The Inside the Hall Mailbag: March 24

  • 03/24/2015 7:38 am in

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), via email, 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.

hoosierfan1 on the premium forum writes: Clearly Indiana has a lot of work to do to improve its defensive effectiveness for next season. In your opinion, what are the key issues that need to be addressed in the offseason to improve defensive effectiveness?

Obviously a rim protector would go a long way in helping to shore up IU’s defense around the basket, but most of the issues begin on the perimeter. The Hoosiers struggled to contain dribble penetration all season and IU’s help defense was poor as well. Without much ball pressure, IU didn’t force many turnovers nor did it contest shots nearly enough.

From what I saw up close – and I watched this team all the way from the Montreal trip in August through the final game on Friday – basic things like positioning and communication just weren’t there with enough consistency. Perhaps some of it was a result of youth, but given that IU’s defense never really made much improvement over the course of the season, that’s obviously not the entire issue.

Ultimately, the level of improvement is going to come down to how much the coaching staff is able to teach and emphasize what it wants to accomplish on that end of the floor and the players embracing what they are taught and realizing that without a major improvement on defense, the ceiling is only so high. – Alex Bozich

Sheri Fletcher on Facebook writes: Will getting one or two talented big guys help our defense situation? After watching Wichita State vs Kansas, I think we played them pretty darn well!

The Hoosiers definitely played the Shockers more competitively than the Jayhawks did, but they also struggled to contain the Shockers inside. After all, 44 of Wichita State’s 81 points were scored in the paint and another 29 points came at the free throw line. But to answer your question, getting one or two talented big men — given that they are mobile and be a shot blocking threat in the paint — can certainly help this team’s defensive situation moving forward. It would give this team exactly what it’s missing: a threat that can simply make life more difficult for opposing offenses. — Jordan Littman

Geoff_85 on the premium forum writes: Now that the season is over, the glaring need to make room for scholarships next year is upon us. Indiana has two signees for next season (O.G. Anunoby and Juwan Morgan) and are still pursuing, and seem to be in good position with, coveted big man recruit Thomas Bryant, or perhaps even Thon Maker. Do you have a feel yet on who leaves and where they’re going? At this point, in order to get Thomas Bryant and keep 2015-16 signees Anunoby and Morgan, Indiana would have to make available 3 scholarships from the 2014-15 roster, correct?

That’s correct. This seems like a question that comes up annually and each year my answer is the same – these things tend to work themselves out. However, the constant roster churn is an issue that clearly irks many IU fans because when you’re constantly bringing in new players, experience within the program takes a hit and class imbalance is an issue.

To answer your question, it’s too early to say who might be leaving the program as the season just ended and in the immediate aftermath of IU’s loss to Wichita State, no one was really saying much about plans for next season in the locker room. As of right now, IU is at 15 scholarship players for next season if everyone returns and the limit is 13. That means if just Morgan and Anunoby are coming to Bloomington, two current players would have to leave. If Bryant or Maker were to come, that number would obviously grow. Without speculating, I think we’ll begin to learn the answers to this question in the coming weeks. – Alex Bozich

@mgdoss79 on Twitter writes: if everyone comes back & we land TB do you think CTC can get us to the F4? He couldnt w/ more talent in 13.

Before anyone starts thinking about a Final Four appearance in 2016, the first thing that will have to be sorted out is Indiana’s defense. This past season, it ranked No. 218 in the nation at 1.05 points per possession allowed. For reference, no Final Four team since the 2001-2002 season has had a PPP allowed rate higher than .993, which Crean’s Marquette team with Dwyane Wade owned in 2002-03. That defense ranked No. 119 in the country.

Landing Bryant certainly can help with that. He can match up with other big men that caused so many problems for the Hoosiers this season (see: Venky Jois, Joshua Smith, Montrezl Harrell, A.J. Hammons). And he’s someone that can discourage opponents from driving to the rim every possession. But obviously, it doesn’t start with just Bryant. One player simply won’t improve a team’s defense 100 spots, nationally. Everyone on this team has to get stronger off the court and more physical on it. Landing Bryant certainly would help, but before the Hoosiers start even thinking about the Final Four, their defense will have to come a long way. If they can manage to do that and the shooting remains a constant, it’s not entirely out of the question. — Jordan Littman

THowenstine on the premium forum writes: Assuming Troy, Yogi, Nick, JBJ, RJ, HMP, EH, CH, and DD all return next year, AND we land a premier post player for 2015-2016, Do you see IU ranked in the top 5, top 10 heading into the season?

