After loss at Illinois, Hoosiers prepare for another road test at Ohio State

Two days after Indiana’s disappointing loss at Illinois, Tom Crean still felt like his team had wasted a great opportunity for a conference road win. But Crean knew it was important for his team to immediately shift its focus to Sunday’s opponent, Ohio State.

The No. 1 Hoosiers practiced longer than usual on Friday and also had a lengthy team meeting to discuss what went wrong in Champaign and what needs to be improved before they take on the No. 10 Buckeyes.

“If we’re going to be good, it’s not about bouncing back, it’s about making sure that you’re getting better,” Crean said Saturday. “Because if you spend a lot of time bouncing back and worrying about your mentality, then all of a sudden that cuts into your preparation, that cuts into what you need to do to win the game. We’ve been really good with that. They were really down the other night and we knew that we had some squandered opportunities.”

In Friday’s lengthy practice and then again on Saturday, Crean used Victor Oladipo to guard Yogi Ferrell and simulate the defense of Ohio State’s Aaron Craft. There’s no doubting the fact Ohio State is a very capable offensive team, but Crean spent most of his time Saturday talking about the Buckeyes’ defense. And that starts with the pesky Craft.

“He gets into your body. He’s got quick feet, quick hands,” Crean said. “He’s extremely physical on the ball, and he gets up into you, he uses his hands very well. He’s got the respect of the officials, I think that’s certain. But his athleticism is really unique with his foot speed and his hand speed.”

Added Ferrell: “I know he’s a great defender so I can’t really play with the ball. I’ve definitely seen him get up into guys, and that’s what he’s gonna do. He’s as quick as me as well, so I might try to use my speed as an advantage, but I know he’s definitely going to want to turn the ball over.”

While Sunday afternoon figures to be a challenge for the young Ferrell, he feels prepared because of his experience dealing with Oladipo in practice on a daily basis. If he can handle Oladipo, he can also handle Craft.

“In my mind, Vic’s better,” Ferrell said. “Even as an all-around player, I think Vic’s better. He’s always down and alert on defense. He’s never getting blown by. He’s always a magnet to the ball. Vic is, in my eyes, the defensive player of the year.”

Offensively, the Buckeyes run the majority of their sets through junior Deshaun Thomas, a Fort Wayne, Ind. native. Thomas is averaging 19.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest while shooting 46 percent from the field and 40 percent on 3-pointers.

“He’s a scorer, he’s got a scorer’s mentality,” Crean said. “He’s big, he gets it off extremely quick. He can play at the post, he’s extremely dangerous in the mid-post area, in the pick and pop, driving and 3-point shooting game. He’s just an all-around scorer.”

Hoosiers know Zeller must touch it more

If you look back at the box score from Indiana’s loss to the Illini, you’ll see a pretty alarming stat: Cody Zeller attempted only six shots. Down the stretch, as Illinois got back into the game, Zeller rarely touched the ball on the offensive end.

If the Hoosiers are going to continue to be an elite team, they know they must do a better job of pounding the ball inside.

“There’s no doubt that he needs to get it more,” Crean said. “I’d say the same with Christian. Cody needs to get the ball more in the second half, but he needs to get it where he cannot only score and facilitate for others, but where there’s a lot of pressure on the opponent.”

Added Ferrell: “We’re just not making a point to get it to them. I don’t think we’ve really noticed how effective they are with the ball in the post. I’m going to try to make that a point in the game [on Sunday] to get them the ball more.”

Part of the reason Zeller wasn’t getting as many touches late in the game was other players saw openings and tried to make plays themselves. Crean said Saturday that players get a great amount of offensive freedom when playing at Indiana, but his team didn’t always make the best use of that freedom on Thursday.

“When it’s time to win the game, winning the game and the time and score situation override any of that,” Crean said. “We didn’t always do that. It wasn’t like they were bad shots, but we didn’t play time and score the way that we needed to.”

Notes

· Weathering storms: Ohio State is 4-0 at home in Big Ten play with wins against Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes’ only home loss of the year came against Kansas.

Like every Big Ten team, the Buckeyes possess the ability to go on runs when they play at Value City Arena. But Ohio State can score in bunches better than most of the teams in the conference.

“They’re as physically tough defensively as any team we will have faced to this point, and especially at home,” Crean said. “They’re a spurt team, they’re a big run team, they start really fast at home. You’ve got to weather their storms.”

