Friday, March 29, 2013

Ding Dong...

A year ago, I wrote a post about how IU was going to be very good in '12/'13...and it pained me.

When I saw that IU was the pre-season #1 in both polls, it smarted.

When Purdue floundered and IU played some of the best basketball in the nation, it flat-out sucked...And the media piled on and pretty much took college basketball away from me for a few months; I couldn't stand to watch morons like Vitale tell me how good Crean was at his job.

Four players on IU's starting five were on the three All-conference teams...the fifth was on the all-Frosh squad; and it was kind of tough to argue with it.

As the Naismith Award lists were trimmed, and trimmed and trimmed, IU had 2 of the final 8 players on the list...and finally, IU still had one of the final four players on the list.

But tonight, IU's movement was flushed out of the tournament...and the accolades and hype matter little.

The only upset that I had in my bracket that I was sure of, was tonight's game...and for once, my logic was sound. Cuse's zone created havoc for IU. Hulls' poor defensive abilities kept him on the bench...this eliminated a scoring threat that might have been able to break the zone.  And, of course, a guy who has won a few games, Boeheim, out-coached the Forehead.  Crean made no effective adjustments...He tried to get his guys to run to keep the Orange from setting up their defense, but as the pace picked up, Cuse's offense looked better.

I've said it before and I'll say it again- there were some guys on IU's team that I would love to have seen in gold and black...but Sheehey has never been one of those guys. So seeing him whimpering on IU's bench as time expired warmed the cockles of my cold, gray heart.

Fellow BS co-founder, J was pretty confident back in January that IU wasn't a legit national title contender...I disagreed adamantly, especially after watching them beat the crap out of our Boilers...but he didn't think they were built for the long haul in the grueling NCAA tournament; and I still don't understand why.

This IU team was healthy, experienced, has slashers, shooters, a great big man, team speed and athleticism, amazing chemistry and a decent bench...with the exception (of course) of the guy who was supposed to be sitting upon it...and instead was always pacing in front of it.  But as we all know, it doesn't take a ton of coaching talent to wrangle and organize one of the most-talented groups in the nation.

Illinois and Kansas fans alike have lamented that Bill Self isn't the greatest coach...but he has a national championship. Boeheim has been accused of being inflexible and unable to adjust on the fly...but with a few AAs, he got the Orange a national title. Steve Fisher and Jim Harrick rode the coattails of great players to earn a ring*.

But, a truly great IU team, with seemingly all of the parts needed to earn the crown couldn't get it done this year. So once again, I can enjoy college basketball and take a bit of a deep breath.

I'm blessed to live in my parent's basement to be self-employed...so I can generally stay away from bars and restaurants when the situation is like it's been the last few weeks in Central Indiana.  But this evening, my wife, kids and I met my brothers, their wives and kids for dinner...and it wasn't a good seen. Nearly everyone had a flipping IU shirt or hat on. Some of them were real fans and alums; good for them (kinda)...but most were wearing gear that they had bought this winter. The good news for those clowns is that they'll be able to put away their shirt and/or hat until next November...and won't even have to wash it.

For a storied program that a true basketball genius once led, success used to be measured by National Titles and little else.  But, the new look IU fan told us nearly two years ago that they were back.  They believed they were there because Crean had recruited a few guys that RMK could have only dreamt about- two five star players, a handful of four stars and success was all but assured.  Last year, IU had 20+ wins and made it to the Sweet 16.  Crean built a trophy case, had rings made...and IU fans shouted from the hills of Southern Indiana that they "were back!!"

This season was the next logical step: A B1G title and another sweet 16.  True success, I guess.

Funny thing is, in '09 and '10, Purdue averaged 28 wins, had a B1G championship and two Sweet 16s.

No trophy case.
No rings.
No talk of the program returning.

Oh yeah, and Purdue lost one of their best players to a torn ACL just a few weeks before that second tournament...but the past is the past.

Now, this season is over for both Purdue and IU...so we can look ahead for a moment.

