Inside the Hall Twitter Mailbag: December 29

  • 12/29/2010 8:37 am in

(Photo credit: Jamie Owens/J.Scott Photography)

The Inside the Hall Twitter mailbag is a weekly collection of questions tweeted to us via our Twitter account, @insidethehall. Tweet us your questions each week and we’ll answer as many as we can. Now, onward …

@grllin writes: Given the team’s results over the last week or so, is it time to change the realistic expectations for the year?

Alex Bozich: Most of the expectations for this season had a baseline of 14 or 15 wins with a ceiling of 17. And that was with Guy-Marc Michel figured into the equation. In order to reach that ceiling, Indiana probably needed to win ten games in its non-conference schedule and then hold serve at home against the bottom half of the Big Ten.

When the Hoosiers failed to win a game in Vegas and then stumbled against Penn State on Monday, there’s no question the expectations have changed. That 17-win plateau is probably out of the question, but I think this team still reaches 13 or 14 wins if it can stop the pattern of falling behind early. The fact, however, remains that IU is still a flawed team defensively that desperately lacks post scoring. In a loaded Big Ten, that’s no recipe for success.

@iu77bu81 writes: do u think watford should have played less due to his back spasms? Seemed to help creek

Alex Bozich: Hindsight is always 20/20, but this was a game Indiana needed to win and even with Watford at less than 100 percent, the decision to play him 25 minutes was probably the right one. He’s Indiana best player at this point. And he’s the closest thing the Hoosiers have to a reliable scorer. He wasn’t close to being himself against Penn State and some blown defensive assignments early were costly.

But on the flip side, if you bench him, who grabs those minutes? Tom Pritchard? Maybe, but he’s not a threat to score and his confidence is nearly gone. Bobby Capobianco? Much like Pritchard, he’s not going to score either and hasn’t earned more than spot playing time. Will Sheehey probably would have gotten more run, but Tom Crean said afterwards that he was a little banged up. Ultimately, Crean went with the lineup he felt gave him the best chance to win the game, but it just didn’t happen.

@hoopstrainer writes: With some of the recent issues this season. Do you expect IU to bring in another 2011 recruit? If so what position?

Alex Bozich: I believe they’ll try to add another 2011 recruit and the most glaring need is help in the post followed closely by help at the point. But with Yogi Ferrell arriving in 2012, do you risk trying to add a point in the spring? I don’t think so unless a coaching change allows you to nab a kid that can make an immediate impact.

The more likely addition is a post player, preferably one with some athleticism, toughness and desire to rebound. One name that has bounced around is Walter Pitchford and I think he’s a name to keep a close eye on as the months move along. I’m not sure he fits all of the aforementioned criteria as I haven’t seen him play, but he’s one of the best available bigs remaining in 2011 and there is mutual interest.

@AdamBehlmer writes: What do you think the best lineup is?

Alex Bozich: We could probably have an open thread debating this question and get 200 comments all with different viewpoints. Anytime a team is losing, the natural reaction is to suggest tweaks to the lineup or question the coaching. But what you have to remember is that our opportunity to watch this team is limited to games only. We don’t see what goes on in practice and therefore, all we can do is react to what we observe in 40-minute segments a couple of times per week.

The glaring weakness I see right now is pressure on the ball. Against both Northern Iowa and Penn State, the Hoosiers allowed far too many uncontested looks on the perimeter. And against Colorado, IU was burned off of the dribble because it could not stay in front of quicker guards like Alec Burks and Cory Higgins. This is going to continue to be troublesome if communication on defense does not improve. If you watch some of the better teams in college hoops on D, you’ll notice constant chatter and aggressive, in your face ball pressure. So if I had to suggest any lineup changes, it would begin and end with playing the best defenders.

Filed to:

  • Anonymous

    Roth should be getting much more time. He is an unbelievable shooter and plays great defense. I really have no conceivable reason as to why he’s not playing more.

