Notebook: Sheehey smiles, then sends IU to Sweet 16

  • 03/18/2012 1:09 am in

PORTLAND, Ore. — Verdell Jones and his teammates made an observation from the bench when Will Sheehey corralled the ball on the left baseline with just under 14 seconds remaining.

“We were just talking about it earlier. When he caught it, he smiled a second,” Jones said. “As soon as he caught it, he smiled.”

What followed after the smile was the shot that lifted Indiana into the Sweet 16 for the first time since its magical run to the Final Four in 2002.

Sheehey, left alone on the baseline after a failed attempt by Victor Oladipo to drive to the basket, picked up the loose ball and without hesitation buried an 11-footer.

“I knew it was in when it came off,” the IU sophomore said with a grin. “That’s how it should be. I was open, 12 seconds left, it’s just the perfect storm I guess.”

The smile, however, was not something Sheehey said he remembered following the Hoosiers’ 63-61 win over Virginia Commonwealth in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

“I don’t know what they’re talking about,” he laughed. “Maybe I do that when I know it’s going in.”

Sheehey’s close friend and teammate Victor Oladipo, who spent countless offseason hours with him in Cook Hall during the offseason, wasn’t surprised at the result after the ball left his hands.

“He hits that midrange shot more than anyone I know,” Oladipo said. “As soon as he caught it, I knew it was going in. I could see it going in.”

Not the optimum way to win

Much was made about VCU’s “HAVOC” defense in the buildup to Saturday’s game and the pressure put the Hoosiers on the ropes more than once.

The Rams opened a nine-point lead on two occasions and forced the Hoosiers into a season-high 22 turnovers, but couldn’t put the game away.

VCU coach Shaka Smart credited IU’s high percentage shooting and strong defense as the two primary factors the Hoosiers were able to overcome the mishaps

“You’ve got to sustain your half court defense, which we did not do very well in the first half,” Smart said. “And then you’ve got to put the ball in the basket. We only scored 19 points in the second half and obviously that wasn’t quite enough.”

Indiana’s ability to hold VCU scoreless in the final 2:27 resulted in the Rams not being able to set up their press and cause turnovers in the closing minutes.

“If you look at the way we closed the game and the 25 percent shooting from the field and from the three, those were the things that really, really stood out for the reasons we won the game, I believe,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said.

The significance of the Sweet 16

Preseason prognostications barely had Indiana sniffing the top half of the Big Ten. And even as the wins piled up throughout the season, this group was picked against time and time again.

Some even wondered if the program was back despite wins three top five wins in the regular season. Saturday night answered the question definitively in Sheehey’s eyes.

“A hundred percent. I know everyone watches March Madness. We might do it a lot for the fans, but it’s really for our guys in this program,” he said. “We have seniors on the squad, Verdell [Jones], who can’t play with us, but we play for those guys and they’ve been through it all.”

Jones, who was all smiles as he took in the postgame scene in the locker room, agreed with Sheehey’s assessment on the significance of the win.

“It’s huge for us. It’s huge for this program. It’s huge for Coach Crean, the players in it,” Jones said. “It’s definitely one of the best feelings this year.”

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  • Jim

    Sheehey (a good Irish name) hits the big one on St. Patrick’s Day!

  • Kenneth234

    Honestly, with all the hype of the 2012 class coming in, and the recognition of the impact that Sheehey and Oladipo on the 2010 class, the combo of Zeller, Abel, and Etherington in the 2011 class; we have a real tendency to overlook just how special the 2009 truly has turned out to be (despite the setbacks along the way).  Does anyone think that this team would be in this position without the contributions of Watford, Hulls, Creek, and Elston?  I think these guys deserve much more credit for the chance that they took coming to Bloomington, and all the effort they have put in to reach the level that they have in their first 3 years.  I think it will be great if they continue this magic for another four games and at the same time give the reward to the 2008 class that there is no doubt they deserve.  I have a feeling that each class that we have coming in over the next few years will continue a new tradition of the next class taking expectation for the next season.  Soon, expectations may reach the nearly impossible, matching the feat by the 1976 Indaina National Champions.  I am not sure what the expectation should be for this season, but I know what I want this week, and that is another win over pUKe, and a crack at whomever in the Elite 8.  I will ask for another expectation when I check that one off the list.  Go HOOSIERS!!!

