Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Minnesota

IUMinnITH0012It was pretty for one half and ugly for a good part of the other, but the No. 5 Hoosiers withstood a rally from No. 8 Minnesota on Saturday afternoon to prevail 88-81 and moved to 15-1 and 3-0 in the Big Ten.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from IU’s sixth straight win:

· Indiana’s first half was their best of the season: 52 points against one of the nation’s top 15 defenses? That’s what the Hoosiers managed in the first 20 minutes on Saturday. But equally as impressive was Indiana holding the Gophers, also a top 15 offense, to just 29 points before intermission. As Dan Dakich remarked on Twitter, Indiana’s first half defense may have been the best effort we’ve seen in college hoops this season. Minnesota did shoot nearly 46 percent in the first half, but Indiana never made anything easy, was able to force 12 turnovers and allowed just five second chance points to the nation’s best offensive rebounding team. 

· Victor Oladipo deserves to be in the national player of the year race: It wasn’t the best night defensively for IU’s star junior guard, and he admitted as much in his postgame remarks, but Oladipo’s first half set the tone for the game. He was 6-of-6 from the field, including a 3-pointer, and added two rebounds, two assists and two steals. As he’s done for much of the season, Oladipo made off balance looks around the basket look easy. Prior to the season, Oladipo was viewed as a very good defender who was somewhat limited by a one-dimensional offensive game. He’s morphed into a player that can consistently do damage in the halfcourt. A performance like Saturday’s should vault Oladipo into the national player of the year discussion.

· Yogi Ferrell played like a veteran: Saturday’s performance might have been Ferrell’s best of the season. Offensively, he was effective going to the basket with both hands and finished with 13 points, just one short of his season-high of 14 against Georgetown. After having a shot erased at the rim by Trevor Mbakwe less than three minutes in, Ferrell didn’t get discouraged. He kept attacking and finished the first half with three layups which is impressive when you consider the size he was giving up to the Minnesota front line. He was also the facilitator on three of Indiana’s seven first half 3-pointers and assisted on seven of IU’s 21 first half field goals. Ferrell logged a team-high 37 minutes, which also happened to be a career-high. “He leads by example and he leads with his defense and he is a great teammate but he has got to get more verbal,” Tom Crean said of his freshman point guard. “That’s the next step for him.”

· Indiana held its own on the glass: Not only did Indiana match the physicality of Minnesota, the Hoosiers were the more aggressive team for most of the afternoon. That started on the defensive glass as IU limited the Gophers to an offensive rebounding percentage of just 39.3, more than nine percentage points below their season average. In their lone loss of the season, the Hoosiers allowed Butler to rebound 48.9 percent of its misses. A big reason for the rebounding edge was Christian Watford, who is leading IU with 25 rebounds through the first three Big Ten games. Watford’s offensive role has evolved into being the third or fourth option, but he’s making a bigger impact with rebounding, defense and a willingness to play stronger around the basket.

· IU faltered down the stretch, but never ceded control: Yes, a 23-point halftime lead evaporated all the way down to three in the game’s final minute. And yes, these Hoosiers have a lot of work to do against full court pressure defense after they coughed up the ball 11 times in the second half. But in previous seasons, Indiana may have caved and let the opponent complete the comeback. But this team is different. When it mattered most, IU made the play it needed to finish off Minnesota. Following a pair of misses on crucial free throws by Jordan Hulls, Cody Zeller tipped an offensive rebound back to Hulls, who secured the ball, took another foul and stepped back to line to seal the win with 15 seconds left. “Obviously we had a chance with 15 seconds left if we get that rebound and it’s a 3-point game and we might make a three the way we were shooting at the end,” Tubby Smith said. Whether it was blind luck or a calculated move by Zeller, winning teams create their own breaks and capitalize on them.”

  • marcusgresham

    I’d say come out and press the hell out of them to speed them up. Maybe even throw a 1-3-1 trap in there at some point.

  • Bama4IU

    I guess VO will have to just go out and show them when we play OSU. Last year’s two steals on Craft by Victor were some of the special memories for me from last season.

  • Alan H

    Key takeaway. Teams that can’t make their free throws don’t win in March. We have to many talented shooters to make only 60% of our free throws. Obviously IU needs to work on breaking the press, but if they make another 5-7 free throws earlier in the half and the game is no contest.

  • Alan H

    Key takeaway. Teams that can’t make their free throws don’t win in March. We have to many talented shooters to make only 60% of our free throws. Obviously IU needs to work on breaking the press, but if they make another 5-7 free throws earlier in the half and the game is no contest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daren-Patrick-Collentine/1498325427 Daren Patrick Collentine

    Exactly. If we can turn that first half team into our 40 minute team by March then banner #6 is ours to lose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daren-Patrick-Collentine/1498325427 Daren Patrick Collentine

    Agreed and I like the way you spell your name.

