Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Wisconsin

IUWisITH0007Indiana never truly found its footing on Wednesday night as the Hoosier dropped a 64-59 decision to Wisconsin at Assembly Hall. The win moved the Badgers into outright first place in the race for the Big Ten title and dropped the Hoosiers into a five-way tie for 2nd place.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from IU’s first conference loss:

· Indiana never established their pace: As I wrote in the what to expect leading into the game, establishing pace was a critical factor for the Hoosiers. For that to happen, Indiana needed to build an early lead and force Wisconsin out of what it likes to do, which is take the air out of the ball and play a half court game. That never happened as IU’s largest lead of the game was four points at the 15:18 mark of the first half. And as the evening moved along, it became evident that Wisconsin was dictating the style of play. The Hoosiers ended up with just 61 possessions, nearly 11 below their average in league play entering the game. Those 61 possessions resulted in IU’s lowest output of the season in both points (59) and points per possession (0.97).

· Squandered chances late were critical: After a pair of free throws from Christian Watford cut the Wisconsin lead to 54-53 with 3:39 to go, Indiana had the crowd and some momentum on its side. Then Wisconsin took it back, quickly. After Ryan Evans hit a contested shot with 3:06 to go, Cody Zeller committed a turnover. Traevon Jackson followed that with a jumper of his own and then Jordan Hulls missed a jumper, got his rebound and committed a turnover at the 1:51 mark. So while it’s true that Indiana missed a ton of shots (34, to be exact), those two empty possessions following Wisconsin makes essentially ended the night.

· Indiana’s bench isn’t a strength through four Big Ten games: Tom Crean said in the postgame that he wasn’t concerned with the lack of scoring from his bench, but was more concerned with the “lack of creating pace of the game with deflections, defense.” But on a night where Hulls shot 2-of-8, Yogi Ferrell shot 2-of-8 and Watford finished 3-of-8, Indiana needed positive contributions from the bench. It didn’t happen as Will Sheehey, Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Remy Abell and Jeremy Hollowell combined for two points (1-of-8), 10 rebounds and three turnovers in 42 minutes. Through four Big Ten games, Indiana is getting 9.8 points per game from its bench.

· About those missed shots: IU’s misses weren’t the looks we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from one of the nation’s most efficient offenses. When operating most effectively, Indiana scores frequently in transition off of its defense and off of made baskets as the defense fails to set up quickly enough to react. And even if the shots don’t come directly via transition, IU’s ball movement early in possessions off the break is typically good enough to produce open looks. This team thrives off of scoring runs as made shots can become contagious at times, like in the first half against Minnesota. That wasn’t the case on Tuesday as IU scored just seven points off of turnovers and three fast break points which Bo Ryan was still unhappy about in his postgame remarks. Instead of using the fast break and transition game like it has for the better part of a season and a half, the Hoosiers were forced to operate out of their comfort zone in the half court.

· Cody Zeller played well, despite a slow second half: Wisconsin overplayed the perimeter in the first half which led to 18 points on 8-of-8 shooting for IU’s star sophomore. That performance was enough to put Indiana in the lead at the intermission. It was the most aggressive we’ve seen Zeller this season in terms of catching the entry pass and immediately making a move without hesitation. The fact that his success came against Jared Berggren, one of the league’s best interior defenders made it even more impressive. But as the defense tightened up in the post in the second half, the Hoosiers failed to capitalize from the perimeter (1-of-7 on threes), placing even more pressure on Zeller to continue his torrid pace. It didn’t happen and IU lost for the first time in 19 games at Assembly Hall.

  • Geoff_85

    Got a bunch of D1 banner-hangin’ coaches in here, that’s for sure. I mean, we have JERRY SLOAN in here for crying out loud.

  • mel_anon

    But Ryan can’t recruit, because of that awful boring offense that doesn’t utilize players’ individual talents. There aren’t many top national players that’ll ever consider him. That’s why there’s a hard ceiling on how far a Bo Ryan team will ever go, having a good system is nice, but great talent wins titles.

