The Minute After: Northwestern

  • 02/19/2011 11:08 pm in

(Photo credit: Jamie Owens, J. Scott Photography)

Thoughts on a 70-64 loss to the Wildcats:

So much for that full week of preparation.

Indiana came out flat in this one.

And just when it looked like the Hoosiers might finally push ahead in the second half, Northwestern either answered the call or Indiana turned the ball over in a frustrating fashion.

Six of seven wins for these Wildcats over the Hoosiers including their first two wins ever inside Assembly Hall. Their second win in their last 15 road tries in the Big Ten. Oy.

In the first half, Northwestern’s seven 3-pointers opened up their back screens, allowing the Wildcats to drop 40 points. It was textbook Bill Carmody¬†offense at work, executed by kids that have done it time and again. Indiana was often hesitant on offense in the first 20 minutes as well, as Northwestern’s 1-3-1 kept them from getting into a flow.

Indiana’s offense opened up in the second half on the strength of some dribble penetration, and it allowed for some cutters off the wing to get some nice looks around the rim. The Hoosiers also got after it on the offensive boards and tightened up on D.

But as noted above, every time Indiana looked like it might break through and the Assembly Hall faithful roared, the Hoosiers just couldn’t get over the hump.

Indiana shot well from the field (23-of-46, 50 percent), but were bested from beyond the arc — 4-of-13 (30.8 percent) to Northwestern’s 11-of-24 (45.8 percent) — and at the line where Northwestern shot 84 percent (21-of-25) to Indiana’s 14-of-19 (73.7 percent) performance, and that was pretty much the difference.

I suppose if there’s anything to be learned from IU’s season series with the Wildcats, it’s that experienced seniors matter, regardless of the team name on the front of the jersey.

Other thoughts:

+ Indiana continues to foul and foul and foul. It went both ways tonight as Northwestern racked up several as well. But it was yet another night where Indiana — far and away worst in the conference in opponents’ free-throw rate — allowed the opposition more trips to the line then it got. And as noted above, Northwestern capitalized in a big way (21-of-24).

+ Indiana returned to its old self at times in the turnover department tonight, as the likes of Jeremiah Rivers and Jordan Hulls made passes at their teammates’ feet, through their legs or right to Norhwestern. While it didn’t quite kill them — Northwestern (11 turnovers) and Indiana (12 turnovers) came out even in points off turnovers (12) — the mental lapses didn’t bring the Hoosiers any closer to victory, either.

Filed to:

  • IU1972

    Mediocre will be an improvement, so am looking forward to next year!

  • HoosierSmitty

    I bet a plate of nachos on the IU / PU game Wednesday. With Purdue’s win against OSU and our loss to NW, I think we’re going to pull the upset and continue to baffle our fanbase…just gotta be positive….

  • Fansince1957

    I agree 100%. Maybe Watford should sit a little more and DE and TP play more together. I was be very happy when JR graduates. Such a liability. I thought Jones was pretty good today. I just cannot understand why we cannot guard the 3 and why do we foul so often. I mean everyone in the world knows that Northwestern lives by the 3!!

  • stonaroni

    I tend to agree with you.

    Verbals are just verbals and the more ND and Purdue wins the tougher I think it will be for IU to hold on. PU and ND have major holes to fill right now.

    CTC will not be able to breathe next season if they are 3-11 in conference play with the same contradictions in press conferences, lack of discipline on the floor from his team, even going as far as blaming the players for not wanting it bad enough, no offensive scheme, no defensive tenacity, no adjustments in close games, misuse of timeouts, misuse of substitutions, lack of execution, lack of consitency, lack of focus and lack of knowledge to run a simple side out of bounds play with 11 seconds to go in the game. Every coach in America has a go to play……..beginning in 3rd grade/YMCA basketball.

    I am not a CTC hater yet, but I am losing some serious faith. Who cares if Dwade played for him at Marquette? DWade was widely overlooked by everyone but he developed as a player due to his inner fire and passion. I am sure CTC helped, but let’s not act like he is the player he is due to CTC. Do you think Isiah Thomas was good because of RMK? No way. Jordan and Bird, and Magic and Lebron and Dwade, and Kobe all have that it factor that comes from within.