If everyone were to come back and IU adds a premier post player, I would say preseason top 10 would be a realistic guess. A lot would also depend on who leaves early at other schools, but adding a big man to an already elite offense would probably put IU right into that top 10 range with a ceiling to be higher depending on how much guys improve in the offseason, particularly defensively. – Alex Bozich

Kevin Sheward on Facebook writes: If you were working with RJ and JBJ, what would you have each of them focus their training on during the off season?

It’s a loaded question, Kevin, but for both Johnson and Blackmon Jr., it starts with consistency. As freshmen, they each were thrust into the Big Ten and while each had their moments, it wasn’t always game-in and game-out. But remember this: Blackmon started every game he played in this season. Johnson started all but one game. Each played a lot and got plenty of experience under their belts this season. And it will only help them moving forward.

But both Johnson and Blackmon Jr. certainly can use an offseason in the weight room, particularly to build on their defensive strength in a season that each of them didn’t necessarily excel in. And as each of them continue to be an integral part of the Hoosiers moving forward, they also will need to improve their poise and movement on both ends of the floor. Both also couldn’t hurt to work on their shooting consistency over the offseason, as they each struggled in Big Ten play behind the arc and inside, too. — Jordan Littman

kmark22 on the premium forum writes: Should the expectations be lowered on landing Thomas Bryant as the missing piece for next year and raise expectations on an improved Perea, Holt, and Devin Davis? Bryant is still an inexperienced freshmen.

Although Thomas Bryant will be inexperienced, he would be Indiana’s best frontcourt player the minute he stepped onto campus. He’s a McDonald’s All-American frontcourt talent, which, not to take anything away from the guys you mentioned, is difficult to land.

IU’s last two McDonald’s All-Americans in the frontcourt left the program as lottery picks. Adding a player like Bryant would allow guys like Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Emmitt Holt and Devin Davis to play complementary roles, which is where they are better suited. Bryant would very much change how this team is viewed going into next season as IU’s frontcourt could suddenly become a strength and a guy like Collin Hartman wouldn’t be counted on to play out of position. – Alex Bozich

mdtreat on the premium forum writes: How much practice time as a team are they allowed this summer? I know there are pretty extreme NCAA restrictions on amount of actual practice time, and that it was a little inflated because of the Canadian tour this past summer, so how much true team work will they be able to put in this summer and build a better defensive unit? It’s my understanding that a lot of their work is usually conditioning and individualized workout focused in the summer.

Here is the rule for what teams can do in the summer, per NCAA rules adopted back in 2012: “In men’s basketball, a student-athlete who is enrolled in summer school may engage in required weight-training, conditioning and skill-related instruction for up to eight weeks (not required to be consecutive weeks). Participation in such activities shall be limited to a maximum of eight hours per week with not more than two hours per week spent on skill-related instruction. An individual who is not eligible to use the exception to summer school enrollment (Bylaw may participate only during the period of the institution’s summer term or terms (opening day of classes through last day of final exams) in which he is enrolled.”

So no more than two hours per week can be spent on skill-related instruction with the coaching staff. Last summer with the Montreal trip, IU was able to have 10 practices leading up to it, which is one of the major advantages of taking a foreign tour once every four seasons. – Alex Bozich

GregorySpera on the premium forum writes: Do you feel it is even possible for Indiana Basketball to ever again return to “elite” status? I realize this is dependent on how one defines “elite” in the context of the current CBB landscape. So Alex, what do you personally view as the bottom line for what expectations should be for our program on an annual basis? Is this good enough? Are we right to demand more? Or, like in the song, are our “glory days” behind us?

Obviously every fan is free to define their own expectations for what IU basketball should be or should not be. A lot of those opinions will probably differ depending on which era of the program that particular fan grew up with. This is actually a question I get quite often, whether it be on Twitter, email or even in-person.

I’m not sure there’s a “bottom line” answer to be had on the subject, despite what some radio hosts or columnists will say to grab ratings or sell papers. Some believe IU should be contending for a Final Four or national title every year. Others would probably be content with winning a Big Ten title every couple of years and having a chance at a tourney run every season. I’ve always believed that IU is a program where you can still win big in college basketball, but I’m also not blind to the fact that there are programs that have won multiple national championships since IU last won one in 1987.

