Silencing the critics: Hoosiers beat top-10 team on the road

  • 02/10/2013 6:58 pm in

IUNDSITH0012In the days following Indiana’s shocking loss at Illinois on Thursday night, Tom Crean spent a good amount of time trying to teach his team how to close out games. The Hoosiers had squandered a late lead against the Illini, and left Champaign with a heartbreaking buzzer-beating loss.

Crean showed his team film of the last five minutes of several games this season in which the Hoosiers, as Cody Zeller put it, “played for the clock to run out” instead of playing to win.

The Indiana players heard Crean’s message loud and clear, and they applied it in Sunday’s critical 81-68 victory at No. 10 Ohio State.

“We looked so immature, how we handled that last five minutes of the game,” said junior guard Victor Oladipo. “We’re too old for that, even Yogi [Ferrell]. Yogi’s played enough games now that he’s too old for that. We’ve got to make sure that never happens again.”

So when the No. 1 Hoosiers (21-3, 9-2) built a sizable second-half lead on Sunday, they made sure they didn’t let it go. They answered big Ohio State buckets with scores of their own. They controlled the pace, continued to attack the basket, and looked like a team that expected to win on the road against a quality Big Ten opponent.

There have been wins this season that prove the Hoosiers are a different team than they were last year. The Minnesota first half. The Michigan State game. The Michigan game. The North Carolina game. The Purdue game.

Indiana’s win on Sunday is another one, and perhaps the biggest one. The Hoosiers won at home last year. They beat Purdue on the road last year (albeit, not by 37 points). But it had been 13 years since the Hoosiers beat a top 10 team on the road. Coming off their worst loss of the season, the Hoosiers may have just earned the second biggest win in the Tom Crean era (Kentucky: 2011).

“That’s a big deal,” Crean said. “It’s not just beating a ranked team — Ohio State is really, really good. We have, at times, not had the firepower to compete with them, and then last year as we were getting better, we didn’t have the toughness to compete with them in here. But that’s all part of the growth process.”

Indiana was criticized after Thursday’s game for not getting the ball inside enough to Zeller. Well, the Hoosiers came out with a gameplan on Sunday of pounding the ball inside on each and every possession, and they never went away from it. Even when the lead ballooned to double figures in the second half, the Hoosiers kept throwing it in there.

Zeller, Oladipo and Christian Watford were the main ones responsible for creating the damage inside, and they created plenty of it. The frontline trio combined for 70 points on 22-of-32 shooting and 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

“It wasn’t just because of the [early] foul issues,” Crean said. “We really needed to get the ball in the paint. Our statistics when it hits the paint are extremely high, percentage wise. We did the best job all Big Ten hitting the paint, statistically, stuff that we keep. It wasn’t just feeding the post, it was getting the ball in the lane and getting the ball inside-out. There were very few instances where we took quick jumpers.”

The remarkable and important thing about Zeller, Watford and Oladipo’s numbers were they came in the half court. It’s no secret the Hoosiers love to get out in transition and score in that way. But when Ohio State kept that from happening, Indiana wasn’t fazed. Sunday’s game was probably the best I have ever seen the Hoosiers play in the half court. It was beautiful to watch.

Before Sunday, there were critics who could argue Indiana was one-dimensional, it couldn’t execute well enough in the half court to win. There were critics who could argue this team couldn’t win away from Assembly Hall. I know, because I have been one of those critics.

But against the Buckeyes, the Hoosiers silenced all of those critics. If this team can do what it did Sunday against one of the best defensive clubs in the country, what else is it capable of?

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  • Dagwoods

    They also managed their possessions better late in the game with a lead – kudos!

  • Donald Mann

    I beleive IU played a whole lot better against Ohio State , hats off to our leading scorers , with 20 , or more points , plus the rest of the team !

  • CreanFaithful

    One thing that we got back to that we haven’t seen since the early games (granted, weaker competition) is the extra pass. At times it was to a fault today. But I’d rather that then taking some of the quick shots we’ve become accustomed to.