  • mike

    they’ll win all that only if they’re playing at Assembly Hall …. which of course they won’t . Sorry, that’s just my feeling. There will always be a mismatch when they’re playing two small guards, and teams have that figured out, though it is much harder for them to capitalize on it when at Assembly Hall (that home court advantage is worth at least 10 points). But do you really think IU can bear Michigan, or Duke, on a neutral court? I don’t. Just look at who Jordy would have to guard. Now if Crean wants to return to having Oladipo at the “2” …..

  • http://twitter.com/aaro63 Aaron Miller

    Absoulutely agree, nerves are still plaguing HMP. Each game he looks a little more confident and imposes himself on the game a little more. Love the prediction above about him leading the BIG in boards next year. The guy is an absolute leaper and once he builds some confidence and starts playing aggressively, look out!

  • Geoff_85

    You can’t be serious. So which one of the bench players do you suggest starting? Not of ONE of them scored a field goal. A handful of them went 1-2 from the line, though. They’re all better than Jordan Hulls somehow? Get real. By the way, what did Jordan Hulls give up on defense? If you’re gonna make jabs at a kid, be specific, otherwise your “argument” is simply just you hating on a kid, which is pretty pathetic if you’re a fan of that kid’s team. Oladipo fouled THREE 3pt shooters. Was that not a huge factor? You tell me what of the second half was on Jordan Hulls and we’ll have a discussion about it.

  • Geoff_85

    You can’t be serious. So which one of the bench players do you suggest starting? Not of ONE of them scored a field goal. A handful of them went 1-2 from the line, though. They’re all better than Jordan Hulls somehow? Get real. By the way, what did Jordan Hulls give up on defense? If you’re gonna make jabs at a kid, be specific, otherwise your “argument” is simply just you hating on a kid, which is pretty pathetic if you’re a fan of that kid’s team. Oladipo fouled THREE 3pt shooters. Was that not a huge factor? You tell me what of the second half was on Jordan Hulls and we’ll have a discussion about it.

  • twarrior87

    Does anyone have any insight on our problems at the FT line this year? Its weird that IU is one of the best shooting teams in the nation, but we are having issues at the line. I don’t remember having this problem last year, so not sure what’s going on.

  • Geoff_85

    Can you say “Wisconsin” because that is exactly what IU is up against tomorrow. I love it. The 2nd half against Minnesota was EXACTLY what Indiana needed to prepare for Wisconsin. I’ve got faith that they learned a great deal from it too.The overall mood in the presser showed that. I would love to see an ugly blowout. Something like a 67-47 Indiana win would please me as much as anything.

  • PDXHoosier

    Couldn’t agree more. I would love to pound Wisky at their own ugly game. First two rounds in the tournament will be ugly as well (but probably less disciplined than UW)…

  • Benhyoung14

    Let’s not forget that IU played straight up dominating basketball for 10 minutes. IU will be really successful if they can do that for 40, or even 30 min.

  • PDXHoosier

    I actually thought Jordy played great defense against some very athletic guards. Dre was hitting those ridiculous 3s over VO and Sheehey. The D was good, they just made a lot of tough shots in the 2nd half

  • PDXHoosier

    I actually thought Jordy played great defense against some very athletic guards. Dre was hitting those ridiculous 3s over VO and Sheehey. The D was good, they just made a lot of tough shots in the 2nd half

  • Benhyoung14

    We’re #1 in the B1G at the free throw line. The problems we’ve been having seam to be isolated. I’ve seen Yogi miss a few when the game is on the line…hence why Jordy was getting the inbound. Maybe some free throw drills with Peter Jurkin, HMP, and Zeller in your face?

  • PDXHoosier

    That last foul they called on VO was terrible. Didn’t even touch him. In fact, was jumping AWAY from him

  • Benhyoung14

    We’ll find out in a couple of weeks.

  • twarrior87

    Are we #1 in free throws made or free throw percentage? If its in FT’s made that’s probably a product of shooting more free throws than anyone else. If its percentage then I guess I’m wrong it just seems like we’ve had issues.

  • twarrior87

    Actually looked it up, doesn’t look like we’re leading the B1G in either FT statistic.

    http://www.bigten.org/sports/m-baskbl/stats/2012-2013/confonly.html

  • Earl Scheib

    At least the guys realize how they almost blew it. Especially VIc. Feel bad for him — he had a great game aside from those fouls. A consequence of playing all out, that’s all. But still inexcusable. I’m glad we won and even gladder that this team now has even more motivation. If we’d have coasted to a blowout, complacency may have set in. Now they have a fire under their asses which is good. Kudos to Minnesota for coming back so fiercely. Hopefully they’ll spank Michigan and we can do the same to Wisconsin. Go Hoosiers. Banner #6!

  • Benhyoung14

    Yeah, I was surprised too. It’s percentage. 4 times IU has been below .700 on its FT%. Penn St and Minnesota were a couple of them. We are first at .738, and then Michigan at .717.

  • Benhyoung14

    I’m going to love it when teams deploy the ‘hack IU’ strategy. When their last guy on the bench fouls out before half time then Crean will be demanding technicals.

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