Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Iowa

  • 03/03/2013 11:54 am in

IUIOWAITH0006For the fourth time this season, Indiana bounced back from a loss with a convincing win. With Saturday’s 73-60 win over Iowa, the Hoosiers notched their 25th win of the season and moved a step closer to clinching a Big Ten regular season championship.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from IU’s win over the Hawkeyes:

· Defense shines through: Both teams shot the ball poorly which resulted in perhaps the ugliest win of the season for Indiana, but with just two games to go in conference play, it’s safe to say that improvement on defense is the reason the Hoosiers have become elite. Iowa scored just .88 points per possession on Saturday and Indiana is limiting Big Ten opponents to .97 points per trip, which is nearly a tenth of a point better than a season ago. No longer does this team simply have to rely on a hot shooting night to win: Indiana can string together stops. Yogi Ferrell noted in his postgame comments that IU stopped Iowa on three straight trips on six occasions in the first half. “I’d say the defensive tone set us up for the second half,” Ferrell said.

· Iowa’s physicality doesn’t slow down IU: The Hawkeyes came out with a similar approach to Minnesota: Bring physicality to the game. It was a big reason the officials took over and whistled 31 fouls in the second half. But the physicality didn’t deter Indiana from doing what it does best, which is to continue attack and get to the free throw line. As IU assistant athletics director Jeremy Gray noted on Twitter, the volume of free throws Indiana has taken this season has drawn the ire of opposing schools, but IU’s style of play combined with its vast array of weapons leads to free throws. Indiana is far and away the leader in free throw rate in conference games, shooting one free throw for every two field goal attempted.

· Ferrell’s ascent continues: When I asked Fran McCaffery what he believed the biggest difference was between Indiana on Dec. 31 compared to Indiana on March 2, he cited the continued improvement of Yogi Ferrell. On a night where Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls combined for only seven points, the freshman from Indianapolis poured in a career-high 19 points and still managed to dish out five assists. Michigan State’s Gary Harris and Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker are receiving the most chatter for freshman of the year in the Big Ten and rightfully so given their respective performances, but Ferrell deserves his due for helping to captain this team on both sides of the ball. As Crean has talked about frequently, Ferrell is truly a two-way player, which is difficult to find.

· Looking for a spark from the bench: For the second straight game, Crean went a little deeper into the bench with Remy Abell logging 14 minutes, Derek Elston playing nine and Jeremy Hollowell totaling seven. Foul trouble dictated some of it, but I also wonder if Crean is still looking for a reliable option or two beyond Will Sheehey that can be counted on for the stretch run. Abell had one nice drive and finished with two points and two rebounds, Elston chipped in five points and Hollowell went scoreless. With the quick turnarounds that the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments present, Indiana could use valuable minutes from its bench, but last night didn’t answer the question of where those minutes might come from.

· Zeller bounces back: Tuesday’s loss at Minnesota was especially tough for IU’s star sophomore. He scored nine points on 2-of-7 shooting, committed four turnovers and was outplayed by Trevor Mbakwe. But as we’ve seen from Cody Zeller throughout his two seasons in Bloomington, his incredible composure and maturity led him right back to a stellar performance. Zeller did it all Saturday night as he finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks, two steals and an assist. He dove for loose balls, ran the floor and had a couple of incredible dunks. Lost in some of the unnecessary jabs from the national media regarding a perceived lack of dominance are these facts about Zeller’s sophomore season: He leads IU in scoring, rebounding, free throws attempted, blocked shots and is second in field goal percentage.

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  • BrierBrax

    the first point is a very reassuring one, knowing we can get stops gives me a sense of confidence even when our shooters are MIA like last night

  • ElmondoH

    6th takeaway: Holy jeebus, 3 point shooting was in the toilet.

  • All I know is that we owe Purdue and DJ Byrd a big “THANKS” for beating Whisky today. If MSU loses to UM this afternoon, the worst the Hoosiers can do is t for the B10 crown.

  • OhioHoosier

    Not sure if anyone else will concur on this one, but I was at the game and although Vic played with energy and passion and had 8 rebounds and countless deflections, he seemed a little bit off, not his play, but he looked a little….cant think of the right word here so I guess I’ll say he just did not appear 100%. Maybe it was the foul trouble, but I wonder if the ankle is still bothering him. Those injuries certainly can be lingering.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    It also means that we could wrap up the outright regular season crown, a little earlier than most of us anticipated, Tuesday with a win on senior night. Now that a true rivalry appears pretty far fetched, Purdue should just settle into this role as the clearly inferior program that helps out the top state school by upsetting their conference contending competition.

  • MikeIU

    Am I the only one who thought it looked like the refs MUST have been given orders to call the game closely and not let it turn into the wrestling match that most B1G games have become this year? It was so completely different from almost all of the officiating I’ve seen this year.

