Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Illinois

  • 01/26/2014 7:26 pm in

Indiana picked up its third conference win on Sunday with a 56-46 victory over Illinois at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers are now 13-7 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from IU’s third conference win:

· Robinson’s role continues to expand: Stanford Robinson made his first career start on Tuesday at Michigan State and the freshman’s role continues to grow as the conference season moves along. Robinson took a team-high 12 shots on Sunday, but was the only Hoosier besides Ferrell in double figures in scoring with 10 points.

Through seven Big Ten games, Robinson is averaging 7.9 points and 3.9 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per game. Illinois coach John Groce said that Robinson is a totally different player than he was nearly a month ago in Champaign.

“To me the guy that stood out was Stanford Robinson,” Groce said. “The improvement he’s made from game one against us to game two in just a month was very noticeable today. I thought he defended well and I thought he made big plays for them late.”

· Noah Vonleh dominated the game without scoring: As IU’s most efficient offensive weapon, Big Ten opponents are playing to take Vonleh away and make his teammates beat them. On Sunday, Illinois did a solid job denying Vonleh the ball and collapsing on him when he was able to catch it, but it was his impact on the defensive glass that changed the game.

For the tenth time in 20 games, Vonleh collected 10 or more rebounds and his work on the defensive glass was a game changer. Illinois entered Sunday’s game rebounding 33 percent of its misses, but only grabbed 10.8 percent of its misses against IU and failed to register any second chance points.

· Ferrell steps up in the second half: At halftime, not much was going right offensively for the Hoosiers as Vonleh, Ferrell and Will Sheehey had combined for just four points. The second 20 minutes, however, were a different story as IU’s sophomore point guard stepped to the forefront to score 15 points.

Overall, it was an efficient effort for Ferrell, who finished with 17 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field and 8-of-8 shooting from the foul line. He added five assists, four rebounds, three turnovers and a steal in a team-high 36 minutes.

“(After halftime) I was just picking my spots a little better,” Ferrell said. “I know I had a bunch of turnovers at the beginning of the game. They kind of boxed me in a little bit. They played great help side defense.”

· Sheehey did a little bit of everything: After missing Tuesday’s game in East Lansing with an ankle injury, Sheehey’s status leading into Sunday was a bit uncertain. Tom Crean said he was optimistic about the progress of Sheehey’s ankle on Friday, but never definitively said that Sheehey would be able to go.

But IU’s most experienced player returned for a game the Hoosiers absolutely needed to have and played a well rounded game. His work on the glass — nine rebounds — was stellar and he also had five points, three assists, a block and a steal in 29 minutes.

· Indiana’s defense is holding its own in Big Ten play: The Hoosiers have struggled offensively for much of the season, but are holding their own defensively in the nation’s toughest conference.

Through seven league games, Indiana is allowing just 1 point per possession, which ranks fourth in the conference. Overall, the Hoosiers have the nation’s 24th best defense, according to KenPom.com. In his postgame comments, Crean talked about where his team needs to continue to grow defensively.

“Can we keep building the concept of keeping the dribble in front of us? Because if we can keep the dribble in front of us, now we can zone, now we can press, now we can switch, all those different things,” he said.

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  • Hoosier heritage

    Our defensive fundamentals are getting better, and that’s a big reason we won today. No second chance points for Illinois is a great statistic.

  • HoosierPat

    I knew Robinson would be a key player when I saw him at Hoosier Hysteria. The guy just keeps getting better and better.

  • OhioHoosier

    I think Troy is beginning to get it. Always fun to see glimpses of his potential (that silky fadeaway jumper).

  • inLinE6

    Stan and Troy… I just hope they work on their shots… That’s something they can definitely see the improvement. If Oladipo can shoot, they can too!

  • Speed

    It’s a great win but sad to say these are two teams that simply don’t shoot the ball very well and therefore are going no where.

