The Minute After: N.C. State

Thoughts on an 86-75 win over N.C. State:

Christian Watford and Verdell Jones were dribbling into traffic and turning the ball over. C.J. Leslie was blocking Cody Zeller. The Hoosiers were failing to get the free-throw line and ball movement had disappeared.

You could feel it slipping away as Tom Crean called timeout with his Hoosiers facing a seven-point deficit at the 7:43 mark in the second half.

But they punched back.

Victor Oladipo, who was quiet most of the night due to foul trouble, rose to the occasion. He slashed to the basket for scores off the left wing. He got out and transition and received a flagrant-1. He hit free throws. And with four fouls, he showed no fear in picking up a fifth, blocking Lorenzo Brown’s shot at the 4:17 mark and recording two steals — the last of which he highlighted with a reverse slam with 20 seconds to go. The sophomore’s energy has been so crucial to the ebb and flow of Indiana’s games this season. Tonight, on the ropes, they needed him in a big way. And he delivered.

Cody Zeller was there, too. Early in the second half, Indiana looked to feed him the ball early and often. But in a hostlie road environment,  Zeller, well, looked like a freshman. He sped up his game; he tried to do a little too much. But there he was in those final few minutes scoring around the rim. A dunk, a lay-up, a put-back off an Oladipo miss. He hit two free throws in the closing minutes, too. In the end, it was another efficient shooting night for the Washington native (8-of-14 for 19 points), as he also ripped down nine boards.

Jordan Hulls. He made the difference tonight, too. After getting off to a red-hot start and being one of the few players this evening to look competent in one-on-one situations, Hulls hit a key three at with 1:45 to go to put IU up four that just about sealed the deal. He also hit four free throws in those closing minutes and has now hit 52 straight dating back to last season. Hulls finished with 20 points. Impressive stuff.

Had this been last season or the season before or the one before that, it’s sayonara for Indiana — likely before they even got down seven at the 7:38 mark.

But we’ve seen it these first seven games now: This is a different team. A different year. A new energy has risen up from Indiana’s soul. They are confident. They have resolve.

The road ahead is long. And it doesn’t get any easier from here.

But for the first time in Crean era, Indiana appears ready for the challenge.

QUICKLY …

+ Indiana gave up way too many offensive boards in the first half, as N.C. State registered a whopping 63.1 offensive rebounding percentage. This allowed them a lot of second-chance opportunities. But the Hoosiers did a much better job of keeping Leslie, Richard Howell and C.J. Washington off the boards in the second half. N.C. State only recorded five offensive rebounds and just one resulted in second-chance points — a Leslie putback with 2:37 to go. This was key in keeping the Wolfpack at bay down the stretch.

+ Indiana was losing the free throw battle for most of the night, but during that final stretch from the 7:38 mark to the final buzzer, it made 14-of-16 and beat N.C. State in the free-throw rate battle, 38.3 to 33.3.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Just watched Leslie’s block on VO from last night on today’s SC top plays.  ESPN sucks!  You can clearly see that Leslie puts his left hand right on VO’s shoulder and pushes him away from the basket.  That was the reason VO didn’t changed directions and didn’t put Leslie’s arm in the bucket with the ball!!!  How can they not see that or at least say something like, “He may have got away with a little contact”?

  • Anonymous

    I appreciate the analysis and do not discount the stats.  But saying VJ’s focus and effort to feed Zeller may be a reason we are winning is not proportional to Jordy’s impact.

    The fact is, we played significantly better as a team when VJ was on the bench.  Not once.  But twice now.  Not saying he should ride the pine by any means, but VJ should remain the starter while Sheehey finishes.  

    And you’re right, Sheehey didn’t have his best game.  He was coming off a a Butler high and didn’t always play within himself.  But his steal/pokeaway with 3 minutes left when we were up 3 led to a VO fast break.  Besides Jordy’s backbreaking 3, that was the difference.  

    Back to VJ, I think Crean gives him a longer leash than deserved.  If Watford gets pulled for poor rebounding, VJ should get the same treatment for poor dribbling.  Sure VJ only had one more TO than Hulls, but do you recall points off turnovers?  I remember one, possibly two VJ turnovers dribbling into the teeth of the defense, that led to easy steals/breakaways.  He can get away with that against the Stony Brooks and Gardner-Webbs of the world, but not the big boys.  Those kinds things can’t happen, especially in a tight game.