  • Geoff_85

    It’s a variation of the dribble drive motion offense. Similar to what the head coach of the university of ky runs, but not really the same. The offense is predicated on penetration and it gives the penetrator some decisions to make with the ball once he gets near the rim. It’s important to have a good decision-maker penetrate with the ball in this offense for that reason, but it’s an offense that’s attractive to the best recruits, partially because, as Eastwood said, it’s a pro-style offense. There really isn’t a name for this offense that I’ve seen, and I guess it is “some sort of pro set” in essence. However, the coach can come up with various different set plays in this offense. For instance, you can have the ball handler on the right wing – near the top of the key – and a player screen off the ball at the top of the key, and as the ball handler penetrates, the person who was screened for runs from the top of the key to the corner, and when the ball handler drives past his man, that gives the defense a decision to make. Presumably there is a defender underneath who must help once the ball handler is around his man, the dilemma is that there will be someone open in the corner (the man who was screened for at the top of the key), therein lies the decision-making part. The ball handler then can try to make a play at the rim or kick to the corner depending on what the defense gives him. Good defensive rotation can stop this kind of play, and in such a case, the offense will have to pull the ball back out and run another play. This can call for various plays per possession. That’s just observational though. I couldn’t really find much anywhere, so I stopped looking. I’m lazy I guess, but oh well.

  • Geoff_85

    It’s a variation of the dribble drive motion offense. Similar to what the head coach of the university of ky runs, but not really the same. The offense is predicated on penetration and it gives the penetrator some decisions to make with the ball once he gets near the rim. It’s important to have a good decision-maker penetrate with the ball in this offense for that reason, but it’s an offense that’s attractive to the best recruits, partially because, as Eastwood said, it’s a pro-style offense. There really isn’t a name for this offense that I’ve seen, and I guess it is “some sort of pro set” in essence. However, the coach can come up with various different set plays in this offense. For instance, you can have the ball handler on the right wing – near the top of the key – and a player screen off the ball at the top of the key, and as the ball handler penetrates, the person who was screened for runs from the top of the key to the corner, and when the ball handler drives past his man, that gives the defense a decision to make. Presumably there is a defender underneath who must help once the ball handler is around his man, the dilemma is that there will be someone open in the corner (the man who was screened for at the top of the key), therein lies the decision-making part. The ball handler then can try to make a play at the rim or kick to the corner depending on what the defense gives him. Good defensive rotation can stop this kind of play, and in such a case, the offense will have to pull the ball back out and run another play. This can call for various plays per possession. That’s just observational though. I couldn’t really find much anywhere, so I stopped looking. I’m lazy I guess, but oh well.

  • Dick_Pepperfield

    You just basically reconfirmed Rons point. You don’t have to pick up your dribble when you are coming off of efficient screens. You catch the ball and shoot it, no dribble necessary. You and Crean both need to go back and watch film of a guy named Travis Ford who was basically the exact same type of player as Jordy (slow and white with a killer jump shot) and broke the back of opponents with his 3’s off of screens.

  • Dick_Pepperfield

    Royce Waltman made an interesting point after the game. He said he is asked why more teams don’t play Bo Ryans style and it is because most coaches feel they cant win 54-52 games consistently. I thought this was a great point. Annoying to play against in the Big Ten but they have a glaring problem. This type of offense cant come from behind. Jump up on them and the game is essentially over. Why he will never win a final 4

  • Dick_Pepperfield

    I was going to write a post about Christian Watford but the only place I could find him Tuesday night was on the popcorn box that I was eating out of. Dude is completely non-existent.

  • Guest

    Apparently if you read basketball for dummies all of a sudden you know how to coach better than CTC.

  • Geoff_85

    Hard to argue that. I don’t think getting better in the half-court is necessarily simple, but certainly the premise is something that I agree with if they play a slow-paced game. When teams take away the transition game, IU struggles because they haven’t been great with their half-court offense, but that’s not to say they won’t get better. That doesn’t mean Coach Crean didn’t have a half-court game plan, but they need to work on some things for sure. I would like to see a few more screens in half-court sets, but I’m not going to criticize for not seeing them. One reason is I don’t think Indiana should try to play at that pace. It’s not the offense they run. I see people saying, “Why did they play at the pace of Wisconsin? Why didn’t they set the tone offensively?” or questions similar to those, and the same people saying, “They need to learn how to play half-court offense!” These are conflicting ideals if you ask me. Do you want a team to control the tempo, or do you want them to play at the pace of the other team? By the end of the season, my hope is that they will be able to play at either pace in case they run into one of these kind of teams in the NCAA Tournament. I think they will. I would have like to see them play a team like VCU in non-conference, and I REALLY hope they make that Louisville game a reality next year. I want to see this team against a really good press. They struggled with VCU last year in the Tournament, but they were able to win. They didn’t have Yogi Ferrell though. I think Indiana could take either one of those teams this year. That VCU game was a really good one and I can’t believe people still doubt Coach Crean’s coaching ability after that game. But after a loss I guess it should be expected from a rabid fan base that hates losing more than any other in the nation. God, I’m bored.

