Amid distraction, IU readies for rivalry game at Purdue

  • 02/15/2014 8:07 am in

In the span of 36 hours from Wednesday night to Friday morning, Indiana’s men’s basketball program experienced an 11-point collapse in the final 2:26 to lose to Penn State at home and learned news of the arrest of sophomore forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

After what has been, arguably, the most rocky three days in the past three seasons for the Hoosiers, at 4 p.m. today, Indiana will play its Big Ten, in-state rival. And though both teams have struggled this season, pride is on the line when the Hoosiers (14-10, 4-7) face Purdue (14-10, 4-7) in West Lafayette this afternoon.

“The ability to move on from setbacks, distractions and doubts are what fuel you to get better and improve,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said via his Twitter account on Friday evening. “That’s where our team sits. Our guys are learning that you have no choice but to move on to the next task no matter how you’re feeling. Resiliency is a skill.”

Less than two weeks ago, yet seemingly so long ago, the Hoosiers were celebrating an upset after a dominating victory over No. 10 Michigan in Bloomington. They were 14-8 overall, 4-5 in the Big Ten and within striking distance of a potential NCAA tournament bid.

Since then, though, Indiana has been on a downhill slide, blowing double-digit leads in two straight games to teams with sub-.500 Big Ten records and experiencing the first arrest of a current player since Sean Kline in December 2001. Mosquera-Perea was arrested early Friday morning for operating (a vehicle) while intoxicated.

All distractions aside, there is, in fact, a major basketball game today. One that involves two teams that know each other very well, despite how different each team’s roster is from the year prior.

“Players on both teams have known each other a long time,” sophomore Yogi Ferrell said. “It’s fun to play them but you realize every game becomes the most important game of the season.

“I think we are a team that can bounce back. We came to practice the last two days.”

In the Boilermakers, the Hoosiers face an opponent that has struggled in its own rite. Purdue has lost five of its last six games and the Boilermakers have the Big Ten’s ninth-worst offense and eighth-worst defense in conference play.

Perhaps one of the lone bright spots for the Boilermakers has come from 7-foot sophomore center A.J. Hammons, who has played at least 25 minutes in seven of their past eight games and has grabbed at least seven rebounds in seven of those contests. The Boilermakers rank No. 1 in the Big Ten in offensive rebound percentage and in the top half for defensive rebound percentage.

But in a league that is unforgiving when a team has an off night, Purdue has struggled. Not much of that really has an impact on today’s game, though, when its rival arrives in Mackey Arena for tipoff and a fresh 40-minute slate, surrounded by crazed fans.

“You know that you are going to get 40 minutes of incredible hard-nosed competitiveness from them,” Crean said in his pre-game conference call on Friday. “They bring a lot of issues to the table, which they always do, and you have to go in there and play very hard and be very competitive.”

And with all that has transpired over the past three days, perhaps what Crean is asking for from his team isn’t necessarily that easy for it to accomplish. Indiana has been given a dose of adversity. Today’s game certainly could add to that swing (it would also give Purdue its first win over Indiana since Feb. 23, 2011) or give the Hoosiers a chance to overcome it in their only regular-season matchup with the Boilermakers this season.

Regardless, the intrigue surrounding this game makes for a compelling matchup. And come 4 p.m., the Hoosiers will be back in action.

“The bottom line is you have to move on through your disappointment and get right back on top of your game and learn from it, make the adjustments and corrections and work hard on the fundamentals and move forward,” Crean said. “That is exactly how the program is run and that is exactly how it has been run and that is the attitude they take.

“And they know we have another tough task in front of us with Purdue.”

Sheehey at 999 career points

Should senior Will Sheehey score today, his first point will be his 1,000th in his career.

He would be just the 47th player in Indiana University history to achieve that feat. In his six career games against the Boilermakers, Sheehey has averaged 11.8 points per game, most recently netting a career-high 22 points against them on Feb. 16, 2013.

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  • SCHoosier

    I’m with you. Do have one question..maybe I missed it. Has anybody reported whose car HMP was driving> I just can’t believe that a young man of his personal background and situation could possibility afford to own and operate a car on campus?