    Right now I am concerned to see us lose against Iowa and NW at home. Too bad teams. I am even more concerned that CTC got outcoached…..again. After a week of practice to prepare? Come on man, that is embarrassing CTC.

  • stonaroni

    I think CTC made a huge mistake wasting scholly on GMM. But a bigger mistake is not offering more scholly’s to players in the 2011 class. We need more than 2 players. He should have made 5 offers with committments and made the necessary adjustments getting rid of those who are not team players or fit the future. Sure their are good kids involved, but they have every opportunity to improve and buy in on a daily basis; apparently that isn’t happening.

    I’d rather have 2 SR in TP and VJIII next season, 2 JR in Hulls and Mo,; 2 soph in VO and WS, and 5 FR with talent who want to bring max effort all night.

    Love to have DE and CW if they showed the necessary fire to play post defense in the Big 10. Infact those two guys should be our leaders. They are smart, big players, with some talent. They have a little enforcing size to them as well.

  • stonaroni

    How many points did the savior Hulls give up? He logs more minutes each night than anyone else and opposing teams guards abuse us; Juice has 22 right? Was that VJIII’s man or Hulls?

  • stonaroni

    JerryCT,

    I agree. CTC makes all decisions. He is the CEO thus responsible for the product on the floor, who plays when, what D or O they will runs, what half time adjustments need to be made, who needs some tough love, who needs a face full of anger from coach, who needs to ride the pine, who needs to step up, who needs to relegated to reserve to motivate, etc,etc, etc. That is part of being the coach. If CTC cannot handle it than I say next.

    I will say it again, Steve Alford would have landed the same 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 recruits. Indiana Elite helps in the recruitment of IU basketball and kids in Indiana want to play here. Do you think James Blackmon Sr knows Alford, Lyles dad knows who Alford is. Greg Graham knows Alford and Davis would have come here. Yogi, Buss are tight, AE, CZ, Yogi, PJ, and Hanner are tight. It is the IU network that is helping the cause just as much as CTC. Alford would land these kids and would run a set offense at the very least that was understood and visible.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t say Hulls was good defensively last night. And you’ll never hear me refer to Hulls as “the savior.” No one was good defensively last night. But if Hulls or Rivers were beaten on the perimeter, you know who wasn’t going to come over to help? Jones. Just saying. I’ve been consistent with my criticism. And his stat line is fine, but he gets it at the expense of the rest of the team’s offensive flow. I mean, look. When has IU played their best games? When Jones was out, or limited by injury. That’s fact. You can divine your own conclusions. He connected on his midrange shots, which he often does. But he took some ridiculous shots, early in the shot clock, without passing. (The turnaround 18-footer standing out in my mind.) Those are bad shots that went in. Making it doesn’t make it a good shot. And there were a few times last night where he actually had his head up and found cutters. I noticed because it’s such a departure. But then on the final possession, it was the 1-on-5 show.

    I’m not blaming him entirely. That game was definitely a team loss. I’m just pointing out that his numbers don’t tell the whole story.

  • Anonymous

    Juice got a bunch of his points when IU was in their porous zone, and late to rotate out to shooters (Shurna, Juice.) And Jones was out top on that zone, so he can’t go unblamed there either. I make a better case for my original point below, as well.

  • stonaroni

    Great example. The only difference, Cronin doesn’t take crap from anyone on his team. He has a legit NBA center on his team that was highly touted in high school and can flash greatness in college. But, Gates is lazy as hell and Cronin benches him, he just siuspended hima game last week whenthey were 19-6 and desperately needing a Big East win. Cronin has a pair and is not afraid to put his job on the line for he believes in. He is a guy that demands max effort, if you don’t give it, you don’t play.

    UC doesn’t have our tradition, our school, our fans (about half attend the games), our facilities, etc. They compete in the Big East with less talent than IU.

    If there is an effort problem CTC, do not blame the players, you play them, you make out the line up.

