Five takeaways from Indiana’s win at Ohio State

IUJackITH0006COLUMBUS, Ohio — Indiana bounced back from its third loss of the season the same way it did for the first two: with a victory. The Hoosiers (21-3, 9-2) established control late in the first half and never relinquished it for the program’s first road win over a top 10 conference opponent since 1993.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from IU’s fifth conference road win of the season:

· The Hoosiers closed the door on a big-time opponent: Indiana entered Sunday with four Big Ten road wins, but some still doubted whether this team could deliver a signature victory away from home. Coming off a disappointing loss at Illinois where it blew a 14-point lead in the second half, Indiana needed to beat Ohio State to keep pace at the top of the conference standings and to prove it could bounce back after a tough road loss. The Hoosiers, who never trailed by more than two points, looked like a totally different team down the stretch than the one we saw on Thursday. Instead of just trying to hold on, Indiana kept attacking and eventually demoralized Ohio State with timely buckets and free throws. The end result was the most impressive road win for Indiana under Tom Crean and more importantly, a win that builds confidence with games at Michigan State, Minnesota and Michigan still on the slate.

· Indiana is tough to beat when Watford plays like he did Sunday: The Hoosiers are a good team when both Cody Zeller (24 points, eight rebounds) and Victor Oladipo (26 points, eight rebounds) play like they did on Sunday. They’re a great team when Christian Watford plays like he did on Sunday. Watford, who has been inconsistent at times, bounced back from his worst conference game to-date with 20 points and six rebounds. While he’s typically started quickly and struggled in second halves, Watford had 10 points in each half of this game and hit 4-of-5 of his 3-point attempts. The rest of the team went a combined 3-of-13 from distance.

· Indiana was the aggressor and the free throw numbers prove it: When the Hoosiers are playing their best, they’re getting to the foul line frequently and that’s exactly what happened on Sunday. Indiana had a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 57.1 on Sunday and Ohio State was in foul trouble all afternoon. It started inside with Zeller attacking both Amir Williams and Evan Ravenel and IU’s perimeter players were also able to foul out Aaron Craft, who came in averaging just 2.7 fouls per 40 minutes. In all, Indiana made more free throws (22) than the Buckeyes attempted (20). “Amir [Williams] going out early was a big blow to us defensively,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “He has the ability to alter a lot of shots inside and he has been playing well for us. The game also seemed to be called a little tighter, but we just didn’t adjust.” Williams played just 11 minutes on Sunday and blocked only one shot.

· Only six guys played double figure minutes: Crean said in his postgame comments that it wasn’t necessarily by design, but IU’s top six players played 180 of the team’s 200 minutes. Indiana’s depth was considered a strong suit in the non-conference, but as the meat of the conference schedule presses on, the rotation is becoming smaller. It certainly helped that IU didn’t have any foul trouble, but the Hoosiers should get credit for being conditioned enough to have four guys play more than 32 minutes with such a short turnaround. Ohio State, meanwhile, typically plays a smaller rotation but was forced to play more guys because of foul trouble, and looked outclassed by IU from a conditioning standpoint despite having two more days of rest.

· Turnovers weren’t much of a factor for IU: I called turnovers IU’s Achilles heel in the game preview, and despite playing at their pace for much of the afternoon, the Hoosiers took care of the ball on Sunday. Indiana only turned the ball over 10 times and its turnover rate of 12.6 percent was its third-best mark in conference play behind wins at Northwestern and Purdue. Yogi Ferrell and Jordan Hulls, who were guarded by Craft for a majority of the afternoon, combined for two turnovers and while Oladipo posted a team-high with three, you can certainly trade those mistakes for his aggressiveness and a career-high in points for the IU junior.

  • Kelin Blab

    I can see Indiana shortening the bench as the season goes along. Jeremy may be the only Frosh to get consistent time off the bench. Mo and Elston will have their moments. Wish Mo would have a big game soon, just root for the kid to do well. The same for Elston.

  • superhoops

    I have no problem with guys playing many minutes and Crean shortening the rotation if that’s what it takes to win. 18-22 yr olds should be able to play a 40 minute game. Some times we just need to have our best players on the court and for the most part today, we did. Great win on the road and if we develop consistency and play a full 40 minutes each game, we’re going to be awfully tough to beat.

  • CreanFaithful

    I love the improvement on the defensive end this year. However, I believe the D that CTC is utilizing requires excellent communication and understanding Hell, you see our starters get caught out of position frequently.

    It’s pretty understandable that the likes of HP get caught out of position frequently when called upon. Even Elston came in and got a key offensive rebound (extending our offense), but came down to the other end and got beat on D.

    I’m not a nay-sayer when it comes to HP. But I didn’t have the expectations that many seemed to have had… I’m hoping that Elston (with his senior maturity) can adjust quickly on the defensive end now that he’s getting healthy. Hanner is going to be a junior before we start to rely on his contributions…

  • CreanFaithful

    I love the improvement on the defensive end this year. However, I believe the D that CTC is utilizing requires excellent communication and understanding Hell, you see our starters get caught out of position frequently.

