Notebook: A look at North Carolina Central, Hulls’ slump

  • 02/21/2012 7:32 am in

It’s not often that a major conference team plays a non-conference game this late in the season, but Indiana will do just that on Wednesday night.

Rather than taking their second lengthy break of the month, the Hoosiers opted to shift the North Carolina Central game to February after the Big Ten schedule was announced last fall.

The Eagles (14-12, 8-5 Mid-Eastern Athletic) have not beaten a team in the top 200 of the RPI, but do boast a pair of transfers with high-major experience.

Forward Dominique Sutton (pictured), who played his first three seasons at Kansas State, leads the team in scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg).

Guard Ray Willis, who began his career at Oklahoma is averaging 15.8 points per game.

“They’ve got a couple of guys who definitely have a chance to play at the next level,” IU coach Tom Crean said on his radio show Monday night. “Sutton, from what I’ve seen on film or from I’ve heard from different NBA people, I don’t think there’s any question that he’s more than just a prospect. He’s a lot more than a prospect.”

Crean said he believed he got his team’s attention on Monday when he showed them clips of Sutton and Willis, but ultimately Wednesday will come down to how the Hoosiers come out of the gate.

“It’s really about us coming out and having a tremendous mindset of execution, a defensive mindset and disposition that’s second to none and get on the glass.”

CREAN WANTS HULLS TO TAKE MORE SHOTS

After three straight games where he scored in double figures, Jordan Hulls has struggled offensively during the past two games.

The junior guard is 1-of-8 from the field in his last 53 minutes and has just two points. Crean was asked about Hulls’ recent slump by a caller on his radio show.

“I think in Jordan’s case, he gets a great matchup and he gets one of the other team’s best defenders. There’s no doubt about that,” he said. “He’s got to do a very good job of being aggressive coming off screens and reading the pick and roll the way he has.”

Hulls is shooting close to 48 percent from behind the 3-point line, which is second in the Big Ten behind Matt Roth, who is hitting 57.6 percent from distance.

“We want Jordan to shoot the ball more. Is Jordan passing up some shots? I don’t think there’s any question he has,” Crean said. “Matt Roth is passing up shots. Those are guys that need to look for their shot. They’ve got quick releases. We’d rather have them be shooting it in the flow of the action rather than trying to feel like they’ve gotta create a shot at the end of the shot clock.”

HOOSIERS FALL IN BOTH POLLS

With Sunday’s lopsided loss at Iowa fresh on the mind of voters in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls, the Hoosiers took a tumble in the rankings that were released Monday afternoon.

Indiana slid five spots from No. 18 to No. 23 in the AP Poll and four spots from No. 20 to No. 24 in the coaches poll.

After 15 AP voters left IU off their ballots this week, CBSSports.com writer Gary Parrish took issue in his weekly “poll attacks” column.

“Indiana’s loss at Iowa was bad. No denying that. But should it have been enough for some voters to omit the Hoosiers from their ballots? Absolutely not,” Parrish wrote. “And yet 15 AP voters — including my pals Seth Davis and Dick Vitale — left Indiana off their ballots, which is confusing because there’s no way to conclude Tom Crean’s team doesn’t have one of the nation’s best 25 bodies of work. They own wins over No. 1 Kentucky, No. 8 Ohio State, No. 11 Michigan, No. 20 Notre Dame and NCAA hopefuls Purdue, Northwestern and North Carolina State.”

SENIORS WILL BE HONORED, BUT WON’T START

There are different ways to honor a senior class, but don’t expect to see IU’s five outgoing players — Daniel Moore, Kory Barnett, Matt Roth, Tom Pritchard and Verdell Jones — all start in one of the final three home games.

A caller brought that proposal to Crean on his weekly radio show and asked IU’s coach to consider starting all five in either the North Carolina Central or Purdue game.

“I don’t think you base any starting lineup on anything other than what gives you the best chance to win that game,” Crean said. “I love our seniors. There’s no question that when it’s all said and done it’s going to be a sad, emotional time, but as far as getting ready for the games and as far as each individual game, we have to do what’s best to win that game.”

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  • ldiu

    I am not nearly as concerned about Hulls as I am about Watford.  Hulls does the very best he can with his lack of size, etc.  I cannot say the same for Watford.  I wish Elston had the minutes and was allowed the the latitude with mistakes that Watford has.

  • Mkurzman

    we should not be over confident going into this game. Any team that has a couple of guys that can make things happen has the chance to take us down..

