Indiana Basketball: Jordan Hulls a Huge Disappointment on Defensive End

Eric SmithCorrespondent IIIJanuary 28, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, IN - JANUARY 15: Cody Zeller #40 and Jordan Hulls #1 of the Indiana Hoosiers defend the basket against Jared Berggren #40 of the Wisconsin Badgers during the game at Assembly Hall on January 15, 2013 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

I've been on Indiana Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean all year about being a leader. He's failed to make adjustments all year and almost looks as if he doesn't know what's going on. He hasn't developed his players and is not doing enough to win games.

Indiana's success has been a byproduct of the talent on this team rather than coaching leading them there.

The Hoosiers should still be undefeated in that their two losses were due to being out-coached. They were a plus-77 in the first half of Big Ten games entering yesterday's game with Michigan State, but a minus-21 in the second half. That stat alone says that he's not making the necessary adjustments at the half to lead the Hoosiers.

Crean still has a ton of adjustments to make this year, but one he did make was the reason why Indiana won on Sunday.

Yes, Michigan State hit 11 three-point shots and nearly beat IU from long distance. But the reason why the Spartans hit so many threes was due to Indiana being in a 2-3 zone.

Many wondered why the Hoosiers were still in the zone when they were getting lit up and why they didn't go back to man-to-man action. The reason was because Coach Crean couldn't trust his guards to stay in front of the ball. He would rather give up long lower-percentage shots over layups any day.

I applaud Crean for figuring out Jordan Hulls is a terrible defender and a huge liability. He knew he needed Hulls on the offensive end hitting shots and had to hide him on the other end. Playing a zone when you're not a strong zone team usually means you're hiding weak on ball defenders. That's exactly why IU is doing that.

The Hoosiers are actually a pretty bad zone team. It's actually becoming a liability. But Crean knows he can't get out of the zone, because the minute he does, Hulls will be exposed.

In the two losses, Hulls gave up big buckets by not being able to stay in front of his man. It's something that's so simple to do, but he just can't do it.

If the bench would show any kind of effort, Hulls wouldn't be starting and they wouldn't be forced to play zone for most of a game. Remy Abell and Will Sheehey are pretty good defenders, but they are struggling to put the ball in the bucket.

The moral of the story is that Crean finally is making an adjustment in hiding Hulls, but it still may get Indiana beat if the others don't step up.