Ah, Tom Crean. Truly no single coach draws as much ire as Indiana's head coach. And, let's be honest, he deserves a lot of it, but certainly not all of it. Shoot, the fact that Indiana fans literally chanted "Crean sucks" at HIS SON'S BASKETBALL GAME may be the best argument for shutting down college athletics there is. It's beyond over the top.
But let's play a game. I give you a starting lineup, you tell me how far the team should go. Last year against Northwestern, Indiana started Will Sheehey, Noah Vonleh, Austin Etherington, Troy Williams, and Yogi Ferrell. I remind you that Vonleh was a lottery pick, Yogi Ferrell is a first team All-Big Ten player this year, and Troy Williams and Will Sheehey can jump over entire small Russian villages (probably). This team made no postseason tournament. Not even a freaking NIT.
And so, it is with no remorse that I devote an entire article to making fun of Mr. Crean. For the record, I have no opinion on whether Crean should be fired. All I know is that he is 4-8 against Northwestern and that I don't like his face. Neither of these are grounds for dismissal. I think.
We start with what has become an instant classic. This was taken before Indiana's first round loss to Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament last year. There is so much to love about this picture. First, there's Shon Morris, who is an awesome person, and is also very tall. Morris looks oddly aware of the fact that he is going to be part of internet history. It's like he knew Tom Crean's face was contorted into a mix between confusion, depression, and a touch of anger. It's zenith Crean, and it may be my favorite screen grab ever.
But let's dig a little deeper.
(Photo: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)
Tom Crean is a normal sized human being. His body shape is standard. His height is standard. He's not especially portly or thin. That's what makes his inability to buy pants all the more fun. Why does he buy pants so big that he has to hoist them up to his rib cage? It doesn't make sense. Indiana fans hate it too.
Name another coach who's fashion sense is cited as a serious character flaw. I'll wait. I for one love the pants. They give us GIFs like this:
If you know anything about me and my opinions of Tom Crean, this next picture will not be a surprise.
(Photo: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports)
Wait, that's not Crean. It's the Harbaughs! But wait, did you know that Tom Crean's brothers in laws are, in fact, the Harbaughs? YES! Jim and John Harbaugh are related-ish to Tom Crean! This piece of trivia is only known by very few, since Crean is so very reluctant to mention it. You really have to push him for him to talk about his relationship with his brothers in law. His aversion to name dropping is admirable. /end sarcasm
Anyway, Tom Crean is woefully outnumbered by fake Tom Creans on twitter. We're talking about Persians vs Spartans at Thermopylae level number gaps. Which is a shame, because Tom Crean's twitter is perfectly fine. Sure it's mostly retweets and bible quotes, but I stand by that it's worth a follow. But then every time you see a Tom Crean tweet, you have to look at this picture.
Look at this smug grin. This half-open-half-closed mouth. The center-part of his hair. The unbuttoned top button. How everything south of his eyes is somehow rakishly tilted to the right. Everything about this look makes me angry. It's unfair. It's mean, I know. But come on. This look screams "Oh you got an A-? Yeah it was a hard test. I'm so shocked I got a 97. I could've sworn I failed it." Shut up, Tom.
We wrap with this image.
Why is Tom Crean so angry? Was it when Yogi Ferrell missed a foul shot with only a few seconds left with Indiana down one? Was it when the top seeded Indiana Hoosiers got scrubbed by Syracuse in the Sweet 16 due to an inability to attack a 2-3 zone? Was it after getting swept by Purdue in a season series? Let's expand the image further.
NO. IT WAS AFTER A CHRISTIAN WATFORD BUZZER BEATER TO BEAT THE NUMBER ONE TEAM IN THE COUNTRY. Tom, why are you so mad? This should be one of the highest moments of your career. Yet you show indignation. Why. Maybe he was waiting for the official to confirm that the shot counted. I don't care. It's like Crean is asking us to take pictures of him, post them to the internet, and make fun of them. I am willing to oblige.
Indiana vs. Northwestern, if angry Indiana twitter is to be believed, may well be Tom Crean's finale. I intend to savor it. If Northwestern hands Crean yet another loss, you best believe we'll be adding yet more pictures to the Tom Crean hall of fame. Here's hoping.