  • HoosierPat

    Saying he should keep his faith to himself is ridiculous. Perhaps he feels he has a duty to use his high profile as a way to share his faith. If you don’t want to read it, then hit that unfollow button and your problem will be solved.

  • MillaRed

    We have no idea what actually went down or who would be or not interested right now its all speculation. I have a herd time believing the head coaching job in Bloomington is a tough sell right now. CTC was handed a pile of dirt. Totally different circumstances today.

  • MillaRed

    The clap was around a lot more in the 90s as well. The other clap.

  • HoosierPat

    Not only do we use the youth of the team as an excuse, we now use the youth of our 47-year old coach as an excuse. He’s been coaching basketball for 27 years and has been a head coach for 15.

  • MillaRed

    No idea. We may never know. OMG, I did hear one of his coaches bought a bumper sticker in the 80s. Is there a connection?

  • ForeverIU

    Yeah but we also can’t discount the fact that this faith discourse might also work as a “selling point”, especially with parents who want their kids to play for a “clean” program and coach. You see this sort of language on many player twitters as well. I am not saying Crean’s faith is not genuine (whatever that means), but its public broadcast is not done without calculation, not just for concerns of salvation, but recruitment as well. For those who said below that if we don’t like it we can choose not to read: it is not so simple. Crean projects much of his coaching persona and agenda on twitter as well. He is constantly giving updates on practice, player improvement, seeking fan support, etc. etc. even sending indirect messages to his players. We have every right to have an opinion about how we feel about his faith discourse if he is mixing it with his coaching persona and agenda.

  • MillaRed

    Agreed. With both of you. Separate the church and the court.

  • MillaRed

    So don’t follow our head coach on Twitter? Many basketball fans do. I just don’t see the connection between how his practice went on Thursday and how he feels about religion on Friday. Not every Hoosier fan is of the same faith. How about a separate Twitter account so Jesus can be discussed regularly.

  • MillaRed

    So it’s his own personal account eh? What happens if he tweets about a recruit that hasn’t signed on his personal Twitter account? Would the IU admin have a problem with that?

  • Ole Man

    The fact that you believe Crean walks on water has been apparent in every post you make here.
    You base nothing on fact and only on your opinion. Your entire statement is nothing but your opinion.

  • NC Hoosier

    How does AE not box out there?

  • INUnivHoosier

    The major difference being he is not allowed to have contact with those guys under NCAA guidelines. He is not forbidden to discuss his faith under NCAA guidelines. That’s really a poor argument.

  • INUnivHoosier

    I’m not sure how one can be a member of a religion and only practice their faith in their home or place of worship. Christians can’t pray before they eat because they are at work? Muslims can’t put down their mat and pray because it falls during office hours? Mormons can’t wear their undergarments to work? Jews can’t refuse to eat non-Kosher products because it might offend their clients?

    I hate to get so far off the topic of basketball, but I just think this whole line of reasoning is ludicrous.

  • INUnivHoosier

    The NCAA is following up on that claim. You have no idea what you’ve started.

  • GaHoosier

    IU is now down 17 points @ 51 – 34.

    This team is NOT playing with HEART!!!

    This is my last post of the year! I’ll talk to everyone next year!!!!!

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    Not against using anything you can, within the rules, to land a great recruit. But what if a kid is Muslim, or Jewish, or an Atheist, etc.? I’m not sure of the denomination of the players (nor do I care), but I could imagine any non-Christian not being thrilled with a coach that appears as overly devout.

  • BeatWisconsin

    Starting to think Dakich does not like Crean’s coaching ….

  • Xavier Harkness

    Does Crean actually know anything about basketball? Does he actually teach how to run an offense? I dont think he ever actually played basketball growing up. Why did we not give the money to Rick Pitino?

  • BeatWisconsin

    I am/was a big Crean supporter, but I think he is more of a salesman and motivator, not really a tactical basketball coach. I do believe that he is such a good salesman that he would be making millions in sales if he was not a basketball coach.

