The Minute After: Syracuse

  • 03/29/2013 1:55 am in

IUSyrITH0014Thoughts on a 61-50 loss to the Orange: 

The dream dies tonight.

No Banner Six from this group, no march onwards to the Elite Eight for a matchup against Tom Crean’s former Marquette team. In a season filled with so much promise and so many expectations, the Hoosiers are done. They advance no further than last year’s Sweet Sixteen appearance, and it’s a disappointment.

This was a special team with special kids. But Syracuse’s zone defense, its length and athleticism, was just too much for Indiana. It was a style and a group of athletes the likes of which the Hoosiers hadn’t faced this season. And, save for a brief glimmer of hope early in the second half, they were dominated for much of the contest because of it. Indiana turned it over on 28.4 percent of its possessions (a season-high 19 turnovers). The Hoosiers were so overmatched in the first half, they were once down 18. Six different Syracuse players recorded a total of 10 blocks, about half of them coming on Cody Zeller field goal attempts. Zeller is an elite college player, but the truth is this: His style of playing low to the ground makes him susceptible against length and athleticism, and he struggled against it all year — no more glaring than tonight.

Syracuse’s D got so stingy that Christian Watford couldn’t even get off desperation 3-point attempts at the end of the contest. It was a tough matchup they simply couldn’t overcome. Yet, the Orange only scored 61 points (.910 points per possession). On most nights this year, that’s not enough to best the Hoosiers. But tonight, with so much on the line, it was. After the game, IU players, including Jordan Hulls and Remy Abell, spoke of thinking too much instead of just playing. There was a certain deer-in-the-headlights look to the Hoosiers tonight, and it did little to help matters.

Before this season, there were questions about a starting backcourt of Hulls and Yogi Ferrell. Could such a small duo defend night in and night out? It was a narrative that never gained much steam because Indiana’s overall defense was so much better than last season and matchups were never that big of an issue for them … until tonight. Brandon Triche (14 points, 6-of-12) abused Jordan Hulls time and again. Yogi Ferrell didn’t even start the second half. The duo failed to score (a combined 0-of-8). Hulls finished the month of March just 9-of-37 from 3-point range (24.3 percent).

“It will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Hulls said of his late season shooting struggles tonight after the game, and that just rips your heart out.

Couple Indiana’s weak offensive showing against Temple with its woeful outing tonight (just .746 points per possession, 33 percent shooting from the field including a 3-of-15 performance from 3-point range, a rough 15-of-24 showing at the line) and the nation’s most efficient offense ended the season on a low note. Let this team get going in transition and they were marvelous. Keep them in the halfcourt and get physical with them? They were less than ordinary. And they sputtered down the stretch, going just 5-4 over their last nine games.

Still, Indiana put together a terrific season. It won its first Big Ten outright title in 20 years, was ranked No. 1 for several weeks and is firmly back in the national spotlight. But the hard, cold reality is whether fair or not, a deeper run was expected of this team. It just was. Final Four or bust and the Hoosiers fell short.

Twenty-six years ago, Keith Smart’s shot against Syracuse propelled Indiana to Banner Five. Twenty-six years later, Syracuse drops the Hoosiers from the tournament.

All these years later, and they’re still after Banner Six.

Filed to:

  • IUMIKE1

    K, just wondering. Let me ask you something Milla, this Chuck Kinney dude that has posted like 387 times with absolutely nothing but negative stuff, do you or any one else remember him posting here before this game ? Now if he has just found this great site and is new to it I will say, ” whatever ” and he is welcome to his opinion, and if he wants to comment in a way that justifies people wondering if he should get the troll label, ” whatever “, to that as also. It just seems like that that is not the case. I think the one that gets me the most is the one where he says most IU bball fans don’t have a real clue how the game is played. Saying you don’t agree with how another IU fan sees it is one thing but to say that most of us don’t have a real clue is another and just show his lack of having a clue IMHO. Well I guess he’s right in that regard about when it comes to at least one person, himself, again IMHO. Sorry to ramble and I usually don’t let guys like this one get to me but he just sat the bar too high for ignorance this time.

  • IUMIKE1

    Well I’d say that with some of the comments I’ve read on here, unfortunately since last night it wouldn’t be hard to find 4 people that would liked it. Something tells me that Chuckie was the first one to like it.

  • IUMIKE1

    I’d like to say that it was typed out by and liked by trolls but after reading some of the unrational things on here I’m inclined to say it probably wasn’t by other fans trolling.

  • IUMIKE1

    Don’t let the naysayers goad you into getting down off of your soapbox you’re on a roll and I couldn’t agree with what you said more. Stay on that soapbox and stay at it.

