The Inside the Hall Mailbag: December 28

  • 12/28/2013 8:03 am in

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), submitted on our premium forum and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

HoosierSmitty on the premium forum writes: Aside from the turnover issue, what is going to be Indiana’s biggest obstacle in the B1G?

Though turnovers are going to be an issue with this team going forward, I think Indiana’s biggest obstacle heading into the Big Ten season outside of that will be finding some diversity in its scoring.

It’s been well-documented that Indiana has struggled from beyond the arc this season, and come Tuesday, teams will start trying to force Indiana to shoot from the outside. Opponents will have the tools to stop the Hoosiers in the paint, and if outside scoring is a struggle already — only 18 percent of their scoring comes from 3-pointers, 22nd-worst in the country — they might have even more trouble scoring come conference play. That in itself might be the Hoosiers’ biggest obstacle in the Big Ten outside of its turnover issues at the moment. — Jordan Littman

HoosierFan76 on the premium forum writes: Do you feel that the starting lineup is set in stone? This year promised more variation in the lineup, but to this point the only change was starting Jeff Howard in place of Jeremy Hollowell for one game, which seemed to work pretty well to motivate Jeremy. Some advocate moving Luke Fischer into the starting lineup and sending either Troy Williams or Jeremy to the bench. Others question whether Evan Gordon or Stan Robinson should start in place of Troy. Do you see any of those possibilities as likely to happen, or do you think that Coach Crean has found his starting five and will stick to it the rest of the season?

To answer your question directly, I do not think Tom Crean has found his permanent starting five and will stick to the current lineup for the rest of the season.

As far as the scenarios you brought up, I think one in which Williams is replaced by either Robinson or Fischer could be possible at some point. Williams has one of the team’s highest turnover rates and lowest assist rates, and for what Crean is trying to achieve with a fast-paced team that doesn’t turn the ball over much, Williams isn’t necessarily providing a winning recipe at the moment.

Both Robinson and Fischer have shown a lot of potential of late, and Robinson could turn into an effective 2-guard option for this team as the season goes on. Fischer, obviously, could move into the starting lineup and play center, which would allow Noah Vonleh to play at the 4, his natural position. And I think either scenario could play out before the end of this season. — Jordan Littman

Skotchie on the premium forum writes: What if any knowledge can you share on how the freshmen class has transitioned to life at IU, academically, basketball, being away from home, any mentions about the crazy passion basketball fans have for the team?

I don’t think you even need to look far to see how the freshman class has adjusted to life at IU. All you need to do is look at social media, and the answer is right there. IU’s six scholarship freshmen are all very close to each other and have really brought each other along from the time they arrived on campus to this point. Especially with four of the six being from out-of-state, I think it has helped that they have all adjusted to life away from home together. Not to mention, the older players have also helped in adjusting them to life in Indiana and understanding the pressures of donning the cream and crimson.

On the court, I think the answer has been obvious, too, in that two of the six are starting and the other four have seen consistent playing time, as well. I am sure there have been bumps in the road, but in all, IU’s freshmen seem pretty settled in Bloomington. — Jordan Littman

Tj21 on the premium forum writes: How much do you feel we will see some type of extended or trapping pressure defense, like the 1-3-1 we have seen? Do you see this as a change up, situational defense or one we may see to increase tempo for an extended period of time?

Based on the fact that IU has only used it in two games this season and it wasn’t exactly a huge success in either outing, I would imagine the Hoosiers’ press defense will only be used in certain game situations.

The fact that Kennesaw State, a team that has only one Division I win in 13 games, was able to break the Hoosiers press and get its offense going is a sign that come Big Ten season, teams will be able to run through Indiana’s press. — Jordan Littman

@OhioHoosier on Twitter writes: With the non conference schedule in the books, what does IU have to do in the Big 10 to make the tournament?

