The Minute After: Northwestern

  • 01/20/2013 4:03 pm in

012012

Thoughts on a 67-59 win over the Wildcats:

First things first. Indiana is 3-0 on the road in the Big Ten. While it’s easy to pick apart the mistakes this team has made in second halves, particularly in Big Ten play, it’s important to recognize this team is 16-2 overall and 4-1 in the country’s toughest conference.

Early on, Indiana established control despite not playing its best offensively for the first 20 minutes. That’s because the Hoosiers held the Wildcats to 7-of-23 shooting from the field in the first half. Besides Reggie Hearn, Northwestern barely showed up in the first half on its way to 17 points.

Christian Watford was a big reason why Indiana was able to open up a lead of as many as nine points less than six minutes in the game. The senior from Birmingham was hot early on, scoring seven of IU’s first nine points. It seems Indiana has been looking to get Watford going early in games and today was no exception. He finished with 11 points and four boards in the first half.

Cody Zeller also picked back up the strong play he showed in the first half against Wisconsin as he pulled down eight first-half rebounds, three of the offensive variety. Victor Oladipo also had three offensive rebounds in the first half and the combined effort of Zeller and Oladipo led to the Hoosiers posting a 43.8 offensive rebounding percentage before intermission.

But with a 14-point at the half, the question looming in everybody’s mind was this: Would Indiana put Northwestern away or allow the Wildcats to claw their way back in?

It took a while to come to fruition as the Hoosiers led 45-29 with 11:09, but thanks to a 1-3-1 zone defense that Indiana couldn’t solve, Northwestern made a run. The lead dwindled all the way down to five at 47-42 at the 6:48 mark on a layup by Hearn and it became clear that Indiana would either answer the call or let this game go all the way down to the wire.

Fortunately for IU, Zeller was there to make a play, just as he did for most of the afternoon.

His layup with 6:20 to go stretched the lead back to seven and he followed that with an tip-in of a missed runner by Jordan Hulls to make the cushion nine points. Northwestern never got closer than five the rest of the way and Zeller finished with team-highs of 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Other thoughts:

· This was yet another game where Indiana got little from its bench. Besides six points from Will Sheehey, who Tom Crean predicted on the pregame show would have a big afternoon, the IU bench went scoreless. This will likely be a storyline until the bench has a breakout game, which has yet to happen in Big Ten play.

· Overall, it was a solid afternoon for Hulls. Despite struggling from the foul line (4-of-7), IU’s savvy senior finished with 15 points and knocked in a key jumper with 1:31 to go to push the lead back to seven.

· Watford, who was very good early, seemed to disappear for most of the second half. He finished with just three points and two rebounds after intermission as Northwestern slowly crawled back into the game.

· This was mentioned postgame on Twitter, but it bears repeating here: There has to be some concern with Indiana allowing Northwestern to hang around and eventually bring a 16-point second half lead all the way down to five. This was a game Indiana had a chance to push out to a bigger lead, but the Hoosiers just couldn’t finish the job and win the game running away. Eventually, letting teams hang around could end up costing IU an important game with Big Ten title and NCAA ramifications, so it bears watching how they finish games coming up over the next few weeks.

Filed to:

  • marcusgresham

    You don’t dribble to beat a zone, you pass. Especially a 1-3-1 trap. The nature of the defense is that two guys are trying to pressure you, so someone else has to be open. The offense didn’t necesarily handle it effectively and it’s probably not good to pick your dribble up that far away, but you don’t try to dribble through it either.
    You also have to use it against the defense. While a 2-3 is a passive zone where you can “rest” or “hide” the 1-3-1 is just the opposite–especially if you’re playing the top of the zone running from one side of the floor to the other side when the ball is passed. If you can move the ball effectively you can wear the defense out.

  • Bobby

    How or when did he get “out coached”? Another example of mindless bluster by the “Crean can’t coach” camp. When will the madness end?

  • marcusgresham

    I can remember us a few times throwing lobs that didn’t result in dunks. Not saying the shots didn’t go in, but I can distinctly remember wondering how we could throw an alley-oop to Vic or Will and it not be a good enough pass for them to dunk it.

  • PDXHoosier

    No way. They played their best during the tournament last year.

