“Statistics accuse, the film convicts”

  • 02/27/2010 5:12 pm in

It’s an “old saying,” according to Tom Crean. I’ve never heard it, but then I’m not that old.

Whatever its age and origin, it hit close enough to home after the 78-46 loss to Wisconsin that Crean was willing to give up practice time to get his players into the film room, where they were required to critique their own performances, rather than hearing it from the coaching staff.

“Every once in awhile, you’ve got to give up the floor for the film room, and I thought that was yesterday,” Crean said Saturday afternoon inside the coaches’ locker room at Assembly Hall. “It’s one thing to see it on paper. It’s another thing to see it yourself and have to call it out in front of your teammates.”

So Crean gathered his charges in the the foyer of that same locker room where he met the media, and the Hoosiers graded themselves. Crean said he hopes the sense of accountability brought about by the exercise will continue to foster growing leadership within the program.

“The best thing that happens — this is hard for guys — is that they verbalize it before the coaches do,” Crean said. “But again, it’s all part of the progress that you have to make.”

That progress could be measured as soon as Sunday, when the Hoosiers travel to Iowa City to face a team that, like the Hoosiers, has just three Big Ten wins in 15 tries. But the tables have turned significantly since both teams met, something Crean and his team have not forgotten.

When Iowa made the trip to Bloomington, the Hoosiers were riding a two-game winning streak and finally appeared to be making the tangible progress so many fans had clamored for in Puerto Rico or against Loyola-Maryland. Then they ran into the Hawkeyes, who outhustled and outmuscled them at Assembly Hall, dealing the Hoosiers a 15-point loss. They have not won since.

Crean admitted Saturday that his team overlooked Iowa, (“I think they embraced success a little bit in those games”) one reason why he’s placing an emphasis on his players’ mentality in Iowa City.

“I’ll be very disappointed, OK, for them, for individuals that don’t come out tomorrow understanding that we better have some toughness and fight in this game,” Crean said.

Crean credited his players for their approach to preparation and practice since the Wisconsin game. But he also pointed out that the same could be said about the build-up to Indiana’s first match-up with Iowa, lending further credence to the idea that Indiana might have taken the Hawkeyes for granted in their first meeting.

“I guess we overlooked them,” Christian Watford said. “We didn’t really take that game as serious as we took the other games. We’ve got to go up there and pay them back.”

Getting that payback, according to Crean, will demand improved defense on the pick-and-roll and in pressuring Iowa, as well as better offensive execution. He was also worried about Iowa’s solid frontline, highlighting Aaron Fuller, who Crean said worries him because Fuller has struggled recently.

Indiana right now finds itself in a strange position. It can neither afford to look past any one game, nor lose sight of the overarching goal. Even Crean admitted that he sometimes struggles to remember the “process” ongoing within his program. So when he talks specifically and metaphorically in the same breath, and both the present and future come together, it is done of necessity as much as anything else.

Take, for example, the personal-critique film session, yet another exercise that builds for the now, and for the later.

“The only way you can do it is to keep building those skills of leadership,” Crean said. “When you have to verbalize what you didn’t do, you know what? It’s important, it’s not lying.”

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  • HoosierFromCT

    I keep hearing people say that last years team played harder, better, and were more competitive then this years. Everyone thinks we got worse, but that’s not the real problem. The Big 10 got better/older as we got younger. A majority of the teams returned a lot of their players (Purdue, OSU, MSU, Minnesota, Wisc, Michigan) so they gained more experience. Only TWO Big-10 players were drafted, BJ Mullens (who’s garbage) and Goran Suton. Just remember how much Purdue struggled when their Big 3 were freshman (and that team still had senior leadership). We have 2 seniors who both suck (just speaking the truth). Just wait till our guys mature and get that one year out of the way. Also, we lost our two best 3 point shooters with one of them being our BEST player. If you haven’t noticed, Creek was being talked about as a 2nd round pick, THIS YEAR, on ESPN.com. If we can only get a true center who can control the paint, Watford can play his natural position at the 3, and wont struggle against bigs. The sky is the limit for him and playing this much down low will only make him better. Believe in CTC. We all knew our last coach sent our program back 2-3 years and we are not done with year 2, so be patient!

  • Kelin Blab

    I have been on both ends of this as a coach and player and I can tell you it is a good coaching move.
    + It stops the finger point that goes on verbally and mentally, at teammates and at the coaches
    + Every player can see what they are doing wrong and understand how to correct themselves before the coaches do
    + It exposes you and slaps your ego right in the mouth….

