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Wheels Falling Off At IU?

Tom Crean is likely feeling some heat after the last few days.

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Tom Crean usually isn't this glum, but if he isn't glum now, he never will be.
Tom Crean usually isn't this glum, but if he isn't glum now, he never will be.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into this season, Tom Crean was facing a lot of pressure. There was overcoming the loss of Noah Vonleh and a sense of backsliding after a 17-15 season. Is that fair?

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It's hardly ever fair to evaluate strictly on wins and losses even though that's the bottom line. Les Robinson was a better man than Cliff Ellis. Cliff Ellis won a lot more games, so he got more time and chances.

Indiana may struggle this year or not - we don't know enough to tell. But what's happened over the last couple of days could become season defining - and possibly fatal to Crean.

First there was the bizarre incident this weekend when underage freshman Emmitt Holt allegedly drank (he blew a 0.025) and then ran into teammate Devin Davis, who suffered a serious head injury. Police determined that Davis walked in front of the car.

On Monday, Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson were suspended, allegedly for failed drug tests, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman.

Holt was also suspended.

So how is all this playing with new Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel?

About as we might have expected. He's found a handy target.

We don't even disagree entirely, but Doyel's the jackal in the pack who goes after the wounded animal. It's just his M.O. to snap at the wounded.

It's fascinating to think about the succession at IU if Crean is forced out. There would be a strong urge to restore the Knight legacy if possible by hiring a former player/assistant.

On the other hand, a whole lot of Indiana faithful would cast their eyes towards Boston with the hope of luring Brad Stevens back to the state with a bigger and better platform. Indiana offers a lot that Butler just can't.

Unfortunately for them, it just might be too soon. Stevens is in Year II with Boston and there are some promising signs.

It's hard to imagine that Indiana supporters will put up with much more though, and Indiana is a special job. It's not like Kentucky, where you can play fast and loose with the rules, or UNC, where actual classwork was optional for a couple of decades.

You have to do things the right way. Mike Davis didn't entirely get it; Crean seems to be struggling. His A.D. is publicly supportive, but you know how that goes: he may change his mind before too much longer, particularly if large donors pressure him.

Anyway, keep an eye on IU. Things may get very interesting before long.