Oversigning Bites Indiana Back Comment Count

Brian January 31st, 2014 at 3:24 PM


Indiana could have used Creek (#1, left) or Abell (right)

Michigan's next Big Ten opponent is Indiana, an outfit that's 3-5 in conference, 13-8 overall, headed for an NIT bid at best. While Indiana lost buckets of talent to graduation, they didn't have to be this bad. Tom Crean screwed himself.

I give Tom Izzo a lot of crap around these parts for his constant histrionics, but 90% of that is pure rivalry spiciness. I hate Tom Izzo, because he is extraordinarily easy to hate. But I simultaneously treasure Tom Izzo because he is easy to hate in that way. When not indulging in rivalry business, I don't actually mind the guy. He is clean. Full stop. I don't want to hear anything about Appling and Payne; we've got our own issues in that department. I hate the fact that he gets away with being on the court and his kids can grab without the Big Ten reacting, but that's just basketball stuff.

I hate two Big Ten coaches more than Izzo. One is obvious: Bo Ryan, promulgator of murderously slow swampball and headman of a program that just accidentally happens to put more feet under jumpshooters' ankles than anyone else in the country. But y'all know that because you've read one thing I've said about Wisconsin basketball.

The second is Tom Crean, who brought SEC-style oversigning to the Big Ten. Last year he shuffled off a recruit who met NCAA regulations but ended up at a prep school and is now at Syracuse. This year he needed to dump another guy and ended up ejecting two, Remy Abell and Maurice Creek. But unlike Calipari or Saban, Tom Crean is so inept that his callous disregard of the whole college thing is actually hurting his team.

You see, Rudy, Indiana can't shoot worth two damns. They're 223rd in three point percentage; they are 308th in 3PA/FGA. They're only being kept that high because Yogi Ferrell made an unexpected and impressive burst from a 30% shooter to a 41% shooter. Nobody else on their team can shoot. The only guy who even bothers to try is Will Sheehey, the mediocre senior-to-be who didn't get cut.

The rest of the team occasionally chucks one up in an unsuccessful attempt to keep 'em honest, with results much like the ones Michigan saw against Purdue, their most recent opponent and the other team in the state of Indiana that couldn't hit the broad side of that dude named Pork Chop in eight tries. This is the main reason Indiana is adrift. Teams pack it in against them with impunity.

You did it to yourself

The help Indiana needs was sitting on Indiana's bench last year.

Abell's currently sitting out a year before getting on the court for Xavier, a 15-5 Big East team currrently ranked about 40 spots above Indiana on Kenpom. Abell hit 16 of 33 three-pointers as a 12-minute-per-game sophomore last year; he had a healthy FT rate and an ORTG of 116. This would be a close second to Ferrell this year in terms of IU ORTG, and if Abell's three point shooting was anywhere near what it seemed like it might be he would be a 30 minute per game staple just to spread the floor.

Meanwhile, Maurice Creek was as a fifth-year grad student and therefore immediately eligible at George Washington. Last year the Colonials were below .500 and out of the KP100; this year they are 17-3, in the top 40, and a clear Bracket Matrix at-large. Maurice Creek starts. He takes more shots than anyone on the team, hits threes at a nearly 40% rate, and is nationally ranked in eFG%. He is exactly what Clappy needs on his team of tall athletic guys who seem to be encountering a basketball for the first time every night.

Creek could have been a sentimental legend at Indiana, the guy who came back from injury after injury to spearhead the team as a fifth year senior and preserve their tourney streak. Instead, he's a vastly improved GW's go-to guy as Tom Crean's inept Hoosiers founder.

There isn't really a point here except maybe you should run around in circles and go "eeee" a bit because sometimes the universe does poke the right people in the eye. Clap on, Clappy, as Mo Creek plays in a tournament you won't get invited to.



January 31st, 2014 at 3:43 PM ^

how Indiana has shot the ball prior to this Sunday.  I fully expect them to come out on Sunday like a team with 8 Jimmy Chitwoods because that is always what happens when they play Michigan in Bloomington.