  • Anonymous

    Alright, I will give you most of those (Oladipo is almost too aggressive for his own good, see: 2 missed dunks against Northern Iowa), but you still haven’t defended the fact that Oladipo CANNOT make his own shot or force a double team like Watford can. He is not as big an offensive threat as Watford, and therefore not as important. Now, he may be these things in the future, but RIGHT NOW, Watford is the most important player on the team.

    By the way, Watford isn’t doesn’t even have the draft buzz or the strength to go into the NBA yet, that won’t be until next year imo.

    “I don’t care if he had back spasms or not, it’s time to stop making ANY excuses and play the INDIANA way.”

    This is the most disgusting thing I’ve read recently. College basketball players aren’t gladiators to play at your leisure. They are college kids for gods sake. If the guy was having trouble and afraid of further injuring his back, he has a right to settle down. Just ridiculous to even think he should play through an injury just to play the “Indiana way”

  • Kelin Oladipo

    I hope IU doubles down on sullinger and make him kick out opposite. Not ez for a young post guy to do and given he isn’t that tall………..I think OSU starters are all between 6’6 and 6’8…this is a tall order for our hoosiers…..but wouldn’t it erase some of the bad bad losses.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, their guards (Buford/Diebler/Lighty) are all 6-5/6-6, then you’ve got the 6’8 man-child bodies of Sullinger and Fort Lauderdale.

    A guy like VJ with long arms is well suited to double off Lighty (hope we put Rivers on Buford).

    I just took a peek at a few OSU box scores — the ones where they won by less than 18 (ha). Surprised to see that IUPUI (what up naptown!) played them the tightest, losing by 11. OSU dominated Florida, South Carolina and Florida State so that’s a solid accomplishment for our “Hoosier” brethren.

    Didn’t realize until now, but these guys are not deep, AT ALL. There is a 7 man rotation of sorts, but we’re going to get a 36-40 minute dosage of the starters, with the exception of Lauderdale. Looks like another wing, Aaron Craft (6’2 guard), gets a fair amount of PT off the bench.

    So maybe you’re right regarding the small lineup. Resign ourselves to the fact that we’re going to get beat on the glass with or without a tradition big man starting and hope we can run them out of the gym.

    A tall order indeed to pull off the major upset, but at this point I’ll take a moral victory.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, looking back on that, I shouldn’t criticize players that way because I’m not in their position. I was criticizing Crean when I made my previous comment about excuses. If he was that hurt, then he shouldn’t have been on the floor, as he was clearly a liability to the Hoosiers on Monday. I’m just tired of the excuses. It’s time for these players and coaches to start thinking, “I don’t care if we’ve won 16 games in the past two seasons, WE’RE INDIANA and we’re gonna go out there and put a whooping on whoever it is we’re playing.”

  • TomEke

    I would like to see
    VO drove the ball from the wings, and, IMO, it felt like the first time I had seen anyone do this all year. IMO VJ3 is just not playing good basketball right now, and is trying to force things rather than letting it come to him. JR is a better rebounder and is playing better basketball, and Hulls has been a better shooter. I feel as if VJ3 could use to be benched at the start of games.
    People are saying that Tom Crean is evaluating people based on practice, but IMO it should come down to how people perform in games. It’s not like the team has anything to lose at this point in time.

  • Anonymous

    He’s had a noticeable limp that may be affecting his play (and his playing time.)

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure I can agree with this assessment of Watford. Certainly he’s low-key, but I don’t know that I could bash him for effort and apathy. Does he have spots where he could greatly improve? Of course, but it’s his second year and he’s basically been option A, B, and C so far a good portion of the time. A simple comparison of his body from last season to this one shows a pretty good indicator that he’s more than willing to work.

    I also think what appears to be lack of hustle in comparison to Oladipo’s motion is a higher level of patience to let a play develop. Also consider that Oladipo can go balls-out a lot easier than Watford because there are other options at his position if he gets in foul trouble for being a bit over-zealous (not to mention Watford has played about 10 minutes a game more—it’s easier to sprint in the 100 than it is in the 400.) If Watford gets in foul trouble there’s a good possibility there will be virtually no scoring from the front line.