Will Purdue get back to contending for the conference title? Who will transfer (if anyone), who will improve during the off-season?

And for IU, how will they replace their Senior leaders? Who will go pro?
If I were a betting man, I'd put a quarter on Oladipo leaving...and IU returning just two of its starting five...but at this point, my guess is worth no more than the IU fan's who assures themselves that the only guys leaving are the Seniors.

No matter.

Ding Dong, the wicked witch from the South died as Tom Crean's Diet Coke-fueled PR/hype machine ground to a halt in the sweet 16.



*No, not a sweet 16 ring.

24 comments:

James said...

Schadenfreude is not nice. Except when IU loses in the tournament. I wanted to see the headline "SkIUred" this morning.

Tonight it's "Rock chalk, Jayhawk!"

Enjoy the Hoosiers' loss today. In the meantime, I'm more than a little worried about who "transfers" out of the Purdue program.

Purdue Matt said...

This post warms my heart

Mommatried said...

Solid Bdowd.

I live in South Florida and I have an IU alum neighbor. Go figure. She nearly wanted to choke me after IUs second stomping of Purdue when I was confident in my opinion that the Forehead is not a great coach. I even offered to her lots of bad coaches have rings- but xoxos I fail to see any brilliance. Great (read annoying) salesman, yes. Great Coach? I've never seen a great coach behave or whine the way TC does. His false machismo does not impress me. Cut down nets after a loss, ring and trophy case? You're a damn idiot Tom Crean. Press when up by 30? What does that buy you? A target on your back. I hope our guys don't have short memories in that regard.

The best news is, we have a clean slate. It is time for Purdue basketball to do work. Lunchpail or leave.

conk said...

Thank goodness. I have to spend Easter weekend with my gf and her family full of reds, now it will be a lot less sucky. POTFH! BTFU!

BoilerWhat said...

Beautiful post. I really feel for you folks in central Indiana.

Tom Crean is clearly the right man for the job...

BoilerByBlood said...

God I’m loving this, especially since the main article on the front page of IndyStar.com has been about IU basketball every stinkin' day since October.

What a great way to start my weekend!

WinamacBoiler said...

Do you ever feel like the birds chirping outside your window in the morning are chirping just for you, and that somehow you feel, just for a moment, like all is right with the world? Today was that morning.

Purdue Matt said...

Like you dowd, I was really worried earlier this year about what this IU team could accomplish and the recruiting momentum is could create. My feelings changed when Crean cut down the nets after the OSU loss. We'll never have to worry about someone that does that. I feel confident saying that. Great leaders don't put on a circus like that after a loss.

Also, I work in Indianapolis with a ton of IU fans and grads. It is delightfully quiet this morning. I effing love it.

strawmy57 said...

Well 2 things are known to kill IU outright. Flying houses and zone defense.

Boilergal said...

This was such a pleasing game to watch. I am pretty sure that I was laughing about 20-30 times during this game. All of the blocks on Zeller, Yogi's excellent ball-handling and passing skills, SheHe's missed dunk (even more satisfying than Pritchard's last year), oh so many plays caused me to chuckle. Twitter being lit afire by IU fans whining about refs... I didn't see the refs turning the ball over at a rate of 1 TO/min for the first 11 minutes of the game.

The most satisfying part of last night's loss to me is the sudden silence from that obnoxious, arrogant fanbase. The same fanbase that has relentlessly been crowing to UK fans about how their season sucked and "Bob Morris" (umm, I think UK actually won the title last season when they were ranked #1 for the majority of the season)... the same fanbase that yelled "choke" to Purdue fans each time they bowed out in the Sweet 16 (each time to #1 seeds, one year without the services of their best player), the same fanbase that kept counting all of those chickens this season, talking about banner 6 as if it was a given. This loss is so fulfilling.

