The Morning After: Minnesota

  • 01/26/2009 9:12 am in

All we are past the mopey part of the season now? I’ll admit, I’ve gone through some weird attitudinal shifts toward the 2008-09 Indiana Hoosiers — going from depression to blind faith to cheeriness and back again a couple of times. The past week or so has been the worst. Just as the college basketball season is taking off, earning more nightly attention than at any other part of the year, the cruel reality about Indiana basketball was finally sinking in: IU is just plain awful. They’re going to be awful for the rest of the season. And no amount of rationalizing is going to make the experience any better.

So yeah, the past few weeks — the Michigan game, then the Illinois debacle, and so on — have been pretty depressing. It’s enough to challenge one’s sanity. Why am I watching this team? What’s the point? Do I really not care about Indiana basketball?

Of course I do, and the Hoosiers’ game against Minnesota proved why: They’re getting there. It might not happen on the road, and it might not happen soon, but IU will win a Big Ten game, and it will be awesome.

Until then there’s not a lot to analyze, really. The Hoosiers are just as bad as they look. They’re inefficient offensively because they turn the ball over like crazy. They allow far too many open looks, they don’t have the size to match up, they’re inexperienced, and so forth. There are only so many ways to write that brilliant batch of analysis you just read without getting sick of writing it, let alone reading it. But at one point, I now feel confident in saying, the stars will align, the opposing team won’t knock down those shots, the game will come down to the last few plays, and the Hoosiers won’t turn the ball over, or miss a free throw, or do something utterly erratic that boggles the mind and makes one throw a pillow at the opposite couch. They’ll complete that pass; they’ll make that shot; they’ll avoid weirdness. And they’ll win.

It will be short-lived and it might only be one game. But like I said: It will be awesome.

BRIEF, UNIMPORTANT MISCELLANY:

Without this turning into one of those gawd-awful notes columns some writers still do (Unfortunately Mike Downey retired from the Chicago Tribune; I so miss his wacky observations about American Idol and kids these days!), some random periphery stuff:

— The Indy Star’s always-interesting, always-verbose (really, though, who am I to talk?) Terry Hutchens is asking today why Devan Dumes wasn’t in the game down the stretch, even with his foul issues, which was hard not to notice during the game. It was made more obvious by Dumes taking that last three, which appeared to be a play set up for Matt Roth on a double screen. Roth was too slow getting around, Minnesota defended it well, and it was left to Dumes to take one of his wild-but-somehow-still-occasionally-goes-in 3-pointers. So, where was Dumes? And to a larger point, as a commenter noted under Alex’s wrap yesterday, are Tom Crean’s substitution patterns a teensy bit unreliable?

I don’t really have an answer, not only because it’s not something I’ve really noticed but I’m sort of hesitant to question how Crean could better maximize this team’s limited human capital. There’s not a lot of wiggle room there; they’re just bad, and he knows it. Tinkering too much with the Hoosiers’ lineup is a little like a fly adjusting its above-highway flight by a few inches. Recalibrate all you want, but that truck’s windshield is still coming.

— People actually showed up! To the game! And wore the right color shirt! And got to keep that shirt! And the shirt had a Winston Churchill quote on it! This is a win-win for everyone; as long as tickets remain $5 and t-shirts remain plentiful, maybe the Hoosiers can keep that attendance ticking in this, our year of recession (both athletic and economic).

Lowering cost, matching price to demand — sounds like a smart business strategy to me. But then my only business course was in sixth grade, when I played Lemonade Stand on my Apple IIE at study hall.

Filed to:

  • It might be Business 101, but they teach the exact opposite in Sports Marketing 101.

  • Biff

    Lemonade stand was a great game!

  • JG

    I'm sorry but, I just can't get upset about the team's performance this year. They play their hearts out. The're just young, inexperienced, and not very good. Face it , If Kyle Tabor is your most experienced player, you've got trouble. The team has some good young talent. However, they make the mistakes that all freshmen make. Outide of Pritchard, they all look very green. Next year the team will have much more experience and the freshman group coming in is superb. Everyone knew this would take time. Crean is good, very good, but he's not God. Sit back, relax and enjoy each little improvement. In 2011 (if not sooner) IU will be able to play with and beat any tean in the country..

  • Mike P – Chicago

    A whole 'TMA' post and nothing about the stellar play of Tijan Jobe at the top of the 1-3-1 zone??? I just lost a lot of respect for this blog….

