The Minute After: Minnesota

  • 02/20/2010 10:41 pm in

FINAL SCORE: Minnesota 81, Indiana 58

Here’s an easy way to game plan against the Hoosiers: pound it inside all game long.

As the Spartans showed us Tuesday and the Gophers displayed this evening — it works. IU just doesn’t have the length, athleticism or the skill to guard the block, and guys like Ralph Sampson III took advantage.¬† Minnesota’s guards also beat IU off the dribble on several occasions, leading to some easy points right around the rim. The Gophers scored 38 of their 81 points in the paint this evening to IU’s 16.

And when they weren’t hitting down low, they were raining threes. Minnesota hit 7-of-11 in the first half and hit 9-of-20 for the game for 45 percent. IU only shot 32 percent from the floor. Ouch.

The Hoosiers simply aren’t defending as of late. This now marks the eighth straight game their opponent has shot better from the field, to coincide with their eighth straight loss. And during this eight-game losing streak, IU has also only managed to shoot better than 40 percent twice — against Wisconsin and Purdue.

When you fail to get points in the paint and your shot gets blocked at an alarming rate¬† — in total, the Hoosiers get 12.7 percent of their shots blocked, which ranks them 332 out of the 347 Division I teams in the country — it’s hard to shoot a high percentage or be efficient, especially when your jump shots aren’t falling. Add in all the turnovers and the scoring droughts — IU failed to hit a field goal for a stretch of 9:15 in the first half; they only made two shots the last 6:05 of the second half — and you can see why the Hoosiers’ offense has struggled so bad.

If nothing else, this team is still finding a way to get to the line: they shot 22 — though only made 14 — free throws on the night to the Gophers’ 14. Without that in recent games, it’d be more ugly than it is.

“Outgunned and outmanned,” is how Kendall Gill described this one for IU tonight. I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we’ll be able to describe such a loss for this team before season’s end.

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  • Kelin Blab

    Actual thoughts during this game…..

    1. Why am I watching this?
    2. I must be IU's #1 fan cause I just keep waiting and watching every game
    3. Christian Wateford cannot get a shot off
    4. I have never seen a team get so many shots blocked by any team
    5. Why is Crean playing 8 guards when Minny is playing 8 centers?
    6. Can't wait til this season is over and 'some' recruit commits to IU so we can have something to talk about and debate.
    7. I hope Bloomington South and North Central meet in the semistate.
    8. Boy am I sleepy

  • bluegrassHoosier

    ugh

  • MikeinNC

    It does appear that as we are getting deeper into conference play the teams have seen enough IU game film to figure out how to exploit our many weaknesses. I don't see that Crean has much to lose by experimenting liberally with the line-up and strategy for the remaining games.

  • vslice

    Well call me crazy, but I actually thought the Hoosiers played well. We had a lot of energy throughout the entire game, so the idea that the team is going to collapse or quit playing is not accurate. Minnesota hit some incredible shots that were challenged. Westbrook hit 2 crazy three’s, one in which he was practically falling off the court and another with someone all over him. Once we got down is when we quit playing tough defense and thats when the lead got pushed up to 20. We have completely improved our free throw shooting, we are not being out rebounded by many if at all, and sometimes teams are hot (which seems to be the case no matter who we play lately).

    Just dont know what everyone is expecting going into Minnesota for the first time for most of these guys. It’s tough watching, but at the same time its nice to see these guys attacking the entire game. So I’m wondering who’s giving up here cause I’m watching a bunch of young freshman busting ass, but all I hear from bloggers is “why do I even watch”. I just dont understand what everyone’s expectations are. They played hard, they never gave up, they didnt have many turnovers even though they played at a quick pass the entire night. Most of these kids have never played at “The Barn” in their lives and is one of the toughest places to play even for junior’s and seniors (Just ask Wisconsin, who had is handed to em just on Thursday night). Oh well, call me crazy but I thought the Hoosiers did a lot of good things. No, we didnt play the game of the year and its hard when Minnesota is shooting lights out. Keep pushing, keep fighting and I’ll keep watching….. GO IU!!!!

  • JerryCT

    I think you are right. We fans are getting tired as well and running out of things to say we have not said before. I hope this team does not get so down on itself it self destructs. They have years of basketball in front of them yet to play.

