Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hoosiers Will Rise Again

I'm baffled by some of the comments about Indiana basketball I've seen recently...mostly from Wisconsin fans. They seem to think IU hoops has been on such a downward spiral since the mid 90's that it's just another mediocre program. Like Cal, or Providence. As a Bucky fan, Goldy said he's been more worried about programs like Minnesota and Iowa, among others, than Indiana in the past 15 years. And the infamous "anonymous" said he would almost put Northwestern at Indiana's level. Northwestern?? Do they even have an athletic program?

For the record, I'm not an Indiana (or Crean) lover. Just hear to say IU will be back. Back in a big way. Why?

1) They were never really gone (relative to most programs). Oh, the luster wasn't as shiny as it once was, no doubt. But even the "dark ages" of IU basketball were not terrible. Indiana has made 12 of the last 14 Brackets. Included was a trip to the NCAA championship game. God I hated Tom Coverdale. Speaking of players, IU has had 6 Big-11 POY's in that time span as well: Cal Cheany, Brian Evans, AJ Guyton, Kirk Haston (Yikes!), Jared Jeffries, and DJ Bubba White. That's a run %97 of teams wish they had. Not too shabby for "down years."

2) Stability. Say what you will about Tommy TanTan...the guy stayed at Marquette for 8 years despite being linked to other opportunities seemingly every off season. Conversely, Mike Davis was reportedly run out of town every off season. People were just waiting for him to get fired, no matter what his record was. Plus, Crean runs a clean program which graduates players. Lets just say Kelvin Sampson didn't. Even the end of the Knight era was like waiting for Three Mile Island to explode. Crean brings stability.

3) "It's Indiana." As Crean said, it IS Indiana. Certain jobs just need the right guy to once again become elite. IU is the basketball equivalent of Texas football, circa 1997. Texas was a former powerhouse that hadn't lived up to its name for well over a decade. The David McWilliams and John Mackovic eras just didn't do it for people. Enter Mack Brown. He got the players (namely VY) to win a title, and is now riding 7 straight 10+ win seasons. Indiana hoops is one of those kind of jobs. Just like UCLA hoops pre-Howland, USC football pre-Carroll, Florida football post-Ball Coach and pre-Meyer, and Minnesota Hockey pre-whoever was there before the current guy. Some jobs just need the right guy.

4) "It's Indiana," Part II. As in, The Hoosier State....Basketball Country...did you see the movie? Despite it's modest population, Indiana produces a huge number of quality college players. I remember before the 2006 tournament hearing something like 35 of the 65 teams in the field had at least one Indiana kid. That's amazing. Just off the top of my head, here's a list of Indiana kids that did NOT sign with IU in the last few years: Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Luke Harangody, Dom James, Josh McRoberts, E'Twaun Moore, Scott Martin, and Rob Hummel. I bet the tire fire of a coaching situation for the last decade had something to do with it. And, as we know, Crean can recruit.

Yes, Indiana should be Penn State-West for the next couple years. But, if you think they can't once again be among the nation’s elite, you’re kidding yourself.


bo ryan said...

why not an article about my team?

matt said...

Brad hates the Badgers.

brad said...

Matt, then you do one. In it, tell me why the best seed you've beaten in the tournament is only a 9 seed.


matt said...

I won't, because it's still baseball season for me.

See, I didn't give up on the Brewers in early May.

Goldy said...

I never claimed Indiana was a bad basketball program. Heck, they made the title game under Mike Davis. I am saying that since 1993, they have only won one Big Ten title and that was shared with 3 other teams.

In regards to the most worried comment Brad makes, I wasn't commneting on teams I worry about, I was commenting on teams that the Badger fans care about beating. I was responding to Wrigleyville's claim that Badger fans get in a tizzy about Indiana Basketball. I am sure some do and maybe the Badger fans he knows are those people. However, most Badger fans I know care about beating MSU the most and Illinois based on the battles in the early 2000's. OSU has jumped in the mix the past few seasons. Badger fans never want to lose to Minnesota and Iowa is up there as well.
There is just no rivalry between Indiana and Wisconsin. Indiana handed it to the Badgers for so long that it wasn't a rivalry. The Hoosiers and the badgers have never really batteled out for a conference title. There is just not a lot of animosity between the two basketball programs, so i don't think fans get that up in arms about an Indiana game.

brad said...

...but you probably already gave up on the Packers...

brad said...

Goldy - I gotcha. This post wasn't only directed at you. I've heard numerous Badger fans say "Why would Crean take that job, IU sucks. That's a terrible move."

lofty said...

Crean "graduated" players at Marquette because it's a private university....they're not subject to the same requirements that schools with state funding are.

AP said...

Yeah, I'd kind of reiterate what Goldy said. No one is saying that IU is a bad program ALL TIME, it's just not a super rival right now. Just look at everything you wrote Brad, "Bobby Knight ers" "Cal Cheany" "Like UT football, circa 1997." All of the stuff you are referncing happened a long, long time ago.

