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Tag:Indiana
Posted on: March 8, 2012 4:41 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 4:55 pm
 

Crean on Verdell Jones' injury: 'It's not good'

The extent of Verdell Jones III's knee injury isn't known, but Tom Crean didn't sound optimistic. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

The final week before Selection Sunday has not been kind to the Big Ten. On Sunday, Michigan State freshman Branden Dawson went down with a torn ACL. There was more bad news on Thursday.

Indiana senior guard Verdell Jones suffered a knee injury in the Hoosiers’ win over Penn State. The extent of the injury is unknown right now, but it didn’t look good. Jones went to jump stop on a fast break, and immediately went down. It didn’t sound good, and he was grimacing in pain.

Shana Daniels, an assistant media relations director at Indiana, tweeted that it was a sprained knee and he would be evaluated further.

In the postgame, head coach Tom Crean didn’t sound nearly as optimistic when discussing the injury on his postgame radio show.

“It’s not good,” he said, nearing tears. “It’s not good. Just got to hope of the best.”

Jones, a 6-foot-5 senior, has played an integral part in Indiana’s revival this season. His scoring numbers are down since earlier in his career, but he’s still distributing fairly well. Moreover, his leadership has been a key with the younger players. Jones averaged 7.8 points and 3.2 assists this season.

We’ll have more on this as more information is released.

Posted on: March 5, 2012 8:04 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 8:10 pm
 

The Poll Attacks: Voter drops IU after two wins

By Gary Parrish

Tom Crean cost himself an AP vote by beating Michigan State and Purdue.

I know that sounds crazy.

But it's true and the focus of the Poll Attacks.

Associated Press poll: I've been on this Indiana thing for a few weeks because I don't understand how presumed intelligent reporters could watch basketball and/or look at bodies of work of basketball teams and conclude the Hoosiers didn't deserve to be ranked. I had to jump the 15 voters who didn't rank IU two Mondays ago, and that number dwindled to seven last week. It was better, obviously. But seven voters were still wrong.

Now?

Now only one voter is still wrong.

It's Jason Franchuk from the Provo Daily Herald.

He somehow decided to omit Indiana from his ballot even though the Hoosiers are:
  • 24-7 overall.
  • on a four-game winning streak.
  • the owners of wins over No. 1 Kentucky, No. 7 Ohio State and No. 8 Michigan State.
  • ranked 10th at KenPom.com and 12th at CollegeRPI.com.
  • 8-4 against the Top 50 and 11-5 against the Top 100.

I don't care if you hate Tom Crean, cream and crimson, John Cougar Mellencamp and Norman Dale -- I don't even care if you're a Purdue fan -- there's no reasonable way to keep Indiana off a Top 25 ballot. It stupid. It makes no sense.

But you know what makes less sense?

The fact that Jason had Indiana ranked 22nd last week.

Seriously.

Jason had Indiana ranked 22nd last week. Then he watched Indiana beat Michigan State and Purdue to move from 22-7 to 24-7. Then he dropped the Hoosiers straight off his ballot. I'm just gonna assume that's an oversight. Has to be, right? Otherwise, man, I don't know.

Coaches poll: It's clearly just a coach throwing an off-the-radar program a bone, so I don't really mind it much. Honestly, I don't mind it all. But Montana getting a vote in the coaches poll is a little silly. Yes, the Grizzlies are the Big Sky's regular-season champions, and their 10-game winning streak has moved their record to 23-6. But they're 2-3 against the Top 100 with three losses outside the Top 130, and that's just not a rankable resume. Again, it neither matters much nor bothers me much. But that doesn't make it any less wrong.

Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:34 pm
 

Pod: UCLA reaction, OSU doubt, UConn bashing

The photo that will define Reeves Nelson's college career.  (AP)

By Matt Norlander


In immediate wake of Sports Illustrated's piece on Ben Howland, Reeves Nelson and the culture of no accountability at UCLA, the podcast addresses why it's, really, not surprising. Nelson is no longer on the team, UCLA has a big recruiting class coming in -- and you could likely find these sorts of problems at most places not winning consistently right now. Why it's bad: Ben Howland's reputation takes a hit and it's unclear whether he ever separates himself from the past few years of bad chemistry and bad basketball. Aside from UCLA, Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish and I touch on ...
  • From the beginning: UCLA.
  • 11:46: Aren't a lot of these problems mirrored at Mississippi State the past two seasons?
  • 15:40: Jerry Palm, as of this podcast's posting, has UConn in the field as an 11 seed. Why? Because the profile still stacks up favorably to other fringe squad. But the Huskies aren't a tournament team and cannot be trusted.
  • 19:36: Getting Draymond Green into the POY debate. Also, Goodman thinks it's "sad" one of these guys won't win it. What I forgot to bring up on the podcast: There are six POY awards, which is dumb, and so it's likely T-Rob/AD/Day-Day may split in some regard.
  • 24:26: Ohio State now has problems and Parrish thinks reaching the Elite Eight is highly questionable.
  • 28:28: Indiana away from home in the NCAAs -- will we see a different team?
  • 29:59: The lower seeds we're expecting a lot out of come bracket time.
  • 32:43: And out of nowhere, I'm raked over the coals for my final version of the Non-BCS Power Pyramid.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast -- whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.