  • marsh21

    I agree with everyone here, there is little left to comment on at this point. We need so much help and I don't see much coming.

    That ten year contract was for good reason from Crean's perspective.

  • Strummer

    Do we work on the things we do poorly at all? Because there are many things we do poorly week after week with little or no improvement, free throws, blocking out, weak side help, passing,dribbling? Still love the Hoosiers and hope they get better, think we are in need of a miracle. Hope they try some bigger lineups!

  • Luke72

    Since TC has the Raven's connection maybe he can find one of these guys with some eligiblity. Then we would have one player that might be able to block out or set a pick!

  • John

    These games are just painful to watch……

    I didn’t get that either, a 4 guard offense against size and Rivers was getting killed….

    NC Fat Boy

  • aceman07

    The low point in the game for me was when they flashed up the records for the four active freshman on their high school teams early in the game and you saw records like 26-0, 19-3, etc. Then you just watch these guys out there lost and running around like chickens with their heads cut off and you almost feel pity for them. Right when you start to feel sorry for them, they cut the lead to 18 with the ball and JR throws the most pathetic cross court, ill advised pass I have ever seen in my life! That pass would have been intercepted in a freaking wheelchair basketball game! So, I go from feeling pity for them to feel utter contempt at how a college junior could possible make that pass in that situation!!!

    Kelin, I watched the whole pathetic thing thinking the exact same things! What am I watching this game for. It's almost like passing by a horrific accident and even though you don't want to look you just can't take your eyes off of it!

    Hang in there!

  • aceman07

    Oh, and you're right on cue with the 4 guard lineup comment! Another missed free throw turned into an easy put back last night for an opponent because we only have one player on the floor over 6'5″.

  • Dirk

    They played hard, but they did not play well. They did put forth better effort than the unacceptable 3-game stretch preceding the MSU game. They crashed the boards but they didn't block out. They played with physicality but they were repeatedly out of position to provide defensive help. Sometimes they had good post feeds and other times the passing was in the “what was he thinking?” category. They tried, but the absence of upperclass leadership is glaring and Rivers' complete failure to fill that gap is troubling.

  • kentuckyhoosier

    okay ” crazy “

  • kentuckyhoosier

    does anyone have a tums , i feel sick

  • Mark

    I wonder how Bawa would be right now if TC just played him more in the early non-conference games. I here he's developing very slowly but the only way to get a true perspective on a player is to play him against “weaker” competition, but even those teams beat us.

  • cooper

    As the song says, “I've become comfortably numb” It really is like watching football. You just watch to see how they keep it close and as soon as its a blowout you find something else on. I can't watch after they go down by more than 15. I'd rather watch the Olympics

  • Kelin Blab

    Jerry….I have been biting my tongue on this comment but I can't any longer and want your and others opinion…. Why would a big post player want to come to IU when it seems in IU's offense, there is NOT a lot of opportunity for guys to be on the block and have their back to the basket. For example…we all know Pritchard has some post game/moves however we see him doing more ball screening and being on the move compared to setting up on the block. If I am a post player I want to know I will get those opportunities…..

    Does anyone else see this…….?

  • hoooooosier

    Maybe it's just me but Bawa never looked like he belonged getting serious Div. I minutes. Bawa and Tijon and to a certain extent, TP are just stop-gaps until a more talented big guy commits to IU. Bawa didn't play more earlier because TC was trying to win as many games as possible, and Bawa doesn't give IU a great chance to do that. It's going to be a rough final couple of weeks.

  • aceman07

    I agree but I think that's why he's targeted guys like Zeller in the future. I would much rather have Plumlee because from everything I've heard and what I've seen of his brothers he would be a slightly more classic style big man but I just don't think CTC is going to go hard after him because he'd rather have a running big man who can spot up and shoot from the outside rather than a low black post man. I don't get it but I guess we'll see in a couple years what he's doing? At this point I think he should invite one or two of the defensive lineman from IU's football team to join the team just so we can pretend to have a big man in there that might get a rebound! I couldn't understand why Capo didn't stay in the whole dang game because he was the only big man that played who attempted to rebound the basketball and I thought things went better when he was on the floor, but like normal he played for a few three minute spells and then, poof, he was gone!

