Notebook: Crean unhappy with starting lineup

  • 02/02/2012 8:09 am in

ANN ARBOR, Mi. — Tom Crean didn’t have kind words for his starting lineup, calling it “a joke.”

It was Michigan’s 13-0 start in the first four-plus minutes that got the Hoosiers behind the eight ball before they knew what hit them in Wednesday’s 68-56 loss to Michigan at the Crisler Center. The deficit swelled to 20 at one point in the first half.

“The start of the game, we allowed a very good team to play like a great team, because our players came out like they’d seen a ghost,” Crean said. “You cannot come out and not have a physical presence right off the bat. You can’t come out and give that kind of space to a team that’s as good as Michigan. … We knew we were going to be in position to come back if we just settled in.”

The Hoosiers were able to cut it down to two points in the second half, but could never get over that hump. The start put them in a hole they were never able to climb out of.

Instead of calling a timeout to try to gather his team during the early run, Crean wanted his guys to play through it. He felt it was pretty simple what needed to be done.

“It wasn’t anything that a timeout was going to correct, in that sense, in the first couple minutes of the game,” Crean said. “It’s going out and doing what we practiced. You want to give guys a chance to get into the flow of the game, but (the
Wolverines) weren’t doing anything different. … I wasn’t concerned about they were doing, I was more concerned about what we were doing.”

ABELL TO MAKE THE MOST OF IT

In an attempt to get something going, freshman guard Remy Abell saw 16 minutes of action and chipped in four points and two rebounds on the night. All four points came in the first five minutes of the second half, as the Hoosiers made a
charge to get back into the game.

Abell had played 12 total minutes in the previous four games since his career-high 18 minutes against Minnesota on Jan. 12.

“He did an excellent job. He’s a fearless guy,” Crean said of Abell. “He’s an excellent athlete and he’s like Matt Roth with his shooting. Matt is going to be able to make them wherever he goes. … I think Remy can play in any environment. He’s got that kind of toughness. He’ll play more. There’s no doubt about that.”

JONES BRUISES SHOULDER

Late in the first half, Verdell Jones III injured his right shoulder when he was fouled while dribbling at the top of the key. He went straight to the bench and didn’t move his arm as the Hoosiers headed into the locker room. He did not return to the game.

“Verdell has got a bruised shoulder right now,” Crean said. “We’ll evaluate it more tomorrow. That’s where he stands.”

Chris Vannini is a freelance sports journalist in Michigan who has covered Michigan State athletics and the Detroit Tigers over the past four years. You can follow him on Twitter at @ChrisVannini and contact him at [email protected].

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  • nativehoosier

    Crean’s not the only one who’s unhappy.

  • At what point will the sheer number of times we lose after getting into a big hole after a slow start convince Crean that his “I get a cash bonus for every timeout I have in my pocket at halftime” strategy doesn’t work, especially on the road?

  • tenaciousIUFan

    I agree. I don’t think he realizes that it can stop their momentum. It isn’t just about whether you need to make some adjustments, it is about settling your players down and icing the other team. Very frustrating. It could have helped us against OSU and Michigan.

  • Casey B.

    This would be great, motivating, tough coach-talk…if this were the first time a road game has gone down like this. Our blueprint for road games thus far has been to get in a gigantic hole and spend the rest of the game chipping away at our opponent’s lead, only to ultimately fall short.

    I don’t know how you can start a game down 10-0 and not call a timeout. Crean can say what he wants, but I just don’t really think that’s justifiable. There’s toughening your team up and then there’s giving your chance a team to win. Down 20 in the first half is not a recipe for success.

    If the starting lineup was a “joke,” we sure as hell had better see a different one next game.

    I like the tough talk, but I’d love to see it result in true change. It’s February – this is when our team should be picking up steam, not fizzling out.

  • MillaRed

    “It wasn’t anything that a timeout was going to correct, in that sense, in the first couple minutes of the game.”

    OK, then why do 98% of the other coaches in college basketball do it Coach?

