News and notes from Tom Crean’s radio show

  • 01/12/2016 9:26 am in

James Blackmon Jr., who is out for the season with a knee injury, returned to school on Monday, Tom Crean said at his weekly radio show at the Bloomington Holiday Inn.

His return caused practice to halt, as players and coaches alike were excited to see the sophomore return to Assembly Hall.

“I couldn’t have kept practicing going if I tried,” Crean said. “They were so excited to see him.”

Crean also said that he does not have a timetable for Blackmon Jr.’s return.

Blackmon Jr. has not played in the last four games after suffering a non-contact injury in a practice leading up to the Rutgers game. He averaged 15.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game this season.

On Troy Williams breaking out of his slump

Troy Williams matched a career-high 23 points in Indiana’s win over Ohio State. It was the first time Williams had scored in double figures since the Rutgers game when he had 10.

“He’s getting better,” Crean said. “A lot of things we do have him in mind, whether it’s the fundamentals, whether it’s the situational decision making that has to happen because we have great belief in Troy. Troy is a real weapon because he can do so many things with the basketball, and sometimes he just needs to see where he needs to pick it up or slow it down and keep reading the game for what it is.”

Crean also said Williams let the game come to him on Sunday. Williams said he didn’t look at it so much as he was struggling, but that other guys on the team were stepping up and playing well.

“I don’t like to focus on myself,” Williams said. “The program is way bigger than just myself.”

Thomas Bryant named Big Ten freshman of the week

For the second time this season, Thomas Bryant was named the Big Ten freshman of the week. He also recorded his first double-double of his career in the win against the Buckeyes, with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

“He’s healthier so he can practice longer, he can practice with more intensity,” Crean said. “We don’t have to pull him out of things. He’s a perfectionist every day. He truly is.

“He’s one of the most coachable 18-year old young men I’ve ever been around in my life. He wants to be great. He has an unbelievable desire to see his teammates be successful.”

On Assembly Hall

Indiana got off to a 10-0 run to start the game against Ohio State. Crean credited the fans for providing energy right from the beginning.

“There was real energy, there was real urgency,” Crean said. “There’s no question that when we got those first couple baskets and held them scoreless. Our crowd created even more energy for us which was fantastic. Our guys really thrive on that. It raises everybody’s level. The crowd support from courtside to the top of the arena was excellent.”

On IU’s next opponent: Minnesota

Indiana will travel to Minnesota Saturday to take on the Golden Gophers at Williams Arena, also known as The Barn. The Golden Gophers have struggled this season, and are 6-10 overall and 0-4 in the Big Ten.

“You can’t look at their record,” Crean said. “This is a team that just beat Clemson, and Clemson just beat Louisville. They’re a good team.”

Crean said that because Minnesota lost so many players over the last two seasons, it’s almost as if Coach Richard Pitino is starting over.

“I think Richard is an excellent coach and I don’t think there’s any question about it, he’s his own man,” Crean said. “He has an excellent style, they’re very athletic. We’re looking at this team with great respect.”

Filed to:

  • It’s a real test of just how meaningful the OSU game really was. If it really did mark a turning point (maybe a continuation of Wisconsin, defensively), then we should just pound Minnesote. If not, if it was closer to a fluke, then yes, it could be a close game and even a loss. My verdict is still out, as much as I really, really enjoyed the last two games.

  • I don’t see it as a “JBJ sucks” comment. I think it’s entirely possible that JBJ was such a weak link defensively. Now, I also think that CTC has implemented a far more intelligent defensive scheme, i.e., a less clever scheme that doesn’t leave his players confused. But, that doesn’t mean the team would be as good defensively right now if JBJ were getting a lot of minutes. In fact, what’s “best” about JBJ’s injury, if there is such a thing, is that OG got more minutes and we could see what he’s capable of.

    That said, we’d also be better offensively if JBJ were playing. Whether it’s a net gain or loss comes down to how CTC coaches–use JBJ in the right circumstances, like any player, and in the right matchups. It would be silly to say generally that losing a player of JBJ’s quality is a “good thing.”