    I expect a more polished IU tomorrow, less turnovers, more f/t's, and more fight on the defensive end….Dare I say….IU will…………NOT lose by 30 tommorrow.

  • RobbieEggars

    You make a good point regarding the overall landscape of the Big Ten this year vs. last year. I think that has been forgotten a little bit by just about everyone in terms of how we should view this IU team. This team is still bad, but there are legitimate reasons why it is bad right now. No matter how quickly people want this thing turned around, it just isn't going to happen quickly. That's just reality, and people losing their minds and calling for Crean's head isn't going to change that reality. Next year should be better, but progress is still likely to be slower than most would like. I disagree a little with your point about Watford. Indiana needs an active, atheletic Big who can anchor the lane, but Watford is going to have to get a lot quicker and better defensively to play the 3. He is way to slow at this point to guard good wing players. Can he guard Lighty or Buford or Hummel or Morgan (or players like these) right now? I would say no. He also is too weak physically to guard most Bigs right now. Thus, we start to see part of IU's defensive issues right now (and I'm not by any means pinning that on Watford). If he is going to play the 3, he needs to work on his quickness, ballhandling, and outside shot before next year. Alternatively, if he is going to play as more of a 4, he is going to have to add strength in the upper body. I suspect one or both of those is quite possible between now and next year, but it has to happen.
    Following up on your solid point about the competition in the Big Ten, I would also suggest that people who are losing their minds right now check out Baylor's record the first four years after Dave Bliss and that fiasco. That is probably the closest parallel to the decimation of IU's program. They were not the same, but both Drew and Crean started with absolutely nothing (rock bottom). In fact, you could make the argument that Tom started with less in terms of actual players than Drew did at Baylor. The records (e.g., number of wins) in those first four years for Drew are very similar to what we are in the midst of right now at IU. I think it gives folks a picture of just how hard it is to rebuild from rock bottom and how it takes three to four years to get competitive again (but, it does show it is possible). I mention this because although the call for patience is not a popular one, it is the rational and realistic one for now and for the next year or two. Not fun; but that's just the way it is for IU right now.

  • HoosierChan77

    I hope something positive comes out of it….Theres really no direction to go but up. So come on HOOSIERS go out with a bang!!!!!!!

  • MikeinNC

    I think this is smart coaching by TC, and probably tacit public admission on his part that he has probably lost the ear of these guys at this point….I'm sure that from their perspective they are hearing him preach the same things over and over…and everyone is frustrated. Trying this approach may cause them to change their perspectives in a meaningful enough way to cause some behavior change. We'll see.

  • Going into the first Iowa game I said I was worried that if we overlooked them and lost that IU might not win another game this season. But, I think we'll learn a lot about this team tomorrow and I almost feel the reverse about this game. IU is down and out right now, but this is our first game since last time we played Iowa that we're on somewhat a level playing field with our opponent. If IU comes out and plays a tough competitive game and can get a win, then I think that could give us momentum going into a tough game against NW, but a home game, which could propel IU into solid finish to the season.

    With this team and coach publicly admitting they overlooked Iowa the first time, I'll be really disappointed if they lay an egg.

  • iurons

    While I agree the big ten got stronger this year, one things needs to be clarified. Trams do win with freshman and sophomores. Top teams are always replacing player leaving early for the draft and once a program is established winning becomes a yearly event. While you say that Purdue struggled when their big three were freshman, let me throw out a few statistics from that season. Top seven player in order of minutes were Moore, Kramer, Grant, Martin, Calasan, Johnson, and Marcus Green Behind those seven was Terrance Crump ( 515 minutes for the entire season ). Starting five was 3 freshman and two sophomores ( sound familiar ) Two seniors Crump and Bobby Riddell. And by the way , they finished 25 and 9 overall and 15 and 3 in the big ten. We need more and deeper talent to move up in the big ten standings and that will take a few years . However I have not given up on this team next year or the year after, just do not expect miracles.

