John alluded to this earlier, but it's been a bad week or two for Hoosier news. Let's review:
1) Tom Crean commits a silly violation in recruiting Gary Harris- who would be a big "get" for the 2012 class- even with the star potential of Hanner Perea & Yogi Ferrell.
2) Hoosier football puts on a brave face in conference play after some embarrassing non-conference losses, but is clearly just not as good as their Big Ten opponents so far. A trip to national title contender Wisconsin this weekend isn't likely to alleviate any pain.
3) The Men's soccer team, losing twice despite outplaying & outshooting Wisconsin and Lousville, goes on to drop a third straight game at home against Creighton while getting significantly outshot.
4) In what's become an annual downer in Hoosier Hoops news, Maurice Creek is once again injured and out for the season.
Give me just a moment to say a GOB-style "C'mon!"
The recruiting violation was immediately self-reported, no significant advantage could've really gained over the other schools that are competing for Harris. And on top of that IU is offering some reasonable self-sanctions, all of which should mollify the NCAA. Whether or not this negatively affects recruiting Harris is uncertain, but everything about recruiting Harris is uncertain. Long story short, let's not worry about this until someone gives a good reason to worry about it.
And we're back. All is not lost, and the bad news isn't really that bad. Let's go through the news
The Hoosier football team was unlikely to breakout in year 1 of the Wilson rebuilding project. Still, the Hoosiers have competed in Big Ten play, and although they've yet to play Wisconsin, it's Minnesota and not IU who look out of place. And some of the Hoosier freshmen are also looking good, with true frosh Tre Roberson coming in and playing well against Illinois and Shane Wynn earning a FOW nod for his 99-yard return. This season kinda sucks, yeah, but the a potentially bright future for the program isn't damaged at this point.
The Men's soccer team will be fine. Although the earlier losses were disappointing, Creighton ground out a deserved 1-0 at Bill Armstrong stadium, they are a top 5 team and IU had some chances. IU showed they could bounce back with a 1-0 win at in-state rival Butler, where they dominated the shot count 18-8. This streak was just IU's schedule packing all of its losses together as far as I can guess. Look for the Hoosiers to put a nice unbeaten streak together heading into the postseason.
Finally, I'm very sorry to hear about Creek's injury, and I worry for his future and wish him the best in his recovery. I really hope to see a healthy and professionally-bound Maurice Creek playing at Assembly Hall at some point. Honestly, though, I didn't expect anything from Creek this season, and thought Crean might be best served by redshirting him a season. If he was going to be healthy, Creek could've helped, sure. However, with Watford expected to get some minutes on the wing, and Oladipo & Sheehey looking much improved during the offseason, not to mention having frosh shooter Etherington on board or that this is Jones & Roth's final season, well, covering those minutes will not be a problem this year. Frankly, if they stay injury-free this time around, Watford, Oladipo, and Jones could be the best combination of wings in the conference. And I don't see that as hyperbole, but an actual area where IU basketball could excel this season relative to other Big Ten programs. If Hulls, Zeller, and Pritchard can just be as solid as I expect them to be at the other starting positions, if Abell is able to provide a little depth at guard, and with a healthy Elston and Sheehey also coming off the bench... OK, I'm starting to get a little excited about this season.
It's been a rough couple of weeks, but things should get better for Hoosier sports fans. Go Hoosiers!