The Minute After: Michigan State

  • 02/28/2012 9:57 pm in

Thoughts on a 70-55 win against the Spartans:

If the Kentucky win was about arrival, this one was about maturity. It was about Indiana meeting the challenge of Michigan State’s physicality head on, and handling the class of the conference. It was Tom Crean finally getting a win over Tom Izzo, and Assembly Hall re-solidifying its status as one of the toughest college basketball stadiums for opponents in America.

Three wins over Top 5 teams this season. The one against No. 1 Kentucky was fun. The one against then-No. 2 Ohio State was encouraging. But none was more impressive than tonight’s against No. 5 Michigan State, a team looking for a No. 1 seed in the tournament and winners of seven straight.

Where to begin?

How bout Victor Oladipo.

He set the tone early, and the team followed. The DeMatha product was relentless in the first half. He believed he could get by any defender Michigan State threw at him, could use any ball screen and find his way to the rim. And for the most part, he did (7-of-8 from the line in the first half). When this team gets to the line, and especially when they get to the line at home, they win. A strong free throw rate (45.8) and strong shooting at the line (19-of-22, 86.4%) by Indiana were key in this victory. Verdell Jones (6-of-7 from the line) and Cody Zeller (4-of-5) were contributors here, too.

Indiana also succeeded this evening because they hit the offensive boards hard against the second best defensive rebounding team in the conference (34.6 OR%, outscored Michigan State 13-0 in second-chance points). Early, it was Will Sheehey sprinting down the court in transition and tipping in a Jordan Hulls missed 3-pointer. Late, it was Christian Watford rebounding a Zeller missed free throw; Zeller rebounding a Will Sheehey missed jumper; Hulls swinging it to Watford beyond the arc; and him connecting on a banked 3-pointer. It put Indiana up 10 with 6:02 to go. Izzo screamed at his team “GOTTA REBOUND!” And that just about put away the Spartans for good. They were able to cut it to eight on their next possession, but Indiana built the lead back up from there and cruised to a 15-point victory.

And there was the defense. Yes, Draymond Green got his. It seemed no matter which player the Hoosiers put on him — Oladipo, Sheehey, Watford — he would not be denied, though he had the most ease against Watford. It was a terrific performance from the best player in the Big Ten (29 points on 10-of-17 shooting, eight rebounds, though he did have six turnovers). But one player does not make a basketball team. And Indiana wrapped up just about everyone else. No other Spartan scored in double digits. The rest of the team only shot 29.4 percent from the field.

When Crean took this job, he stood at the podium and proclaimed the reason why always came back to one thing: “It’s Indiana, it’s Indiana.” But three long years of losses, disappointment and bad basketball often made it hard to see this point, to believe it could all be turned around again.

And yet, it’s here. The light shines bright once again inside Assembly Hall.

The Indiana Hoosiers have reclaimed the state this season. They’ve put themselves back on the national map.

And a fanbase beams with pride once more.

Filed to:

  • stroot

    I think the word you’re looking for is “smelly”.

  • MotherPeople

     Amen, brother Bryan!  I am so proud of this team and coaching staff.  I’ve been an IU fan for nearly 40 years.  I attended my first game on December 10, 2011, thanks to an early Christmas present from my dear wife.  What a gift!  I thought that I could never return to AH because it would be a letdown after that pUKetucky game.  Now, I’m not so sure!  Anyway, many kudos to the coaches and players for their effort and dedication.  I love this team. 

    And let’s not forget to thank the fans for hanging in there and being a huge part of this season’s success.  You (we) are indeed the best.

  • Hardwood83

    Exactly- guys like TP are what make winning teams. He has embraced his role and gives IU vital depth to rest & protect CZ. Let’s hope Elston can do the same next year.

  • calbert51

    a few weeks ago iu looked like  lost sheep hey guys its time to shed the sheeps clothing,and show the rest of the basketball word, what you are the hungry wolves u are and that starts with winng somthing no other iu team has done “WIN BIG-10 TOURNAMENT ” teams already hate because we are back well might as well piss of the rest of thebasketball world, cause if you play with the intensity defenensive grip that we all know you can play the”N.C.A.A. can be your feading grouhds.

