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What Should We Expect from Tom Crean?

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Hanging a banner is the goal, but how reasonable is it to expect right now?

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Duke. Wisconsin. Kentucky. Michigan State. The 2015 Men's Final Four. A group that yet again fails to include Indiana, which would normally be a cause for serious concern. And a large portion of you reading this just blanched at "normally", which is the real reason I have to write this article.

As Indiana fans, we expect to contend for a national championship every year. Because we've won 5 in the past, we always believe number 6 is right around the corner. It's on this metric that Tom Crean is being judged, and a large portion of why people aren't happy with the job that Crean has done is that he hasn't gotten Indiana even on the cusp of being a national championship contender.

Crean has been the head coach at IU since April 2008. Of the four coaches coming to Indianapolis with their teams for the Final Four, only one has been at his current school for less time than Crean has been in Bloomington, that being John Calipari. Bo Ryan is the second "newest" in his position, having taken over at Wisconsin for the 2001-02 season, also known as the last time IU was in the national championship game. I think it's fair to say that longevity at one school can contribute to building a very successful program, and unless you think Crean is as good or better at coaching than John Calipari, he might need some time to get some consistency going to meet Indiana's hopes. Remember, up until about 2000, Wisconsin basketball was a mid-tier Big Ten program most years, and even under Bo Ryan, Wisconsin made exactly 1 trip beyond the Sweet Sixteen before last year. It took Coach K six years at Duke to finally get past the round of 32, and Tom Izzo dipped into the NIT twice before tasting any kind of NCAA tournament success. The fact that Tom Crean skipped straight past the NIT with his first postseason Hoosier team and got them into the Sweet Sixteen is pretty good, as it turns out.

Don't get me wrong, Tom Crean may not be the coach to lead the Hoosiers back to Monday Night. However, it's a bit hasty to make that call right now. Basically no coach succeeds immediately even in the perfect situation, so giving Crean another year to build on what he's brought in and try to make a cohesive unit from it is actually in our best interests. Mike Davis got six full years to build his squad after the end of the Bob Knight era; why can't Tom Crean have at least 5 meaningful years to try and do the same or better? If the 2015-16 season continues to be a year of wheel spinning, then you can start exploring if a better option is out there. For now, what's the harm in one more year?