‘This was bound to happen at some point’

Notes written shortly after Michael Santa’s much anticipated IU debut …

“I’ll never accept it and I never have, but this was bound to happen at some point with this team. We’ve asked a lot of them. A majority of theses guys would be redshirting on most any Division I program. I shouldn’t say most, but the high quality level to get that year to get their bodies right, to get stronger and all those kinds of things, to learn the college game. We are asking a lot of guys that have never done this before and it showed up tonight in a big way. There is nothing to hang our hat on tonight. It is just part of it.” – Tom Crean after Indiana’s 75-53 home loss on Wednesday to Northwestern.

No matter how much we’d all like to sugar coat it and talk about the hard work this version of the Indiana Hoosiers is putting in, the reality is that this team never really had a shot to compete at a high level. Crean and the coaching staff have coached them to competitiveness in spurts, but the talent and experience just isn’t there. Crean has done a superb job keeping the attitude and the spirit of his team positive, but there’s only so much you can say when the losses keep piling up. Take this season for what it is: an anomaly in the history of the Indiana basketball and no indication of the direction the program is heading.

– Ryan did an excellent job of summing up the extra phone call the Indianapolis Star reported early Wednesday morning. Under normal circumstances, this would have flown so far under the radar you wouldn’t have even known about it. But the circumstances following Kelvin Sampson’s major violations aren’t normal. You can believe Crean when he says it was an honest mistake, but it was the last thing Indiana needs right now.


Good, Bad and Ugly: Northwestern

FINAL SCORE: Northwestern 75, Indiana 53


A hot start. IU rushed out to a 15-7 lead in the first five minutes, but once Northwestern switched to a 1-3-1 zone, they only mustered 38 points the last 35 minutes of the game.

Stopping Kevin Coble … for a half. I’m not sure if it had more to do with IU really D’ing up on Coble or the Wildcats just not finding him on the offensive end, but holding a guy averaging 15.5 points a game to only two points in the first half ain’t too shabby. Coble showed more signs of life in the second half, as he had some easy scores on Northwestern’s patented back-door cuts. He finished with 10 for the game. But where Coble faltered, Craig Moore and Michael Thompson shined.

IU outrebounded Northwestern 31-25 for the game and on the offensive end, buried them 15-5. (Though, we know why that is.)

The Hoosiers also tallied 16 assists on the night, which was their most since Jan. 31 against Ohio State.


Turnovers. 17 of them. Long scoreless stretches. Holes in the defense. You know, same as it ever was this season.


From left to right: Tijan Jobe, Steven Gambles, Michael Santa. (Kory Barnett and Broderick Lewis were also on the floor at the end of the game.)

Who is Michael Santa, you ask? Well, he’s a manager Tom Crean thought deserved a jersey. And, he’s wearing Armon Bassett’s number! Apparently, Crean isn’t stopping there. He wants to suit up another manager, Brandon Profitt. But Proffitt is injured at the moment. Perhaps he pulled a finger reaching into a vending machine to grab a Diet Coke for Crean. (I kid; I’m sure these are both nice, hard-working guys that are giving their all in practice just like the rest of the team.)

But yeah, I’m not sure if it gets any lower than this: IU losing to Northwestern for the first time in 41 years at home and the first time ever in Assembly Hall, as a tiny crowd watches Santa and company in the final minute. Yeesh.

Live blog: Northwestern @ Indiana

Jeebus: IU punishes itself for extra recruiting call

I should really be asleep right now, but I just checked my e-mail on my phone quick and Jerod over at Midwest Sports Fan dropped this in my inbox: the Indy Star is reporting the basketball staff made one phone call too many to Bawa Muniru during a week in October. When the violation was discovered, IU punished itself by not making calls for a week in December.

Let’s go to the details:

According to the report, when assistant coach Roshown McLeod left a voice mail for Muniru on Oct. 25, it was the school’s third call to him in a week — exceeding the NCAA limit by one.

