The Indiana Hoosiers have never lost 18 games in a season; not even under the dubious Harry C. Good (1944-46), who was only there because Branch McCracken was serving in World War II.
With their 65-52 loss to Illinois on Sunday, the Hooisers fell to 6-18 overall, 1-11 in the Big Ten, both school records for losses in a season. Yes, Indiana has bypassed rock bottom, and found a whole new, heretofore undiscovered bottom beneath that.
Indiana was without leading scorer Devan Dumes for the second straight game. The junior guard, who is averaging 13.8 points per game, was suspended indefinitely by head coach Tom Crean for unacceptable behavior in the Hoosier's loss at Michigan State on February 7.
And here we have a clue. There was a time when a previous red-sweatered coach wouldn't have waited until mid-February to iron out the personality wrinkles in his best offensive player. It would have been no later than Nov. 1 that Mr. Dumes would have either been a.) Walking back to campus from somewhere in Iowa; b.) "grip tightening around neck *choke!* ... can't breathe ..." or c.) playing for Ohio State.
For those waiting for a resurgence in Indiana basketball: It ain't going to happen anytime soon. The system's not designed for sleepy backwaters like Bloomington, Indiana, to have powerhouse teams in the revenue sports unless there's a great coach to draw them in, or a coach who's willing to play fast and loose with recruiting rules. Indiana had the latter with Kelvin Sampson, and they're still looking for the former. Tom Crean — even though he hasn't really had a chance to prove what he can do with his own players — isn't the answer. Have you been to Bloomington? What multi-talented player is going to go there to play for Tom Crean?
And when you think about it, where is the next generation of great coaches? Where is the next Dean Smith or Pete Carril? Because I don't see him. But then, I'm out here mainly looking at the Pac-10.