Former coach Bob Knight, the man who made the Hoosiers’ Cream and Crimson fashionable and successful, is constantly on ESPN. The sweaters aren’t red anymore, but when I see Knight doing analysis or appearing in commercials, I’m reminded of all the events that took him away from the Indiana sideline. I’m also reminded that the man is a basketball genius and maybe Indiana would still be one of the great programs if he had just enrolled in some anger management classes.
And every season, as we count down the remaining undefeated teams in college basketball, it brings back the glory days in Bloomington. Division I basketball hasn’t had a perfect team since Indiana in 1975-76. Do high school recruits laugh when they hear that?
Do they even believe there was a time when Indiana was that good in hoops?
Remember when Purdue-Indiana games were special? The whole nation looked forward to Gene Keady and Knight scowling at each other, battling to put their mark on that part of the college basketball territory.
Purdue visits Indiana’s Assembly Hall again on Wednesday. The Boilermakers have a lot at stake. But Tom Crean’s Indiana team? Not so much.
The Indiana Hoosiers remain irrelevant.
But that’s really not that surprising, is it? We all knew the Hoosiers were going away for a while. I understand this is Crean’s third season at Indiana. I understand it must be difficult to maintain much patience if you are an Indiana fan. There are rumblings some Indiana fans want Crean out because he hasn’t restored the program to those dominant days under Knight.
Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s not time to put Tom Crean on the hot seat.
Is Crean the right guy for the Indiana job? I thought he was when he was hired and I don’t think it would be fair to give up on him now — not yet. How do you establish a timetable for the recovery period Indiana’s program needed after the Kelvin Sampson recruiting scandal? Nobody knows.
Sampson is the guy who destroyed Indiana’s program — not Crean. Crean was given a 10-year contract to clean up Sampson's mess. Remember the first year under Crean? Six victories. Then came that 10-21 finish last season and, again I ask, what was the reasonable expectation for this season?
Preseason predictions had Indiana finishing ahead of Penn State, Michigan and Iowa. We now know that’s not going to happen. The Hoosiers might be better than Iowa in the standings, but they lost to the Hawkeyes both times this season. And with games remaining against Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Illinois, it’s hard to imagine Indiana making any big move between now and March 5.
Last Saturday, the Hoosiers lost at home to Northwestern. That has happened only twice at Assembly Hall. Northwestern also swept the Hoosiers for the second time in three years.
Duke coach said that after winning his second gold medal in men's basketball would be his Team USA finale. That may not be the case anymore.
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