So to answer your question as best I can, there’s not, at least to me, a clear cut answer to this question. And that’s not a defense nor a critique of the current state of the program, but I just don’t view the situation in general as one that is as cut and dry as others. – Alex Bozich

NCHoosier82 on the premium forum writes: Alex, What is the timetable for the Assembly Hall renovations? And, will you get better seats?

Renovations are beginning soon and will continue for the foreseeable future with a goal of completion prior to the beginning of the 2016-2017 season. That means Assembly Hall will be under construction for all of next season and it’s unclear, at least of right now, what parts of the facility will be affected by said construction while the season is going on.

As for whether I’ll get better seats, I’m not sure I could have much of a better seat than I already have. – Alex Bozich

Aiken_Hoosier on the premium forum writes: How do you see the McClain vacancy being filled on the coaching staff? The obvious name is Bennie Seltzer. However, it’s also painfully obvious we need to bring in a defensive specialist. Do you see us bringing in someone currently outside the program or, if Seltzer is the hire, will he be able to make an impact on the defensive end? Seltzer seems to be the “comfortable” hire, but with a sub-200 defensive team, I don’t want us to make the “comfortable” hire. I want to make the hire that will help us win more ballgames.

I’m not sure I view Seltzer as the obvious name. Is he a candidate and someone who will be considered? Certainly. He came back this season for part of the year after he was fired after two seasons as the head coach at Samford and after Je’Ney Jackson moved on mid-season to accept a position at Kansas. At the time, I viewed it more as Tom Crean being loyal to one of his former assistants rather than a potential grooming for a more permanent job in the future.

If he gets the job, it’ll be because Crean views him as the best person for the job. My personal opinion is that the hire should be someone who checks all of the boxes in the areas that the program currently needs to improve upon and someone who can help improve the defense is right near the top. I understand why people are bringing him up as a potential candidate, but I wouldn’t put it in the category of a sure thing just yet. I could be wrong, but that’s my view as of now. – Alex Bozich

@jeffdlightfoot on Twitter writes: Any chance IU makes a run at Dane Fife to fill McClain’s job? Seems he could bring toughness, identity, defense to team.

It’s unlikely that Fife would be pursued and also unlikely that he would have interest. He seems to really be happy at Michigan State and is likely to stay in East Lansing, but it’s also very possible he could land a head coaching job elsewhere. He’s obviously a name that Indiana fans would love to have back in Bloomington, just at this point in time it might not be entirely realistic. — Jordan Littman

Filed to:

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I can’t see CTC starting HMP with Bryant (Or any other big). He just never seems to play HMP with any other 5 on the floor. I have heard it has to do with being concerned about ball movement on offense.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Being locked into starting 3 guards almost certainly weakens your team defensively — especially when the other team has mis-matches.

  • Rushman

    Great way to say it.

  • pcantidote

    You don’t need a rim protector to play good fundamental defense. WSU never gave us a clean look and they are smaller than us. As was stated above, having a rim protector just masks the problem, which is why our defense didn’t seem as bad during the Zeller years. In reality, we were statistically just as bad with Cody in terms of percentage of opponents shots that were taken at the rim. We have been one of the worst teams in D1 in that stat during the crean era.

  • b_side

    Failing to meet expectations. Since that’s one of the big criticisms of Crean. But it’s really the nature of the one-and-done tournament.

    KU has been bounced in the round of 32 as #1 and #2 seeds in two consecutive years. Totally get that Bill Self has hung a banner and lost in the finals, but more often than not his teams fail to meet expectations in the tourney. They do less with more.

    Duke lost in the first round twice in 3 years. We could go back to 2002 if you want, but that’s just mean.

    UK’s most talented team with 6 NBA players (including #1 John Wall and #2 pick Boogie Cousins) failed to reach a FF. Two years later they were an NIT team after a preseason rank of #1.

    I get that all these coaches get a pass, but what I’m saying is fans of these bluebloods programs are more likely to be disaapointed by unpredictable losses.

    With regard to WSU, I’ll be curious to see if they have the staying power of a program like Gonzaga or Butler. Probably has more to do with whether Marshall leaves and who his successor is.