    I’ve been complaining all year about the physicality of the games, with players constantly pushing, bumping, slapping, shoving, and hand-checking, to the point where the refs mostly just call the worst of the worst. Don’t get me wrong – I DO NOT want to see 50 fouls called every game, but I think if the refs call it this way consistently, the teams will eventually get back to more of a finesse type of game.

    Thoughts?

    Edit – Watching the UM/MSU game right now…. obviously those refs didn’t get the memo.

  • MikeIU

    Am I the only one who thought it looked like the refs MUST have been given orders to call the game closely and not let it turn into the wrestling match that most B1G games have become this year? It was so completely different from almost all of the officiating I’ve seen this year.

    I’ve been complaining all year about the physicality of the games, with players constantly pushing, bumping, slapping, shoving, and hand-checking, to the point where the refs mostly just call the worst of the worst. Don’t get me wrong – I DO NOT want to see 50 fouls called every game, but I think if the refs call it this way consistently, the teams will eventually get back to more of a finesse type of game.

    Thoughts?

    Edit – Watching the UM/MSU game right now…. obviously those refs didn’t get the memo.

  • ElmondoH

    OMG… I can’t believe I just cheered for Purdue winning, but they beat Wisconsin!

  • Medina_Sod

    Hmmm, Purdue CAN still serve a purpose. I hope they don’t go dyin’ on me.

  • MikeIU

    And Michigan just beat Michigan State! WooHoo!

  • Bruce

    The minne game was a brawl. I’d rather watch basketball.

  • SCHoosier

    also owe some thanks to UM..what a tough win over MSU today.

  • Amusingly or ironically four teams are 11-5 trailing IU by 2 games with two remaining, in golf when playing match-play 2-Up with 2 to-play is a close out position, beat OSU and have MSU beat UW and IU is champ outright.

  • Amusingly or ironically four teams are 11-5 trailing IU by 2 games with two remaining, in golf when playing match-play 2-Up with 2 to-play is a close out position, beat OSU and have MSU beat UW and IU is champ outright.

  • Ole Man

    I said it after the MN game; and I’ll continue to say it because it’s true–every game from here on out will be a “hack-a-thon” because teams now think that’s the way to beat Indiana. The nonsense about Cody not being tough (when he was being mugged) and the fact it takes us out of an offensive rhythm will be their “reasons”.

  • hooscal

    IU needs to win either of its two remaining games to be outright champs. Doesn’t matter what anyone else does. Wisc. is two games behind, just as the others are.

  • Mop Lady

    Great win! as is any Big Ten victory.

    Anyone know of any recruits at the game?

  • IUFan

    Will there be Senior Night coverage anywhere?

  • IUFan

    Will there be Senior Night coverage anywhere?

  • Indypin

    Thanks Purdue and Michigan! I be honest with you, I was always hoping to have IU play for the outright Big10 Championship against Ohio State on Seniors Night, but I thought it would be just a dream after the Minnesota loss. Now come on boys, win it Tuesday night and and bring in the trophy at home. Go IU!

  • AtariHero

    Elston is playing well. He deserves more playing time. Plus, he’s a senior and seems less likely to make the foolish mistakes that Abel and the rookies make.

  • marcusgresham

    With the exception of the play where Watford was called for knocking the guy down in the 2nd half. If you looked at that the guy was shoving the hell out of him the entire play, then flat pushed him out of bounds when the shot went up. Christian was rightfully pissed and just flattened the guy in retaliation.

  • HarrisonHoosier

    The thing I like about this team is that they have found a way to win (or keep it close) in every game that they have played. Regardless of the style of the opponent, we have been able to keep it close or flourish. When you consider that in the top ten (as of this morning) the worst loss each team has had is:

    Georgetown – 28 (plus a loss to the Hoosiers)

    Duke – 27
    Michigan – 23 (plus a loss to the Hoosiers)

    Miami – 19
    Gonzaga – 11
    Florida – 11
    Louisville – 9
    Michigan State – 8 (every game has been close)
    Kansas – 7 (every game has been close)

    IU has lost four games by a combined total of 13 points…the model of consistency – something we’ve not seen for a long time. Makes me love this team even more.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    The refs may have been under orders to call the game tight, but it sure as heck didn’t stop Iowa from leaning, shoving, grabbing jersey, and hand checking. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was the same type of thuggery in the paint that we see when Wisconsin is playing, but it was way more physical than I had thought Iowa had ever been before. Cody and CWat in particular were just being shoved all over the place once they came within a few feet of the basket.

    I wasn’t expecting any of that, not from Iowa. Seems as though they’ve shifted their team identity a bit.

  • Benhyoung14

    So when they play their 12th man in the first 10min of the game, then we know why? Fouling us early and often gets us out of our rhythm.

  • Benhyoung14

    So when they play their 12th man in the first 10min of the game, then we know why? Fouling us early and often gets us out of our rhythm.