The Minute After: Iowa

dipoputback

Thoughts on a 69-65 win against the Hawkeyes:

I. Had Iowa made more shots (just 33.3 percent from the field and a horrific 17.6 percent (3-of-17) from beyond the arc), had a few possessions turned one way instead of the other, Indiana would be sitting at 0-1 on the Big Ten season and still unable to figure out the Carver-Hawkeye Arena puzzle in the Tom Crean era. But alas, the Hoosiers escape Iowa City on the eve of 2013 with the W. At times, it felt like Indiana was about to punch this one out far enough that a comfortable lead and victory was just over the horizon. The Hoosiers would go up six points off some quick buckets. But Iowa, behind a raucous sold out crowd that certainly sounded quite loud on the TV, just wouldn’t allow it … all the way to the final buzzer. Fran McCaffery and Tom Crean were switching defenses, from zone to man and back again — two generals switching up strategy, trying to slow down and negate what the other was doing.

Though, the question was asked on Twitter and by Dan Dakich on the call: Just why was Indiana playing so much zone against this Hawkeye team? Was it really necessary? Dakich came through with an explanation in the second half: Iowa was shooting the ball so badly — and a zone, provided you don’t put a man in the middle and get easy looks at the basket or in the paint (which Iowa was able to do a healthy amount of times) — makes you shoot jumpers. Because check this: After starting the second half hot and hitting nine of their first 10 attempts, the Hawkeyes only went 3-of-19 the rest of the way.

Tough to win in such a fashion, even with Indiana scoring under a point per possession in this one (.943) and having some turnover issues (15 miscues for a turnover percentage of 20.5 percent).

Indiana was able to hold court thanks to getting to the line and converting at a decent clip (11-of-16 in the second half after just going 2-of-2 in the first) and well, having the best player on the court in this one: Victor Oladipo.

II. Speaking of Oladipo, it is becoming clearer and clearer with each game this season: No one is more important to this team’s success. He is a rock on both ends of the floor. He guards multiple positions. He gets to the basket; he has an improved jumper that is falling. And he has, for the most part, been immune to stretches of poor play and disappearing acts like some of his teammates. Oladipo scored 14 points — none bigger than his putback after a Cody Zeller miss with 1:03 to go to put Indiana up 65-60, a stretch in which Indiana had possession of the ball for 62 seconds. The junior wing also had 10 boards.

III. The questions about the 2012-2013 version of Cody Zeller continue to ring through on social media. Why isn’t he involved more? Why isn’t Indiana looking for him on more possessions? Why isn’t he demanding for the ball more? But as we’ve seen before after a quiet first half for the big man, the Hoosiers seemed to make a concerted effort early in the second half to get him the ball by running some pick-and-roll action on the right wing — which was effective. After just four first half points, Zeller scored 11 in the first 4:10 of the second half … and then didn’t score again for over 10 minutes, as he hit two free throws with 3:45 to go.

I get the concern from fans about how he’s being used — and really, these problems, at times, have been around for the last season and a half now — but the results are what they are: Zeller ended the game as the team’s leading scorer (19 points) with a perfect 5-of-5 performance from the line. He took their most shots with 12. He had 10 boards, five coming on the offensive end.

Despite the weirdness of just when he scored, it was a strong night for the Washington native.

IV. I tossed out the hypothetical at the start of this of Iowa hitting some more buckets and this one turning out differently. But Indiana had its version of this as well: Jordan Hulls was 0-of-10 from the floor. He had two 3-pointers later in the second half that you felt just kinda had to go in because of how good of a shooter he is, and how bad he’d been all game. Neither dropped.

Hulls will shake this off and start hitting again. Because he’s simply too good not to.