  • SCHoosier

    It’s hard to make 3 pt shots when 1) the shooter is not looking for that shot 2) the offense only has two grade school level screens run to get a shot. MSU, WIS and Iowa all have sophisticated plays designed to free up a 3pt shooter..we don’t. Our offense depends on transition basketball to get open threes..and when you play D and rebound like IU did at Iowa…that’s not going to happen. Hulls and Roth are both “team first” players..they pass up more shots than they take..not wanting to take a bad one. They must become more aggressive and the offensive sets have to help them. The wrong people are shooting 3’s at the wrong time. VO shouldndt period..Wat takes them too quickly and Jones/Will…well….let’s just say they are not money with that shot yet. I’m OK with Elston putting in it if he’s not taking them on the move. It all starts with defense..and everybody needs to improve there.

  • eph521

    So now I have one more reason for not watching or listening to Dickie V… he doesn’t even vote for our Hoosiers in the Top 25!

    Gary Parrish on the other hand… thanks for defending the candy stripes.

  • BIGRED1

    agreed, Hulls is not a point guard and is hampered as such. and the other one we have…dribble….really isn’t either so it makes it tough on Hulls.

    also agree on Watford, he is just to damn soft. Not a leader on the floor, doesn’t get back on defense, out of place on defense causing others to overplay to try and cover for him. It seems when he’s not getting the ball or he’s missing shots he is completely out of it!

  • BCharles9295

    Not that Dickie V has to be, but I’m pretty sure he’s no voter for IU unless Knight is coaching.

    IU got ‘Spartanesque’ support from the voters keeping them in the top 25.  That game against Iowa was just plain bad.  A team in the top 25 should have been able to beat Iowa, even if it was a road game.  Let’s hope that’s the last flashback to 2008 this year.

    Here’s hoping we win out the rest of the way.  And please, schedulers, let’s put an end to starting conference play in November (exagerration I know) so we have these stupid nonconference games embedded in the conference schedule. 

  • Rascott

    I’m sorry but that’s just an ignorant comment. Michigan lost by 16 at Iowa, just a few Weeks ago….and they have a great shot to at least tie for the league title.

  •  Wadford is a motivational conundrum, always thought that. He has to play with so much urgency to be effective but he likes to play the soft perimeter and not the rough and tumble area under or near the basket. 

  • Starting lineup typical fanatical individual sentimentality lunacy. This is crunch time, teams ranked in the TOP 20 cannot afford a soft game. Hulls and IU shooting. Fine line between being on or not. I suspect this team is mentally tired and Hulls never really was or is a true point guard, which is IU’s problem, a penetrating, distributor who can score (not just shoot) when needed. It will be interesting next year when Ferrell comes. With Olidipo improving more from the wing Hulls will have to earn most of his playing time. 

  • Starting lineup typical fanatical individual sentimentality lunacy. This is crunch time, teams ranked in the TOP 20 cannot afford a soft game. Hulls and IU shooting. Fine line between being on or not. I suspect this team is mentally tired and Hulls never really was or is a true point guard, which is IU’s problem, a penetrating, distributor who can score (not just shoot) when needed. It will be interesting next year when Ferrell comes. With Olidipo improving more from the wing Hulls will have to earn most of his playing time. 

  • MillaRed

    Two things that really stood out to me at Iowa. How horribly slow we looked. Iowa isn’t even an athletic team. Are we hitting a wall? Going too hard in practice? Something isn’t right and it was a team thing.

    Ever since Matt Roth has arrived he gets this last 3 minutes of PT when we are down by 12. We get into this 3 point shooting frenzy, the ball is whipping around out of desperation and the kid nails them every time. Learn from this! Why do we have to wait until we are down double digits to play with this intensity??? Very frustrating.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    I’ve been thinking the same thing. If Hulls isn’t going to be his normal, offensively aggressive self, what value does he have on the court? He’s a liability on defense, not a great distributor, somewhat diminutive, and not the best dribbler. I love Jordy, and I think his incredible competitive streak (I wish he had Watford’s size and skill) will make sure he sees a lot of playing time next year, but if Crean really believes that you should “put your best lineup on the court” then hopefully Jordy will earn his minutes nex year like everyone else.

  • Daburns0

    The thing is, a lot of teams are losing this time of year.  It is conference play, and some of the teams, like Iowa, are very hungry.  I know we should have beaten Iowa, but we didn’t and a road loss to a team like that shouldn’t kill us.

  • Scott

    Completely agree with MillaRed because I see a slowness.  Perhaps many of our players are hitting that “wall” toward the end of the season.  But, not Cody, he hasn’t hit the wall yet in his play as a freshman.  We will get invigorated and return with strong energy.  But, our tank was low at Iowa, just running off fumes.

