Hoosier Morning


1. HOOSIERS HQ
Five key questions Indiana will need to answer this offseason, Dustin wrote.

The Indiana baseball team pushed its win streak to a school-record 15 with a doubleheader sweep of Iowa Sunday, we reported.

2. IT’S INDIANA
Indiana is at the forefront of the recruiting wars in the nation’s capital of talent — Washington, D.C., SI.com’s Pete Thamel wrote.

NBA personnel folks say Victor Oladipo is NBA ready, but Cody Zeller could use some polish, Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star wrote.

UCLA’s hiring of former Hoosier great Steve Alford is anything but a slam dunk, Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register writes.

The great debate regarding the Hoosiers was settled with a thud last week, Shane Ryan of Grantland.com wrote.

3. BIG TEN COUNTRY
Michigan’s last Final Four banner had an asterisk, this one won’t, Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com writes.

4. ONE FOR THE ROAD
An appropriately titled and fittingly moody tune from Lacrymosa called “Simple Questions.”

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57 comments:

  • J Pat says:

    I am still not quite sure what happened vs Syracuse. I think I am still in shock honestly. I read a lot of negative with people saying Crean was out coached and my dad is even in that ball park. I have thought the team looked out of sorts and tired for a while but I really noticed it during Wisconsin and then Temple and of course Syracuse. The drive and passion was just not there, I have known in my heart they lacked leadership and toughness and many others have mentioned that all season. I will always wonder what happened to old Jordy…the leader from the first half of the year that pumped his fist, slapped legs as he went to the bench, and huddled everyone up and the kid that would just “let it fly”. I think the slow development of Perea and Hollowell hurt and the injuries to Elston along the way. Etherington and Creek 100% could have helped too. I also think as good as Victor is he is incapable of taking a game over consistently and the man from OSU I sat next to Thursday night said what I have said all season…Cody gets off his game when he gets hammered a couple times early and the refs don’t call it and why does he not just shoot the 10 footer, why does he drive every time? I am telling myself and maybe I am nuts that next year with Yogi at the 1 and Stanford/Abel at the 2 and Sheehey/Williams/Hollowell at the 3 and Perea/Vonleh at the 4 with Zeller back at 5….IU could be tough and the expectations would not be there like this year. Maybe Sheehey plays the 2, I don’t know. I think Sheehey as crazy as this sounds could be more of a motivator and leader than anyone from this year. The one thing I was most disappointed in was that Jordy, Zeller, Wat, or Vic never really tried to be a true leader!!! Thoughts anyone?

  • Chet says:

    I like Will on the floor. He has a much improved stroke and is just a few thousands of jump shots away from being a reliable 2. Plus he can rebound.

    Mostly I just like his cantankerousness. Will will be the Hoosier’s leader next year. Count on it.

  • Podunker says:

    J Pat, to me it is simple. This IU team went as far as its collective talent could take it. Oh, had we been in a different bracket, we may have made it to the Elite 8, but in hind site, it’s clear that we were not going to make it to the the final four. Of course, hind site is 20/20 and I certainly did not see that coming two weeks ago.

    Several key IU players had already reached the peak of their athletic abilities earlier this year, or maybe even last year, and really did not have the capacity to play a lot better during the last two or three weeks of the season. IU peaked earlier in the year when other teams, with more athletic talent, had just begun to get hot. The teams now in the final four, with perhaps the exception of WSU, have more athletic talent and are peaking at the right time.

    While we’re all very disappointed, I don’t think we should be ashamed. These young men gave it their all and wrung every last drop out of their athletic abilities. They played well together and showed a lot of heart. In the end, I will remember this team with reverence and pride for what they accomplished. I also look forward to seeing the level and depth of talent improve as Crean’s investment in recruiting hits full stride.

    IU basketball is back.

  • TJ says:

    JPat…fatigue from underdeveloped players and injured players. next season I would suggest :1 guard-Ferrell,Robinson;2Guard: Sheehey,Abell;3 Forward-Hollowell,Williams;4 forward-Perea; Vonleh. 5 Center Zeller ( if he returns) and Fischer

  • DLH says:

    Even before MI played FL, I thought they would have a chance should they have to play Syracuse. I think MI has a chance because they have a number of players they can get into the middle of the zone. Players like Hardaway, Robinson, Stauskas, and even McGary is more willing to shoot the jumper than Cody for some reason. These players also all have some size. Sheehey and Vic were the two that should have been shooting in the zone, if Zeller wasn’t going to. With how out of sinc they were across the board, it likely wouldn’t have made much difference in the final result.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    The biggest problem was the lack of talent coming off the bench. We have projects that came as a result of old entrenched relationships with AAU and Adams…The A-Hope recruits do not belong on Division 1 teams. We have a forward that came because he was recruited primarily due to his friendship with Cody Zeller and his cheerleading for the “Movement.” We have an injured Derek Elston and a Mo Creek which we all knew could never be 50% the player that arrived in Bloomington four years ago. Pritchard, Roth, Jones, and a healthy Elston were far more valuable than what came off the bench this year.