  • RobbieEggars

    You make a good point regarding the overall landscape of the Big Ten this year vs. last year. I think that has been forgotten a little bit by just about everyone in terms of how we should view this IU team. This team is still bad, but there are legitimate reasons why it is bad right now. No matter how quickly people want this thing turned around, it just isn't going to happen quickly. That's just reality, and people losing their minds and calling for Crean's head isn't going to change that reality. Next year should be better, but progress is still likely to be slower than most would like. I disagree a little with your point about Watford. Indiana needs an active, atheletic Big who can anchor the lane, but Watford is going to have to get a lot quicker and better defensively to play the 3. He is way to slow at this point to guard good wing players. Can he guard Lighty or Buford or Hummel or Morgan (or players like these) right now? I would say no. He also is too weak physically to guard most Bigs right now. Thus, we start to see part of IU's defensive issues right now (and I'm not by any means pinning that on Watford). If he is going to play the 3, he needs to work on his quickness, ballhandling, and outside shot before next year. Alternatively, if he is going to play as more of a 4, he is going to have to add strength in the upper body. I suspect one or both of those is quite possible between now and next year, but it has to happen.
    Following up on your solid point about the competition in the Big Ten, I would also suggest that people who are losing their minds right now check out Baylor's record the first four years after Dave Bliss and that fiasco. That is probably the closest parallel to the decimation of IU's program. They were not the same, but both Drew and Crean started with absolutely nothing (rock bottom). In fact, you could make the argument that Tom started with less in terms of actual players than Drew did at Baylor. The records (e.g., number of wins) in those first four years for Drew are very similar to what we are in the midst of right now at IU. I think it gives folks a picture of just how hard it is to rebuild from rock bottom and how it takes three to four years to get competitive again (but, it does show it is possible). I mention this because although the call for patience is not a popular one, it is the rational and realistic one for now and for the next year or two. Not fun; but that's just the way it is for IU right now.

  • Luke72

    Keep seeing fans posting that IU should aspire to get to .500 in the next five years. Do't want to go out to the extreme fringe but I would say if we don't get ther faster than that Coach Crean will have alot of time for family vacations!! Not even this adminstation can come up with that much sunshine to put up the alums ……

  • iulineman

    your forgetting one crucial problem that we have right now and that is the fact that we have lost our best player take away Hummel off that team and see what happens. we're about to find out this year and they are not young and inexperienced anymore

  • Bryan

    They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Even if it's not reflecting in the win/loss record, hopefully the team can finish strong, and find something to build on going into next season.

  • GFDave

    I don't know who is saying .500 in 5 years. That's too low an expectation. As long as we have good player continuity from this year to next, there's hope we can get to around .500 next year. After that we should really be gaining traction and moving forward well.

  • JerryCT

    Good idea by CTC. I support what CTC is doing in general and love the team , each and every player.
    Like all fans I want to see the team have more success. Also , like most fans , the critiques of games is getting very repetitive.

    Q: What does this tell us ?

    A: It tells us that we are attempting the same things and getting the same results

    I am not optimistic today if Hulls and Jones have to defend Iowa guards( ie payne ) man to man and the high screen. Do the same thing , get the same result.

    Therefore I would like to see some radical new approaches to almost everything from here on out like:

    1. Different allocation of PT in the rotation ie
    – big lineup for majority % of minutes incl Bawa
    – after a blow by of Jones / Hulls insert Moore or Dumes until they get beat
    2. Zone all day
    3. Low post offense attempts via:
    – JR at the post
    – low double stack
    – off ball screens for Watford et al down low
    4. Methodical motion offense instead of TO-prone transition offense and dribble drive/weave

    I really donot care what we do as long as it is not the same thing that continues to beat us

  • IUDAD

    Hate to go a different direction here. I went to youtube and checked out video clips of each player in the 2012 poll. Heres what I see.
    AJ Hammons……Big, good footwork, deliberate. Looks like someone that would fit in a halfcourt game.

    Smith Rivera…….Strong, quick and aggressive. somewhat of a Eric G. style

    Hanner Perea….. big quick and aggressive to the basket. Very Atheletic. him and C Watford on the wings would be gangerous.

    Ron Patterson….Strong lookin kid,but video I saw led me to he lays off alot on both ends of the floor.

    Peter Jurkin……..Tall for sure, good footwork for someone that tall. like blocking shots. We could use a neutralizer around the basket.

    Couldn't find anything on Gary Harris.

    With the style of play TC is looking to play Hanner P and Smith Rivera look like they fit the mold for sure. Jurkin would ba good big, but he would need to run the floor well. Hammons would good , but we might get caught 4 on 5 to much unless he is able to get up the floor.

    Well there ya go butcher it up.