  • MillaRed

    “Fizzling out”

    I would argue last year’s slide wasn’t totally necessary. But this year it just plain would not make sense.

    If we continue on the current path it’s time to start talking about what really is go on in Bloomington. Really hoping we finish .500 down the stretch so that conversation can be avoided.

    I said it after the Evansville game when I was in a sky box when a few handfuls of grumpy, rich alumni who pledged with 100% certainty, “We don’t care who is or is not coming next year, if IU does not make the tourney, he is gone.”

    I know many on here aren’t buying that. Not sure I am either. But these are the guys that are donating the big bucks yearly. And we are not.

  • MillaRed

    “Fizzling out”

    I would argue last year’s slide wasn’t totally necessary. But this year it just plain would not make sense.

    If we continue on the current path it’s time to start talking about what really is go on in Bloomington. Really hoping we finish .500 down the stretch so that conversation can be avoided.

    I said it after the Evansville game when I was in a sky box when a few handfuls of grumpy, rich alumni who pledged with 100% certainty, “We don’t care who is or is not coming next year, if IU does not make the tourney, he is gone.”

    I know many on here aren’t buying that. Not sure I am either. But these are the guys that are donating the big bucks yearly. And we are not.

  • CreamandCrimson

    The only way we don’t make the tournament this year is if we completely and totally collapse.  I am talking lose to Purdue (probable), lose at home to Northwestern, lose at home to Illinois, lose at Minnesota, lose at Iowa.  If we get to 7 or 8 Big Ten wins, we are going to make the tournament.  If we get to 9 wins, we are an absolute lock and probably a 7 seed.  Look around at the rest of the “bubble” field….it’s very weak.  Our RPI isn’t going to go down much because of the quality of the Big Ten and the number of top 50 wins you have the opportunity to get. 

    I am not saying we are a lock but it will take a complete and total collapse to miss the tournament.  Anything is possible but I don’t see it happening. 

    Also, if Will Sheehey started on Saturday, I would be stunned.

  • Plane1972

    We shouldn’t even be addressing baseless rumors like this, but I’ll bite. I’m not buying this at all.

    If a President and/or AD of a major university cannot placate some wealthy donors for another year, then they don’t belong in their positions. Big donors give big money because they love IU basketball. Otherwise, they would not have stuck it out through these last three years.

    Most level-headed people (regardless of whether you like Crean or not) understand (or should) that this team has over-achieved and any discussion of firing Crean right now makes IU and its fans a laughingstock.

  • Plane1972

    We shouldn’t even be addressing baseless rumors like this, but I’ll bite. I’m not buying this at all.

    If a President and/or AD of a major university cannot placate some wealthy donors for another year, then they don’t belong in their positions. Big donors give big money because they love IU basketball. Otherwise, they would not have stuck it out through these last three years.

    Most level-headed people (regardless of whether you like Crean or not) understand (or should) that this team has over-achieved and any discussion of firing Crean right now makes IU and its fans a laughingstock.

  • Plane1972

    Totally agree on the Sheehey comment. I think Vic got his spot back, and, hell, Remy may get Verdell’s if the shoulder is an issue. I think CWat may have played himself out of the doghouse in the 2nd half. We shall see.

  • Dstrase

    When TC says Able is like Matt Roth in his shooting, does he mean he can only shoot when he is wide open, and he cannot play when he is not hitting.

  • Dstrase

    When TC says Able is like Matt Roth in his shooting, does he mean he can only shoot when he is wide open, and he cannot play when he is not hitting.

  • CoCoRio

    Man, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m worn out!  This season has been an emotional roller coaster and I’m tired.  I’m a 58 year old grandmother and I’m tired of these young guys breaking my heart.  They don’t show up when they’re supposed to, they don’t call and explain why they act the way they do, they make passes at the wrong people, they dribble around my heart like they just don’t care and I’m tired of it!  So here’s what I’m gonna do……nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I’ll be sitting in front of my tv at 7:00 on Saturday night with love and hope in my heart because I love IU basketball just like the rest of the Hoosier nation.  Call me an idiot, call me a glutton for punishment, whatever.  Or maybe…just call me a fan.