  • GaHoosier

    I was really impressed with their defense today. They did an excellent job of switching up defenses, while keeping their communication at a high level.

    Rebounding the ball when zoning is difficult, but they held their own today.

  • Kelin Blab

    I really like Stanfords and Troy’s improvements. Stanford gives me a James Harden feel with his way to get to the basket and get off a good finish….now if he can begin to shoot like Harden.

    Troy, like Crean has said needs to slow down…when he does he is really good. He scares me with his tip slam follows….dude just rebound it and put it back in ….

  • HoosierPat

    He’s definitely gotten better. Now if he would stop shooting threes (2-20 on the season) and learn to play some defense, he’d be in business.

  • Tucson Hoosier

    I’m a little surprised he gets beat so much on the defensive end. He is a freak athlete with long arms and I figured that would be his strength. Seems like he always go for the shot fake. Needs discipline

  • MillaRed

    I look at that and think, “someone has to shoot.” Thing is Troy’s shot really is right there. It’s not an ugly 3. I have hope for it in the future.

  • MillaRed

    Would like to see him play off a little then use those hops and length to alter shots. Make them shoot over you.

  • ForeverIU

    I’m guessing he’s making a lot of those in practice. All about “regression toward the mean,” as Professor Sheehey would say.

  • OhioHoosier

    Defense is definitely key for him.

  • Tucson Hoosier

    agreed

  • MillaRed

    By the time he’s a junior I can see Troy guarding the best scorer every game.

  • PDXHoosier

    The team is finally starting to gel. It looks like they know their roles better, and the freshmen are starting to develop. Howard and AE are definitely earning their minutes.
    Not saying we won’t have some terrible games ahead of us or that we’ll make the tournament, but it’s nice to see something that resembles a basketball team out there.

  • CreamandCrimson

    That’s true…I think his form has gotten a lot better since high school and I’ll be quite surprised if he’s not a significantly better shooter (% wise) next season.

  • SCHoosier

    I also liked Troy’s minutes. That one rebound that he caught in back of his head and put it back in the bucket in one motion is why this kid will eventually be a stud. Troy is giving the ball up now rather than trying to dribble it down court. Had one handle TO..but is now on the plus side of play. Very happy for JH that he hit that 3..sorry he didn’t get second half time. Ball movement with the pass was the best its been for a while. NE looked good at home beating MN…Hoosier must be on their game to win.

  • SCHoosier

    TW’s horizontal foot movement is choppy and slow..can’t play D without moving your fee correctly and he is usually one step behind when the player he’s guarding goes to the hole. Just requires drills and work..too athletic not t be a good defender.

  • SCHoosier

    Will has made some strange decisions this year. Second half..in the corner….make fake pump and drives to the hole..has a wide open ten footer ( which use to be his bread and butter)..instead of taking it he throws a wild pass over Yogi’s head out front. Just dumb for a senior..too much of that this year for Mr. S. Still couldn’t have won without him though.

  • MillaRed

    Probably still growing. It can be a factor. When his growth settles in, agility can get better.

  • Rie

    The Harden comparison is cool since they are both lefties, but we should keep in mind that Harden holds the ball in front of him on drives to draw fouls, whereas Stanford tucks and then releases. Would be a good strategy for Stanford if he were stronger and a semi-competent free throw shooter. Harden uses strength and finesse while Stanford uses good body control.

  • I agree Adam.. and he is as prone as anyone to turn the ball over. As a senior, who should be used to playing at a fast pace after last year, he drives into traffic way too often and get’s jammed up, with no place to go and then tries some crazy pass that is uncatchable to anyone.. I believe he is one of the biggest disappointments on this team. Really think we are better off with him not starting.

  • calbert40

    I was impressed with the defensive intensity. They were really getting after guys. I’ve always thought that defense travels with teams on road games, but offense sometimes stays in Bloomington. If this team can play D like that and rebound as well as they did, the road won’t be quite as difficult a place for them.

