The Minute After: Illinois

Thoughts on a 72-48 spanking at the hands of the Illini:

Beatdown in Champaign today, kids.

The Illini, when they play this well, are just too much for a team like Indiana. They have more size on the interior. They have more athleticism on the perimeter. Oh, more experience and talent, too.

These mismatches were exploited on both ends of the floor all game — the emotions swirling around senior night, er, afternoon surely helped with this — and the Hoosiers, a team on a quick turnaround from Thursday night’s loss, were really never in this game.

Demetri McCamey (22 points) got off to a hot start in the first half, and it was one giant orange snowball that kept building and rolling over the Hoosiers all afternoon. When the Illini weren’t scoring with ease around the bucket, they were locking down defensively in the halfcourt, making it difficult for the Hoosiers to find any sort of rhythm or success on offense.

The next thing you knew, Illinois had dropped 46 points by halftime on 54.3 percent shooting (5-of-11 for 45.5 percent from three), after only managing 49 points in their first contest with the Hoosiers earlier this season.

And though the offense slowed some in the second half, the Illini often toyed with the Hoosiers with a series of alley-oops.

They were smiling. They were having fun.

It was the difference between a team that’s feeling better about itself heading into the Big Dance and one that’s failed to win away from their home court this season, and is limping to the finish line of 2010-11 on what is now an eight-game losing streak.

Other notes:

+ Building off Thursday’s performance, Indiana again did a good job taking care of the basketball, as the Hoosiers only turned the ball over 10 times this afternoon. And they also kept their foul issues in check, as they only committed 13 personal fouls on the Illini, who went to the line just 13 times. But a rough shooting performance from Indiana — 31.6 percent from the floor (18-of-57); 17.6 percent from three (3-of-17) — kept the Illini out of reach.

+ Nice game from the hometown boy Verdell Jones today, as he was about the only bright spot on offense, save Will Sheehey. Jones played to his strengths in the mid-range for 12 points (6-of-14, 0-of-2 from three) and created by himself at times when nothing else was doing.

+ Jordan Hulls failed to make a shot from the floor (0-of-7, 0-of-3 from three), though he did hit all four of his free throws. Christian Watford finished the afternoon 1-of-8 (0-of-4 from three, 5-of-6 from the line). That’s a 1-for-15 performance from two of Indiana’s top offensive players. That’s not good.

+ Illinois blocked five of Indiana’s shots in this one. Couple that with a 24-point loss and it felt like we were watching the Hoosiers of Crean’s first two years in this one at times.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I don’t think we overestimate our program. I still think with some work we can become a Top 10 national program once again.

    I think we overestimate the draw that our tradition has on potential recruits. Unfortunately, outside of an unexpected National Runner-Up, we really haven’t done much of anything as a program during most HS kids’ lives.

    I think our tradition is a valuable asset, but I think a lot of potential recruits look at other factors before tradition like playing time, scheme, potential for professional development, ability for program to win during the 4 (or 2 or 1) years the recruit is there, etc.

    With those things in mind, I am impressed that CTC has been able to get the players that are coming over the next few years.

  • Anonymous

    No, you have a right to be upset after yesterday. I am. I am speaking more along the lines of the “long haul,” than just yesterday’s game. That was awful.

    I have always thought that a blowout loss is a reflection of the players more than the coaches. I think CTC was coaching hard the whole game, but it was pretty obvious that some players quit early yesterday. Obviously, when players quit, that does reflect on the coach, but not as much as the individual players who gave up. That is my main critique of CTC is that he should not allow this. Certain players should be benched and not allowed to play until they give better effort, especially on D.

    When the team plays like that, I don’t care who the 5 are, put the 5 guys giving the most effort on the floor.

  • Anonymous

    I really think it is some type of attitude thing that affects the whole chemistry on the team.

    – when these guys were out the players left found new ways to score points and get things done — there seemed to be greater trust on the floor — they worked together more like a unit instead of individuals.
    – they don’t seem to hustle all the time and this affects everything on the court
    – seems like plays are forced more on offense when they are out there

  • MillaRed

    Well, how can I argue with that? We are on the same page sir. Well said.