This is kind of similar to Kentucky basketball or Notre Dame football right now. Sure these programs were great and they COULD improve. However, Bobby Knight, Adolf Rupp, & Knute Rockne aren't walking through that door. You can't take the "historic" label away, but "historic" means jack in the here and now. The Bucks were really good once upon a time too, and Scotty Skiles MIGHT return them to prominence. But do you fear these programs or hate them? No. (I do hate the Bucks, but that's different) Are you worried about having to play them? NO. Could they improve? Sure. Boise St. has been better than ND lately. Memphis has been better than IU lately. Historic doesn't mean much if your talking about the '08-'09 season.

brad said...

AP - Trust me, I LOVE the little guys who made it big like Boise St, Gonzaga, and Davidson. Matt can attest to that. But even if Boise would have smoked, say, Florida State (who is down right now) last year…Boise is NOT Florida State. It’s not. Given a choice, which job would (for example) Bret Bielema or Mark Richt rather have if they were both open: Boise St or FSU? Hint: It’s not the school with the blue turf. FSU has aspirations of playing in national championship games (although it’s a mess right now). Meanwhile, Boise wants to win the WAC, and hope to sneak into a BSC game. There’s a difference. And again, I LOVE Boise State!

History DOES matter….more so in college. More often than not, those are the schools with: more money, better/bigger facilities, bigger expectations, and more titles. Even when Bucky was winning the Big-11 and Rose Bowls, they still were not on OSU or Michigan’s level. The Badger coaches said as much when it came to trying to recruit against these schools. They couldn’t win. Why? Because Wisconsin football is not Ohio State football!! It just isn’t.

Knight and Rupp might not be walking through that door, but the top coaching/coordinator talent will. Where do they go? They go to schools with money, facilities, TV time, and fertile recruiting bases…which, not coincidentally, usually are the ones with the most history and tradition. Just like Howland revived UCLA, Stoops at Oklahoma, Coach K at Duke, Meyer at Florida, Carroll at USC, Brown at Texas, Tressel at OSU, Williams at North Carolina, etc…,

You see where I’m going with this?

Anonymous said...

It's baseball season. Why is this even a topic? This is worse than Woz posting about the Bucks during the Packers playoff run. Focus on current events. And if you disowned the local team a month ago, shut the hell up.

pete s. said...

Oooo...look out Brad. Someone named Anonymous told you to shut up on your own blog. I'd listen to that guy if I were you.

AP said...

I got ya Brad, and I don't think I was against Crean going to IU. I mean, I don't like Crean and I'm sure I might've said that, but you can't blame him specifically for jumping ship to IU. Totally understand where you are coming from with that.

I'd just also like to suggest that things change, and your example of FSU is another great example of that. Sure Boise St. isn't FSU. Absolutely not. But that gap has definitely closed, and that has to do both with BSU getting better and FSU getting worse. At one point in time, Harvard & Yale were the two premier college football coaching jobs in the country, right? Not anymore....

I just think there is kind of an adjustment happening in all of the NCAA sports right now. The big schools are trying to wrap their heads around the fact that the walls are closing in from both sides. The George Mason, Boise State, and Davidson's of the world are improving. Quickly. The schools that used to dominate-Oklahoma, IU, Kentucky, Notre Dame, FSU, etc-while still very good (minus ND, Ha) don't completely dominate the landscape like they used to; you don't see the 10 year dynasties like UCLA BBall in the 70's or Oklahoma football in the 40's. I just think that while yes, IU is better than MU for a gig, the gap isn't as wide as say....20 years ago. Same for FSU VS Boise St.

In fact, with MU being in the Big East, with more exposure, one could make a reasonable argument that today in 2008 those jobs are very, very close. Maybe not equal, but close. Who made more money last year, Crean or Sampson? Crean by a lot. The money & facilities thing is evening out; MU has a really nice facility. Fair?

AP said...

By the way, great pic. Hoosiers is like the best movie ever.

brad said...

AP- Fair, and thanks for the debate.

Oh, that's the best movie ever. "With Jimmy, all the pistons are firing..."

AP said...

Great lines-

"My team'a on the floor."

(Jimmy) "I can make it"

"My practices aren't designed for you enjoyment!"

Also, that dude almost hits that buzzer beater to oust Hickory in the game in Deerlick. That would've changed the movie a little bit.

Go Gabe Kapler!

Anonymous said...

/waits for wrigleyville to comment since his blog has a third of the visitors as the almighty CH and can't have this kind of quality discussion ;)

Wrigleyville said...

I agree with this post: major legacy programs have a built-in advantage and are good for college sports. And iu is one such program, despite comparative lean years.

That said, nobody in iu land is happy with where the program has been the last 15 years. Nobody. This is a program that has made the final four in six of the last seven decades. It has a homegrown recruiting base. It has the tradition. And it has made mind numbingly bad decisions this decade.

Everybody is happy with the stability that crean represents. He will get time to turn it around. His 09 class is already solid, if not spectacular.

As for a uw-iu rivalry, I don't think any exists either. I do think many up north are more concerned with doings in bloomington than those in Indiana are with Madison. After all, when was there such a high quality discussion about bucky on an iu blog in June?

(I, for the record, recognize that bo has done a remarkable job. I just don't care that much.)

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