The Minute After: Ohio State

  • 03/06/2013 12:09 am in

craft

Thoughts on a 67-58 loss to the Buckeyes:

There would be no outright Big Ten title awarded on Senior Night, no fitting ending to the group that brought Indiana back to its rightful place on top of the college basketball mountain. No, the Buckeyes would come into this game like the Badgers did all those weeks ago, with confidence, no fear and the belief that they could rip the hearts outs of the Assembly Hall faithful, and that they did.

The second half was an absolute defensive clinic against the most efficient offense in the nation, a performance reminiscent of Ohio State’s comeback run against the Spartans at home a few weekends back — strips and steals and blocks on the defensive end leading to buckets, many of them coming from Aaron Craft. Craft is pest, a nuisance, a gnat on defense. But when he also has it going on the other end of the court, when he’s getting to the rim and hitting his jumper, he’s that much more integral to the Buckeyes. And he was doing that tonight. His line: 15 points (7-of-10), four steals, four assists. Dan Dakich called him the most important player on the floor on a few occasions on the call, and well: He was probably right.

By the final buzzer and Tom Crean’s speedy handshake to Thad Matta, the Buckeyes had racked up eight steals, seven blocks and scored 17 of their points off of Indiana’s turnovers. (Indiana would  score nine in this department.) They’d hold the Hoosiers to just 39.6 percent shooting from the field and .96 points per possession. Cody Zeller (17 points) and Christian Watford (12 points) would be the only Hoosiers in double-digits on the evening. Saddled with foul trouble in the first half, Victor Oladipo wouldn’t even attempt a shot. He made up for lost time to start the second half, scoring five points in an out-the-gate run that saw IU score on seven of its first eight possessions. But the aforementioned OSU defense turned up the heat and Oladipo would finish with seven points (3-of-6) and an uncharacteristic four turnovers. Will Sheehey and Yogi Ferrell would end the night a combined 4-of-16.

Ohio State’s second-best defense in the conference on a per-possession basis did it’s thing tonight, and the Hoosiers had just too large a deficit (11 points, a season-high) with too little time left to make a run at a come-from-behind victory. The Buckeyes also did a better job of cleaning up their misses (an offensive rebounding percent of 35.3 compared to Indiana’s 28.6) and recorded 10 second-chance points to IU’s seven.

This is one huge, bitter pill to swallow. Indiana missed out on a great opportunity to seize the outright Big Ten title at home on Senior Night. And as ESPN’s Joe Lunardi tweeted after this one, Indiana has now lost its grasp on the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament and a spot in the Midwest Regional. He now has them out East as the No. 1.

But it is what it is and the sun will rise tomorrow and these Hoosiers will have to regroup. A game against the Wolverines awaits on Sunday up in Ann Arbor and a win there erases this one and still gives Indiana an outright Big Ten title. If not, the Hoosiers still get to call themselves Big Ten champs with tournament time looming.

As these seniors well know, not everything goes according to plan and not everything is easy. It doesn’t always start or end how we dream, but life, and this season, moves on.

Filed to:

  • marcusgresham

    I think Yogi still drives with the intent of passing, but too often he gets to the rim and no one flashes to give him a target so he’s forced to try to shoot over someone a foot taller. Teammates have to recognize who has the ball and respond accordingly. You get open, he’ll hit you.

  • marcusgresham

    OK, here’s your silver lining. Teams in the B1G are keying on IU, and have several days to prepare. You don’t get that in a tournament setting. They are also beating the hell out of our guys, which is pretty standard for late-season B1G play (Craft played the entire game dribbling with one hand, shoving off with the other and it wasn’t called one time. Ditto for Thomas rebounding–there’s a reason he was pulling down one-handed rebounds; he was pushing/holding with the other.) In the tournament they’ll call things much more closely, and no one can really stop IU without manhandling them.

  • Ole Man

    Coach has to be aware of it first.

  • CreanFaithful

    I’ve noticed an evolution to his driving tenancies this year. He has gradually made changes, intended to make himself more rounded as a point guard. Early in the year, he would penetrate the defense with ZERO intentions of putting up a shot… giving up countless shooting opportunities. The last couple of games we saw him try to draw contact at the rim in hopes of getting to the line, but sacrificing (and missing) point blank attempts. Last night, I think CTC had told him to worry less about the contact and put the ball in the hoop. Unfortunately, he left himself open for blocked shots. I believe a floater will be in his arsenal very soon!

  • CreanFaithful

    You have to be kidding me! Yogi needs to continue to drive to the hoop… EVERY POSSESSION. Dipo, Yogi, Dipo, Yogi, etc. He could stand to add a floater to his game and be more creative with getting his shot off, but we can’t have the pass only mentality that he had early in the season. Defenses key on these tenancies. There is nothing more dangerous than a lightning fast point guard that is unpredictable. He’s a freshman and I believe he has continually elevated his game all season. I expect more of the same as we proceed…

  • Ole Man

    What you don’t know about the Knight era would fill Assembly Hall. Grow up and stop berating someone long gone with half-ignorant opinions.

