Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Michigan State

  • 01/28/2013 11:00 am in

IUMSUITH0005The Hoosiers won for the third time in eight days on Sunday afternoon with a 75-70 win over No. 13 Michigan State. The victory propelled IU into a first-place tie atop the Big Ten standings with Michigan.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from Sunday’s win over the Spartans:

· Victor Oladipo shines on national stage: Perhaps Sunday’s performance will finally get Indiana’s star junior the recognition he deserves in the discussion for national player of the year. Oladipo finished with a game-high 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting and also pulled down seven rebounds, but it was his perimeter defense that caused a major disruption for Michigan State. Oladipo tied a career-high with six steals which helped Indiana get out for some easy baskets in transition. “The explosiveness they showed the first five minutes was phenomenal,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “You have to love the way Oladipo competes.” From an under recruited freshman to a player of the year candidate, Oladipo’s ascent is one of the better stories in all of college basketball this season.

· Cody Zeller came through when Indiana needed him most: For most of the afternoon, Michigan State’s size and athleticism around the basket kept Cody Zeller from finding easy looks. But as we’ve seen with Zeller throughout his career at IU to-date, he doesn’t necessarily need to score from the field to make a positive impact. When his looks weren’t going down early, he still made his way to the free throw line and hit 5-of-6 attempts. He also tied a team-high with seven rebounds. After hitting just one of his first six field goal attempts, Zeller caught a pass near the top of the key, drove left and hit a layup over Derrick Nix with 1:38 remaining to push Indiana’s lead to four at 74-70. He capped off the afternoon by taking a charge on Adreian Payne with 14 seconds to go that sealed the win. “It was winning time and Cody answered the bell,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “To get that charge and then get that drive and make that play in the heat of the game, that’s where his mental toughness is.”

· Indiana dictated the pace: It was no secret that Michigan State wanted to avoid a track meet with Indiana, one of the nation’s most effective transition teams. Not only did the Hoosiers dictate the pace (71 possessions), they wore down Michigan State. Several Spartans, including Payne, looked fatigued throughout the game and it showed in the closing minutes when Michigan State needed to make a play. After a Gary Harris dunk with 3:32 to play, Michigan State didn’t score the rest of the way. “Down the stretch, we were really sucking air and that caused us not to jam or step up or switch,” Izzo said. “Indiana’s a good basketball team though. I still think top-to-bottom they’re the best team because of depth.”

· Better bench play: It wasn’t the production we saw in some of IU’s blowout wins in the non-conference, but the bench is slowly starting to regain some of its effectiveness after a slow start in Big Ten play. The standout on Sunday was Will Sheehey, who scored 12 points in a win over Penn State and followed it up with eight more on 3-of-4 shooting. Remy Abell only played six minutes, but was effective offensively in his brief stint with four points on 2-of-2 shooting. Abell’s second basket, a layup at the 10:19 mark, pushed the IU lead back to five after a Gary Harris 3-pointer. The Hoosiers probably need another guy to step forward from the bench, but better play from Sheehey and Abell helped take some pressure off of the starters.

· Michigan State is a legitimate Big Ten title contender: No, the Spartans didn’t walk out of Assembly Hall with a win. But with a 6-2 conference record and the resolve Michigan State exhibited, this is one of the top three teams in the league. Their frontcourt of Nix and Payne is one of the tougher covers in the country and the backcourt probably didn’t show its complete potential as Keith Appling was saddled with foul trouble. Still, Michigan State took Indiana almost down to the wire and had a chance to win the game, which is all you can ask for on the road. “It was a high-level game, and they are a great team and that’s why it’s a great win for us,” Crean said.

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  • Geoff_85

    Yes yes yes. You nailed it. Only you nailed in it in about 27 less sentences that I could. Mo will hit some big shots soon. I’m with you on hoping for Elston. He could be a big addition since the team is missing production we assumed Perea and Jurkin would bring. I’m betting Elston gets minutes at PUke.

  • Geoff_85

    Next year IU will have the same thing with Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams, and Luke Fischer (probably Stan Robinson as well). They won’t be ranked #1 in January more than likely, but they will be a pretty good team. But Indiana doesn’t have to have a ton of freshmen production this year, and I feel a lot more comfortable not having to rely on freshmen come Tournament time. By the way, what happened to UM the last time they had to rely on freshmen in the Tournament? Crap, no timeouts? Oops!

