Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss at Illinois

IU@ILLITH0002CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — After leading by 14 points on two separate occasions, Indiana couldn’t hold on Thursday night at Assembly Hall and the No. 1 Hoosiers dropped their second conference game 74-72 to Illinois. The loss moved IU into a three-way tie with Michigan and Michigan State for the Big Ten lead.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from IU’s loss to the Fighting Illini:

· About that final play: Tyler Griffey’s game-winning, wide-open layup will get all of the headlines, but Indiana’s inability to put Illinois away when it had the chance is the real story of this loss. One particular sequence that stood out: The Hoosiers led 55-41 with 12:55 remaining following a Will Sheehey dunk. Hanner Mosquera-Perea was subbed in for Cody Zeller at the 12:45 mark and gave up a layup and then a 3-point play. The Hoosiers would extend the lead back to double digits on a couple more occasions, but when there’s blood in the water on the road, allowing an opponent to quickly regain momentum can prove costly. “We didn’t put them away when we had the opportunity,” Tom Crean said postgame. “That’s really the bottom line.”

· Sheehey’s technical was unnecessary and costly: It may have seemed harmless at the time because Indiana was beginning to open things up on Illinois late in the first half, but the technical foul on Sheehey ended up being a crucial mistake. Debating whether the technical was deserved is futile, but it’s fair to wonder if Sheehey’s antics on the bench and also in the win at Purdue have given him a reputation with officials. Playing with an edge is one thing, but when it leads to picking up an unnecessary technical foul, it may be time to dial it back and just play.

· Cody Zeller didn’t get enough field goal attempts: Illinois had no one on its roster capable of guarding Cody Zeller and IU failed to take advantage of the foul trouble that plagued Nnanna Egwu all night. Zeller finished the night with just six field goal attempts. Christian Watford, Victor Oladipo, Yogi Ferrell and Sheehey all had more looks. Does Indiana need to do a better job of finding Zeller? Does Zeller need to do a better job of establishing position and calling for the ball? Probably a little bit of both, but when there’s a clear mismatch, Indiana needs to exploit it. Zeller still finished with a team-high 14 points because he got to the foul line six times (all in the first half), but getting the ball inside as the lead was evaporating may have changed the outcome.

· Indiana shot better, rebounded better, had a better free throw rate and still lost: The Hoosiers came out on top of this game in effective field goal percentage, offensive rebounding percentage and free throw rate and still managed to come up short. The reason? Turnovers. The Hoosiers coughed up the ball 14 times in all, including eight in the second half. Six of the turnovers came from Watford, his highest total since his freshman season. In Big Ten play, Indiana is turning the ball over on 20.4 percent of its possessions, which is the second worst mark in the league. As effective and potent as Indiana is on offense, it simply can’t afford to give opponents extra possessions and expect to get away with it.

· This loss changes the Big Ten race: Indiana was up just one game in the loss column, but the Hoosiers are now tied with Michigan and Michigan State. Those are two teams Indiana still has to play on the road and one glance at the remaining road slate shows that things won’t get any easier from here. Trips to Ohio State, Michigan State, Minnesota and Michigan are on the horizon, which is the downside to IU’s backloaded road schedule. Michigan’s remaining road games: Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State and Purdue. Michigan State’s remaining road games: Purdue, Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan. It’s likely that 14-4 will at least earn a share of the conference crown, but for IU to get there, the Hoosiers would need to hold serve and split the remaining road games.

  • MillaRed

    There is a point in every game when you start protecting the lead. We do not have a feel for when that is. And it’s costing us.

  • MillaRed

    Hanner will lead the B1G in blocked shots as a junior. You heard it hear first. Needs more strength and seasoning. He will be a beast.

  • MillaRed

    Hanner will lead the B1G in blocked shots as a junior. You heard it hear first. Needs more strength and seasoning. He will be a beast.

  • MillaRed

    Vast majority of Jordy’s 3′s come in transition or off an offensive board, busted play etc. It’s really incredible we to not stagger for him or anything. Probably the best shooter in the country and no set plays for him. Call me perplexed.

  • CreanFaithful

    First off, the point I was making was that not using a timeout can be effective when your offensive unit already knows what it wants to run. We had success with the high ball screen with Oladipo out top several times nearing the close of the game. We stuck with the hot hand and didn’t allow Illinois to draw up a defensive scheme to counter it. Obviously it didn’t work, but I think 9 times out of 10, we would get the last shot of the game there.

    Second, I need only watch “the play” again, rather than the entire game. Certainly you don’t speak for “most coaches” and obviously not the coach leading what was the #1 team in the country last week. I think it is pretty standard that you wait until deep in the shot clock to get into the play when the goal is to take the last shot of the game.

    Last, I read another post of yours that made a good point… Jordy slides to the top of the wing, which essentially brought an extra defender (Riachardson) into the play, allowing him to make the steal. If Jordy goes to the baseline, that steal doesn’t happen. That’s a feel play and unfortunately his instincts were wrong. Good point none the less. Oladipo had created some space between himself and his defender, it was the help that got him.