  • stonaroni

    I don’t get it. CTC recruited all of these guys. If they are not good enough, that is his issue that we are living with. If they are projectable kids with developing games, then develop their games. Coach them up, that is CTC’s issue. Like it or not, this is CTC’s baby, he built it, he is raising this team and they are a problem child right now.

    AE and CZ do fill huge holes next year. They are not push overs. AE is tall enough to shoot over his defender much like all of the great teams in the Big 10, they have anAE type on their team. He is also a very unselfish player who can rebound, defend, set up a teammate and pass. CZ will bring an interior length that we have not seen since Dean Garrett. He can shoot, rebound, defend and thunder dunk. BOTH AE and CZ look like they have been there before. They are both drivien and CZ has won state championships with teams on his back. Even Hulls cannot say that, since Dee Davis carried them thru the title game.

  • stonaroni

    The only way we win is if JJ and More miss the bus. If we do not compete and play a close game, the writing will be on the wall fro this team….the do not have a clue what it means to play IU basketball.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    You know, I was just reading your post and thinking to myself . . . as soon as you make that move then one of those guys (DE or TP) will decide to have a terrible game. That’s just the way it’s went with these guys this year. We call for more of this guy, we get it, and he lays an egg that game. So, we call for more of that guy, we get it, and he bombs as well. About the only consistent thing this year out of all my griping has been my wish to see less of VJ3 and we played pretty well during the stretch he was out or limited. I’m not saying he’s a bad kid or even a bad player or even puts up bad stats. I’m just saying, for some reason unbeknown to any us, he just doesn’t mesh with this team and they don’t play up to their potential with him???

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    You know, I was just reading your post and thinking to myself . . . as soon as you make that move then one of those guys (DE or TP) will decide to have a terrible game. That’s just the way it’s went with these guys this year. We call for more of this guy, we get it, and he lays an egg that game. So, we call for more of that guy, we get it, and he bombs as well. About the only consistent thing this year out of all my griping has been my wish to see less of VJ3 and we played pretty well during the stretch he was out or limited. I’m not saying he’s a bad kid or even a bad player or even puts up bad stats. I’m just saying, for some reason unbeknown to any us, he just doesn’t mesh with this team and they don’t play up to their potential with him???

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Hmmmmm . . . interesting.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Hmmmmm . . . interesting.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I’m sure my 7th grade basketball coaching resume would look nice as an addition to his staff. I am a baseball guy but that doesn’t mean I don’t know the game. I have officiated off and on for years and that gives you a very different perspective on how the game is coached and played.

    All I’m saying is I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT A COACH CAN BLAME PLAYERS AND PLAYERS ONLY FOR LACKLUSTER OR HALF HEARTED PLAY! I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again . . . a wise coach once said (I can’t remember who originated the quote), “Coaches don’t win games but they can lose games”! Also, Joe Paterno said, “You can’t be a nice guy and do this job”. Those are two pretty good quotes about this team and this coach right now.

    So, he’s at least partially to blame for this season’s underachievement. You need players to step up and be leaders but ultimately the leader of any team is the head coach and he’s where a team gets their ultimate motivation, attitude, and personality. He’s a RA RA type guy but the players aren’t adopting the good parts of that personality. They’re celebrating after individual dunks or plays but very seldom are they celebrating a W together?

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I’ll agree that it’s tough to teach basketball IQ but you can teach toughness over a few years with kids and he’s had that. I disagree that a team gets it’s identity from the players. I’ve had all kinds of different players but have been able to get them to take on my identity as a coach. I’ve had obnoxious, cocky players down to quiet, shy, and timid players and I’ve never had a problem getting them to adopt a “winning” attitude and playing like I played. Of course, during my stint as a business manager I never had any problems motivating employees of many different personalities towards a common goal either. Maybe, although he’s a very exciting guy, he isn’t a great motivator? Being a great motivator means being able to motivate many different personalities through different methods. You can’t motivate Joe the same way you do Sam. If they have different personalities then sometimes it takes different approaches to get them to play/work for the same goal.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    The problem with this article is it’s just another journalist’s opinion and some people think, “Hey, a guy who reports on basketball wrote this article, so he must be right, huh?”.

