Indiana Hoosiers head coach Crean watches in their East Regional NCAA men's basketball game against the Syracuse Orange in Washington

Tom Crean, Indiana coaching staff respond to Wall Street Journal article, calling Hoosiers’ underachievers (VIDEO)

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On Tuesday, a summer news conference for the Indiana University men’s basketball team turned into a rant by associate head coach Tim Buckley against a Wall Street Journal article calling last season’s Indiana Hoosiers “historic underachievers.”

The WSJ article appeared in the July 1 edition of the paper under the headline: ‘The Biggest Underachiever in NCAA History.’ (a portion of the article can be seen here). The article ran days after Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller went No. 2 and No. 4, respectively, in the NBA Draft and pointed out that this Hoosiers’s team underachieved more than any other team, based on similar talent, in NCAA tournament history. The Journal grouped Indiana with other programs that had two top-5 picks in the same season.

Indiana was one of three teams to only make the Sweet Sixteen in those seasons. The other two were Duke’s Jay Williams and Mike Dunleavy in 2002 — though the won a title the previous season. The first was North Carolina’s Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins in 1984, but both were on the ’82 title team.

During Tuesday’s press conference Buckley, fired back, citing the remarkable job Tom Crean has done given the state the program was in when he took over in 2008 (as seen in the video above):

“We’re pretty proud of this group. And we’re disappointed as much as anybody else with not going further in the NCAA tournament. Our fifth-place team (Michigan) in the Big Ten played for the national championship. That’s how good this league was. And for us to do it night in and night out; I don’t think we ever lost two games in a row.

“Someone point out to me what was underachieved from April 1, 2008, until we went through draft night. I’m going to speak to that because I know what everybody up here put into it, I know what everybody’s family put into it, I know what every one of the players and their families put into it.”

Tom Crean used his own Twitter account on Tuesday to praise Oladipo and Zeller for their accomplishments and what they had meant to a program that needed new life.

According this formula concocted by the Wall Street Journal, yes the Hoosiers underachieved in 2012-2013. But let’s put it all in perspective, Indiana was the top team in the nation’s best conference. Let’s go even broader, players like Oladipo and Zeller brought the Indiana program back to relevance. So underachievers might be a tough label to pin on them.

[h/t David Woods of the Indianapolis Star]

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Some conference matchups play out before football

Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, left, reacts after scoring a basket against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Oregon defeated Utah 77-59. (AP Photo/George Frey)
(AP Photo/George Frey)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Utah at No. 16 Oregon, 4:00 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:

Utah suffered one of the worst losses I’ve seen in a while on Thursday night, when Brandon Taylor, for some unknown reason, decided to foul an Oregon State player firing up a half court prayer at the buzzer. The Utes, who are arguably the second-best team in the Pac-12, will look to bounce-back on Sunday against the best team in the Pac-12, No. 16 Oregon at 4:00 p.m.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. No. 12 SMU will attempt to stay atop the American standings as they travel to South Florida. While the Mustangs won the first matchup between these two teams at home by 14, they’ve dropped their last two games on the road.

2. A few more American contests are going down as East Carolina travels to UConn and Houston heads to Tulsa. The game between the Cougars and Golden Hurricane is especially interesting because both teams are sitting two games back of SMU and trying to make a move on the postseason.

3. No. 5 Iowa continues the soft part of the schedule as they face Illinois on the road. The Hawkeyes posted recent easy victories over Northwestern and Penn State and will be heavily favored again on Sunday.

4. Could be an intriguing game as No. 17 Miami travels to Georgia Tech. Although the Yellow Jackets aren’t a major contender in the ACC, they’ve been tough this season, especially at home. The Hurricanes fell victim to Georgia Tech last season while they were ranked by Marcus Georges-Hunt has to get back on track after a recent slump for that to happen.

5. There is an Atlantic 10 game that will be featured on NBCSN on Sunday: Saint Louis at St. Bonaventure (2:00 p.m.).

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Sunday afternoon.

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.