The Minute After: Illinois

  • 03/15/2013 3:31 pm in

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Thoughts on an 80-64 victory over Illinois:

CHICAGO — Two D.J. Richardson free throws closed the gap to 60-52 with 8:17 to go, and you wondered: Would it happen again? Would the Illini make a late charge like they did all those weeks ago in Champaign and make a game of it after the Hoosiers had controlled it for so long?

Nope. Not this time, not this team. It was as close as Illinois would get the rest of the way, as Indiana simply wouldn’t allow for a collapse. It finished the game on a 20-12 run — enough for a comfortable 16-point victory and punctuated¬†with a breakaway #nomee 360-degree slam from Victor Oladipo, who shut down a whining Brandon Paul (2-of-13) and posted yet another double-double (12 points, 11 boards).

Both teams would have difficulty adjusting to the United Center’s sight lines to begin the contest. By the second TV timeout, the Hoosiers and Illini were only a combined 5-of-19 from the floor. At half, the teams combined to shoot only 2-of-14 from distance. It was also a bit of a slopfest; they combined for 19 turnovers. But the Hoosiers were able to take a 14-point lead (35-21) into the break because of their ability to score at the cup (18 points in the paint) and get to the line (10-of-12) — accounting for 28 of their 35 first half points. Indiana also put on a defensive clinic and held the Illini to just a 7-of-27 (25.9 percent) shooting from the floor.

Things opened up a bit for both team’s in the second half, which allowed Illini that run to cut the gap to eight. But by game’s end, the Hoosiers held U of I to under a point per possession (.96), just about what the Hoosiers’ defense averaged in league play (.98).

Cody Zeller is dominant in his own right, but against Illini’s weak frontline, he feasted all game long and was efficient in the process — a 9-of-11 performance for 24 points. He would post a perfect 6-of-6 line from the line and find Will Sheehey — who was strong offensively for a second straight game (11 points, 4-of-4) — on a nifty back door cut in the first half. His afternoon would not be without fault, though, as he did record four of Indiana’s 16 turnovers. The Hoosiers turned the ball over on 21.3 percent of their possessions.

Indiana also kept things out of reach for the Illini on the strength of its rebounding. Carrying over from the Michigan game, the Hoosiers again got after it on the offensive end, snatching up an impressive 45.8 percent of their misses, leading to 12 second-chance points.

The Hoosiers had a typical share-the-ball offensive performance (1.24 points per possession) and had four players in double figures. The aforementioned Oladipo and Zeller, as well as Yogi Ferrell, who missed all five 3-pointers he took, but was perfect otherwise on a 5-of-10 performance from the field and 2-of-2 mark from the line for 12 points. Christian Watford was engaged and and hit 2-of-3 from distance and 7-of-8 from the line to cap a 15-point performance. Jordan Hulls finished with just one point, but his seven assists outpaced the entire Illinois roster (6).

This was a strong outing for the Hoosiers on both ends of the floor to start and it bodes well for the rest of the weekend. Tomorrow’s opponent — be it Michigan or Wisconsin — is likely to bring a tougher challenge. It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season no matter who they are. And Tom Crean has never beaten Bo Ryan as coach of the Hoosiers.

But if Indiana brings this type of high-level play Saturday as well, it should be well positioned to advance to Sunday’s championship bout.

Filed to:

  • Hoo Hoo Hound dog

    Question, does the B1G use the same refs for football and basketball? The physical play in this conference is out of control. Its not basketball. Cody and the rest of this team will benefit in the Dance when they get away from the B1G refs and actual fouls are called. That being said, way to get back at Illanoy guys!

  • MillaRed

    Hey I would love to chat but I’m watching this amazing Big Ten Coach of the Year work up this magical 17 point 1st half. Hit me up later.

  • Hoo Hoo Hound dog

    Ha Ha. I agree but Michigan is in trouble. I would rather have a chance at Wisky and not have to beat Michigan 3 times though.

  • CreanFaithful

    I’m not sure there is another coach capable of such a feat… Truly impressive!

  • unclekerfuffle

    I lost it when DD commented that he didn’t want to know which Big Ten coach did not vote for Cody as 1st Team All-Big Ten; he didn’t want to lose respect for the coach.

  • unclekerfuffle

    I lost it when DD commented that he didn’t want to know which Big Ten coach did not vote for Cody as 1st Team All-Big Ten; he didn’t want to lose respect for the coach.

  • Randy

    The guy makes watching paint dry more interesting!

  • I applaud you for having the patience and intestinal fortitude to actually watch that sorry excuse of a first half.

  • MikeIU

    I was pretty sure Illinois wouldn’t fool us twice.

  • SCHoosier

    they won’t do that two halves in a row

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    After the game, the great Bo joked he was going to find the guy that invented halftime and write him a letter. Of course, his favorite part of the game is when nobody can score or even attempt a shot and tired fans nearly fall asleep waiting for the game to start. What he didn’t tell you is that he isn’t planning on writing him any letter. Instead, he is going to dig up that guy’s bones, sharpen them into points and find the guy that invented the shot clock (or his ancestors) and then stab them in the heart.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I hope we remind everybody what basketball looks like tomorrow, while laying claim to having beaten every other conference team this year.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I hope we remind everybody what basketball looks like tomorrow, while laying claim to having beaten every other conference team this year.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    In-game 360? Zeller says it’s no big deal. He’s probably right. First Team Academic All-American unimpressed with the Wooden Award winner’s dunk on the way to securing his own under the radar NCAA tournament MVP.

