The Minute After: Michigan State

  • 12/28/2011 10:36 pm in

Thoughts on Indiana’s 80-65 loss to Michigan State:

Welcome to life on the road in the Big Ten against a strong defense.

What has come so easy for the Hoosiers on offense this season crumbled for long stretches up in East Lansing this evening.

Michigan State’s defense took the Hoosiers out of their comfort zone early. Their length and on-ball defense didn’t allow Indiana any breathing room. The Spartans were blocking mid-range and perimeter shots. The Hoosiers were unable to drive, unable to get the ball inside to Cody Zeller with MSU’s hands stretched high and Adreian Payne fronting and bodying the freshman.

But this was a wild one with violent swings.

Indiana proceeded to go on a 25-2 run on the strength of defense, some transition buckets and 3-pointers. After knocking down a lot of shots in the first half, Michigan State didn’t score its first of the second half — a jumper by Draymond Green — until the 14:49 mark. Indiana, and specifically Christian Watford, was snagging every rebound in sight. With 11:07 to go, Watford hit a 3-pointer, and the Hoosiers were up nine. The Izzone was out of it; Indiana was flying high.

But then it started to slip away. Michigan State’s D turned it up again. And Indiana’s offense went back to struggling to get anything going in the half court. It was passes around the perimeter as the shot clock ticked away. Derek Elston came into the game. He drew only backboard on a shot, committed a foul and turned the ball over. He was promptly yanked.

And then the Spartans started dominating the inside. Derrick Nix was stellar off the bench, scoring 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He had his way with Zeller. Payne got his buckets over the final minutes, too. And combo guard freshman sophomore Keith Appling was sensational on both sides of the ball — he had an incredible block on a Victor Oladipo fast-break lay-up — in what ended on a 35-11 run by the Spartans to close this one out. Peep this line for Appling: 25 points (7-of-12, 2-of-4 from three, 9-of-10 from the line), seven assists and six rebounds.

This one was closer than the 15-point spread it ended up at. Indiana showed much resolve in punching back and going up nine. But alas, it was a 16th straight road loss in the Big Ten for the Hoosiers. They’re now 1-27 on the road in conference play under Tom Crean.

And things don’t get any easier with the Buckeyes coming to Bloomington on Saturday. Big Ten basketball is back. And it’s unforgiving.

OTHER THOUGHTS:

+ Hell of an effort from Watford tonight. You could see the fire in his eyes from the onset and it carried through all game. His work on the boards early in the second half was particularly impressive. For the night he finished with 26 points (9-of-16, 4-of-6 from three, 4-of-6 from the line) and 10 rebounds. He’s often been derided for his lack of effort and focus for a full 40 minutes. (He himself has been part of the chorus there.) But if he can bring an effort like tonight throughout the Big Ten season — and frankly, this team is really going to need him to at times — Indiana will be in good shape the rest of the way.

+ Jordan Hulls is one of the best shooters in the country. Has been for some time now. But when the Hoosiers run up against a team that takes them out of what they’re trying to do in the halfcourt offense, one that has size and length, it’s sometimes difficult for him to be effective. Hulls missed all four 3-pointers he took this evening and was just 2-of-10 from the field. (Though, he did miss a few open looks; so perhaps it was just an off-night in general for the junior.)

+ Don’t think I’m alone in this next statement: This was by far Zeller’s worst game of the season. Michigan State’s bigs outmuscled him all evening. He got in foul trouble. And he generally just didn’t have much, if any, impact on the game (four points on back-to-back buckets early in the second half, three rebounds). He only had four field goal attempts. The freshman has an incredible skillset for his age and a maturity beyond his years. But at only 19 years of age, he’s still growing and getting stronger. And there’s going to be nights like this in the Big Ten, when, for all his talent, his lack of strength is going to be exploited.

+ A few parting numbers: Indiana got crushed at the foul line. The Hoosiers only took nine and made just five. The Spartans got to the line 22 times and made 17 of them. At one point in the second half, Indiana was dominating the boards, sporting a 40.o OR% and a 78.3 DR%. But by the time the dust settled on Michigan State’s final run — one in which they started rebounding better — the final tallies were pretty close. Indiana finished with a 31.0 OR%; Michigan State ended the game with a 28.6 OR%. The Hoosiers closed out the game with a 71.4 DR%; the Spartans weren’t far behind at 69.0 percent.

