Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss at Minnesota

022712ueWith a chance to clinch an outright Big Ten championship at home within its reach, Indiana went to Minnesota on Tuesday night as a five-point favorite and exited with a 77-73 loss.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from Indiana’s third Big Ten loss:

· Rebounding, rebounding and more rebounding: It was the first thing Tom Crean discussed in his postgame comments and for good reason. The Hoosiers were dominated by Minnesota’s offensive rebounding allowing a season-worst 53.5 offensive rebounding percentage by an opponent. That mark topped the loss to Butler where the Hoosiers allowed the Bulldogs to corral 48.7 percent of their misses. Whether it was IU being out of position or getting beat to loose balls, Minnesota came into the game as the nation’s best offensive rebounding team and deserves credit for being the aggressor in that regard. The Gophers finished with 23 offensive rebounds and 21 second-chance points. “Bottom line, in this game there’s a lot of different things to look at, but there’s nothing more glaring than the rebounding,” Crean said. “So that was our biggest issue.”

· For a night, IU didn’t have the best player on the floor: Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo are worthy of all the notoriety they’ve received for national player of the year in recent weeks. They’ve earned it. But on Tuesday night, Minnesota’s Trevor Mbawke was the best player on the floor in Williams Arena. Mbakwe set the tone early with 10 of Minnesota’s 14 points and when he wasn’t on the bench with foul trouble, IU had no answer for the sixth-year senior. Mbakwe finished with game-highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds, six of which were offensive. “He’s a grown man. He’s big, he’s strong,” Oladipo said of Mbakwe. “He’s been there, done that. So you know he was going to come and play 110 percent. He played a great game. He’s the reason they won.”

· The zone defense wasn’t IU’s problem: On the broadcast, ESPN analyst and former Indiana guard Dan Dakich questioned Crean’s decision to play a zone in the second half. On one sequence, Dakich predicted that Indiana would give up a 3-pointer if it stayed in zone and on cue, Austin Hollins connected from distance to give the Gophers a 51-48 lead. But when you consider how Minnesota shot from the perimeter on the evening (a dismal 4-of-20) and how badly Indiana was beaten inside (40 points in the paint), you almost wonder if IU could have played more zone to try to pack things in and neutralize Mbakwe and Elliott Eliason, who came off the bench for seven points. “We weren’t physical enough. We didn’t create the first hit,” Crean said afterward. “There were just too many times that the shot went up and they were there before we were because we weren’t into their bodies. And we picked a bad night to do that.”

· On the physicality, Zeller and Watford: When Indiana is at its best, both Zeller and Christian Watford are rebounding on both ends, finishing through contact and drawing fouls at the rim. In IU’s wins at Ohio State and Michigan State, the Hoosiers received that type of play from both guys. Tuesday night was a different story as Zeller had several shots blocked on his way to the basket. Watford, one of IU’s most consistent players in Big Ten play, didn’t shoot a free throw and had just two rebounds. It was the first game since IU’s loss to Butler in which Watford didn’t finish in double figures. He also played a season-low 18 minutes because of foul issues. “Christian wasn’t a real factor in the game, unfortunately,” Crean said. “And the fouls definitely brought that to a head.”

· Hulls carries IU in first half, but can’t get free in second: Much of the credit for IU’s four-point halftime lead goes to Jordan Hulls, who hit 4-of-5 of his 3-point attempts in the first half and led all scorers with 14 points at the break. Hulls was finding the holes in Minnesota’s perimeter defense and exploiting one of the main deficiencies for Tubby Smith’s team: guarding the perimeter. But the second half was a different story as the defense tightened up on Hulls and he attempted just three shots. His only second half basket drew IU to within three at 76-73 with four seconds remaining. “He got the shots [in the first half] in movement, the shots were in spacing and movement,” Crean said. “Unfortunately he had to handle the ball a little too much for us in the second, he had to relieve pressure.” In his postgame comments, Hulls said his focus was on trying to rebounding and get stops defensively rather than scoring. “Obviously, they were playing me a lot tighter in the second half,” he said. “Maybe I could have been a little bit more aggressive. But it started on the defensive end and rebounding. I wasn’t too worried about my offense as long as we got defensive stops.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.stewart.104203 John Stewart

    Too bad ole Teddy V. wasn’t working the game!

  • Florida Hoosier Girl

    I was just reading all the comments to see if anyone had asked this question!

  • HoosierFan

    I thought so at first too, but after reading the 5 takeaways, I agree with Alex that it may have been worse in the paint had we not played zone and we potentially should have played even more zone because they were shooting so poorly from the field. The counter to that is that it is much harder to rebound out of the zone and last night we proved adept at it.

  • HoosierFan

    zone is also designed to prevent points in the paint, which Minnesota had around 40 of i believe. We were unable to guard them down low and I have to assume that is why Crean went to the zone.