  • MillaRed

    The reality keeps setting in and that is we won’t know for a few more years eh? I want to DVR the next two years so I can fast forward damn it.

  • MillaRed

    I was thinking the same thing this morning. If IU hoops was an NFL football team the defensive coordinator would be fired. Defense brings offense. So you have to start there.

    Whoever IU considers our “defensive guy” needs to be let go or needs another opinion in big way.

  • MillaRed

    @ Kelin – Gleas

    He has two more years to develop eh? Plus, if we played any form of team D he wouldn’t be so damn exposed.

  • MillaRed

    Straight wrong? No way dude. Debatable? Sure. But straight wrong doesn’t make any sense. This team sucked.

  • MillaRed

    The people asking for dismissal are in the minority Calbert. The rest of us are just looking for some answers and are trying be fair to the fan base when it comes down to what is happening out there.

    But that was a long answer so I will agree with the rest ;)

  • IUJeff

    No doubt this is a PUke, pUKe, or dawg troll that has infiltrated ITH. Probably one of them that stalks and spews negativity on every Indy Star IU article. Don’t be led astray ITHers.

  • Anonymous

    You are right and I am in 100% agreement with you. I don’t want him out either because starting over again is the last thing this program needs. There needs to be more progress from year three to year four than we have seen in the past under Crean. I am a bottom line guy and there have to be more wins.

  • Anonymous

    yesterday’s game is part of this long haul — three seasons into it — it is a reflection of the direction the program is going. The wins and losses don’t apply for me as much as the progress of play and growth I feel is happening on the court. I don’t see many changes with this team; I did feel like at one part this season they were turning it around and then very strangely it disappeared for me. I wont put blame on anyone specifically, but progression has come to a stand still for me and it sucks.

  • Anonymous

    This article picture is very Illannoying.

  • Anonymous

    Watford is still a sophomore and though I question his decision making I feel he has plenty of room for improvement. He will be a stud his senior year, so yes losing Watford would be a blow.

  • CalbertCheaneywannabe

    Calbert40 I think you are right about our tradition as far as recruiting goes. Most IU fans that are over the age of say 30 remember what the traditoin was all about. Kids today can’t remember when IU was a dominating force year in and year out. To them, the University has to sell it self. Sure the banners are nice but to most, I would say that its just part of the decor with the exception of a recruit has been told by his dad or grandpa about the glory days of IU.

  • Marsh21

    very well said and thank you

  • Anonymous

    I hope the next one isn’t Pennstinky

  • http://www.prinsportsblog.com BGleas

    No, it’s mostly about talent, although you’re right that leadership comes in as well. Leadership from two guys that have scored over 2,000 points apeice. Leadership and talent from a guy that’s a shot eraser in the middle and another that is one of the best and most experienced point guards in the Big Ten.

    Of course Elston would look good next to Johnson on the interior. It’s not Painter, it’s Johnson and Moore. Not saying Painter isn’t a good coach, but Elston would thrive in Purdue because of Johnson and Moore, not Painter.

  • http://www.prinsportsblog.com BGleas

    Thanks Mike! I it seems glaringly obvious to me that the difference between IU and Purdue is Johnson and Moore. Honestly, the last two seasons 3 out of the 4 games were between the two were relatively close and in each game Purdue had 2-3 (last season including Hummel) of the best players on the court.

    That’s not about Painter vs. Crean, that’s about talent. You could almost argue IU has no business playing Purdue that close. Maybe I was wrong, maybe it is about coaching :)

  • millzy32

    We have to just hope that we are heading in the right direction. In all honesty it would be hard for us to have hired any coach from anywhere to have fewer wins over the last 3 years (just fact). Do I think we are heading in the right direction. All I can do is hope. On a positive note at least they put a cute blonde in the picture. That was a bonus.