Filed to:

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I disagree.  This game was just highlight of the same old same old thing in the B1G.  Put this game at Assembly hall and IU wins by 10-15 points because the so called tight defense Sparty played to get back into it would’ve led to a lot of IU FT’s. 

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I disagree.  This game was just highlight of the same old same old thing in the B1G.  Put this game at Assembly hall and IU wins by 10-15 points because the so called tight defense Sparty played to get back into it would’ve led to a lot of IU FT’s. 

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I’m not denying that Jordy is a bad defensive player.  I just think that when he’s hitting and handling the ball he does enough to offset his poor defense on the offensive end and by leading the team.  Next season he will be able to do his thing against lineups and teams he can work against and Yogi and Remy will be able to play against teams where PG defense is a key.

    Plus, this season, we don’t have any other options. 

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I think the style of play completely took IU out of it’s game plan.  They just aren’t that type of team yet and MSU can take a lot of teams out of their game plans with the rough style of play. 

    It’s pretty normal.  That’s why Big Ten teams seem to duck out of the tournament quickly because their style of play doesn’t translate well outside the B1G.  That’s why I think IU matches up better against teams outside the B1G like strong teams from the ACC and even pUKe.

    I think IU has earned enough respect to where it won’t be the same at the Assembly Hall this season.  It’ll make for a 12-6 to possible 13-5 Big Ten record and then IU will match up better against tournament teams once they reach the NCAA’s. 

    Just my opinion but good shooting teams who have an equal combination of finesse and physicality seem to do better in the tournament than teams like Wisc, PUke, or OSU.  MSU seems to be the one team under Izzo who has figured out how to adapt in the tournament. 

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Completely agree KB.  I never expected IU to win at MSU.  It was the 1 game of the first 3 that I felt IU had a near ZERO chance of winning.  It all comes down to style of play on their home floor and it’ll be the same at WISC, OSU, and even PUke (although they’re not that good). 

    CTC should get zero blame for this loss.  If anything he should get credit for not showing panic or allowing his team to panic down 18 on the road early in the game.  They held it together and made a run at it and that’s more than what I expected.  I’ve said for the past 3 years that I couldn’t understand why the players weren’t taking on their coach’s tough nosed, never say die personality.  It took a little while longer than I expected but it seems that they have adopted his personality now and that showed last night.

  • Glad we get to deal with some adversity.  We need it.  Just think win the B1G tourney in March and your automatically in.  March is so long away.  Enjoy the season.  THIS team wasn’t going to go undefeated.  Its about how we pick our self up and respond.  

  • Anonymous

    Here here

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Why can’t anyone see that this was just a typical B1G road game with a change in the style of play.  IU held one of the best offenses in the country coming into this game and even scored the highest point total against pUKe, the number 1 ranked team in the country. 

    All year IU has been able to get out and run, and last night they even rebounded the ball pretty well.  The difference was the extremely rough style of play you encounter on the road in the B1G at MSU, Wisc, and PUke.  It’s not as bad at OSU but it’s terrible at those places. 

    IU couldn’t get out and run last night as much because their guards were bodied all the way up the floor.  They did  a decent job getting out in transition despite this.  They couldn’t get anything going in the half court because Zeller was being leaned on, held, wrapped up, pushed, pulled, feet stepped on, etc. and so was CWat anytime he touched it down low.  Just look at how hard it was for VO to get into the lane. 

    This wasn’t CTC’s fault and I completely agree with you b_side!  This was just the norm on the road in the B1G and IU needs to get used to it.  I think a few of these tests and IU will be ready come tournament time. 

    Also, after watching last night’s game a couple times, I think we are good enough to hold serve at home this year!  That’s 9 wins right there!  Beat NW, Iowa, Minn, and one more team on the road and that’s a 13-5 season.  I’d take that any day!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Sorry, that’s beat Neb, Iowa, Minn, and PSU on the road.  I also think we could steal one on the road against PUke and/or Mich because we match up well with Mich.  (At least we have the past couple years).

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Sorry, that’s beat Neb, Iowa, Minn, and PSU on the road.  I also think we could steal one on the road against PUke and/or Mich because we match up well with Mich.  (At least we have the past couple years).