    J/K there…but it was good to see the use of the big man out top.

  • BeerTruck

    I'm w/ Hutchens on the Dumes/Pritchard not getting at the end…(Pritchard did before DD, but still pretty late).
    The issue was the clock. They didn't get back in @ a deadball at about 4:30…and there wasn't another deadball for about a minute and a half, so Pritch didn't get back in until about 3 min left. I actually agreed w/ Trent Tucker — I would have loved to see Story in there. He was aggressive and successful.
    Sh*t happens.
    Roth described as 'too slow'? Shocking….
    We'll get better. Heck, we're getting better. But these guys need a win badly. Any chance we give The Students a game in Evanston @ Welsh-Ryan (typically Assembly Hall North)?

  • cooper

    Better performance, but won't be consistent enough to win many if any games.I agree with the subs. Fouls really shouldn't be a factor with Dumes or Pritchard playing in the second half with less than 10mins left. If you keep them out to save them we will lose anyway so you may as well just let them play. If they foul out, oh well. I like the fact Lewis is playing more, he is way more athletic and tougher than Taber and could develop into a decent sub. I hope a white out is never attempted again. I'd rather see a crimson out, the only place a white out has ever looked cool is at Penn State for football.

  • JerryCT

    This is the first game I enjoyed in a long time it seems. I agree with most points made but I would like to add some new ones:

    1. Our first pass in the half court is too deep into the shot clock. On at least 2 occaisions Moore did not start the offense until we were already down to 20 sec.
    2. When we reset the offense it takes way too long , about 5-6 sec. and guys do too much standing around.

    If you watch Purdue they all move simultaneously in the half court ( usually ) and if you watch UCONN they get and take their best shot about 15 sec into the clock. We could learn from them .

    hink we should go to a motion offense with no resets unless we absolutely have to

  • silkyslim

    Well stated JG!
    IU is going through some growing pains with this inexperienced group, but I love the effort & enthusiasm. Soon to be more dangerous, just not this year.
    Enjoy the process, & be careful of unrealistic expectations. I know that is really hard for the IU faithful. We all expect great bball with our IU team. Just know that baby steps are going in the right direction.

  • BeerTruck

    I'm w/ Hutchens on the Dumes/Pritchard not getting at the end…(Pritchard did before DD, but still pretty late).
    The issue was the clock. They didn't get back in @ a deadball at about 4:30…and there wasn't another deadball for about a minute and a half, so Pritch didn't get back in until about 3 min left. I actually agreed w/ Trent Tucker — I would have loved to see Story in there. He was aggressive and successful.
    Sh*t happens.
    Roth described as 'too slow'? Shocking….
    Great to see Jobe swinging his arms at the top of the 1-3-1.
    Good Moore showed up too. He got royally jobbed on the steal that turned into a held ball call.
    We'll get better. Heck, we're getting better. But these guys need a win badly. Any chance we give The Students a game in Evanston @ Welsh-Ryan (typically Assembly Hall North)?

  • cooper

    Better performance, but won't be consistent enough to win many if any games.I agree with the subs. Fouls really shouldn't be a factor with Dumes or Pritchard playing in the second half with less than 10mins left. If you keep them out to save them we will lose anyway so you may as well just let them play. If they foul out, oh well. I like the fact Lewis is playing more, he is way more athletic and tougher than Taber and could develop into a decent sub. I hope a white out is never attempted again. I'd rather see a crimson out, the only place a white out has ever looked cool is at Penn State for football.

  • JerryCT

    This is the first game I enjoyed in a long time it seems. I agree with most points made but I would like to add some new ones:

    1. Our first pass in the half court is too deep into the shot clock. On at least 2 occaisions Moore did not start the offense until we were already down to 20 sec.
    2. When we reset the offense it takes way too long , about 5-6 sec. and guys do too much standing around.

    If you watch Purdue they all move simultaneously in the half court ( usually ) and if you watch UCONN they get and take their best shot about 15 sec into the clock. We could learn from them .

  • silkyslim

    Well stated JG!
    IU is going through some growing pains with this inexperienced group, but I love the effort & enthusiasm. Soon to be more dangerous, just not this year.
    Enjoy the process, & be careful of unrealistic expectations. I know that is really hard for the IU faithful. We all expect great bball with our IU team. Just know that baby steps are going in the right direction.