    Watford also averages 1.7 assists per game to 1.1 for Victor. Free throw percentages aren’t even close–CW 82.1% to 50% for VO.

  • Anonymous


    Hulls to run the offense although he lacks on the defensive side you need him running the point offensively. Rivers obviously the best defensive player we have and also another ball handler on the floor to take pressure off of Hulls at times. Oladipo for his energy, effort plays, and athleticism. Watford is the most consistent player we have. Pritchard because he is a bigger body that can take and deliver underneath. He’s also a good defender in the post and rebounds well.

  • Elston Gunnn

    As a newly licensed lawyer you should know the difference between “who’s” and “whose.”

  • Bleeding Crimson

    or throwing a potted plant across the room.

    At this point I think I would take a chance on a young man with a little tude down low.

    But I don’t want to see one player bring down a team with that.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    I think CTC knows this and that’s why Guy was brought in. Now we don’t have that true 5 and paying dearly for it. I know our D on the outside is not there either. Bad combo.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    No pritchard, no scoring, no rebounding.
    Then rotate and press the stinkin ball.

  • Diesel

    C’mon MillaRed, he’s been mentioned several times by Coach Wilson for middle linebacker.

    Anyone tracking fouls/min? The Situation should be in the lead.

  • Marsh21

    Until our talent level improves we will bounce along the bottom of the Big Ten. Crean is not a fundamentals coach and thus he cannot take mediocre talent and turn them into a giant killers like a few other coaches can. However, he is a great recruiter which will start paying off in the coming years.

    This team won’t get significantly better until 2012 which will combine a great recruiting class with our other pieces and no VJIII. VJIII is a great kid but he never would be playing at IU without our friend Mr. Sampson. I think VJIII has hit his ability plateau and creates inconsistently for this team. But he is good for some positive offensive stretches every so often but unfortunately that doesn’t win a lot of conference games.

    I love to break down the players and positions but with this group it’s difficult because very few are the quality talent we are used to around the Hall. I said it would be five years before we can really grade Crean and unfortunately I think that’s the time table. How can we really blame Crean for all this stuff when his big time players are hurt and he only has two??? (Creek recovering and Watford with back issues) Yes, we do have a couple other pieces but their young and evolving.

    Friday will be painful to watch but we all will because we love our Hoosiers.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    I agree with you on the Chandler attitude to a certain extent. Tweets like that we just don’t know what to expect but he is young and we need a true 5 that is a beast with tude.

    How tall is Walter Pitchford? I’ve seen 6’9, 6’10??? I really don’t think we need another 4 with our current roster and Zeller unless he is another DJ White. So if we don’t need WP and don’t want Chandler what other options do we have for 2011?

  • Anonymous

    Hey cghoosier, ditto on what Marcus said. I hope pretty much all of your comments from your original post were brought about by the frustration that we are all dealing with and if not all I can say is REALLY !?!?!?

    Marcus, all more than valid points and appropriately pointed out and not just because I was just getting ready to type them right before I read your post.

  • Kelin Oladipo

    I have read Walter Pitchford is more a 4, but could play anywhere from the 3-5 with his ability to shoot. For this offense that wouldn’t be so bad. I don’t think Crean would recruit a back to the basket 5 like Chandler. I like Chandler, he needs to stay of twitter, but I do believe we need to add someone to the 2011 class….someone that will help next year or the year after.

  • Kelin Oladipo

    You don’t want to see one player bring down a team…that is currently lacking leadership…..Someone has to take the reigns of this team NOW. I keep hoping it is Hulls as he is the obvious choice…at this point, Victor could be it…

  • Anonymous

    Yea, if Guy gets cleared and plays well enough to have made enough of a difference to turn 2 or 3 of these losses into wins then all of a sudden Crean the amount of praise he would be receiving would be equal to the amount of heat he is taking from a lot of fans now. The other side of the coin says that he is deserving of some heat but IMHO not the amount he is getting.

