The Minute After: Northwestern

  • 02/07/2010 7:15 pm in

Sorry for the tardiness here, ended up stopping for a bite to eat on the way back down from Evanston to Chicago. In an effort to make amends, here’s a photo of Tom Crean at the United Center last night taking in Dwyane Wade vs. the Bulls.

The most telling sign this was just not IU’s day?

For all the Hoosier fans inside Welsh-Ryan Arena — and there were plenty of them, as is usually the case for this game — only twice was there a reason to stand up and cheer. Just before half when the Hoosiers cut it to nine after the Daniel Moore steal and Jeremiah Rivers layup, IU fans got on their feet, but they were quickly silenced when NW’s Mike Capocci dunked it home with just a few ticks left on the clock.

And in the second half when IU cut it down to 11 with 7:03 to go, the first and only collective “IU clap clap” cheer emanated down from the rafters.

But it was short lived.

What this afternoon came down to was Northwestern comfortably and effectively running their offensive sets, and Hoosiers doing anything but. When the Wildcats weren’t getting those easy buckets off their patented back cuts and screens, they were going to their bread and butter this season: the 3-point shot. Almost 40 percent of their points came on threes today, as they hit 10-of-25 for 40 percent. They also shot a blistering 52.1 percent for the game. They executed all game long, and scored 78 points — almost 10 points over their season average.

Conversely, IU looked lost offensively, and rare was it they got a good look or easy lay-in. Northwestern’s defense didn’t allow them to get into a flow or rhythm; shot-clock violations ran rampant. You have to wonder if after playing two emotional games against rivals, it allowed for a bit of a mental letdown against a squad with lesser talent today.

And how’s this one for you: Devan Dumes, Bobby Capobianco, Jordan Hulls, Derek Elston and Tom Pritchard were a combined 2-of-19 for the game. Outside of Verdell Jones — who scored a career-high 28 points — and Christian Watford — 5-of-11, 16 points — the Hoosiers only got another 17 points from the rest of their roster. They only shot 35.3 percent for the game, and missed all seven threes they took in the second half. It’s hard to come back from a double-digit deficit in the second half when you’re not knocking down shots.

IU was just never able to score on consecutive trips down the floor, while also getting a few stops on defense to try and make a run to get this thing close in the second half.

It’s frustrating, because outside of the shooting, some of the Hoosiers’ usual pitfalls weren’t issues today: they had a season-low eight turnovers, and hit 23-of-27 free throws for 85.2 percent.

Alright, this was nothing profound (as per usual), and I’ve barely paid attention to the Super Bow here, so I’m going to end it here.

On to the next one.

Filed to:

  • ldiu

    Let''s be honest; we were outplayed and outcoached and outprepared by a better team. The die was cast when Rivers turned the ball over 2 times in the first minute and it got worse from there.
    That being said, why does CTC sub in when we do make a “little” run at the end of the first half?

    Oh well………it probably would not have mattered…….they were just plain better!!

    If it werent' for VJIII; we would be luck to score 30. I just love the dribble and stand offense.

  • Dirk

    I started to watch the game on my DVR and 5 minutes into it said, “I'm not going to waste my time watching another lackluster effort against a beatable team on a Sunday.” So I skipped ahead to the end of the first half, to the beginning of the second half, to the middle of the second half, and to the end. I saw enough to be sickened. They were always a step out of position and a step slow against a mediocre team. Make no mistake, Northwestern is not a good basketball team. And freshman are inconsistent.

  • sacajacabuncar

    Just leave players on the bench when they don't produce. Why do we leave Dumes in when he continues to screw up time and time again? Why do we leave Rivers in when he continues to turn the ball over. Just leave the players in that are playing well. Why take out Jones when he is playing well? Makes no sense. Other teams play guys 35-40 minutes, why don't we? We played a team that has a player or two playing that much time. If they are playing well and things are flowing, let them play. Jones should never have come out at all today. Dumes should have been yanked immediately in the second half after his errant pass lead to a score. Send the message, screw up once ok, but screw up all through the first half and when you come in in the second half and screw up, it's bench time for the rest of the game. Sick and tired of seeing non producing players continuing to get playing time.

