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Crean: “We have to have a balancing act right now”

Big Ten Tournament: Indiana Hoosiers v Penn State Nittany LionsAfter having a day to listen to the various interviews after Indiana’s season-ending loss on Thursday to Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament, I came across one particular question and answer that I felt worthy of our attention.

The question came from Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz, who asked the final question in Tom Crean’s postgame presser. Kravitz asked Crean to address the need for some big guys in the program and received this lengthy response:

“I think we have a lot of needs, Bob. And I think we’ve gotta develop the bigs that we have. We’ve got a very tough situation right now in the sense, if people have followed our program at all, which I know that you have, we had to get a team on the floor before we could build a program. That was last year. Then we were able to recruit guys that we wanted to, that we had a chance to develop relationships with. We’re very bottom heavy and we have to have a balancing act right now between what do we need to do in the short term versus how are we not going to have to start over again when these guys get older.”

“In the purest sense of your question, there’s no doubt we’re trying to address that in a big way. They’ve all gotta get stronger, bigger, better, more athletic that we have in the program. We’ve gotta continue to address that. But I look at our team and we also need somebody that’s better at getting in the lane. We need somebody that can get in the lane and create havoc, that can get into that paint and make decisions to get the ball to shooters. Our team will look different when you add the spacing element into it that Matt Roth and Maurice Creek bring. Obviously Maurice was our best guy at being able to absolutely get in the lane and make a play and make a good decision with it, but we’re not anywhere close to being done recruiting. And that’ll pick up again tomorrow in a big way. We’re going to address it. We have been and at the same time I have to sit here and look ahead into the future and figure out okay, how are we going to have to not do this again. That’s what’s hard because there’s a lot of good young players that we’re recruiting that we want and we’ve gotta make sure that we get those and we’ve gotta make sure we have the ability to sign them when they’re ready to come.”

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Roshown McLeod statement: Thanks, not much else

The following just popped into our inbox from Amira Schiraz, Inc, a public relations company based out of Philadelphia:

The following is a statement from Roshown McLeod following his dismissal from the Assistant Coach position at Indiana University.

“I greatly appreciate the opportunity afforded me by Indiana University. It gave me the chance to work with some amazing student athletes over the last two seasons. I wish the best for IU as they move forward.”

There will be no further comment from Roshown McLeod on this subject.

If you were looking for a juicy, tell-all story about the dismissal, well, you’re not going to get it, kids.

The real difference a year makes

INDIANAPOLIS — The first words out of Jordan Hulls’ mouth talked about rebounding.

Standing outside his team’s locker room after a season-ending 73-58 loss to Northwestern, the question was posed to Indiana’s young guard: What did you learn from this season?

“We can be a great rebounding team,” Hulls said. “We came together, we have lots to improve upon, but I feel like we got a lot better as the season went on.”

Down the stretch run last year, during that record-setting losing streak and through the mounting blowouts, it began to feel as though the Hoosiers had maxed out their potential for that season. Overmatched and undermanned every night, Indiana reached a point where players were physically and, perhaps, mentally worn down to such a degree that both the means and the end of each game became thoroughly predictable.

This season looked that way too, for awhile. After a strong December and January, marked by wins over the likes of Pittsburgh, Michigan and Minnesota, the Hoosiers disappeared, losing 11 in a row in mostly-forgettable fashion. Fans wanted to give up. Some of us in the media (me, mostly) wanted to let go. Even players, at times, appeared as if their hearts and heads just couldn’t align well enough to give another win-worthy effort.

The Senior Day win over Northwestern disproved that. And Thursday’s loss, deceptively large, sort of said the same.

I was in this building a year ago when, against a talented-but-not-unstoppable Penn State squad, No. 11-seed Indiana basically rolled over. The Hoosiers just looked too tired, too worn down, too short of confidence to mount a significant challenge against any Big Ten opponent.

What positives could one take from such regular, predictable, heavy losing? I don’t think it’s fair to say that this time around.

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The Minute After: Northwestern

FINAL SCORE: Northwestern 73, Indiana 58 | Box Score

The ghost of Hoosier future.

Derek Elston (10 points, nine boards) and Christian Watford (nine points, six boards) playing close to the  double-double men they’re capable of being night in and night out. Verdell Jones and Jordan Hulls handling the perimeter. A strong start. Controlled, sensible decisions. Being in the driver’s seat for 32 minutes of this one. Using the same scheme — a zone that forced outside shots — against Northwestern twice in the same week, and it working. Respectable shooting from the field (43.5 percent) and (sort of) from three (33.3 percent).

The ghost of Hoosier past.

The scoring droughts. A few of ‘em, but none more costly than the 9:29 without a field goal late in the second half — a stretch of time that essentially lost this team the game.

The turnovers. When the wheels fell of midway through the second half, Northwestern’s 1-3-1 zone forced the Hoosiers into plenty of them, and of course, there were a number of the unforced variety as well. In total, IU had 19. (13 of which came in the second half.)

This one stings a bit, because IU had this game. The car was on cruise control. But they fell asleep at the wheel and veered off the road — never to recover.

It would have been nice to rack up an 11th win, nice to have a chance at a 12th win against Purdue in the next round of the tourney. But alas, what’s doomed the Hoosiers all season — their inability to take care of the ball and put the ball in the basket — doomed them again today.

Going to cut this one short instead of rambling on like usual. We’ll have plenty of end-of-the-year content starting next week for y’all, which should be fun.

Thanks for sticking with us this season, and don’t fret. Better days are ahead.

Northwestern Postgame Audio: Tom Crean

Listen to Indiana coach Tom Crean’s comments following Indiana’s season-ending 73-58 loss to Northwestern in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament in the embedded media player below:

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Report: Rice hires former IU Athletic Director Rick Greenspan

You remember Rick Greenspan, right? Well, I’ll keep this brief, but instead of writing the Kelvin Sampson tell-all book, it appears the former Indiana Athletic Director is on his way to Rice.

KHOU-TV has the scoop:

HOUSTON—Sources tell 11 News that former Indiana University Athletic Director Rick Greenspan has been selected as the new AD at Rice University.

Greenspan will replace Chris Del Conte, who left last fall for the same post at TCU.

Greenspan was at Indiana for four years, during which time he was credited with getting $55 million worth of upgrades on university facilities.

The report goes on to mention that an announcement at Rice could come as early as Friday.

Big Ten Tournament Live Blog: Indiana vs. Northwestern

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