  • Jersey Hoosier

    He doesn’t just discuss his faith. He proselytizes. If that’s what he really wants to do, he should leave coaching and join the ministry. Goodness knows, he can afford it.

  • ForeverIU

    Yes, he is “selling” to a particular profile of player, IMO, and I don’t necessarily like that. If I were Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, or any other brand of Christian than the one sold on twitter (which I am, Eastern Orthodox Christian, non-proselytizing), I would not feel comfortable within the team’s culture, at least as expressed by the coach. To me it is not even about being Christian or not. This type of twitter Christianity is just a new-age spiritual brand that reeks of canned self-help spirituality that makes a pretense to “universalism” but is as provincial as all of its historical cousins IMO.

    Case in point, a recent CTC tweet: “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” — George Mueller

    I remember reading a book by a German Buddhist some years back in which he discusses the idea of a state of anxiety being a precursor to a sort of enlightenment, that it is natural, even a prerequisite, for the spirit to experience states of angst and turmoil before reaching a state of contentment. This seems closer to the type of Christianity that I was raised in, than one that denies anxiety and “weakness” as a sort of non-spiritual unwanted state.

    Every coach creates his own brand in a way. As much as I try to ignore the present one as innocuous, I just can’t anymore.

  • Xavier Harkness

    Thats probably where he needs to go lol. Or just go to a small conference and let those fans deal with him.

  • HarrisonHoosier

    I hope that your optimism is validated next year, but frankly I don’t see how. We’ve not improved in any significant way that I can see. Maybe one or two players, but as a team, I just don’t see it. Yogi pounds the ball on the floor and then we through up, at best, a marginal to terrible shot. Personally, I just don’t see much reason for optimism.

    IU had 5 pro players on the team last year and got embarrassed in the NCAA tourney. This year, IU was said to have a great incoming class, but it’s not real apparent at this point. To quote Remember the Titans – “Attitude reflects leadership” and I’m not seeing much that’s positive in either case.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Your entitled to your opinion, and I think he is entitled to his. You may not like his opinion, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be able to express it. That is what I have a problem with, the idea that he should keep his opinion to himself because you don’t like it.

    If it starts hurting his job performance, they can get rid of him. I haven’t heard a lot of complaining about his ability to recruit, though. If that’s not the culture Indiana wanted, they shouldn’t have hired him. This didn’t come out of left field.

    Frankly, I didn’t see a lot if people complaining about this when he was winning games last year, so I’m not sure why it is a problem all the sudden.

  • ForeverIU

    My optimism is just a way for me to stop myself from pounding my head against a wall, or jumping out a window.

  • Jersey Hoosier

    I suspect that most of the people objecting to his religious tweets now had the same concerns last year. However, given the CTC aura surrounding Crean and the sensitive nature of the subject, few mentioned it. I did, and for doing so, I was labeled a Crean-hater.

  • John Prichard

    Thats it. IU fan since 1953… Crean can not coach period..

  • Snookafly

    It is definitely his recruiting niche. It has worked well for reeling in some big name recruits (Wade, Zeller, Noah, etc.), but I have to imagine it scares off a lot of others. I just can’t picture being a 5-star 18-year-old stud trying to be BMOC who wants to listen to prosthelytizing. I wouldn’t want to feel guilty about having fun with the ladies and not going to church.

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    Could not agree more, very well said.

  • calbert40

    I don’t think he was suggesting that Crean is in the same league as those other HOF coaches. What I took from his comment was that even for the greatest coaches of all time, there were setbacks and challenging seasons. They didn’t win early. Success isn’t easy. If it was, it wouldn’t mean as much to all of us that we see this program succeed.

    We all have our issues with Crean’s coaching. But those other coaches weren’t perfect either.

    One thing that we can’t take away from Crean during his tenure is that every year from Year 1 to Year 5, the team improved its record. Every season. He obviously has some talent, or that wouldn’t happen regardless of how good of a recruiter he is. This will be the first season that we have taken a step back during his tenure. Unfortunately, that one step back was off a cliff.

    I hope he can correct the problem areas too, but maybe he won’t. Actually, I look forward to discussing these areas once the season is over in depth.