Indiana’s effort on Saturday not good enough

  • 03/06/2011 1:03 pm in

Two years ago, this might have been acceptable.

Two years ago, when Indiana was talent-deprived and had no idea how to handle most Big Ten road atmospheres, when the Hoosiers were little more than a patchwork squad of freshmen and transfers and walk-ons and hope.

When Illinois came to Bloomington in February, Indiana shut the Illini down offensively thanks to a strong night from Jeremiah Rivers on Demetri McCamey. That night, the Hoosiers held Illinois scoreless for a combined 10 minutes en route to winning 52-49. In the first half of Saturday’s game, a porous defensive effort allowed 46 points — or three less than Illinois scored in twice as much time a month ago.

Put simply, the effort Indiana gave Saturday afternoon wasn’t good enough. The hustle, the focus, the energy, the intensity, none of it was close to where it needed to be Saturday afternoon. Consider the following statistical comparisons:

Final score: 76-45 vs. 72-48.

Shooting percentages: 39.2 from field, 33.3 from 3-point range vs. 31.6 from field, 17.3 from 3-point range.

Rebounding margin: plus-12 vs. minus-13.

Turnovers: 19 vs. 10.

The first set of numbers comes from Indiana’s loss at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill., in 2009, when Verdell Jones, Matt Roth and Tom Pritchard were freshmen. The second, you might have guessed, were totals on Saturday.

This is not (IS NOT) to suggest Indiana has not progressed significantly or significantly enough in the last two years. The problem, really, is that Indiana has progressed, and should be beyond this.

Two years ago, deficiencies in intangibles were understandable, if exponential. But this Indiana team has too often shown itself to be too many of the things it once was not. Close losses at Michigan State and Wisconsin, a comeback in the Barn against Minnesota, wins over the Gophers and Illini at home — these are proof of an evolved squad, one that should have been above the absolutely mailed-in performance it gave at the other Assembly Hall.

And make no mistake, this is a team problem, a team mistake. It’s not just on the players, and it’s not just on the coaches. When a performance is so thoroughly lacking, everyone involved is responsible.

Indiana has four days to decide if it has anything left to give this season. Saturday’s performance was born of team-wide failure. Pulling anything more from a season that has yet to see a win away from Assembly Hall will require an equally complete effort in the other direction. Or the season will end Thursday night.

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  • Anonymous

    This topic is getting deep – I smell an HBO documentary somewhere here

  • Anonymous

    I almost feel if Hulls is “this guy” he would have done it by now — his “credibility” may be waning the longer he waits

  • Anonymous

    seems like a weak excuse to me – I guess more so thinking if a player was using it

    also players should be in pretty good shape at this point in the season – if they’re not then there’s a problem

  • Anonymous

    Bobby is not a coach any longer, he is a TV analyst, just like Dan Dakich. If you miss him tune in to ESPN, he is on 2-3 times each week.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see any transfers. IU will add Zeller, Etherington and one unknown plus Mo Creek to this team for next season. They should expect to win 20 games, but NOT playing like they did at IL! No transfer can add anything for next season. You would take away an average player with 2-3 years experience and add an average freshman with no experience. How does that help?

  • Anonymous

    Tom does not quit. But that is not the same as being good on defense. He is slow, can’t jump, does not move his feet well enough to get the defensive position first, is not a great block out for rebounding, etc. When compared to Capo and Elston, he is clearly our best Big defender.

  • walt

    This game seemed to head south quick. Have noticed when the opposing teams get that smirk smile on their faces we are in trouble. Been there a lot lately (smirks). I feel we will make a good showing against Penn St. By the way, and off topic, a shout out to Indiana State for their great win in St. Louis. Go IU

  • MillaRed

    That’s right thanks. Either way Coach Knight was leaving the tourney very early consistently for quite a few years.

  • Anonymous

    That is possibly the best comment I have read on here in along time. You articulated exactly what I was thinking. This team is desperately looking for a leader who will say that this losing mindset simply isn’t acceptable and holds teammates accountable.

  • Andrew

    1994 Sweet 16 (Bailey’s senior year). 1995, 96, 97, 2000, 01…first round KO’s (Mizzou, BC, CU, Pepperdine, Kent St.). 1998, 99…second round losses (UConn, SJU).

  • Andrew

    Interesting theory. I think that could be a contributing factor. Hopefully if we get better, CTC won’t see every practice as a steel cage match. Practices will be used more to fine tune…rather than to determine, on a daily or weekly basis, who really “wants it more” (as coaches and players love to say). On a somewhat similar note, I can see ND or O$U losing earlier in the tourney than they should b/c both Brey and Matta are notorious for playing their starters insane minutes. I know they are arguably the two hottest teams around, but playing 35 min/game all season has a funny way of catching up to you in March.

  • Anonymous

    So you think we were better off with Davis? Seriously, Davis? Davis? The talent on that team is what took us to the National Championship, not him.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you sane posters for backing me on this. For a second I thought I may actually have been crazy thinking Knight was a better coach than Davis.

  • Devout Hoosier

    Oh I don’t forget. I was present in Rupp arena chanting A.J.’s name after that fabulous block. Also in Atlanta to watch IU & Maryland start a game where both teams were very nervous and started timid, in a low scoring game. It was there for the taking by either team and IMHO there’s no question that RMK would have had them motiviated and ready to play and Indiana would have six banners. I was also at Conseco the following year to watch us extract revenge on Maryland where Tom Coverdale had an amazing game. I think Davis was a descent coach and deserve some credit, I just didn’t want him to get on the Job training at Indiana. It was his first dance.