  • Swishmac IU

    I am somewhat surprised that in all 175 comments posted thus far, that not one person has mentioned VO’s lack of aggressiveness on the offensive end (with the exception of two possessions) and how this game completely exposed how vital Sheehey is to this team.  Yes CTC did a poor job managing “the game” at points, however how many TO’s did Izzo use in our 23-2 run.  When you make a run like that, there is always the risk of what follows – 23-2 runs require a tremendous amount of energy.  This team is not as deep as many think – Roth, Elston, Abell, Pritch are not guys who are going to give your starters long spells against top 25 teams. We showed signs of it at times, but the Big 10 is about 40 minutes of ball busting physical basketball, not 8 minute stretches.   

  • MillaRed

    Been posting on here for 3 years, never had a comment deleted. If the ITH staff chooses to delete, sorry but they have our support. There are lines to cross or this site will lose it’s civility. Which happens to be one of it’s best attributes.

  • MillaRed

    It was hard to watch. He looked half as fast/quick. Felt sorry for the kid.

  • MillaRed

    Swichmac – Isn’t it up to coach to give Vic the ball? I wish he would have been at the top creating offense when Jordy lost his confidence. Not bashing, but to your point, I put that more on CTC than I do Victor.

  • MillaRed

    Swichmac – Isn’t it up to coach to give Vic the ball? I wish he would have been at the top creating offense when Jordy lost his confidence. Not bashing, but to your point, I put that more on CTC than I do Victor.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Like I said above, I agree he’s a very weak defensive player.  Against most teams that’s not a big deal because they don’t have a guard to exploit him.  Against a few teams it hurts but he is still a leader and still a very good offensive player so he at least offsets it with his assists, scoring and floor generalship.  However, he was not hitting last night and what IU doesn’t have is a good second option.  Remy isn’t there yet. 

    If Hulls is having bad offensive night then his defensive liability shows even more and he becomes a detriment to the team.  The problem is who comes in to replace him. 

    This is why IU is a good team this year and a potentially great team next year.  Next season IU has a shooting PG against teams where his defense doesn’t hurt (Jordy) and a speedy defensive PG in Yogi who can still score.  They also have another inside presence in Hanner to take up space and rebound, and another couple guys who can get in the lane in Ron and Buss. 

    I’m not saying Hulls is less or more valuable than anyone else (and btw, he’s a poor defensive player because of a lack of God given ability, not effort.  He is just slow!).  I’m just saying he’s what we got and most the time he doesn’t hurt us.  Craft didn’t dominate him last year against OSU.  Neither did anyone against PUke, Ill, or even Mich.  But he couldn’t guard the MSU guards last year and he couldn’t this year.  He couldn’t guard Jordan Taylor last year and he won’t be able to this year. 

    What we have to hope for is that he has a great shooting night that night to offset his weak defense!

  • Anonymous

    We DO need to run Hulls and Roth off screens. I’m not saying we have to totally alter our offense but there was way too much dribbling and standing last night.

  • Anonymous

    I read most of the time and don’t post.  I guess I’m not part of the click and will again spend most of my time reading.  It is a shame that the moderators have not emailed me a reason so that I won’t cross that line. I will only praise from now on.
     

  • Anonymous

    On your first point “two cutters…CZ driving”:  it seems like you’re coming around to the Triangle offense!  That’s exactly what it does.

  • Anonymous

    On your first point “two cutters…CZ driving”:  it seems like you’re coming around to the Triangle offense!  That’s exactly what it does.

  • Anonymous

    I guess we had to lose sooner or later. I hated watching it, we all did, but I think this puts us in a good position for Saturday night at AH. No way we play two in a row like this. That first big road win will have to come another time. Maybe at Champagne? W. Lafayette? Hell, Madison! Columbus! Well, first things first–take care of business on New Year’s Eve. Please. I’ll be watching with a bunch of Buckeye fans. (Bless their hearts, they still don’t get basketball, I think.)

  • IUVoice

    NOBODY IS GOING TO WIN THERE THIS YEAR!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Amen KB!  I can’t understand why people are panicking after one loss to a team we should’ve lost to on the road.  MSU had a couple good wins this year against Gonzaga and FSU and their only losses were to Duke and UNC.  They were at home where they are notoriously known for playing extremely rough and tough, and IU lost after fighting back from down 18. 

    Why is everyone panicking and calling for players’ heads or CTC to completely change the way he coaches?  It doesn’t make sense.  Do we really think this team has been as good as they’ve been and made such a great turnaround without a solid coach?

