Kentucky’s free throws prove to be the difference

  • 03/24/2012 10:20 am in

When Indiana upset then-No. 1 Kentucky at Assembly Hall on Dec.10, Wildcats coach John Calipari pointed to his team’s missed free throws as a reason for their loss.

Kentucky made only 10-of-17 shots from the charity stripe that day, while the Hoosiers missed only three of their 17 attempts.

Friday night’s Sweet 16 rematch was a different story.

No. 1 seed Kentucky made a blistering 35-of-37 at the line, outscoring the fourth-seeded Hoosiers 35-13 in that department. When Tom Crean and the Hoosiers tried to get back in the game by fouling late, Kentucky went to the line and made 14 consecutive free throws.

“I couldn’t imagine a game like this having a free throw discrepancy of 20,” Crean said. “It is what it is. We did a lot of good things. They shot 20 more free throws. That’s the game.”

While Kentucky seemed to feel right at home at the foul line, the Hoosiers had their struggles. Christian Watford had a chance to put Indiana up six late in the first half, but he missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Derek Elston also missed the front end of a 1-and-1 in the first half.

The free-throw battle was a big factor in the first meeting, and it was an even bigger factor on Friday.

“As you’re playing, you know they’re just making them,” Watford said. “I didn’t really know what their percentage was during the game. They drove the ball strongly when they got to there to the line, and they’d knock them down.”

No defense for Kidd-Gilchrist

When Cody Zeller got in early foul trouble for the Hoosiers, Crean made the decision to have Tom Pritchard play off of his man, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Pritchard stood near the edge of the lane as Kidd-Gilchrist hovered near the 3-point line with the ball. He settled for the first couple open jumpers he saw, but then began to attack the basket.

When he did that, the Hoosiers literally had no defense for him. Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

“I don’t know if you noticed, they didn’t have a man on him,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari. “I just told (Teague), ‘give it to him. Shoot it.’ He shot one and waited. I said, ‘give it to him again.’ … He’s a good shooter.”

The majority of Kidd-Gilchrist’s damage, though, had nothing to do with shooting. He went to the offensive glass with reckless abandon in the second half, and repeatedly got easy put backs after Indiana’s defense had played deep into the shot clock. Six of his 10 rebounds came on the offensive end.

Hoosiers say goodbye to seniors

The road is over for the five seniors that stuck with the Indiana program when no one else would.

Even though Crean said the Hoosiers left it all out on the court, the team’s underclassmen had a difficult time coming to grips with the fact Pritchard, Matt Roth, Verdell Jones, Kory Barnett and Daniel Moore will never wear the candy stripes again.

When sophomore Will Sheehey was asked what this senior class has meant to him, he sat for a moment, speechless. Sheehey then dropped his head, and when he came back up to talk, tears filled his eyes.

“They’re my best friends,” Sheehey said, his voice cracking. “I’ll never have more fun playing basketball with anybody but those guys over there.”

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  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

     Yep, but next year CTC has the luxury of playing matchups with the PG position.  He’ll play Hulls when he needs some instant offense and shooting and then pull him when teams start to go right at him on defense.  The simple fact that IU will have that depth and those options will make Jordy a lot better defensive player because teams won’t game plan to go right at Jordy so much because they won’t be sure how much or when or against what personnel they’ll see him!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

     That hurt a bit and the Pritch missed dunk hurt too.  I rewound it and looked and there was contact on his wrist but it wasn’t enough to cause and miss and that kind of call is 50/50 on the whistle in most cases. 

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Best part is pUKe fans are running around saying, “Oh, revenge was taken and looks like pUKe did exactly what they were supposed to and blew IU out.”

    Wow, just goes to show how ignorant their fan base is, because that was no blowout.  In fact, you take IU’s only McD’s All-American off the floor for the first half, and pUKe still was only able to pull away by out of their mind FT shooting down the stretch.  If they shoot like they normally do (from the field and especially from the line) and IU wins that game by 5-10 points.  That definitely isn’t “doing what they expected to do” against IU. 

    In fact, I think pUKe got a little lucky that dumb, blind official decided to screw Zeller by calling a foul when he allowed Jones to brush a piece of lint off his arm!  If not for that play, IU may have had a double digit lead at half!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Best part is pUKe fans are running around saying, “Oh, revenge was taken and looks like pUKe did exactly what they were supposed to and blew IU out.”

