Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Temple

  • 03/25/2013 10:06 am in

IUTempleITH0006DAYTON, Ohio — For the second straight season, Indiana is headed back to the Sweet 16. The Hoosiers, who trailed Temple for most of the second half, scored the game’s final 10 points in a 58-52 victory and now march on to Washington D.C. to face Syracuse.

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

· The block is bigger than the shot: It won’t be replayed on ESPN for months like the buzzer-beater that knocked off Kentucky, but Christian Watford’s block of Anthony Lee with 2:20 remaining was a game-saver. Had Lee completed that play, Indiana would have been staring down a two-possession deficit against a team that wasn’t giving up any ground to the nation’s most efficient offense. Watford, who has been criticized at times throughout his career for his inconsistencies, made a play on the ball that he wouldn’t have made a couple of years ago. Afterwards in the locker room, many of his teammates joked that it was the highest they’d ever seen him jump. “Christian’s defense showed a toughness that he has,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “It was great that the country got a chance to see that because they’re a really, really good team.”

· A fitting dagger for Oladipo: The improvement of Victor Oladipo’s perimeter game is a big part of his transformation from a solid complimentary player to an All-American. So it was only fitting that Oladipo, who was just a 21 percent 3-point shooter a season ago, knocked down a straight away 3-point dagger with 15 seconds to go to punch IU’s ticket to the Sweet 16. Oladipo admitted in his postgame comments that his struggles often come when he thinks before letting go of the ball. When he caught the ball on Sunday evening, there was no hesitation and no doubt that the ball was going in when it left his hands. “I was just open and I shot it,” he said. “It really didn’t have anything to do with the moment or the confidence to shoot it. I didn’t think about it.”

· Gritty performance from Hulls: After a collision typically reserved for the gridiron, Jordan Hulls winced and held his right shoulder as if something just wasn’t quite right. He stayed in the game for a couple of plays, but later left the bench for the locker room and his return seemed uncertain. But as the Hoosiers took the floor for the second half, it was clear that the Bloomington native, who had extra support under his jersey,would not sit out with his team on the brink of a third round loss. He wasn’t anywhere close to 100 percent, but Hulls hit two key shots, a 3-pointer with 8:52 remaining and a pull-up to draw IU within two at the 2:56 mark, that epitomize what being a leader is all about in winning time. “You’d have to do a lot more to me than that to keep me off the floor in this kind of situation,” Hulls said. “My teammates had confidence in me, and I was able to knock down some shots in the second half.”

· Indiana got stops when it needed to: Crean has talked frequently about the importance of stringing together stops in order for IU to accomplish its ultimate goal. On Sunday, the Hoosiers held Temple scoreless over the game’s final 3:09. Over its final five possessions, Temple had a shot blocked and missed five shots. Last season, Indiana was thwarted in the Sweet 16 because of its defense. This season, the Hoosiers marched on to the Sweet 16 because of defense. “That’s what we’ve been doing all year,” Cody Zeller said. “We’ve been in a lot of close games throughout the Big Ten especially. We’ve got a mature group that, even though it wasn’t going as well, we wouldn’t get things going for a while, but that’s what winners do.”

· Wyatt lights up Indiana, then goes cold: For 33 minutes and 29 seconds, Indiana had no answer for Temple guard Khalif Wyatt. The Atlantic 10 player of the year scored in every way possible: drives to the basket, pull-ups in the lane, from the foul line and from the perimeter. Wyatt was playing as if he wanted to be the guy in One Shining Moment who was responsible for knocking off Indiana. But over the game’s final 6:31, Wyatt went virtually silent. Despite finishing with a game-high 31 points, the Temple senior couldn’t get clean looks down the stretch and later credited IU’s defense as a big reason for his quiet finish. “Oladipo is a really good defender. And that kid [Remy] Abell is a really good defender,” Wyatt said. “It was just really hard for me to get the ball.”

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  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    What? Waitaminute… my impression is that he leaves his feet too often and can be tricked out of position by a clever player. I very clearly recall one Temple pass that ended up in the low post, and the guy head faked Cody into jumping right past him in an attempt to block.

    Possibly I’m wrong, but like I said, my observations are that he and the rest of the team does it too much.

  • notfargj

    while the sentiment of seeing remy hit a game winner on louisville is a wonderful prospect and something all of us would hope for, the reality is that we have to get past syracuse first. if we play like we did yesterday, any chance of seeing louisville or a final four will have been just a dream – unless, syracuse comes out flat and has a bad game. the spirit with which the team played against james madison completely disappeared against temple.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    He hit a couple outside shots against Nix and Payne at MSU and then put it in the bag completely. Where is the shooter I watched in high school?

  • ShanghaiHoosier

    on the Dan Patrick Show (after the Michigan win) he said he “was pretty close” last year to deciding to go to the NBA

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I agree even though he’ll probably still be a lottery pick because of the dreaded “upside”.

    The thing is they don’t give you much time in the NBA to find that upside before they move on to the next upside. It’s not a very patient or forgiving league. Does Cody look that much more dominant or athletic than DJ White because he’s still signing 10-day contracts!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    My favorite part of the game was when Tom Crean said during the halftime interview that IU players would have to figure out that Wyatt wasn’t going to give it up and stop going 1-on-1. Then, first play of the second half, we let him go 1-on-1 against Remy and he scores. I just shook my head. Apparently, the team either didn’t listen or Crean didn’t relay the message good enough!