  • CreanFaithful

    Ridiculous. I bet CTC watches tape and throws his hands in the air saying “I don’t know what went wrong”… LOL. Yogi is essential to this teams success. Room for improvement? Certainly. But limiting his opportunities won’t make him a better player.

  • Ole Man

    Totally agree, but Crean will run them ragged. It’s his MO.

  • Ole Man

    Name calling of those who disagree with you has no place on this board.

  • Ole Man

    Are you the same guy who said we would win by 15 yesterday?

  • Ole Man

    Are you the same guy who said we would win by 15 yesterday?

  • chiswede

    Eh, I could honestly care less. I’m tired of hearing that excuse, and I stand by my comment.

  • CreanFaithful

    “I have a problem when the Coach of Indiana University is allowing his players assessment of how the game unfolded.”

    Huh? You don’t want players that are educated enough to reflect on their own performances? That makes absolutely no sense. I for one want players that are able to identify weaknesses/shortcomings and better yet, one’s that know what corrective actions are necessary.

    I don’t think CTC has them running practices…

  • CreanFaithful

    Which part of his post wasn’t factual?

  • That was the best game I’ve ever seen Aaron Craft play! Incredible confidence! Too bad on the timing! Let’s beat MU on Sunday and go from there!

  • Agree with letting your starters carry the load in big time games such as tonight and tournament play, as much as possible! They have to get into a flow and the constant subbing curtails that! Bringing Sheehey in is fine, but Elston, Hollowell & Creek are at a different level! Fine during the early season, but when the cards are on the table, you have to go with who got you there!

  • Jeffrey

    Well that is your opinion. As some of the people on this page have wrote – they haven’t played right since their seven days off. As far as it making no sense – if you think mediocrity is okay – well okay for you. If it doesn’t make sense – I don’t know what to tell you.

  • Jeffrey

    If they were so good at assessing their performances as you say – then these intellectual guys who are smart would adjust their games to a new level. Your just angry because it’s the truth. Winners never make excuses, losers always do. Seemed to me they were perfectly okay with a “share” of the Big Ten Title. I’m selfish – I don’t want to share it with any other team in the Big Ten. Obviously you think it is okay. I don’t.

  • janet

    i agree with all that has been said tonight.and I am also grateful for our Seniors who have fought and stuck a round to get us here.BUT,We have to be More AGRESSIVE,TOUGHEN UP ZELLER…!!! Coach Crean needs to give them a workout that they won’t forget even if he has to use football gear.Get Physical,they get physical with you get physical with them,Work on the offence more too.We ust to be the best in offence IDK I Just don’t believe we r anymore.Come On Crean Toughen them up,You can do it and so can they…!!!

  • CreanFaithful

    Your response addresses nothing from my post… My comments had nothing to do with the teams performance. Rather, their ability to reflect and analyze their performance. Please read again.

  • Wyatt

    They’ve won 23 games, do you still consider them a national contender? What I’m saying is records don’t mean anything. If IU doesn’t switch up their style of play they won’t make it past the sweet sixteen. You can’t be one dimensional like Indiana is, especially when everybody has figured out how simple we are to prepare for. Press, physicality, and swinging the ball around the perimeter to get open looks. IU doesn’t have a very good half court offense so if they can limit the fast breaks they will completely ruin the pace we try to set which has been this teams kryptonite. So yes, I can understand his frustration considering the way this team has played compared to their potential.

  • Jeffrey

    Yes it did I just didn’t answer it the way you wanted. How can a team reflect and analyze their performance when obviously they lost the game. Thus why we have coaches. I mean why have a coach if the team can “accurately” reflect and analyze their performance. I love Indiana and hope they do well. Simple as that. But when they play like crap – their is nothing to analyze. They didn’t execute. We agree to disagree.

  • Well first of all, we’re not as one dimensional as you make it seem. We scored 81 points against Ohio St. in Columbus in our first meeting with them, without recording one fast break point. That means all of our points came within the structure of a half-court offense. Not bad against a stingy defensive team like OSU. I think we’re more than capable of handling a press too. Minnesota back in January was our toughest game with that. Secondly, I never said I wasn’t frustrated with they way they played Tuesday night. We all know they got outplayed. And what exactly is their potential to you then if you think we’re so easy to figure out and beat? Sweet 16, Elite 8? I think we’re championship caliber with all the weapons we have. Establishing pace is critical, but I think even in a half-court game, I still think we’re fine..

  • mailman42

    Crean should have been working on the depth in the preseason vs. all the cupcakes we played.. Perea should be the one giving Zeller a breather not Hollowell.. Is he hurt? or off the court issues.? The blowouts were nice to watch, but its coming back to bite us with inexperienced bench players. Hollowell and Creek are looking to score and thats not what need.

  • mailman42

    This game gave me deja vu, Exactly like the Wisconsin game.. IU had no sense of urgency and the other team made a handfull of lucky shots near the end of the shotclock at the end of the game. Craft scored 15 points, about 10 more than normal. Why doesn’t Crean use timeouts when were clearly outta sync?

  • calbert40

    Sorry to keep you hanging, but no. I didn’t say that. I was sicker than a dog for a few days last week with the Plague.