The Minute After: Butler

  • 11/27/2011 11:11 pm in

Thoughts on a 75-59 win over the Bulldogs:

This one meant something.

From the tip, all these Indiana boys fighting for bragging rights got after it. They scraped and clawed and sacrificed their bodies. And well: They turned the ball over and fouled and shot poorly at times, too. Some called it ugly. Others called it a thing of beauty.

Whatever your frame of reference, this one did not always look like a double-digit victory for the Hoosiers. Butler was far and away the most fundamentally sound defensive team Indiana faced this season. And even when the Hoosiers were getting good looks, they failed to knock them down.

Maybe it was nerves, the known symbolic importance of beating the state’s new darling and reclaiming some pride for IU.

The Hoosiers only hit 20 percent of their shots from inside the arc in the first half, but were able to go into the locker room up three points thanks to some hot shooting from 3-point distance (5-of-10).

At times, it felt like the Hoosiers were about to break through. But Butler responded on each occasion, until the 10:13 mark in the second half.

Tom Pritchard — who was effective on the defensive end in nine minutes of action — dove to the floor for a steal. Jordan Hulls pushed it up the court and kicked it to Christian Watford. (The Alabama native forced a bit too much action at times tonight in a poor shooting effort — 2-of-10). He found Hulls curling around him to the hoop for a finger-roll lay-in.

Defense into offense once again for these Hoosiers.

Speaking of defense, Indiana’s intensity on that end was key tonight. It forced Butler — a team known for taking care of the ball — to cough it up 21 times. The Hoosiers recorded 14 steals. They held Butler to just 38.2 percent from the floor and 27.8 percent from 3-point range.

There were other factors, too. Indiana’s free-throw rate (76.6) helped, as they hit 29-of-36 for the evening. Will Sheehey continues to take his game to the next level, recording a career-high 21 points. Cody Zeller was steady with 16 and eight. (Though, he showed some frustration, was outmuscled at times and even tossed up an air ball.)

Through five bouts, the Hoosiers made it look so easy. Tonight, it wasn’t always so. But this team continues to show confidence, togetherness and a sense of purpose.

On this night inside Assembly Hall, the statement was made loud and clear: Indiana’s on the rise.


This dogfight was a solid training session for the Hoosiers before they take on North Carolina State on Wednesday night in Raleigh, North Carolina — a game which appears to be shaping up as Indiana’s toughest test of the season to date.

A week from today they’ll take on Stetson at home.

But for now, they remain 6-0 — all victories coming by 15 points or more.

Filed to:

  • Anonymous

    This the first time that I have seen so many agree so much over such few words.

    Blunt and to the point. Well said.

  • Anonymous

    I think that there is a happy medium there that Crean could do. A little bit of a dig on a questionable call and somewhat more definitive on a flat out bad call and still not have the ref feel like he was being disrespected. Bottom line he needs to let them know that in no uncertain terms that he does not appreciate having it stuck to us.

  • Anonymous

    and those two 6’9″ wingmen will dunk the damn ball unlike our 6’9″ wing.

  • Plane1972

    No one is debating who is more valuable right now – Will or VJ3. Will’s play is completely deserving of a starting position. That is patently obvious. This has nothing to do with rewarding VJ for past contributions, and coming off the bench is not a black mark against Will. Check the box score and see who got more minutes between VJ and Will. This has to do with situational management. I totally agree that Will should get way more minutes, but we have to have scorers come off the bench if we want to avoid droughts when CZ, CW and VO take a breath.

    A poster yesterday nailed it when they said Will doesn’t have a fixed position. He fills several roles and gives CTC some flexibility to bring Will in in a variety of positions based on need. That is a strength, not a weakness.

    Remember the Bird-coached Pacers who had guys who could start coming off the bench as the second platoon (Travis Best, Jalen Rose, etc.). It was about not having a dropoff in production when the starters come out. That is what Will does for this team. He will crack the starting lineup at some point, and I will be the first to applaud that move, but this is what CTC feels is best and Will has embraced the role. It’s not broken, don’t try to fix it. 

  • Plane1972

    This was the first real test of the season and here is a breakdown of the minutes (Hulls 38, Zeller 33, Sheehey 31, Oladipo 26, Watford 20, Jones 19, Elston 14, Pritchard 9).

    The four people we all felt made the biggest contributions led in minutes. Watford played half of the game. Jones played just less than half. You’re telling me you would have done things drastically different?

    We need to get a few phone numbers to CTC so he can call some of our ITH posters from the sidelines. Have a little faith in the coaching staff, brutha! They know what they’re doing.