POTB 164: Five game losing streak and what’s next

  • 02/23/2017 10:17 am in

Podcast on the Brink is back for a new episode with host Jerod Morris of The Assembly Call. The show is available weekly during the season.

In this edition of the show, Morris and Inside the Hall editor Alex Bozich are joined by Zach Osterman of The Indianapolis Star, to discuss his recent piece on the state of IU basketball and much more. Among the topics discussed:

· Zach’s thoughts on why Indiana continues to fall off as the season moves along
· The different narratives out there on the state of the program
· How big of an impact the injuries have had on Indiana’s free fall
· Can anything happen from this point forward to change the tone around the program?
· The end of year discussions about the program and possible outcomes
· Zach’s piece titled: Long a blueblood, what’s IU basketball now?

Related content: Game Theory podcast with Sam Vecenie

And much, much more. As always, feel free to drop the show a note at jerod@assemblycall.com.

Listen in the audio player below, download the episode, subscribe via iTunes or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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  • kennygeorge

    6 games. to expect in straight losses.

  • N71

    Butler for example was elite way back (1920’s?) and then at one point I remember watching Broad Ripple High School (1980) play in Hinkle thinking they could beat Butler’s team, now look them, they’re back, elite, clean, appealing style (versus Wisconsin or Virginia for example). If I had to boil it down to a singular reason I’d say Barry Collier, the AD. We have Fred who God love him is clearly all in but I wonder if he’s a little out of his strike zone with regards to understanding the game(s) and being able to spot coaching talent within those sports, he seems to hire on character instead, which is great but only part of the puzzle. I don’t think Fred hired Tom so firing him may be easier done than people think. Its this ‘where do we go from here’ that is historically critical, we must make the right hire and I’m not sure Fred knows enough, I do think he cares but I’m not sure that’s going to get it done. He must use the braintrust we have in basketball on this next move, going out on a limb with this next hire is way too risky. We have Quinn on the board of trustees now, Isiah, Jim Morris (Pacers president), Bob Knight perhaps, Woodson, Wittman…the list is long and tremendous. If all these people said Joe whoever was the right hire I’d get on board happily.

  • I don’t think RMK is going to provide any input.

  • pcantidote

    Add LSU to the potential openings that CTC is being mentioned for.

  • IULore

    Sounds like the gang has given up on Crean. Lots of change from COY a year ago.

  • Shaggy_C

    I think the discussion around an extension was the most interesting part of the podcast. On the one hand, the “one and done” elite talent does not care if the coach will stick around multiple years (often to the point where they look past repeated recruiting violations, possible NCAA sanctions, and generally nefarious activities that could bring down a program.) So, three years remaining on a contract shouldn’t matter for a top tier program as the players that kind of program should be getting regularly won’t plan on playing for three full years.

    On the other hand, Crean’s recruiting very rarely gets “one and done” talent, as he largely relies on a message of player development and NBA prep to get the second-tier recruits. You take away his longevity, and you cripple his particular style of recruiting in a major way. That said, IU has been graduating a lot of players in 3 years, so it may not be as damaging as I make it out to be; he can still sell the program on the same merits as always, albeit with a bit of a dark cloud on the horizon.

    I think Zach is spot-on when he says it’s a “narrow strip” between a firing and an extension, but I think it could theoretically be done.

  • HoosierOne

    42 minutes of beating around the bush.

  • bball at nick’s

    Unfortunately, and that’s our problem.

  • Jeff Bryant

    If Tom Crean is smart, he will put his resume’ out now and relieve us of himself on his own. I say this because Crean will have more marketing power now, than after another repeat season next year. Next year will simply reveal an undeniable pattern revealing his limited coaching skills, regardless of the roster.