  • valpohistory

    Someone explain to me, are you angry that we aren't winning or are you angry because you don't feel they are making improvements? I realize it's frustrating to watch this team play, and it hurts being a fan of a team that isn't winning, especially one with the history of an IU, but did you people really expect to be great this year? I looked on the recent poll in the right hand corner, people expected better from this team. I find that unbelievable. We don't have John Wall. We don't have senior leadership of players who have been through the big ten for 4 years. They have no where to turn. They are right where everyone expected them to be. They have no identity, just as Coach Crean says. They have nothing to fall back on. Be patient, I realize it's frustrating, but you have to ride the wave. We rode it when we were beating Pitt, a team we had no business beating, and now when we are starting to come down, playing the better teams from the big ten and now people are jumping off the wagon. Patience

  • aceman07

    I think we're all frustrated because we're not used to this. I for one am starting to get frustrated because things seem to be getting worse. During the 2-3 game stretch where CTC said he would play a bigger lineup and did, we were competitive at Illinois and at home against Purdue and then had one down game against NW but it was remotely close to respectable. It appears he just made that change to shut people up because after being good 2 out of 3 games we went right back to watching 3 and NOW 4 GUARDS on the floor against bigger teams like OSU, MSU, and MINN so we could watch them lob the ball over our guards for dunks and layups or get easy offensive rebound put backs! I would think that 2 out of 3 good games for this young team would have encouraged more of what we were doing during that stretch not less! Explain to me why we went long stretches last night with either TP, Capo, Elston, and even Watford (who should be a 3 man) on the floor with four guards under 6'5″??? If someone can explain to me why this is a good idea for any top tier college basketball team who wants to win then I will feel better about it, but as far as I can remember there hasn't been too many team who won an NCAA championship with a lineup like we're putting on the floor. I think UCLA back in the 60's was the last team to win with a smaller lineup and that was in an era where they were dominant and teams weren't as big anyway? I, like most, am trying to be patient and the record is just about what I expected but the fall off lately and the ridiculous lineups are driving me insane!!!

  • SSTRAUB

    The Big East seems to use the Quick 3-4 guard line up a lot and looks like Crean really wants to brig that with him. 2 or 3 years ago Villanova or Pitt was really good with a 4 guard line up.

  • aceman07

    But did they win a National Championship? I don't think you can do it with that lineup. Those teams are competitive yes, and I would argue that the difference is the one big man, but once they get to the tournament they get bounced no later than the sweet 16. And let's face it, if you're talking about the PITT team from the past couple years let's not forget about Blair who was a monster in the middle all by himself! We don't have that one player that can eat up rebounds for two so why get embarrassed game after game? It's not like it's preparing those four guards on the floor for next year when at least one starting guard is out anyway!

  • SSTRAUB

    No Im not saying I agree with it.. I was just saying that was the last team I remember that went deep with a small lineup. Im a Big Ten man. SHOW ME THE MEAT DOWN LOW! I dream about IU landing a force like Blair. But We are not the Coach and what we want and what TC wants is 2 different things. You gotta put your trust in Coach to do whats best for the team until he succeeds or hits rock bottom. (Which I really dont see how we can do any worse) That said its gonna get worse before it gets better. I pray.

  • vslice

    And this is what we call “Bandwagon”. I honestly don't mind most of your post's, but this one is pathetic. Why don't you just come out and say, “I dont watch the Hoosiers unless there are either winning or its a close game. Oh never mind, you DID!! Bandwagon, don't worry though hopefully we'll be back in a few years that way you can post how you stuck in there when the going got tough, bandwagon!!!!!!!

  • JerryCT

    You make a good point. It would be like a runnign back going to ND under Weis. I really donot understand why CTC so heavily weights the transition offense and high ball screen in his secondary offense and almost never does any off ball screens etc or stacks down low. The only change I have seen this year was when he played Elston more minutes we ran some high stacks and Elston and the team did quite well with it in my opinion.

  • walton

    What messes with me a little is that the Hoosiers were competitive at one point. They beat PITT for crying out loud!! They set expectations a little higher with games like that and the Kentucky game for a while and a couple wins that got this year. What has happened since then??? Why does it seem everyone else is getting better and IU looks like they are not??? It is just a little concerning. I hope Crean does something to push these kids to a couple more victories before the Big Ten Tourney………….please.