  • calbert51

    a few weeks ago iu looked like  lost sheep hey guys its time to shed the sheeps clothing,and show the rest of the basketball word, what you are the hungry wolves u are and that starts with winng somthing no other iu team has done “WIN BIG-10 TOURNAMENT ” teams already hate because we are back well might as well piss of the rest of thebasketball world, cause if you play with the intensity defenensive grip that we all know you can play the”N.C.A.A. can be your feading grouhds.

  • SCHoosier

    Gonna take some time for the chemistry to work with the new guys..but Yogi will bring instant energy and ball movement…Hollowell points .. Perea rebounds and defense..so Crean will have huge flexibilty next year..and anybody not playing up to their potential every second they are in there will soon be on the bench. But..can we concentrate on whipping PU and the touranments,,please??!!:)

  • stroot

    “There’s a time and a place for everything, and it’s called college.”
      – Chef (South Park)

    Our banner which we proudly hung from the front row of the balcony at Gene Keady’s final appearance in Assembly Hall in the 2004-2005 season. In hindsight, I’m not going to say it was the most respectful thing in the world to do, but it sure was fun at the time.http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/199627_531473221378_13720414_15197126_4058_n.jpg

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    One last regular season test against an in state team but can now say we took back the state and put barricades at every border. Every. Single. Team. From every bordering state has been sent home packing.

    Evansville
    Butler
    Kentucky
    Notre Dame
    Michigan
    Ohio State
    Purdue
    Illinois
    Northwestern
    Michigan State

    Purdue you are next and consider yourself lucky to be a part of basketball in THE HOOSIER STATE

    Do your jobs in Indy boys. This is Indiana and Indianapolis is ours as well. There is no reason we cannot win the Big Ten Tourney.

  • InTheMtns

    He’s definately going to have a career at the next level. Got to say I enjoy watching him more when he’s not playing IU, but I do enjoy watchng him. And to think, Indiana was on his short list four years ago.

  • stroot

    Something that nobody has mentioned yet which I think is very relevant right now: IU smacked around the Spartans on a Tuesday evening, after playing another game in Minnesota on Sunday afternoon! Despite the ultra-quick turnaround, they still showed up with tons of energy, not the sluggish and lackadaisical habits you’d almost expect a team to display in that situation.

    This is especially relevant with the Big Ten Tournament so close, where they’ll literally play every freaking day until the win the tournament (I’m not accepting any other possible outcome). The fact that they came out last night firing on all cylinders is very promising for their tournament aspirations.

  • InTheMtns

    Is the ducking under something new or have we been trying with mixed success to do it for a while? I thought I saw several players do it successfully last night. This was the best I think I’ve seen us handle screens for a whole game. And it made a big difference.

  • 0% Chance Sheehey will allow a freshman to take his starting spot. These guys will be fighting each other in practice like no other. WS an VO will get so much better with athletes pushing them.

  • stroot

    To be fair, even if it’s not during an IU game (or even anything related to college basketball), there’s a pretty good chance you’ll see it during most commercial breaks. I love how often they use one and only one highlight (easily the best highlight of the year, IMHO) to pimp out their WatchESPN services.

  • InTheMtns

    I noticed it, too. I think he always works the refs but it’s in a calm way that doesn’t draw a lot of attention. But last night, he was intense and it was from the get-go.

  • InTheMtns

    I noticed it, too. I think he always works the refs but it’s in a calm way that doesn’t draw a lot of attention. But last night, he was intense and it was from the get-go.

  • NervousWreck

    115.3 Decibels – even louder than the UK game.  Wow.  Equivalent to a “loud rock concert”. Way to go Assembly Hall!!

  • NervousWreck

    Agreed.  The talent Carmody has is good enough to get to the Dance, and especially the 18-12 record they’ll likely get.  That’s nowhere close to what Tom Crean has done with IU’s players.

  • InTheMtns

    “I have no idea what the end of the season promises. I just know this year has been an absolute pleasure to watch, even with the rough patch in January. Thank you IU players and coaches for representing us with class.”

    Amen, Bryan. I heard a radio sports talk jock say the other day that anything less than IU making the Sweet Sixteen would be a dissapointment. I love this team and will no matter what the rest of the season brings. When their next loss comes, I will be disappointed for them, but not in them.

