The real difference a year makes

  • 03/11/2010 10:02 pm in

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.

I’ll acknowledge that this team has serious problems. We could find most of them, you and I, if we took a trip down Thursday’s final stat sheet … so why don’t we?

Nineteen turnovers to 10 assists, that’s a familiar tune. Seventeen offensive rebounds allowed, although 14 were also collected. Northwestern ending the game on a 37-15 run should also be chucked into this conversation as well.

But these are mistakes that get ironed out with experience — correctable mistakes that, when they’ve played well and flashed future potential, we’ve seen the Hoosiers overcome.

Last season, there was an unspoken understanding that progress was going to, at a given point, grind to a halt from which it could not be retrieved. This season, if at times so slowly, Indiana still kept growing, and though it’s hard to see, it’s in that slight difference that measurable steps can be taken.

Players provided examples:

Christian Watford: “We get real tentative under pressure is one thing. And that happened today also. We had some key turnovers late that cost us the game. With time and with experience, that won’t happen.”

Derek Elston: “In the beginning, a lot of people could have said rebounding. But, you know, we took rebounding to the next level after that, so really, just everybody’s kind of got to work on their own, individually. That’s one thing that I think is the only thing I could really look at right now.”

Obviously, it doesn’t happen with words, and it certainly doesn’t happen in postgame locker rooms following conference tournament losses. But, more often than not, it happens.

Accuse me of being soft on Tom Crean, or soft on this team. Go ahead, I don’t care. Last weekend, I trekked up to Milwaukee for the Notre Dame-Marquette game, and I saw a team two years removed from Crean that still bore his wax seal — they played fast, moved the ball, cracked down on defense, and, as of the writing of this column, have taken a projected 13th-place finish in the Big East and won 22 games and a spot in the NCAA tournament. Buzz Williams obviously deserves plenty of credit, but so does the man who put his team together for him, and not just in recruiting.

I’ll be perfectly honest — I don’t know if Crean’s ceiling as a coach is high enough to return Indiana to where it wants to go, I really don’t. But I do know that two years, given the depth of the task Crean faces, is not enough time to celebrate or condemn his work. Progress has been made, if by no other measure than in wins. (Which also happen to be the simplest in this business.)

Nearly every college basketball season must end in defeat, it’s the natural order of things. And every end-of-season locker room often overflows with talk of next year, of belief, of meaningful, touchable, impactful improvement, and Indiana’s was no different.

But when Jordan Hulls had a chance to speak rhetorically, to spout off the same tired-but-indestructible lines every 10-win basketball team must cling to for survival, he talked about rebounding.

Call me crazy, but that’s progress.

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  • HoosierDavey

    Thanks for the year, Hoosiers. I know it wasn't everything you wanted or we wanted in terms of wins, but it was progress. You are moving forward and your future is very good. Keep working hard at what you do and we will keep working hard to support you. Hoosier Hysteria is already on my calendar…can't wait to see all the progress you made in the offseason!

  • Improvement indeed. But man, still hard to watch at times.

  • psvirsky

    I'm on the same page. Who knows what Crean can do with IU long-term? Maybe his Marquette teams are the ceiling (good but rarely great) but maybe with the tradition/stadium/banners/new facility, he can do even better at IU. And maybe he can't. But considering where this program was 18 months ago…there has been some serious progress. And how can you not love some of these freshman? Hull's potential became much clearer in the last couple weeks. Elston brings serious intangibles. Capo just bangs down low. Watford + 15 lb + confidence and he's dangerous. And I absolutely can't wait to see Mo Creek again. Perhaps the cruelest part of his injury is that we're going to have to wait so long to see him again.

    Sorry for the rant, it's been a rough year but I feel so much better than I did at the end of last year. And apologies to the guys I haven't mentioned – especially, VJIII, he's clearly a leader next year. Considering where we were, it's all about progress, and I personally feel better than I used to.

  • BaseballBuc

    This is a “Money Thread” Zach.

  • MillaRed

    Thanks to ITH for your coverage. The best web site I have ever bookmarked.

    I'm not jumping on the “team improved” bandwagon. We had more talent this year than we did last year. Sure, we had a few signature wins but the product at the end of the season looked a lot like last. Sometimes worse.

