The Minute After: Michigan State

Thoughts on an 84-83 overtime loss to Michigan State:

There were two schools of thought heading into this one:

A) Indiana, riding an emotional high after Thursday night’s big win, would carry it over and give a reeling Michigan State all it could handle.

B) Michigan State, losers of three straight, would finally get it together and hold strong at home for a victory.

What I think we got tonight was a cosmic collision of both these schools of thought.

This was a fun, tightly-contested, up-and-down game from start to finish — even if both teams got a little tired in the waning minutes of regulation and into overtime.

And even though it ended in a loss for Indiana, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that it was an encouraging performance, as a lot of the good things Indiana brought against the Illini — heart, execution, intensity and effort — were more than apparent in the Breslin Center tonight.

Indiana just ran out of gas in overtime. The Hoosiers went 2-of-10 in the extra frame, and couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end at all. Still, it was there for the taking, as Michigan State didn’t do anything to blow this one open in OT, either.

Lastly, there’s a lot of nitpicking that can be done — judging by the #iubb tag on Twitter, the refs are chief among them for some of you guys  – but if there’s one I can’t get behind, it’s the focus on Jeremiah Rivers’ two missed free throws in the final 42 seconds which helped send this one into OT.

Not only was Rivers a stellar 22-of-25 on the season from the line before tonight (and a good enough 3-of-5 on the evening), Indiana as a team shot below its Big Ten season average of 79.3 percent, hitting 63.6 percent from the line (14-of-22) tonight. Had Tom Pritchard — 0-3 from the line, now just 3-of-15 from the season — hit one of his, it’s a point of contention that wouldn’t even be part of the discussion at this juncture.

Additionally, Indiana went 11-of-11 from the line in its win against Illinois on Thursday, so tonight’s performance at the line was a regression to the mean.

+ As Alex pointed out on Twitter this evening (via the great Dan Dakich), Christian Watford has been a new man since halftime of the Northwestern game. Tonight in East Lansing, Watford knocked knees and had to come out of the game, only to return. He injured his wrist and had to come out of the game, only to return.

And in overtime with a loose ball on the floor, it was Watford sacrificing his body, diving for the ball, securing it and calling a timeout.

This is a toughness that’s been missing from his game at times this season, but was glaringly there tonight. Watford also took advantage of matchups time and again, driving to the cup when he got slower defenders on him. He was only 5-of-15 from the field, but went 4-of-8 from three and got to the line 10 times (seven makes) to get up to 21 points on the night.

+ Nice to see Matt Roth getting involved on the offensive end this evening, as he knocked down four threes in five attempts from beyond the arc for 12 points. None was bigger than the one he hit with 2:29 to go, which put the Hoosiers up 76-72. And after disappearing a bit on the offensive end of late, Victor Oladipo also got into mix with some strong takes to the bucket as well. He finished the night a perfect 5-of-5 (1-of-1 from the three) for 11 points.

+ Pritchard had seven rebounds tonight, and three huge ones in OT — two on the defensive end to take away second chances for Michigan State and one on the offensive end to keep a possession alive, one where Will Sheehey (who scored eight points (4-of-6) to go along with two steals) finished with a bucket.

+ Jordan Hulls continues to do Jordan Hulls things. That is all.

  • Anonymous

    Seems like every week is make or break

  • HoosierInOhio

    Why was Oladipo so glaringly absent during the last minutes of regulation and in overtime? At a time when Indiana needed quickness on defense and an open shot on offense, he wasn’t in the lineup. Is it just me, or does anyone else think he should have been in there at crunch time?