  • sray22

    Man, I am so frustrated right now!  This team has more talent than everyone in the Big Ten besides Ohio State and Michigan State, but they are mentally weak and take way too many plays off.  Wisconsin, Purdue, and Illinois might not have the talent we have, but they play hard the whole game on defense.  After what we went through the last three years, how does this team think they can just show up and win the game.  Every game, there are just 10-15 minutes where they don’t play hard.  I don’t understand it.  On some teams, maybe the coach can let the players play through a bad start, but this team doesn’t have the mental toughness to do that.  We need to have a timeout in the beginning of the game to disrupt Michigan’s flow.  I would think Coach Crean would understand out of anybody the types of players he has.  I am firmly behind Coach Crean, and overall, he has gotten this team to overachieve but now that are expectations are raised, this is just so frustrating to watch.  How many games have we started out poorly (OSU both times, Mich State, Michigan last night, Minn and I’m sure there are more).  How are these guys not prepared to play?  I can understand losing games on the road in the Big Ten, but coming out with no intensity is inexcusable.  Watford had a golden opportunity to capitalize on his big shot against Kentucky and his overall play in the beginning of the year, and really have NBA scouts take notice of him going into his senior year.  Instead, he comes out game after game with no intensity.  It just baffles me.  Alright, sorry for the long rant but I’m really frustrated right now if you can’t tell.  I just see much more potential in these guys than they obviously see in themselves.  Good couple of games by Elston.  Happy for him and hope he can keep it up.

  • sray22

    Man, I am so frustrated right now!  This team has more talent than everyone in the Big Ten besides Ohio State and Michigan State, but they are mentally weak and take way too many plays off.  Wisconsin, Purdue, and Illinois might not have the talent we have, but they play hard the whole game on defense.  After what we went through the last three years, how does this team think they can just show up and win the game.  Every game, there are just 10-15 minutes where they don’t play hard.  I don’t understand it.  On some teams, maybe the coach can let the players play through a bad start, but this team doesn’t have the mental toughness to do that.  We need to have a timeout in the beginning of the game to disrupt Michigan’s flow.  I would think Coach Crean would understand out of anybody the types of players he has.  I am firmly behind Coach Crean, and overall, he has gotten this team to overachieve but now that are expectations are raised, this is just so frustrating to watch.  How many games have we started out poorly (OSU both times, Mich State, Michigan last night, Minn and I’m sure there are more).  How are these guys not prepared to play?  I can understand losing games on the road in the Big Ten, but coming out with no intensity is inexcusable.  Watford had a golden opportunity to capitalize on his big shot against Kentucky and his overall play in the beginning of the year, and really have NBA scouts take notice of him going into his senior year.  Instead, he comes out game after game with no intensity.  It just baffles me.  Alright, sorry for the long rant but I’m really frustrated right now if you can’t tell.  I just see much more potential in these guys than they obviously see in themselves.  Good couple of games by Elston.  Happy for him and hope he can keep it up.

  • Classof73_N1Fan

    The General did the same thing – He would not call a time out and settle the team down. It was frustrating then and is frustrating now.

  • I think timeouts are overrated.  I’m ok with letting them play.  This is one of the few things Crean and I agree on.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    I actually liked it (the non-TO).  I think it would’ve only further pumped up the crowd and the Wolverines.  The only way I like a TO in that scenario is if he subs out everybody but Cody … which he probably should’ve done.  So maybe I don’t like the non-TO.

  • Plane1972

    This game might be a defining moment in the Crean Era. I did not hear his “joke” comment in context, but this is the first concrete example I can recall of him calling out his guys in this way. His criticisms have always been veiled as “we”. We aren’t tough enough, we didn’t bringing a certain mentality, w aren’t closing out games. This is the first time I can recall him challenging a defined group of guys.

