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Welcome To Indiana Basketball

Welcome To Indiana Basketball

And I’m a bad boy ’cause I don’t even miss her.  I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart.  And I’m free, free fallin’.  Yeah I’m free, free fallin’.  -Tom Petty

Public Service Announcement: Ok, here we go!  I touched on this earlier, it needs some more attention.  It needs some more mention.  It is just beyond my comprehension.  Step into another dimension.  How does this happen?  How does one of the most esteemed basketball programs in the nation fall so far?  How does Indiana Basketball sink so low?  How low can you go?  How low can you go?  The way things are going now, pretty gosh darned low.     

I said earlier, this is not your daddy’s Indiana Basketball.  I said earlier this is not your grand daddy’s Indiana basketball.  I said this something far far worse. 

With the loss yesterday to Illinois, Indiana set a school record with eighteen losses in a season.  With the loss yesterday to Illinois, Indiana tied a school record with eleven league losses in a season.  Inconceivable!  I know I keep using that word.  I think it means what I think it means. 

It means this was once a proud basketball program.  A basketball program that has won five NCAA Championships.  The third-most in history.  A basketball program that has won twenty Big Ten Championships.  How did we get here?  This is not my beautiful house.  This is not my beautiful wife.

 Say what you will about Bobby Knight, but this nonsense would never ever have taken place under his watch. 

  • Since Knight’s firing, assistant coach Mike Davis took a Knight recruited team into the finals and then promptly took them into the crapper. 
  • Since Knight’s firing, Kelvin Sampson led the Hoosiers to a 21-11 record overall and a 34th appearance in the NCAA tournament only to be forced to resign due his role in the controversial recruitment of star player Eric Gordon and far worse allegations of serious NCAA violations.
  • Since Knight’s firing, the NCAA imposed a three year probation on the Indiana men’s basketball program and upheld the school’s self-imposed sanctions stemming from the actions of former head coach Kelvin Sampson and his staff.

Now the Indiana Hoosiers are led by one Tom Crean.  The Crean and Crimson era.  In the Crean and Crimson era, as we speak, the Hoosiers rank 326 in the nation (out of 330 teams) in average turnovers per game.  Eleven times this season, they have had twenty turnovers or more.  Twenty or more!  Tuesday at Minnesota, Indiana tied a season high with twenty-six miscues.  That’s no way to win.  That’s not Indiana basketball.  That’s most definitely not Bobby Knight basketball.

And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it.  And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground.  Amen.  Amen indeed.

Public Spectacle:

Peace out homies.  Six two and Even!

Share the love baby!

arrow58 Responses

  1. 70 mos ago

    As a die-hard Indiana basketball fan who grew up in Assembly Hall during the best of times during the Knight era, it is painful to watch the Hoosiers right now. But the reasons for our demise are not hard to understand, as it has been a slow but steady decline that has led to the horror we are witnessing this year:

    1 – Bob Knight lost it a little bit after the 1993 season, in which the Hoosiers were #1 all year before losing in the Elite 8, He left more of the recruiting to assistants and ended up getting players who were talented, but may not have been as suited to his system; not to mention that players in general evolved to not being as receptive to his coaching style. He did, however, turn that around during his final couple of seasons and left the cupboard stocked when his own anger management demons did him in, and a university that had never stood up to him finally decided to take a stand, rightly or wrongly.

    2 – Mike Davis' first two years were very good. Those IU teams included very good players (Jared Jeffries, AJ Moye, Tom Coverdale, etc) who had learned basketball under Bob Knight but played better in the more relaxed, free environment established by Davis — a good, decent man, but not a very good coach overall. Davis' deficiencies were evident as IU got further away from Bob Knight. Davis did not recruit the state of Indiana well and got talented players, but ones who did seem to function in a team concept very well. I think this is as much of an indictment of Davis' coaching style and inability to teach the game properly more than an indictment of the individual players however. Each season under Davis after the 2002 championship game appearance seemed to get worse. But the confluence of talent, basketball knowledge learned under Knight, and the more relaxed setting with Davis created the 2002 tourney run that convinced the Hoosiers athletic department to sign Davis up long-term for a job he was not ready to handle.