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Believe it or not, I think CTC is starting to use TP more and more effectively. He’s starting to receive the ball in positions where he can actually do something with it and it’s starting to get some positive results. IF, and I capitalized that on purpose, TP can continue to make a couple good moves a game it starts to force defenders to be honest and he’s such a good interior passer that he’s going to find a few open players a game. That’s a huge difference for this team. Can you imagine if both he and Zeller can play with offensive moves and use their interior passing skills to each other!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Yeah, my dad (very old school) was complaining about that as well. He recalls the days (and so do I) when that was an over-the-back call because that’s the way the rule is written. If you block your man out and hold your position the other guy shouldn’t be able to go over you just because he is bigger, stronger, or can jump higher unless the ball bounces over the man with position.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Just be patient Calbert. In a few years when we’re the perennial power in the Big Ten and Assembly Hall is rocking like it was against Illinois the Hoosiers will be getting every call like they did once upon a time.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Well, that’s pretty much what I suggested. I said before the game that MSU has been a terrible shooting team from the outside, by Izzo’s own admission, and they were going to try and beat us up down low so we should play zones and force them to hit from the inside, except for Lucas, and he even missed his share.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    What I was thinking was more on the defensive end. Cov was just as slow, maybe even a bit slower, but he learned to play position and anticipation and that made him a serviceable defensive player. Jordy showed a bit of that against Illinois when he stayed in front of his man most of the night and even picked up the charge against McCamey, but he was really on his game that night. Lucas made him look sick a couple times Sunday, but then again, Lucas made JR look sick a couple times too. That guy is just plain quick!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Maybe he’ll see the maturation of his teammates (as should CTC also) and come back with a different mindset. That’s what I’m hoping for. I’m hoping CTC discusses a new and improved role with VJ3 before he returns and he plays off the ball. Someone mentioned a Rip Hamilton type player and I think VJ could play that role for this team. I just hope he doesn’t come back, assume his 34 minutes a game at the point position, and continue to turn the ball over 4.5 times per game.

  • JerryCT

    Buc – Here is what happened. They did an Iowa on us

    1. Appling ( Hulls on him ) goes to the low post and Green ( CW on him ) comes down and sets a moving and vicious screen on Hulls who struggles to get around it.

    2. As Appling comes out to the wing Green establishes his low post position while Lucas passes to Appling

    3. Appling wastes no time feeding Green

    4. Hulls could have doubled down but Appling cuts and Hulls follows leaving CW 1 on 1

    This was a set play as Lucas, Appling, Green timing was perfect w no thinking or gawking. It was classic exploitation of CW on defense just like Iowa .

  • Diesel

    Will came in for Matt midway through OT…overruled. And he scored.

  • Diesel

    Doesn’t matter. Anyone wearing a snuggie should get an immediate two day suspension for conduct detrimental to ITH.

  • Diesel

    Jerry, can we get some pictures to go along with that? The Jerry Film Session!

    Good work, appreciate the learning op.

  • Diesel

    I’ll second the contention. Notice as well how CWat and DE always use their hands primarily in post D. Last year when TP was having so much foul trouble CTC practiced him with the guards to work on moving his feet, it certainly helped.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I respectfully disagree Kleeman. Crean went to the Zone because TP had four fouls and he brought him in at the 5:00 mark. He mixed up the zones because he was doing his best to get TP through the remainder of the game because he was the only big guarding anyone or rebounding. If TP fouls out we lose this game in regulation pretty easily.

    He tried to go man right before that when he had BC and DE on the floor and MSU went down low to Roe, Nix, and Green and we looked like grade-schoolers trying to guard them!

    The only time CTC got outcoached in that game was his lack of game-end play design compared to Izzo’s. From 0-38 minutes CTC outcoached Izzo!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    That’s one I’m sure many of us are asking. He was exploiting his matchup against Green on the offensive end, but maybe CTC thought the combination of CWat, Pritch, and Sheehey had a better chance of stopping Roe and Green or Nix and Green when they were on the floor together? I can’t answer that question and we’re not in the huddle but I would agree that it was a mistake. Maybe he just got lost or forgotten about. A lot of coaches forget about a player that was playing well when a current unit is doing something good. I’m not saying that’s it either but I at least think he would have been a good option on that final play. Run him off a screen for the lob and at least 1 one defender will chase him and possibly 2 leaving someone open!

  • Anonymous

    No one with a brain would ever suggest “pulling” Jones’ scholarship!

  • Anonymous

    Wrong! He is one of our most talented players. Indiana must figure out the best way to utilize his skills!

  • Anonymous

    Jordan Hulls is today a better player that Coverdale ever was-but I still love Coverdale!

  • Anonymous

    And no one in Indiana has ever cared about Mike Flynn ever since!

  • Anonymous

    Not completely. Jeremiah Rivers played a great game. But when he went to the line to hit the free throws to win the game he was afraid that he was going to miss. Draymond Green was certain that he was going to make his. We need to elevate to where our players insist upon taking the pressure of game winning plays, So far only Hulls this year has. Jones did last season. Indiana needs more!