  • Geoff_85

    Hard to argue that. I don’t think getting better in the half-court is necessarily simple, but certainly the premise is something that I agree with if they play a slow-paced game. When teams take away the transition game, IU struggles because they haven’t been great with their half-court offense, but that’s not to say they won’t get better. That doesn’t mean Coach Crean didn’t have a half-court game plan, but they need to work on some things for sure. I would like to see a few more screens in half-court sets, but I’m not going to criticize for not seeing them. One reason is I don’t think Indiana should try to play at that pace. It’s not the offense they run. I see people saying, “Why did they play at the pace of Wisconsin? Why didn’t they set the tone offensively?” or questions similar to those, and the same people saying, “They need to learn how to play half-court offense!” These are conflicting ideals if you ask me. Do you want a team to control the tempo, or do you want them to play at the pace of the other team? By the end of the season, my hope is that they will be able to play at either pace in case they run into one of these kind of teams in the NCAA Tournament. I think they will. I would have like to see them play a team like VCU in non-conference, and I REALLY hope they make that Louisville game a reality next year. I want to see this team against a really good press. They struggled with VCU last year in the Tournament, but they were able to win. They didn’t have Yogi Ferrell though. I think Indiana could take either one of those teams this year. That VCU game was a really good one and I can’t believe people still doubt Coach Crean’s coaching ability after that game. But after a loss I guess it should be expected from a rabid fan base that hates losing more than any other in the nation. God, I’m bored.

  • BFowler

    Random reactions:
    1) Everyone got beat off the dribble, not just Jordan. Remember Berggren’s and-1 in the 1st?
    2) It looked to me like the defensive strategy was to double the post. That’s why the rotations were happening and open threes were flying (especially in the 1st again). I think this was to keep the post players out of foul trouble as the bench strength is not the bigs at this point.
    3) Hulls was being aggressive as he has been saying in the post game press conferences for a while. That seems to be what he is being told to do. We all want him to shoot as it seems when he goes well, so does the team.
    4) Giving up 64 points is not bad defense. There was a long 2nd half stretch where WI did not score a field goal. We locked them up for a good deal of the 2nd half (as noted in the column). No game planning needed, just want it more than they do.
    5) The sun came up.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Watford is third on the team in points and second on the team in rebounds (.3 rebounds behind Cody). Against Wisconsin, he had 11 and 5. I know we all would like more out of Watford but this loss can’t be pinned on him. He didn’t play a great game but he was our second leading scorer on the night and was much, much better than Hulls, Yogi, Sheehey or Remy (and you can debate whether he or Victor was better). Long story short, Watford wasn’t great on Tuesday but he wasn’t non-existent.

  • SCHoosier

    Freshman bigs putting ball on floor = TO’s. Frankly , I’m not sure IU is going to HAVE the kind of game where all four of these guys could be on the floor at the same time. That said..I like the idea..that was what the cupcake schedule was for..and of course the NCAA took care of that opportunity for HP and PJ

  • SCHoosier

    Freshman bigs putting ball on floor = TO’s. Frankly , I’m not sure IU is going to HAVE the kind of game where all four of these guys could be on the floor at the same time. That said..I like the idea..that was what the cupcake schedule was for..and of course the NCAA took care of that opportunity for HP and PJ

  • calbert40

    I hate to say it, but I thought that was a stroke of genius by Ryan. However, I think it is harder to execute that gameplan than we imagine. Many of us have played basketball…at least in HS. What is your immediate and initial reaction every time a shot goes up? Find a guy to block out and get that rebound. It is ingrained in every kid’s mind from the time they first start lacing them up. Then you tell 2 or 3 of your players to ignore that urge and run back on D.

    The plan was really good, but the execution of the plan was fantastic. A coach only looks as good as his players’ execution of his plan.

  • calbert40

    I hate to say it, but I thought that was a stroke of genius by Ryan. However, I think it is harder to execute that gameplan than we imagine. Many of us have played basketball…at least in HS. What is your immediate and initial reaction every time a shot goes up? Find a guy to block out and get that rebound. It is ingrained in every kid’s mind from the time they first start lacing them up. Then you tell 2 or 3 of your players to ignore that urge and run back on D.

    The plan was really good, but the execution of the plan was fantastic. A coach only looks as good as his players’ execution of his plan.