    My take on the things the players need to do for their game:

    Watford – Strength, the kid will be all-big ten in two years.

    Creek/Roth – get healthy! (please God)

    Jones/Hulls – Strength. Verdell got bigger last year but needs another 10 pounds. These guys really understand the game. Their major flaw is they are weak with the basketball. Their turnovers are too soft. Basically a stronger guy ripping them 3 times a game. I have played ball in bad shape, and in good shape, when you are strong you can dribble through traffic and body up on people. When these guys get there, they are going to be really, really good.

    Elston – Keep doing what you are doing. You have “it”

    Capo – See Elston when you get more opportunities

    Rivers – go to someone you really trust, and get an honest answer on your game and your attitude. Once you see what we see, you can work on your game and compete for a defensive player of the year award.

    Bawa/Pritchard – everything. Please work as hard as you can.

    Crean – I think for me if Coach holds on to the players over the off-season I am willing to start from scratch next season. If not, I think we have a big problem on our hands. There were many head-scratching moments for Coach this year (see Tijan getting early minutes tonight, check the stat line). Frankly, If CTC wins 10-13 games next season, his record looks a lot like Lickliter's over at Iowa after three years. And he looks like he is done.

    I'm sorry, I did not see a lot of improvement in the overall team this year. Do I think we have the making of a good team? Yes. But they never played consistently and averaged 15+ point losses over 15 games.

    This is merely an opinion, of course……….

  • derekphillips

    I'm tired of taking away positives from these games, I want to see wins!!!

  • Indiana_Knight

    Thanks to Inside the Hall for their great coverage this year. It must’ve been pretty tough for you guys to grind through that 11 game losing streak too. But we’ll be better next year.

    I like what Crean’s offensive system eventually gets for you, and great guard play is one of the biggest keys to winning in the NCAA tournament. Moreso than the play of bigs, I believe.

    This year’s “youth excuse” was not an excuse. If you understand collegiate athletics then you understand how much strength matters. And how much better access college athletes have to quality equipment and training compared to high school players. Besides, we should still be fielding one of the youngest starting line-ups in the Big Ten (OSU might be tops since they lose a lot of upperclassmen and have a big, loaded freshmen class).. Look at Verdell as a freshman getting pushed around to a much stronger sophomore. Of course, last year he was even more rail thin than Watford (probably about as weak as Hulls is this year), so he’ll make more progress over this summer.

    This year, our strength problem, which you refer to as a “youth problem” was exacerbated by players playing out of position all over the floor. Watford would’ve been much more efficient as a 3 this year, but he just isn’t strong enough to play PF in the big ten even if he’s 6’9″ (6’9″+, by the way, is pro height for SF/PF. Watford has the frame; he needs the bulk). Like I’ve said before, if we could move Watford to the 3 and use Capo/Elston/Pritchard at the 4 and let Capo/Pritchard also do some spot duty at 5 (hopefully Muniru will be ready next year) we would have extremely good length everywhere. If we can have Muniru/Someone who is a real C soak up minutes there then we’d have excellent length on the floor.

    It’ll improve next year, and everyone will be much stronger after a good summer in the weight room but if you’ve ever done any weight training… you can’t just grow as fast as you want to. It takes time. The 15 months or so our freshmen will have been in Bloomington will be a fantastic start, and will see them make the most physical progress they’ll make in their college careers.

    If we can play Watford at his true position next year Elston can man the PF spot. Elston is supposedly the same height/weight as Watford (6’9″, 220), but Elston is much stronger on the block. Watford looks to have more of a frame to fill out, and seems to have longer arms as well, but Elston should be strong enough to defend the 4 by this fall. I imagine Pritchard will get bumped from 5 to 4 and Capo/Muniru will split time at the 5. That’s the only position where we have size issues. Elsewhere we have strength problems. Crean didn’t try C.Watt at the 3 until the end of the year but I think he has realized that is where Watford belongs on the court.

    I think we could go .500 or even better next year, if we can stay healthier than we did next year. Next year’s team will have a stronger nucleus… we just had too many freshmen logging major minutes this year… and VO/Sheehey/Roth/Rivers should also make for a much stronger bench unit. I don’t know about the 21-22 wins it’ll take for an NCAA berth, but we could hit 17/18/19 and go to the NIT if we’re lucky. Hopefully we do well in Vegas to get the ball rolling and our OOC isn’t too nuts besides that tourney, the B10/ACC away game, and traveling down to see Coach Cal.