    It’s pretty understandable that the likes of HP get caught out of position frequently when called upon. Even Elston came in and got a key offensive rebound (extending our offense), but came down to the other end and got beat on D.

    I’m not a nay-sayer when it comes to HP. But I didn’t have the expectations that many seemed to have had… I’m hoping that Elston (with his senior maturity) can adjust quickly on the defensive end now that he’s getting healthy. Hanner is going to be a junior before we start to rely on his contributions…

  • InTheMtns

    In your What to Expect column, Alex, you said, if

    – IU can weather the crowd early,

    – muster up a number close to its 1.13 points per possession average in Big Ten play,

    – take care of the ball,

    – not let Thomas go off for 30

    this should be an opportunity to steal a win on the road and quickly negate Thursday’s loss.

    You nailed it! I remember when I read What to Expect thinking, “I agree, but those are pretty big Ifs.” They aren’t “ifs” now. Like a soothsayer you are.

  • unclekerfuffle

    It was clear that a large part of the game plan was to get Cody touches. I would say the result of that plan being implemented should be one of the biggest take aways from this game. I don’t have a high enough BB IQ to understand all of the nuances to the impact that Cody has on the game but the end result of getting him the ball cannot be overstated.

  • http://twitter.com/jtrahin Nice Guy

    From the official IU Men’s Basketball twitter handle: IU’s first road win over top 10 team since December 5, 2000, 80-68 at #10 Notre Dame

  • IUJeff

    Great game plan coach Crean and great execution IU.

  • IUJeff

    Great game plan coach Crean and great execution IU.

  • sloan screen #45

    This game is why IU was preseason #1 and picked to win it all. This team collectively “brought it” and when they do that they really stand out from the rest of the crowd.

  • sloan screen #45

    Yea, I believe CTC will shorten the bench and I dont see Mo or DE having much of a part the rest of the season. I think CTC has got to get Remy going again,though. Not sure what has happened to him but a strong athletic guard can sure be a plus of the bench. Lets hope he snaps out of it soon.

  • sloan screen #45

    Yea, I believe CTC will shorten the bench and I dont see Mo or DE having much of a part the rest of the season. I think CTC has got to get Remy going again,though. Not sure what has happened to him but a strong athletic guard can sure be a plus of the bench. Lets hope he snaps out of it soon.

  • VICTORy Is Ours

    Think it should be top ten conference opponent. Appreciate all you do at ith, keep up the great work

  • Hardwood83

    When IU shows up they are (in my very biased opinion) clearly the best team in the nation. Now if we can just figure out how to get them to show up EVERY game with a killer instinct.

  • Hardwood83

    When IU shows up they are (in my very biased opinion) clearly the best team in the nation. Now if we can just figure out how to get them to show up EVERY game with a killer instinct.

  • HoosierInMinnesota

    If I were an OSU fan, I would be so ticked off at Matta for getting completely outcoached.

  • Alex

    “Victor Oladipo is like a baby’s bottom. Smooth, and sometimes.. EXPLOSIVE!!!”
    -Clark Kellogg. Bahahahahaa

  • http://twitter.com/chrisdjenkins Chris Jenkins

    Gotta disagree with you on the FT’s. IU took 17 FT attempts in the last 2:29 of the game while OSU was fouling to try to come back in the game. OSU committed the last 11 fouls of the game. Prior to that, OSU shot and made more FT’s.

  • http://twitter.com/chrisdjenkins Chris Jenkins

    Gotta disagree with you on the FT’s. IU took 17 FT attempts in the last 2:29 of the game while OSU was fouling to try to come back in the game. OSU committed the last 11 fouls of the game. Prior to that, OSU shot and made more FT’s.

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

    The next two games may allow Crean to go deeper and get his front line guys some rest.

  • iuoiu

    Yes, conditioning wise they can all go 40. The problem though with a shortened bench is that night when we get a set of refs that hit key players with early fouls. Imagine the chaos that would ensue with Zeller getting 2-3 quick fouls, or VO being in that same boat (or both at the same time). That’s when the bench will be needed and will determine the outcome of a game. Luckily we have avoided this but so did the 92 final four team until the season ending game vs. Duke where we got the bad end of the whistles and lost.

  • iuoiu

    It’s not the raw numbers that matter – what matters is WHO the fouls are on. We stuck Williams and Craft in early foul trouble – making them both much less of a factor in the 2nd half and turning it into the “just Thomas” show for OSU.

  • iuoiu

    Here are some ways that he can alter a game even without getting off a shot. I’m not saying that he does not need to put the ball up, but I am saying it’s not the massive deal some folks make it out to be.

    – Forcing the other bigs to sprint up and down the court to keep up, resulting in some winded and frustrated 2nd half dudes. After the UNC game you know every coach is spending a lot of practice time making sure the team knows who is responsible for picking up Cody after every possession change.

    – Forcing teams to make the decision to double-up Cody inside (leaving our deadly 3-pt threats go off) or singling up on him (thereby giving him room to work when he gets the ball). No other player has that influence in the game.

