The Minute After: Northwestern

  • 02/15/2012 9:15 pm in

Thoughts on a 71-66 win against Northwestern:

Let’s face it: This Northwestern team has owned, and often embarrassed Indiana in the Tom Crean era. The Wildcats had won the last three meetings before tonight (including a win in Assembly Hall last season) and six of the last seven.

And boy, at times, Northwestern was right there to keep the streak alive; Indiana’s victory did not come easy. Northwestern was looking for a signature win to boost its tourney hopes and gave the Hoosiers just about all they could handle. The Wildcats’ 1-3-1 zone bottled up the Hoosiers at times. John Shurna, as he’s prone to do, got on a scoring roll. He had some crafty one-on-one play against a host of Indiana defenders and ended the contest with a game-high 29 points (11-of-21 from the field). Bill Carmondy rode him hard. He barely got any breathers; the box score had him at 40 minutes. Drew Crawford, Northwestern’s other offensive weapon, got his, too. He scored 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting in 38 minutes.

But their efforts could only take the Wildcats so far. Because Indiana got it done in winning time, got it done when it mattered most.

With 4:19 to go, Cody Zeller — who led the way for Indiana with 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting — picked up his fourth foul on Shurna, who made the bucket. And after Shurna converted on the line for a 3-point play, it was all knotted up at 63-63. But Northwestern only managed one field goal (an Alex Marcotullio jumper at the 2:19 mark) and one free throw (Marcotullio with two seconds left and the game basically over) the rest of the way.

As for the Hoosiers? The oft-derided, fresh-off-a-shoulder-injury Verdell Jones came up big.

He made a move on Dave Sobolewski off the wing, and nailed a mid-range jumper to respond to Shurna’s 3-point play. He drove to the hoop for two to put Indiana up four with 2:53 remaining. And he hit the shot that put this one away, a weakside, toe-on-the-line two with 31 seconds left to put Indiana up six (71-65). Outside of a missed 3-point attempt, this 3-of-3 performance in the closing minutes were Jones’ only field-goal attempts of the night.

This was a senior not letting the Wildcats come into Assembly Hall and take another game from him. It was confidence in crunchtime. It was Vintage Verdell.

So here Indiana stands, it’s first 20-win season under Crean in the books. The Hoosiers are playing well and taking care of business late in the Big Ten season. But Sunday, it’s a return to the unforgiving road where nothing comes easy. A visit to Iowa City awaits. And they’ll need to keep bringing it.

SOME NUMBERS

+ Jones’ return did little to detract Victor Oladipo from continuing his newfound ballhandling and slashing style. He did a nice job of stuffing the stat sheet again (12 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block) and busted out some slick spin moves in the first half. When Oladipo is unleashed and active on both ends of the floor, Indiana is better for it. Much better for it.

+ It was a tough shooting night from beyond the arc for Indiana (2-of-13, 15.4%), but the Hoosiers dominated the inside. They outscored Northwestern 42-26 in the paint and picked up 12 second-chance points thanks to some decent offensive rebounding (32.3 OR%).

+ Indiana scored 1.15 point per possession in this one. The Wildcats clocked in at 1.03.

Filed to:

  • calbert40

    Any type of decent March record, and CTC will definitely be National Coach of the Year.  Well deserved, IMO.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    What is Crean doing in that pic?  

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Probably not the night to be sticking up for Jordy.  He looked like he’d never even heard of a zone defense before last night.  

    He’ll probably get 20 against Iowa, though. Winners have no memory.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Brian Evans was badass.  I have a memory of him putting his shoulder back into it’s socket by leaning up against the stanchion under the hoop.  Can that possibly be true?  

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Not those who are honest.  I thought about two games over .500.

    Happy as hell to be wrong.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    They would be mistaken, but I bet it happens.

    It’s too bad that “system” coaches like that never get big jobs and can’t get really top notch talent to play their way.  Imagine that offense with Kentucky’s talkent running it the right way.  They’d be unbeatable.  

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    They would be mistaken, but I bet it happens.

    It’s too bad that “system” coaches like that never get big jobs and can’t get really top notch talent to play their way.  Imagine that offense with Kentucky’s talkent running it the right way.  They’d be unbeatable.  

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    That color man was laughable.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    20 wins…nice ..Glad this was a home game…VJ3 never scared..Go IU.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    How about we stop patting ourselves on the back and start slapping the faces of the experts over at ESPN, CBS, etc., who had us pegged for a ninth-place finish in the B1G?

    But maybe we should wait until we win a game in the tourney. And after we obtain the services of a good assault and battery lawyer.