  • Piker

    Yeah although I am crushed by what has happened this year I know CTC will be back next year and I hope for the best. I am not in the camp that he is a terrible coach like many on here but he does need some work. There was a good article elsewhere that made simple statements about missing 3 NCAA tourneys in the last 6 years (including this year) is unacceptable but IU has only got pass the sweet 16 once in the last 23. It has been bad for awhile. And if you want to know who has made the most sweet 16 as IU head coach in the last 23 years it is CTC with 3 in the last 6 years (again including this year). As far as recruiting I don’t understand most of these complaints, people must be living in the 70s kids go everywhere these days just check it out. A good recruiter has players that should make a good team year in and year out on the floor. CTC has done that and this year’s team is no exception. Just count up the number of stars if that’s necessary. He deserves next year…..yeah COY to worst coach in the country in one year on this site does not surprise me. Most CTC supporters are just really bummed and don’t come here to see the attacks.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I agree that he isn’t a terrible coach. He works his butt off and when the kids buy in and he has the talent and someone(player) can get them on track when they go off the rails he has success. Your key comment was “he does need some work”. The problem is the work he needs are the things he refuses to change. Right players, he can get you a B10 champ. Wrong players we get a CBA invitation.

  • NC Hoosier

    I think it’s pretty safe to say a soft landing spot is already in the works. Don’t be surprised to see him at Mizzou or NC State next year.

  • Missing Moye

    I think Delaware State would be a good fit.

  • pcantidote

    There are many of us who are not the CTC haters you reference. You would find countless posts from me defending him earlier this year and during other years. But everyone has their tipping point. For me, it was the Butler/Louisville/Nebraska/Wisconsin stretch BEFORE OG went down. That stretch exposed the same old CTC issues that have been around forever. Moreover, as the season has cratered, the reality has set in that this is now 3 of the last 4 years that have been abject failures. Say what you will, but there are cogent / rational arguments on both sides.

  • david r

    We have an elite history, and a head coach who is a great man and a really good coach. I’m ready for IU to find a really good man and a great coach. The question is not whether Tom deserves to be fired; that is a resounding “hell no!”. The question to me is, does Tom’s overall body of work at IU hint at a “great” career? Good, but not good enough. Maybe at Iowa, Minnesota, or the like, but not Indiana University. DISCLAIMER: Finding a coach better than Tom is difficult, he’s good. But IU brass needs to find that next Brad Stevens or needle in a haystack. IU supporters deserve it.

  • Rob

    Wrong players or right players, cannot sniff final four. No final fours, no blue blood program, mediocrity yes. Thanks CTC

  • Rob

    It’s not difficult. Greg Marshall is way better.

  • Scott Gross

    I dont think a ‘really good coach’ who has been with the program this long would allow us to be in this position regardless of the circumstances. Really good coaches find a way to win close games and really good coaches correct fundamental problems when they are exposed vs letting them bleed so much that it sucks the confidence out of our players. Im sorry, but your classification of him as a coach just isnt accurate. I think hes a really good recruiter now unworthly of a head coach role of a program of this magnitude, significance and dare i say it desperation. I say desperation because we havent advanced past the sweet 16 in now 15 years. Unfortunately we are no longer a ‘current’ elite program. We are lucky if we dance and fall every second year. We need change.

  • Arch Puddington

    Thank goodness. The game passed him by 25 years ago, and at this point he is just a bitter old man more interested in nursing grudges than in supporting the fans and players who were with him at his peak. The motion offense he ran and the drill-sergeant tactics he used as a coach are about as out of date as the Wing-T in football, and he would have no more insight into how the program should be run today than your average high school coach. The only path forward for this program is to actually move forward. I’m sick of the anniversary celebrations of past glories, embarrassed by the banner they hung about the 1976 teams as the greatest tournament team of all time (or whatever it was), and above all sick to death of Bob Knight references. It’s one thing to draw on our history, another to dwell on it to the point that we can’t move past it. Not saying that’s true of you or anyone else in particular, but it is unquestionably a strain that runs through the program and its fans.

  • IULore

    OG was hurt before the knee, as was morgan and DD. Regardless, each team goes through tough stretches, they have been so close in so many games to getting over the hump, just cant this year.

  • IULore

    Alex is fully on-board with a change of coach. All you have to do is look at his twitter. Still, I think SI is wrong, 80% seems like an awfully high number.