  • Geoff_85

    People can say what they want about Indiana’s defense on Draymond Green, but this is fact – Draymond Green proved that he was the best player on the floor because he did EVERYTHING. He hit contested 3-pointers (I thought one or two of his 3’s were gonna get blocked they were so contested), he hit contested mid-range shots, he took his man off the dribble, and he exploited his size inside. It seemed like Nix and Payne or whomever Zeller was guarding was pulling Zeller way out to give Draymond one-on-one matchups inside. I thought Indiana could have gone with a zone look that enabled Zeller to help on D, but I also thought that Indiana was doing just about everything they could do and I like the philosophy of letting a great player “get his” and shutting everyone else down. That philosophy worked. I’m not at all disappointed in Indiana’s defensive effort – I’d let Draymond get 29 per game if I knew the rest of his team would only score 26. Also, Indiana’s guards did a fantastic job of fighting through and rotating on screens. This was probably the best rebounding performance all season by the Hoosiers as well and that may be attributed to MSU pulling their big men out, but i think it’s more attributed to 2 other things: 1. Effort. Are you kidding me? These guys were EVERYWHERE on the boards and crashed consistently. I’ve been all over these guys when they put up little effort, so I’ve got to praise them when they put an effort on the floor like they did last night. Tremendous effort guys! 2. MSU did not want Indiana to get out in transition. It seemed like MSU was so worried about IU running that they didn’t crash the boards on the offensive end. That’s part of what thrills me the most about last night’s game. These guys have proven they can be a juggernaut on offense both in transition and in half-court sets. They just weren’t able to play well in half-court sets in the first half – maybe even 3/4 – of the season. This will serve the team well going into the B1G and NCAA tournaments. They look great! Won every revenge game so far. Let’s hole they draw Nebraska (revenge) in the first round of the B1G and Wisc (big time revenge) in the second round of the B1G. Then, I think they will have beaten every Big Ten opponent at least once – that’s awesome! Let’s hope they keep it rolling on Senior Night and take it to the Purdouche Boilerdrunkards at Assembly! Go Hoosiers!

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    I used the wrong term.  I probably should’ve have said *dipping* their shoulders.  And it’s not something I’ve noticed all season until last night (it was very obvious that both Ola and Will were doing it).

  • IUin2012

     They play a video of Athletic Director Glass before each game admonishing the crowd to be respectful.  For what it’s worth, I didn’t hear any widespread nasty chants….. just the “over-rated” and the typical booing as the opposing players are being introduced (I could do without that as well).

  • Knuckledrager

    I seem to remember he was picked as 1st team all big 10 in preseason. Of course they change my meds often, and some say ..”going off on a tangent, and breaks from reality”. Or did I just imagined that too. 

  • What a game!!! Watford with 14 boards CRAZY!! All I wish would happen is Zeller start getting some boards but when the rest of the teams picks up their rebounding its not that big a deal but he does need to start getting his. Great win guys and start looking and preparing for Purdue.

  • What a game!!! Watford with 14 boards CRAZY!! All I wish would happen is Zeller start getting some boards but when the rest of the teams picks up their rebounding its not that big a deal but he does need to start getting his. Great win guys and start looking and preparing for Purdue.

  • Knuckledrager

    Amen Brother. Yeah, what he said.

  • Outoftheloop

    WOW!! That was the best game of the year. Indiana really played great. The away win over MN was excellent-but this effort against MSU tops them all. One more to go-BeatPurdue!!

  • Outoftheloop

     That was my lineup from day one. It does seem to bring all of the right energy and defensive potential to the floor. But I have nothing but compliments for the play of Verdell, Elston, Pritch, Roth and Remy in support.

  • Outoftheloop

     His year (even if NW makes the NCA Tourney) is nowhere close to the year that Coach Crean has had.

  • Outoftheloop

     Matt will walk-on for his 5th year at IU and play in a Final Four as a Hoosier.

  • Outoftheloop

     Matt will walk-on for his 5th year at IU and play in a Final Four as a Hoosier.