    Wow, just goes to show how ignorant their fan base is, because that was no blowout.  In fact, you take IU’s only McD’s All-American off the floor for the first half, and pUKe still was only able to pull away by out of their mind FT shooting down the stretch.  If they shoot like they normally do (from the field and especially from the line) and IU wins that game by 5-10 points.  That definitely isn’t “doing what they expected to do” against IU. 

    In fact, I think pUKe got a little lucky that dumb, blind official decided to screw Zeller by calling a foul when he allowed Jones to brush a piece of lint off his arm!  If not for that play, IU may have had a double digit lead at half!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I think we’ll get more rewards in a few months when high school soon to be juniors start announcing they want to play with Lyles and Blackmon at IU.

    I’m thinking that Trevon and Lyle will choose IU sometime by fall after this run . . . maybe more names on the list as well!

    How could you not want to play for a coach like Tom Crean who oozes class, faith, leadership, and genuine love for his players?

    And how could you not want to play with guys like Hulls, Creek, Watford, Zeller, Sheehey, Oladipo, Elston, Remy, Etherington, Perea, Jurkin, Hollowell, Buss, and especially a PG like YOGI???

    Wow, just got a little carried away again there!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

     Yeah, Cody, CWat, and Vic should’ve made it to the line more!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Elston got a big rebound last night and also played a few minutes of solid defense.  He did miss a FT after a nice play but he’s a big who hadn’t shot yet in the game so what do you expect?

    I thought he and TP both gave good role player minutes last week!

  • Kenneth234

    I think the Pritch dunk was a foul that was not called. 

  • Jon McClain

    well said.  this whole tournament in my opinion has been way too tightly officiated.  watch every game and look how many key contributors are in foul trouble.  it is ridiculous.  i would love to watch those two teams just go at it last night and drop triple digits on one another (i do wish we could defend them better but we don’t have the athletes yet).  anyway, they couldn’t stop us and once CZ got screwed with foul #2, you got the idea of how this game would end.  we would of been up at least 10 at the half with CZ playing while ADavis was on the bench.

    on a side note, we would have beat any other team in the tourney last night – no doubt.  if we don’t lose to wisconsin in the B10 tourney and get a higher 4 seed, we could have been in the East region and handling Syracuse and looking at a shot at the final four this weekend.  Wow!  so proud of these kids and i can’t wait for next season.  best season in a decade – hats off to the kids coming out and playing their hearts out!!  hats off to the coaching staff – i have been critical at times but i have to eat crow – crean had those boys ready to play!

  • InTheMtns

    From the NCAA website: “Do student-athletes who leave school early to go pro hurt their teams’ APR?  If a student-athlete is in good academic standing and leaves school early to pursue a professional career, the team is not penalized and loses no APR points. But if a student-athlete leaves early and is in poor academic standing, the team loses two points, making it harder for the team’s APR to recover.”

    Good academic standing means they complete their final semester (quarter, etc.) classes before they leave school, so if all the one-and-dones do that, there is no reduction in the APR.

  • InTheMtns

    From the NCAA website: “Do student-athletes who leave school early to go pro hurt their teams’ APR?  If a student-athlete is in good academic standing and leaves school early to pursue a professional career, the team is not penalized and loses no APR points. But if a student-athlete leaves early and is in poor academic standing, the team loses two points, making it harder for the team’s APR to recover.”

    Good academic standing means they complete their final semester (quarter, etc.) classes before they leave school, so if all the one-and-dones do that, there is no reduction in the APR.

  • Therein87

    If Jordan could play average defense, you’d be right, but he’s totally unable to play defense against good athletes.  If IU is to take it to the next level next year, it will be with Jordan filling Matt’s designated shooter role.

  • Therein87

    And Yogi agrees!  After winning state yesterday, he told the announcer who interviewed him that he wished he could go to IU tomorrow!

    CAN’T WAIT!

  • Oldguyy

    A true point guard is a beautiful thing; I love his ability to hit the shooters.

  • MisterSlippery

    I agree. Oladipo doesn’t foul out and we got a ballgame folks, even with their free throws. This team was good and matched up good with KY. Play it again and I’m not sure we don’t win.

  • MisterSlippery

    Agreed. Louisville is much better now than they were early, but MSU just had a really off night. Bad timing to have an off night.

  • MisterSlippery

    Agreed. Louisville is much better now than they were early, but MSU just had a really off night. Bad timing to have an off night.

