from the fact that a Michigander would never understand this Hoosier Passion, I can't answer her. There's no way around the masochistic forces which make me expect this team to outperform their lowly reality. I keep trying to follow Crean's words and seek out “measurable improvements.” The zone D is coming along better because we're talking and rotating more effectively. Great. We're seeking out contact and boxing out better. Awesome. The spurts of energy to start the game are stretching further into the half. Outf*#kingstanding!!! And just when I think I'm getting better, we turn the ball over on consecutive possessions. We emerge from a time out only to take the dumbest shot of the night. We think it's a good idea to force a 1 v 3 fast break. We chuck up a 28 footer 7 seconds into the shot clock when nobody is in rebounding position. Maybe if we could stop doing these things, I'd be better at this whole “measurable improvement” perspective. For the time being, I'm with you and Jimmy V. Being a Hoosier fan is a gift. Watching Crean do all he can, short of alchemy, on the bench is a gift. I guess suffering through this season is a gift, in as much as we'll leave it knowing what it feels like to be a fan of all those neophyte teams who've willing come to the Hall in the pre-conference season to get rolled mercilessly. When this whole thing is said and done, I can only hope it will make being a Hoosier fan an even bigger gift. In the mean time, anybody want to count my F-bombs at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday?

  • hoosierfan27

    Crean's a spaz? You're a moron.

  • NC Fat Boy

    There isn't a great coach out there that doesn't teach DURING the game? They do their best to simulate game situations in practice, but there's nothing like game experience, actually playing different players and teams and that is going to generate unique situations.

    These are kids! Crean's had them for weeks. Sounds like miracles are expected. “One returning non-starting player”.

    Yes they need encouragement, all the time, good and bad. They're not going to win half their games, and they need to be encouraged period.

    I don't want to watch Butler 🙂 😉

    I'm watching Indiana. And supporting the Hoosiers and Crean.

    Brave man to criticize Crean so early…. yes, we'll see if he's a good coach this year, the key will be how you measure that. There are many ways to measure that, pick your poison. I'm interested in seeing growth, both as a team and individual player growth. Has nothing to do with wins. Jobe may not be what anyone would consider a 'project', and I'll admit, physically, he's impressive. Athletic ability and talent he does not have. But, I've seen marked improvement from the first exhibition games. Same for Pritchard… much better than the first games. Williams and Story are coming along too, Roth is growing.

    So far Crean gets an good grade, after all, we're 7 games into the season….

  • Kelin Blab

    Oh the horror of set plays in college basketball. Lets let the kids run up and down the court and do what they want…after all they are freshmen and know everything already. And his enthusiasm is annoying I want a coach who sits there like phil jackson, says nothing, acts like he doesn't care and makes too many phone calls.

    You have to be kidding

  • HoosierInTheVille

    Great post Eamonn. I just wanted to say how awesome it is to come to this blog after a 25 pt beat down and see nothing but positive thoughts from everyone. Living in Louisville, I have to deal with these crazy Kentucky and Louisville fans who think their teams are sent from God himself every day. There are hardly any Hoosier fans here, so this website is my haven. Thanks everyone.

  • silkyslim

    Well said, MattJ.
    Too many expect the IU team to always be top 10 or better, the reality of the situation is IU made a big mistake on the former coach and NOW are rebuilding & are on the upswing from a program left trashed.

    I also love to watch the progress and won't be like those bandwagon jumpers who only support the team when they are winning. I support the team, period, & continue to hope they re-establish the integrity & tradition (& wins) that IU rightly deserves. They WILL get there, they are just a work in progress. Patience & support are required, and they will get mine.

  • i agreed with that up until this year.

    besides IU playing at Wake, i thought the matchups were outstanding. UNC would've beaten the crap out of whomever they played, so throw them out the window. they got matched-up against the supposed #1 team in the big ten, but they would've ruined Purdue as well. five of the games were decided by five points or less. illinois/clemson, ga tech/PSU, wisky/va tech, miami without their two best players/ohio state were all great matchups.

    what makes it lopsided is that NC/Duke are usually a cut above any team in the Big Ten, which already puts the ACC 1/3 of the way to winning the Challenge every year.