  • Plane1972

    This game might be a defining moment in the Crean Era. I did not hear his “joke” comment in context, but this is the first concrete example I can recall of him calling out his guys in this way. His criticisms have always been veiled as “we”. We aren’t tough enough, we didn’t bringing a certain mentality, w aren’t closing out games. This is the first time I can recall him challenging a defined group of guys.

  • DC

    Crean is a good recruiter to bad he is a terrible in game coach. He shows it tiome and time again!

  • eph521

    CWat Performance

    Two times this year (NC State, Michigan last night) and once last year that I remember (Northwestern game at halftime) … Tom Crean has gotten into Watford and chewed him out, sat him on the bench, etc. In all 3 cases CWat came back and played some of the best basketball we’ve ever seen from him.

    By itself, this should convince Crean that taking a tougher, more demanding approach with the players can pay big dividends. I sure wish he would do it more often.

    Remy Has Game

    Remy finally got significant minutes and he made a big difference in the game. He has some big balls by taking the first 3 shots in the 2nd half – especially as a freshman … and I loved it!

    I’m hoping that Crean truly noticed and means it when he says Remy will get more minutes. The time for playing Remy more is NOW.

  • dg3321

    When are we going to start talking about how terrible the coaching is on this team.  We simply don’t play defense and are showing no signs of improving on turnovers.

  • Frank

    Remember 3 / 15 in the B10 last year & 12/20 was the record.  Now we are 5 / 6 in the B10 and 17 – 6 n ow.  Crean has done a good job with these kids.  They have a couple of hurdles to cross yet.  I believe they can do it this year.  Anyway what a difference one year and one player made! If they can get a descent road win you will see more harmony in this team. Kind of like they were at the beginning of the year.   

  • Frank

    Remember 3 / 15 in the B10 last year & 12/20 was the record.  Now we are 5 / 6 in the B10 and 17 – 6 n ow.  Crean has done a good job with these kids.  They have a couple of hurdles to cross yet.  I believe they can do it this year.  Anyway what a difference one year and one player made! If they can get a descent road win you will see more harmony in this team. Kind of like they were at the beginning of the year.   

  • KraigIU

    I remember how Tubby used his timeouts when we played Minnesota every time we started to go on a run.  I also remember that after those timeouts he usually had made an adjustment and our run ended.  And because Tubby never let the game get out of hand I also unfortunately remember them beating us.

  • IUSTL

    not sure I would agree with the third most talent in the B1G. I think we are closer to 5 or 6th . We have one of top level player, one or two with potential to be top level, a couple of roll players and some that should be playing in the  Missouri valley confenerce. I believe our backcourt is a real weakness and we lack a B1G point guard. Overall I would trade JH and VJIII , together, for almost any of the other point guards in he conference. Don’t take that wrong, I like both of those guys and think of them as good roll players, but they do not fill a roll this team needs right now. From what I have seen this year in the conference only Iowa and MN( I have not seen NW at this point) have worse point guard play. Until this problem is addressed we will continue to see the late game struggles in close games and an overall inconsistency.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    The General never called TO

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    The General never called TO

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    I didn’t know the way to stop Hoosier Hatred is to just call “Time Out”

  • larry seger

    Will Sheehey was no worst then Creans two pets Wat.&VRIII. 

  • Matt

    Dean Smith and Phil Jackson are notorious for not calling timeouts

  • jacobdetroy

    You hit the nail on the head. Exactly what I was thinking, too. Tubby used the timouts in that game to perfection, and would think a stratagy similar would help us on the road as well.

  • jacobdetroy

    You hit the nail on the head. Exactly what I was thinking, too. Tubby used the timouts in that game to perfection, and would think a stratagy similar would help us on the road as well.

  • Threewellers

    Indiana’s biggest problem is consistency. Our most consistent player on the team is CZ and he is a freshman. The difference with Cody is the amount of success he experienced before he got here and not living through the beat downs of the last few years.