Looking back at Indiana’s non-conference season, the Hoosiers came out with a 10-3 record, which is nice, but their best win came against Stony Brook — an America East Conference team that already has losses to St. Francis (N.Y.) and La Salle.

If Indiana wants to make the NCAA tournament, it will have to find its marquee wins in the Big Ten season. With three losses already, the Hoosiers cannot really afford to go under .500 in conference play. They will have plenty of chances to reach that plateau, but again, it all comes down to getting a marquee win, either against a top opponent at home or a solid win or two on the road, to flaunt to the selection committee. The Hoosiers don’t have a bad loss at the moment, but they don’t have a quality win, either. They have the potential to change that with their next 18 games. — Jordan Littman

Scott Marsho on Facebook writes:  Will we continue playing 12-13 guys in Big Ten play? How many guys will average 25+ minutes/game?

I cannot imagine Indiana will play 12-13 guys per game come Big Ten season. I would think Crean will cut the rotation to about 9-10 players per game. In conference play, Indiana really cannot afford to mess around with its substitution patterns as teams can really capitalize on it, and I think you will see Crean shortening the leash on how many players see playing action.

As far as players who will average more than 25 minutes per games, the Hoosiers already only have two guys averaging that many minutes: Yogi Ferrell (30.2) and Will Sheehey (26.2). And I think that will remain the same in Big Ten season, too. Ferrell is playing like Indiana’s best player at the moment and Sheehey has almost become a coach on the floor in his senior role, which makes them the Hoosiers’ two most valuable players at the moment. I’d imagine those two remain in the 25+ minute per game category, and as long as he can stay out of foul trouble, potentially Vonleh can average that many, as well. — Jordan Littman

Duane Kastner on Facebook writes: Hollowell, (Austin) Etherington, and (Collin) Hartman are all tall, decent shooters…why not have one of them in the game at all times and give them a couple of shots outside the 3-point line? It would sure help out in the middle if we had some guys that could get hot from outside once in a while.

Duane, it’s a good idea, in theory, but this season, the three are shooting a combined 8-for-35 from beyond the arc. Hollowell has six of those makes and 23 of those attempts.

As of right now, it seems that Etherington and Hartman don’t even have the confidence to shoot 3-pointers, which makes it difficult for Indiana to even put either of them in. They’re on this team for their scoring; If they won’t shoot, what value do they hold? If Etherington and Hartman start building on their confidence a bit more, start making some shots in practice and that seeps into game play, there certainly can be a role for the both of them on this team. But when they aren’t even taking the shots in-game, it’s difficult to justify why they should be getting playing time. — Jordan Littman

@kingdiesel1234 on Twitter writes: What changes can we expect to limit turnovers?

As Crean said last week, his team needs to realize the value of each possession. And heading into Big Ten play on Tuesday, that understanding will be pivotal in order for them to limit turnovers. The Hoosiers have 40 in their past two games, but it has come from sloppy and careless play. That can’t happen in the Big Ten. Crean has been emphasizing that his team can’t keep trying to hit “home runs” off every possession because it will mostly result in turnovers, but at the same time he doesn’t want his team to not play fast.

So as far as what changes fans can expect, it would likely entail the Hoosiers being a bit more careful in their passing. Crean doesn’t want Indiana to change its offensive pace, and turnovers will come based off fast play, but careless mistakes must be weeded out of the Hoosiers offense if they want to be successful down the line. — Jordan Littman

Filed to:

  • Scooter

    Milla, NV would be great at the 4, setting screens out top and rolling, flashing high post to get the pass and drive, etc. I just cant understand why CTC cant figure this out?

    Luke needs 20 min per game the rest of the way. Get Robinson on the floor with Yogi and Sheehey, Vonleh and Fischer and we have 3 penetrators that can find a seem to set up Vonleh and Fischer.

  • Scooter

    At best IU will be 2-3 after 5 games in BIG

  • Scooter

    In fact this team will most likely be 7-11 in BIG and 17-14 overall. I dont care how many FR we have, that is bad. We have 11 Top 150 players on this team when coming out of hig school, 2 McD all americans, 2 team USA caliber players and back to back top 10 recruiting classes. I am guessing we have at least top 20 talent.