  • SCHoosier

    I hope u are right about DE..cause he can shoot. Problem is he lacks the foot speed..movement and physical flexibility to guard and score on the really athletic  and quick small /power forwards he will have to guard in key games. I think he will have a role..but if Wat comes back..VO and WS improve..and with Perea and Hollowell demanding minutes with their atheticism…DE has plenty of reason to be movitated to improvement over the off season.

  • SCHoosier

    Yogi will stay with anyone on defense..has the foot speed, athleticism etc. Problem is going to be taller point guards will post him up..but with defense help from our bigs..that should be managable. Biggest thing with Yogi is he can really find the open man..score multiple ways when he has too is a really smart kid who will be a floor leader. I’m glad he’s only 5-11..cause if he were 6-3..he’d be “one and done”..he’s that talented.

  • SCHoosier

    Not sure its gonna be #1 pre-season. I think it will take a while for the chemistry to emerge with all the new talent joining the flow…top-10 for sure..end of season..who knows:)

  • SCHoosier

    well the missed dunk by TP..missed layup by Jordy..and the fumble of a wide open shot in the break by Zeller didn’t help either..but its all part of the game..and UK can point to some of those things also.

  • SCHoosier

    Milla- just go back and count the drives to the hole..that WAS the UK game plan..discovered in the last 10 minutes of the first game. Go hard with those athletes to the hole..score or make them foul you..they did..and we did. Playing defense against a team like that makes you tired..you reach more..more fouls..it justs snowballs..and did Friday night. IU can and should attack many teams the same way next year..they have the skills.

  • SCHoosier

    Milla- just go back and count the drives to the hole..that WAS the UK game plan..discovered in the last 10 minutes of the first game. Go hard with those athletes to the hole..score or make them foul you..they did..and we did. Playing defense against a team like that makes you tired..you reach more..more fouls..it justs snowballs..and did Friday night. IU can and should attack many teams the same way next year..they have the skills.

  • SCHoosier

    U may be right on all that..all I can see though is that Crean likes Cal..is sincere in his appreciation and respect for UK’s talent..coaching and playing style. Cal is on record as saying he “hates” the one and done rule” but as long as its there..he intends to use it. Plenty of opportunity to cheat with the money thrown around in Lexington by boosters…but all Cal has done there so far is bring in top talent who want to win one year and make some big money (legally) in the NBA. If its allowed…its gonna happen.

  • MillaRed

    Like I said, I would have been OK with 10 more FTs, but not 20. I’m not cool with that in any game. We should have shot more free throws.

  • IUJack

    YES, you are correct!  Several of those not called on KY.  Still Pritch his last 3 dunks.  He is definitly no Air Pritch…….

  • IUJack

    Half the drive to the hole fouls consisted of jumping into the IU player and acting like you got fouled.

  • IUJack

    All the stat polls show IU around 9 thru 11.  NO doubt in my mind that we should have had a 3 seed and NOT playing KY so early.  Our stats were much better then Duke’s and they got a 2 seed and went out WAY early.

  • IUJack

    All the stat polls show IU around 9 thru 11.  NO doubt in my mind that we should have had a 3 seed and NOT playing KY so early.  Our stats were much better then Duke’s and they got a 2 seed and went out WAY early.

  • IUJack

    Sorry, on the floor he is a SPACE CADET!  Like I said on another post, maybe next year it will click with him.  He has a high moter and the basketball skills to be a strong contributer, but right now he does to many dumb things on the floor.  I would like nothing better for him to get it together and help on the interior.

  • Andrew

    No, pretty accurate remarks.  I’m glad he’s a great student, but we’re talking about what happens on the court.  We’re trying to win a title. We’re trying to beat teams like Kentucky.  Shoot, we’re trying not to get swept by UW for the 50th straight year.  He can flat out shoot the ball at AH against the Howards of the world.  Put him out there in a high level game and the poor guy doesn’t have a chance.  Doesn’t make him a bad dude or make me a hater.  I have nothing but facts to back me up.  He’s a big body and is experienced; he can help some next year.  But a guy who doesn’t even know how to run the baseline against a press as a junior in college is not somebody you can count on in a big spot.  Really, it’s silly to even be talking about him.  If Wat can bring it on a more consistent basis (seems likely), plus Hanner’s athleticism (how does he not play 15 min/game next year?), and Cody will be playing more b/c he’ll be older and *should* be able to avoid the fouls that sometimes limited his minutes this season…DE’s role will decrease even more, and he only averaged about 13 min/game this year.