January 31st, 2014 at 5:31 PM ^

Can the claims of refs ineptitude on the road please stop. Seems like everyone wants to set us up with an excuse if we lose when we play historically good programs on the road. I see it on this board all the time. I saw it a bunch before we played Wiscy, MSU, and I've now seen at least 5 comments about the bad officiated at IU, and we haven't even played the game yet. Please, give it a rest and at least allow the game to be played if you're going to bitch about calls.


February 1st, 2014 at 8:12 AM ^

Bitching about officiating is the only thing people who don't know much about basketball can do.

I kid, of course.  And I'm biased.  But if complaining about officiating is the first thing you do when watching a basketball game and something doesn't go "your" way, then I actually do question how much you know about the game of basketball. 

Put it this way: I don't care how bad the officiating is (or perceived to be is), we should curb stomp Indiana.  If we don't, that's our fault, not the officials.


February 1st, 2014 at 12:25 PM ^

What is "lowly"? 

If you really think that the only way an underdog can win a game is if the officials let them into it...

Like I said, pre-emptively predicting the officials as the reason Michigan may not win a game they are supposed to win is lame.  If Michigan is a 12-point favorite and loses the game, it will not be because of the officials, no matter how many "bad" calls there are - and there are never as many bad calls as a biased fan base perceives.  And that's ignoring the bad calls that go in favor of said fan base's team.

How about we just play the game and recognize sometimes good teams play poorly and bad teams play well.

Because otherwise, games like Northwestern over Wisconsin become much less fun.

I'm not saying there aren't bad calls and I'm not saying bad calls can't change the course of a game.  But people give it far more weight than its actual effect. 

True Blue Grit

January 31st, 2014 at 3:53 PM ^

Crean is not only the biggest d-bag in the B10, he's the biggest one in college basketball.  It must be a job requirement for the HC at Indiana to be a constant embarassment to the school and program at all times.  


January 31st, 2014 at 3:54 PM ^

It's just perfect he's related to the two most miserable, smug a-holes in the NFL: Jim and John. 

Which I can't wait to hear about 70000 times during the game. Again.

I Blue Myself

January 31st, 2014 at 4:07 PM ^

I'm not trying to defend Crean here, but I don't see how the numbers add up.  

Brian says he had one too many players under scholarship, and one of the guys he cut was a fifth-year senior.  But I thought the general policy of the blog was that it's okay not to renew a scholarship for a fifth year, as Michigan does that often.  Crean may have been stupid in having to cut a valuable player, but I don't see how what he did this year qualifies as oversigning.

Also, if he needed to cut one player to get down to 13 scholarships, why cut two?  The whole point of oversigning is to maximize your numbers.

Am I missing something here?

Yinka Double Dare

January 31st, 2014 at 4:20 PM ^

I know a lot of Indiana alums/fans and they're not exactly thrilled with Crean's coaching either.  He can recruit but they all have a pretty low opinion of his game coaching.  Seeing his recruiting strategy go wrong is really funny though.  And the one particularly good freshman will almost certainly be a one-and-done.


February 1st, 2014 at 2:30 PM ^

Strongly agree on Coach Meyer. Other Michigan coaches have gotten more love here, but Meyer was a very successful head coach with some bad luck, and he is a huge component of Michigan's success. I'm too lazy to search, but there are stories out there about what happened to Meyer. Beilein was lucky to get him, and Meyer was fortunate to land at Michigan.

Actually, more than luck, Beilein's adding of Meyer to the staff is very similar to his finding Hardaway and Robinson and Spike and LeVert and Burke and even Stauskas. Five of those six are NBA talents, and even Spike has a role to play. I've seen Ohio fans lament that they missed on Burke and LeVert. Indiana fans are distressed to miss on Robinson (and McGary, who everyone knew was talented.) The jury was even out on McGary:  when Michigan was on him at first, he wasn't that highly rated.