  • Matt S

    Bring on Wisconsin. We already swept Michigan, there’s nothing left to prove there. I want to see our team exorcise some Badger demons. What a great way to way to enter the tournament, by finally getting over that Bo Ryan hurdle.

  • Miamihoosier

    I’m so happy to be playing Wisconsin. Not because I think it’s a gauranteed win, in fact, we could lose, but if we want to win a National Championship we have to learn how to play and beat their style. Louisville would play a very similiar game against us, but with way more talent. Can’t wait to see what we’ve learned from the first match up, and the type of patience we can display.

  • SCHoosier

    Great defense by the Hoosiers today…good thing we pounded it inside cause IU (Hulls) couldn’t hit their butts from the outside. Nice work on the FT’s and rebounding margin was again off the chart. Could have done without the 14 TO’s..that will NOT cut it against a quality team. ILL was like a bad tooth..just kept causing irritation until IU just took it out int he last 7 minutes of the game. Thanks WAT for those threes. Looks like we’ll see who the coach of the year is tomorrow given the UM-Wis score I just saw.. We let WIS dictate the pace its a problem. Even bigger one though if we hurry too fast and take reckless shots. EVERY possession means something in a game with the Badgers..I’m hoping Bo doesn’t earn his title.. Go Hoosiers..make’em bricklayers again.

  • How the heck did we ever lose to this team? Damn, Hulls, Ferrell, and Oladipo go 0-10 from three point range, IU turns the ball over on 20% of it’s possessions and Indiana still wins easy. I have already forgotten about Illinois. Can’t wait for tomorrow! We have got to beat freaking Wisconsin! I mean, I’m going to look awfully stupid for all the things I said about Bo Ryan winning the B1G COY if he beats us again for the 254th time in a row.

  • IUMIKE1

    I know, what a first half. Only the B1G COY could guide a team in producing a performance of that magnitude. That was simply a clinic and text book example of………….you fans of the coach and team that was outright B1G champs fill in the line.

  • IUMIKE1

    Would only be fitting if Sherwin-Williams was the name on Bucky’s home floor. That company could get more bang for their buck doing that than any other way I can think of. I mean everybody already associates their name with paint drying the only thing missing is the Sherwin-Williams name.

  • Time to end that streak against the Badgers but I know coach won’t be looking at it that way.

  • Time to end that streak against the Badgers but I know coach won’t be looking at it that way.

  • PDXHoosier

    I really wanted Wisky to lose only because I don’t know if I can tolerate watching them play another game

  • MillaRed

    Oh God could you imagine him pulling the Dean Smith 4 corners???? That was so excruciating to watch.

    I realize now how Bo won the COY. We do not have enough players shooting jumpers at the free throw line. True measure of great coaching.

  • MillaRed

    Thank my wife. Otherwise I would have watched the sewing channel. More action.

  • MillaRed

    From this point forward, IUMike1 and MillaRed will refer to him as Slo Ryan.

  • IUMIKE1

    LOL LOL and so it was said as it was written and so it shall be from this moment forward till the end of time…..

    OK, one more time LOL

  • marcusgresham

    I think we should all fall in line.

  • marcusgresham

    There were a few ridiculous calls, but that’s any game. I honestly thought this was one of the best-officiated games of the season.

  • The President has approved the CIA torturing alleged terrorists by forcing them to watch Wisconsin play offense.

  • Geoff_85

    But Marcus…they continually jumped on IU’s back for rebounds (yet Watford was called for an on the back rebound), the “shove” called on Zeller was absolute s**t, the “travel” on Zeller was absolute s**t, the foul on Hulls’ reach in (on Egwu, I believe) was absolute s**t, how many times did the referees bail out Paul and Abrams? Groce and Paul complaining had a major impact on the officiating. Then, questionable calls down the stretch in the Iowa/MSU game. I don’t BLAME the officials for losing games (save for the game at wisconsin last year), but we have to continue to call them out because the commentators sure won’t, the media definitely isn’t and that includes the figureheads with their own shows (Dakich, the ESPN Network people, etc). I wish Coach Crean would speak up more if the referees are going to reward coaches for getting in their ears. You would think that they would give calls to a coach who hardly complains about calls, but nope, they’ve been rewarding the coaches that complain the most, and Groce is definitely in that conversation.

  • Hoo Hoo Hound dog

    Jay Bilas will call them out and has all season. But he is the only one.

  • Hammer

    VICTOR will get POY and the B10 will then be embarrassed!

  • The sad part is I watched one of his old teams at Platteville back in the day and they ran a pretty exciting offense with a lot of quick cuts and good shooters. They were the gold standard for D-III back in the 90s.