Coach Tom Crean, who normally makes one call per week to recruits, placed two to Muniru — the Sunday and Wednesday before McLeod’s call on a Saturday.

The report said Crean “simply made a mistake,” thinking his Sunday call had counted against the previous week’s allotment. The athletic department’s compliance department discovered the violation.

On the surface, not the hugest deal. As we all know, schools report minor, secondary violations like this all the time. It happens.

But, considering Kelvin Sampson’s past transgressions, this is about the worst secondary violation Tom Crean and his staff could have picked up in his first year at the helm, as far as a PR standpoint in concerned.

Again, this is nothing more than a minor mistake, one that IU was right to self-report. We’ll survive. But man, I’d feel far better right now if it was something that had absolutely nothing to do with a phone.

Hulls leads South one step closer to perfect regular season

Throughout the season, Inside the Hall will keep you posted on how the six Indiana signees and 2011 commitment Matt Carlino are performing at their respective schools. Here’s our latest update:

+ Jordan Hulls: The future IU point guard led his team to a pair of wins — 91-46 at Perry Meridian on Friday and 73-67 vs. Detroit Country Day on Saturday — and the Panthers moved to 20-0 on the season. Hulls had 14 points in the win over Perry Meridian as Bloomington South completed its second straight undefeated season in Conference Indiana. Hulls backed that up with 27 points on Saturday as South, No. 5 nationally, knocked off No. 4 Detroit Country Day in front of a sold out crowd. Hulls was 8 of 14 from the field and 8 of 8 from the free throw line.

+ Maurice Creek: Hargrave Military Academy improved to 21-1 with a 106-84 win over the North Carolina JV team in Chapel Hill. Creek scored 26 points and grabbed six rebounds. Creek told Inside the Hall over the weekend that he’ll be participating in the Derby Festival Classic in Louisville the weekend of April 11.

+ Christian Watford: Shades Valley dropped the Alabama Class 6-A Northeast Region Finals 53-50 on Friday to Vestavia Hills. Watford scored 17 points, but his 3-point attempt with six seconds remaining didn’t fall.

+ Derek Elston: Tipton, No. 2 in Class 2-A, moved to 18-2 with a 60-47 win over Frankfort on Friday night. Elston had a game-high 21 points.

+ Bobby Capobianco: Loveland moved to 9-0 in the Fort Ancient Valley Conference with wins over Withrow and Milford. In Tuesday’s 64-54 win over Withrow, Capobianco had 17 points and 10 rebounds. In Friday’s 57-55 win over Milford, the 6-8 forward had 10 points and 14 rebounds.

+ Bawa Muniru: No statistical information available, but I did answer some of your questions about Bawa in a piece last week.

+ Matt Carlino: Carlino’s Highland team finished the regular season with a 24-3 record and earned the No. 1 seed in the AIA 5-A Division I tournament. Highland will face Corona del Sol at 7:00 PM local time on Thursday. You can view the tournament bracket here.

Moore’s 26 leads Boilermakers past Hoosiers, 81-67

Tom Crean and the Indiana Hoosiers (most of them, anyway) got their first taste of the IU-Purdue rivalry Saturday afternoon in Mackey Arena.

And despite a spirit and toughness Crean felt his team exhibited throughout the contest, the Hoosiers dropped their fifth straight game in a 81-67 loss to Purdue.

“We came to play,” Crean said. “They’ve got a lot of pride and I’m glad they came out here and showed it that way today.”

Indiana trailed by nine at halftime, but cut the Boilermaker lead to six at 41-35 on a Devan Dumes 3-pointer with 17:59 remaining. Purdue responded with four straight points and the Hoosiers never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.

E’twaun Moore scored 26 points to lead the Boilermakers (21-6, 10-4) on 10-of-14 shooting. The sophomore from East Chicago scored nine points in the opening seven minutes as Purdue built an early eight-point lead.


Live blog: Indiana @ Purdue

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