  • Rushman

    Doesn’t that statistic contradict the point you are trying to make about our defense? If Crean is the only coach to get a team to the Final Four with a defense ranked outside the top 100, that makes me feel good about our chances regardless of our defensive efficiencies. I don’t know, was just looking at it from a different perspective…

  • millzy32

    Bryant is no Cody not even close so don’t get your hopes up like that. Even Maker probably wouldn’t have a Cody like impact.

  • KmanCRK

    I actually think Maker would be better. Love Cody to death, but he wasn’t perfect. There were holes in his game as well, and I think of the two Maker’s game seems to be aligned with Cody’s and he might actually be more athletic and have a better dribble drive game as a freshman.

  • KmanCRK

    Also can’t lose sight of the fact that he’s still very young. He could be a real game changer as a Jr & Sr if he gets a jumpshot which I fully expect to happen.

  • KmanCRK

    Thanks for the Assist.

  • SeeingRed

    That’s what I’m saying. Those are lower expectation, lower stress jobs. Herb Sendek went into a foundering ASU program — they were 39-47 overall and 16-38 in conference in the three years before he took over. He then got nine years to get the Sun Devils going. Never really did, compiling a 154-132 (.538) record before getting canned. His winning percentage was right in line with ASU’s overall program percentage (.525).

    At IU, any coach, the current one or the next one, needs to embrace and accept a different reality about expectations and pressure. If a coach thinks steering this ship is more trouble than it is worth, he is by definition not the guy.

  • millzy32

    You may be right but at the end of the day you know Maker isn’t coming. Bryant maybe but not Maker. It’s not happening. I wish it was but it just isn’t.

  • IUBizmark

    Hi Tom,

    Not to be snarky, but thank you for allowing me to, hopefully, settle this once and for all. As I have posted before, here are the adjusted D rankings of Tom Crean over the years and his post season results. IF you expect IU to compete for national championships (which I admit we won’t do every year), the DEFENSE IS NOT GOOD! I believe it needs to be top 25 or better as all other national champs have been since the metric has been recorded.

    Saying the defense wasn’t bad the previous three years is your opinion and you’re entitled to that. The average of those three years is 53! The only year he came close was 2013 when it was 28th! In the years below, Tom Crean has had ONE season in the top 25 in Adjusted D and the team got bounced in the first round.

    You can blame losing to SU on injuries or shots not falling all you want. SU isn’t a great offensive team. Getting a few stops would’ve won that game for us. But we couldn’t because our D wasn’t good enough.

    2002: 13th, NCAA First Round
    2003: 119th, Final Four
    2004: 189th, NIT
    2005: 142nd, NIT
    2006: 67th, NCAA First Round
    2007: 36th, NCAA First Round
    2008: 27th, NCAA Second Round
    2009 – 2011 We don’t talk about this time period
    2012: 84th, NCAA Sweet Sixteen
    2013: 28th, NCAA Sweet Sixteen
    2014: 47th, No post season
    2015: 218th, NCAA First Round

  • dwdkc

    I wonder what was said to Nick when he came in. That is a little different situation and frankly that would make more sense than the other two. I agree with the upside with both Stan and Max as they are still both young.

  • Gregory Spera

    I did read his ENTIRE post (see above) and Alex certainly vouched for the credibility of that opinion.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’ve posted those numbers in this thread and others (it doesn’t seem to matter though, people just respond by saying, “yeah, but we play a fast tempo” or, “if we have a good rim protector it will be workable”) and it’s the single biggest thing that has me convinced that we won’t consistently be at the level I would consider “good” (as a program) while Tom Crean is the coach. The sample size of these statistics and what those numbers mean when compared to the numbers of the other current/recent powerful schools in each conference can’t be brushed aside. We may see some occasional years where defense is “pretty good” but the general rule for Tom Crean’s squads appears to be “average” to “below average” and I don’t think that is going to result in IU returning to a level the majority of IU fans would be happy with.

    I’ll keep on cheering, no matter who the coach is, but any high expectations I have won’t be based in anything more than blind hope.

