Good, Bad and Ugly: Penn State

  • 01/21/2010 10:14 pm in

THE GOOD: BENDING, NOT BREAKING.

Heck of a win tonight in Happy Valley.

Sure, Penn State was a meek 0-5 in the Big Ten heading into this game, but a young  Hoosiers team like this isn’t supposed to get conference road wins, no matter whom the opponent is. And unlike we’ve seen in previous road adventures, IU came out of the gate tonight and controlled the game from the onset. They hit shots early — was that Jeremiah Rivers hitting two jumpers? — didn’t look scared, and  played with a swagger and confidence we’ve yet to see outside of Assembly Hall in conference play.

It was really just the perfect set of circumstances for the Hoosiers tonight: they came off arguably their biggest win of the year against Minnesota on Sunday, and their next game just happened to be against a team that had yet to win in conference play. They had confidence, and showed it tonight.

But what was even more impressive to me this evening was not the double-digit lead IU was able to mount in the first half thanks to a hot start, it was withstanding Penn State’s run in the second half, especially when you factor in Jeremiah Rivers was basically a non-factor with his foul trouble. (Sidenote: how great is Rivers at that chase-down block on layups? Love that.) When the score got to 40-40 with 13:44 to play, and the momentum shifted in the Nittany Lions’ favor, IU held court.

Watford came down, made a nice move in the post and scored. Penn State came up empty, then Verdell Jones — who along with Devan Dumes were big keys on the offensive end — hit a three and suddenly IU was up 45-40. And though there were a few moments where I thought Penn State might have a shot to get back into it after that, there was never any real OH CRAP IS IU GOING TO WIN THIS OR WHAT moments tonight.

Calm, cool and collected on the road? I can get used to that.

THE BAD AND UGLY: BLANK SLATE.

I’ll leave this one up to you guys. I wasn’t expecting a win on the road this year, especially after how the Hoosiers looked against the Buckeyes and Wolverines earlier Big Ten season. Therefore, no gripes from me tonight.

Filed to:

  • Hoagland

    I think this is a good analysis on Pritch, but just to play devils advocate…

    I think Pritch gets a bad wrap, He wasn't brought here to score. He came to rebound and screen for Sampson, but was forced into being a scoring threat last year. We don't run as many plays his way and our offense is not set to run through him at all really. His only shot is to get an offensive board and get the points, or get a dump off on a drive. Id say hes doing decent at both of those.

    He is very frustrating at times because we all want that dominant big man, but Pritch was never supposed to be that, he was supposed to be Bobby C of this year. Do enough of the little things, give us some good minutes, but we NEED him to be a scorer and great defender and everything else. I can see him doing it, which is why hes frustrating, but he wasn't even supposed to be that until Sampson-gate.

    Last point, I know the kid makes dumb fouls, but is anyone seriously the victim of more weak foul calls than TP? He brought it on himself with his reputation of fouling, but against Ill. He could breath on anyone and get a foul. And last night he did everything possible to not fould Taylor Battle on a drive, and still got called even when he didn't touch him. It's gotta be tough to play all out and to your potential when you hold back as to not foul out any quicker than he already does.

    Wow, sorry. That was not meant as an attack on you if it came off that way, I just realized I let out all of my frustration from this season and TP not being Scott May on this post. JerryCT, you are a good poster and had some good points on TP, just wanted to offer up another look at TP. Sorry for the frustration showing through, it is not meant for you.

  • marcusgresham

    I'll nitpick just to come up with a bad and and ugly: Bad–Pritchard getting exactly one shot (a miss) in 25 minutes of PT (although he did have 6 rebounds, so he was working); Ugly–Hulls missed his only FT (ugly only because he usually knocks them down.) Hey, I said I was nitpicking!

  • CreamandCrimson

    I know, Pritchard appears to have absolutely no confidence in his offensive game. I don't know if he is still playing like the best player on the team in practice (Crean insisted on this for the first part of the year) but his confidence during the games is nonexistent.

    Good contributions from everyone who played (except Bawa).

  • GFDave

    Yes to all that you said. Pritch gives us a lot that does not show in a stat line. Also, his confidence is coming back up. I hope upon hope that he works on his face-up jumper and gets confidence in it from 10 feet in. That would be big.

  • tmeaster

    You are right. There was a time in the first half when he and TP were on the same side of the floor and the defensive players were off both of them by 5-6 feet. At some point you have to put a few of those shots in the air.