  • achurt

    Right. I don’t debate any of that… except the boring part. I find myself enjoying the way Wisconsin plays to an extent.
    I’d take an Izzo all day over a Ryan, simply because he can recruit. For all my complaining – I’m mostly happy with Crean… because he can recruit! Ultimately recruiting is more important than coaching (see Calipari). But, it sure is frustrating when your more talented players lose to better in game coaches.

  • achurt

    Right. I don’t debate any of that… except the boring part. I find myself enjoying the way Wisconsin plays to an extent.
    I’d take an Izzo all day over a Ryan, simply because he can recruit. For all my complaining – I’m mostly happy with Crean… because he can recruit! Ultimately recruiting is more important than coaching (see Calipari). But, it sure is frustrating when your more talented players lose to better in game coaches.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    gah! don’t remind me of charlie miller! man, those were some dark days. definitely my 2nd least favorite iu bb era, beaten only by the ks era

  • twarrior87

    Seriously tired of people throwing CTC, Watford, and Hulls under the bus all the time. If you’re expecting to have a team where every player/coach has their best game every single time they step on the court, then you are in LaLa land. That will never and has never happened.
    Look at Watford’s stats:
    12 pts, 6.6 rebs, leads the team at 87% from the FT line, 45% from 3pt land 3rd on team in blocks… basically hes in the top 3 on the team in every statistic. What do you want from the guy? Do you expect him to take over every game? If so, that’s pretty unrealistic, not even Cody does that.
    Watford and Hulls are two seniors that have been with this team through the bad times and were key contributors in getting them back to where they are today. CTC built this from a team of walk-ons to a preseason number 1 in about 4 years.
    As fans we should be giving them nothing but our undivided support. Yes, we can constructively criticize when they make mistakes, but usually it’s “off with their head” on these comment boards.

  • http://twitter.com/DrewLyon21 Drew Lyon

    My point is that Jordan was playing unintelligent, half-hearted basketball. That lies on Jordan, not Crean’s strategies. Because Hulls has been shooting 55% from 3’s this year, and not all of them are in transition, so obviously some have to come from efficient ball screens that are set up specifically for him each game. And no worries, Crean and I will be hanging out later tonight watching some of his “Best Of” tapes from his days at Marquette. It will be a grand time.

  • http://twitter.com/DrewLyon21 Drew Lyon

    My point is that Jordan was playing unintelligent, half-hearted basketball. That lies on Jordan, not Crean’s strategies. Because Hulls has been shooting 55% from 3’s this year, and not all of them are in transition, so obviously some have to come from efficient ball screens that are set up specifically for him each game. And no worries, Crean and I will be hanging out later tonight watching some of his “Best Of” tapes from his days at Marquette. It will be a grand time.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Bo Ryan has got to the Elite 8 one time five years ago and that was his best year ever! Best coach in the B10 for years? I guess if you never want to be relevant when it matters. They were a 2 seed in ’06-’07 and lost in the second round. They play a style of play that is predicated on an inability to attract top level talent. It gets the most out of the talent, but it also perpetuates itself. Because they will never get talent with that system. No top player would go there. Is that what Crean should be striving for?

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I’ve taken issue with this perceived issue so many times, but I’m going to keep it up. We actually outscore our opponents, including Wisconsin, Georgetown, and Minnesota when they are playing together. I’ve run the numbers (instead of just saying something over and over like you probably do without even seeing if the games bare the point out), and it’s a fact, we are better when they are in than when we go to the bench. I admit the Michigan matchup will be an interesting one and we might have to adjust our lineup. But saying we lost a game, so there must be something wrong with our starting lineup, even though we actually outscored our opponent when we had our starting backcourt in (they were +10 together), and lost when we went to a different backcourt pair (we were -15 in those situations), is about as deep analytically as our bench has been the last two games. You kill me Mike.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    By the way, Tom Izzo has been the best coach in the B10 for years. It’s a fact.

  • Jake

    I have watched IU for many years, and when it comes to pressure, they
    are not tough in big games. Their senior play today was an
    embarrassment. What they are lacking is leadership—as in coaching
    and on the floor. Their freshman point guard dribbles the ball way to
    much, and does not understand the value of leading the team. Jordan
    Hulls should have stayed home, as he did not contribute to the team.
    The big guy needs help inside, and cannot carry big games on his
    shoulder game after game. Sure IU has done well this season, but lets
    look at who defeated them. Teams that were smarter, and teams that had
    better coaching, and teams that are far more aggressive on the offense
    and defense. Bottom line, IU will not go very deep in the NCAA
    tournament.

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