    I don’t agree, though, that it’s an inapppropriate statement. All kinds of topics are brought up in the comments sections, and it never happens that every new thread only applies to a story’s topic.

  • We missed him offensively against Wisconsin, and with him we might have hit the century mark against OSU. Although one does have to stop and wonder if our defense would have been _that_ effective with him on the floor. Maybe things would have balanced out. It’s impossible to say.

  • inLinE6

    That’s just being polite with class. IMHO by saying “they’re good” already implies that they’re not good enough. Otherwise CTC would have used “excellent”, “outstanding”, etc. You don’t have to agitate your opponent before the game. Just win, say something nice again, and move on!

  • Seriously. And not to mention, “It’s my objective as coach to make my players as complacent as possible.”

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    it’s a good point, the offense likely would have struggled less against wiscy. this team’s fortunate enough to have a plethora of scoring options. one thing’s for sure though, i sure hope NZ gets over his shooting woes sooner than later

  • Knuckledrager

    How would it look if CTC said that they suck as a team, and then that team beat us. Politeness counts for a lot and CTC has always been a class act. And it wasn’t too long ago that we were a not so great team. Sportsmanship. Always. Go Hoosiers ya hosers.

  • BallDontLie

    I think Mark said it for me. The most tangible change in the team this season is defense, and I’m presenting a theory as to the biggest reason for that change. So if you find that comment out of place then I think you should reconsider this site’s scope. Offensively – he’s a helluva shooter, but struggles finishing in traffic and using his left. So what’s the relative value of that with this roster, where shooters can be replaced and mediocre offensive players can be hidden…yet weak defenders get exposed?

  • sarge

    Yes, I did. Glad you recognized it.

  • Koko

    I understand Tom. But really I’m not looking past MN. I don’t think this will be an “on any given day” type of game. I have watched MN play and they aren’t very good. TB will have his way and come away with another double double. MB will play well when spelling TB and TW will snatch his share of rebounds. OG and JM will be on the boards as well. We should get quite a few second chance points. Play decent D on their less than average offense and we should win. And if our threes are going in we will win going away.

  • Do you think there may have been some OSU guys that felt that same exact sentiment, prior to their visit to Assembly Hall? I’m betting there were a lot of their fans that thought they’d eat our lunch.. It is kind of worrisome. Yes we absolutely should win, but we never play well at the Barn.. That stupid raised floor and they really have a good loud fan base.. Yes, I think we’ll win, but it isn’t a ‘gimmie’.

  • Or as Yogi (Berra that is) would say, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”…

  • Did we? I had forgotten that.. Wow, that musta been one of our best games ever at the Barn…

  • Yeah Sarge and you were right. Last month YH was embarrassed about IU.. Hmmmmm, I wonder if he still has those feelings.. Or if he’ll now wear his IU sweats out in public…

  • Little Pitino hasn’t figured out how to really throw a party for recruits like his daddy does..

  • Young Hoosier

    I thought we did but I don’t think we did

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    That is a great one. Pitino better get slapped hard for this infraction.

  • TomJameson

    I know a little about this sites “scope”, been here a while now. The reason I thought that comment came from left field is that it has been discussed in other threads where it was more to point than in this thread.

    That said, I have to disagree with you. I’m pretty sure that JBJ leaving is the catalyst for the change, but if we lost a different player instead of JBJ for the season, the same catalytic change could easily have occurred. OG would still be a big difference in the game. The rest of the team would play with renewed energy and focus. They would start playing better as a team. All the positives would still be there, except we’d still have JBJs offense (maybe more so), including his rebounding (and again, maybe better).

    Just because it was JBJ we lost for the season, is no reason to pick on him. Yes, his defense wasn’t the best, but it was improving. Yes, he wasn’t just standing around picking his nose until somebody threw him the ball so he could shoot. lol

    Well, I didn’t want to start beating that dead horse again, so I’ll leave it alone from here on out.

  • TomJameson

    I’m sorry Gregory, I forgot to mention that I was talking about PLAUSIBLE REASONING, not justifiable excuses why any game can be lost. This year already, there’s been a lot of very good teams that have been beaten by a very inferior team. I doubt any of them was due to food poisoning or slipping on ice.