    2nd biggest problem? It’s March Madness. Despite the shortcomings on the bench, this team was still plenty talented enough. Talented enough to win the BIG outright and win the deciding game on the road against what is now a Final Four team? The entire NCAA tournament is a crap shoot filled with unpredictability. The lopsided scores are often do not indicate the reality of how significant the intangibles and the timing of peaking/gelling/confidence/momentum play into outcomes. Just look at our shooting percentages. We simply weren’t hitting shots. Many of the early looks against Syracuse were wide-open looks that just didn’t go down…Teams quickly get frustrated…passes start loosing their crisp snap…movement begins to cease…holes get dug. The opponent comes out and drains everything and their energy is suddenly off the charts. Take any of the teams remaining in the Final Four and have Indiana play a seven game, NBA-style, series with each one? I think we win the best of seven against a Syracuse, Louisville, Wichita, or Michigan. Home court advantage? Deciding game in Bloomington?

    But that’s not the nature of the March Madness beast. Every game is a one-and-done. You have to have an undefeated stretch against teams every bit as dangerous your own squad you believed untouchable due to the rankings and hype. The rankings and hype surrounding individuals means diddlysquat. Stumble once and you’re out. Very unfair to now say it’s about the height of our guards or the overall talent our starting 6. This was an extremely talented team that went against a team with a very established coach that’s no stranger to the moment.

    Michigan has be hot as hell. Does that look like the same Michigan team at the end of the year. Much like Indiana, they had also lost a good share of their games going down the stretch of the Big 10 season? So why are they in the Final Four? There’s no simple explanation. The talent differentials are great enough to explain the differences. They do have an exceptional POY candidate point guard, but previous to the tournament, they appeared very young and vulnerable on the inside. How do you explain the exponentially better production and energy coming from Mitch McGary? Other than Harvard beating the drum on this NW Indiana kid for the past 2 years, what blogger or national expert foresaw how much toughness and heart this kid possessed? Stauskas goes 6-for-6 from the 3-point line against Florida…How many(other than Harvard from 4 months ago) were calling this kid the next Larry Bird? How can it be predicted? Can it continue? Will someone else step up in the next game if, suddenly, those watching their shots rip the nets in the last game can’t hit the side of a barn in the Final Four match-up?

    3rd biggest problem? Coaching. Not the lack of x’s and o’s knowledge, but the steady calm and quite believability that players can buy into. The leadership problem was not on the floor. I don’t think Tom Crean’s heart is in the game. It’s like watching a singer wanting to be an overnight star on American Idol. We can manufacture a pop star. You can’t manufacture a basketball coach. The limelight and hitting the right notes for a microphone are not enough. Player begin to sense the charade. Some of Knight’s disciples turned out to be damn good coaches….But with some, he simple dropped an egg. You can have great teachers and sometimes still never get it. It’s gotta be in the heart and emanate from a place of deep confidence. It doesn’t grow from screaming “19 F’s!” and constantly reminding the world the horrible cards you were dealt and the “decimation” when you took the job. If you’re lucky enough to get paid for something you wholeheartedly love, there’s never qualifiers and talk of what terrible circumstances the last guy left it to you. ..That’s my honest opinion. Leaders always look forward. I think Crean’s actions at Michigan(his storming after Jeff Meyer) is indicative of what he’ll always be. He’ll always be looking for an enemy instead of the mirror.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    correction:

    Michigan has [been] hot as hell. Does that look like the same Michigan team [we saw] at the end of the year[?]

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    Typed all that mess quickly. My apologies for the lack of editing.

    …passes start [losing] their crisp snap

  • preston says:

    Harvard I will add #4 and #5. Zeller plays like a small forward around the hoop but will not shoot past 4 ft out! and Jordy lost his shot the last month! Zeller adds a lot just because of his size but he can could be so much more if he played to his size! Jordy is a shooting guard and what is a shooting guard w/o a shot!

