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Blame who you want to blame

Who’s to blame for Indiana’s struggles? You pick.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Who’s fault?

Let’s play the blame game, I love you, more
Let’s play the blame game for sure
Let’s call out names, names, I hate you, more
Let’s call out names, names, for sure

One cannot narrow down Indiana’s struggles this year to one singular thing. That’s almost never the case in college basketball. When a team spirals in such a manner that Indiana has over the last month, there are a multitude of culprits. So blame who you want to blame.

Indiana is a mediocre basketball team. Indiana might be a mediocre basketball program! Point your fingers at your preferred target. At least you’re acknowledging that there’s an issue!

If you want to blame the players, go for it. The “lack” of talent on the roster has been clear in Big Ten play. Some players are careless with the ball. Some are non-factors on offense. Just about everyone on the roster can’t hit the broad side of a barn from the perimeter. There are two all-league talents in the starting lineup and other highly rated recruits on the roster, but sometimes that still isn’t enough. You can scream and shout about how next year will be better. Sure. Fine. The players playing now are the ones that started the year with a 12-2 record that included wins over Marquette and Louisville. But they’re the ones playing the games, after all, and the results warrant their share of ire.

Maybe the lack of talent is Tom Crean’s fault. After all, he left Archie Miller with a roster that was hindered due to APR rules. It’s his fault that his recruits haven’t panned out into what we thought! The cupboard was bare! It’s a serious rebuild! These are my talking points and I’m sticking to them! That’s fine too. Indiana’s former head coach is not without blame. Your message board posts have made that very clear. He can be your scapegoat if you so choose.

Indiana’s current head coach is also not without blame. When a team that looks uninterested and unprepared as this Indiana team has looked lately, some of that falls on the coach. Granted, he’s not the one out there turning the ball over, making poor defensive reads or missing wide open shots. But some of the onus is on him to get his guys ready. If the team comes out with no energy at home on a regular basis, maybe some of that stems from the top. Maybe the lack of skill and talent on the roster is from a lack of player development. You could say that he failed to address glaring needs on the roster. High level coaches figure out how to battle through these storms. What changed between the end of December and now? Did the team quit on the coach? Is there internal strife in the locker room? Archie Miller is the head coach, so he’s going to get his share of the blame. Whether you like it or not, he’s probably here for another couple of years, at least.

Perhaps the issues stem from the athletic department. Should we be pointing fingers at Fred Glass? He’s the one who hired Archie Miller. Did he miss on the hire? As an athletic director at Indiana, shouldn’t your primary job be to help Indiana basketball return to prominence once again? Fred Glass has failed to do that, so let’s yell at him!

But wait! Maybe Fred Glass is doing the best with the hand that he’s been dealt. After all, money from the Big Ten Network that could have been spent on athletics projects such as a football practice facility or a new exclusive living quarters for the basketball program has been siphoned off by Indiana University President Michael McRobbie for other projects. How can Indiana basketball succeed if the university administration is holding them back?

Barring a sudden change of fortune, Indiana will finish the season out in mediocrity. A third straight year of missing the NCAA Tournament will cause a fanbase that already has perpetual anxiety to hash out who’s most deserving of the blame until the 2019 season tips off.

Whoever you want to blame, blame them. Everyone played a part in this. That’s just part of the Blame Game.