  • henrymonte

    Give Jordan Hulls some credit for Victor’s 3 pointer at the end. If you watch the replay carefully, you will see Hulls come out to get the ball up high. He then goes to the baseline. He crosses the baseline and then comes back to set a screen for Zeller. Zeller gets the ball down low and takes a couple dribbles drawing literally all the defenders to him. Zeller then passes to Victor who cans the three. Yes, Victor hit the shot and yes, Zeller got him the ball. But, Hulls set it up for Zeller and got knocked on his butt again for his trouble. Great play by Hulls in my view.

  • marcusgresham

    No one has really used the sky hook since George Zidek on the ’95 UCLA team.

  • marcusgresham

    I’ve wondered all season why this team doesn’t throw alley-oops. I bet there haven’t been 10 all season, and if there were close to that many only a couple were actually dunked (maybe that’s why–no one can execute the pass.)

  • marcusgresham

    Louisville was tearing apart that zone with Gorgui Dieng at the free throw line. Zeller is as good a passer as Dieng is.

  • marcusgresham

    As for Wyatt not guarding anyone, I wondered why whomever he was on earlier in the game wasn’t running him all over the place and wearing him out.

  • marcusgresham

    Crean may need to “earn” an early technical if his guys are going to be roughed up like they were Sunday. Sometimes he could stand a bit of Knightcotic behavior to get some calls.

  • IUMIKE1

    I know exactly what play you are talking about and I too was yelling shoot it, shoot it. You would think with you and everyone I was watching with yelling it he would have heard all of us and shot it.

  • IUMIKE1

    Have been saying that for some time this year. Getting T’d up for the right thing (letting the refs know that he knows they are letting the other team get by with too many uncalled fouls) and at the right time (at the first of the game after he makes his point more than once, it becomes evident that the calls still aren’t being made and right after a noncall results in a change of possession) could end up being a good thing.

  • He’ll flop in the NBA; all big men can run up there. He needs to get fatter and tougher, or he will go the way of Kirk Haston or Jay Edwards…

  • iuoiu

    I don’t think they want him out there shooting jump shots where he won’t get fouled. It’s better for him to be inside and draw fouls all day. Yeah it results in some plays where he gets roughed up pretty badly, but as we’ve seen in the Temple and countless other games those fouls he draws become huge for us down the line.

  • CreamandCrimson

    He isn’t ready for the NBA….there are very few guys in college who are. I can’t think of a single player I have seen this season who I would describe as being “NBA-ready”. If Cody goes (it’s his choice and his alone), he will be chosen in the top 10, get a guaranteed contract and improve a whole lot as he practices against grown men. He can improve by coming back for his junior season, he can probably improve a lot more by practicing in the NBA against much better players than Luke Fischer and Hanner Perea.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Cody has to get out of the habit of being flimsy when going up for a shot. Shot fake sure, but he has to channel his raw power. I think he would benefit tremendously from some Pete Newell tutelage.

  • HoosierTrav

    My exact thoughts all year. I have been bashed for saying it though, so I try and avoid bringing it up.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    Thanks Cream , now I can stop waiting by the phone for Cody to ask me what he should do . My point is I don’t want to see him fail . And there are some other reasons he’s not ready that have already been mentioned . Hang on Victor’s calling for my opinion on his stock .

  • HoosierTrav

    The only fouls he will be drawing from this 2-3 zone, without shooting an elbow jumper, are charges. He doesn’t necessarily have to be on the perimeter. Free throw line extended is where he can do some damage. He cant continue to drive to the basket when the defender sags off of him. Not with this zone. they will have 2-3 guys to challenge bc its so predictable what he is doing and he will shoot the ball from his chest. Hitting a few jumpers will warrant double teams in which he can hit an open shooter, or will cause his man (depending on where in the zone he is) to be all over him, in which he can take him to the cup and draw a foul. His ability to shoot the ball is a needed weapon vs this type of zone defense. I’m more concerned about facing this Syracuse team than I would be facing any other team in the nation at this point. They present a huge challenge for us offensively. Lets hope that they shoot the ball terribly.

  • Benhyoung14

    I fully agree with you. I’m not saying that we should just start popping 3’s with 30 seconds on the shot clock, but if we get the ball down low to Cody, and the defense colapses, and someone is open then maybe it would be a good opportunity to shoot a 3. Our front line is a little taller, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Zeller go off. I could see us being successful inside, or out, and if it’s both, then game over.

  • HoosierTrav

    Truth! Its hard to get everyone to notice though bc we win games with the talent we have. The Ohio State game on the road and the MSU game on the road were the last times we looked like we were hitting on most cylinders. I dont count James Madison. Especially since we couldnt stop one guy from scoring at will.

  • I agree. For the first time in my life, I was bored with the tournament play on Saturday.Took a nap in the middle because it there was nothing to watch but blow-outs by teams still playing poorly. If I heard that ball clang on the rim one more time …

  • It’s the coaches’ responsibility to remind their players

  • CreamandCrimson

    No need to get smart. I was simply saying all of the speculation about what Cody is or isn’t ready for won’t impact his decision. I know that you know anything that is written here has no sway on anyone’s decision.

    I know no one here wants to see him fail. I think it can be said that Cody would improve and develop much quicker by going pro after this season and practicing against grown-men while getting a guaranteed contract.

    I don’t want to get into any kind of argument about this…we are playing Syracuse on Thursday night and whenever Cody decides to leave IU, this program and our fanbase is going to thank him for all he has done and really miss him.