  • HoosierFan

    I agree that is definitely does not pass the eyeball test

  • Ole Man

    Refs, by “letting them play”, allowed MN to mug Indiana. It was the same against Butler. You let a team hack and go over the back continually, anybody will get mugged.

  • Ole Man

    I believe all 4 of their 3 pointers came against the zone. But I can’t be sure. Any way of checking this for us?

  • Ole Man

    I believe all 4 of their 3 pointers came against the zone. But I can’t be sure. Any way of checking this for us?

  • Ole Man

    Yogi needed to be sat down on the pine by a coach and given some “pointers”.

    Refs never lose games, but just as in the Butler game, they set the tone, allowing MN to push and hack with impunity. Indiana has to learn how to recognize those nights and do the same back. I thought “over the back” was a foul, but learned differently last night from the MN players.

    For all of you calling Cody soft, you need to back off. You’re the same people who praise him to high heaven when he has a good game.

    He isn’t soft. He’s still learning to play the position and yet, has enough skill to average nearly 17 points and almost 9 rebounds in the toughest league in the country.

    I don’t like the zone; but I’m not Coach.

    The team looked like it hadn’t played for a week, not ready for a game–a half step slow.

    No screens for Jordy in the second half—and please don’t call the motion brush off screens. There is a huge difference.

    Let’s go Hoosiers!

  • IUMIKE1

    And Crean had said several times that they were coming off of their best practices all year. Overall it just doesn’t make sense, the way that they lost and how they lost.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.carnes.186 David Carnes

    Peaceful debate! we will not have Peaceful debate! This is a meaasage boad.
    Man who does this Gongora guy think he is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.carnes.186 David Carnes

    I agree what we are calling agression today is called fouling out in the first half on most days.

  • MikeIU

    He’s 24. DOB – 01/24/1989

  • HoosierJake

    I though Illinois was our wake up call? How many wake up calls are we allowed to have?

  • SCHoosier

    Yea in a tight game I really want Hulls to be worried about rebounding instead of trying to get his shot when he’s the only one hitting from the outside. That makes no sense at all. Fact is.that…once again.. the offensive scheme doesn’t do much to get him shots and against a tight defense Jordy has trouble getting his own. That should never be his decision..the Coach needs to say” Son..we need your offense..I’m calling screens for you for the next 10 minutes”. Ooopppss..forgot..no good 3 pt screens in the IU offensive scheme. When Hulls has the hot hand..the entire offense ought to be geared to 1) get him shots 2) pounding the ball inside to Cody who for some reason..totally ignored the face the basket moves that he used so successfully against OSU and MSU Wat…oh never mind.. I am now in the camp of those analysts who believe there is no dominant or elite team this year and that anybody in the top 15 CAN win the entire banana. Hell somebody’s gonna suck it up and go after it..might as well be IU!

  • SCHoosier

    But it does take away your defensive aggressiveness..liklihood of TO’s and or deflections..and does give up long reounds when 3 pt shots are taken to beat a zone. MN was shooting so badly the last couple of games..I understand why TC went to a zone..but you always pay a price ..and defensive aggressiveness against a team that had really been turning it over..went out the window.

  • SCHoosier

    Strong showing against MSU indeed..which is why with a share of the title on the line…IU didn’t man up to the opportunity just blows my mind. But “we’ll look at the tape..determine how they beat the crap out of us and then try to get better every day.” This team has bounced back from adversity..I’m thanking the scheduding gods that Iowa is a home game.

  • SCHoosier

    The old cliche” “they wanted it more” was evident. and apt..

  • SCHoosier

    The old cliche” “they wanted it more” was evident. and apt..

  • SCHoosier

    That’s one reason why B-10 teams often have trouble early in the post season. They have come off a physical fight every game with the refs letting them play nastier as the conference progresses. Then the first few games of the NCAA are full of touch soft foul trying to set a tone for the tournament…which is nothing like play mid-point to end of the B=-10.schedule.

  • SCHoosier

    No , IMO but he does go overboard trying to prove he’s not a “homer” just because he wore the Cream and Crimson. He’s a nation wide analyst for ESPN where 75% of the audience doesn’t care who wins…but wants to know what he thinks about who is doing what to whom. DD is not shy about sharing an opinion even, or may especially if ,it puts IU is a questionable light. Gives him credibility with that 75% who are watching just to see good college b-ball. That’s sort of his job.

  • SCHoosier

    Yea..they also worked hard on the press..yet first time MN used it..IU TO’s the ball by not getting it inbousds in the 5 sec. Maybe we play better with a full schedule.

  • SCHoosier

    Will brought his head down to the level of the kid’s elbow..the MN player did not exaggerate a motion with his elbow upward to make contact. I had to agree with that call sorry to say.