  • WindyCityHoosier

    Considering how well IU played (Hulls withstanding) in the first 3 minutes, i was really surprised to see how quickly IU held its head after a few turnovers against Iowa pressure.  Yes they changed their defense but it was as if IU had never seen a zone before?  Completely agree with the intesity comment.  Iowa played tough, physical defense for a few minutes and IU just wilted. 

  • WindyCityHoosier

    Considering how well IU played (Hulls withstanding) in the first 3 minutes, i was really surprised to see how quickly IU held its head after a few turnovers against Iowa pressure.  Yes they changed their defense but it was as if IU had never seen a zone before?  Completely agree with the intesity comment.  Iowa played tough, physical defense for a few minutes and IU just wilted. 

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    This offense needs a dynamic PG to work properly and get shooters shots.
    With around 350 D1 BBall programs a top 20 program that doesn’t run a motion type offenseshould have a top 100 PG at a minimum. http://usat.ly/w2QVUkNo IU players cant get his own shot with VO being the exception but with his lack of a mid-range game he has to finish at the rim and has started to draw offensive fouls.
    B1G teams have adjusted to IU and the ball movement has slowed with no one to make a play.We need to make our own adjustments.

  • Plane1972

    Agreed. This is a huge stage for NCC.

  • Kokomo_Joe

    Perfect time to rest some legs this week and play Remy and AE more minutes, cut the minutes down fromt he rest of the gang.

  • The Cat

    In Iowa we ran into a fired up, aggressive team that any team in the country would have had a hard time going in there and coming away with a victory.  That being said IU did look like a tired ball club.  A game against NCC looks like a good time to give players like AE, Remy and Roth 15 to 20 minutes of playing time and giving our starters a rest.  It is not necessary to win by 30 points, as that seemed to be our goal in pre B10.  Lets get a 10 plus victory and then go into Minnesota and avenge that home loss.  GO IU !!!!!!!!!!

  • IUfanToby

    Jordy starts every game next year if healthy.  Mark it down.

  • IUfanToby

    Jordy starts every game next year if healthy.  Mark it down.

  • Walt

    Appears CTC then has to make a decision if this is so.  CWAT, do the job at soft perimeter and leave the rough and tumble stuff to DE. Aren’t they about the same height? Replying also to BIGRED1 above.

  • BCharles9295

    I don’t see how it is ignorant to expect a better performance out of a team that has in many circumstances played better than on 2/19/12.  I agree Daburns0 the loss shouldn’t kill us, but it certainly was disappointing and should have been less one-sided than it was. 

  • 888

    CTC has it right. Hulls and Roth have to shoot more. Id much rather have them shooting 15 times a game per than keep watching guys putting up running or fadeaway jumpers that only go in 20% of the time. Jordans got to start being selfish and SHOOT. Roth will shooit if he gets to play but we know how that goes. These two are instant offense. There shouldnt be 5 min stretches withi out scoring with shooters like we have. This will make everyone more effective if they do. It will open up the lane for the Z. If youve been watching lately teams have figured out that IU wants to drive the lane and draw fouls. Iowa just sent everybody to the lane and either blocked our shots or turned us over . We played to their strength with the way the game was being called .Were not gonna get calls every game and you have to have a gameplan that allows for the way the game is being officiated. They was lettn them play at Iowa. Both ways. Yes it favored Iowa but we never made the adjustment and tried to alow Roth to open things up. When teams are taking away the lane put in the shooters and open it up. Roth,Hulls,AE,WAT, and Z could do that. My lands its common knowledge if you want someone out of playn zone on you hit some 3s and theyll play you straight up. Yes you can drive on it but you usually drive and dish to shooters not put up a contested running jumper with 3 guys on you. RMK had his shooters shooting the ball not rebounding for athletes.

  • Matt

    I agree with the concensus 10000 million percent that Roth needs more shots. Problem is that it’s so hard to find him shots against a man to man offense of everyone is playing passive and weak (like iowa game) and in the zone if no one else is hitting because we don’t create any help scenarios.

    That leaves transition 3s and called sets for Roth to get him shots. People argue that we don’t run sets for him but it’s not true – if u look at the tape from the first time he was in against Iowa we ran some motion for him and the D was all over it, that’s when his speed kills him. In a no help scenario he is rendered ineffective.

    We looked horrible against Iowa bottom line and this team must play better.

  • Matt

    I agree with the concensus 10000 million percent that Roth needs more shots. Problem is that it’s so hard to find him shots against a man to man offense of everyone is playing passive and weak (like iowa game) and in the zone if no one else is hitting because we don’t create any help scenarios.

