Indiana Falters Against Penn State, Leaves Fans Restless

Collin O'ConnorCorrespondent IDecember 28, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 23:  Tom Crean the Head Coach of the Indiana Hoosiers gives instructions to his team during the game against the North Carolina Central Eagles at Assembly Hall on November 23, 2010 in Bloomington, Indiana.  Indiana won 72-56.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Despite the team playing against lesser competition, Indiana Hoosiers fan couldn't help but become excited with a 9-0 home record in non-conference play.

With that, they also competed very well in their rivalry matchup with Kentucky in Lexington.

However, a trip to Las Vegas and one Big Ten game later, the atmosphere surrounding this season has completely changed.

Now, the 0-1 record for the Hoosiers looks as if it can only get worse with their next three games being against Ohio State, Minnesota and Northwestern, all NCAA Tournament-caliber teams. It's fair to say those are all very tough challenges for the Hoosiers.

The last two years have been awful for Bloomington and IU faithful everywhere with hate and anger bottling up inside after Kelvin Sampson's destruction of the program. Just the 10 wins last year were an improvement that seemed to be showing signs of progression.

This summer, however, was the turning point in the rebuilding process. Getting commitments from top recruits like Cody Zeller ('11), Austin Etherington ('11), Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell ('12) and Hanner Perea ('12), to name a few, changed the mindset.

Finally, something good was starting to appear in the near future, and fans were no longer just hoping for the future and a magical return back to national prominence. There were finally some tangibles letting them know it was going to happen.

However, this season was supposed to be a stepping stone, a bridge if you will, leading to the new era of Indiana basketball. The veterans on this year and next year's team will leave behind a legacy as being on the team during IU's worst years, but also having stuck with it and allowing Tom Crean to build this program back up.

But poor performances like this won't cut it.

Even with the future so bright, it's hard to watch Penn State come into Assembly Hall and come away with only their second win all-time, the other coming back in 2009. That is something that should never happen.

In all, three years into the Tom Crean project, things are looking brighter, but play needs to be picked up now. This IU team is capable of an NIT appearance and beating teams like Penn State whom they are supposed to beat.

Crean has shown that he has what it takes to recruit. Now he needs to show that he has what it takes to win.