  • Anonymous

    Bold statement. I’m curious, what makes you say that?

  • Anonymous

    The double screen by Watford and Pritchard seemed obvious as soon as they lined up coming out of the time out. Would have liked for Hulls to have been a decoy and had Watford slip the screen and move to the elbow.

    Which may have been the idea and the reason why the screen was so weak. If so, Watford still need to set a good screen along with Pritch in case they did get Hulls open.

  • Anonymous

    IU bball talk and cold beer ? That’s all I need to know, count me in too.

  • Anonymous

    You are 1,000 % correct.

    Guys remember if we use the ” K ” word and spell it even close to correctly that damned ad for you know who will start popping up again and something like that appearing on ITH should be considered blasphemy, plus using the word puke to signify them just seems, so right somehow.

  • Anonymous

    You are 1,000 % correct.

    Guys remember if we use the ” K ” word and spell it even close to correctly that damned ad for you know who will start popping up again and something like that appearing on ITH should be considered blasphemy, plus using the word puke to signify them just seems, so right somehow.

  • Anonymous

    Yea, technically his scholarship can be pulled I believe, but you are going to have to come up with something a whole lot better than what you have to justify doing that. Just the fact of how much it would be used against IU in recruiting would probably be enough by itself to make it a very bad move. He can, and I think will be a big plus when he comes back IMHO. It will be up to Crean to show him how to best do that and it will be up to VJ3 to listen to him and do it. He has the perfect seat to have been witnessing our improvement and I just imagine he is straining the reins to get back out there and be part of it. If this is what transpires then I think we take another step in becoming a better overall team.

  • Diesel

    I’ll say this Loop, Jordy is making plays right now that I didn’t think he’d be able to make ever in an IU uniform, or at least not til his senior year.

    He doesn’t make that deveopment to be assertive in the game IMO if Creek and VJ3 don’t go down.

  • JerryCT

    My wife says I spend too much time looking at games I already watched and then she wonders why everybody is in slo mo.

    Here is the deal.

    We have to deny the pass to the low post and front the guy. The pass is however is most key.

    Teams know Hulls is not comfortable getting close enough to deny the pass to the wing ( ie fear of the blow by ) and also vulnerable to big body screens.

    As such MSU knew exactly what they were going to do.

    Iowa did this all night but their priority is looking for wing offense vs post move

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    That’s entirely possible. I wondered the same thing. Does Jordy ever break out and take over if those guys are healthy?

  • Old Sports Dude

    Right on alex. NO and I repeat NO high school player who goes to Kentucky should EVER be named Mr. Basketball. Hey if they want to be traitors and go to Cheatin U. so be it. Just don’t think we are giving you any honors. Heck I hated it that the Pacers hired Walter Mc Carthy.

  • Old Sports Dude

    Yeah and the only reason Kyle went to Kentucky was because after he scored 38 points in his first game none of the other players would pass the ball back to him. So he went where he could play.

    recruit him.

  • MillaRed

    Ace in this particular case, the dude was ON HIS BACK. I watched it again
    last night. He was blocking out and for a split second the guy’s feet were
    off the ground while getting a piggy-back ride.After a foul was called, Will
    was looking at his team saying, “Did you see what the H just happened to
    me?” Kinda funny.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Yeah, it’s ridiculous what guys get away with now and what’s not called that was an automatic call 10-20 years ago!

    Drives me nuts!

  • InTheMtns

    And to your point — “it starts to force defenders to be honest” — there were several times where MSU had a double team on Pritchard. Since Pritch is good at passing out of the double team, his drawing attention from the opponent’s defense can mean only good things for us.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I think the problem is they’ve not had that experience of being “the man” and having success in a while. I always prayed that I was the man to come up down 1 in the bottom half of the final inning with a chance to win it, but I also had success a few times and just built on that. The problem is the freshest thing in JR’s mind is still the blown FT’s during a couple games last year and he just doesn’t have that confidence. I just wish he could have gotten lucky and hit that first one because I think it would only take once with the strides he’s made for him to really feel confident from then on.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Yep, and now he’s going to be that much more important without CW. He’s gotta go back to his freshman scoring roots now!

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