    That leaves transition 3s and called sets for Roth to get him shots. People argue that we don’t run sets for him but it’s not true – if u look at the tape from the first time he was in against Iowa we ran some motion for him and the D was all over it, that’s when his speed kills him. In a no help scenario he is rendered ineffective.

    We looked horrible against Iowa bottom line and this team must play better.

  • CreamandCrimson

    The use (or lack thereof) of Matt Roth continues to confuse me.  He is one of the best shooters in the country (maybe the best if his feet are set).  There should be a rule…if he hits a three, he must get the ball in position to shoot another one on the next possession.  The only exception would be a wide open dunk or layup. 

    One possession particularly bothered me in the Iowa game.  Roth had just hit one and was open in the corner.  Watford had the ball, one pass away from Roth, on the wing.  He only had to ball fake and then pass to Roth for a wide open three.  Instead, Watford chucks one from two feet behind the line and misses.  When he is even remotely open, give him the ball!!!!!

  • SCHoosier

    U make an excellent point..when Roth comes in any coach assigns a top defender (if they have one) too him..and his lack of speed impacts his shot opporunties. That said..other than the high screen and run to the corner..IU runs no schemes for the shooters that I can identify. Transition is another story..if we can get the ball and go Hulls is really good at finding Roth in transition..the others..not so much..

  • MillaRed

    During the course of the game you are right, but if someone actually dialed up Roth’s efficiency when we are down double digit points with 3 minutes left in the game, we may find he is an All-American when only these minutes are considered.

    I realize the defense is probably relaxed and maybe the personnel has changed. But it seems to me when they are playing desperately Roth is a machine.

    I have an idea, let’s start the game like we are down 20. Maybe we won’t look so terrible in the first 10 minutes!

  • Mkurzman

    Wow i wish i proofread…

    *against man to man defense not offense
    *if not of
    *consensus
    *against the zone

    I’m blaming my iPhone

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    this team is not athletic at all, except for vic,will& CZ. the rest of our guards are too slow . that being said 20-7 isn’t anything to sneeze at, wait till we get some long athletic kids that can ball, be patient people ! GO HOOSIERS!!

  • Daburns0

    I feel your frustrations, but we have to stick with this team.  Remember, a lot of these guys have been crapped on at IU, so this should be a gravy year.  This team isn’t built to make a bunch of noise in March, it was built to drag us out of the cellar.  I would say we are accomplishing that.  IU doesn’t have the gritty leaders to win on the road.  Believe me, I would love them to be that team.

  • dssnyder1

    back in the day, the Hoosiers had a 3 point specialist. you might have heard of him – Steve Alford. Alford wasnt fast by any means, he just never stopped moving. constantly coming off screens to put up a 3. I dont see why Roth couldnt do the same thing. Granted, Roth is no Alford, but it’s a thought.

    Also something the Hoosiers used to do was constantly drive, drive, drive to the bucket. If they missed the shot, guess what? free throws! Coach Calbert knows a thing or two about playing this way.

  • I think CC needs to set more plays to get Roth open. We should see a few double screens to make it happen. Roth is one of the best shooters you will ever see, its just a shame he has no other aspects to his game. He should shoot at least 10 times a game and until Jordy and VJ get their heads out of their butts Roth should be playing their minutes.

  • 888

    How long will mediocracy be tolerated. Im just curious. When does everybody think Indiana should start competing again for BIG and NCAA titles. Im not saying your saying this Sharon its for others really. Ive had some posts on this sight and alot of people think that even next year when well have more talent and experience then anyone in the NCAA that we shouldnt even expect a BIG title. Then when should we expect it 2015?  Thats not gonna do it.  this should getm going!

  • Oldguyy

    Sheehey is a 42% 3-point shooter. 

  • Foy

    Agreed. Yogi, Hulls, VO, and Zellar start every game. CW starts if he can figure out how to become mentally tough, consistent, and aggressive on the boards. It’s unfortunate because if CW were those things now, he’d be NBA bound this summer.

  • Foy

    Agreed. Yogi, Hulls, VO, and Zellar start every game. CW starts if he can figure out how to become mentally tough, consistent, and aggressive on the boards. It’s unfortunate because if CW were those things now, he’d be NBA bound this summer.

  • Golfman25

    Please send CTC a tape of Alford! Now! It’s like he has never seen it. Curl around, pick up a screen or two and shoot the three. There is way too much standing around. Alford shot 53% from 3. Roth is close to 60%. If they had a special package in for Roth, we would be so much better.

  • marcusgresham

    And Pritch.  See how long he can go without accumulating fouls.

    And please, please, please, get him in double figures on senior night.