    Crean can coach and these guys can really play. If these freshmen improve and we don’t have too many sophomore slumpers (it’d be great to not have any but we have a looot of young guys this year) next year should be a much more enjoyable season.

  • plane1972

    Sorry, Jerry, but next year your leading scorer will likely be a sophomore (Creek) and maybe your leading rebounder (Watford), too. Pritchard and VJ will be juniors. Senior leadership will, once again, be limited. I'm afraid you are going to be disappointed next year, because they will still be young. Now 2012 is when this becomes an experienced team, hopefully with a nice injection of talented youth in that incoming class.

  • btowncain

    Don't call me a credible source but I talked to Derek Elston tonight via Facebook and he told me that this year has been a disappointment by everyone on the team and that they are embarrassed but they do know good days are ahead and “no way in hell” anyone on the team is transferring or leaving the program. So put any doubt or speculation to rest. I also asked him about playing with Rivers and he told me he is a good teammate and has been working hard in practice with his shooting and it just hasn't translated to the games yet and next year he could be a force from 10-15 feet. I asked him what his off season plans where and he said working out, thousand jump shots a day, and ball handling drills which all go for everyone on the team. so there you have it from a players perspective. hope this helps everyone sleep at night and look forward to watching these boy grow to men and better Hoosier hoops next season.

  • JerryCT

    This was a nice piece of writing Zach and I feel the sense of improvement on this team . I like coach Crean alot but I am worried that the schemes we use are not going to be effective no matter how much the players improve individually.

    Example: 'CUse and Nova lost yesterday because down the stretch they could not resist the dribble drive which everybody defends these days. As a result each team was taking heavily contested shots…………and missing. ND and NW yesterday instead played for the best “open” shots they could get.

    I hope CTC installs some offense other than transition that relies on passing ,( not dribbling ) and open shots . We have alot of players that fit this scheme

  • JerryCT

    Also, I hope we can finally kill the “youth excuse” now that the season is over. I hope to never hear it again

  • TarHeelHooj

    Someone said this was really year one, and if you think about it, yeah. Last year was the thumb in the dike year. Then a year later 4 freshmen are starting the last game of the year. Freshmen start when you’re totally rebuilding.

    Last year was just field a team. It wasn’t even rebuidling because most of what was built didn’t last thru the end of this year. This year was like rebuilding the season after losing almost ALL your upperclassmen — which you would hate and which hardly ever happens because you space out your players so you lose only a few per year.

    So year one: just survive. Year two start rebuilding — that was this year.

  • IUDan

    I have been a defender of the “youth excuse” as much as anyone (I've said it's reality – not an excuse . . . ask UNC how it's worked out for them). But that being said, you're right. In my mind this was really year 1 – this was the year Crean could get HIS recruits (for the most part) in and put his stamp on the program. So now we will have true upperclassmen who have been in the program 3 years, and a nice nucleus of experienced players.

    I'm not one to make predictions on wins/losses, but I DO expect to see a different team next year – one much tougher and much better overall.

    Next year starts today, fellas – hit the weight room and the new training facility as much as possible. and get the new guys up to speed.

  • I know it might sound like rose-colored glasses, but I was thinking about this last night, and this team was five wins away from a .500 season. Let's say George Mason's last-second heart-breaking loss, Loyola with the loss of Creek, Iowa at home, Purdue and home and Illinois on the road–all of which were more-or-less winnable games for the Hoosiers (the argument for Iowa is that they are as talented and the game was at home).

    So, yeah, there was a long losing streak and the team looked confused–at best–at times and there were long scoring droughts that doomed games. But maybe–just maybe–10-20 isn't as ugly as it looks or seemed during the season.

  • plane1972

    Sorry, Jerry, but next year your leading scorer will likely be a sophomore (Creek) and maybe your leading rebounder (Watford), too. Pritchard and VJ will be juniors. Senior leadership will, once again, be limited. I'm afraid you are going to be disappointed next year, because they will still be young. Now 2012 is when this becomes an experienced team, hopefully with a nice injection of talented youth in that incoming class.