  • ronb

    If someone told me that IU played Northwestern and Jones had 28, Watford 16, rebounds 33-32,10 offense rebounds for IU, only 8 turnovers, we got 7 steals and shot 85% from the charity stripe, I would have said how bad did we beat them?? All the areas we always worry about were great but guess what you have to make shots! Shots that went down in the last 2 games did not go down today. Bench points were every low 8 points. The guys off the bench who we depend on are Dumes he was 0-7 TTL PTS=0 and Hulls was 1-4 TTL PTS=4, and Capo 0-3 TTL PTS=0. We need them to score to have a chance to win. The team was 2-17 from 3 land or about 11%. Good Shooting can cover up a lot of things done wrong but poor shooting won't let you win even if you
    play well. This is a team that causes coaches to pull their hair out! Fans too! Hopefully this team learned a lesson today no matter who you play in the Big Ten, away from home, they can and will beat you if you can't hit your shots. Assists are important also, we had 10 assists on 51 shots while they had 21 assists on 48 shots. One of these days soon this team will have a break through game and put a complete game together and when the do watch out. Good things may be
    just around the corner. Keep the faith,keep the faith!

  • Bryan

    Not really surprising – with the number of threes that Northwestern put up, it felt much more like the Ohio State game, which was also a case where the other team ran away from IU early, and used perimeter shooting to keep the game out of reach. The team has grown in many respects since the start of the season. Unfortunately, defending the 3 point shot still doesn't seem like one of those areas that has seen much improvement.

    Worse, when the Wildcats were hitting them, some of our guys tried a little too vainly to match (how many possessions were wasted on threes with no one remotely in position to chase down a rebound).

  • Druid

    Personally I am tired of excuses and inconsistent play. Here we are late in the season and we still look like a out of control high school team. I was under the impression that this years recruits were a top ten class. You sure wouldn’t know it by our pathetic play. Basic basketball fundimentals seem to be a challenge and passion is at times a attribute we seem to have lost. When Crean talks about what the players need to understand and do he should realize that the players as well as the coaches don’t seem to understand that us fans spend hard earned money and time supporting this team. In return they should give their all every game representing us the fans, their team, and IU. It is my belief that they have failed at this in several games this year. Yesterday was one of those games. When Jones and Watford accounted for all but 17 points I think something is wrong. Where was that top ten class? Why when it was obvious we weren’t playing basketball like men, did Coach Crean not sit everybody but Watford and Jones on the bench and bring in the other team members . When you have a walk on like Moore who can come in and get two quick scores, there is something bad wrong with the top ten class folks. I think that these kids needs to grow a pair and play like men or perhaps they should consider transferring to a D2 school where they can play with some other folks with similar ineptness. Frankly I’m sick of the bs.

  • marsh21

    Agreed, but NW is a solid team at home and have proved it all year. This loss is no surprise.

  • JerryCT

    RONB details the stats that actually tell us what happened ……………….by what is NOT reported.

    We simply could NOT get stops on defense. Let me ask everybody…………which team did you have the most confidence in running a half court offense ? Did you have any confidence that we could get a stop ?

    Jones continues to kill the other team on offense and us on defense. Moore was breath of fresh air on defense.

    Still I love to watch the NW offensive sets and work ehtic……..a thing of beauty really. We got beat by a team that played much better basketball.

  • Hoosiered

    Defense was very poor and we just aren't strong enough to finish at the tin.

  • jpniles

    Let's look at this psychologically. I know everyone is tired of hearing it, but this is a young team. This is a young team who has come off of two very hard losses. There has to be some kind of psychological effect from the games against Illinois and Purdue. When we lost to Purdue the way we did, I almost automatically counted this “winable” game as a loss.

