On New Years Eve 2010, the Indiana Hoosiers lost to the Ohio St. Buckeyes 85-67.
Plain and simple, the Hoosiers were beat in every aspect of the game.
After the 9-2 start to the season, most fans were upbeat on the prospects of winning some games in the Big Ten this season, and maybe even competing for a post-season tournament.
However, the recent four game slide has shown fans just how far Indiana still has to go.
Maurice Creek has lost his starting spot, and is just not back to 100% fitness due to lingering effects from the broken left knee-cap injury he suffered in December of last season. In the last four games, he is averaging just four points per game, and is shooting 28 percent from the field (13 percent from three).
Tom Pritchard and Bobby Capobianco are both not only starting, but not even finding ways to score, making Indiana pretty one dimensional on offense when they are on the floor. And on the defensive end of the floor, they are finding a hard time grabbing rebounds, and the two of them are averaging just over one rebound per game during this losing stretch.
But the problems with this Hoosier team extend more than just poor performances from players.
At the end of the day, the Hoosiers are just not athletic enough to compete against mid-major to power six conference squads.
Time and time again, the Hoosiers were a step slow setting screens on offense, or going out to defend a three, or helping out on the weak side of the defense after the man is beat on the play.
The Hoosiers lack of strength inside has let other teams easily grab offensive rebounds and get plenty of second chance opportunities.
The fact that Indiana lacks anyone over 6'9'' is not the problem, as just shown by Ohio St., who has a 6'8'' Jared Sullinger, and a 6'9'' Dallas Lauderdale, who were both way too much for the Hoosiers to handle down low, and were probably strong enough to be able to beat even a triple team to the hoop.
When the problems with the team are so fundamentally simple as this, not much can be done.
Of course the players can play smarter, and can get bigger and stronger throughout their time at Indiana.
At the end of the day, the only way for Indiana to return to the national spotlight, is to have athletes akin to Ohio St. and Duke, guys who can run the floor, pound it inside, and shoot it all day and all night from three.
The Hoosiers wont play many teams like Ohio St. again, who are a legitimate national championship contender, but any team with good athleticism in the guards and strength in the big men should and will pose a huge problem for the Hoosiers.
The good news for Indiana is that help is on the way, with the likes of Cody Zeller and Haner Perea replacing Pritchard and Capobianco, and Yogi Ferrell and Ron Patterson replacing Verdell Jones and Jordan Hulls.
Unfortunately for Hoosiers fans, they will have to suffer a few more stinging years of losses before the team can finally turn the corner and be a success.
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