Crean: IU-Louisville series not on immediate horizon

  • 02/16/2011 6:20 pm in

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 11: Tom Crean the Head Coach of the Indiana Hoosiers gives instructions to his team during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats on December 11, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)One of the questions Tom Crean is frequently asked when he travels to the southern part of the state is this: “When is Indiana going to start playing a series with Louisville?”

Such was the case again last night, when Crean traveled to Jeffersonville to speak at a Rotary Club event. And here’s how Crean answered the question, according to Rick Bozich of The Louisville-Courier Journal:

“That’s a possibility. There’s no question we want to do it at some point in time. I don’t know if it’s going to happen quickly. Our schedule’s gotta balance out a little bit right now. Next year we play Notre Dame in Indianapolis, we play at Evansville, we have Butler at home at the end of a tournament. We have Kentucky at home, we’ll have a Big Ten-ACC Challenge game, either home or on the road. I’m not sure with a young team like that, especially with the young freshmen that we’ll have, I’m not sure that we’ll want to play too many tough games. But I’d love to get something going with Louisville at some point. I always said to Rick (Pitino) and his staff, as we got down the line and got more competitive, we’d want to revisit that and we’re getting closer to that.”

As much as fans would like to see this series sooner rather than later, Crean’s logic for not pursuing it immediately makes sense. The addition of Notre Dame and Butler will improve the competitiveness of next year’s schedule and the Big Ten-ACC Challenge meeting is only going to get tougher for IU as the program returns to prominence.

With that said, we’d like to open this up for a broader discussion and pose this question: Is there an opponent (Louisville included, if that’s your preference) you’d like to see the Hoosiers start playing regularly?

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  • Anonymous

    I would love for louisville fans to be able to come to the hall and see what a college basketball atmosphere is really like.

    I would also like to have a reason to visit the Yum center for a game.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like us to start playing student-athletes at the University of Kentucky rather than that pro team they have in Lexington.

    I actually don’t hate Kentucky, but I do kinda hate Calipari.

  • Andrew

    Alex, any idea what TC meant by “Butler at home at the end of a tournament?” Certainly an odd phrasing. That’s the first I’ve heard of IU playing Butler next season (I know that they will play at Conseco in Dec. 2012). Speaking of preseason tournaments, have you heard anything about where IU will be next year or the near future? Seems like we’re about due to be in the NIT. We were last in that during the 06/07 season.

  • Anonymous

    I think he meant that Dec. 2012 game but worded it awkwardly. I believe it’s only a two year agreement at this point, so the “end” of the Crossroads Classic would be that Butler game (with the start to be Notre Dame in 2011)

  • Andrew

    I don’t think so. He said “next year” and, most importantly, used the term “at home,” just like he did for Kentucky.

  • IU and Butler are playing next year at Assembly Hall. It’s part of a tournament, I believe.

  • Anonymous

    With Nebraska moving into the Big Ten, it would be interesting to have a Big Ten-Big Twelve Challenge.

  • being a iu alum and current resident of louisville, i long for this matchup for the following reasons:

    Lets start with the selfish ones-

    + my despise of ul is in the ranks of purdue/ uk…actually prefer uk to win their rivalry game every year, and has been this way since ’86 when they beat johnny dawkins and ’87 when coach knight told them to turn their sign around

    + my tax dollars contributed for their basketball arena, no other city (aside from Lexington) uses local tax dollars to pay for an arena for the lone inhabitant a public institution (can you imagine bloomington residents or west lafayette paying for IU or Purdue arenas?)…city will say ul leases it, i say if they lease it, pitino shouldn’t have an office there, and just like a band has to break down after they play, they have to take the cardinal down after games…it is a giant mall food court the size of an airplane hangar that has no character…

    + i would get to see the hoosiers play from the company suite, and all season i’ve been longing to wear the candy stripes to a game (my indiana’s basketball cathedral hinkle fieldhouse shirt didn’t work for butler in the first game though)

    and now for the basketball ones-

    + pitino has extreme difficulty playing big 10 opponents. since iu’s blow up at freedom hall on the day the space shuttle columbia blew up as well in 2003, pitino is 0-6 against big ten opponents (iowa, purdue, minnesota, illinois, michigan st.). his record since he took over at ul against the big 10 is 3-8. he has extreme difficulty getting his teams ready to play against teams who play intelligently enough to dictate the tempo of the game.

    + crean has actually had pitino’s # when at marquette in conference usa and the big least, with a 7-6 record head to head

    and for my lone question…

    + HOW LONG IS CREAN CONSIDERING THIS A REBUILDING PROCESS?? i understand the schedule is pretty much set next year and glad to see they are playing a much more difficult pre-conference schedule. in all honesty they are going to need it to get to the tourney, because next years senior classes in the big 10 do not have near the makeup of this year. but i do not see next year as part of the rebuilding process (really think that should have ended after last year) and our next year seniors were not your typical big 10 recruits…but by 2012 i do have great expectations and if you can’t schedule to take on who you deem to be the worthy competition, how do you expect to compete against it to get to the top?