  • Kenneth234

    These first two round matchups, along with the ultra-competitive Big Ten (especially this years edition), has possibly been a blessing in disguise to prepare Indiana for the overall pressure that will come with a Sweet 16 birth against the top overall seed in this year’s tournament and a rival seeking revenge like pUKe.  At some point, I hope the NCAA will instruct their refs to start giving IU a fair shake because the storyline is worth preserving for t.v.!  I think it was painfully obvious that the refs would have put the ball through the basket for VCU if they could, because allowing them to assult iu ball handlers throughout the game wasn’t enough to overcome this teams date with destiny! 

  • IUMIKE1

    The article is written, 3 hours pass, then 4 hours pass and still no mention of a TP screen from Jerry. I was beginning to think it was all a dream and I would have to wake up to find out we didn’t really win, but alas Jerry puts out the TP screen memo. All the world is back in order.

  • Hoosier7883

    What I find fascinating is all the talk on here about how this 2012 recruit or that 2012 recruit is going to come in next year and be a starter on this team. The boys on the floor are much more determined, seasoned, and committed to winning than anyone on these sites can relate to. Just saying, it will be VERY difficult for these nubies to take starting spots. Contributers yes, starters we’ll see. 

  • Hoosier7883

    What I find fascinating is all the talk on here about how this 2012 recruit or that 2012 recruit is going to come in next year and be a starter on this team. The boys on the floor are much more determined, seasoned, and committed to winning than anyone on these sites can relate to. Just saying, it will be VERY difficult for these nubies to take starting spots. Contributers yes, starters we’ll see. 

  • JerryCT

    Welllllll !

    Did they ever trap out of his high ball screens ?

    If they had you would have begun to appreciate his ability to recognize the trap and serve as the outlet pass to negate it.

    I would have given $100 for every outlet pass out of the trap last night.

    To go with a scintillating 2 pts Pritchard is on fire ………on fire !

  • JerryCT

    Were you beginning to believe in the magnetic pole reversal predicted by the Mayans ? Jim Morrison still alive ? More than one Kennedy shooter ?

    Glad I could put the world back in order for you

  • JerryCT

    Ball handler tendency is to try to dribble out of the trap but this usually away from any help or outlet pass ………… not good. So as you imply one option is to stop . At this point you have options like a a short pass to where the trap came from . In this case the screener ,  usually CZ , could have stepped out , held still or rolled 

  • JerryCT

     I agree. Its hard to imagine any of them are “plug and play” at the level we are playing . I believe we could have used Yogi in place of Hulls last night ……… but not many games would I feel that way.

  • SCHoosier

    John Ritter..goes back to Lou Watson’s last year or so. Classic 15 ft jumper shooter.

  • SCHoosier

    I agree…plus it always takes a littel while for chemistry to develop among new players. such will be thecase next year..but each one of those recruits brings something different to the mix..so things are looking up.

  • g. mann

    So true, and the beauty is that we won’t need them to start.  That pressure won’t be on them so they can more easily meld into the mix. Yogi does not need to start in order to provide lots of valuable minutes.  It’s so indulgent to be looking ahead to next year right after a sensational win in a fantastic season.  

  • Sweet 16 Hoosier

    The Oladipo blocked shot was a great “assist” to Will
    I thought the Hoosiers were gonna lose’ then I saw Will Sheehey come out of nowhere and hit that bucket.
    Hope you can play like that against Kentucky!
    Also, notice this typo on sports.yahoo.com?
     http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/teams/iai/photos;_ylt=Agtinp2OSHHlX4nVhGidOndQ07YF?slug=d3d52b41b395c1caf63f2895297a7cb2-getty-141507134#photoViewer=urn%3Anewsml%3Asports.yahoo%2Cap%3A20050301%3Ancaab%2Cphoto%2Cap-201203152330846290382%3A1

  • Knuckledrager

    I thought that passed on several open 3 pointers. 

  • Knuckledrager

    What I love is IU has found a different way to win every game.

  • Knuckledrager

    Wasn’t Mo Creek leading the B1G in scoring before he was injured as a freshman?

  • 888

    i love our experience next year but yogis gonna play 30 a game. we dont have anybody that can do what he does period. ya hes that good.  just dont see ctc dealing with jordan at the point and have yogi sitting. no way. Cody took Pritches minutes and yogis gonna get the same. Jordan moves to the 2 guard where he belongs.