  • I will say this.. I am not hereto get into a back and forth argument either.. But, I find that very, very difficult to believe. Wouldn’t you think, anyone who is in college basketball would have some idea who has won the most championships.. and who is on the list? Wouldn’t you also believe that as much of a salesman Crean is, that he wouldn’t have mentioned the tradition that IU has enjoyed.. I’ve always read that it is primary as a selling tool.. And do you believe sometimes stories are written that take some comments way out of context.. It happens all the time.. and anyone attending Hoosier hysteria, which RJR did.. SO. he didn’t get taken past the trophy cases on his campus tour? And he didn’t notice the banners hanging from the ceiling in Assembly Hall? Wow, Are you sure you believe that? RJR was on a official visit.. so you’re telling me he didn’t know any of that until he arrived on campus in the Fall.. I REALLY doubt it. AND, furthermore, if anyone is so against that team, the coach and the program.. I would be searching for a new favorite team.. wouldn’t you? Rather than getting on here and inviting recruits that we are all wanting to come here… not to come here? I’m sorry, but some of these guys attitudes are so anti-IU, heck let them go elsewhere if they are so against the program.. We do not need material that is IU destructive, on this site.. JMO… But don’t fool yourself recruits and current team member do read these sites… and it can and does have an effect on their attitudes.. And, why do you think Yogi made that ‘post’ on twitter yesterday?.

  • IULore

    He might be as good on D

  • Hey the Cubs are going to do it this year… Or at least I hope…

  • Ok, so Rob actually made those comments after he had been to Hoosier Hysteria and at least one other visit to campus.. Is that what we are supposed to believe? Do you think he actually didn’t notice the banners when he attended those games? Or do you think the writer was trying to make some point and sell copies of his articles? Oh, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I am pretty sure Max also made at least one visit before he signed with IU… And I guess they wouldn’t have taken him on a campus tour.. and even neglected to go past the Trophy case? I don’t know, but that is pretty hard for me to believe…

  • CreamandCrimson

    That’s a lot of questions…I’ll answer a few:
    -“Are you sure you believe that?” I didn’t say anything about my personal feelings or beliefs on the quotes, I just took the relevant excerpt from the Indy Star story and put them in my comment to let others know that those things were actually said and that Kman didn’t just make it up. What I believe doesn’t matter, I just wanted the relevant quotes on here.

    “I would be search for a new team, wouldn’t you?” – I won’t tell others how to be a fan. Some are much more critical and unreasonable than I would choose to be and some are way more optimistic and unrealistic than I would choose to be but it doesn’t make my opinions or methods of expressing my fandom any more valid or “right”.

    “Why do you think Yogi made that post on Twitter yesterday?” – I have no clue what Yogi posted on Twitter and I can’t possibly begin to attempt to decipher the meaning or motivation behind any college student’s Tweet.

    My opinion, the Max Hoetzel and Robert Johnson said they had no idea about IU’s tradition. That wasn’t made up by Kman and I thought the quotes would contribute to the comments section. I’m fairly sure the coaches emphasize IU’s tradition but I have no clue how Johnson and Hoetzel were recruited and I have to take their words at face value because I’d rather not assume they were just lying. Again though, my belief on those comments isn’t really relevant here, I just wanted the quotes to be posted because I thought it would be somewhat helpful to the comments section. Have a good one and thanks for your passion on here.

  • The shockers had three guys that had been to four, Final Fours.. and one other that had been to three Final Fours. I believe that experience would and should help any team.. Face it.. and I hate to see this as an excuse, but when you’re small and also pretty darned young.. Makes a BIG difference…

  • I would agree with UK.. recently Duke well ‘not so much’.. and Kansas.. under Bill Self.. really not impressive especially recently.. They looked real bad against WSU.
    Duke is doing pretty well this year.. But then, they have Jahill Okufor.. He would’ve made us a very good team this year as well.

  • Well yesterday Yogi (who now has a twitter account again after going just about the entire year without one), posted, thanking all of the fans for their support for the year.. Many have conjectured that he did it because he knew a large portion of the fan base, was very dissatisfied with the team’s performance this year.. and/or he did it because he maybe making additional announcements as to his future plans, sometime in the not too distant future.
    As far as Max and Rob’s comments.. sometimes writers will lift a portion of a comment to make a point in an article. That comment may have been a part of a much larger discussion about their recruitment. I do know for a fact, Rob was at Hoosier Hysteria.. He would’ve seen the banners. So it really does not follow that he would have arrived on campus that Fall not knowing All of these visits include a trip past the trophy case.. so anyway…
    I am sorry I am, passionate about IU and the program…and admittedly, I probably get carried away sometimes… I just do not like it when people try to tear it down, or try to do it harm. Even on a stupid site like this, which is supposed to be for fans of IU.. not for the destruction of our IU tradition.