    Cases in point:

    – CWAT is wildly inconsistent and your are never sure what you are going to get from game to game. If he could just devot himself to consistent rebounding and defense, the offense would likely take care of itself. Almost three full years in and the yo-yo performances continue, I like CWAT but I’m not holding my breath on a big change at this point.

    -VJ3 is the definition of inconsistent hence the good verdell bad verdell moniker

    – Huls inconsistencies are more matchup driven IMO but it does not change the results. The missed free throw at Nebraska will continue to haunt us. Love the kid but it is tough to know what to expect from game to game.

    – Will sheehey / see last game

    -VO started strong, faded, and now seems to be getting it back together AKA inconsistent

    – Elston I’ll cut some slack with the mask but the numbers do not lie, inconsistent.

    – Pritch, Roth, Abell etc. All get inconsistent minutes leading to more inconsistency.

    All this being said, I still really like the team and enjoy watching them play.

    I’m not sure what CTC needs to do to foster more consistency but he is running out of time to figure it out.

    With more consistent effort and performance there are not that many teams in the country that could consistently beat us. Without improvement in that department, I fear we will limp through the end of the season, squeak into the tournament and exit the first weekend. I would have gladly accepted that at the start of the year but I think we have a higher ceiling if we could only get consistent performances from multiple players, the mark of any good team.

    Have not llost the faith and am still hoping we can figure out how to bring consistent effort and performance every night and every possession.

    ALl this being said I do like this team and really enjoy watching them play.

  • Benhyoung14

    Who had IU at 17-5?  Crean made adjustments and the game was more competitive.  How many thought IU should win this game?  If it wasn’t for the first half then IU wins, easly.  Get off the whole fire tom Crean thing.  He is the best coach available when we hired him.  Hell, better than what I expected.  You can bash him all you want, but lets not forget that IU beat Ohio St and Kentucky.  The team doesn’t have much experience at competing on the road. So, they don’t know how to handle it.  Why do you think they play horribly on the road?  Do you think Crean doesn’t prepare for road games?  I think Jordy is the only one that isn’t scared. CWat has a tendency of being lazy. Jordy isn’t a true point gard. CWat should be playing the 3. VJ3 isn’t a shooting guard.  The fact of the matter is that Crean has gotten a lot more out of this team than expected.

  • Matt

    We have been talking about it, but what’s your solution?

    New coach? I think not, then you are starting over again. They finally have talent – let develop. Our best players are freshman and sophomore.

    Newsflash jordy ain’t never gonna play d – it’s guys like sheehey who was a step slow all night that killed us in the first ten minutes.

  • jacobdetroy

    I liked how we fought back. I think timeouts can be great momentum stoppers, and as stated earlier Tubby used them well in the Minnesota/IU game. However, there is something to be said about holding young men accountable to the mess they’ve made. In a way, by allowing IU to fight back wihtin the flow of the game proved that you lie in the bed you make. Coaching didn’t get them into a 13-0 hole. At anyrate, timeout or not, the boys fought back in a tough environment and really responded to lineup changes other motivation. There is a lot to take from this game and not all of it has to do with firing Tom Crean. IMO, Crean is doing well – he got his team to fight back from a 20 point hole on the road facing a good team that was playing great.

  • cardinalhoosier

    It’s in these moments that Tom sounds so arrogant, but whose fault is it that prepared players don’t execute? Back handed compliments towards the team that outplayed and outcoached him only fuels speculation about his decisions. Bobby used to let his guys get destroyed in these instances, too. At Minnesota, when Pat Knight played the whole game and IU was beaten by about 50. John B. learned a few things about IU and used them. When will the guards and wing players figure out that Cody needs to touch the ball as often as possible in the post. He makes about as many good decisions as anyone on the team. Defensively, they stink in the half court. Why don’t we mix up some trapping, 1-3-1 or something….