  • Jim

    Sheehey (good Irish name) comes through on Saint Patrick’s Day!

  • Jim

    Sheehey (good Irish name) comes through on Saint Patrick’s Day!

  • B-Town88

    And the Pritch steal/deflection and falling(pushed) out of bounds rebound!

  • IUMIKE1

    Now calm down Jerry lol. I don’t need to see the other team try to trap out of his high ball screen to be able to appreciate how good of a screen TP sets. It just isn’t a real comment section without you making sure we all remember just how good he is at it. We were all starting to worry that you had neglected to make sure your defibrillator had a sufficient charge before the game started.

    We don’t win in regulation without TP;s offensive rebound and putback. Of all the buckets he has made in his 4 years at IU none were bigger than that one. 

  • InTheMtns

    And making the And1 was huge, too. Last year Vic shot 62% from the free-throw line. He has really worked to improve his FT shooting and has become pretty reliable. This game showed how important putting in that extra work was.

  • HoosierSkywalker

    me too!  hoping to see LOTS of cream and crimson!

  • SCHoosier

    I think Yogi will be first off the bench..but Crean won’t bench a senior with Hulls’ contributions. What I’d like to see is Will work hard  in the off season to develop his floor game and three point shot and become a real #2/ shooting guard in the starting line-up (he’s gonna have to play there anyway if he wants to go to the next level) That would give Crean a lot of flexibility . Frankly..this teams biggest weakness is quickness and athleticism at the guard position..especially on defense. Sheheey-Yogi and Patterson could make that problem go away.

  • Gripongravity

    someting special about this team.

  • Dfitz

     Probably everyone……But disrespect seem to be working for us.

  • Dfitz

     Probably everyone……But disrespect seem to be working for us.

  • Steve

    I really hope that IU can find a way to beat UK on Friday night !!!

  • Steve

    I really hope that IU can find a way to beat UK on Friday night !!!

  • Dstrase

    Great win, and I love the grit this team shows. I don’t agree with Hulls taking all the flak for turnovers. Whenever you have traps, it is vital for the man who is left to get to the middle of the trap for an outlet. The other three players need to also get into a position to help out. We didn’t get in a trap position, and it costs Hulls some turnovers.  With that said, this team really impresses me with their grit and no quit attitude. We could have folded the tent and gone home thinking this was a good season. Great win.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Not sure that D is as effective when you see it on a more regular basis and have more film of their team.  

  • Judekomyatte

    They finished fifth in the Big 10 regular season. They were knocked out in the round of eight in the Big 10 tournament. They are not even contenders for the Big 10 championship much less NCAA. Talent usually prevails in March. Enjoy this week. It will take lots of magic to move forward.

  • DannerPerea

    It’s not IUs fault the B1G was loaded with teams this year. (How many SEC teams are in the Sweet 16 again…I forgot?). Coach Crean knows the difference between winning battles vs. wars. Conference champ is nice, but it ain’t what he was shooting for.

    I hope your kittens are expecting a fight, cause its gonna be on.

  • DannerPerea

    Loop, I know it’s a syntax thing, but when you write our recruits names such that they appear as:
    Jeremy, Ron. ….the image of IU ball is tarnished a little.

  • DannerPerea

    And O’Ladipo is a great fake Irish name. Fitting his AndOne tied us up and set up the victory for us.

  • Outoftheloop

    I don’t follow your reasoning at all. The names are: Jeremy Hollowell and Ron Patterson. They have each been verbally committed to IU for over a year and a half, we talk about them all of the time, we follow their exploits in HS during the season, they each signed LOI in November, etc. They are part of the IU family, just like Cody, Remy and Austin. Syntax refers to the way words are put together to form sentences-no problem on that front. Maybe you are talking about references within a sentence and identifiers. I feel “personally” related to Jeremy and Ron. so I use their first-names, not their sur-names. Relook at your ” English Comp” notes, you missed something.

  • Outoftheloop

    Maybe, but I think that he was leading the nation for Freshmen in scoring.

  • Outoftheloop

    Maybe, but I think that he was leading the nation for Freshmen in scoring.

  • DannerPerea

    Loop, it was nothing personal..just some adult humor. Nevermind. Maintain your youthful innocense and ignore my juvenile remark.

  • Outoftheloop

     Sorry, I missed the humor-never mind.

  • Outoftheloop

     Sorry, I missed the humor-never mind.