  • CreamandCrimson

    No need to apologize for your passion…I know you just want IU to succeed and I can absolutely agree with that. I just wanted to make sure others knew that Kman didn’t totally pull something out of his rear end and there were quotes.

  • Yes I know.. They really owned IU during the Rick Mount years… and around that time. It always ‘irks’ me to no end when we play them each year, and they show that total win/loss comparison.. I wish we could somehow just make that go away.. but we have to really start dominating them again soon.. we lost two this year.. Probably stings as much as anything we did not accomplish this year.

  • hoosier93

    Well…. idk. Cody is now one of the most athletic big men in the NBA. Speed and hops. Set a record at the Draft combine with his standing vertical. Only 5 players finished ahead of him in the sprint. He actually had a faster time than Peyton Siva though it was only by like a tenth of a second or something lol.

  • calbert40

    I know what cherry picking means, and that is why I was accusing you of it. I’m not trying to be mean-spirited about it. You just used certain stats, while neglecting to mention others that are just as readily available. We all do it.

    Here’s your quote that made me suggest that.

    “Excluding his first two years at IU, his last 10 years (last 5 years at Marquette plus most recent 5 years here) look like this: an overall conference record of 90-82 (52%), nine years of finishing fourth or worse in his conference, four years with no NCAA bid, and no trips past the Sweet 16,”

    1) I believe it is less than objective to use any of those first three years against Crean. We were lousy. We knew we were going to be lousy. Take out that 12-20 (3-15) season, and it changes your data to 87-67 in conference.

    2) Your arbitrary stopping point just happens to be the year before he had two great seasons at MU. In those seasons, he went 53-13, 27-5, won a conference title and made a Final Four. Not including those seasons would be like saying “from 2008 through 2013, Billy Donovan only made the tournament four out of six years, and he never made a Final Four either.” Accurate, but my arbitrary stopping points don’t tell the full story.

    3) His “9 seasons of finishing 4th or worse” is accurate, but again, he finished 4th, 5th and 5th in the Big East when the Big East was RIDICULOUSLY tough. In his first year as MU HC in the Big East, there were 6 teams ranked in the final regular season poll. MU was not one of them despite finishing 4th in the league. The next year, 5 ranked teams (MU #20…5th highest in league). The year after…6 ranked teams (MU #25…6th highest). They performed at or above their ranking in each of those seasons against fantastic competition.

    4) So far as NCAA success. We would be equally accurate if we said that a Crean coached team has made the NCAA in 6 of his last 7 years, excluding the three rebuilding years at IU. Before that, they missed the tourney two years in a row. Before that, they made the Final Four. They made the Sweet 16 twice, Final Four once. If you want to stop before the Final Four season, his NCAA record is 5-6. Not fantastic, but not pathetic either.

    The point is that we can arbitrarily make Crean’s (or any other coach’s) record look much better or worse than it really is. I just want us to be as accurate as possible.

  • PBzeer

    Sure, there’s lots of reasons … if you want excuses.

  • Guyton25

    Hey, I haven’t missed an IU game since I was 6 years old. I don’t point fingers because IU basketball is all about unity. We couldn’t play against any teams that ran the zone that year, it’s not just about Syracuse, they just had the best zone in the country. We all knew that was our kryptonite. I’m definitely not putting all of the blame on Crean for that.

    I believe his ceiling is lower than a championship based on his style, but I really say that in a “prove me wrong” manner. I wouldn’t be surprised if Crean ends up with a title within the next decade.

  • Arch Puddington

    Gee, C40, I guess I don’t understand why you feel the need to “accuse” me of anything at all. We’re just talking about basketball.

    To your points:

    1. I will point out again that my first argument addressed his entire career. One trip beyond the Sweet 16, two regular season conference titles, and no conference tournament championships is the complete list of his titles and post-season accomplishments in 16 years (or 13 if you prefer). It is my opinion that he has had two great years as a coach, two good years, and 10 mediocre or worse seasons. You may feel differently, but you cannot possibly “accuse” me of cherry picking because I am addressing his record as a whole.