  • David Schwind

    Isn’t Carmel HS looking for a coach?

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    I will always be a fan of CTC and will continue to be. However, the Exodus we will see at the end of the season will be huge and the writing on the wall for CTC is clear. The only way to prevent the mass Exodus and another start from ground zero is to get a huge name coach and release CTC from his contract. I do not think that Indiana Brass wants to start from the basics again because it was too painful.

    In my soap box opinion CTC will be gone after this season and there will be a big name that is proven coming in I do not see IU going for a young talent. It will be pricey but risks of not doing something is even more pricey.

  • Arch Puddington

    I agree. The buyout is too high, and his success last year is still too recent to say the odds are 80%. Having said that, I think the odds have crept up in recent weeks. And not just because of the losing streak. With most or all of this year’s best players likely to be gone next year and very little to replace them in the incoming recruiting class, this is actually a pretty good moment to make a change. If he had a really dynamite group of returning players or a top recruiting class, he would almost have to be given one more year to show he can turn things around. But in the absence of those things, the downside to making a change is significantly reduced.

    Perhaps more than any of that, though, is the discontent among the fan base. Fair or not — and I know you are not as down on the state of the program as some — there is just so much dissatisfaction with CTC that at some point it becomes a factor unto itself. Glass can’t afford to fire a coach every time a fan complains, but neither can he afford to hold on to a coach once a certain critical mass of dissatisfaction has been reached. People pay significant amounts of money and give a great deal of their time and passion to this program. It may not operate like a regular business, but Glass does have obligations to the “customers” who support it. A coach who can’t recruit his home state, who can’t teach fundamentally sound basketball, and whose odd demeanor does not win the support of the fans simply cannot survive. It may or may not be fair, but politics and perception are part of this, and right now those things are tilting heavily against CTC.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Sentiments I agree with Piker. I got destroyed for “accepting mediocrity” when I posted the same argument made here. But facts is facts. Things have not been good at IU for 25 years, and CTC has done the most good in that time frame. I think COY was a bit generous, and “worst coach” in the country is way too harsh. CTC definitely is not a bad guy or bad coach, but of course has shortcomings. From posters here you’d think the whole roster will transfer or quit on CTC next year, but that is typical of emotional fans (I too have been guilty of being reactionary). He’ll be here next year and we’ll see what he can do!

  • IdahoHoosier

    An exodus surely could take place, but I’m starting to question why we fans feel that it is such a certainty. There are a few players who were/are probably leaving (graduation or to go pro) anyway, so aside from them, do we really have reason to believe others are going to leave en masse? It seems to be a prevailing feel/opinion here but we really have no clue right?

  • vicbert caladipo

    Coach can say they don’t watch it or read it, can say the players don’t either. Glass can say he pays no attention to media social or professional, but someone posted a picture here and on another IU forum of the entire balcony being empty with some main level empties too against Michigan. I know the ticket revenue was already made, but how can you ignore that? I mean really, Assembly Hal(of ALL places)l with that many empty seats. How can any AD ignore that?

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    We have no reason to believe there will be a mass exodus it is only a guess and for CTC being released is an opinion as well. They could very easily wait until July and save $3 million dollars and see if a big name shows up. IDK there are so many ways for this to play out its anyone’s guess. However, the above is what I think is most likely to happen.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    I have a signed basketball by RMK and I don’t display it. Very sad to say but his bitterness sours a lot of those memories. At this point I do not care if he even comes around that ship has sailed for me and I have been Hardcore IU for 30 years.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I honestly believe there will be only a few “for sures” coming back. JN and ZM will be here for sure. No way they want to transfer again as old as they are and both should see serious minutes next year. I also think Priller stays. As for the most likely stay, I think DD will. He is going to get serious minutes next year if he stays healthy and will probably be the leader on the team and the other underclassman that don’t play like GG, JJ and QT. The think they will but wouldn’t be surprised list includes FM. The rest I would guess could be as many as all and as few as 4. JB, TB, OG, and CH are definite gones. I see a lot of disengaged faces. Guys not making eye contact, guy looking tired, guys joking on the bench, guys mad, and guys watching their coach and teammates get punked(the trash talking and stare downs, elbows to the head, trucking the coach). It as if the towel has been thrown in by a large group of players and the white flag is being waved. I hope I’m wrong cuz I don’t wanna watch another bottom 4 finish. After OSUs huge beatdown of UW last night we are currently runner up to last place.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Runner up to last place, 13th place. That’s all that needs to be said.