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Posted on: February 28, 2012 11:57 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 12:01 am
 

Day-Day can't do it all-all for MSU

Day-Day was the only one doing work-work Tuesday-Tuesday Night-Night. (Getty Images)
By Matt Norlander

Michigan State had this great play from Draymond Green, and other great plays from Draymond Green Tuesday night, but not much else in losing to Indiana, 70-55.

The Hoosiers and their crowd were ready. Everyone in hunter green who didn't have the name "GREEN" stitched to the back of their jersey was most definitely not. The Spartans' supporting case was basically a bunch of water boys, but we'll get to them in a second. The question in the aftermath of this game: Did MSU lose its chance at a one seed tonight? No. Beat Ohio State and win the Big Ten title and MSU is getting a one, I think, especially if UNC beats Duke Saturday, equaling out that season series between two top-seed seekers. Plenty of muck to clean up between the six teams flopping in the bowl fighting over those final two No. 1 spots. Still, MSU was done from the get-go against Indiana.

Take out Green and put in an average college basketball player and it's unlikely the Spartans put up 35 against IU -- that's how much Green meant tonight, and in a way acted as a microcosm for the Spartan's season so far. (Tomorrow on the blog we'll have a three-way comparison between Green, Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson, to see who's the best Player of the Year candidate). Spartans not nicknamed Day-Day were 10-of-34 from the field and 2-of-7 on 3s. To balance it out, though, Green had six turnovers, which hurt, but he had the ball so much he became a focal point for MSU's offense and the obvious, magnetic target for Indiana's defense.

Everyone knew where the ball was going when MSU had it, and eventually the Spartans wore down because of it.

It wasn't just offensive problems. Indiana's Victor Oladipo was unguarded at times and made Indiana look Final Four-worthy (which I don't think IU is). The Hoosiers got a couple of huge 3s from Will Sheehey and Christian Watford late to pull away, but I was stunned by how the rest of MSU's team didn't show up, leading to the late lead by Indiana. A credit to Tom Crean's team for limiting the love-to-run Spartans, who had just four fast-break points from MSU.

Big picture: a lot of things broke down tonight, and we saw that Green can't make up for so many faulty parts.

And one final note on Indiana. I was at Assembly Hall almost two weeks ago. I wrote it then, and it gets emphasized on a night like this: No matter what happens in the NCAAs, this will be one of the most memorable seasons of Tom Crean's life. His team has beaten then-No. 1 Kentucky, then-No. 2 Ohio State and now-No. 5 Michigan State at home. Assembly Hall has always had an aura, but this year it's established a haunt that could have long-term effects of intimidation like you see Wisconsin, Michigan State, Duke and Kansas benefit from.
Posted on: February 20, 2012 6:27 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 6:32 pm
 

The Poll Attacks: IU belongs on everyone's ballot

By Gary Parrish

Did you include Indiana on your Top 25 ballot?

If so, you're cool.

If not, you're Poll Attacked.

Associated Press poll: Indiana's loss at Iowa was bad. No denying that. But should it have been enough for some voters to omit the Hoosiers from their ballots? Absolutely not. And yet 15 AP voters -- including my pals Seth Davis and Dick Vitale -- left Indiana off their ballots, which is confusing because there's no way to conclude Tom Crean's team doesn't have one of the nation's best 25 bodies of work. They own wins over No. 1 Kentucky, No. 8 Ohio State, No. 11 Michigan, No. 20 Notre Dame and NCAA hopefuls Purdue, Northwestern and North Carolina State. Meantime, four of their seven losses are to teams currently ranked in the top 16. So they really only have three bad losses.

Iowa was one of them.

Again, that's an undeniable statement.