    I know it won’t happen during the B10 season but wouldn’t it be great if he would sit down and do a question and answer session over the internet. Kind of a settle all the restless natives down a little bit type of a thing. It wouldn’t even bother me if I didn’t get my question answered cause I am sure the ones that I have would be some of the ones that would get asked. IU bball fans are some of the smartest fans in the country if not the smartest. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. I know Crean probably appreciates the fact that when certain good things happen he knows we see it and appreciate it but at the same time he has to accept the fact that we also know when something isn’t being done the way it should be and that those things are not going to go unnoticed.

    If I could ask one question and one only it would have to be why we don’t run a set play where we set a screen away from the ball to get Hulls or Roth some open looks or hell for that matter anybody.

  • Anonymous

    A 7 man rotation is a deeper rotation than they played last year when most of the time it was a 6 man rotation and it didn’t seem to affect them for the most part.

  • Anonymous

    Painful is an understatement. Ohio State is playing lights out right now. I expect IU to battle and play well. That being said, I think a 20-point loss is just about the best we can hope for.
    Interesting scan at some of the opponents we thought were decent:
    -Boston College lost to Rhode Island
    -Northern Iowa lost to Missouri State
    It’s tough right now. I just keep telling myself that these 7 seasons of darkness will be worth it when IU is back near the top.

    My best lineup:

    This lineup only works if these guys pressure the ball and attack the glass like their lives depend on it. A big team could shred them down low but I don’t see Pritchard or Bobby making a difference. Elston, Creek, Roth and Sheehey get minutes off the bench.

  • Anonymous

    I would also like to see Roth get more minutes than he has been getting if for no other reason than just to see what happens and if he does get more minutes you and I agree on the fact that, just like Hulls, he needs something run for him to free him up.

    Don’t know about calling his D great though but all the more reason you run something for him to offset what we might lose from his D. At this time I don’t know if anybody we have could have their D classified as great.

  • Anonymous

    This would be my suggestion as to a starting 5 also but would be contingent on us setting some off the ball screens for Hulls to run off of. If Crean just cannot get away from the screen at the top of the key then maybe run it and run it effectively and set one for Hulls at the same time so that when the ball handler uses the screen at the top of the key he has a third option of an open Hulls at the 3pt line.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, they basically swapped Evan Turner for Sullinger and DeShaun Thomas. Not a bad deal. One more year until we have blue chip recruits pouring in year after year.

  • Anonymous

    Crean recruited Verdell actually, albeit during the time when his roster consisted of Kyle Taber as the top returning scorer.

    And I agree with pretty much everything else you have said. Just gotta be patient, I know that’s rough for quite a few people here, but it will pay off.

  • Anonymous

    With a zone press you do not guard a man you defend an area. Easier for less athletic players and lethal with athletic players.

  • Anonymous

    Big Mac, fries, and a large coke please.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who would bad mouth their coach for everyone to see is trouble waiting to happen. As much as we need this type of talent, he would not last long at IU.

  • And one more year until the plenty of the best players in the Big10 move on (Sullinger) or graduate… we get better, almost everybody else takes a step back.

  • Anonymous

    Now that my friend is a combination that can’t come soon enough and I think we all agree can’t come soon enough.

  • LDIU

    I agree with this lineup. I think that CW and DE get blamed a lot for covering up for our guards after the opponents guards have driven around them. I just feel so sorry for MO, but he isn’t nearly himself.

    Will see Austin E. and his brother play tonight at the Richmond tournament. Should be a good show.

  • Anonymous

    yes, I was very, very frustrated and shouldn’t have made that idiotic comment

  • a macdonalds all american – waiting to step up to be a walmart greeter….agree with the sentiment that he may have an atititude issue and lack of motor – the essential ingredients for improvement.

