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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, February 12, 2017 4:44 pm

Notebook: Plea for leadership rings out as IU struggles

Chris Goff | The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON — After Indiana lost 75-63 to Michigan on Sunday at Assembly Hall, coach Tom Crean stressed that the Hoosiers' 1-5 nosedive "all falls" on his shoulders.

However, Crean also lamented a deficit in player-driven leadership that continues to plague a rotation that includes three freshmen, two sophomores and no seniors.

"Our maturity has got to (rise)," Crean said, "and I'm in here as far as I need to get to work and continue to figure out more ways that this team can compete on the defensive end and find easier ways to get them baskets. (Sophomore center) Thomas Bryant is playing his tail off to become a leader of the team, and he needs a little more help."

On-court communication has been an issue all season.

"Again our ball-screen coverages and things like that weren't nearly as good," Crean said. "At some point in time, the window's got to crack, and we're going to have a little bit of real leadership during the game. At some point in time, we're going to communicate."

Junior swingman Robert Johnson was asked if a players-only meeting had been considered in the locker room.

"I mean, I don't know, to be honest," Johnson said. "I just think at the end of the day we have to all come together and do whatever it takes. If that's what it takes, maybe that's something we should think about, but at the end of the day we just all have to come together and decide that we're going to get better once and for all."

Ranking differences: Even factoring in Sunday's result, Indiana was 49th in the computer ranking, though the Hoosiers had tumbled to 88th in Ratings Percentage Index, a formula used by the NCAA tournament selection committee to choose the 68-team field.

Crean takes a fall: A Michigan player accidentally ran into Crean, who was knocked backward into the scorer's table in the first half.

"I can wear a lot," Crean said with a smile. "I took the (Moe) Wagner hit. Jumped right up. I hope I get some credit for that. Didn't even bat an eye."