Is Tom Crean Coaching His Team to Flop?
Twice in the last week, Indiana players have gone down easy, leading Hoosier coach Tom Crean to demand video reviews. The most recent incident occurred at Minnesota Tuesday night:
Minnesota led the Hoosiers 75-70 with 25.6 seconds left when Austin Hollins took an inbounds pass and was immediately trapped in the backcourt by Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey.
As Hollins pivoted Sheehey fell to the floor and began holding the side of his face.
"Tom Crean is screaming he wants the refs to go to the monitors,'' said ESPN color man Dakich, a former Indiana player and interim head coach.
Last week, the Hoosiers pulled a similar stunt against Michigan State:
Exactly one week before, Crean had rushed an official and demanded play be stopped for review when Michigan State's Derrick Nix was alleged to have struck Indiana Cody Zeller below the belt at a key moment late in the Spartans' 72-68 loss.
This time, Minnesota was the team Crean asked to have put on trial, and Dick Vitale wasn't calling the game beside Tirico.
The replay of Sheehey's fall was shown in slow motion after the officials adhered to Crean's demand, stopping play to see if there was indeed an illegal blow delivered.
"Nothing there,'' Dakich said after the replay floated across the screen.
Tirico jumped in, bringing up the Feb. 19 Michigan State-Indiana game.
"Let's go back to last week, Indiana-Michigan State, end of the game, big issue with Derrick Nix and Cody Zeller,'' Tirico said. "Zeller, on a post move, elbowed Nix below the belt, the place where it hurts, it seemed to be in the natural act of the play.''
That play, it's worth noting, was not reviewed and play was not stopped.
"Then about a minute and a half later, there was a question if there was a hand by Nix to the groin area of Zeller,'' Tirico said. "As people watched the replays over and over and on different angles, a lot of people wondered if Zeller on purpose brought Nix's hand down to hit him and make it look like he got hit below the belt.''
Dakich replied: "The film certainly showed that. Indiana fans didn't believe it but the film showed it.''
Vitale, who prosecuted Nix during the telecast a week ago, has since apologized for going too far with his opinion before other camera angles showed Zeller did indeed appear to frame Nix — with Crean screaming for play to be stopped.
Does a team with Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and countless other talent really need to resort to this sort of thing?