  • kentuckyHOOSIER

    As a Louisvillian I would love to play Louisville again . Most of the Uof l fans like IU as we have a common enemy in UK . So for one day a year we always pick up anothers schools complete support . Plus the yum center is awesome and Id love to seee my team play here…But it dosent have nothin on Assembly Hall !

  • Anonymous

    IU will have two four-year starters next season. They will be the first two four-year starters of the Crean era. And it will be his fourth season. And they’re Tom Pritchard and Verdell Jones. They’ll also have Danny Moore, and Roth, who may or may not be in his final season. So, what I’m saying is, depending on your view of Jones and whether or not you feel that The Pritch turns it on for a full season, basically, their top 4 or 5 players will all be juniors or below.

    No rational observer, local or national, thought IU would be finished rebuilding. There are two ways to be really good in college basketball these days. You either have a tough group of seniors, or you have one-and-done, NBA caliber freshmen. The best teams have a mix of those two (which IU should approach in 2012, hopefully.) Next year, once again, IU will have neither. I mean, do I think IU has a chance at the NCAA tourney next year? Sure. If things break right, and the luck changes, and Creek, Watford, and Jones stay healthy, and we don’t find out that Cody Zeller enrolled in a summer class at Montreal Community College back in 2005. But as we’ve found, that’s a lot to ask. When you look at this process, and look at where IU was expected to be compared to where they are, I’d say they’re actually ahead, thanks to recruiting, which has been way better than it should be, really, considering what was forced to be on the court due to the unprecedented destruction of the team (you won’t find any non-death penalty punishment ever that had a greater effect on an NCAA program.)

    You say you think that rebuilding should have been over after last year…so what did you want? What should have been done differently? Crean’s 2009 class (last year’s freshmen) wasn’t good enough, even though it was a near-top 10 class, and was delivered under sanctions?

  • Anonymous

    Or maybe a basketball version of the Rose Bowl with a Big 10/Pac 10 challenge (because there’s sure as hell no way the football team’s going to make the Rose Bowl any time soon.)

  • IU vs Duke. No matter the quality of teams we have always had great battles with them. When we climb back to the top that will probably happen in the ACC/B1G challenge. Kansas would be another I would like to see. I want to match up with the truebloods of CBB.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with your line of thinking. It’s not the glamorous answer, but I would really like for IU to make a concerted effort to play at least 3 of the in-state mid majors every year (Butler excluded since they will already play them at least every other year with the new tournament). Perhaps make some sort of a rotation where you play each one every other year. That would work if you played these six: Evansville, Indiana State, Ball State, Valpo, IUPUI, and IPFW. It would give a good chance for alumni throughout the state, as well as recruits throughout the state, to see IU play in their area. It’s also good for those schools because they are more likely to get the exposure of being on TV for that game, as well as selling out the game when it is at their home court. It could also help those schools recruit being able to say they play Indiana every other year.

    I just think that if you are going to play mid majors there are plenty of them in-state, and it makes economic sense for everyone involved.

    As for Louisville, I don’t see any reason not to play them.

  • Anonymous

    I am all bout playing in-state teams and regional basketball programs. I see this as being the most benefit to our players and fans!

    I like the in-state match ups for the bragging rights of who is the best in the state! So I would like to see the following every year:

    Evansville
    Notre Dame
    Butler
    Indiana State

    …and I think every school on this list should play the schedule as well. Then we will know every year who is the best. What Hoosier wouldnt keep tabs on that? (PU will be included as well, its just not a new addition to IU)

    I would also enjoy seeing Indiana play some regional reputable basketball programs. Keeps the travel light for fans and competition is high. I was at the Vegas tournament this year and you could walk up to the front row and grab a seat. Who benefits from that? Thats not real game experience. The most important games have the most hostile environment, whether its for you or against you. Teams that come to mind are:

    Xavier
    Lousville
    Cincinnati
    UK
    Dayton
    Missouri

    For these teams it would be too much to have them all in one year, but I would like to see 3-4 of them. And just swap them out every other year with another.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree. Duke has the ability to blow anyone out by 20+ points. To me this has way more of a negative. Save this matchup for the tourney when its all on the line. Its part of the reason why the matchups have been so good.

  • Anonymous

    This is the final year of the rebuilding process. The core of our team will finally be upper classmen and we will have our first 5 star player since Eric Gordon. There is no excuses for IU to not atleast be in the NIT and have a decent chance for a tourney bid.

  • Plane1972

    At times, I feel like Crean needs some PR assistance. He is an erratic communicator who drinks too much Diet Coke. His comments when transcribed are comical. Trying to understand his point is often elusive. Perhaps, on the other hand, he is a masterful communicator who throws beat writers off the trail with his stream of consciousness. Genuis!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know about every year…but I have a feeling we might get to see IU vs. UNC next year. Can’t imagine the ACC/Big Ten Challenge would pass up their one chance at a Zeller vs. Zeller matchup.