    Certainly there are players that get the green light (Wat and Jordy), but beyond that we need to focus on getting the highest percentage shot possible. I’ve said it before… in the half court we have the propensity to take the first open shot. With soo many solid scorers, it is hard to knock. But I could probably count the amount of times we have had to beat the shot clock this year on one hand. Plenty of time to find the “best shot.” Our offense is efficient, despite the fact that everyone wants to dissect it after every loss.

    Love the fact that our core three players carried us today. Searching for the right shot/right player…

  • Nice all round game- great win, especially after Illinois debacle- some strength of character. (And in spite of the 3 blind mice in zebra shirts- OMG they were horrible!)

  • Nice all round game- great win, especially after Illinois debacle- some strength of character. (And in spite of the 3 blind mice in zebra shirts- OMG they were horrible!)

  • Fear the beard

    This is the storyline of the day. Very good job and right on.

  • HoosierDawg

    Agreed-this is the best half court offense we have displayed all year, and it’s due to one seemingly simple thing: FEED THE Z! Only good things happen when the offense runs through Cody instead of away from him. It makes everyone’s job easier ( except for the unfortunate opponent). Keep it up boys!

  • HoosierDawg

    Agreed-this is the best half court offense we have displayed all year, and it’s due to one seemingly simple thing: FEED THE Z! Only good things happen when the offense runs through Cody instead of away from him. It makes everyone’s job easier ( except for the unfortunate opponent). Keep it up boys!

  • nimbi63

    There is no excuse for passing up an open shot to make another pass while the shot clock expires.

  • Think what you want, but the only difference between the end of the Illinois game and this one is that DJ Richardson made a bunch or 3’s and nobody on Ohio State did. Indiana still had turnovers down the stretch and missed some free throws.

  • CreanFaithful

    8 turnovers this game… take a look back at the last few games. You’ll find some that are more than double that number. Every turnover is frustrating but 8 is a pretty good number for a team that presses on the offensive end the way we do. I’ll think what I want, while keeping in mind the facts…

  • IUJeff

    Next up Nebraska then PUke at home. Time to build a 25 point lead then let the bench get some good experience for when we’ll need em.

    On second thought, do that against Nebraska then hang a hunny to 42ish score on PUke.

  • InTheMtns

    Thanks for the invitation to think what I want. I think this was a really great game by Indiana. Loved this victory. Go Hoosiers!!!

  • Congratulations on finding fault with an outstanding team effort that resulted in a much needed road win against a top 10 team.

  • Hardwood83

    I really want them to drill Nebraska. I was at that game last year and it still makes me sick- very much like Thurs nights choke. Punish the Huskers AND Pee Eww

  • It’s a learning experience.

  • Dick_Pepperfield

    The biggest critic out there is Dakich who claimed on Saturday (right before he all but made out with Bo Ryan on national TV in the post game interview) that IU was the FOURTH best team in the conference. I don’t know about any of you but this seals the deal with me and that guy. If he is just a Bobby hold out who intends on breaking down the current Hoosiers or whatever, I dont care. This guy should never ever come back to Bloomington. I know this sounds extreme but to make this asinine statement shows that he has an inner jealousy/hatred for what is going on in B-town right now. I know it is just “his opinion” but I am not buying it. If I told you that Dwayne Schintzius was a better big man than Shaq, you would probably catch on that I hated Shaq (or that I enjoy mullets) because it is an equally stupid comment. To hell with Dakich forever! Stay in Madison. We don’t need you.

  • HoosierInMinnesota

    Who said Yogi needs an excuse? No excuse necessary. It’s called a freaking mistake. He played a complete game against one of the best PGs in the B1G if not the nation. He’s entitled to a mistake. Find something more substantive to say.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I listen to Dakich’s radio show in Indy quite a bit. He’s quickly turning into my favorite person to listen to about college hoops. And I love his color commentary during games. He certainly seems to make it a point to make sure nobody can call him a homer, at least when doing national telecasts with ESPN. But he is far from bitter about what is going on at Indiana now. He’s not a Knight hold-out. He’s his own dude. He had TC on his show right after the Purdue game and does frequently. I thought the power ranking thing was dumb too. But he qualified it when discussing Lunardi’s latest seeding still having us as a number one, by saying he couldn’t argue with that, but that his ranking only reflected how teams were playing right now and that he found the Illinois loss to be inexcusable. In other words it was a little more reactionary than I would expect from a power ranking, but not too far off from the reaction of a lot of fans on ITH either. Dakich will be right back to praising the Hoosiers for this last game tomorrow, though don’t expect him to give IU or any team the benefit of the doubt, ever. Right now he is all over Miami as the best team in college basketball because of how they have been playing lately. But I’ve also heard him say that IU has one of the highest ceilings.