  • It sucks that we’re having to defend Crean like this when we should be focusing on more important, and actually relevant issues… Thanks man.

  • D’Artagnan

    You don’t think you can be outcoached and still win?

  • IUMIKE1

    One of the best if not the best comment, related to thoughts on Crean’s abilities as a coach, that I have read on any of the threads since we got beat. The parallels that you put out there really gives fans, including me and I’m seeing things the same way you are, something to stack this year (and last) up against. Check that first sentence, one of the best comments I’ve read since we got beat period.

  • IUMIKE1

    One of the best if not the best comment, related to thoughts on Crean’s abilities as a coach, that I have read on any of the threads since we got beat. The parallels that you put out there really gives fans, including me and I’m seeing things the same way you are, something to stack this year (and last) up against. Check that first sentence, one of the best comments I’ve read since we got beat period.

  • Brandon Clark

    Well said, but I’m not sure that Crean will ever be a good coach. He drove the offense at Marquette into the ground and is now doing the same here. He is a real problem. Why did they sign him to a 10 year contract?

  • Tractirusa

    The post-game handshake was extremely childish by CTC. Act like a man when you lose

  • Kenneth234

    Certainly couldn’t have done it with this years team. But moving forward, with the athletes that are coming in, it would certainly start looking like a better option. I have heard Boehiem talking about the benefits of playing zone only.
    They certainly include that your zone actually improves over the course of the season. Teams don’t see a lot of it, so there is a serious lack of familiarity for most teams as you get out of conference play. Once your zone has reached a consistent level, you can spend all your time working on how to attack opponents defense, and working on offense skills. While your opponent has to split time figuring out a game plan to defend your style of offense and prepare for how they are going to address playing the zone. Also, there really are only so many effective ways to attack a zone, so as the year goes on, your team will have seen nearly every way that they will get attacked and be even more prepared. Not to mention, in the zone, the opponents offense becomes stagnant and this will allow for players to rest a little more than than they would be able to in man to man sets. Add in the mental fatigue that a disruptive zone can put on your opponents, and it is a nightmare to play against in a one and done format.

  • Kenneth234

    Even though he recruited this team in its entirety, it still is part of the rebuilding process. We are just now starting to get players that he would choose first, rather than just who he can get to come in. The next 3 years is more of a true vision of what this program will look like moving forward.

  • Kenneth234

    Tell you what Coach Chuck Kinney, go find 12 -15 players that are out of the tournament, and not from the Big East, and show them game tape, have some walk-on’s and student assistance simulate that zone, and then go defeat Syracuse on 5 days preparation.

  • Kenneth234

    Oh, examples are 3 teams that are accustomed to playing that style of play. So Crean should have taught IU a whole new defensive system in 5 days, rather than relying on what they have practiced for a full season. Seems like a winning recipe to me! Ridiculous!

  • Kenneth234

    Why don’t you just find a team that has zero flaws and can live up to playing perfect basketball all the time, and stop crying about this school’s basketball team!

  • Kenneth234

    Why don’t you just find a team that has zero flaws and can live up to playing perfect basketball all the time, and stop crying about this school’s basketball team!

  • Kenneth234

    It takes a special kind of idiot to not get that game tapes do not replace experience. Sure we could have beat that team, but it would have taken someone hitting shots consistently! Not game tape!

  • Kenneth234

    If you believe an adjustment is, throw passes to our guys, high enough to catch, and hit shots…than you are a simple man. Those are not adjustments, they didn’t make quick decisions with the ball and hesitated when they could have got a shot. It was all execution and not game plan!

  • Thanks man, I really appreciate that and much respect to you my friend.

  • HOOSIERS135

    That’s just the cycle of college ball though. It’s nearly impossible to the best year in, year out. Just ask uk this year! HA! But in all seriousness, we have a ton of talent coming, and a ton to work with already. No need to worry!

  • its over. why. how. will be debated for ages. my 6yr old has revenge set on her mine

  • oladipo and sheehey? he “got them” to come here? bahahahah. maybe they have become better during their time at iu. maybe that is part of coaching. maybe. maybe you think about how much you actually know about the iu basketball operations, about their daily work, about all the effort. you are not a beautiful and unique butterfly, what makes you think you are entitled to attack people you know close to nothing about. in fact, read the second part of my reply to get a sample of how stupid that is.

    i’ve kept everything lower case to make a point, i hope you got it. maybe randy will once become a great speller, but i just don’t see it. he lacks the mental toughness to put in the effort to read his own post before sending it off. 49 years, man. there’s still time. how about you apply yourself.