  • Anonymous

    Very good points. You can’t beat watching the games “live”.

  • weathered the storm

    After the last 4 years, we as Hoosier fans now see the light at the end of the tunnel.
    This was a huge leap as far as this team learning to win..Lets see how many people jump on the IU bandwagon after getting some positive coverage on ESPN.
    Very happy fan today.

  • Anonymous

    The rebounding solution is simple on paper. Just box out! Never step towards the rim, always put your butt on the opponent and move him back. Then, and only then, explode for the ball! A few years ago I saw Butler take this a step further against an opponent that was really long, athletic and big: face-guard your opponent’s best rebounders so that they cannot get close to the basket and count on a teammate to grab the ball. It worked!

  • Anonymous

    Indiana is the 3rd best team in the Big 10, the Big 10 is below only the Big East (and tied with the Big 12 and SEC). So get used to it. Indiana wins 20 and goes to the NCAA this season!

  • Anonymous

    I agree, but in Tyler’s behalf, Williams with his style and substitution pattern does not let Tyler blossom as Crean is doing for Cody at IU! Can you imagine the different history if IU and Coach Crean could have somehow gotten Tyler to switch to Indiana in May of 2008? IU would have had just one down year followed by very respectable teams for the next two years, and a Final Four team this season!

  • Anonymous

    I think that Leslie, Painter, Howell, and Williams are every bit as good and tough as MI St on the boards. While Brown is a better point guard.

  • Anonymous

    You hit the nail on the head.  We are more conditioned than all the teams we have played this year.  NC State ran out of gas in the end, emotion can only carry you so far.  I thought the refs were fair to poor.  I agreed that Woods foul was a flagrant because he was wrapping him up.  Probably knew if he didn’t VO was going to flush it as well.  But, I thought Pritch had one in the first half, and we were lucky they didn’t call it.

  • Anonymous

    Nice point Ace!

  • Anonymous

    I saw it after two timeouts in the second half.  It seemed like CTC told CWat to get in the post and get fouled.  I know one was against CJ Leslie but I believe both of them were.  I liked this because 1) I think CWat gets a little more confidence when coach says “do this” 2) it puts their best player in foul trouble.  Moving forward I think this is huge as we will need CWat to get his man in foul trouble against teams like OSU, MSU, Whisky. 

  • MillaRed

    Sometimes I wonder if we are still tortured by the fact we still do not get a home court advantage. We are biased of course, but NC ST was crawling up our backs the entire game. At one point I was wanting CTC to get a T to get a point across.

    In my mind, this was a 20+ point victory. It got better in the 2nd half but the blocking call on Jordy? The non-call on goal tending? The ticky tack fouls on Remy and Pritch late in the game? Completely inconsistent.

    Please, please give us those calls against KY. We could knock them off it that is the case.

  • MillaRed

    I have no doubt in my mind CTC outcoached Gottfried last night. No doubt whatsoever.

  • Anonymous

    Somewhat agree. CW is a jr. though, and it’s Watford, with a T. And I believe he closed strong. When he plays within himself he helps greatly.

  • MillaRed

    Furthermore, the pace of the game from the tipoff was extremely fast. No way could we keep up.

    Secondly, our 2nd unit was just plain terrible. They have been solid all year, but lost the lead in minutes.

    But I agree, NC ST ran out of gas. Cody was asking to come out with 4 minutes and CTC left him out there. Part of the growing process. Gotta learn how to save and expend energy.

    If I was a 20 year old girl I would ask Cody to marry me tomorrow.

  • MillaRed

    There is little doubt Jordy and Will have chemistry.

    VO is our best one on one option on the dribble drive. That streak for the baseline dunk was Nasty!

    How about Cody going coast to coast again? I love that kid.

    How about that win from a recruiting perspective? We are winning the big ones now. Time for BeeJay and Lyle to join The Movement!

  • Anonymous

    Most important stat: 14 shots for COdy Zeller. He still shot above 50%. Glad to see Remy Abell get some burn too. It’s nice having the depth to take guys out when they are not playing well (Sheehey at one point, maybe VJIII for Remy).

