The Minute After: Oakland

IUOak0016

Thoughts on a 81-54 win against the Golden Grizzlies:

As Yogi Ferrell sat on the bench with two fouls in the first half, Evan Gordon found an offense groove. He kept the needle on it all night, eventually garnering “Ev-an Gor-don” chants from the Assembly Hall faithful and finishing with an eye-popping line (26 points on 10-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-5 from distance, five rebounds, three assists, three steals).

Gordon played with serious confidence and now sports two strong offensive outings in a row after posting 15 against North Florida on Saturday. It comes at a good time. The Hoosiers desperately need more balance in their offense with Big Ten season just three weeks away.

And Gordon wasn’t the only encouraging shooter from distance tonight.

For the second game in a row the Hoosiers started out hot from beyond the arc. This time, it continued through the game — save for a rough stretch to start the second half where they settled instead of finding 3-pointers in the flow of the offense — as they hit 9-of-21 (42.9 percent). Troy Williams added a 1-of-1 mark from 3-point range and finished with 13 points. Ferrell hit 3-of-8 attempts. Stanford Robinson connected on 1-of-2. Jeremy Hollowell (0-of-3) and Austin Etherington (0-of-2) didn’t make any this evening, but it’s a good sign Etherington is continuing to shoot from 3-point land.

Luke Fischer had a nice night, picking up three offensive boards and putting them all back in for scores.

Will Sheehey did an admirable job shadowing 3-point specialist Travis Bader, as he hit shoot 0-of-10 from distance and just 2-of-15 from the field. But Sheehey appears lost at the other end of the floor. He was 0-of-5 tonight, which makes him 7-of-27 in his last four contests in which he’s averaged just 4.5 points. Sheehey was both blocked at the rim — a common occurrence this season — and stripped in the closing minutes of this one.

Perhaps Sheehey’s struggles are a result of the changing tides in the program. His scores on the break last season came in the mid-range as trailers like Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford spread the floor on the wings and the likes of Victor Oladipo and Yogi Ferrell brought the ball up quick, looking to get to the rim or pawn it off to efficient scoring teammates (Cody Zeller was also there, rim running better than pretty much any big in the country). He doesn’t have those kind of teammates this year on the break. It’s often much more haphazard, as a number of players (Ferrell, Hollowell, Noah Vonleh, Williams, Robinson, Gordon, etc.)  have tried — and sometimes failed — bringing the ball up with control and sound decision-making after a quick rebound. The consistently and familiarity just isn’t there right now.

Sheehey’s looks in the halfcourt never came on one-one-one stuff last season. Rare, too, was Sheehey getting a ball screen on the perimeter and reading the defense. That continues this year; there is no new wrinkle to his offense repertoire. He found, and continues to find, his points off the baseline and in the small spaces around the hoop and in the mid-range. He could shoot the 3 a bit as well last year. This year, with an offense that has struggled to spread defenses because of poor outside shooting and one that’s still trying to figure itself out with new pieces and styles, perhaps Sheehey’s role just hasn’t fully formed yet (Other than the fact that he’s no longer the fire off the bench. Instead, he’s the starting senior leader). Perhaps it’s just a mini-slump.

Whatever the case may be, he’s too good and too valuable to be seemingly so lost in the flow of this team’s offense.

The Hoosiers get the Fighting Irish on Saturday in Indianapolis. It’s a measuring stick and maybe even a must-win. IU failed to win a close one against Connecticut and failed to show up in the second half against Syracuse. But at a more friendly neutral site in the Crossroads Classic, a win against the current No. 50 squad in the KenPom rankings would be a nice feather in the cap for the Hoosiers before conference play begins.

  • Michael Whelan

    Hoollwell can’t play defense, watch Him He backs up allowing a driving lane

  • Steve Yancy

    I think Crean has IU clicking at this point in their early season. With the exception of Hollowell who still makes more bad plays than good, (I don’t care what Crean thinks of him), the guys seem to be unselfish and playing well together.

  • IUMIKE1

    Been saying for a while now that it might benefit all concerned to at least try bringing him off the bench. Something tells me he could still get close to the same amount of minutes if not the same in that role and if it works great if it doesn’t than what have we lost. Oh yea, totally agree on the Hanner getting more minutes thing, especially in a game like this one and isn’t there someone at the convent you can talk to about exorcising the Pritchard curse from him ? I mean that kind of stuff IS one of the main reasons that we let you hang around in here ya know. LOL

  • FLgrownHoosier

    Honestly man, you need to lay off the 19-20 yr old kid. Don’t you have anything better to do? He is only a sophmore, not even half-way through the season. He had 10 rebs last night and 4 assists. that right there is enough to earn PT. Plus we gave him a scholarship, who are we gonna become, Kentucky? We aren’t just gonna rip away a promised scholarship because he isnt an All-American.

  • IU_theoracle

    I really hope that Coach Crean doesn’t get any ideas about changing the starting lineup to move Evan Gordon into the starting five. I’m as impressed with Evan’s play as anyone but I really like the fact that he is able to provide a spark from the bench and I feel like this is the role that we need him to play. I would love to see him average 15 ppg as our 6th man, that would be huge for us. I was also very impressed with Jeremy Hollowell’s play last night as he seemed to play within himself, and tried to be more active on the block as opposed to playing on the wing. With him in the starting rotation we need him on the block, he can play on the wing when the second unit comes into the game if he’s forced to play point guard, otherwise he should take advantage of his size in the paint.

    I also have been very impressed the past two games with the progression of Luke Fischer, I would really like to see his minutes increased and would really like to see the team use more lineups that include two of the three players which are Vonleh, Fischer and Perea, from this we could really take advantage of our size, athletic ability and length.

  • Katie M.

    Please, please, please be the real Will. Best troll comment ever!