  • IUJeff

    That is pretty weak Andrew. Show some class. 

    Will DE be playing from 8 – 12th on the depth chart next year, yes. But he can and will improve, and he can and will contribute IMO.  

  • Rikker68

     They only made 8 fts in the last 1:45 not 14

  • AtariHero

    I was at the game, so I had to check my DVR for the various calls and non-calls when I got home. It seemed that one of the calls on Davis was possibly bad (called a little tight). Also, the moving screen violations were similarly bad calls. The refs panicked and then decided to “even it up” with 2 absurd calls in 4 seconds against Zeller. But after those calls – I think the count was 7 fouls on IU to 3 to Kentucky. Even before we started fouling at the end of the game, the refs weren’t calling it both ways, and it was clearly favoring Kentucky.
    For the rest of the game, it seemed that when Zeller drew serious contact in the restricted area, they didn’t call it. But when Kentucky drew similar contact on rebounds, or slashing trough the lane, they got lots of calls. Towards the end of the first half, and sometime in the middle of the second half – refs seemed to want to even the foul calls, and called a bunch of tight calls against KY. But those were not shooting fouls, and weren’t advantageous for IU. But statistically, it “evened” the foul calls.
    Anyhow – it is what it is.

    I also think that in the Baylor – Xavier game, they made even more egregious mistakes. There was a ball clearly off of a Baylor guy and the refs threw up his hands and said he didn’t know who it was out on. It became a “jump ball”. It’s just a bummer when the refs are so involved that it ends up changing the outcome of the game.

  • smartybucket

    Haven’t seen this comment yet.  The reason we couldn’t stop the penetration was because everybody was afraid to touch someone and get a foul.  Everyone seemed to be in foul trouble just getting out of the way of the driver.  Victor played the way you ought to – but he fouled out.  Kentucky had the same problem.  They weren’t stopping our penetration to the rim either.  Again afraid to foul.  So besides the calls actually made, the tight officiating effected the game in other ways – by the way the guys were forced to play.  Announcers kept saying why won’t anyone stop anyone.  Because they undoubtedly foul!  Just get out of the way, that’s the only safe thing to do.  This went both ways – and then Kentucky’ unheard of free throw shooting won the game.  95%, if they shoot even 75% (which is more typical) this game could have gone either way.  They would have scored 5-7 points fewer, and we might not have had to make a few of those final fouls.  So Officiating was huge – not necessarily one sided but huge – and then Kentucky’s free throw shooting down the stretch locked it up.  Far cry from Memphis in the ship a few years ago.

  • smartybucket

    Haven’t seen this comment yet.  The reason we couldn’t stop the penetration was because everybody was afraid to touch someone and get a foul.  Everyone seemed to be in foul trouble just getting out of the way of the driver.  Victor played the way you ought to – but he fouled out.  Kentucky had the same problem.  They weren’t stopping our penetration to the rim either.  Again afraid to foul.  So besides the calls actually made, the tight officiating effected the game in other ways – by the way the guys were forced to play.  Announcers kept saying why won’t anyone stop anyone.  Because they undoubtedly foul!  Just get out of the way, that’s the only safe thing to do.  This went both ways – and then Kentucky’ unheard of free throw shooting won the game.  95%, if they shoot even 75% (which is more typical) this game could have gone either way.  They would have scored 5-7 points fewer, and we might not have had to make a few of those final fouls.  So Officiating was huge – not necessarily one sided but huge – and then Kentucky’s free throw shooting down the stretch locked it up.  Far cry from Memphis in the ship a few years ago.

  • BtownBeliever

    IU had chances to win. Lots of missed shots in the 2nd half, and the missed front ends of 1-n-1s in the 1st. Pritch was burned 4 plays in a row on drives to the bucket.  I think the more confidence uk gained, the more demoralized IU became. You could even hear it in Royce Waltman’s voice.  Loved the look on CWat’s face when asked if “it was monotonous” to watch uk shoot free throws over & over. Like, what an a-hole. Also loved that Crean coached right to the final buzzer.

    Everyone is talking about Yogi vs Jordan. I don’t see why Yogi can’t handle the ball, freeing Jordan as a shooting guard. He’s deadly off catch & shoot. Still, what a problem to have!

    Thanks to the person who recognized that Cody totally took Davis to school. I was so hoping IU would’ve been in a different bracket for a possible Cody/Tyler game.

    Incredible season, guys! Thanks!