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    preston-

    I’m perplexed a bit by Zeller. In some games, it simply looks like the mind and body are not on the same page. In high school, he likely touched the ball a ton more…he likely fit into multiple roles and handled the ball it far more extensively. Didn’t he say he played point guard when he was a freshman(prior to his huge growth spurt)? In college, he becomes more singular in role…he doesn’t flow in the offense and get the numerous chances to sustain the comfort level a kid that once played guard…Is he somewhat regressing because his mind needs those reminders?

    You see the moments of pure greatness when his earlier skills developed during days he handled the ball meet with the body now so enormous…When the mind and body are in the same place, he’s one of the best centers in the college game. Maybe he does need to play more as a forward to get some of that harmonious blend back into his being. I think he loves being involved on the floor..When you turn him into something one-dimensional, you’re risking the chance of divorcing the precarious balance between gifts and the burden of an enormous frame that is still relatively young. When he begins to lunge, I think it’s a result of over-excitation a memory of a time he was much more involved and played far more roles on the court. His mind wants it all back quickly and his body begins to lose its memory of when it was briefly in a state of peaceful coexistence.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    If Zeller remains in college, I would take him off the basketball court for a few months. I would teach him raquetball and let him get comfortable at changes of speed and moving side-to-side. Give him a chance to develop great hand/eye coordination…stay low without lunging..and just have fun at something that takes quickness and balance outside of hoops.

    There are sometimes enormous hidden benefits in cross-training outside of your normal routine. Go completely outside the box of traditional thinking on where your development is best served. When he gets back onto the basketball court, it will feel fresh again and the body will be more in harmony and ready for the speed of the brain. Play point guard again on the raquetball court this summer.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    You can’t lunge for a shot when a solid wall is waiting. You’ll stop lunging real fast. You’ll learn to move on your feet quickly and the proper anticipation will take you to the desired spot on the floor. I wonder if Cody has ever tried raquetball? Doesn’t it really model what a great post player needs to get his body comfortable at? …Back and forth..lateral..up and down…anticipation…leaping..reaching…going low..going high…quickness…etc, etc, etc.

  • hgdownunder says:

    Now that you’ve reminded me of McGary, Harvard, I have one question: Some of the press have been pointing to McGary as one of the reasons for bad blood between Crean and the Michigan staff. But didn’t Crean back off McGary? I seem to remember McGary having a little pout about “not hearing from IU in a long time” at one point. Were we really interested in him in the end?

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    JPat, I think your comment is indeed part of the answer. There was no team leader for the reasons you mentioned. Most important, part of the mistake may have been CTC’s and shown the anxiety CTC may have had over the issue.

    Last year and early this year, we read over and over that Crean wanted and commanded Jordan Hulls to be the leader, commanded him to be more vocal, and criticized Jordan for being too ‘shy’…etc. You can not ever make a leader if the pre-disposition is not there and with Hulls, it was clear that even when he accepted the role, it always felt ‘artificial’.

    The same was true of Cody Zeller. There was no ‘leadership’ in Zeller. He was a leading player with a lot of pluses but, his personality is far from that of a leader, it is ‘contained’ and ‘passige’. When he got bopped in the face vs. Butler, vs. Minnesota, vs. Wisconsin and a reaction was needed (the famous incident when he tried to grab someone’s begonias and the guy forced his arm into Zeller’s)own, all you see is Zeller turning his head and looking at the referee with a “please?” on his face. It happened at other times as well. You can’t make a leader from someone so internalized and without any hint of a leader’s attitude and interior pre-disposition.

    Watford could have been the answer. But Watford also shies away from the role and is generally a quiet individual. And, after the bombardment of criticism for ‘disappearing’, it was probably impossible that he would accept the role of leader when his very value to the team was being publicly questioned.

    Oladipo could have been the answer; but he was too respectful of his ‘leader’- Crean and of his team mates to challenge for the mantle Crean had already passed out (to Hulls and Zeller). Sheehey could have been an answer, but hat is not a role given a sixth man. A missed opportunity too; Sheehey would have benefited as a more team oriented player were he the leader. And, it seems to me his personality- as personalities go- Sheehey was made for that role…he’s assertive, he’s clear and he’s demonstrative and states his mind. Watch Sheehey’s interaction with officials during this last season. If anything, it points the way for a returning strength for the 2013-2014 Hoosiers.

    It would also have changed the dynamic with Yogi Ferrell who is a tremendous talent but was barely out of the protective cocoon that was Park Tudor. Yogi needs time to learn to play the college game’s point man role exclusively, on the floor and from the bench. For the sake of his development, I hope that Yogi is allowed to play the point guard next year and not worry about being the ‘team leader’ until he grows into that job.