  • BlakeD1223

    Ha ha thanks Bucky. After every loss I get on here and have to read negative comments about Crean. I have never read anyone give him credit for wins. It gets a little ridiculous.

  • MillaRed

    He’s trolling Mike. Ignore the trolls and they will go back under their bridge.

  • SCHoosier

    That’s because there were not many expectations last year. Pre-season #1 and POY projections are the kiss of death for all but the truly elite teams..which IU was not. When the sunshine of reality expose the clouds of unrealistic expectation..shadows of disappointment result.

  • IUMIKE1

    I know, I know, you shouldn’t have to slap me in the face with the obvious but I guess sometimes it makes a person feel better to throw something at the dog that never stops barking knowing full well that it won’t stop the dog from continuing to bark. $hit now I’m gonna have PETA after me, should have substituted troll for dog I guess.

  • Jimlost

    As the final seconds ticked down on IU’s season, I began to hear a 1912 orchestra playing “Nearer my God to thee” over my tourney bracket.

  • Ole Man

    Syracuse should have been worried to death about how were they going to play the Hoosiers and not the other way around.

    The “media” talked about nothing but how Indiana was in trouble because we had to face that zone. Crean talked about all the trouble the zone presented. The players echoed that same sentiment.
    I’ll guarantee the practices were all on how to beat that zone.
    The team walked onto that court for the opening tip scared and almost beaten.
    When the first few shots didn’t fall, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Coach Crean, great at other things, but just not the best at in-game adjustments, did his best, but the Hoosiers were doomed from that point on.
    Even the rally to within six (with the lineup of Watford, Zeller, Oladipo, Sheehey, and Hulls) was interrupted when Coach subbed Yogi back into the game.

    That should not have happened. Beginning with the MN loss, you could hear in Crean’s news conferences and see it in the Hoosiers play, they were no longer doing what had gotten them to that point.

    Great example is the “go inside to Cody” media BS that Crean and most bought into.
    Funny how we were leading the nation in scoring, Cody was averaging 17 and 8, and we were the biggest, baddest Gorilla in CBB up to that point without making “going inside” our focus.
    Yes, it was frustrating sometimes when Cody didn’t touch the ball, but…
    Coach Crean’s offense was working great at that point.
    He should have trusted it; the fan’s should have trusted it; and we should never have gone away from it.
    I hope Coach comes out of this season with that prospectus. Even though it’s a Bob Knight philosophy for a coach, it bears repeating, Coach to thine own coaching philosophy be true.
    You know how to make teams “fly and soar”. Don’t stop doing that next time.

  • Smilin Jay

    You forgot one for Watford: Game winning 3-pt shot to beat undefeated #1 UK……

  • surprised to see how one dimensional zellar is, canlt believe h wont shoot wide open 15 footer!!!, no way is he ready for nba.

  • Hoosier Pete

    Ole Man, I have to respectfully disagree. And I don’t need a grip. Look at how this March Madness is playing out? The Big Ten is not the best Conference. We’ve been drinking ESPN Kool-aid. It’s about March and until a Big Ten team wins a title (MSU is the last one), then I think all this Big Ten centric stuff needs to stop. The Regular season means less than the postseason in college hoops. IU could have benefited from a better non con schedule, (we played 9 cupcakes), especially with all this talent. Look at Duke’s non con sked. It’s paying off now. They dominated MSU, made MSU look small. I know this is a process, but IU must schedule better.

  • calbert40

    Thanks, Mike! I just get a little frustrated with incoherent arguments. There are some posters on here whom I respect, who have issues with some of CTC’s coaching decisions. But they give solid reasons and discuss the issue absent of emotion. That I can handle.

  • calbert40

    Thanks, Mike! I just get a little frustrated with incoherent arguments. There are some posters on here whom I respect, who have issues with some of CTC’s coaching decisions. But they give solid reasons and discuss the issue absent of emotion. That I can handle.

  • IUMIKE1

    Exactly !

  • aHoopandaPrayer

    The “eye test” would support your POV. Statistically, Jordy has a plus/minus rank value of 14.8, good for 28th best in the nation. Not surprisingly Cody is 22nd best in the nation. If you mistrust this stat, fair enough. If not, it leads one to believe that his presence on the offensive end provides more benefit than his liabilities on defense. (ref. Statsheet dot com)

  • Bruce038

    Not totally fair. I would assume this includes preponderance games which for the most part were won by huge margins. Also when hulls gets beat and his man drives the lane he is indirectly responsible for fouls picked up by z or wat which can change the complexion of the game

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I could see your side, and you are right that I normally don’t get on CTC. I took a timeout to let things simmer down after the loss. I am not trying to hang the loss on Coach but I will say these points:

    Coach turned the moral around.
    Coach turned recruiting around.
    Coach improved the work ethic within the program.
    Coach invokes attention within the national spotlight.