    2. My starting point for the 10 year period you object to was not arbitrary at all. One of the main arguments in support of CTC is that he made a Final Four. My observation was very specific: in the 12 years since then, he has been unable to repeat that success. Count or exclude whatever years you would like, the point is exactly the same. He has not been beyond the Sweet 16 since then, and has had essentially no success in conference tournaments either. Even the 9 years you want to count do not add up to a record meaningfully different than Bruce Weber or Mike Davis, certainly nothing like we would hope for at IU.

    If that record suits you, or if you believe its shortcomings can be explained by circumstances, so be it. I am less sure. As I said previously, I expect that if he stays for long there will be intermittent success. I just think it is unlikely to be consistent.

  • calbert40

    Arch, I don’t mean to be accusatory. Let me rephrase. I believe the stats you posted in your 2nd point (which I said the first time I responded to you…not your first point where you addressed his career) were used to further your point. Like you said, we’re just talking basketball. My fault if I came across stronger than I intended.

    In regards to your 2nd point in this post, I think he was very successful at MU. A Final Four. A conference title. Made the NCAA three straight years, while competing in the best basketball conference in America and going 69-31 (31-19) during that time. At Marquette. There’s a reason we hired him. There’s a reason we were all excited when he was hired. He was a fine coach. No, he never went back to the FF there, but he made that program relevant again, and it hadn’t been for awhile.

    His time at IU has been a mixed bag, no doubt about it. We’ve had moments of brilliance followed by uninspired play. We’ve had great APR scores, but had our bouts with off-court problems. We’ve brought in some great recruits, but we’ve also had some swings and misses…and we’ve had lots of roster turnover. I’m with you. I’m not pleased with a season like this or last. We should do better.

    That doesn’t mean it is time to jump ship. Lots of programs have an ebb and flow. Even many blue bloods go through them. I consider IU to be a blue blood too, but no other program like ours has experienced what we have during Crean’s tenure. He brought us back, had two very successful seasons, then a lousy one followed by a mediocre one. My hope is that next year will be better. If not, let’s start over. But I’m not ready to commit to that plan now.

  • BigAl24

    What are you even talking about? I didn’t mention any of those guys. I’ll say any of this to anybody face to face. Do you like having a mediocre basketball team in Bloomington? Is that what you’re accepting of? If you are, sweet. Have fun cheering on mediocrity.

  • BigAl24

    LOL it’s called being realistic. I wish there were things to be positive about, but there just aren’t. WOW!

  • TomJameson

    Here’s realistic …
    Core group comes back and they are bigger, stronger, and have worked all summer on their skills. This is probable because that is the work ethic of almost all those young men.

    2 new big wings coming in (at least). They are quick, and my understanding is both are defensive minded. Yes, they have to make a jump to the B1G, but it’s a good base to work from.

    CTC knows where the weakness is (defense), I’m sure he reads all your posts attentively as he can. A new coaching hire with an emphasis in defense could very well happen, but even so, I’m sure he’ll be concentrating on getting the young men into a defensive mindset. I really have no doubt about that.
    That’s just a few things to be “realistic” about. And to top it off, I won’t make fun of any figure of speech you use.

  • TomJameson

    Thanks man. My real question was abou the “player’s coach” remark. I get it’s about his style, but are you saying his style is about individual players and not about team ball? Not trying to start something here, I really just don’t know what you mean by that.

    Not knowing how old you are now, I can still appreciate it that you’ve been a fan for that long. Go IU!!

  • TomJameson

    Reasons for winning and reasons for losing. Excuses are made up and have little bearing on actual events. Reasons ARE actual events.

    You must be a hard man PB to have NO leeway for anybody to not get something done. Every time you don’t make a meeting on time, a deadline, or just fail at something. Remember that what you tell others are just excuses, because you have no valid reason to fail at anything else in your life.

  • TomJameson

    Yeah, I get all that, and it’s a good presentation. Thanks for the work, really. But think of this … How well do you think this year would have gone if we just had the average of 53 going for us? I think our success would have been enough to keep everybody happy and we wouldn’t be having these discussions.

    I’m not saying those previous 3 years were great, I just said they weren’t bad. I would love to be a GREAT defensive team, as well as offensively, but I’d settle for a 53 next year and still have this offense. I would just hope that would be the first year toward becoming a great defensive team with improvements every year.
    I guess that’s where I stand. The defense was bad, I think it will be better next year, and I hope that with the right coaching assistant hire it will start a journey (short journey) toward being great.