  • spiderman0551

    I think all things considered, it was a decent year. We lost our best player, who knows what his stats would have been if he played all year but he was getting really good quickly. The big men, while inconsistant, played decent as well….seemed like most of the time, one of them had a good game. Elston ended the season as probably the most consistant, which should improve next year. Watford is going to get a lot better. Hulls is going to get a lot better. Pritchard showed up at times and always played pretty hard, he'll be better next year too. VJ III had another pretty good year on another bad team. I think we have the pieces in place, barring injury to go at least .500 next year, which would be more improvement over the previous 2 years. Winning cures a lot of ills, and I think we are headed in the right direction, although we would like to see it happen faster. Coach Crean always has the boys play hard even if they are outmatched physically or athletically, and that will always pay off in the long run. Roth will be back, and that will help free up the big men more inside if he's hitting. Capobianco showed he is at least physical enough to play big ten ball and will be a pretty good ball player really soon. Add the 2 boys we have coming next year and we automatically become more athletic and a little longer. I, for one, am looking forward to the future and appreciate the effort the Coach and the team put out this year, all things considered.

  • tberry

    Hell, we were only ? away from winning the Big Ten. We got no problems MON!!!

  • marcusgresham

    I know we've all been pretty upset, but when we look back at the beginning of the season a lot of “experts” said 10-12 wins, so it was pretty much what it was supposed to be–that done with the best player on the team becoming a spectator 1/3 of the way through the year. I agree with the earlier post about having looked back and saw 5 or so other games that were almost wins that would have put the team at .500, and I'd expect that to happen (and then some) by next season.
    I saw better ball movement yesterday than I'd seen all year (in spurts, not the whole game, of course, but there were flashes of some really nice passing.)
    Elston was EVERYWHERE at some times, it seemed, and he's got a frame that can hold a ton of muscle by the time he graduates. He and Capobianco might look like a tag team by the time they're seniors.
    Who else, following the double-technical, thought that was the best think Tijan did in his two seasons in an IU jersey. If he'd have been able to bait someone of substance on the other roster into a technical every game, I'd have been thrilled to see it. I know he's a smart kid, and I'm sure he'll be very successful in life, but I'm glad as hell to know someone else will have that scholarship next year.

  • DJ5

    I was very encouraged with the lineup that CTC put out in the last part of the season. I hope that Capo/Elston/Hulls will gain confidence from their increased PT, and that Rivers/Pritchard will use their diminished roles as motivation this offseason to get better. VJ3 has made a tremendous leap from HS to his freshman year to his sophomore year, and there's no reason not to expect more improvement. If Creek comes back strong, he and VJ3 will give a nice 1-2 punch of guys who can create and score. I have seen VO play a few times this year at DeMatha, and I think his strenghts (rebounding, defending, and finishing) will lead him to being an immediate impact role player next year. He will be the best athlete on IU's team, and probably top 5 in the Big Ten.

    It's very easy to be disappointed with this year's results. In baseball, they say that your last at-bat has absolutely no impact on your next at-bat. And this year's results by no means translate into next year's results.

  • JerryCT

    I think we both hope you are wrong about being disappointed next year.

    If you consider “experience” to be more about playing Div 1 competition rather than how “old” you are then our freshmen got alot of experience ( except Creek ) this year………..more than freshmen on most teams.

    Also I believe CTC uses player development as one of the selling points about coming to IU ( ie his history w players plus our new facilities ). If player development does not sufficiently materialize in next year's team then we need to start asking some questions.

  • btfu26789

    IU sucks!!!!!!!!!!

  • Well said. At the start of last season we knew it was going to be awhile before we were respectable again, 2 seasons of rebuilding are now behind us and we can now begin to have some hope of a winning season. I will be realistic enough NOT to expect an NCAA tourney bid next year but hopefully a .500 record. Losing and time have made some of our fans unrealistic and ready to call for Creans head, which reflects a bigger problem in our sports watching society. It took Tom Landry 8 strait losing seasons to eventually build a winner, he would have never survived in today’s sports world and the Cowboys probably would have 2 less Super Bowls because of it. Patience people, patience

  • I'm pretty sure “youth” isnt an excuse, its a fact

  • valpohistory

    I remember my first beer….