· Behind the scenes distractions?: During his press conference on Saturday, Crean made mention of some “things” the Hoosiers had to deal with behind the scenes this week, but he did not elaborate. Here’s the full quote:

“We had other things behind the scenes that we had to deal with this week,” he said. “It’s just part of being with young men. They’re all 18-22 year olds, and things go on. You’ve got to be able to handle that accordingly, and once you get into the game, nobody cares. That’s where the togetherness really comes in.”

  • JohnFromBeyond

    Tired of each other? Tired of the coach? And what are you basing this on? I’m pretty sure you have absolutely no idea, just like the rest of us, and you pulled that out of thin air. If I was a college basketball player, I wouldn’t be tired of playing on a top 10 team and making a title run.

  • sloan screen #45

    Would love to know what the distractions were. Hopefully it involves somebody stepping up and calling some guys out , especially Mr. Watford.

  • stillstoned2011

    In the second half of conference games this season Indiana has been outscored 361 to 372. Throw out the PSU games and Purdue and the difference becomes 242 to 285. Outside of PSU and Purdue the only conference team Indiana has outscored in the second half is Michigan – and that was by four points – probably mostly due to the fouling done by Michigan down the stretch. Championship teams finish ball games. This team does not. Illinois outscored the Hoosiers 45 to 31 in the second half. This team seems to hit a wall in most games around the eight minute mark of the second half. If that happens tomorrow in Columbus this team will not win.

  • stillstoned2011

    In the second half of conference games this season Indiana has been outscored 361 to 372. Throw out the PSU games and Purdue and the difference becomes 242 to 285. Outside of PSU and Purdue the only conference team Indiana has outscored in the second half is Michigan – and that was by four points – probably mostly due to the fouling done by Michigan down the stretch. Championship teams finish ball games. This team does not. Illinois outscored the Hoosiers 45 to 31 in the second half. This team seems to hit a wall in most games around the eight minute mark of the second half. If that happens tomorrow in Columbus this team will not win.

  • InTheMtns

    Yogi on getting the ball inside more to Cody (and Christian): “I don’t think we’ve really noticed how effective they are with the ball in the post. I’m going to try to make that a point in the game [on Sunday] to get them the ball more.”

    OK, I’m *really* glad to hear that he’s going to make that a point now. BUT, how can anyone on this team not already be very aware of how effective they are with the ball in the post? The fans all are, the analysts all are, the other teams all are – when the ball goes into Christian or Cody in the post, they either score, get fouled or double-teamed, leaving someone else wide open. Any of those three things is a winner for Indiana. I’m stunned to hear our point guard say he thinks the team hasn’t really noticed how effective it is to get the ball into the post.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    It’s a strange quote I agree. But I wouldn’t take an 18 year old too literally. In an offensive philosophy where each player is taught to press for any advantage they see or have, you can see how players might let the game get away from them at times. There is a fine line between being intelligent with the ball and looking for the highest percentage play and becoming too passive yourself offensively. We have four guys in the top fifteen in the B1G in field goal percentage in conference play. Two are Zeller and Watford (5th and 15th respectively). But two are Oladipo and Ferrell (2nd and 13th respectively). So it’s not like we haven’t been taking high percentage shots. With that said, we have all noticed the disappearance of Zeller’s touches in key stretches. I’m just glad Crean is emphasizing, at least now, that we cannot get away from him (or them) entirely.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    He’s just inventing a storyline. And a myopic one at that. When did the team quit, sometime just after the Michigan State, Purdue and Michigan games? Just before the Illinois game? With three minutes to go in the game? With the right kind of eyes (Peter’s) you can see the high water mark, where the wave crested and fell back. Another season down the drain. At least until the next game starts.

  • b_side

    Pay no mind to this garbage. Our newest resident expert on the team’s pulse and coaching ability has only shown up to give us his insight after we lost to Illinois.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Also, this is a really good article for those of us that haven’t taken the time to watch the press conferences. Puts the loss and preparation going forward in perspective. Hope it translates, because we need a big win.

  • InTheMtns

    I agree about not taking an 18 year old too literally. I had the same thought myself and I listened to the interview three times.

