The Minute After: Northwestern

  • 01/18/2014 5:18 pm in

Thoughts on a 54-47 loss to the Wildcats:

The Wildcats arrived in Bloomington with a plan. Pack the paint in both the halfcourt and in transition. Force the Hoosiers out of the driving lanes, out of their comfort zone that led them to victory just days ago against Wisconsin.

They left with a victory.

Make no mistake: This is a bad loss for the Hoosiers, a black mark on their NCAA tournament résumé.

From the opening tip, Indiana had issues figuring out what to do against a Northwestern defense that deserves a lot of credit. It was a D that seemed to have a forest of players in the paint at all times. They were physical and mucked things up. The 3-ball was there for Indiana because of this, but the Hoosiers struggled to connect on many (4-of-18, 22.2 percent). A few late desperation attempts were horrendously off the mark.

The numbers across the board ain’t good. The Hoosiers were just 15-of-60 (25 percent) from the field and sported a season-low effective field goal percentage of just 28.3. They scored a season-low .74 points per possession. With all the missed shots, Indiana also had plenty of opportunities for offensive boards and second-chance points, but they grabbed just 28.3 percent of their missed shots — another season low. Yogi Ferrell (2-of-14), Evan Gordon (3-of-12) and Will Sheehey (1-of-7) had games to forget. The shot selection was poor and a product of a team out of sync for much of the contest.

Northwestern also had a higher free throw rate than the Hoosiers (33.3 vs. 28.8). Indiana defended the Wildcats’ weak offense good enough to win this one (allowing .85 points per possession), but Northwestern’s Tre Demps abused Ferrell and hit some big shots late. A step-back jumper of his put the Wildcats up 47-40 with 1:23 to go. It was a big enough cushion to make sure they’d pick up the W, as some late-game fouls and desperation shots from Indiana didn’t get them over the hump.

About the only positive takeaway from this one is the Hoosiers’ turnover percentage of 14.1. This is now three straight games Indiana has been smarter with the ball and it’s encouraging. Vonleh also stood up to Alex Olah strong and continues to stroke treys (2-of-4). He posted his first double-double of the Big Ten season (17 points, 12 rebounds), but he shot just 5-of-15 from the field. While he would get his points, Northwestern did a nice job of not making it easy for him.

Its awful job against this kind of defense is concerning, but Indiana needs to turn the page on this one and keep moving forward. There’s plenty of Big Ten season left to continue to work towards an NCAA Tournament spot.

Filed to:

  • Ole Man

    CTC has handed the team to Yogi; that much is true.
    4 assists per game is pathetic for a starting PG.
    Sorry, just my opinion.

  • HoosierPat

    A lot of the remaining games are certainly winnable. But based on the last two games, this team may beat Minnesota, then turn around and lose at home against Penn State. There is just no way to predict how this team will play, no matter the opponent.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Ha, yeah I am probably optimistic, I just think those are all winnable for this team, certainly all losable but I am just saying they have it set up to go on a run like Michigan is on right now.

  • hoosiersph2014

    Who is the last coach to win the big ten? Hmm… Oh, but he had two lottery picks. So the players win the games and the coach loses them. Makes sense. Last year our players must have just overruled everything Crean said in games and practices. That was the real key to our success, apparently.

  • 3AM Burrito

    OK Ole Man, so Quinn Buckner I guess was pathetic to you as well, he averaged only 4.5 assists as IU PG. Hopefully 5.7 is adequate for you, that is what Isaih was able to muster but if 4 is pathetic to you not sure he could run your team either.

  • ILive4IUBball

    He actually said in a recent interview that “it wasn’t a good fit.” Yes, he was homesick, but there’s more there that’s not coming out

  • dssnyder1

    CTC’s success the last two years are not enough for many on ITH. so many demand perfection in all areas its unreal. frustrations are legit, but those who suggest a coaching change forget where IU was before he took over. in comparison on early conference play, Williams at UNC who most would say is a much better coach than Crean has the Heels at 1-3 in conference play. I wonder if UNC fans are calling for his head

  • ForeverIU

    Iowa is playing like a BIG champ.

  • hoosier1158

    When was that? I don’t remember his name being mentioned. When he left the Celtics?

  • ForeverIU

    Would you please don an MSU shirt and head up to East Lancing? LOL.

  • Dee McDonald

    Well played sir, well played!

  • MillaRed

    No kidding why even dump it down there? Let the others shoot and send Hanner to the glass.

  • MillaRed

    Calbert’s an ITH veteran. Let him vent. It’s nothing compared to some of the crap I’ve seen in here this weekend.

    Preach on Calbert!!!

  • calbert40

    They beat a ranked team at the time (Illinois) and gave MSU all they could handle. “Terrible” teams don’t do that. They played very well yesterday (and the 2 or 3 games before that too). They have a brand new coach, and the beginning of the season was a struggle for them. They are a completely different team today than they were in November.

    I think when people say that NW is terrible, they are looking at the history of a poor program instead of the team they put on the court right now. Again, I am not suggesting we should have lost that game, because we should not have. However, they certainly aren’t terrible.