  • Disco_Briscoe

    This was a disappointing season. I wasn't expecting a NCAA bid but we could have a been a little more competitive. Growth from last year to this year was minimal. After this year my hopes aren't high for next year either. Neither recruit excites me, as I don't see them impacting the top 6 spots of the rotation. A lot of work needs to be done on the court and in the weight room,as we looked like one of the most nonathletic teams in the conference. Sorry to be so negative but I couldn't wait for this season to end and for next year, hopefully the team can only beat my expectations.

  • deedubbadoo

    I don't really see it as disappointing as much as it was frustrating. Truth be told, we lost our best player, Mo Creek, the guy that put 31 against UK and was averaging a shade under 16.5ppg before he went down. I think for a group of young guys to watch the best player on team go down, when we already lost Roth for the season to put together 4 more wins than the year before is pretty good growth. Not to mention a handful of close losses against the likes of Purdue and Illinois. I admit, near the end of the season, we were done, wore out, beaten, downtrodden, whatever you want to call it. I think we found a good nucleus of guys that this program can be built around, and look forward to the return of Mo and Matt, while welcoming in the new guys. 15 wins next year at least and we keep getting better.

  • Andrew

    Jerry, c'mon. Next year we will have exactly one senior, a transfer who has played at IU for all of one season. Because of Roth's injury, we will have TWO scholarship players who have played more than one season at IU. That's remarkable to me. Think about that, and name me another team next year who that will apply to. Just b/c you're sick of hearing it, youth is not an “excuse.” It's a reason, a fact. We're one year removed from having a baseball player crack the rotation, a backcourt at times of Moore and Finkelmeier, and a manager added at the end of the year to help depth. This is a unique situation, a major rebuild, and, like it or not, it's going to take TIME—not just a couple of years. While the rest of the conference got older this year, we got younger by adding 6 freshmen. Next year, we won't be as young. But to act like we're an experienced group b/c most of our freshman got meaningful minutes? It's not like we're the only team in America whose freshman played a lot this year. It's also worth pointing out that our best freshman/overall player has never even played in a Big Ten game. I'm disappointed that we've lost so many games the last two years too, but please don't let that cloud your judgment on where this program is at right now.

  • Indiana_Knight

    I don't think I even said what I meant to say… disappointing is a fair grade, I just feel pretty optimistic about the lineup we found at the end of the season.

  • Kelin Blab

    Here was an intersting point written in the newspaper today….
    First three years of a program….in his third year Lickliter of Iowa 10-22, Beilen of Michigan 15-16….and neither school started where IU started. Close to 500 next year would make me happy.

    Also Crean has said alot about finding a player that can get into the lane….don't be shocked if IU signs a PG this year.

  • Indiana_Knight

    I kind of don't understand the Jobe and Bawa love in Assembly Hall. Is it because they're african guys with african names?

    Jobe didn't deliver much as a player, but he tried hard and off the court he's a really great guy. It's hard not to see him walking around campus and he's sporting damn near a 4.0. Smart is almost an understatement. Unfortunately he's not much of an athlete, but if guys like Rivers and Dumes had an attitude more similar to Jobe's it probably would've saved us a game or two.

    Really I just wish Rivers would pretend to care or think about his mistakes when he turns the ball over.

  • Indiana_Knight

    I don't understand where growth should be coming from. Verdell, Dumes and Pritchard were really the only notable returning players from last year to this year. Verdell is a MUCH better player than he was when he arrived to campus. Pritchard slumped, but it happens. We started a lot of freshmen. They were played HS ball last year. The transition from HS to college is different for every player but not very many can come in and match up well with RS sophs, juniors, and seniors.

    A lot of you guys are really unrealistic in terms of what Crean should've been able to accomplish this year with as many young players as he did. UNC had a stronger class of young players, a couple more experienced players to complement them than we did, and a coach that has played in several title games (And even won a couple!), but they weren't much better than we were. In a weaker conference. North Carolina's season was legitimately disappointing, but that doesn't make Roy a bad coach. Coaches get 18-year-old players that have established habits, maybe poor conditioning and strength training, and no real understanding of the type of team ball that needs to be played to win collegiate basketball games. Some freshmen are ready to come in and be John Wall but there certainly aren't many. We finished maybe a win or two shy of most people's projections (even with our top 15 recruiting class) after losing Creek, who played a lot less than Ed Davis did for UNC.