    Dustin asks him what he thought has made it so difficult to get the ball into the post – was it guys not making it a point to get it in or where other teams taking it away. Yogi said he didn’t think it was other teams taking it away; he said he thought we’re not really making it a point to get it in to them. Then he went on to say the part about the team hasn’t noticed how effective they are with the ball in the post. Honestly, I was stunned to hear him say that. I agree about not taking him too literally but I also think, given the lack of passes into the post, that there is some truth here.

  • InTheMtns

    I agree about not taking an 18 year old too literally. I had the same thought myself and I listened to the interview three times.

    Dustin asks him what he thought has made it so difficult to get the ball into the post – was it guys not making it a point to get it in or where other teams taking it away. Yogi said he didn’t think it was other teams taking it away; he said he thought we’re not really making it a point to get it in to them. Then he went on to say the part about the team hasn’t noticed how effective they are with the ball in the post. Honestly, I was stunned to hear him say that. I agree about not taking him too literally but I also think, given the lack of passes into the post, that there is some truth here.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    it’s not the end of the world if we don’t win sunday, with the schedule we will play from now on out plus the BIG tournament i’m confident that this bunch will go farther than goatleib or seth davis says we will. GO HOOSIERS!!

  • HoosierKen73

    I also agree with not taking it too literally from an 18 year old.. But I’m thinking he probably meant to say more like.. We really hadn’t thought of what an effective force that could be in some situations to get the ball to those guys in the post…I don’t know, but Yogi is smart enough that he knows Zeller and CWat’s capability in there..and remember he’s not the only one, that is not getting the ball to them in there.. So, again, I wouldn’t take his comments too literally. It was probably more of a spur of the moment answer that just didn’t come out quite like he had intended.

  • InTheMtns

    You may be right. And by no means was I laying this all on Yogi. And I know that Yogi is smart. But we do all wonder over and over and over why they don’t get the ball into the post more, especially for long stretches and at critical times like the last game. I think Yogi just told us.

  • HoosierKen73

    I mean where did you dig that out of? Your bu77? They blew a lead on the road…made a couple of mistakes…against a team that hit some shots right when they needed them by the way… and you’re going to take it to the, “tired of the pressure, tired of each other, tired of the coach” level? What planet are you from, anyway?

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

    Beat me up all you want, but when are there “long team meetings” when there are no issues going on. To talk strategy? Does nobody else see a little selfish play going on? I hope they work it out and get some momentum into these last few weeks.

  • Kenneth234

    Key to this game is if we move the ball effectively. Ohio State can guard one on one against most of our players all over the floor, I’m especially worried about the match up between Ferrell and Craft on our offensive end. Can Yogi take the relentless pressure that Craft will apply? Will he thrive against it, or hopefully at worst play well enough to keep the ball moving and not turn it over? Haven’t watched Ohio State play much in the Big Ten, the last game that I watched them play closely was their loss at Duke. In that game, they struggled to defend on picks involving Thomas’s man, because he was ineffective trying to hedge or switch on the screen. Not sure if he has improved that aspect since, but if he hasn’t we could ball screen them to death…unless they flop and receive calls like Brandon Paul.

  • marcusgresham

    First off, everyone should calm the hell down. This team is 20-3; virtually every other team in the country has also lost that many or more. I’d also feel pretty confident that all them (including IU,) will lose again—as a matter of fact, either Michigan or Michigan State, the two teams with whom we’re all currently the most concerned, is definitely going to lose very soon. Should IU have lost a game they led by 14? No. Is it the end of the season (or even a sign of the impending end of the season?) No.

    Now, on to the next game. I’d have been drilling into my guys’ heads for the past few days that we’re going to (legally) beat the ever-lovin’ hell out of Aaron Craft. He’s going to get picked more than a 3 year-old’s nose. If at all possible, those picks are going to be in the open court where he can be run into a big body like Zeller or Watford. Any time a shot goes up on either end, someone is going to block him out as savagely as the rules allow.

  • sloan screen #45

    Good news Hoosier fans I believe UofL’s epic failure was even larger than the Hoosiers thursday. Give up 12 points to 1 guy in the last 47 seconds and then let ND subs beat you in 5 OTs. I just bet that one stings even worse than thursdays debacle by the Hoosiers.

  • SCHoosier

    TC’s comments about the Hoosiers needing to “slow down the dribble and game in general at key times”..and doing better on the “time and shot” (late in the game shooting with too much time on the shot clock) were the most encouraging things from him lately. I understand playing fast..I don’t understand playing fast and recklessly with a lead and in the bonus in the final 3 minutes of the game. If IU can correct that tendency ..closing out tight games should not be a problem for this team.
    Tough assignment today though.

