Friday, January 22, 2010

What is a great season for the Hoosiers?

The Hoosiers have won two games in a row, following last night's win at Penn State.

It was the team's first conference win on the road this year and the first for Coach Tom Crean since his tenure at Indiana began. The team is 3-3 in conference play and 9-9 on the season, both already improved from last year.

The Hoosiers have a win over a top 25 team, Pittsburgh, and two conference wins over teams with winning records, Michigan and Minnesota. And as of this morning, Indiana is tied for fifth in the Big Ten.

The most obvious improvement from last season, as well as earlier this season, came from Crean during last night's post-game press conference.

"There was no panic in our guys' voices; there was no deer-in-the-headlight look," Crean said after the game, according to comments posted on IUHoosiers.com.

Looking ahead, I'm wondering if we adjust our expectations for this season.

Before the season started, I thought a .500 or better finish was possible, but after watching the results in the pre-conference season, I wondered whether this team would win more than seven or eight games. This team has improved so much over the last month, I'm wondering if these Hoosiers could reach 15 wins or more by the end of the season.

Indiana has 12 games remaining, including four games against Iowa and Northwestern, two of the three teams below them in the Big Ten standings. The Hoosiers also will play Michigan State and Wisconsin, the top two teams in the conference, only once. The game with the Spartans is in Bloomington, which will should slightly diminish the size of the task.

Realistically, could the Hoosiers finish the season 15-15 heading into the Big Ten tournament? If the Hoosiers continuing playing with the poise they found last night, I could see them sweeping or taking three of four against Iowa and Northwestern. I also don't think a win at home over Purdue is out of the question. And these Hoosiers are not the same team that was blown out by Ohio State. When the Buckeyes come to Bloomington it will be a much different game.

That's five or six potential wins. Could this team steal the game at Minnesota or against Michigan State?

No matter what happens, year two of the Tom Crean era is turning out to be a big improvement. I think it's a reasonable goal to go for .500 for the year. If that happens, Indiana may begin the 2010-2011 season contending instead of a rebuilding.

What do you think? Tell me your expectations for the remainder of the IU season.

Next game: Against Iowa, 6 p.m. Sunday. The game will be on Big Ten Network.

1 comment:

T.J. said...

IU will be lucky to take 1 from NU. NU is a tournament team.