The Minute After: Wisconsin

Thoughts on a 69-60 loss to the Badgers:

When you head up to the Kohl Center, a place Bo Ryan’s Badgers were a staggeringly good 146-11 and had won 31 of 32 heading into this one, you best bring your A game.

And you know what? Indiana did just about that this evening.

Sure, the Hoosiers didn’t emerge victorious. And sure, they allowed the Badgers to shoot 49 percent on the evening, which isn’t exactly something to write home about.

But this was a game Indiana controlled in the first half. Jordan Hulls and Verdell Jones were hot. The Hoosiers pushed the pace and were dictating things. Wisconsin — the best free-throw shooting team in the nation — didn’t shoot a single free throw, as the foul-happy Hoosiers only fouled the Badgers three times.

And there was really no epic collapse of any sort in the second half. Energy, effort and consistency were there throughout. When the Badgers finally snatched their first lead since 2-0 at the 13:19 mark (44-42), it was a sea-saw battle for awhile until they put just enough distance between themselves and the Hoosiers — culminating in a Jon Leuer and-1 with a minute to go to put them up seven.

After a free-throw free first half, Indiana sent the Badgers to the line 17 times in the second half, and they hit 16 of them — with five of those being the completiton of and-1s. That was, in part, the difference.

A valiant effort from the Hoosiers. They’ve found a nice little rhythm here since the second half of the Northwestern game, as Dan Dakich noted during the broadcast.

But this Wisconsin team — with only five turnovers to its name this evening — just doesn’t beat itself, especially at home.

+ Can’t say enough about Jordan Hulls’ aggression and confidence this evening. As Alex tweeted Tuesday, the kid has the best effective field-goal percentage in the nation. And so many have been calling for him to get off more shots during games because of it. (Though, his size makes it easier said than done.) So it was nice to see him shooting, shooting and shooting some more tonight. He peeled off 10 early points to set the tone for this team in the first half, and was dribble penetrating and looking for his shot more than usual. For the game, Hulls popped in 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting (2-of-4 from three) to go along two assists and two steals.

+ If we’re talking about Hulls’ offensive game, Verdell Jones deserves a mention as well. After ripping off a hot 9-of-10 shooting performance against Michigan on Saturday, Jones finished an efficient 6-of-12 (3-of-4 from the line)  for 15 points.(Though, as the broadcast crew noted, it would have been nice if a few of his long twos were threes.)

+ Only seven turnovers for the Hoosiers tonight. This is good.

+ Props to Tom Pritchard for his defensive performance against Leuer tonight. Yeah, Leuer scored 20 points, but it took him 18 shots to get there — with a mark of 3-of-3 from the line to boot. Pritchard stayed out of foul trouble, and played Leuer strong on plenty of possessions. Pritchard also snagged four of Indiana’s six offensive rebounds this evening and scored another two points. He’s been real solid these last two contests.

+ Jeremiah Rivers looked for his offense a little more tonight again, and used his dribble-drive ability to score six points (2-of-4 from the field, 2-of-2 from the line). With Christian Watford’s scoring down since Big Ten play, having Rivers chip in a little more offensively is a nice bonus.

  • LDIU

    Watford is 26-77 over the last 7 games. That is roughly 33%. His shot selection is so bad sometimes. He needs to do what he can do and not try and do everything.

  • http://twitter.com/benlaborde87 Ben Laborde

    He was terrible. My personal favorite comment on the night was when he called Taylor a “beach ball All-American, because when he goes to the beach and takes his shirt off, he has the best body out there.” Are you freaking kidding me? Bardo, you are an idiot.

  • http://weeklycritiquely.blogspot.com/ IUfanPurduePhD

    I thought he was going with “beach ball All-American” because the UW campus (and the Madison area in general) has a ton of bars with sand volleyball courts … and then he played the when-he-takes-his-shirt-off card, which was both surprising and awkward.

  • marcusgresham

    My preference would be for Watford to see it as a challenge, bust his tail in the weightroom all off-season, and show Zeller what it’s going to take to compete down low in the Big 10.