    It seems to me that a lot of people started drinking some IU’s gonna win it all Koolaid and lost touch with reality.  At best IU is a 3-4 seed tournament team who would still probably run into a more athletic team and make a somewhat early exit from the tournament.  At worst they are an NIT team.  Why are so many fans getting so excited about one loss that should’ve been a penciled loss coming into the season even with the hot start?

  • Tjmadden

    I still don’t understand the lack of touches for Zeller.  I realize he was being bodied up but there were times where he had the defender pinned on his outside hip and a simple lob pass would have led to a layup.  The few times we did get him the ball we either A) Scored or B) Got an open shot.  Everything opens up when he gets touches because he draws so much attention. 
    We also need to be able to sustain little runs and spurts when on the road to keep the crowd out of the game.

  • Tjmadden

    I still don’t understand the lack of touches for Zeller.  I realize he was being bodied up but there were times where he had the defender pinned on his outside hip and a simple lob pass would have led to a layup.  The few times we did get him the ball we either A) Scored or B) Got an open shot.  Everything opens up when he gets touches because he draws so much attention. 
    We also need to be able to sustain little runs and spurts when on the road to keep the crowd out of the game.

  • HoosierFromCT

    So funny how fans turn into coaches after a L.

  • Jlamarmorris

    Totally agree that Elston shouldn’t see the floor outside of garbage time.  Honestly, he looked like he’d never played basketball before.  That was brutal.

  • Jlamarmorris

    I don’t think Abel is the answer.  He may develop into an adequate backup, but at this point he clearly looks for his shot more than he looks to distribute.  And despite being described as a solid defender, he seems lost on the defensive end.  Hopefully he develops, but he’s nowhere near ready to get serious time at this point.

  • Anonymous

    Good ideas.

  • Anonymous

    We need Jordy, but we need for him to hit big shots. When he is having an off night, like last night, sit him for 5 minutes and see what Remy can do with a big game on the line. Remy did well against NC St and KY. Keep using him.

  • Anonymous

    I could not disagree more with your statements! We are seeing different games, perhaps parallel universes.

  • Anonymous

    I could not disagree more with your statements! We are seeing different games, perhaps parallel universes.

  • cooper

    I also saw the two travels on IU they didn’t call when IU got to the line

  • Anonymous

    Wrong on all counts!

  • Anonymous

    Wrong! I U will/would have to play great to win at MSU, OSU, and WI; really well to win at Purdue, IL, and NW; and well to win any B1G road game. We played pretty well and had a chance, but no cigar.

  • Shaknquak

    Loved the game, loved the lessons…

    Looking forward to the next few games.

    I scanned 209 posts, and was a bit shocked at the lack of discussion around the deplorable turnovers from captain jordy. I sort of give verdell a pass bc he has nights like this where his head down fade aways and runners work when all offense stagnates. But jordy has got to figure out how to throw an entry pass. Its weird how lacking we are in a rhythmic entry pass, and I can’t reconcile jordy and his high bb iq and his game in game out weakness in this area. I can’t blame it on his athleticism.

    It’s just weird… But he has to lead in this area. He is the captain,right?

    Love this team, love jordy. So much upside if they stay mentally tough.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Gary Williams on the B1G’s Big Ten Basketball Report just showed a few clips where Zeller was open (with good position) and didn’t get the ball… I’m sure Williams didn’t have to watch the entire game to find those clips.

  • Tolly1

    You can push the ball even when it goes thru the hoop. Shooting the ball with 1 or 2 seconds left on the shot clock doesnt make sense to me. There were many instances we had a shot to take and we passed it up to I guess drain the clock. We dont have a player that can break down a defense in the last 5 seconds and make a decent shot or draw a foul.

  • Kelin Blab

    Excellent point on Zeller can’t hold the position right now due to strength. Has to find other ways to get open. He has a face up game that he should utilize more. Very good player, he will figure it out.

  • Bmskillman

    There were quite a few bad calls, and of course our most hated ref Ted Valentine was doing that game!  That being said we just got manhandled and couldnt get any big stop and made stupid passes all night.  Why did Crean go to a Zone in the 2nd half? We havent played zone all year so why would we now.  That didn’t help our chances.

  • Hoosierfootball

    The refs weren’t great put I had to laugh when they called a trip on hulls

  • Hoosierfootball

    The refs weren’t great put I had to laugh when they called a trip on hulls

  • calvin

    Watfords game winner against pUKe was not in the game plan. Good teams take advantages of other teams mistakes. CTC was using the game plan that made us 12-0. Get off his back.