  • cpmichae

    I will say, we only see one side of this issue. We aren’t at practice, maybe crean didn’t think he was mentally ready, but after the way Hulls played, I think we could have found some time for Remy.

  • cpmichae

    I will say, we only see one side of this issue. We aren’t at practice, maybe crean didn’t think he was mentally ready, but after the way Hulls played, I think we could have found some time for Remy.

  • cpmichae

    I don’t believe I have seen anyone calling for Remy to start. I think most people would like to see his minutes increase, especially when it is obvious early on that certain players are not playing well.  Say for instances, that last night Remy comes in for Hulls. If nothing else, it gives Hulls a breather where he can collect his thoughts and have coach talk to him, instead of playing a sub-par 34 minutes. 

  • cpmichae

    That is not fair. I feel that Verdell has played some crucial minutes in late game situations, namely pUKe, Michigan, and last night. I think the problem with Verdell is that he needs a sense of urgency, or else he does the dribble, drive, dribble, head down, shot thing that kills our offense, but in late game situations, he can be down right clutch.

  • cpmichae

    That means nothing. Purdue was going to bring the energy anyways, it is a rivalry game. The PU/IU games can usually go either way, regardless of talent level.

  • SCHoosier

    adam..sorry you didn’t see the game last night.

  • MillaRed

    As ugly as his shot is, his court presence and quickness are fantastic. Rarely takes bad shots, inside/outside. The kid is an NBA player.

    He is not however, handsome. Not at all.

  • SCHoosier

    Win..yes..of course. My points were IU is lucky to have such a great defender in VO..he really disrupted whoever they put him on last night..without him..we’re cooked. We were lucky that NW had nobody to sub for Shurna…the kid ran out of gas in the final 10 minutes because of the d-pressure you mentiond and and having to carrying their offensive load. IU played great defense in the final 5 minutes..but not up to their overall potential most of the game…that’s where luck comes in..and u can’t do much without some of it in athletic competition.

  • SCHoosier

    Win..yes..of course. My points were IU is lucky to have such a great defender in VO..he really disrupted whoever they put him on last night..without him..we’re cooked. We were lucky that NW had nobody to sub for Shurna…the kid ran out of gas in the final 10 minutes because of the d-pressure you mentiond and and having to carrying their offensive load. IU played great defense in the final 5 minutes..but not up to their overall potential most of the game…that’s where luck comes in..and u can’t do much without some of it in athletic competition.

  • Dschwind

    My take on Jordy is, when he is not the primary ball handler he is kind of lost on the floor, he doesn’t have his rhythm and is just generally off.  I’ve played PG my whole life and I know I’m thrown off and don’t play as well when I don’t have the ball.
    The correction CTC should have made is when VO is going to play up top, he basically just needs to cut JH’s minutes, as he is not going to be effective in the other role. 
    But I like CTC’s use of VO and his creativity using his players – it seems he has figured out that the beauty of this team is how DYNAMIC our players are.  We have three guys who can legitimately play PG (VO, JH, VJ), all of whom can also play SG.  We have a center who is quick as shit and can play like a PF or SF.  We have CW, who’s a big that can guard bigs and PG’s and shoot 3’s.  We have other defenders like VO and WS who can guard anybody.
    Sprinkle in some good role players, MR, DE, RE. 
    It’s not surprising this team is 20-6 and should be 22-4 (Nebr/Minn, come on). 

  • SCHoosier

    When Hulls doesn’t bring it up..he backs off period. With VO’s new role..I’m afraid Jordy is going to defer. How many times has he used a low dribbble and the cross-over to get into the lane and score. Crean wanted to pound it low last night..so there were not many high screen rub offs for a 3. On D..Hulls got badly beat on one backcut..but #4 on NW…made some “horse shots” with his left hand going to the hole in the second half..where Jordy was well positioned defensively. Kid needs to stay aggressive.
    too many  of the 3’s taken last night were by the wrong people (will/VO) I never want a real quick 3 especially in a tight game..but sure don’t want Huls passing on some of the looks he got last night.

  • Eastwood88_2

    when is the next time we don’t win 20 games?  I say 20 years

  • Classof73_N1Fan

    “Ain’t Gonna be no Rematch” … “Ain’t Gonna be no Rematch” , Apollo Creed in the first Rocky.

    Wow! I hope we don’t see them again in the B1G tournament. I think we snuck out of there with a W. We were lucky. Shurma looks like a Basketball savant. I have never seen a guy shoot from his nose. I tried that a few times when I was tired but you can’t see the basket the way he shoots. I think that the guy could have shot from his toes and it would have went in.