V. Lest I forget, Christian Watford was another reason Indiana won this game. He was aggressive — though, maybe overly aggressive and trying to do too much at times — and finished the night with 11 points and eight rebounds. Watford’s been a guy that’s been punched around by the IU faithful at times for his inconsistency. But this won’t be the last time he aids in an IU Big Ten victory.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Right now, I think Cody needs another year to develop his inside him. I hope Victor comes back. February is going to deliver three road losses. We have issues and when things get tough, CTC only plays 7 players. Jeremy & Hanner need more time on court to develop this month. No player should log more than 30 minutes/game.

  • sloan screen #45

    This is absolutely he best post I have ever read on ITH. You completely covered ever issue this team has. Great job.

  • sloan screen #45

    This is absolutely he best post I have ever read on ITH. You completely covered ever issue this team has. Great job.

  • marcusgresham

    Then he should use his quickness and run the baseline. I can see what you’re saying if he has to remain stationary, but if he can run the baseline it’s not a problem (but I was actually thinking to myself beforehand that it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to have Cody take the ball out because he’s a solid passer and he’s tall enough to get it over just about anyone.)

  • marcusgresham

    If I remember correctly it was after a made basket, which explains why Jordy wasn’t in the game–he was (rightfully) taken out for defensive purposes.

  • marcusgresham

    In-conference 20+ road wins are few and far between. Iowa isn’t Northwestern of the 1970s.

  • marcusgresham

    In-conference 20+ road wins are few and far between. Iowa isn’t Northwestern of the 1970s.

  • marcusgresham

    Am I the only one who cracked up laughing at McCaffery when he just went around the huddle getting in everyone’s face? He’d light one guy up, then turn around, see someone else, flip out on him, etc, etc,…..I had to rewind it and laugh at it a second time.

  • PDXHoosier

    That’s surprising. I’ve been a fan of Yogi and Hulls in together (unlike everyone else, apparently), but I thought Remy and Yogi looked better together last night

  • HoosierGrad07

    Yeah I agree with that. I’d say “young” is the wrong term. I think the general idea to always remember about this team is that it’s gonna take time to get them playing their best, and that’s how I’d prefer it. I think when we get to March people will realize that Duke peaked too early and teams slowly caught up to them. They are an established team with their entire rotation and all the roles for each player already written in stone before the season began and I think that’s going to be a problem for them come tourney time.

    This IU team had to integrate a freshman PG and assumed our star was going to be Cody. But now we’ve come to realize that it may be Vic instead. And none of these random suspensions and “holding out” of players has been good for our progression either.

    I really believe you’ll see this team truly start to gel into a real force by the time Michigan comes to town Feb. 2. And I also believe they’ll be 8-0 in conference going in to that game as well.

  • achurt

    I feel like they could be a semi-regular occurance with a team of this caliber. I have HIGH expectations for these Hoosiers (that’s why i’m whining about a win). How about this… I feel like we should beat Iowa “convincingly”.

  • CreanFaithful

    Agree. I liked the fact that we isolated him on the wing. He was absolutely blowing by his man the entire first half. However, his shot came way too early in the clock. To me, it’s just another teaching point when they look back at the film. Overall, this was one of Yogi’s best games to date as a Hoosier. His confidence is rising…

  • CreanFaithful

    I’m a Remy fan, so I want argue him getting more minutes. However, they won’t came as the result of Hulls shot not falling… As CTC said in his post game presser, “you play the percentages with a player like that.” He is right. Hulls is one of the best shooters in the country (if not the best). Keep pulling the trigger. Unless he is getting beat defensively, his minutes should never drop.

  • CreanFaithful

    I’m a Remy fan, so I want argue him getting more minutes. However, they won’t came as the result of Hulls shot not falling… As CTC said in his post game presser, “you play the percentages with a player like that.” He is right. Hulls is one of the best shooters in the country (if not the best). Keep pulling the trigger. Unless he is getting beat defensively, his minutes should never drop.

  • CreanFaithful

    From what I gather, Dipo will finish his undergrad this year. He is getting plenty of attention from scouts right now. If this team finishes the way we think they can, I believe he will be gone. Would love to have him back, obviously. But not looking likely IMO…

  • CreanFaithful

    “Not debatable” LOL

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