  • walton

    I'm getting frustrated by the beat downs. Like you said they beat Pitt – so why now are they getting beat down (i mean beat down) by northwesterns, minnesotas, iowas, etc? I will continue to watch IU games and at one point I was actually excited to watch some games because they were playing competitively and really thought they had a chance against some of these teams – even Purdue honestly. But by the way they are playing lately my expectations before the game is that they are not only going to get beat they are going to get down by twenty at some point. I also believe the team is feeling this way – and even more sad to say is that at times it appears Crean expects this – at least it appears he accepts it (which I am sure deep down he doesn't – I hope). Its just a ugghhh feeling, even for fans of teams that never have winning seasons. Just like IU football – they haven't had winning seasons for some time, but its still a downer feeling knowing going into the game they will probably get beat good. IU athletics has not been looking very efficient recently.

  • silkyslim

    Good point, many IU fans are getting frustrated. We are not used to seeing OUR team get soundly defeated with little hope of winning or just keeping it close & hoping for a miracle.
    Granted, we are rebuilding & and the Big Ten is stronger from top to bottom( o.k. maybe not iowa) but it's tough to see our team goes down in flames in this brutal stretch. I keep watching out of; loyalty, a realistic slim hope of victory, & mostly of team improvement. However, young inconsistency can try even the most stout-hearted fans. Being patient, but NOT liking it, as I wait for the glory of ol' IU to be restored.

  • silkyslim

    That part is tough for me to watch too! I can handle risky mistakes as they learn BUT NOT the foolish, high risk with no reward, silly, flat learning curve junior high/middle school casual lazy passes/turnovers!!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!!!! Someone please stop the madness and bring back good fundamental team-oriented Indiana basketball, I can tolerate the score if that happens and the shots don't fall!!!

  • walton

    Very good points. There does appear to be a lot of expectations put on these young player’s shoulders and the season is much more of a grind than I think most of these guys are used to. I am definitely not intentionally trying to rip on any specific player (well….wish rivers was more of a leader, but….). I really like most of the guys, specifically almost all of them brought in this year – and VJ has turned into my favorite player by far. Jones actually might be a good example of what we can look forward to. To many people’s disagreement I didn’t really think much of Verdell last year, but this year he has taken on a whole new persona for me. He wants the ball when it matters and contributes all he can to win. If most of these freshmen pick up their games as much as Verdell has in a year then I think we all have a lot to look forward to. At the same time we have to get some power forward/centers who can step in pretty quick – and yes they will have some expectations right away but I know there are some out there that would take on the challenge. GO HOOSIERS!

  • walton

    In response to my own comment:
    I believe Crean is doing all he can and that the players listen to him and practice as hard as they can for every game. I am sure this is as frustrating to them as it is us. I doubt that they go into a game expecting to lose and get just as frustrated as us when they get get down big. This is a very tough (very tough) situation for Crean and the players. Mentally wise it is probably one of the biggest challenges these guys will ever face and how they respond the rest of the season and into the next few seasons will say a lot about them. The roads to success are never supposed to be easy. The biggest achievements come from adversity. Bring in some big guys – even subpar ones along with the solid recruits we have and give these talented freshman another year of experience or maybe two to start developing into leaders and IU will be winning again (if even it is just in the middle of the big ten for a few years). As frustrated as I am I do believe IU basketball will be back similar to where it once was. And I want to believe that the fans will have their backs in these tough times – I do.

  • walton

    Fundamental basketball sounds good to me as well. No disrespect to Crean because he is in the same category as every other college basketball coach in the nation today when it comes to this statement….Bobby Knight was the best coach that taught straight fundamentals and what I wouldn't give to have someone like that head the basketball program. Look at the Colts – same thing – practice fundamentals and the rest will follow.

  • walton

    What messes with me a little is that the Hoosiers were competitive at one point. They beat PITT for crying out loud!! They set expectations a little higher with games like that and the Kentucky game for a while and a couple wins that got this year. What has happened since then??? Why does it seem everyone else is getting better and IU looks like they are not??? It is just a little concerning. I hope Crean does something to push these kids to a couple more victories before the Big Ten Tourney………….please.