    I believe in all of those things above and his abilities there. However until he can show me he will modify his strategy or improve on his in game coaching then I have no reason to believe that he isn’t at his in game “coaching” ceiling.

    I most certainly appreciate everything this team accomplished and I also know that is attributed to the coaching staff in equal parts. We have an excellent staff, and a superb strength coach. However when I get letters auto penned by Coach Crean asking for more money then I expect our coach with a very lucrative contract to have our team playing much better than they did down the stretch. If he can improve there then look out world. I am behind him 100% and want him to prove my statements wrong in the future. I am just a fan, but a very passionate one.

  • calbert40

    @The_Real_Assembly_Hall:disqus first off, you are not one that I was including in the group that makes “incoherent” arguments. Far from it. You are one who makes logical comments based on your observations. I may disagree with you, like I do on this point, but I appreciate how you make your arguments in a logical and non-emotional manner. You and others like you are definitely not the type who aggravate me after a loss!

    Now getting to the coaching decisions and ceilings, etc – I just don’t see it that way. I really think our problem down the stretch was that we were gassed. How else does a team that shoots lights out all season long go into a 6-8 game cold shooting streak? If there is one thing that I’d like to see change from CTC next season, it would be to tone down the intensity of practice earlier in the season than he admitted he did this year.

    So far as the Syracuse loss, IU shot 33 percent (16-48) from the floor. If we shot our season percentage (48 percent), we would have hit 7 more shots. That wins us the game, and that doesn’t even consider how our improved percentage could have affected our 3 pt shooting or our FT shooting as well. Simply put, we didn’t lose that game due to coaching or preparation; we lost it due to poor execution (turnovers) and poor shooting.

    If we shoot well, we win the game, and then we have a better than 50/50 chance to beat Marquette. We could’ve been in the Final Four if we executed better. I believe CTC deserves a lot of the credit for getting the team to that point, but the team has to walk through the door. I firmly believe that he is a better coach than many give him credit, and I think we are very fortunate to have him.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    All very very good points. Whatever the reasoning was behind our collapse I hope CTC finds it and fixes it. You can only do so much about depth once you are in that situation. The future looks bright and next year is still a bit of a quandary but on paper we look to always be a tourney team and a contender by recruiting alone under CTC for years to come .

    I appreciate your feedback, and it feels good to be noticed for the right reasons.

    On a side note: I wish Cody well in everything he does, but if he comes back the biggest benefit for me will be showing Luke the ropes. I think Cody would be able to play a little more free and aggressive knowing that he has worthy backup at his position. It seems there would be a lot less pressure on him in that case.

  • aHoopandaPrayer

    It does include games won by huge margins… as it does for any IU player and players on other teams that played low-majors. As you’ve identified, the stat is not beyond criticism but it should not be ignored when assessing Jordy’s contribution to this team.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Indiana missed 9 FT’s and how did SU make that happen? We shot 33% from the field, with 19 turnovers many unforced! Indiana was just thinking about things way too much and probably a little nervy which explains the bad shooting and poor decisions.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    The problem with zones is you usually get out rebounded as did Syracuse against Indiana. Ind 12 off rebounds to Syracuse 8. Its easier to find a man to block out if you are already guarding him. Had Indiana been shooting the ball decent (33%) missing 9 FT’s and not CARELESSLY throwing the ball away all night, the end result would have been a lot different. Please don’t respond by saying it was SU length and athleticism and that great Boehim zone. A zone doesn’t put pressure on you, it capitalizes on mistakes from bad passes and clogs the middle forcing you to either make shots from the outside or make more than 1 consecutive good pass in a row to get a open look. Indiana was looking for “spots” rather than just shifting the zone and making them work. Kids play against a zone from the time they are 5 years old its not a new concept nor is it hard to figure out.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    THE ZONE way way way overstated. Indiana played poorly end of story.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Thank you! Someone out there actually not over analyzing a basketball game

  • Kevin Tolliver

    The best team doesn’t always win the NCAA title… just saying. RMK will even tell you that one.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    I guess he can’t have a personal life or anytime away from basketball?

  • Kevin Tolliver

    The only adjustment Indiana needed to make was stop throwing the ball away carelessly.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    I’ll tell you poor passing wasn’t in his plans nor was poor shooting.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Diddo

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Agree that IU was the Best team, but the best team in America doesn’t always with the NCAA title. aka 1975 Indiana team.