The point is that Beilein has been tremendous at identifying talent early, and talent under the radar, and talent that no-one else sees. Bringing Meyer on as a coach was a complete win-win situation.


January 31st, 2014 at 4:23 PM ^

IU is under the schollie limit by 1 this season. And that's with the summer addition of Evan Gordon, a 5th year transfer from ASU, who came aboard in the summer well after the Abel and Creek transfers. The program did not want Abel to transfer......I have several issues with Crean, but the claims here are somewhat exagerrated

Sac Fly

January 31st, 2014 at 4:29 PM ^

When Abel transferred Indiana was 1 over the limit. They had 5 departues and a 6 player incoming class. They're under the limit because Luke Fischer left IU earlier this month.


January 31st, 2014 at 4:40 PM ^

I forgot about Fisher. Good catch. I was surprised when I double checked the schollie, but the Fisher transfer had slipped my mind. Thats why they are one below now. I was as surprised to see Gordon has a schollie as there had been talk his family would just pay for the semester of school at IU when the news of his possible transfer began percolating.  They still didnt force Abel out. He was a big part of their plans this year.  Everybody knew all season that Creek would take advantage of the grad transfer rule all along, so there was always going to room. Shoot, they expected Abel to be their best returning on ball defender. This isnt nearly as sinister as Brian's narrative wants it to be.....Crean deserves a shit ton of flak for his behavior and mouth, but this misses the mark a bit


January 31st, 2014 at 9:51 PM ^

As an IU alum, I'm bothered by a number of things about Tom Crean, including how he shuffled people out in his second and third year running the program. Crean has definitely skirted the line on oversigning. However, Brian overstates a couple of things here:

Given his knee issues, Creek probably shouldn't be playing basketball; regardless, he cheered on the team from the sidelines for years and earned his bachelors at Indiana. He did get on the floor last year on a much better team than this one. Crean did not run him off.

Abel was going to be a key piece of the team - Jamiemac makes the case well, and I'd add that Remy hit some ridiculous 3 point percentage before B10 play last year. He was not run off.

Crean certainly didn't run off Luke Fischer, who transferred late this past fall. Luke was in the rotation. A fair question is, why are so many guys who earned minutes on the court transferring? That does concern me at least. But it's not an oversigning issue.

Ron Patterson is the kid who ended up at Syracuse. Due to academic issues from high school, Ron had to take a summer course at IU before his freshman fall semester, and he didn't do well enough to be admitted. That was a university rule. It had nothing to do with the IU athletic department.

Brian didn't bring up the Matt Roth situation, but others have on this site. Matt Roth got his bachelors at IU. Matt got his masters at IU. He spent four years on the sideline and the court, and talked on Senior Day. Like many IU fans, I think the team could have used another year of Matt Roth, but I don't think he was mistreated by Indiana University or Tom Crean. If Matt felt that way, he hid it pretty well, since he came back to help out at basketball camp the next year.

Most of the Tom Crean hate around here, and around the league, springs from how he acts on the sideline, and that he's kind of a weird looking guy. The first is at least somewhat legitimate, while the second is sophomoric at best. There are real issues with oversigning under Crean's tenure, and, I think, real issues with kids not staying in the program, but the past two years are berefit of examples of Indiana running off kids to make room for others.

MMB 82

January 31st, 2014 at 4:24 PM ^

player, and not be able to shoot a basketball? Maybe I am missing something here, but wouldn't that be akin to being a scholarship music major vocalist, and being tone deaf? Or is Crean basketball kryptonite?

Leaders And Best

January 31st, 2014 at 5:06 PM ^

I do not deny Izzo being clean. He is.

But the Appling/Payne situation is not comparable to Gibbons and probably doesn't belong in this discussion. Michigan expelled Gibbons. MSU can't wait until Payne gets back on the court. Michigan is definitely open to criticism for how they handled the investigation, but at least they eventually took action. It's a point that seems to be missing from this discussion. I have not seen one example yet where a university has expelled a student athlete for an alleged sexual assault where no criminal charges were pursued.

That being said, karma is a bitch Crean.