    Which goes to my last point. You don’t appoint leaders, they appoint themselves and good coaches watch them grow and lead.

    (An observation: This in no way is intended to criticize the skills, and abilities of the aforementioned; it merely argues the issue leadership and the absence of a leader this year to lead the Hoosiers; especially in those moments when leadership was critical).

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    I never saw any true interest. There’s been no true interest in recruiting the entire state for a long time. It’s mainly Indy and southward. There was also no interest in Brandon Dawson, Brandon Wood(pretty decent guard/transfer from VU), Robbie Hummel, Glen Robinson, E’Twaun Moore, Zach Novak, Luke Harsngody..even the little guard named Spike Albrecht that’s been putting some very solid minutes in for Michigan. Zilch.

    Crean plays to the fan base(IU’s student body is drawing less and less from the northlands and the AAU teams seem to draw more of the Indy kids. Our loss. Izzo and Beilein have been cherry-picking across the state line and finding some really blue collar ballers)guys that aren’t “soft”). I doubt you’ll ever hear “soft” used as an adjective before the list of names I gave you. Maybe it’s the byproduct of growing up in working class towns instead of private high schools or suburbia…?

    I mean, who would have recruited this kid based on his high school bio;

    Coached by Tom Peller … As a junior (2009-10) … Averaged 22.0 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 5.0 blocks and 3.0 steals … Led Chesterton to a 7-14 record, 4-10 DAC recordLost in 4A Sectional quarterfinal to Valparaiso (49-27) … Posted career-highs for points (29), rebounds (22) and blocks (11) … As a sophomore (2008-09) … Averaged 14.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.0 blocks … Led Chesterton to an 11-10 record, 7-7 DAC record … Lost in 4A Sectional quarterfinal to Valparaiso (53-49, 2OT) … As a freshman (2007-08) … Did not play varsity basketball … AAU … Played with Sports Youth Foundation Basketball Flyers (SYF) … Coached by Wayne Brumm … Played for East team at All-American Championship in New Orleans during Final Four weekend (2012) … Played for USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Select Team at Nike Hoop Summit in Portland (2012).

    All we ever hears was that our entire future “hinged” on Zeller. Flash forward a couple years and suddenly Michigan’s hopes at winning a National Championship hinge on a nobody from tiny Chesterton, Indiana. It simply proves how little all the pundits know. Stauskas also got very little attention(then again, he was in Ontario and not residing in our home state just three hours north of Bloomington.

    The only thing that “hinged” on Zeller was Crean’s coaching future and the satisfying a ‘homer’ fan base with very limited perspective.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    All we ever [heard]…..

    Funny how nobody liked the raquetball suggestion for Cody..Dare I float my own boat, but I thought it was rather refreshingly outside the common and stagnant approaches.

    I think I am a pretty smart guy.

  • eric says:

    Harvard, it’s preposterous to honestly believe that IU doesn’t recruit as much in Michiana as in other parts of the state because fans from the Indy area want central or southern Indiana players on the team. Perhaps it’s because Purdue, Michigan and Michigan St., not to mention ND, are closer to that part of the state than Bloomington is, and all of them recruit very effectively. I can hardly believe that you really, honestly believe that.

    For everyone who says the team maximized its ability and did the best it could in the tournament, I ask, if the roster was so limited, how did it beat Kentucky last year? That team was far superior to Syracuse. I know it was in Bloomington, but do you think that really would have made much difference last week? Was Verdell Jones that far superior to Yogi Ferrell? Was Matt Roth that indispensable that he made the difference between beating UK and getting clobbered by Syracuse? I think not. The team regressed in the last month to be worse than it was at the beginning of the 2011-12 season. That’s coaching (or lack of it).

  • Punjab says:

    Smart guy, I’m just now getting caught up on the day’s posts. They’ve all been outstanding today, but I particularly enjoyed the racquetball idea. I’ve taken it up the last few years, and when you can find an opponent who can actually volley (but not so good that their shots are unreturnable) it’s not only an unvbelievable workout, but you really do develop skills that translate to other sports.

    A side note about lunging: I was playing my wife 3 or 4 years ago and she lost half a front tooth colliding with the wall while trying to lunge for a return. I jokingly said “most people use their hands stop their momentum, not their face.” It didn’t go over so well. Even though the tooth has long since been capped, I still hear about it to this day.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    We can’t recruit out of northwest sector of the state, but we can build a pipeline to DC…Just too bad we didn’t have a enough fuel in a tank of gas to go watch Mitch McGary or Brandon Dawson.

