Indiana Basketball: Where the Hoosiers Stand


At the end of January, everything was coming up Indiana basketball. The Hoosiers were ranked and second in the conference standings. It seemed like no one on the team could miss from three and though the defense struggled, Indiana literally shot themselves to victory. Assembly Hall was a nightmare for all opponents who stepped inside and barring a complete collapse, Indiana would be back in the NCAA tournament after a year hiatus.

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Boy, have things changed. Since knocking off Maryland back in January, Indiana has gone 4-7, with two of those wins coming against B1G slouch Rutgers. Just to get things in order before the last regular season game on Saturday, here’s where the team and program currently stand.

Dying By the Three

The theme for this year’s team has been “live and die by the three.” The Hoosiers can beat practically anyone when the long balls are falling, but when they aren’t, they can be beat anybody.

In the four games since bombarding Minnesota with 18, they’ve had more bricks than swishes (37-of-99, 37%). They are shooting below their season average and though they may get to double-digit treys, it’s taking them way too many attempts to get there.

It appears as if the three-point shooting well has all but dried up.

A Worse Defense?

It doesn’t seem possible, but I actually think the team’s defense has deteriorated in the last five games or so, and considering how bad it already was, you can see why the Hoosiers have been struggling.

At times, players are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Just last game alone, on multiple occasions various Iowa players found themselves wide-open, sometimes because defenders just blatantly left them. Indiana’s transition defense is also a mess.

Coach Tom Crean appears to be calling so many different defenses at different times that he’s confusing his own team.

Backs Against the Wall

Realistically, Indiana’s NCAA tournament chances all come down to Saturday against Michigan State. According to the bracket pro over at ESPN, Joe Lunardi, the Hoosiers are one of the last four teams in the tourney. Sounds like the bubble to me.

There’s no more beating around the bush. The Hoosiers have to win if they want to feel safe going into Selection Sunday.

A win on Saturday would give Indiana 20 on the season and six wins against top 50 RPI teams. I feel like that’s a tough resume for the selection committee to pass over. It’s put up or shut up time for Indiana.

A Coach on the Hot Seat

I’ve been pretty supportive of Crean this season. But even my patience is wearing thin. For the first 25 or so games he deserved plenty of kudos for how he’s handled this season. After a horrible 2013-14 and even worse offseason, it appeared like he had righted the ship. Indiana was winning big game after big game with basically a team full of guards.

It was impressive.

But, the magic has run out and things have come crashing back to reality. Though Athletic Director Fred Glass says he’s sticking by Crean and the coach has nothing to worry about job security-wise, he should be on the hot seat. If Indiana doesn’t get a bid to March Madness, it will be the culmination of an epic collapse. And as head coach, much of the responsibility falls on Crean’s shoulders.

Despite what Glass has said, it will be hard to keep the fans and media at bay if IU does miss the tournament. Glass would definitely have some long nights ahead of him. I don’t care what he’s telling the media right now.

So there you have it. That’s where the team and program stand before its monumental showdown with Michigan State. You could say definitely say things have been better in Bloomington.