  • Outoftheloop

     Wrong! They locked up a 4 seed. There is a real possibility of a 3 seed-did you see FL lose to Vandy? The best of IU, WI and MI will grab the last 3 seed based on the B1G Tourney results. The other 2 are 4 seeds. There is no way that FL, Murray St, Wichita St and UNLV can match IU’s big wins and tough schedule this season.

  • Outoftheloop

     A 4 seed! (see my post above) (newest)

  • Outoftheloop

     That’s the trick-you have to do it while they are still in HS! I expect the same for Ron Patterson and Peter Jurkin.

  • Outoftheloop

     That’s the trick-you have to do it while they are still in HS! I expect the same for Ron Patterson and Peter Jurkin.

  • Outoftheloop

    Q: how do you get 18-22 year olds to “explode” their potential? A: light the fuse, duck, and hope it goes off! After 20 years you can tell the great coaches, not so much on a game-by-game basis.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I haven’t had a chance to post after this game so here goes . . .

    1)  Oladipo played great
    2)  Sheehey played great
    3)  Watford played great
    4)  Anybody getting my point yet???

    I genuinely thought this was IU’s best performance of the season by far.  It was a potential reaching performance right after a Minnesota game where I posted I thought this team still hadn’t reached their potential yet!!!

    Verdell Jones deserves all the love in the world after this one from a guy who’s been a pretty tough VJ3 critic the past couple years.  I thought he was awesome last night and helped set the tone. 

    Defensively, offensively, and X’s and O’s from the bench . . . this was the best performance of the year.  The gameplan to give Green his (which is what appeared to happen) and key on Appling was awesome!  Having VO come out and guard Green the first half and Appling the second half confused the crap out of Izzo and MSU and it was CTC’s best move of the year.

    I don’t have a single thing to complain about.  Shoot, even the officiating went IU’s way in the fact that Burr, Valentine, nor Hightower drew the assignment!  WOW, what a game all around and I can’t wait to see if this team has officially hit it’s stride and reached it’s potential entering March!  If that’s the case then teams better pray they ain’t in IU’s bracket cause this team is a force to reckon with when they are playing up to their potential!

    Great game and Hoo Hoo Hoo HOOSIERS!!!

  • Waffle

    Crean has rebuilt this team ever since the 2008 “incident”.
    I have been very impressed with his recruiting, spirit, and coaching.
    Go IU!

  • DannerPerea

    Oh. That makes more sense then;) I hope he didn’t start a fight over which team is better. We can let our teams settle that on the court.

  • DannerPerea

    Oh. That makes more sense then;) I hope he didn’t start a fight over which team is better. We can let our teams settle that on the court.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    Props to the Hoosiers!! best all around game of the season. vic was outstanding and CWAT? WHAT UP!!?!!  peaking at the right time.  this team is special.

  • HoosierTrav

    I’m curious to know how many points we scored off of his 14 boards. I’ll take 10 and 14 any day of the week over 20+ points. This game, paired with minny’s good performance in Madison, has convinced me we are playing our best basketball right now and we are a final four team when we are focused. Too bad te tourney isn’t played in b-town huh? Lol I wish.

  • SCHoosier

    I watched the replay again today just because I also thought it was IU’s best game. Saw nothing to change my mind. However, I did focus on one play that I still can’t believe. Remember in the first half when Zeller in the far left corner..reached around  Nix and stole an entry pass?? Well if you look at the action before that..Cody had jumped out on a high screen switch and was beyond the NBA 3 pt line..near mid-cour twhen the switch was made..from there ..he hustled all the way back down the lane  to the far corner to cover his man and make the steal….AS THE BALL WAS BEING REVERSED BACK THAT DIRECTION. Outstanding quickness and athleticism to move that far that quickly..take a look..it was one  hell of a play..with great hustle/effort. Not sure another big man in college ball could make that play.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Yeah, that and his failure to rotate back on D were the only mistakes he made last night (VJ3) and those are just mistakes.  Everyone makes mistakes.  He played so, so well!!! 

    I just want to give it up to VJ every chance I have since I’ve been such a rough critic this year and last.  He played great!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    And, while we may not be the best road team in the country, I think they will be a great neutral court team!  This team has the type team to do some damage in the tournament!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I really feel like IU’s overall resume is much better than Mich and Wisc even though they fared a little better in the B1G.