What other kinds of challenges can Tom Crean have next season? What else can happen to a team that won't have any returning scholarship players to start the season?
Maybe Indiana should play with the old three-point line while all the Hoosiers' opponents get the newer, shorter one. Should the Hoosiers only get two timeouts in a half? Or maybe they should all be forced to wear Chuck Taylors, like Branch McCracken's team would've.
It was already going to be a long season in Bloomington. Not having redshirt senior forward Kyle Tabor for the next 10 weeks isn't going to be a huge setback, but it's just one of those things that piles onto an already a brutal players exodus.
Eric Gordon and D.J. White went to the NBA. Armon Bassett and JaMarcus Ellis were dismissed from the team, as was DeAndre Thomas. Promising sophomore Jordan Crawford transferred to Xavier, while Eli Holman got mad enough to transfer to Detroit.
To top it off, incoming freshman Devin Ebanks opted out of his letter-of-intent and headed to West Virginia.
Now Crean, he of the big new contract with the Hoosiers, has his biggest coaching job ahead of him. A losing record and no postseason tournament seem likely. But Crean should have other concerns.
Seeing Indiana last among Big Ten teams would like seeing the Washington Colonels beat the Harlem Globetrotters. It just doesn't happen (only twice since 1925). The Hoosiers have won nearly 60 percent of their Big Ten games, best in the conference.
Still, finishing last in the Big Ten can be overcome (though I doubt IU fans would forget anytime soon). The tougher task is rebuilding Indiana, which Crean has started doing. He's putting together a decent 2009 freshman class, with more interested in what he's building.
There better be more, though. The 2008-09 season is gonna be rough on one of college hoops' proudest programs. It'll be up to Crean how long it lasts.