  • BaseballBuc

    He’s our best free throw shooter, run some screens get him on the block with a mismatch and go to the rim.

  • marcusgresham

    There was one play in particular where he had Leuer blocked out with perfect position for the defensive rebound, and he came down directly under the backboard while the ball came down in Leuer’s hands (may have been one Leuer put back and got the “and one” on, I don’t remember that exactly. Was he pushed? Hell yes, he was pushed, but it wasn’t a blatant shove; Leuer’s just far stronger and knows how to make space without getting the foul called on him. Watford has made quite a bit of progress from last year to this year in his strength if you remember correctly (not directing this at you Gleas, it just happened to fit in with what you were saying,) but he still has a long way to go.

  • BaseballBuc

    If you can somehow go back and listen to the Dan Dakich show today, do it. Very interesting talking indiana basketball. Some interesting points made by Dakich.
    -Says, he believes IU is a very talented team and lacks mental toughness more than anything
    -Said, everyone needs to get off VJIII back
    -Says that Jordy Hulls is the best shooter in the Big 10

  • Anonymous

    Do you mean just looks like Barney Fife or looks like him AND has the same mental capacity ?

    I’m thinking that, in the second half anyway, it is both.

  • Anonymous

    I’m in agreement with you guys considering the bad shot selection as similar to turnovers. We had a good game in the stat book with TOs, but there were several plays that had the same effect. I would put some bad fouls in that category as well. Great game, but they have to continue to improve in some of these areas to stay competitive moving forward – if they keep the intensity up and work on some of these small things then I think they will.

  • Anonymous

    I love agreeing with you about Pritchard this season

  • Anonymous

    and then find the mismatches they create

  • marcusgresham

    You’re right about running out of steam, but look at it from this point—there were several games last year where this team looked really good in the first half, only to come out of the locker room and get destroyed. This season (with the exception of one or two bad efforts,) they’ve been pretty competitive until about halfway to 3/4 of the way through the 2nd half. It’s a work in progress, and progress is being made. Sometimes we are all forgetting this.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed and that is what I am hoping for cause CZ is going to be in need of some himself at first but not like CW was when he first arrived on campus.. He shouldn’t need the over the shoulder look for motivation if he wants to play at the next level but if he does than so be it just get it done for whatever reason and everyone wins.

  • marcusgresham

    He’s thicker, but I’d like to see Jordy become something on the line of a Jay Burson-type player (God I hated that guy! Until he got hurt, of course.)

  • marcusgresham

    Jordy’s “heat-check” three was extremely ill-advised, but it ended up not being a problem at all. It went out of bounds and led to a TV time-out, so it didn’t affect momentum at all. If it had gone in, Wisconsin would have gotten very tight in the butt, so I didn’t even mind him letting it fly at that point. They’d have run at him every time he got within 30 feet and he’d have blown right past them into the lane.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly! Last night and the game before proved that a lot of our earlier criticisms were for the most part legit. This team underperformed and did not hustle enough for a large stretch and their effort and effectiveness the last couple of games proves this. This team has enough “talent” to be competitive if they work hard and continue to improve. I honestly thought that we had better players than many teams we got beat by earlier this year, but our attitude and effort wasn’t there. I can say I’ve been proud of this IU team the last couple games and will be very happy if they continue to play like this the rest of the year……..No holding up — continue to go full force and beat these chumps!

  • MillaRed

    We have been asking him to shoot more all year. It’s nice to finally say he took one too many. That shot was from the bleachers ha ha!

  • Anonymous

    Milla, I pretty much agree with the way you see things most of the time, but on this one I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

    Agreed UW is not the ideal matchup team for CW but since the B10 started he seems to have had the same problem against others as well. There comes a time when he has got to be able to get it done when his defender is just as big as him or even when his defender is a little bit bigger. Maybe one more offseason in the weight room will be what brings this to be.

    I understand that no matter how good of defense you play the other team is going to score at least part of the time and I thought his defense was considerably better than it has been in the past, and maybe it’s just me, but he seems to still have just as much, or more, room for improvement as any of them.