    Maybe Minnesota will read your comments and get motivated??? LOL

  • Gregory Spera

    I’ve been told I have that effect on people.

  • vicbert caladipo

    And the blasted chicken suits and gopher hats. The “barn” sucks for us more often than not

  • Eljay

    He was honest. While noting they’d beaten Clemson (a respectable win), he also pointed out it was as if Pitino was starting over this year due to losing so many players the past couple of seasons.

  • Young Hoosier

    He said they were good. That’s not being honest.

  • Ron Swanson

    Sooooo tired of the straining to criticize Crean. Give it a rest already. He’s saying what every coach says.

  • VAHoosier

    Good is a relative term.

  • BL

    No place to hide at the college level? Guess RMK should have sat Alford. Dynamic scoring guards that are weak defensively are commonplace. Mount, Alford, Coverdale. Naturally, if you can’t protect them defensively, you have to consider whether their offensive output is sufficient to justify the defensive risk.

    What you definitely can’t do is play a dynamic scoring guard in a 3-guard lineup. Especially against teams with guards that are good off the dribble. You have to be able to support players like JBJ with help D and rim protection. For example, can you imagine Coverdale guarding a good penetrator without backup from Jeffries and Newton.

    No question we’re better defensively with JBJ being replaced by CH, OG or JM. However, what we don’t know is what JBJ’s net contribution to the team would be if he played in a defensively stronger 2-guard lineup. My gut tells me had he replaced RJ in the 2-guard rotation against Wisconsin (remember how poorly RJ played), his net contribution would have been huge.

    Most importantly, as I’ve stated before, notwithstanding his defensive shortcomings, we’re definitely better with JBJ on the roster. If nothing else, he’s a much better option than NZ.

  • TomJameson

    Maybe he likes getting slapped hard ….

  • Koko

    If OSU were thinking of us as a MN type team then they got what they deserved. I still think we win with no major problems. And I don’t like that damn raised floor either.
    Also those narrow little stairways to get to the floor.
    By the way did you see the MN, Nebraska game last night?
    Several first half shots of Pitino on the bench looking at his tie, totally confused….probably thinking what do I do now?
    They got their bottoms whipped by Neb….confused coach equals confused players equals IU win.


    Agree,” The Barn “, and bad Hoosier bball memories, kinda go hand in hand seems like. For whatever reason, going there is never a ” gimmie ” for us.

  • You know it’s not only the crowd, but that damned raised floor, where the players and the bench is about 3 foot lower than the playing floor. I mean it’s kind of like there sitting there looking at everyone’s feet and with all of the action elevated like that, I think it can be a tad intimidating.. Whatever it is, I’ve never lied it, and we’ve never really played that well up there.. at least not anytime I can recall. It would be interesting to know what the best game we ever had up there was… I mean we must have had one sometime that was a really good game.. or not?


    Agree, plus this different lineup gives us more in other spots where we were, let’s just say, lacking. The ball don’t lie, and definitive results don’t lie either.

  • In watching Clemson beat Duke last night.. HOW IN THE HE** DID WE EVER LOSE TO DUKE LIKE WE DID????? Clemson has no really hot shooters, they are not impressive on offense at all… But the game last night was at Clemson.. we are at Cameron Indoor.. But still, Dook did not look that good… and really Clemson didn’t either.

  • I wish we still had the down arrows…. damn, let it go.


    Agree, well put.

  • Eljay

    Wasn’t able to catch the game, but the score made me blink a time or two when I read it.

    My immediate reaction was wishing we had played a first-half OSU type of game against Duke.

    We’d a-whupped ’em.

  • On a different note, Did you see what Iowa did to MSU last night at Sparty’s home turf?.. Iowa may be kind of scary if they keep playing like that. Course IU could become scary if we keep playing lie we are as well…lol..

  • Eljay

    I did. The Big Ten—perhaps college basketball as a whole this year—looks like it could well become a wild roller coaster ride as we lurch towards March.

    Buckle up!