  • SCHoosier

    How about teaching them a good play to get a 3 pt shooter open instead of flopping? TC’s spreading of the elbows in the huddle is sort of the universal B-all communication to “block out”..something the Hoosiers didn’t do all night of course.

  • Bob morgan

    Cody needs to start playing like a 7 footer, instead of a meek 6’5″. Every big center has out played him even the freshman. He cannot play in traffic and gets pushed around by every one. Time to give someone else a chance to play. Bob Knight always said the closet way to a mans head is thru the seat of his pants, on the bench!!

  • GeneralRMK

    661 wins, three national championships, no zone. A hand in the other guy’s face is far more valuable than an all-out sprint to get to the open shooter. Every time.

  • chicago hoosier

    Do you know what Minnesotas offensive rebound rate was in zone vs man? Thanks.

  • HOOSIERS135

    I said the same thing below! It happens year after year. The big dance is not called the same way Big 10 games are. And in the end, it hurts Big 10 teams, and more importantly, IU!

  • marcusgresham

    Thank you for saving me the trouble of typing that.

  • marcusgresham

    There are a ton of guys drafted in the lottery who aren’t physically ready to play. The NBA doesn’t care. You get drafted on potential and he has that.

  • marcusgresham

    This might have been a good game for CTC to earn a techincal.

  • marcusgresham

    This might have been a good game for CTC to earn a techincal.

  • marcusgresham

    I still think he looks like Billy Ocean on steroids.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Depends on when we have them. We can have another wake up call in at least the next four games. Maybe a couple more games beyond that. When the NCAA starts, that’s when we cannot afford a wake up call.

  • MillaRed

    Which is why Wisconsin never advances to the 3rd game.

  • MillaRed

    Hearing a lot about Mbakwe and how Cody was out-manned. There are two things I can’t stand in the NCAA. The “I graduated and my school doesn’t have my post-grad degree so I can transfer” disaster of a rule. And the 2nd medical redshirt.

    Mbakwe is 4 years older than Cody. He is running his mouth after every play like he is Charles Barkley. I don’t get it. Anyway, we need to back off Cody. He was nearly decapitated on that non-call which was ridiculous. They were over his back on 10 rebounds. Who could have done better? Tell you what, let’s put a high school senior out there with a bunch of 8th graders and see what happens. How about a 14 year old vs a 10 year old?

    My point? Mbakwe is OLD. I think he has grandchildren. Face these two off when they are both 20 and Cody would torch him.

    I am not blaming the refs on a loss here. But when I read these posts about how refs do not affect the outcome of a game I laugh. So when we see a boxing match and someone beats the H out of someone and loses it’s cool? How many times do NFL officials reverse a call? Why does college hoops get a pass? If they are bad they are bad and it can cost you a game. To say otherwise is just strange to me. I guess I’m in the minority. Oh well.

  • HoosierTrav

    One thing that bothers me is the fact that this statistic doesn’t show how many wide open looks guys get out of our zone. Personally, this is going to make me very uncomfortable during the tourney. The tournament is not where you want to be giving teams wide open looks from 3. The statistics also dont tell the story of how this zone has killed our momentum and tempo at crucial moments of games. I’m not saying we should trash it, I just think we need to get out of it as soon as it starts to show signs of slowing our momentum.

  • HoosierTrav

    Not fronting Mbakwe in the post could have helped a ton. The zone just made it easier for them to rebound misses and get open look after open look.

  • HoosierTrav

    Not fronting Mbakwe in the post could have helped a ton. The zone just made it easier for them to rebound misses and get open look after open look.

  • HoosierTrav

    Are you gonna be comfortable giving teams these wide open looks in the tournament? Fronting the post and no guard help is what made our man defense look bad. At least they were taking CONTESTED shots out of the man. Cant say the same thing about our zone.

  • HoosierTrav

    Thank you! Zone kills your ability to control tempo on D. We are a team that really thrives on turnovers and fastbreak opportunities. Impossible with that zone. I do think that there are times where it comes in handy but not at the moment where you need to step on someones throat.

  • b_side

    Seriously. I’m pretty sure Bismack Biyombo wasn’t ready either, but that didn’t stop MJ from taking him 7th.

  • b_side

    Hey Coach, I’d say Jim Boeheim is running a mighty fine program using it virtually 100% of the time.

  • b_side

    Hey Coach, I’d say Jim Boeheim is running a mighty fine program using it virtually 100% of the time.

  • GeneralRMK

    And if Hakim Warrick hadn’t existed, you wouldn’t have even considered posting that here, Bernie.

  • b_side

    Sorry Coach, you’re right. All bow down to RMK and his way of coaching. Not sure why I even questioned it. (yawn)

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