    Youth is no longer an excuse. So what is the problem?

  • Mk

    You say it all like you have seen the future

  • Dave Carnes

    U don’t have to hate Crean to think he is over matched as a coach.

  • Dave Carnes

    Many Great Coaches have relied on assistants.Gene Keady did it.

  • SCHoosier

    This..if correct.. would shock me! Last year it seemed IU seldom even got a decent shot off after a TO was called near end of half (or whenever) to set up a play. Have to agree that this was/is not a strong part of a Crean offense. Let’s get our in game flow scoring on track and then I’ll look for progress in this other area.

  • Kenneth234

    I think the main problem is the insistence on playing fast paced, even after 13 games that show that the inexperience collectively is not handling the tempo effectively. Some times with the youth that is collected on this team, things need to be slowed down intentionally in order to reduce mistakes.

  • Kenneth234

    The third factor you attribute, just is not as true this season as it would have been before. The mistakes, and foul calls slow the game down, along with the numerous timeouts from both the media timeouts and bench timeouts reduces the amount of actual fatigue the high tempo can force. At best, it may cause mental fatigue if IU was executing effectively at the high pace, but with all things considered, physically it will not lead to a major advantage. The are college kids who likely play basketball all day, all summer long and have done so for many years. A 40 minute game should not be all that fatigue causing.

  • Scooter

    I agree, but I have yet to see offensive sets the past 6 years that utilizes a series of screens off the ball and 5 players moving simultaneously.

  • Outoftheloop

    Would it be possible to have a set link tracking our new recruits showing the stats for their recent games and for the season?

  • Outoftheloop

    Yes. Any loss to a top 10-20 team NOT on your home court is a quality loss. So far the ND loss is the only “loss” problem. The bigger issue is no quality wins!

  • MIchael McColly

    We will see just how good of a coach Crean is in the next few weeks. The commenter above I think is giving a pretty fair assessment of the possibilities ahead for this young team. The maturity and psychology of the team seems in question. And after a nonconference schedule that as usual was designed to maintain the coffers of the IU athletic dept rather than actually prepare a team for the BIG there is no real leader or go to guy. We’ll see. But quality loses mean nothing and these young men–all talented and quality athletes–need to a quality win to feel their identity and confidence. You can get a few early wins against easier teams but you need the real win in a nonconference game to move to the next level. Over-reacting to losses could become a serious problem for this team . . . and Crean, who has not really seen what Hoosier fans can be like when they say lack of coaching and disarray. Wisconsin looms as huge game for this team and for Crean.

  • Outoftheloop

    IU could win all 9 home games. Freshmen are at least 10 points better at home! So 8-1. We play away at PN St (W), NW (W), NE (W). So 11-7. Even if we go 7-2 at home, that is 10-8. The key games are at IL, Purdue and MN. Can Indiana win 1 of those? In March this should be a much better team. Sweet Sixteen is the goal!

  • Mack

    Absolutely. Look at Wisky. Year in, year out, manages to make something happen through a mix of Freshman and upper classman who always look mediocre and then suddenly bloom creating a sturdy and disciplined team.

  • Outoftheloop

    That is your opinion, but not well-founded. Crean went to the NCAA”s repeatedly at Marquette with no MacDonalds AA recruiuts.

  • Mack

    Yes, then he can move on to the pros where he wants to ultimately land. I think he’d be a much better pro coach.

  • Mack

    Yes, absolutely. It’s amazing to see how few shots NV gets. Got to concentrate on the post game and have perhaps do more trapping to set a standard for the D with our athleticism when possible. But we don’t need this pro style face passed stuff that Crean believes works. He doesn’t have the kind of guards for this. Yogi has never been confident in this role. Nobody has since Crean has been here.

