The Minute After: Temple

  • 03/24/2013 8:01 pm in


Thoughts on a 58-52 win against the Owls:

They did it. Finally.

The Hoosiers, in a grind-it-out game reminiscent of losses this season, got over the hump in a low-scoring affair and willed themselves to victory in crunch time.

It was tough and far from beautiful. But they survive, and D.C. and the Sweet Sixteen are calling.

Much was made of the Khalif Wyatt-Victor Oladipo matchup. Wyatt owned the first half, scoring 20 points in 20 minutes on 8-of-14 shooting. Crean tried others beyond Oladipo like Remy Abell and Will Sheehey, but Wyatt kept old-manning IU, kept hitting while his teammates only mustered nine of the team’s first half points. IU trailed 29-26 at the break, as Jordan Hulls iced his shoulder in the locker room and Cody Zeller sat with two fouls.

Temple, a team that played five-straight one point games during the season, was physical and grabbed this game by the throat. It got second-chance opportunities with offensive rebounding. It slowed the Hoosiers into a halfcourt game. This is the formula to beat Indiana, and the Owls were sitting pretty. Had they hit more shots in the first half (heck, had they hit more shots period with just a 33.9 percent mark from the field for the game and a terrible 3-of-24 performance from distance), and Indiana might be heading back to Bloomington with tail firmly between its legs.

But the Hoosiers played the second half exactly how they needed to in this type of game. Cody Zeller had a rough afternoon (six turnovers, 4-of-10 from the field), but Indiana went to him time and time again early in the second half and he kept drawing fouls, which set up an early bonus situation for IU. The fruits of that labor were capitalized on at the end of the contest, as Indiana got two double bonus trips to the line in the closing minute of the game, where Oladipo hit 1-of-2 and Watford hit 2-of-2. The Hoosiers finished the game 16-of-20 from the line.

And because Temple couldn’t buy a bucket — and because Wyatt went cold for a stretch amidst all his barking and jawing and cursing — Indiana never trailed by more than six and was always within striking distance.

“The big thing for us was that Temple never got any separation,” Crean would say after the game.

And so a late strike would be made.

Down four (52-48) after two Wyatt free throws, Hulls, painful shoulder and all, made a move and hit a jumper at the free throw line.

Hulls told teammates after the game that his “legs would have had to be cut off” for him not to play, and a literal interpretation of such a quote isn’t out of the question.

On the ensuing possession, Indiana’s defense would come up huge. Zeller and Oladipo blitzed a ball screen for Wyatt in the corner. He would heave the ball up at the rim and Anthony Lee was there at the rim to catch the ball. It looked as if it could be another late-in-the-shot-clock score for the Owls — something they did in the second half on a few occasions, a Wisconsin-esque performance. But Christian Watford would help weak side and come up with an enormous block. Lee would get a second-chance off the block and miss. Watford grabbed the board.

A reporter asked Watford after the game if this block was bigger than the #WatShot, and based on the stakes, he would say that it was.

Zeller would get to the line for the Hoosiers on the next possession and hit both attempts. Tie ballgame. And now it was time for the Wyatt and Oladipo show. Oladipo gambled and went for a steal out past the left wing. Wyatt would heave a 3-pointer off of it and miss. The DeMatha product grabbed the long board and drove up in transition, only to be fouled in the process by Wyatt. He would hit 1-of-2 at the line to give the Hoosiers a one-point advantage.

Another Indiana defensive stand began with Wyatt being denied the ball because of Oladipo’s faceguarding. Temple would call timeout with 10 seconds left to shoot and more faceguarding by Oladipo and a double-team from Yogi Ferrell again kept the ball away from Wyatt. The Owls could only muster a deep jumper from Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson that missed and went out of bounds. Oladipo’s huge 3-pointer and Watford’s aforementioned 2-of-2 trip from the line would seal it.

Indiana finished the game on a 10-0 run. After the game, an admittedly relieved Crean would tell this Temple team it was the toughest the Hoosiers had faced all year.

Maybe true, maybe not. But Indiana finally figured out how to win against a team that slowed them down and mucked them up, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Filed to:

  • plane1972

    I agree, pcantidote, but I think basketball is just becoming a more physical sport trickling down from the NBA. I had some amazing seats at Thunder-Blazers game last night and the stuff we see in the college game is child’s play to what I saw at eye level last night.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    aha, good call! i didn’t make that connection.

  • plane1972

    Disagree. There’s a difference between knowing IU’s vulnerabilities and actually being able to exploit them.

  • Of course we’ll miss him. There’ll be no one to replace him with. That doesn’t mean he’s anywhere near ready for the NBA. His post moves are almost non- existent and he’s not a good enough athlete to shoot over guys or to block shots. He needs two more years to develop moves and strength. He’s very liable to end up just like Kirk Hasten.


  • CreamandCrimson

    Thank you…those who think college is way more physical than the NBA just aren’t paying much attention to the brutal play in the post in the pro game.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I don’t disagree with you but saying “change the substitution pattern” is quite a bit different than saying “no more substitutions”.

    Don’t worry about “being marked down”…I’ve posted “Go Hoosiers” and ended up with several “down votes”. Trolls are gonna troll.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I respect Dunphy. He’s won every single place he has gone. Did you see his comments about the length of the media timeouts in the NCAA Tournament? He said you “can take naps” during the timeouts because they are so ridiculously long. You’re right, he’s way more likeable than Ryan.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    You know, folks, I was as down on the game as anyone else (just look for my comments in the Hoosier Scoop CoverItLive chat for evidence). I really was bothered by a lot of the failures to do certain things – LIKE REBOUND! – in the game.

