Who knows whether the gods will add tomorrow to the present hour? -Horace
I started the day thinking about a paradigm shift; realigning my expectations of this team to the reality of our current situation. Rather than clinging to the improving promise of Minny, PSU, Illinois, and Purdue, I was prepared to accept this team for who they really are (like anybody truly knows at this point) and seek signs of measurable improvement in the areas we'd need to work on to make the next step in our return to competitiveness.
My untenable expectations had given way to the cruel reality that is being the 11th youngest team in the nation, absent the services of our most prolific scorer, without the presence of a reliable post option, and lacking a team identity that suits the program's legacy. I was ready to see something from the cauldron of conference play that would show me how today's Hoosiers will be forged into tomorrow's team?
And then the whistle blew, and the Hoosiers never started playing. Once again, IU came out completely flat with piss-poor execution and pathetic effort. For the 3rd consecutive game, and the 4th in the last 6 outings, the Hoosiers got their doors blown off right out of the gate.
My initial hopes of coming out with a chip on our shoulder were crushed long before IU had dropped 20 points back only 7 1/2 minutes into the game. After starting the game at a clip that would've allowed Wisconsin to put up 148 on us, Crean finally went to his bench and put Elston and Capobianco on the court. By the time the big freshmen sat back down, IU had almost matched Wisconsin's points (10-9 Elston & 12-9 Capo). And that pretty much ended any meaningful resistance by the Hoosiers for the duration of the game.
Numb from the ugliness and not quite ready to drink this one away yet, I'm at a loss for answers. I have only more questions than before the game. What the hell is going on with my Hoosiers? Where did our will to compete go? When does it end and what will it take?
The other day on the Scoop chat I questioned whether Crean had lost his team; Korman thusly replied, "the Hoosiers are lost." The questions of whether Crean has lost contact with his team and whether the players have lost their will to compete not only linger after Wisconsin, but greatly intensified.
Having stewed on the matter all evening, I'm now convinced that the time has come for Crean to open up a practice to the media. At the very least, shoot and edit his own video showing what's going on when the popcorn isn't popping. Because the on-court product has been so disappointing and because his press room proselytizing is starting to ring hallow, we need to see exactly what's going on and how it's being addressed. Just give me something to let me know we're still fucking trying.
Seriously, I'm way past the point of hoping for upsets, and I've all but given up in seeking multiple, measurable improvements within each game. Anymore I'm just looking for signs of life. Give me something, anything that let's me know we're not already done playing basketball with 7 games still remaining. Let me know that our locker room isn't so fractured that it can't spend 40 quality minutes together a couple times a week. Show me that the players are trying to improve and that the coaching staff is facilitating this goal.
Otherwise, save me the bullshit about stages and hurting and all the rest. Because no matter how young or fragile these players are, that's still no excuse for playing like nutless pussies for 3 consecutive games. There isn't a stage where not trying is acceptable.
Seeing how the opposite of these views is all we've seen lately between the whistles, it's time to lift the curtain on practice and show us something that addresses the increasing questions about this team's will to compete and the coaches' means to this end.
That's about the only answer I can come up anymore. Well, that and the fact that it's now time to drink the ugly away once again. Slainte, ugly motherfuckers.