Originally Posted by WVRed
With that being said though something I have kinda thought about after last night's loss, has Crean taken Indiana as far as he can possibly take them? It's a fair question IMO. When it comes to expectations, Indiana is on the same level as Kentucky, and even though IU had a lot to rebuild from after Kelvin Sampson, I can't help but think IU fans are disappointed in not taking a major step forward with this team. With Hulls and Watford graduating, and Zeller and Oladipo likely headed to the draft, its going to be a rebuilding year for IU, although they should still be a top team in the B1G.
I don't think that loss was a huge surprise to IU fans. The issues that people had recognized all season showed up in this game. IU was a great team but didn't really have a guy they could go to when they really needed a score. They were soft all season and struggled against physical teams. While they were very good, they had limitations, and Syracuse was able to capitalize on those.
Crean also has his shortcomings. I don't have as big an issue with his Xs and Os as some do. I think his gameplan for Syracuse was correct. They needed to get the ball to the high post to draw in the zone to kick it out to the wings or to a slasher on the baseline. However, Zeller seemed scared to look at the hoop when he got the ball there, so he wasn't forcing any movement in the zone. Then, when he actually did try to make a play, he was completely soft and ineffective and required no help. If you can't attack the middle of the zone with your best player, you aren't going to beat Syracuse. I think Crean's primary shortcoming is in his substitution patterns. It's great to have a deep bench, but at some point you need to tighten up the rotation and stick with your stars. But Crean never did that, and it cost them in their losses this year.
That said, Indiana will still be very good next year. I would be shocked if Oladipo is back, but I could potentially see Zeller back next year. If he makes a commitment to working on his low post game, developing right and left handed jump hooks, bulking up and going stronger to the hoop, and developing a mid range shot, he could really up his draft stock. It's a risk because he could potentially fall even farther, but it might be worth it. Next year they'll have Yogi and Sheehey for sure in the starting lineup. Hollowell will probably take Watford's spot. Also, while they've got nothing on Kentucky, their recruiting class is very good, and they've got a few guys that should start/contribute from day 1. I expect them to still be a top 15 team next year.