Well, fuck me. "It happened.....I don't know really what else to say." Well said, Coach Crean, very well said.
Happen it did. After almost 2 years of watching his team play the Rodney Dangerfield of the Big 10, Tom Crean finally lost it, and, as predicted here, the place went fucking nuts. Despite the fact that IU was down 25 at the time and the post-ejection surge was only evident from the hearty roars from the heavily depleted crowd, it was finally time for an epic and symbolic gesture of disdain with the bullshit that Indiana basketball has been reduced to since Crean inherited the Sampson/Greenspan shit-show.
Not content to go quietly like Norman Dale after receiving his marching orders, Crean kept coming back for more. Shit, I thought for a second he was seriously thinking about punching Tom O'Neill. No matter his intentions, Crean sold it and had to be restrained, multiple times, before officially making the locker room door his bitch (1:31 mark).
But for ITH mentioning it later, I'd have never known it was IU's largest margin of defeat ever in Assembly Hall. No, that won't be the event for which this one will be remembered; this night will forever be known as the night Crean had finally seen enough and let go of all the pain, anger, and frustration that 2 years of getting the shit kicked out of his team has caused him...and it was fucking awesome!
From all accounts afterwards, it appears the post-game locker room talk was equally impassioned and on par with prior motivational speeches given there.
As if the events of this night weren't meaningful enough in and of themselves, they coincidental happened on the very week of the 25th anniversary of Bob Knight's chair toss. Talk about dramatic irony, my friends. Add in the handful of coins and some other shit that was briefly tossed towards the court, and the whole scene was eerily similar to Bobby's infamous evening.
Now that Crean has completed his Hoosier coach's rite of passage, I'm curious to see where things go from here. Crean's ejection and its appurtenant tantrum should put to rest, at least temporarily, his image as the eternal optimist on the sideline. No longer may misguided fans point to his relentless cheerleading as evidence of his disconnection with the dire nature of his team's situation. After the press conference following the Wisconsin game, there's little doubt that he's finally removed the kid gloves when it comes to calling out his team's failure to fight through adversity.
Going forward, only the remaining games will show whether Crean's outburst achieved the impact his team and fans needed to rekindle the belief that this IU team can still compete and win. Because if the players can't match their coach's passion, it seems clearer than ever that next year's roster may be far more fluid than anyone ever expected. And deservedly so after seeing how little fight this team has put up over the course of its latest losing streak. Nobody wants to see a 10+ game losing streak become IU's newest rite of passage with each passing season.
*A special tip of the hat to Hugh Kellenberger for his selection of Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" video in Hoosier Morning. I thought the IU band missed a perfect opportunity to make the most out of Crean's ejection by not immediately breaking into that tune. Oh, well. A little Johnny Cougar always makes a fine substitution, right?