  • Brklynhoosier

    I was gonna post the same thing — winning ugly vs losing ugly (or in many cases losing w/ great spirit). It still felt super-crappy. Like many, I would like to be destroying our opponents — but not enough time has passed that I can’t enjoy the fact we’re actually winning…

  • Agree with most of your points. The wild substitutions were to be expected given our “perceived” insane depth to start the year, and our real lack of it due to injuries, suspensions, etc. Speaking of injuries, what’s up with Elston? He would have been about the perfect sub in the Wisconson game and he was nowhere to be seen. I’m beginning his injury was a lot more serious than we were led to believe.

    “Our bench is killing us right now. And the play of Will, Remy, Hollowell
    and Hanner is not a coaching problem. They just are not getting it
    done. If they could give us what they are capable of these recent games
    aren’t even close. And if they don’t pick it up we will have a very hard
    time reaching a Final Four.”
    If they don’t pick it up we’ll have a hard time reaching the sweet sixteen!

  • MillaRed

    Yes Sloan, we are happy to equal the number of last year’s conference road wins 5 games into the schedule. We had a total of 6 in the last 3 seasons I think. It’s kinda weird in here today. If you didn’t watch the game you would think we lost.

  • Dick_Pepperfield

    After the Whisky game someone on here basically compared Crean to Dean Smith. I think this is an excellent comparison. In my mind Smith is the most overrated coach of all time. 3 or 4 NBA all star teams of talent yet only 2 titles in 36 years, both of which were handed to him in the final minutes by stupid players making stupid plays and calling timeouts when they didn’t have them. We have tons of talent but no answer against better coaching. At some point, no matter how much talent you have, a talented team will lose to better coached team in the tourney. Until Crean proves he can adjust and run an actual half court offense I am afraid we are doomed to have great teams on paper and great seasons only to lose in the tournament to higher IQ teams and coaches. It is like driving a stake through my heart to admit this but after the Whisky game, I have not been very optimistic about our future chances with CTC. Sorry for stating the truth. Its not a truth I care to admit.

  • PDXHoosier

    I think it’s a little early to put the nail in the coffin for CTC. Last year we would have gone to the final four if we weren’t matched up with UK in a revenge game. He got the boys ready to play, and they overachieved. The program is still going up.

  • PDXHoosier

    I think it’s a little early to put the nail in the coffin for CTC. Last year we would have gone to the final four if we weren’t matched up with UK in a revenge game. He got the boys ready to play, and they overachieved. The program is still going up.

  • RainCityHoosier

    Do you really think we are better than we were last year? I don’t know about that. I feel like we don’t have the confidence that we did last year; at least not right now. I also feel like Sheehey has disappeared; again, at least in the last 5 games.

  • Hoosier76

    Thanks for finally bringing that up!

  • Dick_Pepperfield

    I am not putting a nail in his coffin. Matter of fact I loath the current sports radio media driven culture of “fire the coach now”. I appreciate and love what CTC has done for us but now its time to take it to the next level. Bottom line we don’t run any semblance of a half court offense when we are forced to and that obviously falls back on coaching. Unlike most on this on this site I don’t claim to know anything about tactical basketball because I coached some YMCA youth team. I do however notice a bunch of players running around with no direction which describes our current half court offense and I just don’t get it. Please help me understand

  • I still say Purdue x 2. Boiler down Baby!

  • CreamandCrimson

    It’s been that way pretty much every game this season. “Crean can’t coach”. “Not impressed”. “We’ll be lucky to finish in the top four in the B1G”. “Why are they struggling so much?”. “So frustrating to watch” (and these are just in today’s comments).

    If we win people will say….”a win is a win but…” and then go into why we didn’t dominate for 40 minutes. To each his own I guess.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I think Cody never being in foul trouble is a really good thing. We can’t afford to have him on the bench. He knows it, Tom Crean knows it. Cody can’t get in foul trouble and I’m glad he’s smart enough to play without fouling.

  • CreamandCrimson

    So Tom Crean is going to win us 2 national titles? I’ll take it.

  • CreamandCrimson

    If you don’t think they play defense in the NBA….you either don’t watch the NBA (and that’s fine, it can be a bad product at times) or you don’t know basketball. If they didn’t play defense in the NBA, teams would average 150 points a game.

  • CreamandCrimson

    IU averaged 1.18 points per possession against Northwestern’s man-to-man defense and 1.15 points per possession against their 1-3-1. This takes out 7 free throws at the end of the game. Bottom line, the 1-3-1 zone wasn’t statistically much more effective against IU.