    3 – The most significant reason for this year's debacle is the former IU coach who shall not be named. Former IU president Adam Herbert was a friend of said coach, and got him hired at IU despite the fact that he had cheated at Oklahoma. Was it any surprise that he would cheat at IU? Plus, said coach fostered an environment of no discipline nor accountability, and the entire program crashed and burned when he left because the players he had recruited did not want to play for someone who might actually require them to go to class or lay off the weed.

    And of these factors taken together have created the 2008-09 Hoosiers. And while several individuals deserve blame, the faults of the IU administration and athletic department should not go unstated. Ever since the tenure of former AD Ralph Floyd, IU athletics (specifically basketball and football) have been on a slow and steady decline with only minor blips of success. Until there is consistent leadership with a strong vision at the top, this inconsistency and failure will continue.

    Despite all of this, I am very encouraged by the basketball program. When all is said and done, this season will go down as one of my five or so most enjoyable ever. Obviously the reason is not wins, but because I see glimpses of the late 80s and early 90s Hoosiers in this year's squad; not in talent or ability, but in heart, hustle, fight, accountability and togetherness. These are the attributes that made me fall in love with IU basketball in the first place and after having two coaches who did not get what made IU basketball special, and what IU fans appreciate, it's about time that we got one. And we do in Tom Crean.

    So times are tough right now, and the Hoosiers very well may not win another game. But some very solid building blocks are being laid for the foundation of a return to glory for IU, and I could not be more optimistic about where the program is heading…finally.

  2. 70 mos ago

    wow! I should have had you write this. i grew up a big east fan (BC) but always admired IU from afar. i clearly remember the scott may team and thought, that's how the game should be played. i'm glad you think they're heading back in that direction. i hope you're right.

  3. 70 mos ago

    That's what has been so sad about IU's demise. We were once the idyllic paragon of what college basketball should be: teamwork, hustle, teams that are greater than the sum of their parts, high characters, players graduating, etc. What we have turned into over the past decade is just disturbing and not anywhere close to the program that so many of us grew up admiring. There are so many people at fault and it has been such a steady erosion, and then the bottom just fell out this year.

    But honestly, I'm almost glad it happened. We've been able to complete cleanse the program of so much of what ailed it, and I really believe that Tom Crean is the right guy. If nothing else, IU fans just want to be proud of their team and the integrity of their program, even if we aren't winning Big Ten titles and championships every year. That is what always separated IU in the minds of the die-hards from other schools. Over the last decade we became like so many others: cheaters who cut corners to win at all costs and teams that never lived up to their supposed potential.

    Thanks for posting and letting me vent. There is lots of venom and disappointment to go around, but not one iota of it is directed at this year's team. They've done an outstanding job considering the circumstances.

  4. 70 mos ago

    i gotta think bobby knight did a lot more good than bad. a lot more good. i always said i'd let my son play for him any day. those things you mentioned: teamwork, hustle, teams that are greater than the sum of their parts, high characters, players graduating, those things there. those things have the general's fingerprints all over them. unfortunately so do a few kids necks, but still.

  5. 70 mos ago

    I have always loved and defended Bob Knight. Heck, I gave a speech extolling his virtues on the day he was fired from the steps of Assembly Hall with thousands of Hoosier denizens there and many of my childhood heroes standing behind me. Coach Knight defined all that we loved about IU basketball and deserves more credit than is possible for creating such a strong program. He is certainly not without fault or blame for some of the bad things that happened during his tenure, but you are right: he absolutely did more good than bad, and despite the momentary blip of success in 2002, it has been all downhill since he left.