  • TomJameson

    I think we’re on the same page. Where I differ from most (maybe you maybe not) is that I don’t think the churn is all CTCs fault. I think he was sort of blindsided by the “movement” class falling apart, and a couple of departures, and some bad chemistry. Some would call those excuses, but even Tom can’t see the future and even the best contingency planning can’t always catch everything.
    But that stuff has all been hashed over enough also. LOL

  • TomJameson

    Yeah, I can see that side of the argument. But, Fischer was getting more-and-more playing time, and at the time of transfer that was never even whispered. I don’t thing playing time, or playing style, “played” into his decision (see what I did?) lol We’ll probably never know for sure.

  • Missing Moye

    Agreed. It’s a self-inflicted height disadvantage at a minimum. As Bob pointed out, a lineup with two guards, Troy, Collin, and a big still accomplishes what Crean wants if Troy develops into that double threat. The problem is that when subs come in, it will be a guard for one them, not HMP, EH, etc. He doesn’t want two bigs on the floor at the same time that clutter the lane. 1 big, and a mix of 4 shooters/slashers. I doubt Crean will change his offensive philosophy to accommodate his personnel – he just doesn’t do those sorts of things.

  • Guyton25

    What I mean by players coach is that he recruits very well and develops players even better. Team ball isn’t a problem either; if that was the case then we wouldn’t have had such a good rebounding margin this year for how small we were. The only problem is in-game coaching and decision making and against the elite coaches he’ll just get out-coached. I’ve just been riding on the thought that maybe he’ll build such a monster group of guys that their talent alone will carry us through the tournament.

  • KmanCRK

    And this to me is the problem with trying build with One and done type kids. Coach K, Bill Self, Boheim and others struggle to make this work year in and year out.

    Indiana is not ready to try and do such a thing. Build a program the right way for Indiana by getting great midwest/IN kids that stay for 3-4 years and play great fundamental team basketball. Sprinkle in the occassional 5 Star and we’ll see this thing really take off.

  • TomJameson

    Thanks! 🙂

    I pretty much been hanging my hat on him improving over the years, and getting a good cadre of assistant coaches around him (please, a defensive specialist)

  • KmanCRK

    Hey nothing against Cody, I think he was phenomenal at IU, but what I’ve seen from Maker makes me think he is more complete at this stage. Basically meaning that the things Cody did really well (running the court, facing up and attacking) Maker can also do really well and also bring more of a stretch game and potentially better rebounding and shot blocking. If you recall, there were always lots of posts on here about Cody’s lack of rebounding and defense whether warranted or not.

    That’s where I’m coming from. I just think saying Maker won’t have a Cody like impact is hard to say at this point because I think he easily could. But who knows and I doubt he comes to IU anyway.

  • marcusgresham

    No, it’s a valid point. Knight is looked at by a lot of people as infallible, but in his latter years at IU he was no better than mediocre. Crean has had as much or more success than Knight did during those years.
    And why are you talking about my nuts, unless you meant “you’re nuts!!!”

  • PBzeer

    I’m not going to get into a game of semantics, but the simple fact of the matter is, WSU got stops, we didn’t.

    Youth, shooting, officiating …. none of that prevented us from being in a position to win. The game came down to they stopped us, we didn’t stop them.

  • TomJameson

    Okay, no semantics, but you are the one who brought it up and the only reason I replied. “excuses” is MUCH more negative than “reasons”.

    And if you want to simplify it, they won because they score more points than us.

  • bojak

    I shouldn’t have stated the second half of my statement. I apologize for that. It was unfair. You stated that you are pretty sure that he listens to his assistants. That must mean that NONE of his assistants know defense either. It is time to get a few assistants that know defense then. Coach Crean obviously doesn’t know how.

  • TomJameson

    I still think you’re being unduly harsh when you say “doesn’t know how”. Now if you said he can’t coach to an “elite” or even a “very good” level I probably would actually agree with you. lol

    CTC actually gives a lot of credit to his assistant coaches, so yes, he listens to them.

    With that said I will add that I fervently hope that the next assistant coach hired will be a defensive specialist with the clear directive to get the IU defense to an elite level.