IU’s hire trouble for UW

first_imgWisconsin’s run to the Big Ten regular season andtournament titles was made significantly easier this season by Indiana’scollapse down the stretch.It won’t happen again next year.The turmoil that plagued IU, starting with theresignation of coach Kelvin Sampson, might finally have come to end for theHoosiers this week, courtesy of a man that Wisconsin fans are pretty familiarwith.Tom Crean, formerly the head coach at Marquette, washired by Indiana University to take over a basketball program that went fromFinal Four contender to total disarray almost overnight.At the very least, Crean’s presence should bringstability to a program that is desperately in need of it.His 3-6 career record against the Badgers might notindicate it, but Tom Crean was trouble enough for Wisconsin when it had to playhis Marquette squad once a season. Now, UW will have to match up with Creantwice as often.The impact of Crean at Indiana might not make a differencein Wisconsin’s win/loss record right away, though. IU could be facing asignificant punishment from the NCAA in response to Sampson’s transgressions,and the Hoosiers may not return a single starter next season. Barring a majorchange, next year should be an ugly one in Bloomington.In fact, the biggest threat the Crean-led Hoosiers poseto the Badgers next year isn’t on the court, but on the recruiting trail.For years Crean has competed with Wisconsin for the toprecruits from the area and has done a pretty good job of landing some of thestate’s top talent.Now, he moves to a school with even more cache then hisold one and will have the advantage of calling the basketball-rich state ofIndiana home, in addition to the solid base he already has in Wisconsin.The addition of Crean boosts the overall coaching poolof the Big Ten as well, and as newly hired coaches continue to get comfortable,things can only get harder for the Badgers.Crean comes in with experience of coaching — and winning— in a power conference. After Marquette left Conference USA in 2005 to jointhe talent-laden Big East, the Golden Eagles were still able to produce 20-pluswins in each of their first three seasons and consistently finished in theconference’s top tier.In 2003, Crean, with the help of Dwyane Wade, tookMarquette to the tournament’s semi-finals. He now joins Tom Izzo, Thad Matta,Tubby Smith and Bruce Weber as the fifth coach currently in the Big Ten to haveguided his team to the Final Four. With five coaches having accomplished thefeat, the league now has more guys to have done it than any other conference inthe country.Keep in mind that the list doesn’t include Bo Ryan orMichigan’s Jon Beilein, who have both advanced as far as the Elite Eight.In fact, only Penn State’s Ed DeChellis andNorthwestern’s Bill Carmody haven’t reached the Sweet 16 as a head coach.By the time Crean — along with last year’s hirees TubbySmith (Minnesota), Jon Beilein (Michigan) and Todd Lickliter (Iowa) — start toget their own system in play, the conference is going to be much moredangerous.It’s the Hoosiers, though, that have the most potentialto reign supreme.Indiana has been a sleeping giant for the last fewseasons. Following in the footsteps of Bobby Knight, Mike Davis was destined tofail. Sampson had too much baggage to succeed. But in Tom Crean the Hoosiershave hired an experienced coach that has the ability to restore the luster lostby the IU basketball program.And the better the Hoosiers are, the tougher thingsbecome for the rest of the conference. Wisconsin included.Tom Crean, with his .333 winning percentage against UW,may not be a Badger killer. Ryan knows Crean’s tendencies just as well as thenew Indiana coach knows his.But hand Crean the reigns to one of college basketball’smost premier programs, and it’s going to be tough to maintain the currentstatus quo.So yes, Crean may have his hands full in his first fewyears with the Hoosiers and for now at least, Ryan may have his number. TheHoosiers may be down right now, but don’t get used to it.Sooner or later, taking on Crean’s Indiana team twice aseason isn’t going to be much fun.?Mike is a sophomore majoring in political science. If you think Indiana isstill a long way from returning to national prominence?or want to offer an alternativeto IU’s “Crean and Crimson” campaign, he can be reached [email protected]last_img

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