  • Well, you know why RMK keeps getting mentioned, particularly now. Love him or hate him, his tenure epitomizes what today’s IU fans are craving — a clean program that graduates players and yet is one of the most feared and respected basketball programs in the land. Through ’93, RMK was the best coach in the country, and while his tactics were harsh, he’s almost universally praised by the players he coached through that time frame.

    Yes, things went off the rails starting with the ’93-’94 season, and yes, RMK’s behavior since being unceremoniously fired by a corrupt IU administration has been boorish, childish, and entirely inappropriate. I was the biggest RMK fan, and he’s definitely slid from my favor as well — not to inject politics, and I couldn’t stand any of the candidates in the last election, but his support of Trump was the last straw for me.

    But when we think about what we want from IU basketball, it’s RMK’s teams that we’re thinking about. Some of us even miss his “drill-sergeant tactics,” up to a point, because we despair at an entire generation of fragile snowflakes who melt from being exposed to the merest uncomfortable idea. Or maybe that’s just me — having been through boot camp myself, I can say that getting my wimpy butt kicked in the pursuit of a goal was the best thing that ever happened to me.

    Anyways, I too thought it interesting that RMK was included in the list of people who could advise the current IU administration on who to hire as the program’s new coach. There’s no doubt that his behavior towards the program has been a real kick in the teeth to his previous fans. But that doesn’t mean I forget what he did for the program.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Completely respect your thoughts and opinion on the matter. I think you restated the general sentiment I’ve heard around these parts. I still don’t think it is based on anything other than some perceived discontent (which may or may not exist as much as we think). You may be right that many players leave, but another theory is there could be a contingent on the team that is eager for another player(s) to leave so they can “right the ship” so to speak. To me this seems equally as likely as “everyone is leaving”. No idea honestly!

  • Arch Puddington

    I was originally going to argue, but after a bit more detail, Marshall has some really interesting elements to his coaching record;

    1. In 19 years as a head coach, his teams have won 10 conference titles and finished 2nd 5 other times. I don’t care what league you coach in, that is fantastic consistency.
    2. Here are Wichita State’s last 5 years worth of Kenpom defensive rankings:
    — 22, 1, 15, 11, 20

    In as much as defensive efficiency is among the key factors in tournament success (roughly 75% of all Final Four teams finish in the top 20 or so defensivel), those are great numbers.

    3. And speaking of tournament success, although he has only made it to the Sweet 16 or further twice, his teams often outperform their seeding. They have done so four of the last 5 years, and the year they DIDN’T outperform their seeding was the ludicrous year in which they faced Kentucky in the round of 32 (and nearly defeated a team that was ludicrously under-seeded at #8, and ultimately made it to the championship game).

    That is a LOT of success. More than CTC had before coming to IU. The only question would be, can he recruit the kind of talent that we need to compete at the highest level? I don’t even mean like Kentucky or Duke. Could he attract Indiana’s best players? Could he maintain a quality pipeline of high four-star talent and build them into a Villanova/Gonzaga type program?

  • Rob

    Thanks for doing the research. I didn’t know the exact numbers but I watch them every chance I get. Always play great D, low turnovers, win the boards and loose balls, run when it’s there and play a pro half court set when it is not.. When they play bad and get behind, sometimes by as much as 20, they’re usually in the game with a minute to go. They lost to Illinois St. by 16 which rarely if ever happens to them. When Illinois St.(a tournament team) came to WSU, they lost by 41. I can only pray he is our next coach.

  • david r

    Crean is better at coaching than you are as a basketball analyst

  • david r

    Dumb as a Kentucky fan