  • 3AM Burrito

    I agree, that is what makes that Illinois to at NW stretch interesting to me. All those games are winnable. At MSU, at Wisconsin and at Michigan are the only games I would be pretty stunned if we won. All the others we have a good chance. But like you said they could easily lose every game too depending what team shows up, we will find out soon enough

  • calbert40

    Right. I don’t care if people gripe and complain, so long as they are a) respectful and b) reasonable. That’s the way it used to be. People got upset at coach or other posters, but none of the stuff that you see on the board today was here three years ago.

  • ForeverIU

    Milla’s in da house! Hi Milla.

  • calbert40

    I never suggested that one win is my “standard of achievement.” I simply stated that the team that supposedly is poorly coached just beat the #3 team in the nation, and our coach was being praised by analysts all over for his fantastic game plan AND in-game adjustments.

    Still, if one win isn’t worthy of discussion, then similarly one loss shouldn’t be either. We beat a team that honestly we had little business beating. They are better than we are, but we played great. We followed up that great game with a putrid performance that aggravated all of us. But it is still just one game. Let’s not get too carried away over it.

  • MillaRed

    What up?

    Was out of town when I watched this mess. Probably thought I was a serial killer in that bar.

    I’m not blaming anyone. I’m blaming everyone. From top to bottom that was a disaster. Let’s move on. Please for the love of God let’s move on!!!!!!!

  • ForeverIU

    Amen!.

  • calbert40

    I disagree, Ole Man. When my kids act poorly, I tell them how poorly they are acting. The act of telling them how poorly they are acting doesn’t mean I am acting the same way they are. If you look when I wrote that, it was about 3 am, and I let my frustration with many posters show, but I still stand by my remarks.

    That said, I think it is important to distinguish between those I believe are “fools” and need to “grow up,” and the respectful and reasonable posters who have leveled legitimate concerns. You and I have had our disagreements on here, but I do not put you in the first group. I respect your opinions (and many others) despite disagreeing.

    We’re all on the same team here, and I think the constant belittling of our roster and staff is childish. Let’s keep the discourse level higher than that. BTW – I’m not speaking to you on that. 🙂

  • ForeverIU

    LOL!

  • ForeverIU

    I would rather Ole Man try to shepherd those “fools” than anyone else. LOL.

  • AUKevin

    I think a trick for IU to win against the zone has nothing to do with the actual shots they are putting up. The real problem is when opponents are in the zone, we have 4 guys standing outside the 3 point arc, standing and watching.
    What the boys need to work on is being in position to rebound against the zone. That means NV and Hanner, Will, austin etc need to be within the arc to get the rebounds, leave the 3 point land to yogi and… stan and evan. Our bigs are too far away from the basket to do any good and the offense goes stagnant. A few easy put backs, which zones are susceptible to, & they will make them change the game plan back to man to man, which puts IU back in the drivers seat.

  • hoosiersph2014

    Who won the Wisconsin game? Crean or the players? Also, the notion that Alex and the other mods delete posts for simply speaking against Crean makes as much sense as everyone’s idea that Crean should be on the hot seat.

  • 3AM Burrito

    I didn’t say Yogi was Isaiah. And he was awful against NW, horrible. But how do you think he was vs. PSU and Whisky? You miss the point that on this team until someone else on the perimeter becomes a reliable scorer, Yogi has to score and until someone else is a reliable scorer there are not a lot of people he can have assists to.

  • Ole Man

    Thank You. Almost agree.
    Just don’t want to see you resorting to the tactics of those who behave so “disorderly”.
    I always respect your posts because you so rarely disrespect anyone, even if you disagree.

  • Snookafly

    Most professions, such as the ones you list, are not head-to-head competitions. Coaching is although in an somewhat indirect fashion.

  • Raynger

    I agree trailrunner, I doubt anyone hates Crean, he seems like a good man but his coaching is subpar as others have pointed out. He does seem to recruit good kids as players and I simply wish he could alter his coaching to fit the talent he has.

  • Raynger

    I agree with you it is the players who are not passing the ball but other teams seem to learn basic ball movement and some offensive scheme that the coach teaches them in practice. These players are not stupid but they are not learning and whose fault ultimately is that? I was please with the reduction in turn-overs but hope they continue to improve.

  • calbert40

    You don’t know how often I type something and then erase it before I post it!! You’ve been posting here for a long time too. You remember that it didn’t used to be like this…even after a loss. Sure, there was grumbling like “why did Crean continue to play Player X when he obviously was playing so poorly?” But there wasn’t any of the garbage that I’ve been reading lately.

    It is just aggravating to me. Evidently it is time for me to stop being such a cheap butt and go over to the forum.

  • calbert40

    The other day many of us were discussing offensive spacing. If you look back at the MSU and NW games and compare them to the UW and PSU games, that is the biggest difference. Obviously, spacing and movement are related. Which comes first? I’m not sure.

    I was at the MSU game, and the spacing and ball movement were atrocious. Some of that I attribute to playing a really solid team, but some falls on us also. But if you look at the UW game, the reason we were able to get to the rim so easily was our spacing was great. They couldn’t help.

