IU’s season ends in fitting fashion

  • 03/15/2017 7:50 am in

In a game that Indiana declined to host, the No. 3 seeded Hoosiers (18-16) were thoroughly outplayed by No. 6 Georgia Tech (18-15) in Atlanta on Tuesday night, losing 75-63 at McCamish Pavilion.

It was Indiana’s first NIT game in 12 years. Much like the 2005 contest with Vanderbilt, Tuesday ended with a first round defeat to an inferior challenger.

Indiana’s 16th loss went the same way as many of the others: headed by an ineffective defense, egregious turnovers and a lack of leadership.

“What we’ve gotta do is get better,” coach Tom Crean told reporters after the game. “This game tonight at times was a microcosm of our season.”

Just like previous losses, Indiana fell behind early. This time, it was a 19-6 early deficit. The Hoosiers recovered to take a temporary lead, but it wouldn’t last.

Indiana trailed for 36:20 of the contest and never led by more than two. There were times the Hoosiers were locked in, but those were few and far between.

On the defensive end, Indiana was unable to contain the worst offensive team in the ACC, allowing the Yellow Jackets to take open shots and score at a rate of 1.07 PPP.

“Absolutely no reason to be as late as we were a couple of times defensively, coming off the ball and allowing them shots,” Crean said.

Indiana’s offense was inconsistent all night long. A few spurts of hot shooting were canceled out by poor shot selection and an inability to score against a zone.

“We stand too much,” Crean said. “We stand. It’s mind-boggling to me because we don’t practice that way.”

Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner called Crean an “offensive genius” both before and after the game, but Indiana had no answer for Georgia Tech’s zone defense.

“We just can’t – we’ve got to get better with the ball,” Crean said. “We’ve got to get better with the decision making. We’ve got to get stronger with the ball. We’ve got to get better with our finishing. Those are things that we have to improve.”

Once again, Indiana was careless with the basketball.

Although the Hoosiers only had six turnovers in the first 25 minutes, they turned it over nine times in the final 15 minutes. The Yellow Jackets scored 22 points off turnovers, with 16 of those coming in the last 15 minutes.

The defeat means Indiana ends its season with 10 losses over their last 14 games.

What began with high expectations and two wins over elite programs concluded with an early NIT exit.

Future unknown

The close of this season doesn’t mean the drama is over.

Plenty of decisions will have to be made, from the athletic department to the coaching staff to the players.

Even with the speculation surrounding Crean, he did not sound like someone that thought he’d coached his last game at Indiana.

“It starts with me,” Crean said before exiting the dais. “The examination of what has to get better. Let’s roll. That’s how I feel.”

Thomas Bryant is a projected late first to early second round NBA Draft pick if he decides to go pro.

“I’m not thinking about that right now,” Bryant told reporters post-game when asked of his future plans. “I’m just here for the guys.”

(Photo credit: Georgia Tech Athletics)

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  • Nick

    Went to bed early and woke up to this. Just another day in Bloomington. Crean’s been saying the same thing all year. Maybe if it isn’t working change your tune. Fred Glass really missed the boat on the hosting bid. I was almost happy for GT; the players and fans were clearly more excited to be in the NIT than IU.

  • N71

    “We just can’t – we’ve got to get better with the ball,” Crean said. “We’ve got to get better with the decision making. We’ve got to get stronger with the ball. We’ve got to get better with our finishing. Those are things that we have to improve.”

    I’ve thought we’d be better off going a new direction with regards to coaching about 3/4 into the Syracuse game several years back but I’ve been confused as to what the root problem is with Crean. The above quote is a microcosm of the issue where he’s somewhat frantic in everything he does and it gets worse under pressure, a tight game for example. He mistakes activity and effort with good coaching. He floods the airways with things that may in fact be true but if I’m a player I can’t react to 4 things a once. I need to be led with clarity and simplicity, not hot gabber vomit and incessant clapping.

    I sure hope Glass has a plan, its terribly painful to be in this situation as a basketball fan and alumni. Even my Purdue buddies, co-workers, and family members feel bad and don’t say much. They know what our program means to us, if we’re good they work us over like we do them, right now its like my dog just got hit by a truck and no one (from Purdue) knows what to say. What has it come to when I feel sadness from Purdue grads? FUDGE!!!!

  • crimson11cream

    We were behind for all but 3 minutes 40 seconds. Sadly that’s around 3 minutes more time than we played like we cared at all! I’m so sad the way this has turned out. I just don’t understand how the defense can be so bad. Crean say’s “we don’t practice that way” well then bench the players. Maybe they just don’t have any respect for their coach. I don’t know what to say except it’s finally over!

  • Steve S

    Yeah, everyone talks about the turnovers. The announcers in the game were saying that they were trying to do things too fast. At the same time saying how great of a coach CTC is. Yet I hear him saying we have to play faster. What gives?
    How many times did we see someone dribbling the ball down the court as quickly as possible and watching them either lose it ob or pass it into a fast break the other way? It looks good when it works, but it just didn’t work enough of the time and they end up giving away way too many points the other way. The players just can’t sustain the pace, and when they get slowed down they don’t know what to do either. And dare I mention the injuries?
    That game seemed like most of the season, out of control.

  • Tylor Alderson

    Glass needs to get fired!! We are Indiana! We would have filled Assembly Hall without the students. It would have been a great opportunity/experience to see our Hoosiers play a home tourney game. I was extremely excited for the chance to see them play again at home this year if we didn’t make the actual tournament. Yet the dumbass AD passed… I am very disappointed in his decision and frankly tired of the bs.

  • Steve S

    Yeah, not sure whether it’s true but deadspin posted a quote from FG that he said you have to be careful not to devalue Assembly Hall. Guess that kind of explains why the girls are playing at home in the women’s nit, but the guys didn’t.

  • IU Andy

    Josh you have written some nice pieces this year. Too bad it had to be during an awful year.

  • AndyCapp

    I agree that Glass is part of the problem but can’t agree that we would have filled up the Hall. The last NIT game we hosted only 5,000+ people showed up. If we WOULD have filled it up I suspect 3/4 of the crowd would have been calling for Crean’s head with posters, etc. NOT a good way to host a televised game.

  • Joshua Margolis

    That is in fact a quote from the Glass interview with Kent Sterling from earlier in the week.

  • Scott Gladish

    I live in Atlanta and braved the cold to go see my school. Our offense is some modification of what the Globetrotters ran all I could see that it did was take up time on the shot clock and generate turnovers. On defense we switch off of the picks instead of working through them so our guards can get isolated on the blocks against their Bigs. At least we have Football season and Tom Allen.

  • IU84

    We can’t have another year of Crean. He looks so desperate on the sideline with his pacing, sweating . It’s embarrassing.

    Defense is effort and practice. Guard the bucket, watch the ball!

    Here’s the president of IU’s email address. [email protected]

    1. Fire Glass, get us a salesperson who has passion for the program who can hire a real coach.

    2. Fire Crean.

  • Lawless

    Playing fast is one thing, playing in a hurry is another…playing hectic is IU. I’m just glad it’s over…

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  • Steve S

    Thank you, I did see it later. Perhaps there was something going on at that point to move CTC out.