Relax, Tom Crean still needs time, friends

  • 01/28/2010 10:33 pm in

Sorry for the lack of writing from yours truly this week, but duties of the day job combined with a killer sore throat have left me sidelined for a few days. As I found my way back to the computer Thursday night, I stumbled across this piece from earlier this week by Matt Snyder at FanHouse.

Titled “Crean’s Hoosiers Still on Roller Coaster,” Snyder dives into Tom Crean’s first 21 months on the job in Bloomington. He mentions the complete overhaul the program underwent and also talks about the up-and-down play this season. Aimed more towards a national audience, none of this would be news to those of you that frequent ITH.

But towards the end, Snyder looks toward the future and makes a few pointed comments that seem to suggest that the honeymoon could come to an end for Crean next season. Here’s a few of them:

Crean will probably continue to receive a free pass as the team skates to its second consecutive season without a post-season game. That will all change next year, however.

There is no reason that the 2011 Hoosiers shouldn’t be a big part of Selection Sunday.

Remember when Crean took the job and, when asked why he took over such a dire situation, kept saying, “It’s Indiana” with a big smile? Well, come next season, the roller coaster isn’t going to be suitable anymore.

Beginning in 2011, the next time Crean doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament will be very problematic. After all, it’s Indiana. We don’t do roller coaster seasons. We do Final Fours.

Look, I think we can all agree that Indiana making the NCAA Tournament next season would be fantastic. But to say it will be “very problematic” if it doesn’t happen? I’m not buying it.

Here are the facts: Yes, next year’s team will be a year older, more confident and more experienced. And yes, next year’s team will (fingers crossed) enjoy the presence of Maurice Creek for a full season.

But let’s not forget that this restoration project is still in its infancy. That’s why Crean has a 10-year contract. Shortcuts aren’t being taken. Rome wasn’t built in a day, folks. To expect a jump from sub .500 this year to a “big part of Selection Sunday” is asking a little much, no?

As someone who’s had the opportunity to watch Crean work both on the recruiting trail and the sidelines, I’m convinced the man is building the program the way it should be built.

And as easy as it might be to look at the quick turnaround at a program like Kentucky, Indiana tried the win-at-all costs solution with Kelvin Sampson. It didn’t work.

Will he make mistakes? Absolutely. Will we analyze those mistakes and second guess decisions that are made? That’s what fans do. But before you go adopting the “After all, it’s Indiana. We don’t do roller coaster seasons. We do Final Fours,” approach, sit back, relax, remember Indiana had been to one Final Four in 16 seasons before his arrival and let the man do his job.

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