  • millzy32

    There are only 3 left for next year and none of them have us on their radar. We aren’t getting a top 150 for next year out of thin air. The best hope we have is for a diamond in the rough. I’m not exactly speaking of the top 150 but the espnu100 but having only 3 left there leads me to believe that maybe one or two more are top 150. Slim pickins.

  • MillaRed

    A tad brutal but if you look at what is happening on the floor in the Illinois type games you gotta wonder what the hell is going on out there.

  • MillaRed

    Doesn’t the risk on Guy’s recruitment have some form of accountability? We recruited a player that could not play and it set the program back. So we’re just gonna blame the big, bad NCAA and give IU a free pass?

    I was disappointed as the next person but seriously folks we just can’t brush this off like we were victims. This was a pretty big decision we made and we got burned. It’s just as much IU’s fault as anyone’s. Maybe not entirely our fault but there is some responsibility here.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Come on Calbert. It’s hard to argue with the fact that this team has gotten worse over the course of a season the last two years! Last year we opened 3-3 in the Big Ten and took PUke (at home) and Illannoy (on the road) to the wire! Then over the last 10 games we won ONE more game and that was against NW at home who turned around and spanked our butts the next game in the B10 tourney. This year we played tough against Wisconsin and MSU on the road and beat Minnesota and Illannoy at home then finished with a string of losses against the likes of NW and Michigan and didn’t even show up to play Saturday in a rivalry game!

    He’s flat-out, 100%, without a question right when he says that the mark of a good coach is his teams improve from the beginning of the season to the end. Individual players are supposed to improve as well as the team. The majority of the players look worse at this point in the season than they did earlier and the team has obviously mailed it in.

    It’s very, very difficult to make a case for this team being better now that it was at the beginning of the year or even a month ago.

    Whether he’s a coach or not, he has a valid point!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Watford better start to work on defense and at least put out the effort or I would never let him touch the floor. Please rewind the game to that play I was talking about in the first half where he just bailed on a help attempt. He could have stepped up soon enough to stop the player 8-10 feet from the basket and force them to at least give the ball up or he had a TON of time to set up for a charge or try to block the shot of the smaller player. Instead he just backed out of the way underneath the basket. If he was lost or looking for his man then he is a stupid defensive player and if he was just backing out because he’s soft then he’s a wuss! I can’t get past this. Watching that play a few times really, really made it obvious to me how far he needs to go to be a good basketball player. Scoring your 18 points on 35% FG shooting and doing NOTHING else to help the team does not make you a good ball player. In fact, it makes you a pretty piss poor teammate. I hope he visits this site and goes back to look at that play himself. I hope one of our coaches (who I don’t have a great deal of confidence in right now) catch this during film day and really get in to him about it!

    I have loved IU my whole life and I refuse to watch IU basketball if that’s the type effort I have to watch! You NEVER pack in a season or game and refuse to put out effort like that. I watched that game and that particular play and decided I wasn’t going to spend the money to go down to the Big Ten tournament. If they’ve mailed it in and our supposed best player has decided he’s above simple help defense then I’m not going to waste my money to go down and watch them play!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    So, if we’re saying the same thing now that we were saying before this year, did this team really improve at all? The preseason schedule was weaker (UNI and COL were the tough games that replaced Pitt and Maryland) and we still played pUKe with all home games against some real Puds! Last year we went to PR and at least played a couple decent teams on a neutral floor. Then we played Maryland and Pitt. This year we opened with all cupcakes at home before going to pUKe and playing UNI and COL on a neutral floor. We’re going to most likely finish with 2 more overall wins (mostly due to that incredibly weak preseason schedule of cupcakes barely into the D1 ranks) and 1 less Big Ten win. Sure, there were a few more close games, but is that because this team is so much better or because teams played down to our level because they’re no longer getting up to play IU like they used to?

    I’m not making the decision, I’m just posing the question . . . are we any better?