    We lost a lot of last year's team and really did have to kind of start over. All the players are indicating that they're staying, so if a couple of these freshmen don't take big steps then criticize away but there's not much data to judge on at this point because these two years have been very unique. If a couple of our freshmen can improve like Verdell did from last year to this year and we cut down turnovers some more I think we can finish a game or two ahead of .500. I think a lot of teams around the league lose important seniors this year (Mich. St, Mich, Illinois and Wisconsin), lots of PGs especially seem to be leaving. OSU will get hella reloaded, and the Illini have some young talent, but I think there's going to be a couple of opportunities that weren't there for us last year because of the youth of some of our opponents. I feel like the B10 was unusually senior-laden, and there are a number of juniors and underclassmen like Manny Harris that could make the NBA jump. We return everyone significant, at least.

  • Disco_Briscoe

    I don't think your comments are long enough. Ha. Not trying to battle you and everyone on here has their own opinion.

    There should have been more improvement than last season considering Crean had Rivers, VJ3 (improved), Pritchard, and Dumes knowing his system and the “top 15 recruiting class” that Crean recruited himself and had on campus since the summer except Bawa and Creek. We only lost one “player*” of possible impact from last year, Roth, and who knows what his role could have been.

    Yes, losing Creek hurt and who knows what may have been. But even without Creek we were a much better team this year than last year and there isn't much to show for it. IU isn't UNC and if we were to play UNC, 9/10 times they beat IU.

    Yes, my criticism is tough and I know it but this is INDIANA BASKETBALL and it feels like Indiana Football.

  • vslice

    I know people don't want to hear this because they want to see things progress faster than what they have been, but this truly was year one in the rebuilding stage. The first year was nothing but a rag tag bunch of guys thrown together to get a team on the floor. Like I said its not want people want to hear but thats the reality that Greenspan and Sampson left us with.

  • Indiana_Knight

    Lol I can't help the long comments I'm a rambler. I'm not trying to be hostile, just argumentative. Rivers has had very little playing time as a collegiate player prior to this year. He's strong enough and fast enough and agile enough to get to the rim… I don't know what you can do for a college player that doesn't finish. There's not much to teach when you're slashing all the way to the rim, Rivers as a player has to finish. He made a big mistake in playing Rivers so much once he started moping during the 11-game skid, but he was an alright if not error prone player before.

    Malik Story and Nic Williams could've helped this team off the bench. But they transferred.

    There's a reason why announcers don't talk about sophomores much when they talk about seasoned players. VJ3 took a huge step over the summer. Pritchard didn't do much, but that is supposedly part of the reason why McLeod was released.

    And I don't think this year's UNC team is very good. They lost to a Georgia Tech team that just turned it over more than 25 times against Maryland (I think that's even higher than our highest total for the season). The ACC is definitely down this year, even if Duke is fairly strong at the top.

    This was going to be a two sentence reply… I don't know what happened after that…

  • Indiana_Knight

    I don't think I even said what I meant to say… disappointing is a fair grade, I just feel pretty optimistic about the lineup we found at the end of the season.

  • GFDave

    Personally, I think this year was better than last year. Last year we were proud of the plucky little team that went out there and tried against all odds. With that group Crean didn't try to install his system; he went with a slow down game to give them a chance. This year he went up-tempo to the extent that he could. The results weren't good, but the experience should pay dividends down the road.

    I know everyone is thinking schollies and I think a couple of kids won't be coming back. Now that Roth has redshirted, we have 7 players in that one class. That's too many. IMO I think at least two will be gone from a group of Roth, Pritchard and Muniru. That would allow Crean to sign one more player for fall 2010 and another to go with Carlino and Etherington in 2011. Or he could save both for 2011.

  • HoosierSmitty

    Next year we need to match our win total for the past TWO years or I will be highly disappointed. I think 16 wins is a reasonable expectation. Let's keep the guys here and healthy!

    To the IU players and coaches – Thanks for giving us a little something more to cheer for the last two games!

    Go Hoosiers!