The Minute After: Illinois

forthewin

Thoughts on a 74-72 loss at the hands of the Illini:

“We didn’t put them away when we had the opportunity. That’s really the bottom line.” — Tom Crean

The Illini hung tight, never letting the Hoosiers step on their throats, never letting this game reach blowout territory. So they would stay within striking distance all second half, the lead oscillating between 6-13 for the first 17-plus minutes. And then it happened. On a night when the Illini had been struggling from distance once again in conference play, D.J. Richardson connected on a triple to cut the lead to five at the 2:49 mark. An empty Indiana possession. Another Richardson 3-pointer. Lead down to two. A missed Will Sheehey 3-pointer, a Richardson jumper, a tie ballgame at 70-all.

But there was Victor Oladipo, so calm and cool, driving to the bucket and scoring to put the Hoosiers back on top. Oladipo fouled Paul on the ensuing Illini possession. He would badly overshoot his first free throw; it hit the backboard, the rim, and the backboard once more before finding its way into the net. Just the way he drew it up. His second would fall. We were tied once more.

Indiana’s last possession of the ballgame saw Oladipo trying to go behind his back. It resulted in a turnover and Richardson was about to put the Illini up again. But Oladipo, so calm and cool, would chase down Richardson and swat his shot into the stands. Just 0.9 remained. The Illini needed a miracle or we were headed to OT. They got it. The Hoosiers got crossed up on the inbounds. Watford, who had been marking Tyler Griffey, switched with Yogi Ferrell and went with Richardson on a screen near the right corner. Another screen came from Sam McLaurin, and Griffey cut to the basket behind Cody Zeller’s and Ferrell’s back and had a free run to the hoop. Griffey, who had missed a bunny just minutes earlier and had scored just 14 points over his last five games, scored his 14th tonight at the buzzer to pull off the upset.

No. 1 falls once more this season in college hoops on the strength of a 13-2 finishing run for the Illini, and Indiana’s second grasp on the top spot in the land is gone with it.

II. Tweeted this in the closing minutes of this one, but get this: Indiana, a team that runs and runs and runs, did not score a single fast break point tonight. But it (almost) didn’t matter the Hoosiers weren’t getting their normal easy looks in transition, because they were strong enough in the halfcourt tonight (1.15 points per possession). Time and again, Indiana would attract the Illinois defense and find the open man. It allowed them several strong looks from 3, and they hit over 50 percent of them (9-of-17). This included two from Jeremy Hollowell who hadn’t hit one from distance since Dec. 1 against Coppin State.

And when Indiana wasn’t hitting the open man beyond the arc, they were finding guys moving off the ball and to the rim. Chief among them was Will Sheehey, a benefactor of catching the sleeping Illini D for dunks and lay-ins. He finished the night with 13 points and a technical he probably picked up based on his taunting reputation. The Hoosiers were also stellar again from the line (13-of-14, 92.2%) and that’s starting to become a trend. IU also pumped in 1.15 points per possession. Not terrific, but (almost) good enough to win. It was also a balanced attack with Zeller (14 points), Watford (12 points), Jordan Hulls (11 points), Oladipo (nine points) and Ferrell (seven points) all chipping in to go along with Sheehey’s 13.

Yet, here’s what it came down besides just failing to close this one out: The Hoosiers allowed the Illini 1.12 points per possession, up from what they’d been averaging in conference (.98 points per possession). And Indiana, a team that’s continuing to turn the ball over too much, did it again tonight (16 turnovers, 23.1 turnover percentage). The Illini scored 28 points off these turnovers, which comes out to 37.8 percent of their points.

You can get away with it sometimes. But sooner or later, you waste too many of your possessions, the other team capitalizes and you end up on the wrong end of the W.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Was the flavor grape 2day?! Want to wager $1000 that we do not win banner #6 this year? I think enough intelligent ITHers have voiced the Exact truth I have, how many affirm your view? Just what I thought, now you can exit the blog until you get it.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I didn’t down click him. More of us must have made it than I realized.

  • CreanFaithful

    After that article, how is your post about our offense??? We tout one of the most efficient offenses in the country! So if the offense is unobservable, you may want to find a new hobby. Turnovers and defense got us in this one.

  • CreanFaithful

    The “vanilla high ball screen”… get over it. Why do people continue to try to belittle one of the most effective offensive sets in the modern game? It’s utilized by most elite teams to either allow their guy to make a play or catch the defense over committing. UM will likely be #1 again next week and I guarantee Beilein would have used the ball screen too! Asking if CTC can coach is ridiculous. And comments like that coming from the fan base that he resurrected is even more ridiculous.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Real bold. You will take the field then? Even us kool-aid drinkers aren’t twisted enough to think anybody has a better than 50% chance of winning it all this year. Normally, Vegas gives odds for those kind of bets. And even taking the odds you are admitting a long shot. Why would he bet you $1000 that IU gets a banner? He’d make a killing betting someone that would be obligated to pay up, like say… the Sportsbook at Caesar’s.

  • CreanFaithful

    I agree with all your points in this thread 23

  • IUMIKE1

    Couldn’t agree more. If we took, not every bad decision, but just the blatantly obvious bad decisions and counted them as a turnover, which is what they will be against a better defensive team, our turnover total would have been triple or quadruple what it was. Consequently that will also translate to even more points for the other team than the 28 Illannoy dropped on us.

  • CreanFaithful

    No no. Lets ignore the facts… Scrap the zone!

  • CreanFaithful

    Yep. Strategy alludes him… Makes you wonder how he has been so successful throughout his career. This is sarcasm! I feel it’s necessary to point that out after reading your post.

  • CreanFaithful

    Yep. Strategy alludes him… Makes you wonder how he has been so successful throughout his career. This is sarcasm! I feel it’s necessary to point that out after reading your post.