  • CreamandCrimson

    IU averaged 1.18 points per possession against Northwestern’s man-to-man defense and 1.15 points per possession against their 1-3-1. This takes out 7 free throws at the end of the game. Bottom line, the 1-3-1 zone wasn’t statistically much more effective against IU.

  • CreamandCrimson

    IU averaged 1.18 points per possession against NW’s man-to-man defense and 1.15 points per possession against their 1-3-1. The zone wasn’t statistically that much more effective against IU.

  • What I got out of it was the estimates that of the 8100 in attendance approximately 5000 were IU fans making an away game into home game. The fans deservemuch of the credit for this one.

  • chiv86

    We haven’t played one decent to justify our 16-2 record.

    UNC – doesn’t count, too young and too early in the season to be a mature team especially when they played at AH

    Georgetown – a decent neutral court win but still took OT to beat them and they are 0-2 in the big east right now

    @ Iowa – decent win but we are supposed to win those games if we expect to compete for the big ten title

    Minn – Championship caliber showing in the 1st half and then went back to old self and almost gave the game away.

    We seem to play zone with teams who have good 3 point shooters which makes games we should be wining comfortably come down to 1-2 possessions. The offense was great against cupcakes but when tested against conference teams, it’s almost like they have no idea what they are doing. The last 5 halfs we’ve played the offense was non existent at times. No ball movement, no player movement, turnovers, too much dribbling when facing the zone, etc. We get outplayed in both of our loses. Wisc hit some crazy shots and we couldn’t; see how Wisc went cold against Iowa and their defense suffered allowing Iowa to score 70 even though they went 2 for 10 from the 3.

    If we played a tougher non-conference, we could have worked these issues out earlier in the season and not jeopardize our chances at a big ten title. It’s probably good that we play the bottom half of the big ten early to get through those learning pains because we can’t play like this and expect to win against the top half of the conference.

  • Tom S

    I call foul, Jamal. It’s not only completely unfair to try to confuse the “Crean can’t coach” crowd with facts, it’s a complete waste of time.

  • iuoiu

    Here is what I like – we are good on defense. In B10 play, we are giving up 63 pts per game and I like our odds when that happens. We’ve only given up 70+ 3 times this year (and 2 were OT games). If we were winning all our B10 games 88-82 or something like that it would certainly look better than what has actually happened, but I’d be a hell of a lot more worried if that was really the case.

    I think a lot of folks are getting a false sense of doom and gloom because we are not hitting that super-pretty 85pts per game 1st in the nation stat that gets repeated dozens of times each telecast. When we don’t hit it people think we are on self-destruct, when actuality it just means we are playing different styles against much better teams than the NC schedule. B10 teams are going to slow it way down, but a good defense on our part will greatly help our chances.

    Does anyone NOT like our chances if we hold teams to 63 pts in the NCAAs? Especially once we get our bench up to speed? I for one love the fact that we don’t have to worry about our D and just get to focus on other, much easier things to improve upon.

  • repairmanjack

    Any reaction to the fact that Vic has now fouled a 3 point shooter four times in the last two games? Also, I wonder what is going on that this was the first game where Vic just seemed to disappear. The only two things I remember him doing in this game was the 3 point foul and the 3 point shot. Other than that, just seemed that he was not there.

  • repairmanjack

    Two other points. Watched the Butler game, and Barrlow flat out beat one of the Zags gaurds with a great move and shot. Makes the shot he hit against Hulls tight defense a whole lot more empressive. Point number two — WHY does the media keep saying that IU had home court advantage in that game? Yes, there may have been more red shirts in the stands than anyother color, but ALL the other colors were rooting for Butler. That was very clear in the cheering when Butler would score or stop IU.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I guess that depends where you rank Northwestern. We had 10 assists to score 67 points, which is pretty low. We had 16 assists to score 69 points, just three games ago against Iowa. We had 21 assists to score 83 points against North Carolina. Ken Pomeroy ranks Northwestern 89th. Whereas, Iowa comes in at 28th and North Carolina comes in at 52nd, and both have been better defensively this year than Northwestern. So I’m not sure I’m buying a competition argument. We also struggled against Wisconsin, Butler and Georgetown to share the ball effectively, but those were better ranked defensive teams. To me, Northwestern is an anomaly, which makes me think we just didn’t share the ball well. I don’t think it was the reality of playing a stronger opponent than we have been playing.

  • Earl Scheib

    Can you imagine what kind of comments we’d be reading if this blog was around during the Bob Knight era?