    Michigan coaches thought outside the box. IU’s hillbilly fans thought Zeller was the only answer to get us back. I was even beginning to believe it. But now I’m hearing it mainly brought projects(we can cheer “Tijan forever”), guards “too short” to handle the length a Syracuse zone, and a hell of defender that was part of “Movement” rightfully packing because he scored a C- during a scholarship crunch….

    Guess what? We were sold a bag of goods. Most of our shallow fans only cared that Victor was “going home.” And we’re calling Wichita State a “Cinderella” because a Missouri Valley team hasn’t been to a Championship for 34 years? To paraphrase Hudson in Aliens…I’m not sure if any of you are keeping up with current events, but its approaching 30 years since IU has won a championship(2014 will mark 27 years without a championship). The Establishment only cares to push their propaganda and act like the candy-stripes are not in unfamiliar territory. Instead, all they could talk about was Oladipo going home. When it comes to getting to title games and winning title games, we’re wearing the glass slipper more than Butler….and certainly more than most the teams in the Elite 8. If the trend continues, we’ll be about as irrelevant as IU football. So why does the Establishment continue to put our players on the covers of magazines? They want us to believe the mojo is still there. It ain’t, folks. We’re running a compound in Bloomington with a salesman not far removed from David Koresh as a coach. The Establishment loves it. Bobby Knight looked voguish compared to the hip preacher that will take us into eternal stagnancy.

  • Punjab says:

    Many professional athletes take up alternative sports and activities to improve their game in the off-season. Martial arts, yoga, soccer, even dance. So many kids specialize in one sport or another these days, and don’t take full advantage of the benefits cross-training can produce. While there’s no substitute for spending countless hours taking countless shots (or hitting pitches, or taking ground balls, or catching passes, running routes, or whatever) to work on your game, stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking up something new not only helps keep you in shape, but can help develop skills that translate to and advance your own game. I love the racquetball idea.

  • Punjab says:

    To pin the late-season swoon on coaching, or bad shooting, or short/sloppy guard play, ineffectiveness from our big guy, or lack of leadership alone is short-sighted and unfair. There were a multitude of factors that led to our perceived decline, not the least of which was running into a hot Syracuse team that matched up well with us to finally put us out of our misery. Does anybody truly believe that Wichita State is one of the four best teams in the country? Do they have such superior coaches and players that they can reliably outlast 64 teams in the tournament? Probably not. Indiana was one of the five best teams in the country all year, but our weaknesses were exposed towards the end. Crean has never had to deal with such expectations before, and I would guess that he will spend the entire offseason praying, meditating, reflecting, and cogitating on how things went south. Then make adjustments. Next year will be much more telling of who he is as a coach and a person, and based on his track record I see no reason to expect stasis or decline.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    If I were only this smart…? Seems like such a better addiction than blogging.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    The weaknesses were in signing A-Hope players instead of fundamentally sound subs that could give us strong minutes and infused energy in the paint.

    Bench = #1 problem

    Product of the Beast(March Madness/tournament pathway) = #2

    Coaching/Recruiting focus playing to the fan base and entrenched meddlers that all want a piece of Indiana = #3

    Cody’s dipping level of confidence due to limited role/involvement = #4

    Self-anointment and buying into propaganda that sabotages focus = #5

  • Punjab says:

    The bench wasn’t supposed to be our problem. Injuries and/or insufficient recovery limited contributions from Austin, Mo, and Derek (and maybe Jurkin.) Will was usually solid, but tried to do too much on offense at times. Remy was streaky and still an unfinished product. I don’t know how much a nine-game suspension to start really limited Hanner’s development over the course of a full season, but it certainly didn’t help. Hollowell was a revelation in spells, and his time will come. But did anyone really expect PJ to be a major contributor right away? We were supposed to be able to go at least nine-deep like Louisville without much of a drop off. For a variety of reasons, it just didn’t happen. That left us with a core of six reliable guys, and endless complaints about substitution patterns. One can’t help but wonder what might have been.

  • Chet says:

    I LOVE racquetball. They sold off the courts I played on to build condos a few years ago and, surprisingly, there are man other options in town. I’ve actually picked vacation spots because they had outdoors courts (a whole ‘nother game).

    My wife and I were very competitive. She had better finesse, I had speed and power. We were pretty even overall which was very, very cool.

    I’ve seriously considered building an outdoor court at home but flat land is in short supply.

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