Monday, February 01, 2010

Won't be watching the Superbowl

or seeing Indiana play at Northwestern next Sunday like I had planned on. I'm not boycotting because of the distasteful Tebow affair, and I won't pretend to do so, but really- the Superbowl should've stayed consistent in its political stance. Anyway, I love sports, but it will always come in second to the rest of my life, which is why I also missed the Illinois-Indiana game, which was evidently a really exciting game that McCamey won with a buzzer-beating drive to the hoop.

It is good to see Indiana competing on the road, and starting to figure some things out. I watched a bit of the Iowa game on the DVR, and the Hoosiers did get off to a slow start, but the crowd didn't get taken out of it by the Colts' game- you could hear the air go out of them when Iowa got offensive rebound after offensive rebound. Indiana just could not get a stop unless the Hawkeyes turned it over, and you could see that just sucking the life out of the crowd. So, Crean's diagnosis of "they wanted it more" was essentially correct. That's something he can work with. This team is probably too young to get called out (at least in the locker room) for not playing better against less-talented competition. I mean no disrespect to Iowa here, they had a nice win at IU, they play hard, but really, I think even BHGP would agree- Indiana has better athletes, and should've had a better showing against the Hawkeyes.

In this game (as in others), Derek Elston did some nice things, and was really the only guy on the floor showing some toughness on the glass and a killer instinct on the attack. He was just unlucky on that lay-up that rolled into a stuck position. He could get more minutes, but he's still kinda careless with ball. I actually don't blame Crean for limiting his minutes this year, but I am curious to see more of this big line-up we've been promised. I think once he gets his turnovers down, we could be looking at a new "Citizen Pain."

And finally, let me join the chorus online that tells the Crean doubters to sit down for a year. You're coming off like a bunch of henny-pennys. Crean just needs some time- no other program since Baylor in 2003 has seen such a blow-up of their program. And Baylor didn't get above 4 conference wins until year 5, when a sleeper freshman named LaceDarius Dunn led the to the NCAA's. Currently, without landing any sleepers or surprise JuCos, I would guess that the Hoosiers are on track to be a NIT squad next season (possible NCAA bubble team) and a solid NCAA team in 2011-2012, year 4, with a strong junior class. One of the reasons I would say IU is a NIT team next year is I do expect to see significant improvement out of Watford, Elston, Capobianco, & Hulls next season, and having Maurice Creek back will help, although he almost certainly won't be 100% until very late next season. Verdell Jones, Jeremiah Rivers, and Matt Roth will all be valuable pieces, and if Tom Pritchard ever gets his confidence back- which will take some work by his teammates- you should see an IU club much closer to .500 in conference and with a winning overall record.


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