  • Mack

    Interesting point on the physicality and stamina of these athletes. I agree. This isn’t the 90s when this did work more effectively. I think we do have the shooters. How can you get recruited by Indiana and not be able to shoot the ball. You learn to shoot better if a team and a coach develop your confidence. I think this team has some very smart players that just need the right leadership to read the flow of a game better so that the team can work to its advantage–slower and then when necessary push the ball and for god’s sake move the ball instead of dribble.

  • Mack

    Absolutely. Too many talents are being wasted. With some of the best players in the country playing HS within 100 miles of Bloomington it doesn’t take a genius to recruit. But you have to develop teams, mold them, create an identity and style. Not happening here.

  • MillaRed

    The kid can knock down jumpers and take you off the dribble. Seems like an advantage to me at the 4 spot. And it’s easier to get him touches. Coach em up Coach!

  • MillaRed

    Well Boheim is one of the best coaches in the country and has been there for 30 years. That program has its ups and downs just like everyone else.

    Your posts are passionate and you share some of the same frustrations we all do. But keep in mind these are read by complete strangers. Presentation is everything. You can get your message across without throwing this or that under the bus. We’re all on the same team in here. Just my opinion.

  • MillaRed

    And they lose in round 2 of the dance every year. I don’t like the trade. Now watching their paint frying style of play.

  • MillaRed

    What will be my excuse? Good grief dude this is Indiana basketball I’m not a marine captain in Afghanistan. Try to relax a little bit before you have a flipping heart attack.

  • IULore

    This comment is so dumb. You want a team with no shooters to play slow-ball? I have a news flash for ya, teams are aware of NV. They will double team if that’s all we do.

  • oldiugymnast

    Having spent a little time with great ball players, you are dead wrong. The trainers who end up doing post game drug tests have a difficult time getting a sample because the guys are all dehydrated. And this is fairly consistent with all of the elite athletes I know – they will never lose from lack of effort – and THAT is a huge part of what makes someone a next level athlete.

  • oldiugymnast

    Dribble drive sets no off ball screens. That isn’t all they run but it’s most of the offense…… Crean’s a dribble drive coach – not sure why people expect him to run Knights offense.

  • Victorbear

    Not true check his record I think there were at least 2 if not 3 NiT appearances and the pattern looks awfully familiar, what I mean his years following the Dwanye wade year could be what we are facing now…..

  • kbb247

    Kenneth234, I watch Louisville a lot because my wife hsa season tickets. They press and run as much as possible, and there are several games u can clearly see the other team is wore flat out. I have seen several games where the other team is walking off the floor during a TO and their heads are down, huffing and puffing, and sweat dripping everywhere. When u aren’t used to playing that style it is hard to deal with. I do see some of your point s regarding fouls and timeouts. I will say that Louisville’s style is relentless where ours isn’t, but it can and does mentally and physically wear you out. I will add that if Crean wants to play fast. Go all in, and press the whole game. Make it what u do, not just a here or there thing. Just two cents.

  • Victorbear

    Wanted to be sure; after Creans final four team his teams went: Nit,Nit, Ncaa 1st, Ncaa 1st, ncaa 2nd. Is that what you would consider acceptable??????

  • Mk

    Crean would be an awful pro coach. He cannot relate to pro players. They wouldn’t put up with his shtick.

  • ForeverIU

    I don’t see a problem. We lost by a point to what’s now the #15 team in the nation. We played a half for the ages against what’s now the #2 team in the nation, and then we broke down mentally in the second half. The only truly disappointing loss was to a Notre Dame team that was playing a guy who didn’t care about academics and who dropped 23 points on us and has since been kicked off the team. There’s a floor (your prediction), and there’s a ceiling, and then there’s the wide blue sky. I know where I’m gazing.

  • Alford Bailey

    I have not been impressed with the way this team has played and they could very easily be 12-1. One bad half at SU which may be the best team in the country. The cupcake haven’t told us much but yea lets not count the losses before they happen.