    – Using his ability to force contact in just the right way in order to get whistles on the opposing bigs. A lot of folks give him grief when he does not finish after a foul but in a lot of those cases it’s obvious that Cody is fishing for a foul, with the and-one being gravy. As we saw yesterday and in countless other games, early fouls turn the game in our favor which is part of the overall strategy for this team.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    I know it’s not the popular opinion, but I love the ‘logg. Doesn’t overtalk, and just weird enough to be really entertaining.

    That was the line of the day. The play by play seemed totally dumbfounded. It was just dead air for about 5 seconds. Kinda like they said “we shall never speak of this again. Now, let’s continue the broadcast.”

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    All true, but when we get him the ball down low, it’s clearly our best option. He’s so smart, such a great passer, and has such good moves. Couple that with the fact that we have shooters aplenty, and I think the inside-out offense is our best move in the halfcourt.

    Cody doesn’t have to shoot every possession in the halfcourt, but he should touch the ball every possession

  • SCHoosier

    IMO with the minutes Zeller and VO need to play..I think you will see more of Vic at pure guard..with Will rotating with Yogi and Hulls. Hollowell, DE & Will rotate with Cody and Wat. IN some situations..Remy can and will contribute at the point..but against the leagues better defenders at guard he is really a step slow. Will need his involvement..has toughness and can hit FT’s..but I think the tightest rotation will be with Will, JH and DE.

  • ncHOOSIER82

    Love ths column, very insightful.
    Yes, IUbrought it. That is this team’s ultimate path to success. They outhusted O$U and the team’s fitness is paying off. All out hustle is easier to do for big games but hard to do every game. That is coaching.
    Loved Hull’s effort. He is getting the most out of his game and is committed to executing the coaches plan.
    Lean bench is probably mandatory for this team. The coaches know these players better than anyone and are playing their best line up. Of course they are.
    Man Craft got a lot of calls. Yogi and Jordy played well against him.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    i think CWAT got his swagger back!!

  • dtfreed

    Plus Cody gets the other centers in foul trouble like Sunday. Most even IU can’t go very deep at the center position, and still have good talent on the floor. OSU was really kinda weak at center and most teams are, minus their starter.

  • calbert40

    Back in the summer, when we were all speculating on the rotation, a lot of people thought we’d go 10 deep. But that isn’t realistic. You can’t get a good flow giving quality minutes to that many players. Ten guys may see time, but it will be 5 mins or less. I think that Will, Jeremy and Remy (if he can get back on track), will be the only bench players getting quality minutes from here on out.

    I think we will see Elston get about 5 a game, and they will be coming in for Cody when the game clock is at 12:42. He will play until the TV timeout, and Cody will check back in. I was hoping for more out of him this year, and I know the injury is what set him back, but I really, really hope he has a bust out game soon. I really root for the “foundation” players who came through the dark days and stuck it out. Same with Mo.

  • calbert40

    I think the NCAA screwed us and HP by ruling him ineligible earlier in the season. That is the time of the year that we can afford to give him significant PT so he can learn at game speed. He missed all of that time, so he is playing at November speed when we are starting conference play. He just didn’t have a chance this season.

    We all saw how much Will and Vic improved over the summer after their Freshman years. I think CTC and the staff will have HP ready to be a rotational contributor next season. Probably not a starter like some envisioned, but a reliable contributor. I’d be ecstatic with that development!

  • Oldguyy

    I wonder whether it’s not that Abell is a step slow, but that he’s tentative. To me, it seems like his self-confidence has progressively worsened throughout the Big Ten season. If so, it’s a bit surprising in the guy who seemed to have so much confidence as a freshman, for instance at Purdue.

  • Menms

    Thad Matta is a great recruiter, but his ability to make adjustments in game is really questionable. It’s a good thing CTC was able to coach us to this win.

  • Benhyoung14

    Kind of off topic, but has anybody seen Mich St next 5 games? Mich, @Neb, IU, @OSU, @Mich. That’s just brutal. With a schedule like that our chances of winning the B1G just got a little better.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    CZ got hosed in pUKe NCAA GAME! Davis got his 3rd & they hit CZ w/ 2 quick fouls, coc#£uc*$#rs. Ted valentine hit Cheney w/ his 3rd (phantom) foul in loss to Duke in ’93. The zebras can hose a great team on any given day!

  • Devout Hoosier

    It was nice to see Indiana quit attacking and work the clock at the end. The first time I’ve seen that this year and a great half court set to win. When we got that first shot clock violation with ~2.5 minutes remaining I was very happy and knew we would win. Up double digits, if you limit possessions you make it nearly impossible for a team to come back _in time_. More discipline by the team.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevkirch Kevin Kirchner

    I think Remy’s ball handling skills and ability to create his own shot need to develop over the off-season before he can be a serious contributor in B1G play. I think he looked great in the non-conference because athletically he was superior to his opponents. Once you close the athleticism gap his flaws are exposed. Besides these next two games, I can’t imagine him having a break out game for the rest of the season.

  • RK@IU

    The article states “the program’s first road win over a top 10 conference opponent since 1993.”, with CONFERENCE being the key term.

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