    I continue to be impressed with Stan, but he has got to work on his FT shooting. For a player who can get to the rim nearly whenever he wants to, he needs to be hitting at a 75 percent clip. It could add 4-6 points to his total every game.

  • David Macer

    Everyone remember that offense scores points, but defense wins championships. This team will be really tough to score on the remainder of the season and all of next year !!!

  • marcusgresham

    Hard to perfect a jumper when you can get to the rim any time you want (like those two in HS.) Vic was the same way. An average shot makes those two damn difficult to defend.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    agree 100% on slowing down, especially with his mid-range game. gotta love the kid’s motor, but dropping a few mph’s will go a long way to smoothing things out on the offensive side. but wow has his potential really started to show these past couple games!

    tw, your hard work’s starting to show, keep working on that jumper!

  • Dee McDonald

    Not to mention that he needs to FINISH his drives. If we had just half of his missed layups at the rim in the MSU and Northwestern games, we probably win both of those games. If he (IU in general I guess) can finish at the rim and not miss layups, they’re going to be really tough to beat.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Vonleh was tremendous on defense. Egwe scored on him a couple of times but he was outstanding on pick and roll and rotations when they were in man. Not to mention his rebounding was jaw dropping, getting boards he had no business getting in heavy traffic – many times out of the 2-3 zone where it is often harder to rebound. HIs game seems to grow each time he plays and he plays so hard all the time, it is a pleasure to watch him.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Stan reminds me of more of a prime Manu Ginobli than Harden – not overpowering athletically or with quicks but works angles and is a little awkward, uses that euro step and is a lefty, allowing him to get to the paint. He also is developing into a nice playmaker, had a couple of nice drop offs in the game to set other guys up.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Yeah I am trying to recall Oladipo as a freshman, I don’t recall him as reckless as Troy with the ball (maybe he was) but I do recall the feeling of “no don’t shoot” when he was going to shoot a jumper. If Troy can improve half as much as Victor’s shot he will be pretty unstoppable. Just remember that Washington game where he was hitting J’s, Troy was unguardable.

  • 3AM Burrito

    I agree, he has a better looking shot than Oladipo did as a freshman I think.

  • 3AM Burrito

    I am happy to see that from AE too, he was so timid in the opening games when he got minutes I was afraid he just was never going to be able to contribute. But I liked how he attacked the basket and pulled the trigger on a three look he had and hope he continues to get confidence and contribute.

  • HoosierFan76

    It would be crazy if he ended up being around Kevin Durant’s height. With his hops and wingspan, he could really do some damage.

    I agree that working on lateral movement/agility would help him defensively, and putting up tons of jump shots (midrange and from 3) would help him offensively. Some tough ballhandling drills would help, too.

    He’s taller, more athletic, and less raw than Vic was as a freshman, though, so if he puts in the hard work he has a good foundation to make himself into a great player.

  • IUJeff

    Glad he hit the three as well. Would have been more glad if he hadn’t immediately been subbed out.
    NEVER take out a hot hand. Geez….

  • IUJeff

    Noah is awesome. What a great example for young players to emulate.
    Let’s hope he follows the CZ plan and stays 2 years.

  • IU Nines

    Agreed.

    Stan, please spend your off season shooting jump shots and free throws. Your ground game is great and will improve by nature, but we need you to pull up.

  • jaywiz

    I recall vics frosh year and yes, he was recklesss and careless, always trying to make sc top 10 plays. I remember a crean quote that said “he is always trying to make a great play, but we need him to play great” i think the same can be said for troy.

  • B1GHoosier

    I agree about Sheehey but you have to remember that he gets our offense moving. He is extremely well I cutting also. But yeah he shouldnt settle for 3’s.

  • marcusgresham

    Jaywiz has a good memory. Vic tried to dunk EVERYTHING that first year and we all said “if he ever realized a lay-up is worth as many points as a dunk he’s going to be great.” I think he figured it out.