  • Bigred1

    They could have even more freedom if cidy got a touch every possession.

  • http://www.facebook.com/doug.snyder.92 Doug Snyder

    i agree!

    rarely on ITH do i see comments that stress the Hoosiers good points and how far they have come since CTC has taken over. Granted the 3 losses are frustrating, but the Hoosiers are in all of them down to the last minute, not getting smoked like some of their highly ranked counterparts across the nation.

    It’s very easy to point out so called faults of the Hoosiers and their coach, forgetting that they’e only lost 3 games out of 23. Yes, i do drink the Kool Aid and i choose to let CTC and his staff run the team as they see fit. If you dont like CTC’s coaching style, keep in mind he is signed to a lengthy contract, Knocking his methods after every loss (and wins) until 2018 will get old quick

  • http://www.facebook.com/doug.snyder.92 Doug Snyder

    i agree!

    rarely on ITH do i see comments that stress the Hoosiers good points and how far they have come since CTC has taken over. Granted the 3 losses are frustrating, but the Hoosiers are in all of them down to the last minute, not getting smoked like some of their highly ranked counterparts across the nation.

    It’s very easy to point out so called faults of the Hoosiers and their coach, forgetting that they’e only lost 3 games out of 23. Yes, i do drink the Kool Aid and i choose to let CTC and his staff run the team as they see fit. If you dont like CTC’s coaching style, keep in mind he is signed to a lengthy contract, Knocking his methods after every loss (and wins) until 2018 will get old quick

  • unclekerfuffle

    I got a real chuckle from CTC’s diplomatic turning of a phrase: ” He’s (Craft) got the respect of the officials.”

    For those of us who are less articulate–The refs continue to let Craft get away with his slap-and-grab moves.

  • Scott

    Like you, I don’t know what it involved. Safe bet is that the team handled it effectively.

  • Scott

    Like you, I don’t know what it involved. Safe bet is that the team handled it effectively.

  • Ole Man

    That last statement sounds like the team has “issues” internally.

    “and once you get into the game, nobody cares.”

    They’ll play together but some of the “love”, some of the “team” seems to be under pressure.

    “It’s just part of being with young men.” And that doesn’t sound like teammates against teammates so much as team against some rule or some coach.

    Sure hope they get it settled.
    Crean is the Captain! Follow him Hoosiers.

  • Kenneth234

    Will there be a live chat for today’s game? If so, where?

  • http://twitter.com/Ronc99 Ron Cordry

    Yogi Ferrell, before he plays against Aaron Craft publicly proclaims Victor Oladipo, the defensive player of the year in the B1G? True, but so undisciplined. That is my problem with Coach Crean. He’s too “I wanna be their friends, instead of, I’m their coach.” Christian Watford GOT the ball inside against Illinois & Illini guards overpowered him, repeatedly inside. Inside, C-Wat’s as weak as it gets. So, Crean wants him to touch it MORE inside against Ohio State’s BIG beasts? R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Ronc99 Ron Cordry

    Look you morons, Crean doesn’t MAKE Yogi or Jordy get the BALL inside. It’s about discipline. It’s about using your bench if they aren’t doing what you want. Coach Crean? UNDISCIPLINED!

  • InTheMtns

    I don’t know if they plan to have it on ITH, but they have it up over on the Hoosier Scoop.

  • Kenneth234

    thank you

  • marcusgresham

    …or someone’s girlfriend broke up with him, or someone missed a class, or someone’s feeling homesick…..who knows what it means; Crean is the king of cryptic statements.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I tried reading your post shouting the words in all caps for emphasis and then spelling out the last part and it occurred to me that “ridiculous” is a far longer word than the crowd in Columbus will be able to pull off spelling in unison. Let’s hope are players don’t fall asleep with all the excitement in the arena.

  • SCHoosier

    Talk about blowing leads..UL can’t feel too good today after blowing a 6 (7?) point lead with 42 sec left at ND..then lost in the 5th overtime. What a crazy season.

  • BrierBrax

    I am so tired of seeing Remy Abell play basketball

  • HoosierDawg

    Me too. He was unexpectedly solid for 1.5 seasons but seems to have totally lost it. Hope he can find his game again because the time will come when we need him.

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