  • JerryCT

    I also keep thinking that these young men are learning something more important and lasting in life as they learn who they are in the face of adversity. I keep thinking that they all graduate four years from now and look back with pride at the life long friends and fans they have made. Look back with pride at the distance they have come from when they started. And then translate these lessons into a good life. Now that would be the biggest WIN of all.

  • Yeah, this year the scheduling was a little more fair, especially in the match-ups. A lot of times, it always seemed like the middle-of-the pack ACC schools would be matched up with the bottom teams in the Big Ten while the Big Ten got the schools who you knew would lose anyway.

    That being said, especially this year, the ACC started out with three wins without having to play the games.

  • For real. Even when I lived in the Midwest, I'd still listen to Fischer's call on the radio with the volume turned down. Especially on nights when Dick Vitale was doing the game. Nothing against Dicky V. He's great and everything, but if the outcome of the game wasn't what I wanted, I didn't want Vitale's nonsense to make it worse.

  • cooper

    lets all face the talent on this team is not good and we probably won't win 10 games but I think it would be a disservice to constantly think oh well they play hard, they should expect to win and the coaches should expect them too. I also liked seeing Bernie Seltzer doing some yelling on the sidelines last night, I think its important to get called out on your mistakes, its how you get better. I realize save Pritchard and Williams and maybe Jones and maybe Dumes if he stops having Bracey Wright disease, we don't really have quality talent on this team, and every player has some glaring faults. I think they play hard but I don't think they are that disciplined, way too many turnovers. Jimmy Dykes whom I believe to be a moron really said it all when he said this IU team has the talent level of Chaminade.

  • We will get to see if Crean is a good coach this year. The fact that I heard last night that he calls all set plays kind of bothers me. And his constant screaming and clapping bothers me. I hope that he hones his coaching skills this year. And don't give the the crap that they don't have the players… I don't care about wins and losses, but if they play good fundamental ball, this will be a huge benefit for all the players incoming in the next couple of years.

  • bz

    i, as well, hate the phrase “at least they played hard.” but after last year, this phrase has new meaning. after watching a team that had final 4 talent go “up in smoke” and look like they were giving up, it's really is nice to be able to say, “at least they played hard.”

  • TomCoverdale's Eyebrows

    Are you kidding? It bothers you that he screams and claps and encourages and teaches these kids how to play basketball. Maybe your game is in the NBA.

  • My point was, you can teach without being a spaz. A college basketball player shouldn't need to be encouraged every single second DURING THE GAME. That is what practice is for. Watch Butler's coach Brad Stevens. He is a great TEACHER, yet remains pretty calm on the sidelines.

    I like Crean and am saying this is a great opportunity for him to be one of the best… nobody gets a program like IU rock bottom and get's time to build from ground up

  • ichaser

    What did people expect from this team? It sounds to me like much more than myself. Did I think we would get killed by Wake Forest last night? Well – yeah. By more than 20? Probably. Who is on this team? No seniors (worth mentioning anyway), juniors, sophmores (I may be barely wrong here). These are kids playing against men. What are people expecting? Yes they are bad – news flash? – not to me. Did I think they would be this bad? YES. I haven't ever seen a team start from absoulutely nothing like this before. This is a complete renovation that started just some months ago. We have walkons starting and playing major minutes, baseball players, and others who would never have dreamed they would be wearing an IU basketball jersey. We all know this is going to be a long season, but let's not be disappointed or surprised that we are going to get killed most games. It's all about the future – we got our coach and with it championships to follow. Lastly I was more impressed with SOME of the teams fundamentals last night than in years past. If we start making our free throws, some more wide open shots (preferably 3 pointers), and create 20+ turnovers like last night I believe some of these games will be closer.