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Ha, hilarious. I asked you this exact same question above and even mentioned the cupcake non-conference schedule before I read down to see you all are talking about the exact same thing and you posed the exact same question. I think I like your style Milla!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Moral victories are like getting a reach around from your sister! Just because you can’t see her doesn’t mean you want it to happen!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Moral victories are like getting a reach around from your sister! Just because you can’t see her doesn’t mean you want it to happen!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Moral victories are like getting a reach around from your sister! Just because you can’t see her doesn’t mean you want it to happen!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    That 2002 that almost won the NCAA championship was Knight’s players and supposedly he had made the statement in print before they made the finals that those players were his next chance to win a championship at IU. Is that right, I don’t know. I think that the slide started with the hiring of Myles Brand at IU!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    You can add NW on the road as well! That game was an abortion! Only CWat played well in the second half and we were never in it!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I have less confidence in a Big Ten Tournament win this year than I did last year! We had just beaten NW last year and CTC had found a lineup that was really working at the end of the NW game at AH. Then I went to watch the game at Conseco and he never played that lineup together again and we looked bad. This year I have ZERO confidence that we can win in the Big Ten Tourney because our last win was a WHILE ago and the guys seem to have packed it in!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I thought VJ3 played better and with much more effort the last few games of the season. I even thought he was one of only 2-3 players to play with heart and effort at Illannoy. So, I backed off ripping him. I still think he’s out of position and would be much better in the role of Rip Hamilton coming off screens and slashing to the basket off the pass.

    CWat I am completely frustrated with because of reasons mentioned above. I do believe the team could be better without him because right now he’s so bad on defense he’s giving up twice as many points as he’s scoring. I’m beginning to think he’d have to average 30 to make up for what he gives up! The potential is there but not until he starts to put out the EFFORT on defense. And against Illannoy, it was purely a LACK OF EFFORT!!!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    At least the blond is cute.

  • JerryCT

    When do we and the coaching staff stop “breathing our own exhaust” ?

    I think you measure progress by whether we made up meaningful ground in our conference. The clear answer is NO. If we were just a little better than Iowa we would have 3+ more wins.

    None of the player excuses work for me ie youth, inexperience, talent level, comittment to a system for recruiting purposes, can’t transfer from practice to the games, wrong style players, Creek , Guy, Watofrd, Jones injuries etc …………..

    I want answers and I want them from the coach.

    Is he powerless to teach ? Why so ?

    If he is not powerless then what explains our failure ?

    I am looking for coaching accountability, some understanding of the situation and then maybe I can accept the results

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Well, either it didn’t happen or maybe it was over two seasons? I don’t know but none of the records I’ve found have Leary at 46. They all had Graham at 38.

  • Anonymous

    I think the team should improve from season to season and within the season, but what is the best way to measure that?

    Did Villanova improve during the season? They went 5-10 in their last 15. Does this mean they got worse as a team, or they played better competition? They lost a lot of close games too. Is Jay Wright a bad coach? Did the players just give up?

    My point is that there are a multitude of factors that go into a team’s record down the stretch. So far as IU is concerned, I think competition played a large role in that just as a lack of team depth, injuries, poor team defense, etc did.

    I just don’t think you can lay the blame of this season entirely at the feet of CTC.

  • millzy32

    The bar is so low right now that my expectations for next year are as follows. Winning 6 big ten games and losing 12. Sadly that’s an improvement. Is it acceptable improvement? No, but what is acceptable at this point? It’s getting downright embarrassing being a proud Hoosier fan but not much we can do but sit and wait and hope everything works out for the best. Is it 2015 yet?

  • millzy32

    That’s what I said above. Really cute actually. Almost made it worth suffering through all these posts.

  • MillaRed

    Can we add,

    + How many players will be playing out of position?

    Verdell is not a PG
    Jordy is not a SG
    Watford is not a SF
    Who the hell knows what Rivers was?

    Otherwise you have 4-5 million dollar questions up there.

  • MillaRed

    If anyone is completely blaming Crean they are not being fair. But the guy just has a lot to work on and I’m more than comfortable saying that.

    He has recruited, he has restored integrity and for that we are all thankful. But honestly, he just hasn’t coached to my satisfaction. I am not overly impressed.

