The Inside the Hall Mailbag: February 6

  • 02/06/2014 8:58 am in

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), submitted on our premium forum and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

JRFarrell on the premium forum writes: It is widely known IU’s non-conference schedule was weak this year. And even if they are a bubble team by season’s-end this will reflect poorly on them and surely reduce their chances at an at-large bid. I understand IU will play Louisville next year in NY, but have there been any talks about doing a 4-team series similar to the Champions Classic played earlier this year? (IU, Louisville, Kentucky, and OSU OR Cincinnati would be great and make sense regionally in the heart of basketball country).

While it’s true that IU’s strength of schedule wasn’t good in the non-conference (KenPom ranks it 327th nationally), I’m also not sure a more ambitious schedule would have helped the Hoosiers. IU finished that part of its schedule with a 10-3 mark. With a young team, I’m not sure playing two or three more games that could have been potential losses would have been a good thing long term. If IU was, say 12-10 right now instead of 14-8, would its chances of an at-large bid be better? I would say no. With the strength of the Big Ten, IU’s chances to get to the NCAA tournament are largely going to be determine by its conference record and who the Hoosiers beat in league play. The bubble is soft this year and if the Hoosiers can get to nine Big Ten wins, they will certainly have an argument to be included.

As for the second part of the question, IU is already locked into the Crossroads Classic which rotates between Butler and Notre Dame as well as the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The Louisville game as part of the Jimmy V Classic will obviously be a nice boost for next season, but I don’t think there’s going to be another four-team event starting up unless the Crossroads Classic ends. A major part of non-conference scheduling is getting in a certain number of home dates, so that has to be taken into consideration as well. — Alex Bozich

RoscoD73 on the premium forum writes: What is your reaction to the Indiana crowd booing a specific lineup Coach (Tom) Crean had in last game? Would you agree with what Coach Crean said about it?

I’m typically of the belief that fans can express themselves as they wish, as long as they’re not being profane or unnecessarily cruel. In this situation, there was obviously some frustration being shown and as Michigan went on a 6-0 run, Crean called timeout and changed the lineup. IU won the game ultimately, so I’m not sure it’s a big deal moving forward and it’s not something that’s happened before, so I also don’t view it as a lingering issue.

As for the comments Crean had on it, for those who missed it, here’s what he said on his radio show earlier this week: “I learned a long time ago, if you coach long enough, you’re gonna see a little bit of everything. The bottom line is, we have to rest players. I don’t have any concern on that. … We’ve got to continue to build depth, and the only way you build depth is to get guys to be consistent. And when moves don’t work out, you know what? I’d boo me too then.”

I think that’s a pretty good perspective on the situation, but ultimately what fans sometimes forget is that Crean (or any coach in a major job for that matter) has way more invested in the team’s success than anyone else. Some moves work and others don’t and that’s just the way that it goes, but ultimately, he’s just trying to win. With this team, there’s far less margin for error than the last two years, so there’s going to be more scrutiny if something doesn’t go well. — Alex Bozich

Kwang on the premium forum writes: What do you think IU’s chances at an NCAA tourney appearance are and how bad would an NIT berth be?

Right now, IU is squarely on the bubble so they’ve got a solid chance to make the tournament if they can string together some wins and get to .500 or better in the conference. This upcoming three-game stretch of at Minnesota, Penn State at home and at Purdue should give us a much better idea of whether or not IU will be able to get that done.

Obviously, the goal is to make the NCAA tournament, but if it doesn’t happen, you try to take the experience from the extra practice and games in the NIT and get better for next year. As unpopular as it may have been to some when I wrote it, I’ve viewed this as a transition season for IU after what the program lost and I think you have to judge it overall on improvement being made as the year moves along. — Alex Bozich

Duane Kastner on Facebook writes: Is there a reason we don’t see more of Hanner (Mosquera-Perea) or maybe having Hanner and Noah (Vonleh) in the game at the same time for a few minutes here and there? We seem to be content to play small and with those two in the game, I think we have an advantage over a lot of teams. Not to mention it would free up Noah to roam a little more on both ends of the floor.

I don’t think Mosquera-Perea has made a compelling case for more minutes based on his performance in Big Ten games. He’s a better player than he was as a freshman, but his turnover numbers are poor and his field goal percentage (41.7) isn’t efficient for a post player.