  • Anonymous

    The 8 on 5 comment actually made me lol, I texted that to a buddy as NCSU pushed the lead to 7 with 7 left. I was having flashbacks of last year, play solid for 30-35 minutes and crumble because we did not have the horses to stay with them. Now we have the experience and the horses, and we have some more thoroughbreds coming next year!

  • JohnFromBeyond

    Agreed. We only gained 1 point from that trip down the floor (we got a free throw plus a field goal off the missed free throw, vs 2 points for the likely dunk), and I agree with it being intentional anyway. The first hack looked OK but then he followed with a second hack on the shoulder, nowhere near the ball. 

    You could take that entire play and the 3 points away and we still would have won. It’s NC State’s own fault that they started to focus on the refs instead of their own play which deteriorated badly down the stretch.

  • Anonymous

    That win was huge for recruiting.  Look what CTC did in recruiting with sub 500 teams so far.  Imagine what he could do in recruiting with winning teams. 

    Also, someone mentioned earlier in the year they thought if VO had a great year we could possible have an inside track with BeeJay.  I am thinking between VO playing well this season and having an excellent PG in Yogi coming then BeeJay is probably going to put IU up there towards the top. 

    I want BeeJay and Lyle as the next 2 to verbally commit!!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you and you are right on both accounts. My problem with #2 is the same thing a coach I knew well who seemed to mispronounce or say the wrong first name of a player who was reputed to be a star but was not living up to the billing. One day the young player yelled my name is [....] and the coach replied great, I will remember your name when I see that you contribute to this team as you are capable of, until then I will call you whatever I want and then told him to run a few laps. As the player run the stairs, the coach yelled his name perfectly many times as he told the rest of the players what he expected a player in that role to do.

    After some self indignation and soul searching the player running the stairs returned the next day and without a statement ran the ball the team as he was expected to do. That player went on the following year to lead his team to a national championship and then later star and lead teams to NBA championships.

    True story though I wasn’t doing this to #2 on purpose. But is the same, #2 should be much better. He has all the tools, tall, rather quick, good hops, can shoot from the perimeter, he should rebound with force, but he fails to understand the game. He fails to set up his opponent, see the game flow. Last night I saw him make a good drive to the basket then get his shot easily blocked. He failed to ball fake where the defender would have fouled him and if he was strong and ready make the basket anyway.

    Zeller on the other hand gets a fast break oppty, makes two fall fakes as players race on by, then lays in a contested bunny for a three point oppty. 

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Also, no 9 possessions of dribbling with his head down killing any offensive cohesiveness!!! 

    Come on Jerry!  I’m with you on PT for TP but man, I can’t see how you could watch last night’s game and not recognize that VJ3 was holding the team back, not helping them?  Once removed late in the game, IU took control and CZ wasn’t missed.  I watched as many plays last night where CZ rolled to the basket and VJ3 never took his head off the ball!

  • HoosierDadE

    I think PJ was the first to committ…but I don’t know you coined the term “the movement”

  • HoosierDadE

    That is it Marcus…those three are in (to steal your line) ESPN convoluted top 100 player rankings

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Amen! 

    I’ll say it again.  VJ3 should be a 17 minute per game supporter but not a 27 minutes per game mainstay!  He can be a nice change of pace and score some midrange jumpers when teams aren’t ready for him, but when he’s in there long minutes it takes the D about 2 minutes to figure out what to do to him.  Give him a temporary lane then crash down with the help because he WILL NOT pick his head up and distribute the man who the help left.  He’ll just put his head down and try to dribble through it. 

    Anyone who didn’t see the difference once he left last night late in the game is watching the game with blinders on!

  • HoosierDadE

    Great write up…just wanted to give you props on an amazing screen name.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    JerryCT, I’ll give you this . . .
    if VJ3 would just play the wing and once the ball is reversed, feed it to Zeller the way he has been, without all the stupid possessions where he dribbles for 10-12 seconds, then he would be a solid contributor.  But when the game gets sped up, he just can’t stop himself from going into ‘take over’ mode.  CWat has the same problem quite often as well, but he didn’t do it down the stretch so much last night. 

    It’s still a matter of VJ3 accepting his role!  If he does, he plays.  If he doesn’t, then he needs to sit!

