Indiana still needs ‘to be a lot better’
by Mike Lopresti, USA TODAY Sports
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Here’s what we know for sure about Indiana. The Hoosiers aren’t No. 1 anymore.
Things get a little foggy after that.
They’re 15-1 and still we don’t know how far they might go.
They beat Minnesota 88-81 in a top-10 showdown Saturday, and still we can’t say what it indicated. Since there were two games for the price of one, which showdown do you mean — the part where Indiana outscored the Gophers 52-29 in the first half, or were outscored 52-36 in the second?
With Duke and Arizona already losing this week, and Michigan a possible casualty Sunday at Ohio State, No. 5 Indiana might be back to No. 2 by Monday, and still we aren’t sure if the Hoosiers should be.
“The difference now is a year ago. We would have been ecstatic with that victory,” Tom Crean said. “I want them to enjoy it, but we have different expectations now.”
The Indiana coach had places to go and NFL playoffs games to see Saturday. Crean’s brother-in-laws are John and Jim Harbaugh – one leader of the Baltimore Ravens, the other the San Francisco 49ers – so he was certainly headed for a TV, right?
“I will now,” he said. Translation: Had the Hoosiers let a 23-point lead vanish (Minnesota cut it to three in the final minute), he might never have left the film projector.
But before kickoff, what about his team?
The Hoosiers were No. 1 before a loss to Butler. Then struggled against Iowa. And Saturday, it all depended when you were watching. In the first half, they looked ready for your March bracket.
In the second half, they had one assist and 11 turnovers, and missed so many free throws (13), you wondered if the line had been pushed back to 28 feet.
They featured a balanced scoring lineup with all five starters in double figures, but a silent bench that … [For more on No longer nation's best, improving Indiana still needs 'to be a lot better', click here.]