  6. 70 mos ago

    agreed. great stuff jrod. you gotta come by more often. classen the place up a little.

  7. 70 mos ago

    Thanks for the kind words, but I think the video of the cleaning lady classes things up about as well as anything could!

  8. Ryan
    70 mos ago

    FYI, Sampson's dismissal had absolutely nothing to do with the recruitment of Eric Gordon.

  9. Matt
    70 mos ago

    "due his role in the controversial recruitment of star player Eric Gordon"

    Sampson's demise had nothing to do with the recruiting of Gordon. Nothing at all, actually. It was his recruitment of several other players; specifically, impermissible phone calls to those players that lead to the sanctions and Sampson's eventual firing.

  10. 70 mos ago

    it was a piece of the pie. not the only reason, clearly, but it lumped in with the whole fiasco

  11. 70 mos ago

    OK, the implication is being made IU is done here and at Deadspin. Chandler seems to think they won't be able to recruit there anymore, because now, all of a sudden, after decades of pulling recruits, kids won't want to go to Bloomington because it's "too small." I'm completely at a loss here.

    What, exactly, did Tom Crean have going on in the freezing cold of Milwaukee that can't somehow be replicated in Bloomington? Are Indiana kids all of a sudden NOT going to want to play for the Hoosiers after decades of the opposite? Until the Kelvin Sampson mess boiled over, IU was one of the better teams in the country with Gordon and White. As for Sampson and Gordon, the only issue with that was, some thought Gordon had given his verbal to Illinois and Sampson changed his mind.

    Anyway, back to the original point: the rationale for IU not being able to get recruits again is silly. The size of Bloomington NEVER stopped them before. Not when Mike Davis was there and not when Sampson was there. Why should it stop Crean who was a noted recruiter at Marquette? It's kinda irrational. I mean, does this look like a horrible class, considering he's only been there for one season:

    http://rivalshoops.rivals.com/commitlist.asp?Year…

    Crean will have IU competing for a Big Ten title in two years.

  12. 70 mos ago

    The ironic thing about the Gordon recruitment, and someone can correct me if I am wrong, is that the coach who shall not be named technically did nothing wrong. The impermissible calls were all to other recruits. His ability to convince EJ to come to Bloomington assured that IU fans would immediately get behind him — and we did — and then he pissed all the goodwill away by trying to pull a fast one over on everyone, and lie about it repeatedly. There does seem to be a common misconception that Gordon's recruitment broke rules. While Illinois fans are obviously upset and claim that it was unethical or immoral, it's the kind of thing that goes on all the time. I have zero problem with Gordon's recruitment, but the subsequent rule-breaking obviously went way over the line of permissibility.

  13. 70 mos ago

    i never implied indiana can't become a power again. i was just sayiing what is going on there now is just a dirty rotten shame. i liken it to the celtics post bird. see what happened to them?

  14. 70 mos ago

    it wasnt illegal what he did with gordon, but it was most definitely unethical. put that together with the illegal things sampson did and it becomes just one unseemly mess.

  15. 70 mos ago

    Amen.

    I like Rick Chandler but I think he is WAY off base. Indiana can and will be back, as soon as two years from now after what will probably be another transition year next season (but with a highly rated recruiting class to infuse some much-needed talent).

    Indiana has the tradition and the in-state talent to compete on a national level consistently. Add to that the fact that IU is a great school on a gorgeous campus with incredible fan support, and Tom Crean has a lot to work with. Sure, there are challenges to recruiting at IU in the cold Midwest, but don't you think Tim Floyd would rather recruit to IU than USC, for example?

    The strength of IU's tradition and fan support has been put to the test over the past year, and really over the past decade. But the school is still a giant in college basketball…it just happens to be sleeping right now. Tom Crean is taking the first steps towards waking us up this season, and the recruiting class he already signed for next season is proof that people like Rick Chandler either don't know what they are talking about; or, more realistically (because I like Rick and think he is an astute sports fans) that people are overestimating the demise of IU basketball.

