Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Spare me the Crean Paeans

Indiana lost to Fort Wayne (formally IPFW) last night. The game was in Fort Wayne, at the War Memorial Coliseum. So not on campus, but still a regular haunt for Fort Wayne. Close enough to count as a true road game for Indiana.

Starting with Fort Wayne's coach's magnanimous comments in the post-game interview, people have been heaping praise on Tom Crean for having the guts to schedule this game. He didn't have to do this, they say. Good on him, they say, for taking this chance.

Spare me.

Before last night, Indiana had not played a non-conference road game—other than mandatory games in the B1G/ACC challenge — since playing at Evansville on November 16, 2011. That's over five years without a voluntarily scheduled road game.  Five years: zero voluntary road games.

By comparison, Wisconsin played nine voluntary road games in that span:

12/13/2011 at Milwaukee
11/14/2012 at Florida
12/8/2012 at Marquette
11/15/2013 at Green Bay
12/6/2014 at Marquette
12/10/2014 at Milwaukee
12/22/2014 at Cal
11/29/2015 at Oklahoma
11/15/2016 at Creighton

The Badgers did it three times in a single year (2014), while Crean has now scheduled four, total, in his nine-years at Indiana: Fort Wayne, Evansville, and Kentucky in 2010 and 2008.

This is not bravery. To be fair, Crean has reason to be scared: he actually hasn't won a non-conference road game since beating NC State a couple weeks after that fateful night in Evansville in 2011:

Overall, Crean is 2-7 in non-conference road games at IU, and before last night his losses had been by 25, 18, 12, 19, 17, and 20 points.

For the record, Wisconsin is 9-8 in non-conference road games in that period, including six wins in the five years since Indiana's last win:


  1. Thank you for this post. I shouldn't have been, but was nonetheless astounded by the nauseating post-game narrative that Tom Crean is such a charitable fellow. As you've shown, he almost never goes on the road, and pretty much never goes on the road at mid-majors.

    Michigan State does it regularly (in the last few years Sparty's played at Northeastern, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan and Oakland). Wisconsin plays at GB and Milwaukee regularly. But no one ever talks about how wonderful they are for scheduling those games. Mostly because MSU and UW win those games, so they don't get attention. Crean owes a big thank you for that spin to the Fort Wayne coach.

    On a related note, I remember learning quite a bit about that 2013-14 UW team when they came from behind to win at Green Bay. That was a tough atmosphere (it was very much pro-GB, unlike last night's obviously pro-IU crowd) and a really good team they beat. Still maintain that was one of the best wins of the regular season for that team, certainly the most underappreciated.

    1. Yep.

      On a related note, I'd rather see high-major home-and-homes than high-majors giving 4 to 1 deals to mid-majors (like UW with Milwaukee and Green Bay -- and actually I believe both those deals are now a thing of the past at least for now).