  • IUFAN87

    Man you hit this on the head……CTC recruiting is unbelievable but when it comes to X’s and O’s you pointed out the major events that have made IU look bad. Just think in the next three weeks we are about to face 3 of the best coaches in College basketball. If we leave Yogi/Jordy combo in long like Wisconsin game we are going to get destroyed WS has to get a chance to stay in games longer than 60 seconds at a time from here on out.

  • MillaRed

    Well, we were not 16-2 and we already matched our B1G road wins. So yes I would say that is a better team. We have shown glimpses of how good we are, just not for 40 minutes.

  • ncHOOSIER82

    My thoughts: I like the KoolAid. Whether it is our year or not, give me more.

    1. Crean is a good coach. Way better than the two at his southern border who have won championships and way way better than Ohio State (please never fire that guy!). CTC is a great recruiter who runs a program that seems to have great family student athlete values. I love that. He is not a god. Go figure. He is working hard. That’s a recipe for success.
    2. The players are not perfect. We have switched out verdell for yogi. That’s it. We are small and wll continue to give up easy 3’s and 2’s. And make mistakes. But we are ranked in the top 5, and in the mix this year, I like the programs trajectory. Being in the mix every year is how to get the banners, imo.
    3. We are winning B1G road games, for the first CTC year ever. We had a double digit lead under 4 minutes, hit big shots down the stretch and closed out the game with free throws. I’ll take that every game. As CZ said “a win’s a win.” He knows more about winning basketball than I do. We are better than last year.
    4. The coaching staff knows the players, their strengths and weaknesses and is adjusting. Better than we do. E.g., Moving Zeller from high to low on offense vs. 1-3-1. We had decent shots and free throws vs. that zone that we did not hit.

  • IUMIKE1

    Agree on the Crean’s behavior at the presser. Won’t repeat the comment I left in the Crean post game presser thread but it is a more extended version (I know big shock there right) of what you bring up.

  • IUMIKE1

    Exactly, every zone defense has a soft spot and it is up to the players to exploit that spot and dribbling like we did is NOT the way you beat any zone effectively.

  • IUMIKE1

    Not to mention the 35 for 36 free throw shooting, or whatever unbelievable % and number it was.

  • IUMIKE1

    Yea, when they came back from commercial and Hearns was standing at the line, shooting 3 free throws no less, I said WHAT, ok back it up cause I must have missed a possession or two cause this isn’t the result of the last play I seen.

  • IUMIKE1

    Yea, when they came back from commercial and Hearns was standing at the line, shooting 3 free throws no less, I said WHAT, ok back it up cause I must have missed a possession or two cause this isn’t the result of the last play I seen.

  • calbert40

    You’re right. I *thought* they looked pretty bad against the 1-3-1, but evidently looks can be deceiving. Actually, after some growing pains against it, they figured it out towards the end. On a related note, I thought Carmody’s decision to employ that starting with about 12 to go was a smart move. I expected to see it earlier, but starting it later meant we had less time to make adjustments. But once we did, we handled it effectively.

    Thanks for the stats!

  • calbert40

    Maybe because neither of the announcers were ever coaches? Check out the stats that @1aacf2b3cc89f69261192fcf433b6b7b:disqus posted from Pomeroy. That should end the discussion.

  • calbert40

    Actually, Jordy was doing exactly what every PG is taught (at least what I was taught) to do against a 1-3-1 zone: you dribble up to right before the halfcourt line to see if they are going to try to trap you. If they look like they are going to, you swing it to the other high guard and run the offense that direction. As soon as he dribbled across the timeline, he would have been trapped.

    Against a 1-3-1, the more you dribble, the more you play into the D’s hands. Over the top pass out top and try to work it in the middle. Running the PG spot against a 1-3-1 is more difficult than against a 2-3, because they are purposefully trying to get you to get rid of the ball with pressure. A 2-3 just wants to keep you from getting the ball inside. A 1-3-1 wants to create a turnover.

  • calbert40

    Actually, Jordy was doing exactly what every PG is taught (at least what I was taught) to do against a 1-3-1 zone: you dribble up to right before the halfcourt line to see if they are going to try to trap you. If they look like they are going to, you swing it to the other high guard and run the offense that direction. As soon as he dribbled across the timeline, he would have been trapped.