But almost everybody outside of the top 15 has at least three bad losses, and almost nobody outside of the top 15 owns the wins Indiana owns. Bottom line, what happened here is what happens too often in college basketball, i.e., a total overreaction based on the outcome of one 40-minute game that happens to be the most recent thing we've seen. The Iowa loss cost Indiana a few spots in our Top 25 (and one), as it should've. But it should not have cost the Hoosiers as much as some voters made it cost them. They're 15th at KenPom.com and 19th at CollegeRPI.com, and I think that's about right. They belong in the 15-to-20 range. Any formula suggesting otherwise is a bad formula. Any ballot suggesting otherwise is a bad ballot.

Coaches poll: I like Saint Mary's and think the Gaels will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament. But that doesn't mean they should be ranked 23rd in the latest coaches poll. Or 24th. Or 25th. Or at all. Saint Mary's is 23-5 against a schedule that ranks 108th at CollegeRPI.com and 185th at KenPom.com and features two non-Division I opponents. The Gaels have three losses to unranked opponents. They are 0-2 against currently ranked opponents, and both of those losses (to Baylor and Murray State) came by double-digits.

Are they playing well now?

No.

They've dropped three of their past four.

Are they healthy?

No.

Both starting guards are hobbled.

So there is literally nothing tangible on which to base SMC's ranking. The Gaels might well win the WCC title, and that'll be a nice accomplishment. But at this moment, as I type, they're just a banged-up team lacking quality victories that's lost three of their past four games. The coaches voting for them must be the same coaches who are still voting for Mississippi State -- that SEC outfit that's dropped three straight to unranked opponents.
Posted on: February 15, 2012 10:50 pm
 

From 20 Ls to 20 Ws, Indiana's made the big turn

Crean got his first 20-win season in five years tonight. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — There are checkmarks to this season (which now seems like, no matter what happens come March, will be one of the most rewarding Tom Crean will ever have) and the most significant one so far came Wednesday night.

The first checkmark, the one no one talks about, was getting out of November with an undefeated record. That was certainly a surprise lost amid the college and pro football and other early-season storylines in college basketball. Then came the Christian Watford 3 to beat Kentucky (still the only loss UK has this season), a dynamite explosion of a shot that’s already considered among the biggest shots in the history of Indiana University basketball. After that, the New Year’s Eve 74-70 home win over Big Ten favorite Ohio State.

Wednesday night brought Crean a 71-66 win over Northwestern, and thus a 20-win season, his first at Indiana in four years. There was  a fuss, a real big fuss, made about the three 20-loss seasons that came before this unprecedented lopsided one in the opposite direction for Crean and his Crimson crew. It came against the perfect opponent, too. Northwestern had caused Crean’s hair to act as a stress doll in years past. His clubs were 1-6 against the Wildcats prior to Wednesday night. Those younger, greener Hoosiers couldn’t defend NU, couldn’t outsmart Bill Carmody’s crew and weren’t good enough to muscle their way past them.

Not Wednesday night. Crean was thrilled with the W not just because it was a win, but because, so many times in a two-hour span, his defense came up with a play to stymie Northwestern’s deceitful attack. And yet the Wildcats were still successful for a large portion of the night. Stopping the slicing backdoor cuts at a 50-percent rate instead of a 65-percent rate is a huge difference against Northwestern. Crean’s team prepared and had enough talent, stamina and discipline to get one of those proud, finally-we-DID-this games, the celebrations and accomplishments that carry more weight in the locker room than with the fan base.

You might think, Oh, it’s just Northwestern. But think about the 1-6 record and the 20-loss seasons and the calls for Crean’s job two years into this tenure. Wins over Kentucky and Ohio State are enthralling and can fly a man home, but it’s because they are expected. Sticking to task and finally — fin-a-lly — winning the way you want to against a team that’s a nightmare of a matchup: just as rewarding.

The Hoosiers came up with answers, but they also came out of the tunnel with Cody Zeller, a component blatantly missing prior to this season. The Indiana freshman who’s playing like one of the five best in the nation had 23 points and seven boards on 9-of-11 shooting in — well isn’t that nice — 30 minutes of play. (There was foul trouble for Zeller, but Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford each contributed 12.)

“It’s the spirit of the defense,” Crean said. "That spirit of the defense and how our attitude has changed."

This team reminds him of his 2005-06 Marquette squad. Crean wears the NCAA tournament watch from that season. It's a simple ticker with a leather strap and gold trim. Without looking closely, you'd never know it was anything special But it's been Crean's reminder this year that he once had a similar team do so much when, initially, little was anticipated. That '05-'06 group was picked to finish 12th in the Big East. Ultimate result? A 10-6 year in the league, a 20-11 record and a seven seed in the tournament. It fell in the first round to Alabama.