  • 3AM Burrito

    I know every time I thought we had a stop Evans hit a wrong footed double clutch J or one of their forwards threw something in. Quiet procession out of AH that night and long drive home in middle of night on a Tuesday.

  • IUMIKE1

    Seen that coming down the road when Exum schooled the Harrison twins in the world games (Adidas I think) Every time after he embarrassed them all they wanted to do was turn around and complain and try and make it look like it wasn’t their fault that he slapped them, took all their lunch money and then used it to take their sister on a date.

  • IUMIKE1

    That’s the hope of everyone other than pUKe fans !!

  • 3AM Burrito

    Will getting swatted by Syracuse is one thing but when it is happening against these cupcakes a little concerning. I like Gordon but I don’t like Yogi and Gordon together due to size and also Gordon is good sub for Yogi, but it could be effective combo in spots. I like Perea or Davis to take Will spot as starter and have Will and Gordon come in with second group as the primary scorers.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Did you watch the game or see stat sheet? 10 rebounds doesn’t happen to someone not giving a damn. As for his defense he certainly can improve there but I think Troy let’s his guy beat him or gambles for a steal and gets out of position as much as anyone so they all can improve. Maybe you were watching a DVR of an earlier game but JH has been playing hard and pretty effectively last few games.

  • IUMIKE1

    ” bragging on the Calipari-era accomplishments is like bragging on getting laid when you pay a prostitute. It’s not the same thing, and I just wouldn’t be able to leave it at “Doesn’t matter/had sex”.

    Now that my friend has to be one of my all time favorite quotes about the big blue slimers better know as pUKe. Well done ! ! !

    IUMIKE1 feverishly continues to click on the up button hoping it will allow him to up vote it again….and again…. and again……..

  • IUMIKE1

    Totally agree ! !

  • dssnyder1

    my wife and her family “bleed” UK blue, so I’m constantly throwing calipari under the bus for his coaching style and his use of the “one and done” players. IU throwing up another banner would make my life much easier!

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Have you not read any of the previous comments????????You’re about to get kicked off this site….forever.

  • Ole Man

    Yes; I made a mistake about Crean. So?
    Objectivity is in the eye of the beholder.
    Your post is no more than opinion.

  • sarge

    Worst. Analysis. Ever.

  • sarge

    You are gonna have to play good defense on this site if you keep trashing one of our best players without reason… better back up yourself.

  • unclekerfuffle

    And you are…?

    Oh, yeah, a fan just like the rest of us.

  • SouthernbornHoosierbred

    -Obviously we can’t expect that from Evan Gordon every night, but if he can keep it up on both sides of the ball then he will be a huge tool off the bench in B1G play.

    -Luke Fischer doesn’t make mistakes and makes all the necessary plays. Translation: he won’t get you beat.

    ‘-As impressive as Troy Williams has looked in these non-conference sh*t games, his out-of-control play is going to really hurt us in a few weeks. He’s got to get it together now if this team is going to be good.

    -Finally, I think it’s time for Will Sheehey to go back to the bench. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love everything about the guy, but I think he’s better suited to help the team in his former role as the sixth man. That move would probably piss him off enough to get going.

    -There are a number of guys I could see starting in his place including Fischer, Davis (sans injury), Robinson and even AE.

    -I know people would throw a blue-assed fit if Austin started but doing so might be what he needs to get his confidence going. He plays good defense, has good length and even though they looked bad last night, he’s got a nice shot.

  • Will Sheehey #0

    Sorry guys I can’t talk right now, I’m busy texting Fred Glass. I’m trying to get him to hire Andrew here to be our 8th bench coach. This guy’s got some keen insight.

  • dwdkc

    ND will be an interesting test at this point. They actually don’t play very good D but are very skilled offensively. The Iowa-ND game was very entertaining as a result. Will be a clash of styles where I think IU’s length will bother them–but can IU limit turnovers enough?

  • Eric Glen Lindenschmidt

    It would have been better if Vandy would not have beaten them, so we could say that IU was THE reason that they didn’t have an undefeated season !!

  • Michael Whelan

    Speaking of starting. Crean must replace Hollowell with Luke Fisher

  • Michael Whelan

    I am a died in the wool IU fan, class of “63 go back to Jimmy Rayl and Walt Bellamy, I have seen them all and I see Jeremy Hollowell as a player that doesn’t give His all and doesn’t deserve to start. Just watch Him play and see all the nonchalant moves, He has to go.

  • Michael Whelan

    If I wasn’t an ardent IU fan I wouldn’t care.

  • ForeverIU

    I’m curious why you keep capitalizing the H in the pronouns. Unwitting glorification?

  • ForeverIU

    You are right, maybe the analogy is not fitting here. But I don’t think Will has been in a 10-game slump. If you look at at his numbers, they are generally not that bad (not to mention the intangibles on defense especially and leadership on the floor). Four of the games in which he didn’t score much were ones in which Yogi (two games) and Evan (two games) came up really big. I think it was the Syracuse game that might have hurt him, and I would rather think of THAT as an anomaly. I’m just willing to accept that there could be a short-term cost to his changing role, one that both his coach and teammates seem to be embracing. I don’t have strong feelings about him being 6th man or a starter. I don’t think in the end it’s going to determine how many minutes he plays … more symbolic than anything.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’m certainly hoping this is simply a short-term issue and I think there have been some good signs the past couple of games (particularly against Oakland with his defense and rebounding). Is that due to his changing role? Is that due to simply bad luck with shots that are an inch off? I don’t know. If I had to guess, I’d say his offense gets going soon. Hopefully he can knock down a few jumpers and convert at the rim a few times against the Irish and get himself going as we churn towards the Big Ten season.

  • Michael Whelan

    What the hell does that have to do with being a concerned IU fan?

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