    Against a 1-3-1, the more you dribble, the more you play into the D’s hands. Over the top pass out top and try to work it in the middle. Running the PG spot against a 1-3-1 is more difficult than against a 2-3, because they are purposefully trying to get you to get rid of the ball with pressure. A 2-3 just wants to keep you from getting the ball inside. A 1-3-1 wants to create a turnover.

  • b_side

    Love that you keep re-posting this. Hopefully it will sink in at some point with the backseat drivers here.

  • calbert40

    I’m not surprised to see all the blame CTC crowd in full throat today. I mean, we have a lot to be upset about: we just beat a team on the road who beat the #23 team in the country (in their building) by 14, we are 4-1 and 3-0 on the road in the toughest conference in the country, won something like 42 of our last 53 games, etc. We obviously are being held back by coaching.

    Seriously though, for those complaining about how we handled the 1-3-1, actually we didn’t do so badly. We REALLY struggled with it at first, but we handled it pretty well after the initial struggles. Doesn’t CTC and staff get credit for making those corrections and adjustments?

    It is just getting old hearing all the negative comments whenever we don’t demolish teams by 20. We didn’t play great, but we got a road win. We will have to play better in the future to beat better teams, but we got it done today. I’d rather win ugly than lose pretty.

  • DeeLyle

    You sound like someone who has never coached a meaningful game. Climb down off the ledge and relax. You don’t get to be a B1G coach unless you know a thing or two about how to coach a basketball team.

  • Brklynhoosier

    I think it’s a difference between the ppl who were really following the team the last 3 yrs vs those who just kind of remembered there was this iubb thing last March. Those of us who see how far we’ve come are happy w/ the progress — those who only know “went to sweet 16 last yr w/ all starters back, touted freshman class” have been watching this year with the (unrealistic) expectation we would totally dominate.

    Let’s see… we’re 16-2, 4-1 in the B1G, playing way better on the road than we did last year, winning WAY more games than we did in CTC’s first two years, have been ranked in the top 10 all year, have managed to develop a couple marginal 3-star players into serious pro prospects, have a legit player-of-the-year candidate and… because we’re not blowing NWern out by 40, Crean can’t coach…

    That being said, I do think we still have our best bball ahead of us — as long as the guys don’t let themselves get down over all this ridiculous negativity… When we put together 40 complete minutes, watch out…

  • “being better than last year” is debatable if you’re looking at some players recent struggles and their stats. But the 16-2 record is fact, not opinion. Do the Hoosiers struggle? sure. are they absolutely dominating? no. is there reason for concern? 100’s of fans on ITH have a definite opinion, most seem to be worried.
    This team put it together last year to make into the dance and compete with UK. I have faith that will happen again, hopefully with a deep run in the tournament.

  • PDXHoosier

    I also don’t understand why our half court offense looks so lost sometimes. I also don’t pretend to know how to fix it (the popular answer would be off the ball screens). But I hope CTC will figure it out, and I think he will. He’s definitely shown signs that he is able to change his game plan, albeit slowly. For example, he now takes Jordy out on defense late in the game. Hopefully he can add a few wrinkles to the offense to make it click. Or we will get Pritchard back for some screens!

  • IUJeff

    That is beside the point I am trying to make CandC. The point is we don’t run an intelligent O and therefore IU will be outcoached on that end of the court almost every time we’re on the court from here on out.
    The B1G has some elite level coaches. I love CTC but he needs to grow as the program grows. We have not done anything yet and will not without some good set plays in our arsenal IMO.

  • calbert40

    So far as some of these other teams, Georgetown just beat ND in
    South Bend last night by 16, and they are 13-4 and 3-3 in the Big East,
    and one of those losses was @ Marquette by 1. They are a good team, and
    while we should win that game, it is a quality win.

    Iowa just beat the last undefeated team in the B1G, and while the score was close, they controlled that game. Their losses in conference are to IU, MSU and UM, and they played IU and MSU really tough. By the end of the season, that is a quality win too. I also believe that the UNC and Minny wins will be looked on favorably by the Selection Committee come March.

    I hear what you are saying, though, but we can only play the schedule in front of us. This schedule was made years ago, and contracts were written requiring us to play these games, back when we were a 12 win team. We are about 1-2 years ahead of schedule in our rebuild, so it looks like we are playing a really weak schedule, but if we were a fringe NCAA team (like many of us thought we’d be in Year 5 when this schedule was made), this schedule would have helped build confidence in the team’s ability to win.