This team’s more talented than that group but it’s exceeding expectations just the same.

“[Getting to 20 wins] is not an exclamation point … but it is a bench mark,” he said.

Though it was already going, Indiana essentially locked up a tournament bid Wednesday night. It’s on course to earn a bid that gives it geographic favoritism (reward to the top five seeds in each region) when the bracket is released in less than a month.

It’s a talented group that’s gotten punched in the Big Ten and regressed, somewhat, at some times, to the team it was expected to be this season. More often than not, it’s played beyond that, though. Crean’s coaching himself to a memorable season no matter the outcome.

“We keep getting better. I keep telling people that,” he said.

Many didn’t or still don’t believe that. But the evidence is mountain and Indiana’s now too talented, too experience and too promising to dip back down to those first three years. But no one wants to talk about those 20-losses seasons now.

Crean wouldn’t mind having the conversation. Tangible culmination took place at Assembly Hall Wednesday night. Indiana's made it's big turn toward sustained national relevance and likely continued success. Whatever happens from now through the end of March is more for the scrapbook in an unforgettable year for this program and its grinder of a coach.

Posted on: February 6, 2012 12:02 pm
 

Podcast: The NFL hands the baton to college hoops

Duke's home loss flew under the radar yesterday. (US PRESSWIRE)
By Matt Norlander

It was a great night Andy Glockner. He's a Giants fan. Against most convention, his team won a fourth Super Bowl, and so it's only appropriate that he makes another podcast appearance today.

Glockner does bracket and bubble updates weekly for SI.com. You can check out his consistently measured and terrific work here. Follow him on Twitter if you want more soccer talk than anyone could ask for. He tends to tweet about hoops, too. And the Knicks. And the Islanders. You've been warned.
 
Menu:
  • From the beginning: Glockner, being a huge Giants fan, gets his moment to bask. Some NFL talk before we get to the hoops, because the pod can get diverse like that.
  • 5:56: Duke went out and lost at home to Miami Sunday afternoon. It was a home loss. Did you miss it? That's because it happened while everyone was spilling chips into the bowl and finishing up the guac dip. Blue Devils know when to lose their worst games. But is Duke now out of the question to get a 2 if it doesn't run the table?
  • 8:39: Which bubble team is in pretty good shape despite its reputation and which team is in a lot more trouble than you'd be led to believe?
  • 12:42: Murray State loses one game and one game only, and that game is to Saint Mary's. Harvard finishes with two losses overall. Where would both of these teams get seeded?
  • 15:27: The committee doesn't seem to rely on KenPom all that much, yes? Why? We get into some selection committee methodology and mindset. Best part of the pod here, IMO.
  • 24:00: The Pac-12 is even more confounding than you realize.
  • 30:18: The bubble is actually not that weak this year. You wouldn't think that with a lot of drive-by commentary, but the at-large crop is better than in most recent years. Glockner explains why.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast--whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.


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Posted on: February 3, 2012 1:11 pm
 

Podcast: Blogging/podcast worlds collide again

The future of the Hoosiers is one of many topics covered on today's pod. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander


Who says a couple of competing podcasts hosts can't share a microphone? ESPN.coms' Eamonn Brennan was again my guest on the podcast, and we managed to get through 37 minutes of conversation with minimal backhanded compliments and deft verbal barbs tossed at each other over the Wi-Fi.

E.B. was kind enough to do this amid a move, so I'm grateful for that. It's setting up to be a pretty nice weekend in hoops, I can't deny. I think this podcast will be a good way to usher yourself in to the first February Saturday slate. Enjoy, and feel free to send us feedback on Twitter. You can follow me here and Eamonn there.
 
Menu:
  • From the beginning: Hey, wait a second -- that's not my voice!
  • 6:06: Was Murray State's come-from-behind home win a good sign or a troubling one?
  • 12:03: February. It's the month where we really see what every team is. I explain why. E.B. responds. It's what we do on the podcast. We're experts at this, you know.
  • 15:13: On to Indiana, where Eamonn graduated from, and so I wanted to know how he sees this program through the eyes of an alumnus and the eyes of someone paid to write about college basketball.
  • 20:22: The games we're most looking forward to this weekend, not including the obvious Kansas-Missouri tilt.
  • 27:18: Eamonn has a weekly Bottom 10 feature, and so what's the worst of the worst of the worst from the past week in hoops? We're not all roses and juggling unicorns over here. 
  • 29:20: I'm not sure how we derailed into Madonna and the Super Bowl and bashing Lost and me defending DMB, but it happened. Don't judge me. Fine. Judge me. I still love you.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast--whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.


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