    There are a couple positives that I see in the last three games:
    1) The consistency of VJII – He could be a real beast next year!
    2) It seems as though there is a different #2 guy every game whether it be Watford, Hulls, Pritch, or whoever. We just need MORE! But the ground work is there. SomeONE seems to step up.

    The next few years are going to be great. Let's hold on Hoosier faithful!

  • Two biggest signs a team is young and inexperienced. 1) They don't play well on the road. 2) They play up to the level of their competition and down to the level of their competition.

    Especially with #2, we've seen IU beat or play well against Pitt, Kentucky, Purdue, Illinois twice and Minnesota. We've also seen them lose to our play bad against BU, Loyola, Iowa, NW and George Mason.

    I know it gets old, but this a young team, that for the most part, is going through the Big Ten for the first time. You mentioned how good the '09 class was supposed to be, well that's one class! One class! Not an entire team. IU has one real recruiting class and VJIII, that's it!

    I for one am disappointed with yesterday's game, but very proud and excited about the job CTC is doing this year, and with how well the team has done against some of the better teams they've faced.

  • HoosierSmitty

    I didn't say anything after the Purdue loss, because after I demolished my living room and kitchen of anything in my path, I had nothing left to give. Obviously I got over it, because we gave it a great effort…but 1 and BONUS FT opportunities steam me like nothing else.

    I don't really have much to add about this game either. We just got outplayed and we weren't mentally ready for this game. You could just tell the body language wasn't the same as it was against Illinois and Purdue.

    On the bright side, Watford played a strong game and complimented the ridiculous effort by Verdell Jones. I find myself thinking lately, “Wow, VJ III is really only a sophomore?”

  • Mark

    Does Dumes actually think taking 30 foot 3-pointers is what creates good offense? It's guaranteed that he gets the “AIR-BALL” chant EVERY road game. He took one good 3 and it was off a good defensive possession which lead to a wide open transition 3, which didn't go in. Other then that, all terrible shots. I know he's stepped up since Creek went down but he's only affective when the 3 goes down. Next year, when we don't have Dumes, we will have Victor Oladipo. V.O. will bring in MORE energy in one game then Dumes can in 2 seasons. I know I'm hard on Dumes right now but I'm being realistic. With everyone coming back next year, except for Tijan + Dumes, and adding V.O. (who can box-out/rebound/block better then Tijan and defend/bring more energy then D.D.), we should be significantly better. Just wait till VJ is a senior and C-Wat-Creek-Elston-Hulls are juniors, we will be the toughest team in the Big 10. Let's just hope that Pritchard is a developed big man by them who can hit the 8-10 foot jump shot.

  • Hardwood83

    This pretty much summarizes my thoughts too. I'm not happy about the ugly loss to NW, or Iowa or ….fill in the blank, but Alex nailed it in his headline 'IU lacks toughness'. Not a matter of talent (in THIS particular game anyway) or coaching, it's development. Physically & mentally That takes time. Sucks sure, but just the way it works. It is pretty easy to see a pattern here- IU plays well couple of times- then a let down often against lesser teams. That is all youth & lack of mental toughness. Winning is an attitude not just physical tools, coaching and schemes. Not that anyone deserves a free pass (especially for lack of hustle) but it's not unexpected.

  • Seems to me you are not a supporting fan. Just an angry one. Perhaps you should become a UK fan. Your post would fit on their message board more appropriately. Even a young top 10 class needs the support of a veteran leader. TC was left with nothing. Name another program in the nation in your memory that has been stuck with this task? If you expected a .500 team this year you are the fool. Everyone picked us to finish at the bottom of the big ten. That's where we are at. If you ask me we are doing what young inexperienced teams do. Play inconsistent. To say that this team is a let down or to say Coach Crean is a let down is pretty petty.

