The Minute After: North Carolina Central

Notes on a 72-56 win over North Carolina Central:

The Hoosiers came into tonight’s matchup against North Carolina Central sporting an effective field-goal percentage of 56.7 percent — good for 31st in the country. (How bout that, eh?)

But in the first half, IU came out cold. It only hit 36.4 percent from the field (12-of-33) and 25 percent of its 3-pointers (3-12) for an eFG of 40.9 percent.

The Hoosiers came into tonight’s matchup against North Carolina Central sporting a defensive effective field-goal percentage of 39.8 percent — good for 19th in the country. (How bout that, eh?)

But NCC was able to rip off marks of 41.7 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three, good for an eFG of 47.9 percent.

Yet, the Hoosiers entered the locker room with a 10-point lead (34-24).

So how was it done?

Offensive rebounding, free-throw rate, forcing turnovers/defense and taking care of the basketball. The Hoosiers missed a ton of bunnies around the rim, but their efforts on the glass and only five turnovers in the first half gave them the opportunity to hoist up a total of 45 shot attempts to NCC’s 31. They shot 11 free throws (making seven of them) to only two for NCC.

And the Eagles also coughed up the ball 10 times.

This extra-shot trend wasn’t as pronounced in the second half (IU: 12-of-25 from the field, 2-of-6 from three, 12-of-14 from the line; NCC: 12-of-22 from the field, 1-of-3 from three, 7-of-12 from the line), but it didn’t need to be because the Hoosiers shot the ball much better and continued to take better care of the basketball than we’ve seen all season, as they finished with 13 turnovers on the night.

NCC also continued to cough up the ball at a rough rate, finishing with 22 turnovers on the evening.

The Eagles had some solid talent on the other side of the ball and played a nice uptempo style. They also shot the ball better (47.8 percent from the field) than any team the Hoosiers have faced all season.

And IU still won handily.

How bout that, eh?

Other thoughts:

+ Terrific to see Derek Elston with this kind of night. Coach Tom Crean went with him over Bobby Capobianco — who only played five minutes, a few of which were when the game was already in hand — and he played smart, energetic basketball, which is what he does when he gets the opportunity.

In 21 minutes, Elston scored nine points (3-of-6, 0-of-1 from three, 3-of-4 from the line) to go along with six boards and two blocks.

Nice line.

+ Like Elston, Jeremiah Rivers saw some solid minutes off the bench (19) and he also handled the ball a bit more than we’ve seen in IU’s previous four games. At one point he broke down a full-court press and took it coast-to-coast, getting  fouled on a layup attempt in the process. After Jordan Hulls had a hard time containing Landon Clement in the first half, Crean put Rivers on Clement in the second half and he shut him down for the most part.

Rivers was also a little more aggressive on offense overall, scoring five points (1-of-1 from the field, 3-of-4 from the line) to go along with six boards.

It’s looking like his role may be expanding a bit more, provided he continues to play within himself.

He did have an errant pass to Hulls that sailed out of bounds in the second half. But one turnover in 19 minutes of action is more than OK if he’s bringing it in other areas.

+ Nice to see Crean also adjust at halftime and get the team to work the ball to Watford down on the block, which led to a fair amount of trips to the line. On a night when he was only 4-of-14 from the field and 0-of-2 from three, Watford converted on 9-of-10 free throws to finish with a team-high 17 points.

+ Now 5-0, this team is starting to exude a little confidence — something we’ve yet to see in the Tom Crean era. If they keep up this kind of play during the non-conference slate, such confidence will continue to grow and should suit them well by the time Big 10 play rolls around.

  • stonaroni

    Yep, he isn’t 100%. What else do you want to know? I am sure he is playing cautiously still. I am guessing that 80% is about where he is. They have played 5 games in about 12 days, I am sure he is a little tired and unconditioned due to some fatigue in his legs. I bet he has lost a couple inches on his verticle, maybe a couple on his jump shot. I bet he is battling some patellar tenonitis as well.

    If you notice, he isn’t shooting well yet. He is logging about 22 minutes a game. They are bringing him back slowly. He will be good in January when we need him most.

    And, the great thing is, if he does struggle more than we expected coming off injury, VO and WS are getting valuable minutes right now as FR and guys like VJIII and CW will have to step up again like they did last year.

    NO WORRIES! We aren’t winning a national championship this year anyway!

  • MillaRed

    I’m sure Coach is thinking the exact saame thing. We really are a lot
    better. And we are beating teams in a fashion we could not pull off last
    season. And as you said, we are doing it in an ugly way.

    We have already seen what “individual” players are capable of. If they can
    stay somewaht consistent, it’s a really good team.

    Where were Capo, Pritchard, Verdell and Mo last night?
    Where were Jordy, Elston (injured) and JR’s points the game before.

    I like the fact they are picking each other up. Hopefully they start putting
    it all together soon. Because the Big Ten will eat up our deficiencies.

    I may be crazy, but this team might be better than we think!

    Yogiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

    Yogiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

    YOGI!

  • MillaRed

    He also saved our butts against Evansville.

  • Anonymous

    That’s what I’d like to see. I think that would be pretty rough for teams to deal with

  • Anonymous

    Agreed JR will need to log major minutes in that game more than likely. I would tend to think that he would be our best bet in trying to contain Knight. As bad as I hate to say this about any pUKe player, er excuse me I mean employee, he is going to be hard to contain no matter who guards him. I think he would probably school JH or VJ3 in a major way ( that was maybe the hardest thing I have attempted to type). Crean may have to let more than one person take a stab at guarding him cause like we said we need JR to log major minutes and he may get in some foul trouble if he is the main one guarding him. Maybe even start with someone else and just see how it goes but be ready to pull the trigger on somebody else trying to if he starts going off on us. GMM may make more of a difference in this game than any other one and if he doesn’t play our chances of winning become considerably less. Nobody, and I mean nobody wants to beat “them ” worse than me but at the same time I am trying to be realistic.

  • Anonymous

    Pretty much what I was also thinking. Just one more thing where this team shows a little more maturity over last year. Think we will continue to see a different type of Tom Crean, be it little by little, for the next year or two until he starts feeling like he has things operating the way he wants them to from there on out.

  • Anonymous

    Pretty much what I was also thinking. Just one more thing where this team shows a little more maturity over last year. Think we will continue to see a different type of Tom Crean, be it little by little, for the next year or two until he starts feeling like he has things operating the way he wants them to from there on out.

  • Anonymous

    You won’t get any real disagreement from me I pretty much agree with everything you said espicially the need for VJ3 to pump fake and shoot the pull up. Don’t know exactly what the answer is with JH but I do know that if JR continues to play like he has his minutes may have to increase and that has to decrease someone’s minutes….JH ?

    Think Mo will continue to come around as the season progresses. I one of the things that I have made it a point to watch this year is the play of VJ3. He was struggling somewhat last year before Mo went down and it should be interesting to see how that plays out as Mo continues to round back into shape and if VJ3 continues to struggle it will be something that Crean has to find a solution to.

  • Anonymous

    We must see the big picture when it comes to Mo. Slow and steady wins the race in this instance ( Robbie Hummell anyone). Would rather do it that way than risk any kind of set back of any kind and I think this the way that Crean sees it too.

  • Anonymous

    Next year…..the beast is unleashed and we will have no pity on anyone nor will we take any prisoners !!!!

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