  • CreanFaithful

    Perhaps ITH could hire you as a freelancer so that you can share all this NBA insider news with the masses!

  • IUMIKE1

    If we are going to turn the ball over like we did it would be nice if a good portion of them came from trying to get the ball to Cody. There has been soooo many times, and not in just this game, that I have seen him have good position with his defender on his hip and virtually no one between him and the basket only to have the ball passed or dribbled away from him. If some of the turnovers were from trying to get him the ball at least we are learning numerous things. Among them, hey, it is possible to get him the ball more than we thought we could and that’s how it can be done, OK, make mental note, can’t get it too him in a situation like that and hey, he didn’t score when we got him the ball but getting it to him in a good position made something else good happen. I put the biggest part of the blame for this kind of thing on two people, Cody for being a vocal enough leader to go to his team mates and demand the ball, and CTC for not doing whatever it takes to get that across to the rest of the team, even if it means sitting somebody’s ass on the bench until they get it through their head.

  • Brandon

    It would be cheaper to listen to NBA prospect podcasts, but that would shatter Btown’s belief that Victor is the next great one.

  • IUMIKE1

    Agree with what you have commented, even to the point that I hit the up button…..but I would like to see Coach come out and verbally take at least some of the blame some of the time when we have a loss. If he is gonna be a big enough man not to, as he said, not throw anyone under the bus, then he has to be a big enough man once in a while to come out and just say, ” I take the blame for that, that one is on me”, or something of that nature. When we take a loss I’m sure there is plenty of blame to go around and and at times he is blamed for the most of it when little to virtually none of it is his, but there are times when he has to accept that a portion of it is his, granted sometimes a whole lot less than people think, but none the less, he has got to publicly accept it when it is. Not doing that may have worked with fan bases at his other coaching stops but he is comparing apples and oranges when he compares those against IU’s knowledgeable fan base and they will call him on it. Accepting a portion of the blame after certain losses would garner him a lot of good will from this educated and loyal fan base.

    Disclaimer: I am one of CTC’s biggest supporters and was ecstatic when he was named our new head coach. I had wanted him when the two coaches before him was hired but the aforementioned is a concern, if not my biggest concern, with him. I have done enough coaching to know all too well how easy it is to sit in the stands, on the couch or look at the game in hindsight to say I know more than him or that I could do a better job but at the same time I am not getting payed millions of dollars for being smart enough to not do some of the things he does.

  • IUMIKE1

    Took the comment right off of my keyboard. I wasn’t a point guard but I have been around bball enough and coached enough that I came up off my seat also and loudly proclaimed, ” and that ladies and gentlemen is how you make an entry pass into the post, THANK you”. JH should be commended for that pass in front of the rest of the team and that play should be mandatory viewing for every player….multiple times, and then they should go right to the practice floor and practice doing it.

  • IUMIKE1

    Careful what you ask for and he didn’t give you the facts to back it up the way you came at him.

  • IUMIKE1

    Thank you, interesting facts and solid research. Well done. Up button hit. Coach may want to take a hard look at this stat.

  • IUMIKE1

    Thank you, interesting facts and solid research. Well done. Up button hit. Coach may want to take a hard look at this stat.

  • IUMIKE1

    You mean there are more of us ?! Holy $hit, all these years I’ve thought I was the lone survivor

  • IUMIKE1

    Agreed and that practice jersey on the back should say, SEE JEREMY’S ENTRY PASS INTO POST.

  • IUMIKE1

    and it was a pretty big looking game before this loss.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.harvey.9237 Mark Harvey

    Where was Elston?

  • Kenneth234

    Are you telling me that doesn’t happen on most emphatic dunks by any other college player in the country? My point is it was nothing unusual for the college game, therefore, it was simply nothing that deserves a whistle. Now if there was a rule against having enthusiasm when you dunk a ball home, that would be different. This was just a subjective decision by a lousy referee.

  • Jamal shall inherit

    So was it cheating when Moye flopped while guarding players on the post? Or when Recker flew backwards to the floor while setting picks? I’m glad IU doesn’t have obvious floppers, but I also recognize that many of my past favorites have done exactly what we all claim to hate.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Yes, I am telling you exactly that. Please find another example of a kid doing that in the game. And it would be one thing if he just screamed into the air, but he very clearly yelled in the kids face.

    Regardless of whether you think it’s a good call, it’s a call Sheehey’s going to get every time. He now has a reputation as a taunter (Flexing at Purdue, AP story about how he plays with “edge”, celebrating every three he hits like Ray Lewis making a tackle, etc.) and he’s going to get that call every time.

    He’s a junior. He needs to be smarter than that. Celebrate when the game is over

  • Kenneth234

    See, as everyone is still hyperventilating over Thursday’s loss, Michigan loses on Saturday at Wisconsin, so we are only in a two way tie with Michigan St in the loss column. There is no reason to believe that Michigan St, Michigan, Ohio State, or even Minnesota and Wisconsin are more than likely to run the table. They are just as capable of getting tripped up against solid Big Ten competition as IU is.

  • greg logan

    The point is they are doing it with great talent one on one …what if they actually set some screens? Watch MIch St or Duke etc maybe you need to learn the right way to play this game. We will both be disappointed come tournament time.

  • CreanFaithful

    I grew up in Indiana, playing the motion offense starting in the 3rd grade. I am quite aware of the differences in style of play. I do not, however, accept that the motion offense is “the right way to play.”

    My point wasn’t to argue offensive styles. My point was that the offense isn’t the problem. Turnovers, defensive lapses and managing the clock ending games have been the glaring issues.

  • greg logan

    Agee with TO’s and defensive lapses. WE played much better at O.S. with a palpable offense scheme.

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