The Minute After: Illinois

  • 01/26/2014 6:00 pm in

Thoughts on a 56-46 win over the Illini:

This one wins no awards. You don’t frame it and place on the mantle above the fireplace. Still, in a Big Ten season where wins are never a guarantee for these Hoosiers, it’s a much-needed victory in a game IU just couldn’t afford to lose.

Both of these offenses were atrocious in the first half — a collection of missed shots, bad turnovers and wrong decisions. Indiana scored just .75 points per possession by the break, the Illini just .69. The teams combined to shoot just 4-of-18 from distance. Yogi Ferrell, Noah Vonleh and Will Sheehey had just a total of four points between them. Austin Etherington saved the day. He scored in new ways — an up-and-under, free throws after rolling to the basket — and entered halftime with seven points during 10 minutes of action. Troy Williams added six of eight before the break and hit a nice turnaround jumper after posting up. Yet, Williams’s decision-making — going for the home run play and missing a tip dunk, dribbling the ball off the perimeter and turning it over — remains suspect at times.

Yogi Ferrell would heat up in the second half and score 15 of his 17 for the Hoosiers after the break. His penetration made Indiana’s offense go and it helped open up some things for his teammates. He was also a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe including some late ones to seal it on an afternoon the Hoosiers missed the front of some one-and-ones and shot just 68 percent from the line.

Stanford Robinson (10 points on 5-of-12 shooting) continues to get into the lane and score at the basket. He missed all three of his free throws today, though, and probably would like to have that missed dunk at the end of the game back. Despite a better performance on offense and a few runs that gave the Hoosiers a sizable lead, the Illini would keep crawling back. An 11-point lead with 13 to go dwindled to three points. A nine-point lead with 5:55 to go wasn’t able to be pushed out any farther and the Illini were only two possessions away (six points) for much of the remainder of the game until IU was able to seal it late.

Indiana also kept the Illini out of full comeback territory by rebounding the ball with force. Vonleh had 14 during an afternoon he never got going offensively. Illinois rebounded just 10.8 percent of its misses and had zero second-chance points. It also shot just six free throws for the contest (11.1 free throw rate) and made just 5-of-23 (21.7 percent) from distance. It turned the ball over on 20.3 percent of its possessions (as did the Hoosiers), had an effective field goal percentage of just 37.9 and scored only .72 points per possession.

It was an awful offensive outing for a team that’s now lost six straight in league play and isn’t finding any answers.

It’s off to Nebraska on Thursday. Another winnable game for these Hoosiers. But on the road, the Hoosiers might need a little more than they showed today to get it done.

Filed to:

  • Snookafly


  • Brklynhoosier

    I was going for the double entendre, thx for picking up on that… I don’t know how I forgot that Neil had passed. Was thinking of Will Gladness as I wrote this… It was a hard-luck group of kids (though I was younger than most of them)… Collier, Reed, Gladness, wow…

  • PDXHoosier

    The Neil Reed story is about as depressing as it gets, and it is a shame how he was treated

  • AUKevin

    I think we need a new award to give out each game. I suggest: “Ghost of the Game”.
    My suggestion for tonight is Evan Gordon.
    11 minutes
    0-5 fg
    And not a single mark to make on the state sheet.

  • Dr Dave

    I’ll guess that 6-5 in the rest of B1G, getting to 9-9, puts IU at 6th or 7th in the league and into NCAA’s. That many wins necessarily includes 2-3 more wins against ‘tournament caliber’ teams.
    There’s always a caveat that lots of upsets in the league tournaments sqeezes the at-large field–then IU might need a first round B1G tournament win to solidify a spot.