  • Geoff_85

    Next year IU will have the same thing with Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams, and Luke Fischer (probably Stan Robinson as well). They won’t be ranked #1 in January more than likely, but they will be a pretty good team. But Indiana doesn’t have to have a ton of freshmen production this year, and I feel a lot more comfortable not having to rely on freshmen come Tournament time. By the way, what happened to UM the last time they had to rely on freshmen in the Tournament? Crap, no timeouts? Oops!

  • Geoff_85

    I hope Indiana has a team that can make a run like that in 2015. It’s hard for me to think at this point that they will have that kind of team in 2014, but I definitely hope I’m wrong, and let’s be honest, I have no freakin clue how good they’ll be, but it’s hard to imagine having to rely on freshmen as much as they will next year.

  • I think Jordy is right where he needs to be, Yog running the half court play and setting up opporunities for others to score and himself as well. With Yogi being able to drive left or right opens up Hulls for a better chance to be the great catch and shoot player he is. Not to mention, he can put the ball on the floor and make plays himself as well. One person I can not wait to see grow, is Jeremy, I think he could be a Will down the road.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I agree with you. I thought Mosquera-Perea provided solid defense (drew an offensive foul against Nix and was going to block a shot before Victor blocked it first), he should never touch the ball on offense though. Hollowell didn’t turn it over at all so that’s progress. Creek had an open look that I thought was going down, that’s the kind of shot we want him taking (and hopefully making). Elston has chronic knee problems that aren’t going anywhere, I hope he can contribute but it looks doubtful.

    I hope this doesn’t come off as condescending or anything….it’s just bothering me. It’s Watford, Zeller and Oladipo (on the positive side, the hardest name on the team to spell, Mosquera-Perea, is correct).

  • CreamandCrimson

    I am looking forward to seeing Jeremy develop as well. That being said, if we are projecting him and comparing him to a current IU player, I think Watford is a more apt comparison than Will. The demeanor’s are similar, the builds are similar and hopefully, the outside shooting ends up being similar. Will is a very intense and very athletic player, I don’t see the same level of athleticism or intensity in Hollowell (not meant as a knock on him, I just think he is closer to Watford than he is to Sheehey).

  • IUMIKE1

    Fair, and IMHO, correct comparison. Have thought from the beginning that JH mirrored CW more than anyone else on the team.

  • IUMIKE1

    Agree, last year at Cracky Arena was where Remy took his big step in showing that he could contribute meaningful minutes off the bench. Here’s to hoping that someone else takes that kind of step this time that we play there.

  • IUMIKE1

    Agree, last year at Cracky Arena was where Remy took his big step in showing that he could contribute meaningful minutes off the bench. Here’s to hoping that someone else takes that kind of step this time that we play there.

  • SCHoosier

    Maybe..but then you could also contend that if Zeller had his usual game..or if we had not thrown 3 inbounds passes and two rebound transition passes to the guys in the other shirts..the game wouldn’t have been close.

  • IUMIKE1

    Last two sentences, YES, thank you. How do you not put a T in Watford, leave the S off of Zeller and put the A in Oladipo especially if you can spell the rest of Hanner’s name correctly. Guess maybe I’m just OCD about that kind of thing after it’s been pointed out to him several times by numerous people.

  • IUMIKE1

    Last two sentences, YES, thank you. How do you not put a T in Watford, leave the S off of Zeller and put the A in Oladipo especially if you can spell the rest of Hanner’s name correctly. Guess maybe I’m just OCD about that kind of thing after it’s been pointed out to him several times by numerous people.

  • IUMIKE1

    If I complained about the length of your post it would be kind of like the kettle calling the pot black. Type on sir, I’m reading.

  • IUMIKE1

    This is one of those that makes a person wish they could hit the like button more than once. Would probably throw the ancient Jim Burr in with those two as well. Noticed that Izzo was in the ear of the same official almost every time they showed him whining to them.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Ah very true, I remember that jumper from the side very well. Here is to hoping somebody steps up and that we have another huge win the day before the Superbowl, like the at Purdue tilt last year.

  • stillstoned2011

    Officials are responsible for BOTH of the team’s losses this season. Butler and Wisconsin got away with grabbing, hacking, pushing and slapping all game long. When officials make opponents play basketball instead of flag football this team will beat any team in the country.

  • I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but Creek’s shot looks off even in warm ups, do you think he’s still dealing with an injury? Something doesn’t look right with his shot, even though it’s warmups.

  • I hope he can be as much of a factor as CWat has been to rebuiding this program. I can see exactly where you are coming from, after watching this young play through high school it truely will be a great thing to see as him and some of the younger guy (yogi, peter, HP, troy when he gets here, remy develope more of a big time role in the next two years) i can not wait for IUBB to stay atop the country as an elite program yet again.