    The problem is this guy may have never stepped on a basketball court as a player or coach and he points out that IU is mediocre in talent and rankings but so are a lot of the teams beating us on our home floor! I bet UNI and Colorado aren’t loaded with 4 and 5 star recruits who were ranked in the top 50 but they’ve beat us on a neutral court. Also, there are several mid-majors who have success year after year with “mid-major” recruits through hard work and good coaching/systems.

    So, take it as you will, but one guy’s opinion on the subject doesn’t a fact make! I may be opinionated, but I do understand that my opinions are just opinions. I’m just very opinionated about them! HA

  • JerryCT

    Well Aceman: Coaches are paid to recognize when and what to do. TP rarely lets the team down . I will not bore you with my list of stuff he does but playing him 14 min is a joke. I don’t care who else is on the floor with him.

    The first made basket we press and TP tips the pass and we get it for a shot ………. I for one was not surprised. Not surprised he was the one to answer Mrkovic either.Not surprised he almost broke Crawford’s arm on the game tip.

    14 min ………. I rest my case and worry about the coaching staff.

    VJ and Hulls , well that is another matter.

  • JerryCT

    So Joe Paterno once said about alumni ” We want your millions , but not your 2 cents “. ( Thought you might like that )

  • InTheMtns

    C&C, I’m not saying Verdell should take the blame for the loss. Definitely not, because there is plenty of blame to go around. I like Verdell and I agree with you that he played a pretty good game last night. But all too often, we lose our momentum when he’s in the game. I had that sinking feeling when I saw him checking into the game during the come back and sure enough, he turned the ball over and our comeback died.

    Notice, I didn’t say Verdell kills the momentum. I said our momentum dies. I don’t know what causes that — if it’s because of what Verdell does or if it’s because the other players leave it up to him to save the day and then they take the play off. Either way, all too often things go stagnant and fall apart.

  • InTheMtns

    Except it doesn’t answer my question — I agree that Elston had a good game but Pritchard was having a better game. IMO, it’s not a toss up between the two choices. So, I still don’t understand why Pritchard wasn’t in the game the second half. Your reasoning on CTC not benching CWat and playing Elston and Pritch together, I suspect is right on. Shame, because I think CWat’s defense in this game could have used some bench time.

    I hope Rivers is able to pull it back together. I’d like to see him finish out his Senior year playing strong and feeling good about his contribution to the team.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I think Hulls should play because good things happen more often than not when the ball is in his hands. Yes, he’s not a good defensive player but the difference between him and VJ is that VJ seems to be about a 50/50 shot whether you’re going to get a good shot or a bad shot, shot clock violation, TO, slowed offensive set, etc. It was obvious during VJ’s injury stretch who’s team this was and how the team played better with Hulls in control.

    As far as my statement above, it was more frustration from the fact that no matter what lineup CTC puts out there we still play poorly most of the time. I DO think TP needs to be playing about 24-28 minutes a game if he can stay out of foul trouble because he’s the only post defender we have who can guard a good post player without help. We are too slow to drop down and help then recover which leads to easy looks from deep over and over again. When DE, BC, or CW are guarding the block, we help down, then give up open outside shots. It’s just becoming painfully obvious this team is better when TP is playing decent and he’s been playing pretty well. Even the announcer had just said he is starting to show flashes of his freshman confidence, then he was out and never came back in (minus about .30).

    That’s not good coaching when you can’t recognize what players are making your team consistently better and play them when it counts.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    LOL – they’ve got my donations . . . my 2 cents are free!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I live near Lafayette and know some shady types. That could be arranged. HA

  • Hoosiers2006

    Frustrated, yes. I am reading alot of comments on how Crean substitutes and what I think is that he knows he does not have 5 go to players he can put on the floor. This team is full of 6th man players that would be coming off the bench to give the team a spark. Most top ten teams have a set rotation by now consisting of 6-7 players that will log most of the minutes. The healthy talent on this team is not that good or at least not good enough to win in the Big Ten. I said from day one Crean should get 5 years and I’m sticking to it.

  • JerryCT

    Did you notice TP put his hand up to signal and bother every cut thru the lane by NU while covering his man ?

    The coach needed to see that his choice was not between DE and TP but between CW and TP or between TP and VJ or JR.