  • MillaRed

    I will rephrase that, “Every other coach in the Big Ten would have called a timeout.” There, facts are much easier to deal with.

  • CreanFaithful

    LOL! We are getting a bit off track here. Apparently you aren’t aware of how facts work. Have you taken a poll? You are working on assumptions sir…

    My point stands. If you want to counter my logic, fine. But saying “every coach in the B1G” would call the TO is just your guess (as educated as it may be). Perhaps you are right and to be clear, I was thinking timeout as well.

    At the expense of being a broken record here, there are situations in which not calling a timeout can work to the offense’s advantage. I do not think the lack of timeout in this particular situation was the cause of our demise. We kept the defense from drawing up a play to stop the Vic iso play that had proven effective several times in the second half.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Sounds good. I’m only curious which play doesn’t “result in a turnover?” I’m pretty sure no play calls for a behind the back dribble. But a player might still improvise. That was obviously the strategy, to get the last shot, timeout or not. Vic knew what he was supposed to do.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    In case you missed it– http://www.insidethehall.com/?attachment_id=27814

    Pretty good look at the lane there for VO. What could have been is difficult game to play and painful when the result was what it was.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Thanks Aceman. I give you credit for openly expressing what you think will happen. I’ve got us winning the Michigan game, making 14-4 worthy of a share. Only time will tell how much this loss really hurt in the end.

  • CreanFaithful

    Maybe it was your post that pointed that out and not Milla… Either way I agree. Jordy went to the one spot that enabled his defender. If Oladipo wanted to kick it out, Richardson would still be in the passing lane even though he is slacking on his man.

  • calbert40

    No, I am indifferent to it. If CTC had called one, I would have understood that decision; however, CTC made a decision not to call one, and I understand that decision too. Here’s how it breaks down for me:

    Illinois had no TOs left. If we call one there, we give them the opportunity to rest and regroup and draw up a defensive scheme. if we don’t call a TO, they can’t do any of that.

    So, my question is this, in a one play situation, are you taking the IU offense or the Illini D? I’m betting on our offense, so I have no issue with the lack of a TO being called there.

    Equally, there is absolutely no correlation between calling a TO and a decrease in the likelihood that VO dribbles off his leg. That can happen at any time. VO has had a pretty good handle this season, so I think that was more unlucky than it was poor coaching.

  • calbert40

    I’d like to see more off-ball screens too, but you do realize that you are complaining about our team offense when we are ranked in the top 3 in country. We get guys open by dribble penetration, kicking the ball out and/or ball movement from one side to the other. All of these things we do extremely well.

    Again, I’m not disagreeing with you per se, but when some point out our deficiencies on O in comparison to our opponents’, I think we are neglecting to see the many positives we do on that side of the ball. We aren’t perfect, but this team can score in buckets utilizing a variety of methods.

  • Ovid

    This makes 2 games that IU has lost because Zeller was not defending the basket at the end of the game.

  • Ovid

    This makes 2 games that IU has lost because Zeller was not defending the basket at the end of the game.

  • Ovid

    Cody doesn’t even try to block shots. Is he afraid of fouling?

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Want to revise your prediction? Or was that the one loss you had in mind for Michigan? Just playing, but things are looking up for the Hoosiers. Let’s hope in about 25 hours they are really looking up.

  • NYC_Hoosier

    Fair point on Hollowell, like what I’ve seen out of him. I guess my frustration is more on the Elston side. Why isn’t CTC giving him more minutes? This team doesn’t have many holes, but a killer instinct is one of them (letting Minn get back in the game, inability to close out Ill, etc). We saw it vs. Purdue where Elston was more of a factor. Maybe I’m off base here, but I think the team would benefit from having him come off the bench more than he does now.

  • Kenneth234

    Michigan just picked up their 3rd loss at Wisconsin just as your crystal ball said; oh wait…nope I must of read that wrong. Looks like the Big Ten title is still wide open!

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.toal.9 Peter Toal

    I think you are on to something here. The coaches spend hours putting together sub pattern like the NBA guys do, and never divert from it. So a player hits three straight shots still comes out, because it is his time.

  • Kenneth234

    Michigan and Michigan St play each other twice still and Michigan St, still has to play us go to Wisconsin and go to Ohio State still. Michigan still has to play us, and the two games against Michigan St., but really have the easiest schedule of the top 3. We have probably the second easiest schedule of the main 3, and Michigan St schedule looks rough. This title chase is far from over.

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.toal.9 Peter Toal

    I will get blitzed for saying this…but there are ‘issues” there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.toal.9 Peter Toal

    I will get blitzed for saying this…but there are ‘issues” there.

  • greeson_todd

    Charlie Miller, at least imo, didn’t turn out to be all that bad…

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