    Stats are great for a lot of things but they don’t, and can’t, tell the whole story. Where would he be in this category if you took only his conference play and plugged it in. I know most players stats in general are going to go down somewhat when they get into conference play but his seems to have taken a bigger dip than most. I should probably do the research on that statement before putting it out there but I feel pretty safe that that would be the case.

    Maybe it’s because I see the potential that seems to be there and his not getting to that point quicker than he is has made me a little bit too critical of him.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. Our guards need to look for this kind of thing a lot more than they do and not just with CW.

  • MillaRed

    Well I think it just depends on where you think he should be instead of where he really is as a player. He’s a 40 something ranked recruit, a sophomore, on a team that is not very good, in an offense that really isn’t built for his game.

    If you would have asked me two years ago, “Hey Milla, if CWat averages 15 and 5 in his sophomore year are you gonna be cool with that?” I’m sure I would have said yes.

    Furthermore, where would this team be without Watford? Ummmm, screwed? He absolutely needs to be accounted for when planning for IU.

    Can he get better? Sure he can. But I for one am glad to have him and think he will be a force next year and in two years, a major problem for opponents.

    And Mike, remember the s___storm that was IU when this kid signed his LOI? Gotta give him a lot of credit for that.

  • Anonymous

    I think they are playing hard for the most part. I do see some lapses though that affect momentum but that is something they can improve on. DE especially could be more assertive – a lot of people have commented on how big he has gotten, now he just needs to show it off during the games and lay it on some people(picks and rebounds should be his primary focus). CW can be used more effective. As mentioned there were times when he had a mismatch on him from a pick, but the guards never got him the ball. CW still needs to add strength too – he’s getting there, but just not quite there yet for the big ten – he is still a sophomore though and should continue to add weight. Zeller should make them look better next year, but this year they need to continue to work hard and work on a few small things and they should be fine.

  • Anonymous

    Very proud of the effort and play last night…

    I think Dan Dakich is on to something (is he one of the best analysts or what?). He noted that Crean was a little hostile with the team at halftime during the NW game, including pulling Watford from the game due to poor performance. As Dakich noted, this team has played differently ever since, with more determination and toughness. I hope Crean realizes this… because it could be the difference maker for him moving forward. Perhaps it’s not his style to chew butt…

    I’m all for being positive and encouraging, especially with younger players… but when kids make the same mistakes over and over again I’m not sure clapping and encouraging is the best solution every time. At least now and then you have to discipline them and let them know you won’t tolerate certain mistakes.

    As scripture teaches us, if you love someone you will discipline them.

  • Anonymous

    Not saying I disagree with the offense not built for him, but out of curiosity what do you think would be his ideal type of offense ?

    If his stats in these two columns were this at the end of the year then yea I would have said OK on the points but not on the rebounding if for no other reason than the fact that this team was as bad as it was made it to where he should have a better rebounding stat than that simply due to being 6 foot 9 and being on the floor as much as he has been.

    I do remember what kind of a team we were when he signed on and do greatly appreciate the fact that he came on board anyway. Sometimes I wonder if the minutes have not come too easy for him due to his natural athleticism on a team not overflowing with talent and that if the competition that would normally have been, had been there, it might have caused him to have been further along in his development out of necessity.

    I guess what it all this boils down to is that we have used a lot of words to say that there isn’t that much difference in how we view CW and his game and that I’m just somewhat (OK maybe considerably is a better word) more frustrated than you are at this point and time.

  • Anonymous

    I will get off VJ’s back more when he continues to play how he has played the last couple games. To me he’s appeared to be playing with a better attitude, less selfishly, harder and faster, and of course is taking care of the ball more. Though there still are some lapses here and there with playing harder – occasional watching instead of reaction, but much much improved lately. VJ was one of my favorite players last year, but some of these games this year, I had a difficult time watching his play. He’s turned the corner lately and it’s been great to see. I’m really proud of his turnaround lately as well as Pritchard’s and River’s play this year. Again it’s just a great thing to see. Now let’s hope it continues !

  • BaseballBuc

    Is it just me or does Leuer look like he’s going to bust out in song in that picture. I’m thinking “God Bless America.”