    His other lost opportunity was to forget about the press that worked out of the gate

  • JerryCT

    Sorry I posted essentially the same thing above. Coach did not seem to recognize that his best choice was to play TP vs CW or even JR/VJ .

    His other big mistake was the press ……….which worked the first time they tried it ………. and then it disappeared. This is against a team tired from their schedule and us well rested

  • JerryCT

    Another way of looking at this is as CTC says ” our players have GAPS in their skillls”. This means one guys offense is offset by his poor defense and vice versa. As long as that is the case we cannot shorten the rotation

  • Fansince1957

    This team is the hardest for me to figure out in all my years. Virtually every player is so inconsistent from game to game.
    To say that we have just one player who plays well every game would be hard to do. Hulls is probably the most consistent, but all the others simply drive me crazy from time to time. I sure don’t know the answer and I doubt if CTC does either.

  • Raphael Smith, a practice player from South Bend.

  • Raphael Smith, a practice player from South Bend.

  • kentuckyHOOSIER

    Totally agree with you and your nachos ! ctc was finally pissed at our boys against NM , PUkes big win , and our fans will be getting pay back at them for their fans chants at mackey . Hoosiers win !

  • Joshuahaltom

    Why was Raphael out there?

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Yeah, I couldn’t figure that out either? I sometimes think CTC is like a kid at an amusement park who comes with a plan but then gets excited and forgets his own plan to run willy-nilly through the park?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see why we have to compare him to anyone. However, I’ll take the bait and say that, no, Cronin’s situation wasn’t quite the same either.

    Cronin had a starter returning off a 20+ win team. He had several other returning players, maybe 3 or 4 total. Also, he brought in a couple of junior college players for year one, including a top 3 or top 5 JUCO recruit. Think he was first team All-American at that level.

    Cronin didn’t have any sanctions of which I’m aware. They probably did have a terrible APR, but that would only limit scholarships numbers (which wouldn’t have mattered anyway as they only had one freshman coming in).

    I think, on paper, they were most upperclassmen. I checked Pomeroy’s site as that’s the only roster I could find to confirm my suspicions: 2 Sr, 5 Jr, 2 So, 1 Fr. I can’t speak who had scholarships on that team, but I do remember they had a “walk-on” from the football team who was the 6th (playing starter’s level minutes) on the previous (20 win) team.

    Also, that freshman was pretty good point guard. Deonta Vaughn was all Big-East as an upperclass, if I remember correctly.

  • InTheMtns

    And I am so 100% in agreement with you about the press. It was working — and they were tired and getting more tired. We should have continued the press. I’ll bet CTC thinks so, too, when he reviews the tape.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    No, out of his own mouth just this past week on ESPN he told reporters he had ONE returning player and, yes, that player was a regular player (unlike Kyle Taber) but he still started with only one returning players, a bunch of JUCO players (which we didn’t do) and some of his own recruits. Scholarship numbers were all they lost and all we lost. The whole road recruiting thing never hurt CTC and it was even temporarily lifted.

    I’m fine with CTC doing things the “right” way, but I don’t think that’s an excuse for being SO much worse at this point than Cincy and Cronin.

  • Anonymous

    Cronin was exaggerating a bit. I checked their media guide for that season and they had 4 lettermen returning. Also, they had a sophmore redshirt, which kind of makes it 5 players.

  • millzy32

    I get sick and tired of hearing the comment that Tom Crean took on such a challenge in coming to IU. the man is getting paid a King’s ransom at a historic program. Getting players to come to IU should be about as hard as getting players to come to Kansas or Kentucky. He is doing great in that regard. He is getting the quality guys to sign up. That is if they decide to still show up. I like most of you have become increasingly wary of his coaching ability or lack theref

  • millzy32

    Calling Watford a natural 3 is getting silly. Natural 3’s can put the ball on the floor and dribble around their defender, they don’t dribble sideways at the top of the key because they can’t get around their man. They can also have the quickness and athleticism to guard the other team’s 3 which also is not the case. Watford’s true natural position is th e4 he is just too skinny to play it but he is still beter at it than he is at th e3.