  • IUonetwo

    This may be too optimistic, but does anyone think that the Loyola loss may really come back to bite us when it comes to a NIT bid?

  • rusty95

    i can say one thing,
    if we are fortunate enough to play in the NIT, i would love to play the loserville cardinals. Seems they may be headed to that instead of the dance.

  • JerryCT

    I agree with all each of you have said. TP may be my favorite player to isolate on when I watch replays of the games. He is maybe our only player who is “on a mission” when he does not have the ball in his hands. But if Alex Ott can do what he did last night so can TP.

  • RW

    Another observation. Rivers has great timing and jump outof the gym at times to take away a fast break layup away but why not utilize his speed and get in position and take a charge. Either way that is a chance of a foul?
    That's just mytake…GO HOOSIERS!!

  • IUonetwo

    We'll see about UofL. Rick Pitino has a way turning teams around in February & March.
    I would like to see IU schedule them during non-conference play. They are overrated every year at the begging of the season, so picking them off would give IU a nice boost to start the season.

  • aceman07

    The only way we were gonna have a chance to make the NIT in my opinion is if we would have picked up 1 maybe 2 wins in Puerto Rico and then beat Loyola. Let's say IU had won 2 in PR and won the Loyola game. Instead of sitting at 9-9 they would be 12-6 and even a losing season in the Big 10 would have given them a shot at the NIT because I look at the schedule now and see probably 12 total wins maybe 13. That would only give us a record of 6-12 in the Big 10 or close to that. But it we would've had a 9-3 record in the preseason like we possibly could have if we would've held on to a few leads then we would be looking at .500 or possibly a game or two over. That's my take but I understand and expected those early season losses. I think if IU were to play those games now they might win two in PR and beat Loyola 9 of 10 times.

  • IUonetwo

    5 more regular season wins would certainly exceed expectations, but its not impossible
    1. These are games we should win if we play like last night: Iowa, @Iowa, Northwestern
    2. These are games we could steal on a good night: @Northwestern, Ohio State, @Minnesota, Wisconsin

    I think its unreasonable to expect to win more than two in the second category, so that puts us at 14-16, one win away from .500.

    The point I'm trying to make is that if this scenario would play out we would have to point to our worst loss, which is clearly the home loss to Loyola.

  • cooper

    The best thing about the game last night was IU played horrible and still won. It takes a decent team to win a game on the road when they are playing bad. IU did that last night.

    Dumes played an excellent overall game, maybe the best all year. He played great D on Battles. At one point toward the end of the game Battles was 5-15 from the field. Dumes played him great and was still able to bring energy on offense. The team came out in a fog until he started hitting shots.

    I really dont know what to think about the low post guys anymore. I've been as hard on TP as anyone but the fact is IU does not throw the ball in the post ever. I tried to look for this in the game and I don't remember seeing the ball thrown in the post one time. With that said, TP is going to need to improve because Capo is steadily getting better.

    The ugly was the entire game, it was not a fun game to watch except for the final score

  • Andrew

    Cooper, wow. I don't know which IU team you've been watching this year, but last nite's performance was far from “horrible.” We average 16 turnovers per game; last nite we had 12. We shot better overall, from 3, and from the free throw line than our average season numbers. Most importantly, we hit big shots, something that has to happen if we're gonna beat anyone. It might not have been pretty, but a team this inexperienced could never play horrible and dream of beating anyone. And it's “Battle,” not “Battles.”

  • HoosierSmitty

    No one will probably check this one again, but my suggestion for G, B, & U is this:

    The Good, the Bad, and the Unexpected.

    That way it leaves the door open to either have another positive or negative comment. If an unexpected good thing happens, then add it…if a bad unexpected thing happens, then add it. Most of our bad things are all pretty expected – Turnovers, Free Throws, etc.

    So:

    Good – We get a solid game out of Devan Dumes and he hits some timely 3s. Verdell Jones steps up and hits big shots, including a 3 after clanking most of them all night. Pritchard rebounds and Elston does his thing in his limited minutes. We never give up the lead.

    Bad – We almost let them take the lead after controlling most of the game.

    Unexpected – Bawa gets road PT, Daniel Moore hits 2 FTs, Rivers gets into foul trouble.

  • GFDave

    Excellent idea.

  • His defense is useless with 5 fouls and zero points. He needs to move along IMO. You have to be and above the rim ball player if your gonna play the post in D1 basketball. Pritch has no chance.