Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

March 19, 2014

GASKINS: IU, Purdue — a sad state of affairs

Basketball teams reeling from recent shortcomings.

The men’s basketball season is over for Indiana and Purdue. The NCAA tournament tipped off Tuesday night, but IU and Purdue are at home and their fans’ frustrations are running high.

The Hoosiers took a bigger-than-expected step back after winning the 2013 Big Ten title, finishing 17-15 overall and 7-11 in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers, meanwhile, continued their free fall from relevance. They finished 15-17 and 5-13 — dead last in the conference.

Both teams played fundamentally poor basketball. How else to explain Purdue and IU ranking at the bottom of the conference in turnovers? The Boilers committed 12.3 per game and the Hoosiers coughed it up a whopping 15.1 times per game.

Purdue also shot the ball poorly (10th in the Big Ten in field goal percentage, last in free throw percentage) which is inexcusable when your recruiting base is a state known for producing great shooters. The Hoosiers had their own maddening tendencies. The Hoosiers led at halftime in 10 of their 18 conference games but won only four of those games.

Not surprisingly, both teams took quiet exits from the Big Ten tournament last week. Both teams needed to go quietly into the offseason as well. Instead, Indiana athletic director Fred Glass made an interesting comment, and Purdue lost yet another player to transfer.

First, let’s look at Glass’ comment Sunday night after the NIT passed over Indiana. Glass made it perfectly clear the Hoosiers had no interest in playing in any of the lowest-tier postseason tournaments such as the CBI, telling the Bloomington Herald-Times: “We’re Indiana. We don’t play in the CBI.”

Wow, Glass puffed out his chest, which I guess is your prerogative when your school has won five NCAA championships. But Indiana played down its history last year when it cut down the nets in Assembly Hall to celebrate winning the Big Ten title — and two years ago when it handed out rings for reaching the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16.

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