  • mike

    I disagree a bit with CTC …. I don’t think OSU is really that good. They lack offensive firepower this year. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them knocked out of the tourney in round 1 or 2. Thomas is a great scorer, Craft a great defender, but otherwise they just have old players. they’re a player or two short, really should be 15-20 in the nation. Sad how all the early exits hurt the talent level of teams, but that’s the reality. Now if IU beats MSU on the road, then I’ll be really impressed.

  • mike

    You’re just wrong on that. Truth is, Indiana really has been playing like the 4th best team, until today at least. Look, their early B10 schedule was really easy, and no matter who they beat at home, IU has always had trouble on the road and the Illinois game just proved it. If IU continues to wrack up impressive road wins, Dakich will be their biggest admirer. He is anything but a “Knight hold-out”, he’s just looking at it objectively, and really, IU hadn’t beaten any really elite team until the Michigan game, and that was at home.

  • Dick_Pepperfield

    IU is the 4th best team in the Big 10. Say it out loud to yourself then tune in tomorrow for more of his crap if you want. If he is your leading source of college hoops news then that is on you. In my eyes he is going waaaaay too far to prove he isn’t a homer, which makes him as bad as Doug Gottlieb or some of the other “experts” on this site who think because they coached a YMCA youth team it makes them experts at college hoops.

  • BtowntoIndy

    I believe Yogi discredited what you are trying to say about Dakich. He just clarified… Dakich does his index based on how teams are playing “right now”. Obviously, after losing to an unranked Illinois team that we were heavily favored against and squandered a large lead to, you’d expect a decent drop in an index measuring current play. DD never said they are the 4th best team overall, just that IU’s current play (after UI loss) was 4th best; a fair assessment if you ask me. He tells it how it is and definitely praises IU when deserving.

  • WestCoast Hoosier

    Has anybody notice that Jordy has been playing excellent defense? I’ve been impressed with his improvement.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I get what you are saying and I was surprised he had us 4th. For what it’s worth, he changed his mind on Sunday night and moved OSU down to 5 and IU up to 1. (he now has his order as follows: IU, MSU, Wisconsin, Michigan, OSU)

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Well, Dak has a place in B’ton forever because he handled the leftover crapfest that was the end of the Sampson era.

    But I’m kinda with you on his talking head career. I’m not in Indy anymore so I don;t hear him on the radio, but he deffo seems like he’s more interested in getting a reaction than anything else.

    As for his power rankings, if he’s taking teams from #4 to #1 and vice versa in the space of 30 hours, I think that tells you what you need to know. Maybe more appropriately labeled the “list of pretty good teams , with the ones that won their last game at the top”

    And he talks WAY to much when he’s calling a game.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    I disagree. At the end of Ill we were in a huge rush, hoisting threes and turning the ball over, playing like we were down 8.

    In C’bus, we played a very mature last 4 minutes. Frankly, in that situation, I’d almost take a shot clock violation over a bucket 6 seconds into the shot clock.

    Honestly, as many times as we turned it over Thurs, we STILL would have won if we had just taken 30 seconds on every possession in the last 4 minutes.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    I disagree. At the end of Ill we were in a huge rush, hoisting threes and turning the ball over, playing like we were down 8.

    In C’bus, we played a very mature last 4 minutes. Frankly, in that situation, I’d almost take a shot clock violation over a bucket 6 seconds into the shot clock.

    Honestly, as many times as we turned it over Thurs, we STILL would have won if we had just taken 30 seconds on every possession in the last 4 minutes.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    True, but isn’t it great to build a big enough cushion for a fresman to learn that and still win by 13? Cheer up, that was the biggest win of the Crean era.