    To me, this shows that our coaching staff is trying to tell the players about scheme items: spacing, movement, etc, but the execution is inconsistent. Some of this should be expected with 7 new players on the roster. But we should be seeing strides in this area. IMO, we have been seeing improvement, but the inconsistency is still there. Hopefully, this game will be a wake up call to the team. Relax against any opponent, and it will bite you in the B1G.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I aired the same frustrations a couple of months ago and was told to “join the forum”…I have a 7-month old son and paying for a website isn’t in the cards at the moment so…my choices became, filter through the nonsense on the comments (becoming more and more of that) to find the good stuff or just read the articles and forget there is a comments section. Oh well.

  • Ole Man

    Totally agree that we have more “trolling posts” than it use to be; even just a year ago.
    Still try to wade through over here to see what you, Forever IU, MIlla, and others have to say.
    I use the pay site.
    Very little trolling over there; but some very lively debate.
    Plus, it supports Alex and the crew.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Over 600 comments and barely any in-depth discussion about the game. It’s mostly just broad-brush discussions about whether or not Tom Crean is “pathetic” or whether or not he can “coach”. Why do we have to have the same circular discussion/arguments on here nearly every week?

    Here’s some actual in-game stuff I noticed:
    -Noah Vonleh is increasingly dangerous from outside but his interior game is looking more and more like “bad Cody”. He isn’t using many shot fakes or post moves…he’s just jumping right into contact and on Saturday, getting his shot blocked.
    -Yogi Ferrell has been very good most of the season. On Saturday, he was an abject disaster. Couldn’t hit a shot, poor shot selection, bad passing decisions, awful defense…it was about as bad as someone as talented as he is can play.
    -Will Sheehey and Evan Gordon are supposed to be experienced leaders…they were largely invisible or detrimental down the stretch in this one.
    -Austin Etherington was the lone bright spot in an otherwise terrible first half. He needs to pull the trigger on some shots but he is proving to be an asset.
    -I’d like for Stanford Robinson to get more minutes than he did…we’ll see if this was a temporary setback or a more long-term one.

    I hope Tuesday isn’t as ugly, they’ll likely get blitzed but I look forward to supporting them. I will do the same this weekend. I also know that no matter how poorly this season goes, come April, I’ll be missing Hoosier basketball and be optimistic about next season.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    we can discuss x’s and o’s til we’re blue in the face, but the overwhelming issue in that game was obvious lack of focus (borrowing from CTC), preparation, and execution. naturally, we’re all pretty ticked about it and want to vent, far more than we want to break down NW’s defensive strategy. personally, i don’t have a problem saving the in-game stuff for relevant opponents and actual effort on our team’s part. if i were to break down this game, i’d have only one word: pathetic

  • Dee McDonald

    He did bench players who didn’t do what he wanted throughout the game…that’s why we had such weird line-ups at times. Still…it was a very poor team effort in general.

  • CreamandCrimson

    “I don’t have a problem saving the in-game stuff for relevant opponents”…that’s fine and you are more than welcome to do (and it appears many others agree with you) but since when is a Big Ten opponent not a “relevant opponent”?

  • calbert40

    Kids are expensive! Girls even moreso, and I have two of those. I could open up my own children’s clothing store and shoe shop. Keep fighting the good fight, CandC.

  • Dee McDonald

    For not knowing the situation or what he did, you can’t say that benching him for 3 games is excessive…depending on what he did/is doing, it could have actually been a slap on the wrist.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    ever since NW joined the conference (assuming they’re not one of the original schools). 😉

    no, i see what you’re saying. every game in the B1G is vitally important from a winlose perspective, especially for this young team. just saying, there are a couple teams we should be mopping the assembly hall floor with year-in and year-out. NW is absolutely one of them. their greatest season in decades was almost making the tournament a couple years ago (or was that last year?).

  • Thing is, Yogi wasn’t creating when he was out there. He was just hoisting up really bad trys and not passing to teammates, who may have had a better look.

  • chris

    I was there too-we played about as poorly as I’ve seen since the first two re-building years. Offense-Defense-Rebounding-every aspect of the game.

  • chris

    Surprised it took teams this long to really sag hard off the outside shot. Pretty sure Bo will have’em packed in on defense when IU goes to Madison.

  • IUMIKE1

    Didn’t think deciding how to feel about this game could be accomplished in so few words, but you’re right, just move on & try to forget about it. Sometimes the best thing to do is also the most obvious thing to do and is the hardest thing to see because it is just that…. smh

    My one & only comment on this…this…. this thing that MUST be moved on from.

    IUMIKE1…..out

  • IUMIKE1

    Pretty sure Miller, while he was at Xavier, was considered and even offered, but turned it down at that time.

  • IUMIKE1

    BOOOM !! Just like that……(and this in my best Howard Cosell voice), and Lance goes down, Lance goes down !!

  • IUMIKE1

    Excellent points….for those that don’t have their vision so blurred by total dumba$$ness that they can’t, or won’t see it.

  • Raynger

    I hope your are right about the spacing and movement being top priorities of the coaches. I hope it improves. what concerns me is their in game adjustments to deal with matchup problems.