I know the natural reaction when things aren’t going well is to argue that someone on the bench should be playing more, but in this case, I just don’t see it. We’re not in practice every day and don’t see what goes on there, but I’m certain that if Mosquera-Perea was performing well enough to play more often, it would be happening. — Alex Bozich

@CheesyCheesy2 on Twitter writes: How would Maurice Creek and/or Remy Abell have contributed to this season if they would have stayed? Different W-L record?

Both would have been rotation guys certainly and may have started some games as well, but it’s impossible to say since it’s all hypothetical. What I can say is that Creek unfortunately couldn’t stay healthy at IU, so it was a stretch to believe that he was going to be able to do so had he stayed another season. He was at IU four years, graduated and moved on by his own choice. I think it’s great that he’s been able to play well at George Washington.

As for Abell, while his overall shooting percentages were strong as a sophomore, his in-conference numbers were poor. His field goal percentage was 32.4 percent in Big Ten games and he made two 3-pointers. I’m not sure he would have made a notable difference, especially when you consider the emergence of Stanford Robinson. — Alex Bozich

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  • Kenneth234

    I sort of feel that there is a balance that can be reached here. I don’t believe that this team needed another match up against top 50 type major conference opponents, but the level of competition that we played was certainly not high enough to prepare this team for the Big Ten season. There are certainly mid major teams in the area that could have been scheduled to come to Bloomington that would have given Indiana a higher strength of schedule, and at the same time not been a serious threat at being a loss on the record.

    A short list of teams I would include would have been Ball State, Indiana State, Eastern Michigan, Southern Illinois, Illinois State, etc.. These types of teams would have put the strength of schedule from where it is, to possibly somewhere in the top 30, while not adding losses. Now I haven’t done the math on making a switch like that, and I welcome anyone who has the time to do so, to correct me if I am wrong.

  • Kenneth234

    Perhaps, but at the same time, the game against UConn was also a jump in competition from what they had played to that point as well. Perhaps a little tougher competition prior to that game could have made the difference in that one as well.

  • Kenneth234

    Well, there was a guarantee that lineup wasn’t going to be able to go long either. Certainly, a sick Gordon, could have wen 3 minutes instead of Marlin, and Hollowell instead Howard. If that had happened, the 6-0 run, wouldn’t have been booed, because these are players that most of us believe have the talent to play in the Big Ten. But I firmly believe, that at no time should Yogi, Noah, and Will all be out of the game at the same time.

  • Kenneth234

    Hanner’s post game is not there yet, maybe it will never be there at IU. He may never be able to handle playing with his back to the basket. And since every fan has witnessed this in ability to play with his back to the basket, I believe it is wise to adjust his role while on the floor. Have him forget all about posting up (where his chances of success are very low) and have him simply roam around and set screens or picks for the drivers. Allowing him to dive in to the paint for opportunities to use his physical abilities to both rebound, and get dunks near the rim. I think some time (not extended minutes) playing along with Noah, may be very beneficial as long as his role is minimized to the tasks that he can do well.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I agree with your general line of thinking. There is no reason to play some of the teams we do and playing some Midwest mid-majors makes perfect sense to me. I looked up the RPI’s of your short list:
    Ball State: 298
    Indiana State: 56 (they would have been a good one but Greg Lansing has said publicly that he would only play IU if they agreed to play in Terre Haute as well…that’s not happening)
    Eastern Michigan: 82 (would have been a good one)
    Southern Illinois: 238
    Illinois State: 108 (okay)

    A couple of those opponents would have helped our SOS (if they would have agreed to play at IU without a return date). A few of the ones you listed would have been similar or worse to the Lamar types we had on this year’s schedule. I would like to see more MAC teams or Horizon teams on our schedule in place of the SWAC teams we routinely beat by 35 but…when these games get scheduled, it’s hard to know how much the guarantee game opponent is going to help (or hurt) your SOS and RPI.

  • Hoosierfan2335

    Our most effective use of vonleh has been having him around the rim. It’s way too late in the year to start experimenting. Perea is a role player. Unless he has an Oladipo-esque summer, he won’t change much.

  • Rie

    I am having a hard time finding one sentence here that has any semblance of reality.

  • David Macer

    Gordon had been sick during the week.