  • Eph

    After the game I replayed last year’s game with OSU at IU. What a difference! They were #2 at the time. This IU team could beat last year’s IU team by 20 points.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Anyone think it strange that Cody can have such a great game, with the Hoosiers going inside out and end up with zero assists?

  • SCHoosier

    Agree that not racehorsing in the final 5 minutes was critical. But the Hoosiers need to work on that..having two shot clock violations and TO’s during that time. They will get better at working the clock..but we do need to be able to get the shot we want..and hit the FT’s when fouled. Late game..nobody was throwing up 3s with 25 sec on the clock..in this one.

  • SCHoosier

    His media job..given Dan’s IU credentials.. is to prove he’s NOT a homer for the Hoosiers..and may go overboard once in a while. After the ILL game I wasn’t sure where IU stood in the conference. He says what he thinks..and most of the time is right on. I’m sure he’s belching a bit after having to eat his piece of “crow” today.

  • SCHoosier

    I’m with you..they have a 325 pound center and a Galigos) guard who has more misses that IU does shots. Turn the dogs loose and let the puppies have the scraps.

  • SCHoosier

    Having Craft guard him was the best thing that’s happened to Yogi this year. He got two bad fouls called on him..but did his job…kept Craft from going off, had 3 assisits..moved the ball and hand only one TO. Now why he was on the bench at the 2:28 mark..when OSU was pressing and fouoing..and Yogi being our best ball handler..was something I haven;t figured out yet. One of coach’s few brain f—-s yesterday?

  • Ole Man

    Politely disagree….the biggest win of the Crean era is and will always be the Kentucky win. Why? Not only did it announce to the world (and recruits) that Indiana was back; but, more importantly, it spoke volumes to those in the program that yes, we are back.

  • Ole Man

    Politely disagree….the biggest win of the Crean era is and will always be the Kentucky win. Why? Not only did it announce to the world (and recruits) that Indiana was back; but, more importantly, it spoke volumes to those in the program that yes, we are back.

  • twarrior87

    The guy said something in the moment based on what he was seeing on the floor in front of him you can’t hold him to those words. Dakich tries to be very objective and goes out of his way (sometimes too far) to not be an IU homer. Fans from other schools call him a homer anytime he says anything remotely positive about IU. I listen to his show almost every day and he doesn’t talk trash about IU. However, he does point out things that the team is doing wrong or any other negatives that a lot of our fan base refuses to do at times.

  • IUHoosiers23

    Great half court offense by the Hoosiers. Best win of the season in my opinion. It was so great to be able to put ourselves in the exact same situation as the Illinois game just 3 days later so the guys could immediately prove to themselves that they had learned from it. That was invaluable. Great play all around. Love Wat’s emotion. Always things to nitpick about but I just don’t feel the need to do that right now. Very proud of the bounce back and resolve the guys showed. Overcoming adversity at its finest and we can look back to this game in March. February 19th at Breslin is shaping up to be an incredible evening.

  • Congrats, Hoosiers!!! You passed the eye test on CBS, yesterday. YOU ARE THE #! and BEST team in the nation. Hands down! East Coast biased media will vote for the Dukies, however. *PUKE*

  • You been watching too many pundits, mike. OSU has one of the BEST defenses in the nation. Pundits and poll voters ONLY watch highlights and it shows in their daily crappy analysis on TV. Hoosiers ARE the BEST *team* in the nation!

  • You been watching too many pundits, mike. OSU has one of the BEST defenses in the nation. Pundits and poll voters ONLY watch highlights and it shows in their daily crappy analysis on TV. Hoosiers ARE the BEST *team* in the nation!

  • patrick poston

    Dakich is a douche bag and pissed because HE NEVER GOT A REAL CHANCE AT COACHING IU.

  • twarrior87

    Also, I am listening to the Dakich show right now and he just said “I don’t think there’s anybody better than IU when they’re playing (the way they can)”.

  • twarrior87

    Also, I am listening to the Dakich show right now and he just said “I don’t think there’s anybody better than IU when they’re playing (the way they can)”.

  • karen

    I think Yogi is one of the best assist men I’ve seen. My problem
    with him is that he tends to forget his role and takes quick shots
    when he shouldn’t. He’s very good on defense but just needs
    to mature and become an even better assist man.