    He destroyed MS and ILL and has the potential to stop anyone, anytime. Gees with a 2:30 to go and a tie game and the ball in Shurmas hands. That was scary.

    Way to go VJ – you won this game for us.

    “Hope there Ain’t Gonna be no Rematch”

  • Classof73_N1Fan

    Praying to Budda it looks like. Heck, whatever works!

  • Classof73_N1Fan

    Praying to Budda it looks like. Heck, whatever works!

  • catronhoosier

    Ok i see what you are getting at.  I mean if we get average verdell 20 minutes a game should seem still reasonable to me, but as long as remy gets around 10 minutes, where in the world was he against NW

  • Jacknolan62

    I’m in Seattle.  I was using the Game Tracker website and it mentioned Maurice Creek was in the game.  That must have been a mistake, yes??  It was Jones??

  • IUMIKE1

    lol  There must not be a neck version of this brace……orrrrrr maybe there is and Bobby just wouldn’t let him wear it. Probably didn’t trust Reed to not tell the real reason he was wearing the neck brace when the prostitutes, ah ah, I mean media, started asking questions. lol

  • IUMIKE1

    Good point. No team can be taken lightly in our conference on any night this year. Especially by us on the road.

  • IUMIKE1

    I’ll put myself in the honest column too. Predicated a win total of 18, boy being wrong on that one sure feels might good !

    And my wife says I can never admit being wrong…HA take that.

  • IUMIKE1

    Especially when he made the comment that CW could elevate over anyone. BTN really needs to rethink this guy’s job duties…..but then again he did play ball for the Whinin’ Illini.

  • stroot

    Correct.

  • mrjonessodaandme

    Got to agree with the others on this one. When Hulls is playing a pretty lackluster game and isn’t hitting the side of a barn, Remy needs to see the floor. Even for just a quick 2-3 minute motivator to Jordy.

    Yes, we know who deserves more playing time and who is a better asset to the team on a regular basis, but this is an instance where Remy should have played.

    Plain and simple.

  • mrjonessodaandme

    Got to agree with the others on this one. When Hulls is playing a pretty lackluster game and isn’t hitting the side of a barn, Remy needs to see the floor. Even for just a quick 2-3 minute motivator to Jordy.

    Yes, we know who deserves more playing time and who is a better asset to the team on a regular basis, but this is an instance where Remy should have played.

    Plain and simple.

  • mrjonessodaandme

    Absolutely disagree. VJIII has had to take tons of big shots in his career either because he was the only one who could or was willing.

    Apparently you forgot about Minnesota last year, or Michigan this year. Or this game. And lets not forget his brilliant pass to Watford.

    Kid’s got heart. And he’s pretty damn good at basketball.

    If you think his career has been that bad, I would hate to see where IU basketball would be at this point with out him.

  • Andrew

    I hear ya, but it’s not luck that IU has VO.  He was scouted, recruited, offered a scholarship, and accepted.  The coaches I’m assuming saw in him athletic ability and determination and good footwork and a knack for being in the right place and a good attitude—all things critical to being a good individual defender.  I would argue that it’s more of an outlier (luck, if you will) that NW has someone like Shurna, rather than no one to back him up.  A 6’9 matchup problem like that at a school that has a worse bball tradition than we do fball…that’s “lucky” that he became what he is, the leading scorer in the best conference in America.

  • Andrew

    I hear ya, but it’s not luck that IU has VO.  He was scouted, recruited, offered a scholarship, and accepted.  The coaches I’m assuming saw in him athletic ability and determination and good footwork and a knack for being in the right place and a good attitude—all things critical to being a good individual defender.  I would argue that it’s more of an outlier (luck, if you will) that NW has someone like Shurna, rather than no one to back him up.  A 6’9 matchup problem like that at a school that has a worse bball tradition than we do fball…that’s “lucky” that he became what he is, the leading scorer in the best conference in America.

  • Diesel

    Zing!

  • Diesel

    Zing!

  • Diesel

    The most objective post on the Hulls, VJ3, Remy argument I have read.

  • CreanFaithful

    Stealing my “Old Faithful” baseline maneuver terminology?  I suppose the the Big Handsome is deserving… which brings me to a point I’ve been meaning to make.  I have read several critical posts about Cody not stepping out and showing a face up game.  The same Cody that is leading the league in field goal percentage… point made.  

  • CreanFaithful

    “Gets his shot blocked more than anyone else in the league?” Hmmmm… made up stat

  • CreanFaithful

    “Gets his shot blocked more than anyone else in the league?” Hmmmm… made up stat

  • CreanFaithful

    “Gets his shot blocked more than anyone else in the league?” Hmmmm… made up stat