  • HoosierDadE

    I marked 18 wins down preseason…I kinda want to up it to 20 or 21.  Some teams (i.e. Michigan, PUke, Minn w/ the injury) haven’t impressed me so I feel we “may” steal one on the road.

    But I’m sitll enjoying the current win streak and I had multiple “movements” watching that game!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I’d sell my kids if we could just beat pUKe at home and then sweep PUke during B1G play!!!

  • HoosierDadE

    I don’t have any kids Ace but I love the dedication!!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I thought nuns weren’t allowed to get married???

  • Bleeding Crimson

    As I stated before we CAN and WILL beat our oppts at the FT line this year. This is why we need continue feed the post and driving the line to create the fouls.  As for the boards in the first half I don’t understand why CTC didn’t correct this the first half.  He is a great coach and has from this point on done the apprioate changes during the half to win the game but we need to do this during the first five minutes instead of half time.  The time out call was a great one at the right time.  We are getting better and I thing the tide has finally changed.  I actually had this game as a lost at the beginning of the season.  I heard last night that IU may end up 3rd in the B1G.   WOW.
    +Hull – outstanding.
    +Sheehey – conintues to do his part 8 pts, 6 reb, 3 TO
    +VO – what can I say…HEART.  Reminds me of Moye.
    CZ-Love the shirts the folks had on but this probably missed some of his best game.  I’m glad he put Pritch in to take of the heat.  It seems like they were trying to hurt him last night and we will need Pritch and Elson to take the heat.
    Abell – should conintue to see 8-10 minutes a game…5 pts 2 Reb 1 stl.
    Elston – 0 pts.
    Jones – is jones.  He impressed me most of the time. 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl, 3 TO and 7 pts.
    We are playing as a team and if we can get CW on board…and he looks as if he did last night.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    After this year the Big Ten will once again be the dominant basketball conference in the country.  I think it may be the best conference this year.  I haven’t been that impressed with Pitt.  UCONN was beat by UCF.  Notre Dame is down.  Syracuse never plays anyone early so you can’t tell.  Georgetown is down a bit.  WVU isn’t as strong.  It’s really not dominant this year like it has been.  OSU, WISC, and IU all look to be playing very well.  Michigan will get going again and MSU has played tough competition and looked good.  NW looked good the other night and the Il’whine’i looked decent as well.  I really think the B1G is the best conference in the country this year. 

    And, yes, IU wins 21 games and goes dancing!

  • Anonymous

    Like it.  I think we should also start using “gazellering”.

    Gazellering
    1)  starting under the opponent’s basket after a rebound or blocked shot then beating everyone back down the floor for an easy 2.

    2)  stealing the ball and taking it the length of the floor for an easy 2.

    Synonyms?

  • Anonymous

    I think the upside for CWat after these last few games is great.  I know he didn’t play well against Butler but the fact he actually went up and tried to dunk something in traffic was promising.  In the game last night against NC State he had a couple of big rebounds.

    The last couple of years it kind of felt like it was “ok” to lose and we needed him only to score.  I think after seeing he can rebound, 9 against a very good front line for the Pack, he realizes he can do it against anybody.  I think it is a mental thing.  He might not be the most athletic.  However, after seeing him attempting to throw down against Butler and rebounding in the 2nd half against NC State I hope he comes out playing like a MAN during the B1G season.  He CAN do it!!

    GO HOOSIERS!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I completely agree with your criticism just like most others, but I don’t see a lot changing.  He will see minutes and this team will win or lose with him.  It’s almost like the team is finding ways to win by countering bad mistakes.  They’d be really good without having to do it so much, but I think that’s the position they will be in this year.

  • Anonymous

    i thought i heard a brief “Ola-di-po” chant

  • MiHoosier

    #23 was Keith Smart. I agree, Remy was huge. Maybe he can steal some of VJ’s PT.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Welcome and continue to post…no better site.

  • MillaRed

    For Cody, we will make an exception.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    I thing AE getting Zeller started the”Movement”

  • MillaRed

    For whatever reason, there is a lot of ESPN man-love going on for Leslie. He and all of his 3-game suspension glory.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Just watched the game again Jerry and I feel you’re getting things out of context a bit with regards to VJ3′s feeding of Zeller during the stretch at the beginning of the second half. 