I have very little doubt that both CZ and VO will leave for the NBA. Zeller has done nothing but regress under Crean (and, has he lost 6-8 inches, or does Crean just coach him to drive in the horizontal position to attempt to draw a foul), he will graduate this summer, and his draft stock can't get much higher than it is in this year's weak draft. VO is on the #1 line of many teams draft boards and will also graduate.

This year was the year for them. Sure they will have success in the future and Crean may be able to build another team with as many parts, but it will not be a yearly event. This team had experience, size, skill, maturity (minus SheHe), 2 AA and POY candidates, zero injuries, and shooters glaore. I am so joyful that Crean allowed this team to flop so early in the tourney. As we all have heard from the fans down south, the regular season doesn't matter. All that matters is banners. Well, they didn't even sniff at that 6th banner!

WinamacBoiler said...

Boilergal - I think I love you. Don't tell my wife.

I've been saying the entire year that VO is the pro on this team, not Zeller. Sure, he's talented (I'd argue more talented than his brother), but he's a sissy in the box, both physically and mentally. VO is a freaking madman. I was drowsy, but the one thing I took out of the Syracuse postgame presser was that the student athletes didn't even mention Zeller as being a player that they game planned around. All they talked about was switching attacks based on who VO was guarding. That alone speaks volumes.

zlionsfan said...

I think there are approximately 13 schools in the conference that would love to see Oladipo turn pro. Oladipo shot .641 from two (Zeller hit "only" .575") and .433 from three. Out, out, young man. Go terrorize the NBA. Do everything at the next level, please.

I hope Crean signs a lifetime contract with IU. Watching them struggle time and time again against systems they should know about well in advance (it's no secret what Wisconsin and Syracuse do) ... it's very rewarding.

I can't have been the only one thinking of Knight's Dale Brown comment while watching last night's game. Looking down at the other bench and seeing Tom Crean ...

CalTravelGuy said...

The PURDUE APOCOLYPSE has been avoided. ND Football ends in flames/shame... Check. IU Basketball bounced out of the NCAAs with barely a wimper... Check. I'm not AS PISSED OFF at college sports today.

Mark said...

Now we need IU pro movements. Either transfer of the Purdue cancers or the alignment of attitudes (I prefer the latter).

I'm never for running up the score, but after what IU did to us this year, I think we need to run it up mercilessly...every year.

boilerdowd said...

I don't think Painter would do that...but I hope we have a chance to find out in the next two seasons.

old boiler said...

i imagine his wife(who surely knows a thing or two about coaching) might outcoach him. he doesn't take losing very well. at least we won't hearabout him for at least 7-8 months.

U-P Boiler said...

Did anybody read the comments of the Indiana players that they'd never seen a zone defense like that?

Way to prepare, Crean. Meanwhile, his old team is still in the tourney.

BTW, I believe Crean only went beyond NCAA Field of 32 once at Marquette.

Glad he's at Indiana, glad they're still drinking the Klapper Koolade.

zlionsfan said...

You are correct. One Final Four appearance, one second round appearance, three first-round outs.

Mommatried said...

Oh- and the Forehead had a guy named D Wade that carried his Marquette run.

Thomas Floyd said...

Looking like S. marcius is first to leave the bball team.

bgko18 said...

I've been a IU fan since I was a kid. The first game I ever watched was the '87 championship. I root for IU when they play anybody. But one thing I won't do is root against another Indiana college. To each his own, I guess...

FYI. The only great coach in this state is Brad Stevens. All the others are average at best. And that goes for Purdue alum Painter.

WinamacBoiler said...

You won't see people on this board posting on an IU fan site either, but again, each to his own apparently...

conk said...

Well la-dee-freakin-da, bgko. Don't cry too much or your candy stripe pants may fade to pink.

Alright, enough of that. Time to root against aO$U...that's right. Not only does this Boiler fan cheer against other Indiana schools, I cheer against the rest of the conference too.

J Money said...

Took me a while to even get what bgko was babbling about... is he actually implying that because Purdue is in the same state that we should be pulling for IU?

If so, I call bullshit that he's been a fan since '87.