  • walton

    Not so much directed at you, but I hear other fans saying that there isn't enough talented big man out there available. My question is how “talented” of a big man are they referring to? 4 star or 5 star recruit – heck yeah I will take them, but if they aren't available – then why not just some 2 or 3 star ones? I am sure there are some out there. Look at the butlers, gonzagas, wisconsins (??) etc. – they don't necessarily have big star big men – they just have big men that can rebound and play defense and appear decently coordinated. I love the elstons, capobiancos, watfords on our team – they are good size for small forward positions. Now lets put them together with two or three little bit bigger guys (power forwards, centers – not necessary 4/5 stars ones but ones that can rebound and play defense – a little scoring would be nice too) – add in Creeks, Hulls, Sheehies, Oladipos, Carlinos (prospect hopefuls – lengthy and quick for their positions)

    I am not completely down on the Hoosiers. I understand as best I can that we are rebuilding but the Big Ten is about big guys (dominant ones or just decent ones). And we have to get a couple. We will be competitive once again once we do. And I can't wait. Couple years – get em Crean. And I trust he is learning this too.

  • vslice

    Yea, I understand completely. It does seem as if IU has fallen off for sure. I think a lot of it has to do with our youth. The grind of the season is something that no one could prepare them for, once they lost a few games I really feel like it started a domino effect with these guys. Not to mention they had to play four ranked teams in a short period of time and it hasn't been pretty.

    I am going to completely change the subject for a minute. I'm sitting here watching UCONN vs. West Virginia. Devin Ebanks had verbally committed to Indiana, correct? Look at the way he has been able to walk into that program and hasn't had to be “THE MAN”. He has been able to concentrate on what he does well like rebounding and defense. Devin has even had his fair share of problems since landing at West Virginia. I just think that we would of expected much more from him as a freshman and sophomore which would have put undo stress on him and everyone else, kind of what we are seeing from Watford and the boys. They are not ready to lead like we need them to lead. Who do they have to rely on? I think in three years it will pay off big time, but until then its very difficult and frustrating. There is a big difference, even with a really good freshman, when they can walk into a program and not have to have huge expectations put upon them immediately. I really think people need to lay off Watford especially. He is a great ballplayer and he should not have everyone expecting him to play like a sophomore or even a junior and thats exactly what people do. What you think your seeing in the team getting worse, I think is really nothing more than a bunch of freshman and sophomore's that have hit a wall and have no one to turn to. Just hang in there, Crean is working his tail off to get some players in here to mesh with these youngsters, and when we finally get Roth and Creek back this will be a totally different team. I still think that this season, as bad as it's been, is eventually going to come back to really help these guys out later in their career's, as long as they don't transfer and thats why we have to continually have their backs and cheer them on when it seems it couldn't get any worse. Hopefully this is a different point of view that you haven't thought about that might ease the pain. Believe me man I want to win as bad as anyone, but ripping the coach and the players is not going to put any W's up any quicker. Not to say you are ripping the coach or players, but there certainly has been a lot of that going around lately. Go IU!!!

  • silkyslim

    Yeah, I agree, the Colts are a solid fundamental team. It works at all levels. Even under-talented Northwestern plays good fundamentals and are having a record year for that program.
    Perhaps, we were spoiled by seeing Knight teams. He was a rare kind of coach. Maybe Coach Crean can pop in some old tapes and pick up a few tips to develop our struggling Hoosiers. I think Coach Crean is doing a good job under the circumstances, but I would like to see some simple things like more 'jump stops, shot fakes, and safe simple passes to the open teammate.' It would pay big dividends.

  • IUMIKE1

    Started to just hit the “like” button but decided that I more than “liked” it. Thanks for saving me from having to type all of that out !!

  • IUMIKE1

    See my reply to your reply to Walton above and insert it here.

  • James

    I wouldn't get so down an worry about this team so much. If you compare how much their freshman(without Creek) are scoring compared to other teams… its crazy. And like i read in an article this week… These freshman are all not used to loosing at all, and the freshman wall they are hitting doesn't help either. But anyways go IU!!!!