  • MillaRed

    Ace we are not Duke. You are talking as if the likes of Watford can be tossed aside without remorse.

    He’s one of the best players on the team. Which isn’t an incredible endorsement but it is what it is. And he’s an underclassmen.

    CWat needs to be taught defense. And so far that doesn’t seem to be a strength of our coaching staff.

  • MillaRed

    @ Ace & Millzy

    I think the hard fact is we are progressing much slower than anticipated. Again, MUCH SLOWER. If your 2011 prediction is accurate then I personally overestimated CTCs ability.

    He took the job. That toilet bowl of a situation few would take. Regardless of how we are transitioning we are officially (I won’t say “stuck” because I have more respect for him than that) riding him for a few more years until these studs are on the court.

    IMO, the folks that are noting our “improvement” from last season are disregarding the “level of improvement” achieved. Which was by most standards very little.

    Does anyone really feel that much more fuzzy about 2010 than they did 2009? I mean, really? I still feel sick to my stomach.

  • MillaRed

    Another thing I will add here is I keep hearing “the Coach needs players” “the Coach came to IU” etc etc.

    Well what about the damn players? Hell, Coach is getting paid millions of dollars. The players are getting their butts kicked for signing up.

    “These kids wouldn’t start on any other Big Ten team!” Sure, that”s why most of them had like 7 D1 offers. We can guarantee that all of them would underachieve on other squads. Yea right.

    The reward for our highly criticized players coming to this disastrous situation instead of Boston College or whatever is the attitude that, “Coach is doing fine and they suck!” Well, thanks for nothing my peeps!

    Hey, at least if CTC fails he has 10 million dollars in his pocket. Grant it they are walking away with a great diploma. But you see my point. They are looking for the same IU glory we are and they aren’t getting it.

  • Anonymous

    hahaha!! I am a little on the long-winded side!

    I agree with you on your point. We want improvement, and it was difficult to see it down the stretch this year. I just think we need to give CTC some time to turn it around. I know 3 years was the magic number for most of us, but I think our timeline was a little off.

  • Anonymous

    I get where you are coming from, and technically, Saturday’s game is part of the long haul, true. However, Wisconsin got absolutely killed by OSU yesterday. Does that show poor growth on the team’s part, or was it just one game? The Illinois game notwithstanding, IU played very well against Wisconsin just three days earlier, but they were beaten by a more talented team (or player).

    I just think if we jump to conclusions based upon the Illinois game, we are going to come to the wrong answers.

    But, you’re right, the last few weeks have been long for an IU fan. Let’s hope progression is more tangible next season.

  • Anonymous

    Coach K took over Duke in 1981. Do you know when Duke got its first NCAA bid after he was hired? 1984, or Year 3 of the Coach K era at Duke. Duke won its first ACC title in the Coach K era in 1986, or Year 5.

    When he took over Duke, they had a foundation in place as opposed to one returning player who was mediocre.

    It still took Coach K three years to make the Dance.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Factor 1) Crean’s team quit and didn’t show up against Illinois.
    Factor 2) The margins of defeat grew towards the end of the season.
    Factor 3) Individual players scuffled and struggled towards the end of the season (more regressed than progressed).

    That’s definitely a measurement of whether the team got better or worse as the season wore on!

    Hulls struggled at the end of the year. Watford’s defense was terrible but I’ll give him a pass on his scoring because of his hand.

    VO really struggled or at least didn’t get consistent time down the stretch.

    Elston didn’t get better.

    JR really regressed down the stretch.

    Etc. Etc. Etc. Only Sheehey and TP to an extent made steady improvements throughout the duration of the season!

  • JerryCT

    FYI:

    I went back to Rivals and calculated the avg “stars” of several teams first 8 or so players that actually play. Here it is:

    IU = 3.3
    UM = 3.3
    PSU = 2.2
    Minn < 3
    Iowa < 3
    NU = 2.75
    Wisc = 3.25
    Notre Dame = 3
    Pitt = 3.25

    I really do not want to hear fans discuss the talent level of our players anymore w/o a discussion of who is developing them

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