    I’ve been thinking about Milla’s point earlier about whether we should be in the NIT by CTCs 3rd yr. This character issue strikes that same chord. We could have more pieces available and more talent now if CTC kept that Richmond California 6 11 kid who threw a pot at him, and all the others that never went to class and maybe the assist coach now at Detroit (and his son a dynamite PG). We would probably be in the NCAA…..with severe flaws, character issues, investigations – and frankly a bad taste in all our collective mouths….CTC threw the bunch out as he should and built the program as he should. Now we have recruits that are an up grade from Denim shirt and we will get there (just 3 yrs later)… long winded point is that Chandler will be recruited – but he will need to change to get to IU – and this tweet to me looks like he will be headed to Detroit…

    I would like to see MO with CWat and JR as our core. You need three athletic versatile players on the court at the same time to succeed. VO is in there as well but needs consistency – then JH, VJ III (nice game for him vs PSU), Pritch and Elston (Kid’s got a motor – and the most upside of our bigs – but if he wants to succeed in BT and take the next step he needs to do more than be a scoring 3 -he needs to be as aggressive as JR on D and develop his core identity eg Kramer from PUke not Seinfield)……

  • Anonymous

    I think you are right on target with why we need to have more realistic expectations under the circumstances. It has been a hard thing for me to swallow because I really felt we had an NIT level team in the preseason. Our best guys are only freshman and sophomores and had little opportunity to learn from veteran players. And our upperclassmen had absolutely no one to teach them. It’s just going to take longer to have the maturity we need to win against the better quality teams. Right now just seeing progress over last year is a step in the right direction. Getting 4-5 wins in Big Ten play would be reasonable. We just have to get past the Penn States to do so.

  • marcusgresham

    Given that it’s the OSU game, maybe you start Roth?!

  • marcusgresham

    What about a juco guy who could help immediately (and not a guy who’s ever set foot outside the US, lest the NCAA start digging and find he ate sandwiches in some overseas college cafeteria in 2004, making him immediately ineligible.)

  • Anonymous

    i have not been able to catch many of the games as i am overseas and do not get many american channels, let alone english channels. but i am going to put my two cents out there about how this team is playing.

    + i am behind coach crean 100%. i agree that hoosier fans are probably right up at the top of knowledgeable basketball fans, but please remember that ctc is ONLY in his third year. it is his third year from ground zero, not from a decent team that was sub .500, but from a complete overhaul of what that coach previously left behind. we hired coach crean to come into the hall and get rid of that awful odor left behind. first part of that was meeting with previous players and allowing them to leave if their attitudes weren’t on board with what he was setting as a foundation. we have all seen what can do on the recruiting end of the game. this is the next step of the process. he is definitely getting this done. once he has his players in place and coaching to his strengths then we can accurately evaluate him. until then i don’t think it is fair to bash the coach. however, until this happens i do believe criticism is necessary and when done properly is highly effective. in my opinion every coach can become better as well. i would like to see him change his style in the next few years until his players are in place to what is the strengths of this years team

    + i am behind this team 100%. the core of our team is made up of freshman and sophomores. they are inexperienced at the collegiate level and even less experienced playing together. i believe in the next couple of years as more pieces fall into place and this team learns to play together AND a leader emerges we will see more wins. again, i can’t see player bashing helping this team out. as an earlier post referred to players read these sites and i am sure they are less than pleased to be reading their fans bashing them. these young men are just that, 18-22 year old young mean trying to find their way on the basketball court and in life. we need to support them as much as possible. however, i would like to see them play with everything they have. they need to play with a chip on their shoulder as now everyone in the big ten thinks they should be able to come into the hall and take a game. show them what hoosiers are made of and get it your all. GO HOOSIERS!!!