  16. 70 mos ago

    My comment was more aimed at Deadspin's reaction. Sorry I added you to the pile. ;) They are simply undergoing a war of attrition, and addition by subtraction. If I'm not mistaken, Crean has less than 10 scholarship players, so there wasn't much expected there. It is a shame to watch perennial programs struggle, but to imply IU won't be back is kinda silly.

    And that's what DS got out of your article, unfortunately.

  17. 70 mos ago

    you have to understand, what we do here as bloggers is sensationalize everything. EVERYTHING. thats how deadspin made their bones, by turning stories into the utterly absurd. I do it too. its funny. folks can't take this stuff too seriously. i will admit that almost everything i write has some tongue in cheek to it. we can't write like ap all the time. what would be the fun in that?

  18. 70 mos ago

    no worries. whenever a program like an indiana hits its record for losses in a season, you have to expect some fallout. heck, i'm surprised there wasn't more of it.

  19. 70 mos ago

    no worries. whenever a program like an indiana sets its record for losses in a season, you have to expect some fallout. heck, i surprised there wasn't more.

  20. 70 mos ago

    Believe me…you are preaching to the choir on that one. As a blogger myself I try to balance doing actual analysis and serious discussion with more light-hearteded, irreverent, sensational stuff. (Just google "jay mariotti douche" as an example…you'll see)

    But IU basketball and the White Sox are the two teams I am most passionate about and most of the posts about those two tend to be on the more serious/analytical side. I'm a huge fan of Ricks, of yours, and obviously of bloggers and blogging in general. But just as I expect people to call me out in the comments if they disagree, I return the favor for points of view I don't agree with. That's the beauty of the blogosphere — the free and accessible exchange of ideas and the facilitation of debate.

    Plus, when you run your own blog, you have the ability to pick and choose what to be serious about and what to sensationalize. I actually thought that your post was pretty fair. The only thing sensational where the turnover stats you cited — and those are true! We all know that Indiana basketball is in the crapper right now. There are just differing opinions as to if/when they will rebound and how viable IU is as a basketball power moving forward.

    Rick and I obviously disagree, which is fine by me. My thinking is that an opinion that isn't going to stir up some thought and debate on both sides probably isn't worth the time to write.

  21. IFChris
    70 mos ago

    It ain't over until the LOI is signed. ;)

  22. Tim
    70 mos ago

    At least you're admitting you don't know what you're talking about. But there wasn't anything wrong with Eric Gordon's recruitment. It wasn't illegal and it wasn't unethical. When your the coach at Indiana University and the best player in the state and his dad call you and tell you he's interested in playing for you, there's nothing wrong. From that point on it's open recruiting again and Indiana won and Illannoy lost. Just because baby bruthey had a tantrum doesn't mean anything illegal or unethical occurred.

    Now, about some of those other players the former coach was recruiting…….

  23. IFChris
    70 mos ago

    The Dagger called out Deadspin for the same thing JRod and myself did:

    http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/blog/the_…

    I wonder if Eamonn got his article idea from your comments page. ;)

  24. 70 mos ago

    He very well could have. Nice to see someone else step up and defend the Hoosiers. I wasn't going to post about this myself on MSF because I've had so much work to do, but in the time I've spent commenting over here I could have gotten something up!

    Regardless, I took much more exception to Chandler's article than Josh Q's here. This is a consistently good blog, and obviously some people today are showing that they aren't regulars or familiar with the unique style. I guess everyone just wants cookie cutter. I like variety and unique perspectives, but to each his own. And I didn't take Josh Q's take as all that critical of IU. He was just pointing out the facts of this horrid season and why we got here, only flubbing the specific fact about Gordon's recruitment violating NCAA rules. But I've seen tons of people make that mistake when discussing IU's current plight.