  • BaseballBuc

    Tom Crean’s first year they hung with teams for the first 10 minutes. Last year, we hung with teams until the half and this year we are hanging with teams until 10 minutes to play.

  • MillaRed

    In terms of the offense, give him the dribble drive with Kalin Lucas or
    Demetrus McCamey and you have your man. Like it or not we have a guy that is
    a finesse shooter. The next year in the weight room you mentioned may change
    that. But he is what he is right now.

    He lacks consistency with rebounding I agree. It’s something that will come
    when he gets stronger. The kid is 1 year away from having everything around
    the rim getting swatted without a problem.

    The other stuff is circumstance. CWat just isn’t a great player right now.
    He’s young. He and the team will continue to get better and I think he will
    be very good next year and a great senior. In fact, I guarantee he will be a
    great senior.

    I think I am done expecting too much from any one of these guys this season.
    They all have much to work on. We are playing better now as a TEAM than I
    have seen since CTC came on board. When you have this many players with
    several deficiencies they really have to play as a team to succeed. I would
    love to see that continue and extend into next season.

    Man I love arguing with you Mike. It just seems natural to me……….

  • Anonymous

    if he wants to play any minutes at all he will have to seriously consider this

  • dfitz

    I really liked the effort. Some new facets to the game. We are maturing. The best is yet to come, maybe not this but soon. The foundation is getting stronger.
    I can’t wait for the11s and 12s to join the fun!
    GO IU !!!!!!

  • dfitz

    Not only do we need to press more but our best offense is the faster pace version. Too much dribbling and going late into the clock is not our strong suit because we don’t have the quickness to make that late move.
    All of our best runs of the season have featured the quicker offense and sometimes the press.

  • Anonymous

    Good point about having TP set his screen just a little bit higher makes good sense. It’s the little things like that that make the difference in a close game like last night.

  • Anonymous

    Even after he graduated my friends and I would holler out, OH, he just got Sloaned whenever an IU player laided a really good screen on someone.

  • Anonymous

    We are in total agreement in what we think would be the best offense for him I was just curious as to what your idea of a good one for him was.

    I’m going to have to quit being lazy and start doing some research cause I’m now wondering what his rebounding average was last year at this time and what his average was at the end of the year and then compare that against where he is, average wise, right now. Regardless of the numbers from last year and whatever he ends up with this year another summer on the weights in Cook Hall should make next years numbers his best yet.

    My wife tells me that sometimes I am obsessed with IU bball and that I think that I know more than Crean sometimes. I will never admit it to her but she may be right cause I have been giving way too much thought to CW and his game right now. However…..something that I come up with awhile ago that I don’t remember being brought up specially, maybe it has and if so forgive me, but I think it would have made a big difference if CW would have had an upperclassman that played his spot to help him along the way. Crean has said several times that that is something that is very important and that we just do not have at this time and I agree and it may have been an even bigger detriment to CW more so than some of the others now that I think about it.

  • Anonymous

    The worst was that hand check they called on JR 30 feet from the basket.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Okay, I’m going to preface this by saying that I waited a while to cool off after the loss because I am a terrible loser! I was raised by a man who said there is a winner and everyone else and said the whole “it’s how you played the game” thing is a load of crap unless you win so I am a tad too competitive!

    1) IU played almost great – great would have won the game!
    2) A lot of solid individual performances (Hulls, VJ, JR, TP, and even CW played pretty well)
    3) Much, MUCH better offensive plan, scheme, defensive plan, scheme, coaching!

    But, I HATE MORAL VICTORIES!!! Moral victories are just another loss! IU played great, yes they did, but they still missed shots down the stretch, wore out, and lost. – I will note that the officiating changed at the end of the game which really played into WISC’s hands. It was rough and physical and at the end of the game the officials decided to call it tight so Wisconsin made several trips to the line where they excel. – Okay, back on track. Yes, IU played well. Yes, they put out great effort. Yes, there is definite improvement over the past week and the team once again looks improved over last year, but, just like the Minnesota, PSU, UNI, and Colorado games, they failed to pull it out in the end! I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE DAY TO COME WHEN THEY HAVE THAT KILLER INSTINCT AGAIN AND PULL THESE GAMES OUT!!!