  • marcusgresham

    …and hopefully Pritchard won't be the only option at big man—even if he does develop, there needs to be some depth there to survive the Big 10 season

  • Andrew

    Aww, poor Druid. I love the “hard earned money” comment, especially since I spent my hard-earned money to attend the game yesterday. I'm not asking for a refund, because I realize that IU is relying exclusively on first and second-year players. Repeat after me: this team owes you or me nothing, other than to play hard. And just b/c they shot 35% yesterday doesn't mean they didn't play hard; it just means they aren't very good, hardly a revelation if you've spent any time at all watching IU play this season. You constantly reference the top 10 recruiting class, all but calling it a failure. Are you aware that 1. They are exactly 22 games into their collective careers, and 2. They do not have their best player, the one who was averaging 16 points a game before his knee exploded? I know, I know, you probably consider these excuses. But in reality these are facts.

  • Well said. No one has had the patience and faith the university asked for when we hired Crean. This is actually his 1st year if you ask me. Last year should not have even counted towards his rebuilding phase of the team.

  • Great post! I for one am growing very frustrated with the segment of fans that lack the patience to see this through. Nobody said this rebuild was going to be overnight. I'm actually really enjoying this ride and watching this process. It's going to be even more fun when this all comes together.

    I don't know if it will be next year, the following or even the one after that, but from what I've seen, I'm confident it will happen. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have criticisms along the way, but I'd just rather deal in the constructive and well though out ones.


    After much chin in palm deep thinking I have come to the conclusion that a very large portion of my, and I think alot of other peoples's, frustration is a direct result of our progress. It seems harder to take now that we have seen how good they are capable of playing at times. Expectations have went up since they suprised us with the progress that they have shown in a few games. People, expectations can only go up if we are progressing and showing flashes of what is to come in the future. Show no progress and no one expects to win. At the begining of the year if someone had told me that Creek was probably going to be freshman of the year in the B10 but then he was going to have a season ending injury right before the B10 starts I, along with just about everyone else who knows anything about bball, would have said that there was more than likely no way in hell we were going to beat the best team that Northwestern has had in 50 years on their home court. Yet most of us thought we had a very good chance of getting a W at NW the expectation of winning was there and that in itself is progress.


    You are not the only one that is tremendously frustrated but we as fans must realize that this is just the way it is right now. I would be willing to bet that IU is a whole lot younger team overall than any team that has come onto NW's court and went home with a loss. I guess all of those teams are very flawed in at alot of things too. This year this is just how it is. In 2 or 3 years from now if this kind of thing happens as often as it has this year then I will be right there with you asking the tough questions. Just because we have had one top ten recriuting class does not automatically equate to a winning season espicially not when they come in under the set ot circumstances they came in under. A top ten class of recruits does not equate to that even if you have a solid team in place e.g. North Carolina. You have to admit and remember this year is really the first year for CTC to start rebuilding. If you will remember last year VJ3 was, for the most part, the type of player that you are complaining about and look at him this year. You do not seem like someone that has a whole lot of patience and trust me that is by far not my best quality but we have got to find a way to have some and do our part as true IU fans to back these guys WIN OR LOSE.

  • aceman07

    I totally agree! I know there are times that we will question a coach for something he did during a game and that's okay. The key to this whole thing is to realize that a game mistake or two is going to happen to every coach, but IU fans should be in this for the long haul and realize that healing in a program like this where the damage was almost irreparable doesn't happen over night! Look at Baylor and how long in took Scott Drew to build something out of complete and utter nothingness!

    Good post BGleas and Shannon! I say critique the individual performances on any given night and even critique the coach if you want, but don't be stupid and blame CTC for the position we're in! He's doing a great job and the future definitely looks brighter than it did just a few months ago!

  • aceman07

    Baylor! Dennehy's murder happened before the 03-04 season and they just made the NIT LAST YEAR!!! Now, granted Baylor isn't a top tier program by any stretch of the imagination but it took Scott Drew and the university 5 years to have a season where they were nationally on the radar and they will make the NCAA tournament this year (most likely). So, if we factor in the fact that this is Indiana it should stand to reason that 3-4 years is a realistic expectation. Right?

  • Yes you are right! Baylor is a perfect example of the position IU is in. I actually think we are worse off simply because of our history! The nation expects us to be top tier every year!