    + there is not a leader on this team, plain and simple. i have seen on several of the player’s and ctc’s videos that “everyone” on the team needs to step up as a leader. here is my opinion on the “everyone” as a leader. i am retired from the military and spent time in a combat zone. now sports and military conflicts are quite different on most levels but as far as the leadership i believe leadership qualities are quite similar. typically, your highest ranking person commands or takes charge of most situations. however, in abnormal circumstances leaders come to the forefront. i have seen on plenty of occasions lower ranking troops lead much older and higher ranking personnel in order for the entire groups safety and overall mission success. we do not have a player of this caliber (from what i have seen and heard) so far on this team. we NEED a player to stand up in front of the others, who is willing to get in the face of other players and hold them accountable. most of the time a good point guard has the ability as he is usually calling out the plays and initiates the offense. however, we need a player on offense and defense to do this, and as we do not have a true point i am calling on anyone on the team to take this role. we need a type A personality player to take this role. because we were devastated by the coach before ctc we do not have a group of upperclassman that can mentor the underclassman in this regard. i would love to see rivers finish his senior year fulfilling this role. he seems to have drank the kool aid ctc was serving. as to the future i can see VO stepping into this role as he seems to play with true emotion and puts everything out there.

  • JerryCT

    psvirsky : You should feel free to say anything you want . I post on ITH because I WANT to learn and hear from fans like you.

    Also I do not take any of this personally ( Losing games feels kind of personal however ) and I hope in any criticisms of play I have not used a bashing adjective towards players or coach.

    OK I like arguing w Millared

    I feel compelled however to always offer some kind of change that might be useful and then look to see if any change appears on the floor . My way of being “in the game”

  • Anonymous

    Fair point. I hate when people mess up their/they’re/there but my weakness is in the whose/who’s mistake.

  • BFowler

    The last three games have been completely disappointing. The only way to be disappointed is if expectations are not met. My expectation at this point would have been double digit victories. This team seems to hit a stretch every year where they regress instead of progress. I still think a winning season is in reach, but it is time to get better, not go backward.

    It would not surprise me a bit to see a 2011 player come in and someone on the current roster not finish his four years at Indiana. This team is simply not performing and there needs to be improvement.

    Starting lineup is a moot point, the point should be, how are the players being used. They are not being used to their strengths. Square pegs in a round hole. What is each player’s strength? What does VJ III do best? What does Jordan do best? Then why are they asked to drive into the lane off a high screen? What does Mo or VO, or C-Wat do best? Then exploit those things.

    If our issues are player penetration and not communicating on defensive switches and collapsing on the same player on a ball screen and everyone falling into the lave on transition defense, then why play man-to-man? If we are having trouble with slow starts then why not try to either speed things up or slow them down? I believe that the lineup should be determined by chemistry, whose strengths work with whose as the most cohesive five.

    The word synergy means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. (See: Butler Men’s Basketball) We need to find the team in this group. Coack K (granted, on a different level) has changed his offense to the players he has. Coach Izzo’s teams get BETTER in the Big Ten season and especially March. We all have been complaining about lineups and substitution patterns and adjustments and all that. Where does the faith end and the reality of what is in front of us begin?

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I agree Chandler is good and he needs to get his scores up but the old saying doesn’t go, “A lot of good apples can make that one bad one good again”.

    It says, “One bad apple can spoil the bunch”.

    There’s obviously some truth in that.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    What has happened to our back door “oop” play? I would guess it’s good for once a game and other teams seem to use it at an opportune time to really swing the momentum. It seems to me that those opportunities would have been when we cut the leads to 3 or less against UNI and Colorado and when we took a brief lead against PSU.

    It really gets the crowd in it to see Sheehey or VO thrown one down like that but they haven’t even set it up and tried it the past few games? I think we did once on a bad pass in Vegas and Oladipo brought it down and went back up for the reverse layup so it obviously works against decent competition but it seems to be a “once every few games” thing.

  • Anonymous

    Thinking the same thing. But who ?

  • Anonymous

    I like where your going with this. Give it to Roth and let him bomb away – draining half courters like they were lay ups.