    It was very, very obvious that CTC called those sets.  Everyone just cleared to the other side of the court and VJ happened to be the one with the ball on the same side with Zeller.  Other than that, the game he played wasn’t helpful to the team.  I counted 9 (with my piece of paper and pencil) good possessions by VJ3 where he either shot off the catch, distributed the ball to another player in position to score, or did something positive off the dribble and 12 bad possessions where he either turned it over, dribbled too long without getting the ball into a position where it could be scored, or took a forced shot. 

    I could handle a bit more than 50/50.  In other words a player should be helping the team more than he hurts it.  Some players are aggressive and so they’ll make some poor decisions but in the end they make more positive plays with their aggressiveness.  VJ3 just isn’t that type player. 

  • MillaRed

    I thought that was my imagination. I asked my wife, “Did you see that? Someone totally chucked a pen at his head!” I also thought Howell screaming in Cody’s ear after his and one was really classy. We deserved to beat these chumps.

  • Derbus

    This is ridiculous, VJ consistently mekes the SAME mistakes . . . that is what ITH critics continue to type . . . when is he going to get it?!  He may win us a few games . . . way to go VJ, until then stop forcing others to make up for your inadequate play.  Think of this analogy:  CTC is the hub of a wheel, each player on the court is a spoke.  When one of the spokes is weak or out of line, then the other spokes have to carry more weight.  isn’t VJ a junior, time to evolve and be the BEST player you can be and carry the other players consistently.  imho

  • Anonymous

    I can live with everything that you say.

  • Anonymous

    Pameroy moved IU up from 21 to 17.

    Whoot!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I just got home and on the radio during my drive I was listening to the Jim Valvano show on ESPN 680 in Louisville.  I live 20 minutes from Louisville.   Valvano was out today and the show was being hosted by Andy Sweeney and Will Perdue.  Not in his exact words but very very close Sweeney said Indiana’s win last night was unimpressive over an unimpressive NC State team who has no chance of being in the tournament.  Will Perdue also said Indiana has not turned the corner and Coach Tom Crean is now where he should have been 2 seasons ago.  He also said that Tom Crean started with less than nothing after he burned the program down when he came to Indiana. Those two comments seem to contradict.  

    Perdue then said in a soft but critical way Indiana has loaded their pre conference schedule with guaranteed wins along with pUke of L (Louisville). Then despite what they said about Indiana they instead gave praise to pUke of L for winning these types of games. They noted that wins are wins just the same and lauded U of L for their very close wins over teams like Ohio U and Long Beach State.  This happened seconds after they cut Indiana for the same type of scheduling. This seems hypocritical because every single win for Indiana this season has been in double digits, if not by twenty points or more when pUke of L has barely and I mean barely scraped by in some of their contests. I was very aggravated at all of this and can’t wait for for more chances for the Hoosiers to prove what we already believe.  Then they took to the phones:The first caller was a pUKe fan and was already hyping their game with North Carolina Saturday.  Perdue asked him why he was not talking about St John’s tonight and why the caller was not worried about St John’s.  The caller stated they are favored by 23 and he should not be worried but “he guesses” they could get beat tonight because Kentucky “don’t do good when they are number 1.”.  Speaks for itself, but I shut the radio off.  I could not take it anymore.   Indiana University needs to listen to this. IU, you need to step up your efforts and get more of a presence down here in the southern part of the state. For years it has been waning more and more with obvious ramifications of program support.  Indiana used to own this area and now it is treated as if it is the out of state school.  I know in border areas this is common with Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan. The reality is that Hoosier pride used to be rampant here.  It was never any contest.  Now it is becoming laughable that anyone would cheer for the Hoosiers.  Only the die hards are left.  It starts with being better as a team, getting higher profile recruits but there has to be outreach from the school to grab the focus of the next generation.  DO MORE INDIANA!!!!!!!!!  I am tired of feeling like an outcast in this area despite living in Indiana.  Get somebody or some station in southern Indiana to cover IU with some loyalty.  We are the minority in this area and IU should take back the southern part of the state.  I am tired of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Awesome name by the way! Very very fitting for us!!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    EXACTLY!!!   The Dorks on TV Netowrk In Connecticut gave IU a little bit of love last night and today, but VO’s jam should have been on the top 10 if not number 1.  That stupid frisbee deal was not even in a game.  Probably took them 30 tries or more.

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