    Besides, how can you call the guy out for being any sort of IU hater when he included the video of the cleaning lady!!!???

  25. 70 mos ago

    i know thems the rules, but me you and weber know….

  26. 70 mos ago

    he called me wierd. i'm not wierd. he's wierd.

  27. 70 mos ago

    oh and the gordon thing…stupid wikipedia

  28. Jay
    70 mos ago

    wikipedia…this is obviously a guy to be reading for all of your sports needs.

  29. 70 mos ago

    hi jay. how are you? you seem like a very nice fellow,

  30. 70 mos ago

    Have you ever actually tried submitting anything to Wikipedia? They actually have pretty strong controls in place to ensure the validity of the content that is published there. It is obviously not perfect and things slip through, especially if you get to a page that has been updated before an editor can reach it, but I think you'll have 95-99% accuracy citing Wikipedia as a source.

    But you're probably right. It'd be better to go to ESPN.com or SI.com, because they're always right on the money with all of their facts…wait a minute…

  31. 70 mos ago

    i tried submitting myself to wikipedia. didnt take. jrod: a) when i wrote this this morning, i had no idea this would become this. b) i kinda like it. c) i dont pretend to know everything, i just try to be entertaining. if all folks got out of this was the eric gordon thing, theres nothing i can do.

  32. 70 mos ago

    That is the beauty and frustration of running a blog. By taking the initiative to actually carve out our own little corner of the sports world we can post about what we want, how we want, when we want. And you never really know which posts which strike a nerve and exactly what nerve they will strike. It would be nice if people didn't focus on one factual error in an otherwise well-written and entertaining article, but such is life — and we both know that we do it to the big boys when we get a chance.

    Plus, at least you know they read your work, and at the end of the day that is the most satisfying thing of all; and validation for what you have chosen as your work or work-like hobby.

  33. 70 mos ago

    By the way, I love the auto-notification feature for comment responses. This has been a great and unexpected diversion from the "real job" today.

  34. 70 mos ago

    i hear ya, i love all of it.

  35. 70 mos ago

    me too. one day this will be the real job and itll be boat drinks for everybody!

  36. 70 mos ago

    i know man. i read you every day. and you're right. thats what makes all of this so much gosh derned fun.

  37. 70 mos ago

    good lookin out jrod. power to the people!

  38. 70 mos ago

    Eamonn called me wierd. i'm not wierd. he's wierd.

  39. 70 mos ago

    hi jay. how are you? you seem like a very nice fellow, please do stop by again, ya hear?

  40. 70 mos ago

    i tried submitting myself to wikipedia. didnt take. jrod: a) when i wrote this this morning, i had no idea this would become this. b) i kinda like it. c) i dont pretend to know everything, i just try to be entertaining. if all folks got out of this was the eric gordon thing, so be it. theres nothing i can do.

    now i understand what rick pitino meant by the fellowship of the miserable

  41. sean
    70 mos ago

    you are a writer. you are a really bad writer. stop writing sentences like this. sentences like this suck.

  42. PurdueMatt
    70 mos ago

    "only to be forced to resign due his role in the controversial recruitment of star player Eric Gordon."

    Incorrect. He was forced to resign because of many impermissible phone calls to many recruits and then lying about it.

  43. 70 mos ago

    yup thats been covered adnauseum here, but thanks for stopping by. your patronage is much appreciated.

  44. 70 mos ago

    hi sean good to see you. i feel terribly that your team stinks. Just terribly.

  45. anon
    70 mos ago

    Hey Shaun, Will you be here all week? Cause funny like yours is hard to come by.

  46. anon
    70 mos ago

    Did I spell Sean wrong? which way is the masculane? Sean Shaun Shawn, Whatever, they all suck the same.

  47. sean
    70 mos ago

    where

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    Just like the Big Ten needs Michigan to turn things around in football, the big ten NEEDS Indiana to turn things around in basketball… this said from a die hard Ohio State fan.

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