    But honestly, sometimes we have to analyze the entire game, and not just give it the eye test. As Terry Hutchens of the Indianapolis Star pointed out, IU is 12 – 0 when they hold a team to 55 points or less, and while IU didn’t contain Wyatt at all, they sure as heck did a number on everyone else. We’re all talking about Temple as if they’re one dimensional, but that’s not true; Scootie Randall and Jake O’Brien were both double-digit scorers themselves. Sure, they shot poorly, but how much of that was IU’s defense forcing them into either perimeter jumpers or pressured shots? IU took a lot of their offense away, and Temple just sealed the deal by having 4 of their 5 guys shoot like garbage when they shot.

    So really, IU didn’t do quite as bad as we think. Yeah, Temple kept a lead because Wyatt carried his team – but they only had that lead because Wyatt was carrying his team. While it’s true that IU came far too close to losing due to poor offensive execution, it’s also true that they managed to force Temple to lean on their star player way beyond normal, and that tough sonuvabitch just managed to hold up under that pressure. It’s as legitimate a narrative to say that had Wyatt had a normal game, IU would’ve beat Temple big.

    Are there areas of concern about this IU team? Of course there are. But we know what they are, we’ve been seeing it all year now. IU can get stagnant and careless in the half court. Cody can have trouble against really physical interior play (although for those calling Cody “soft”, you’ll note that a lot of his errors were committed when he was doubled). They can have abysmally cold shooting streaks. There are too many times they watch rebounds instead of fight for them. And so on… we know all this. We’ve suffered through it for the entire damn season. But yet, this team has compiled a 14 win conference season, and a well-past 20 win overall season. And that’s because they do a lot of things we don’t pay attention to when things go bad. Cody may have had half the team’s turnovers, but he’s also responsible for a lot of Temple’s foul problems. Jordy may give up a ton of height 90% of the time, but he defends really tight and solid away from the ball. Yogi may make some brain dead passes (and dammit, I wish he wouldn’t go into the air so often when he had no one to pass to), but he also sees some openings that others can’t even imagine, and makes a scary number of them; even on turnovers, he forced defensive attention. Hollowell and Abell can make some brain dead decisions, but does anyone pay attention to how well they defend? And who’s better at cutting to get open in traffic than Sheehey? So many things are done well, but get ignored because the mistakes are so glaring. Really, the team has a lot of good to it.

    Can IU do better? Well, of course. It’s weird to think that IU is a legit championship contender and still isn’t reaching it’s potential, but it’s true: They can do a lot better. The thing is, though, that doesn’t mean they’re doing bad. Nailing a conference title and #1 tournament seed is no small accomplishment. And while they have games like the first 37 minutes of yesterday, they also have it in them to play like the last 3 minutes of yesterday. And like they did against MSU. And against Michigan.

    Nothing’s perfect, but that’s part of what makes this team so likeable. They’re not some monolith. They’re a bunch of guys who sometimes brainfart, but other times make up for that by just flying to incredible heights. They’re human, not some machine. And to get the good, sometimes you got to put up with the bad. That’s just real life in a microcosm.

  • CreamandCrimson

    You’re right…The Butler game was in the upper 80’s. This game didn’t resemble that one at all. It did resemble the Wisconsin games….except for the outcome. It wasn’t pretty and we are definitely vulnerable. So is Syracuse. So is Marquette. So is Miami (Illinois nearly took them out last night).

  • CreamandCrimson

    So you’re saying that unless we score and rebound we are going to lose in the Sweet 16 to a team who was at one point in the top 5 this season?

    I am of the opinion that the NCAA Tournament is about survive and advance much more than it is about having great performances every game. We made back-to-back Sweet 16’s. I think most of us are choosing to be relieved we survived and we will worry about Syracuse soon enough. Let’s not forget, Syracuse was dreadful for large portions of the game against 12-seed California. It’s going to be a very tough game, I’m thankful we survived to be able to play it.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    You know, for as much as I complain about it, physical play is not something new, nor is it really something that’s undesirable. I recall complaining back in the late 80s/ early 90’s – yeah, the Eighties and Nineties! – about what I disparagingly called “alley ball” back then (No, that wasn’t a polite term at all; it was meant to imply a big city street thuggishness to a playing style… and no, I don’t pretend to have been mature as a college student; I can only say I’ve grown up since then). It existed, and it sure as heck frustrated people as much as it does people today. But the thing is, there certainly wasn’t anything dainty about Indiana’s screening offense in Knight’s heyday; anyone remember the Sutton quote about “thuggery in the pivot” in reference to what IU did to their team? Physical play has been around for quite a while now, and even I admit we fans only complain about it when we end up on the short end of it. Other times, we just call it “tough play”.

  • I think it was Eamonn Brennan (sp?) on ESPN that claimed the late block Wyatt got called for vs Vic was a ‘questionable’ call. Maybe ‘questionable’ relative to the other action in the game. This truly was a no blood/no foul game for certain stretches.


    IUMIKE1’s arm instantly shoots straight up to second that !!

  • hoosier1158

    Part of the issue are the lame announcers hired to broadcast the games. Any one that makes a comment like that, doesn’t really know the game.

  • I wondered how that head-spearing on Hulls did not fall into the category of blows above the shoulders that the refs have been stopping games for. Compare that to Will Sheehey’s ‘elbow’ in that got called for a foul last year against VCU.

  • AtariHero

    The stats are out. Hulls was +20! Yogi was -6. The stats don’t lie.

  • AtariHero

    It’s more than courage and will. The team plays better when he’s in the game. +20 against temple. Zeller and Watford were +6. Yogi was -6.

  • AtariHero

    +20 for Hulls; -6 for Yogi. I think that stat says everything you need to know about running our offense.