  • Alford Bailey

    Absolutely, not real impressed with our assistants.

  • ForeverIU

    I took a quick glance at some of their box scores. They rely heavily on five guys (two seniors and three juniors, awfully reminiscent of Notre Dame). We’ll have to exploit their relative lack of depth, and hopefully get them in foul trouble.

  • esapata

    I wouldn’t call Syracuse a quality loss. Based on the first half, maybe it could have been (or a win), but that second half was not a quality effort.

  • esapata

    Neither are that great. UW is not likely to make the dance, and Stony Brook may very well win their conference given how soft it is. So there’s that.

  • Scooter

    You are entitled to your opinion I am entitled to mine. When you look through the Big Ten schedule As with every year there are games we expect to win and lose and there are games that will be tough that weekend up winning. When you roll that I still think this team only when’s seven games in the Big Ten. I said when the season started that this is an 18 when 13 lost clean and right now I would say that is fairly accurate. I am comfortable with my opinions and analysis. I am also comfortable with my analysis of Hollowell coming off the bench. But you have your opinions on that as well which is okay I just see things a bit differently

  • ForeverIU

    I’m not denying anyone their opinion. You asked what the problem is, and I don’t see one, and I explained why. I don’t care about Hollowell coming off the bench or not. CTC will do what he sees fit, and I trust his decision. I never argued for Hollowell being a starter, did I? But I did argue that CTC must have good reason to give him minutes, and I have tried to see why.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I definitely want to see this move but I do worry about Noah then being forced to guard quicker players who could get him into very quick foul trouble (which in my opinion, would spell doom for us against most Big Ten opponents this season). I am sure there are ways we can limit the trouble Noah would be forced into but having him at the 4 would open him up to more foul trouble than being the center (in my opinion) as opponents would likely take him away from the basket and force him to guard 18-20 feet away from the hoop.

  • Outoftheloop

    Not true! You check the record! Try Wickipedia. In 9 years Crean had 5 NCAA appearences and only 1 NIT at Marquette. In the Previous 16 seasons Marquette had 4 NCAA trips. Crean led Marquette to the Final Four in 2003, the first at Marquette since 1977, 36 years! His players at Marquette, with good coaching from Buzz Williams, made the NCAA in both 2009 and 2010. Your facts are bogus, your pattern non-existent!

  • Outoftheloop

    If this is what you call “sure” no one can rely on you. Let’s recap: at Marquette, after 2 rebuilding years at 15-14 (hired in April after recruits are signed), Crean goes NCAA, NCAA Final Four, NIT, NIT, NCAA, NCAA, NCAA in his last 7 years at Marquette. That is an exceptional record! Do you follow college basketball? Coach Calipari at KY went from NCAA Champs to NIT last season!

  • Outoftheloop

    I challenge you to be specific on the minutes. Apart from the 73 minutes given to walk-ons in 13 non-conference games, where would you add minutes and where would you take minutes away, based on what criteria, what is your “clue”? Right, you have no clue!

  • Outoftheloop

    Who needs an excuse? There is a lot of basketball left to be played!

  • Outoftheloop

    If this season actually blows up, no one gets a free pass. But that will not happen. I already posted that at IL, at Purdue and at MN are the key games to a great year! Win 1 of these and go 8-2 or better at home, win at PSU, NE, and NW, that is 12-6 in the B1G. Is it a given-No. Is it possible-Yes. Would it be great-Yes.

  • Outoftheloop

    The answer is easy…to get the top tier recruits! A TO is a player execution not a coaching mistake! Practice and game experience is the solution.

  • IUED

    Here is a news flash: Everyone is entitled to their opinion and the only comments that are “dumb” are the ones like yours. Half court does not have to be slow-ball—just some kind of offense, except dribbling air out of ball like CTC zone offense.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Ok fair enough. Are we considered a marquee win for UCONN, Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Illinois then?