  • I feel you, E. It ain't easy transitioning from high-level, Big 10, NCAA dancin' hoops to barely D-1 ball. As Crean keeps repeating, it's all about measurable improvement. Maybe I should hire someone to count the cuss words I let fly each game and see if I'm measurably less incensed with our team as the season rolls along. I don't think my chances for improvement are as good as, say, Dumes learning to stop forcing plays that aren't there or taking shots only suitable for Eric Gordan, but it might be fun to try. My wife keeps asking me why I get so mad when even she knows we're awful. Aside from the fact that a Michigander would never understand this Hoosier Passion, I can't answer her. There's no way around the masochistic forces which make me expect this team to outperform their lowly reality. I keep trying to follow Crean's words and seek out “measurable improvements.” The zone D is coming along better because we're talking and rotating more effectively. Great. We're seeking out contact and boxing out better. Awesome. The spurts of energy to start the game are stretching further into the half. Outf*#kingstanding!!! And just when I think I'm getting better, we turn the ball over on consecutive possessions. We emerge from a time out only to take the dumbest shot of the night. We think it's a good idea to force a 1 v 3 fast break. We chuck up a 28 footer 7 seconds into the shot clock when nobody is in rebounding position. Maybe if we could stop doing these things, I'd be better at this whole “measurable improvement” perspective. For the time being, I'm with you and Jimmy V. Being a Hoosier fan is a gift. Watching Crean do all he can, short of alchemy, on the bench is a gift. I guess suffering through this season is a gift, in as much as we'll leave it knowing what it feels like to be a fan of all those neophyte teams who've willing come to the Hall in the pre-conference season to get rolled mercilessly. When this whole thing is said and done, I can only hope it will make being a Hoosier fan an even bigger gift. In the mean time, anybody want to count my F-bombs at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday?

  • hoosierfan27

    Crean's a spaz? You're a moron.

  • NC Fat Boy

    There isn't a great coach out there that doesn't teach DURING the game? They do their best to simulate game situations in practice, but there's nothing like game experience, actually playing different players and teams and that is going to generate unique situations.

    These are kids! Crean's had them for weeks. Sounds like miracles are expected. “One returning non-starting player”.

    Yes they need encouragement, all the time, good and bad. They're not going to win half their games, and they need to be encouraged period.

    I don't want to watch Butler 🙂 😉

    I'm watching Indiana. And supporting the Hoosiers and Crean.

    Brave man to criticize Crean so early…. yes, we'll see if he's a good coach this year, the key will be how you measure that. There are many ways to measure that, pick your poison. I'm interested in seeing growth, both as a team and individual player growth. Has nothing to do with wins. Jobe may not be what anyone would consider a 'project', and I'll admit, physically, he's impressive. Athletic ability and talent he does not have. But, I've seen marked improvement from the first exhibition games. Same for Pritchard… much better than the first games. Williams and Story are coming along too, Roth is growing.

    So far Crean gets an good grade, after all, we're 7 games into the season….

  • Kelin Blab

    Oh the horror of set plays in college basketball. Lets let the kids run up and down the court and do what they want…after all they are freshmen and know everything already. And his enthusiasm is annoying I want a coach who sits there like phil jackson, says nothing, acts like he doesn't care and makes too many phone calls.

    You have to be kidding

  • HoosierInTheVille

    Great post Eamonn. I just wanted to say how awesome it is to come to this blog after a 25 pt beat down and see nothing but positive thoughts from everyone. Living in Louisville, I have to deal with these crazy Kentucky and Louisville fans who think their teams are sent from God himself every day. There are hardly any Hoosier fans here, so this website is my haven. Thanks everyone.

  • silkyslim

    Well said, MattJ.
    Too many expect the IU team to always be top 10 or better, the reality of the situation is IU made a big mistake on the former coach and NOW are rebuilding & are on the upswing from a program left trashed.

    I also love to watch the progress and won't be like those bandwagon jumpers who only support the team when they are winning. I support the team, period, & continue to hope they re-establish the integrity & tradition (& wins) that IU rightly deserves. They WILL get there, they are just a work in progress. Patience & support are required, and they will get mine.