    I am not a guy who celebrates moral victories or can even tolerate them so I’m not going to say anything more because there wasn’t much negative to take from this game besides the loss.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Yes, I noticed the same thing and posted it below before I read your post as well. The officiating seemed to change with about 8-10 minutes to go in the game. They made an obvious shift from allowing a very physical game to tightening it up and calling everything (at least on Wisconsin’s end). That played a major factor as Wisconsin went to the free throw line over and over down the stretch!

  • HoosierDavey

    Meanwhile, Dakich was killing it in the studio! I’m really impressed with the job he is doing for ESPN.

  • HoosierDavey

    But he is getting more successful at getting to the hoop and finishing this year over last. Had a really nice 3 point play where he was going for the jam, got fouled, but still put it in. Another year of weights and look out

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Wow, I can’t believe we only had 4 assists on 25 made FG’s and almost won in one of the most hostile environments in all of college basketball!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Excellent point about the team responding well to Mo’s injury. They really came out like they had something on their minds and played with heart!

  • Anonymous

    I know all about the home court advantage in the Big Ten, and really I’m not shocked about the calls, this crew has been bad everywhere I’ve seen them, both ways.

  • Anonymous

    I understand, I hate having these moral “victories”, but considering what this program has been through, having those is great, especially being a student during the Sampson apocalypse and these past three years. I absolutely hate losing and I’m a terrible loser, in everything. If they had played like they did against Wisconsin and Michigan, they would have definitely beaten UNI and probably Colorado, and possibly PSU.
    Some of these guys just need a fire lit under them, and I think these last couple of games they’ve had it. VJIII and VO just have a very strong desire to win, despite their faults. You can tell the way they play that they just do not want to lose, Mo fits into this category too, and lately so does TP. Examples are VJIII vs. Minnesota last year and VO vs. Ferris St., a game I admit I left early due to frustration.
    More than anything, we’re losing out on size. Not having Guy hurt this team immensely. Against Michigan, we had the size advantage and dominated that game. If we had that massive body inside, even with poor play, we would have another 2-3 wins fairly easily.

  • Anonymous

    Orgo II quiz on friday

  • Anonymous

    At this point we’re one injury from needing him

  • Diesel

    I concur (the rest of you should’ve concurred)

  • Diesel

    Yeah, i think it is just part of building the program back up. When you have to spend time in practice doing things like working on communicating, basic defensive principles, getting back after change of possesion – things you and I would be getting in people’s faces for in practice. Unfortunately, there just isn’t any leadership in place to see that those things happen.

    It’s hard to work on sets if we can’t do the basic things right. Hopefully we’ll see some better in-bounds plays and differenet pressing options pretty soon too. I swear we have the worst time getting the ball inbounds. When was the last time we scored off an inbounds play?

  • Anonymous

    After Mo’s injury last year they came out and got a W and this time they done the same thing and the effort that they put out would have gotten them a W just about any other time and place. One way to look for whether or not this team has gotten better over last year’s team is after that game we kind of went into a tailspin and now we will see if that happens this year. It will be interesting to see if the effort and confidence from the UW game carries over to the Iowa game. Here’s to hoping like hell it does.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. I think Crean had to the road map for vast improvement laid out right for this year and then the NCAA lobbed a nuke into those plans. I am one of those that feel like Guy would have made a major difference in more than just a couple of games this year and I think he would have made enough of a difference to where we would have 2 or 3 more wins than what we do right now, and easily, probably more. This team just can’t seem to have something major go right for them. When will the bad karma ever end ?

  • Anonymous

    The only thing I can think of for this was that the game plan seemed to be to drive the ball towards the rim and right at them ( with our head up ) and this resulted in a lot less assists and to this team’s credit they seemed to have followed it for the most part.

    If someone had asked me what I thought the outcome of the game would be if we had only 4 assists for the game I would have said that we would more than likely get beat and probably badly.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks

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