  • Miamihoosier

     Fellas, teams just aren’t winning on the road this year in college basketball. Everybody is piling up losses outside the top 7/8.  If we finish 23-8 this year, it is like finishing 26-5 in other years……IF and this is a big “if”,  we were to lose a home game then I will be upset, but I just don’t see it happening…..Between road trips with Purdue, Iowa, and Minnesota, we only need to win one of those games, to finish 23-8……as long as we hold serve at home….It is true what someone said the other day, you need to at least be 10 points better than your opponent to win on the road, and no one coming to Bloomington is that good……on the flip side, we might be 10 points better than Purdue, Iowa, or Minnesota, (losing to the gophers at home will be huge motivation for us, plus I have seats right behind our bench for that one, I will be reminding them the whole game)                    The Big Ten Tournament is where it’s at. My judgement of Crean’s ability to coach will be affected by our performance against these teams we are better than, on a neutral court…

  • MillaRed

    We kinda collapsed last year. I am hoping that is not the case now. That was my point.

  • MillaRed

    Not really buying it either. But if we for some reason collapse and it doesn’t happen it will not look good.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Watford was benched just like Sheehey.  When Will came back in, he fouled twice and went under a screen to give up an open 3.  When Watford came back in, he was pretty good.  He rebounded well and played okay defense.

    As for Jones…he got taken out of the game as well and when he came back in, he hurt his shoulder.  I don’t care to argue degrees of awfulness but Christian responded to his benching, Will came back in and looked the same.  

  • MillaRed

    Man this site can be funny. We have so many attitudes and philosophies on what is happening.

    We have the Fire Crean crowd and that is not feasible right now.

    We also have the apologists that are at times more extreme than the haters. If anyone can suggest the team doesn’t have a few glaring issues it’s just plain denial. No one can sit there and say with 100% confidence it’s all going to work out. It’s irresponsible.

    I am not anywhere near the middle. Most of us seem to be between middle and the Crean supporters.

    This site is called Inside the Hall. Referring to where Indiana basketball players play ball. It’s not “Inside the Coach Tom Crean.” CTC is part of the program and should be held just as accountable as any player, assistant or administrator.

    If I or anyone else question his actions, that post is no more or less a valid opinion than anyone that says he is doing fantastic. Fact is, a good or bad idea of where we are headed is yet to be determined when considering the next 3 years.

    I too hope for the best with CTC. He has done fantastic things since his arrival. But no one ITH is going to convince me at this juncture there are not question marks when the games are in motion.

    I think we will all feel a lot better if we split the remaining games. If not, we’ll address it in a few weeks.

  • MillaRed

    Look who they had on the floor people.

    We are comparing apples to oranges.

    Good grief.

  • MillaRed

    Look who they had on the floor people.

    We are comparing apples to oranges.

    Good grief.

  • dg3321

    i’m not saying we need a new coach.  I’m thrilled that we’re relevant again.  However, i am not seeing any improvements when it comes to defense and turnovers.  

  • Hoosier for Life

    I really wish Creek wasn’t hurt again. We’d be such a better team with him this year and IMO the Nebraska Minnesota losses wouldn’t of happened with him, maybe this wouldn’t of happened either with him. I’m glad CTC has finally called his players out saying he’s looking for warriors. I think he should keep giving Remy minutes  and actually play Etherington. I still like the idea of Will starting instead of Oladipo, he’s much better. So what Will had a bad game? how many times does Oladipo turn the ball over when he starts. He can’t shoot to well and literally falls down and loses the ball once a game. I think Elston should get the start against PU.

  • IUfanToby

    I’m OK with letting them play though most situations…..but on the road down 10-0 you need a TO.  Even if you don’t get in their faces (which Crean doesn’t do publicly), give them a chance to regroup and make the adjustment.  I’ve posted this before, but I’m a big fan of the “line change” as well (Roy Williams @ UNC).  If you’re not happy w/ the starting 5, pull them all and put some guys out there who will give you the effort.  Then get in their face after a few min on the bench and get them back in.