    As for Crean, I love him. Whether he can coach or not, I don’t know. He hasn’t had any upperclassman to lead and pass on to the underclassmen. 3 years is not enough to evaluate because of this special situation. Ask me at the end of year 5 what I think.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t read all of your post, just got to the players operating outside of the coach. That isn’t completely crazy man. His teams did that every year he was at IU after that. I’ll remind you of one name, Bracey Wright.

  • Anonymous

    Ok, finished reading your post and think you gave very good insight there my man. I think this current situation is everyone’s fault.

  • Anonymous

    Ok, finished reading your post and think you gave very good insight there my man. I think this current situation is everyone’s fault.

  • Anonymous

    I will agree that Davis had a big part in the recruitment, you are right. But did the players come to IU for Davis? Seriously, they chose us not for Coach Knight, but for assistant coach Davis?

  • Anonymous

    And yes they did come to play for the name on the front of the jersey. However, they also knew how that name became as prestigious as it is. RMK

  • Anonymous

    Your first post unfairly put words in my mouth, but it looks like you answered the question in your 2nd post.

    Won’t dispute that Bobby made IU what it is by any stretch of the imagination. He put us on the map for nearly 30 years. But like UNC, Kansas, UCLA, Kentucky and other prestigious programs, coaches come and go. Unfortunately, Knight’s time was cut shorter than we all expected.

  • Anonymous

    I loved most of your post. Brought me back instantly.

    But your comments re: the championship are beyond baseless considering Knight hadn’t taken the team to a Final Four since 1993. The better excuse is, if we had a healthy Coverdale, maybe we would have won. Fact is, RMK accomplished less with more talent in recent seasons. We can all recall the Patterson, Reed, Miller, Hermon recruiting class for a friendly reminder.

    I agree about Crean though. Lot of haters out there, but I appreciate your patient attitude. We’ll know a lot more about the future of our program after 2012.

  • We are Back 2012

    I understand opinions and I’m all for them, but beating a dead horse like you have about this guy I mean common. How are you feeling about DSR now? Just got suspended. I told you there is character issues with this kid. That is one thing about CTC he is not going after the kids the guy before us brought in. I like the fact in 2012 you have Yogi/Hulls, 2 spot Creek/maybe Harris/Davis 13 probably Lyle in 2014/ 3 Watford, Hanner/ Hartman 13. 4 spot you have Zeller. 5 spot Jurkin. That is the only question mark 5 spot. There is only one Basketball to go around. Of course we have lost some people to other schools, but times are changing. Team chemistry is big, so why waste it on a kid with so so character?

  • InTheMtns

    Sorry, Loop, but I have to disagree with you because I think Pritch does play good defense. You say he is slow and can’t jump high, but that makes his success even more impressive. You say he doesn’t have good footwork and can’t get position first, but I don’t think that’s too accurate. He shows quicker feet than CWat (or at least what we’ve seen) and Pritch very often beats his man to the best position. And he holds that position and seldom loses it. He’s pretty good at using his body to disrupt his man’s shot. Maybe he doesn’t block a lot of shots (though some) but you might notice that seldom does his man led their team in scoring against us, so disrupting a shot might be as good as blocking a shot.

    Pritch is also good at getting deflections and rebounds and he is good at blocking out and sealing off his (often taller) man so the rebound is obtainable by an IU guard. He defends the ball screen really well and is pretty active on ball denial. You never see him with his head down jogging back on D, either. Even out on the floor, he plays pretty good defense — in both Wisconsin games, Pritch defended Taylor out on the floor more successfully than anyone else. I think he has good court vision and he is one of our best players at altering his game to fit the situation and matchups. If we need a defensive stop, IMO, it is more likely to happen if Pritch is on the floor.

    On offense, he might not put up the numbers, but he helps create offense for others, sets solid screens close to the defender, is a good passer to the open man and probably moves more on offense than any other player on the team. I’m not saying he is an All-Star but I do think he plays impressive defense and does a lot of the “little things” that don’t show up in the box score.

  • Anonymous

    You make a very good case for Tom playing defense at a high level. I just disagree. He is better than any other Big on our team, including Watford, but we are terrible at post presence defense.You give Ton B+ where I give him C+ grades. But we both agree that Capo and Elston get F and Watford a D.

  • Glawton12

    Seriously? Because you disagree with a reasonable assessment of this team, I’m somehow not qualified to be in law school? Hey, thanks for the quality contribution to the discussion. I’d probably be bitter if I was stuck in Boise, Idaho too.

  • Anonymous

    You sir are a loser. I grew up in Indiana. Not only do you know little about basketball you know nothing about the great northwest. I love IU basketball. I played in Indiana before Bob Knight ever arrived. You, however, are a snot nosed brat who recently joined the fraternity.

    Comparing Indiana to Idaho is like comparing Budweiser to a fine wine. Let me give you some advice. Come to the Rockies and experience God’s country. Your quality of life will be exponentially enhanced. Sometimes one must leave the trees to experience the forest.

    Oh, and what we are watching now is not Indiana basketball.