  • Noah has used the shot fake.. But when you’ve got three or four guys hanging on you, all the shot fake does is give them more time to grab at the ball…

  • Nebraska is playing everyone tough at home. By all rights they should’ve beaten Michigan there as well. I watched a lot of that game, they really pretty much out played Michigan.. and deserved to win.. So, I really can’t agree with you. A loss to Nebraska is no longer considered a bad loss, especially at Nebraska.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Yup, 500 record in B1G and a win in the B1G tournament and they are in

  • CreamandCrimson

    That discussion can’t really accurately happen in a vacuum. It is going to be somewhat dependent on how the other “bubble teams” in the Big Ten and the rest of the country perform. IU likely eliminated Illinois from any further chatter. Minnesota would be in that group, Purdue could get themselves in there. A couple more ugly losses and Ohio State could be on the bubble. Anyway, those other results will be important for us as well. That being said, I think getting to 10 wins in the league would get IU in, getting to 9 would make the Big Ten tournament important and Selection Sunday would be a nervous one. Anything less than that would be asking to get left out.

  • N71

    Agree, recruiting issues were at the center of Knight’s decline with the first major miss being Eric Montross.

  • CreamandCrimson

    This was a necessary win and credit goes to the players and the coaches for grinding it out and making enough plays to get it done.
    +Austin Etherington’s first half. Tremendous cutting and movement, good decision making and an overall really positive impact off the bench.
    +Troy Williams continues to gradually improve.
    +Yogi Ferrell’s second half. He was in control, steady, didn’t force bad shots and nailed his free throws to ice the game.
    +There was a very short rotation for most of this game…hooray!
    +Stan Robinson’s development is absolutely huge and his potential is sky-high.
    +Defense (yes, even our zone!) and rebounding should be this team’s identity and I think the players and staff understand that. It appears we are embracing a bit of a slower tempo and a grind it out, hard-hat identity. It won’t be pretty very often but if it results in solid performances like we’ve seen the past two games (and 3 out of 4)…I’ll take it.
    -Robinson has to make improving his free throw shooting a priority. He gets fouled too often to be a liability at the line.
    -Evan Gordon is struggling right now.
    -The turnovers at the start of the game were atrocious and our turnover rate was still a bit too high. It’s improving though.

    Well done by the Hoosiers. Winning at Nebraska is going to be tough (they are a good team at home, not so much on the road). A win will be very meaningful, a loss won’t be the end of our tournament chances (their RPI is currently 80 I think so this wouldn’t be a “bad” loss). Let’s get it Hoosiers!

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    Yes, it would be a bad loss. I realize they’re a decent team, but with 68 teams, the committee doesn’t play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon for each and every team.

    “Indiana lost to Nebraska, but they beat Ohio State, who beat ….. ”

    And while they beat Ohio State, the just lost to Penn State too, so there’s your counterpoint.

    I may be wrong, but I don’t believe they have the time or desire to dive that deeply into each team’s losses. Now, they might look that deeply at us because there’s little doubt we’ll be a bubble team, but not sure.

    Right or wrong, in the end, I think they’ll simply see an L to Nebraska if we lose. Just like the Northwestern loss. That’s a tough team who has given other teams fits this year (including MSU), but it’s still a loss to Northwestern.

    Let’s just hope we don’t have to worry about that.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Losing Montross was a big one. I played (and then stopped growing and thought I wanted to coach so I managed) for Coach Keefer at Lawrence North and I can say he was no fan of Bob Knight (Todd Leery is the only LN player to ever go to IU…I think), no fan of Mike Davis and no fan of Kelvin Sampson. For whatever reason, Bob Knight was having to recruit Eric Montross from a real disadvantage. Anyway, you are right, that was a major loss and it showed that Indiana kids wouldn’t always be going to IU.

  • Ole Man

    Excellent observation. Add to that the fact that the B1G refs are again allowing the boys to play (no matter what they’re doing in the rest of the world), and I believe his best move is power to the basket.
    BTW, the comment about the refs was not a complaint; simply an observation.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Nebraska’s RPI is at 73 and improving. I don’t know if losing to RPI #73 on the road is seen as a “bad loss” but winning there would certainly be helpful for the Hoosiers’ resume. For comparison purposes, IU’s is 61, Northwestern’s is 114 and Purdue’s is 103 (point and laugh!). I’m not saying losing there won’t be a little damaging but I don’t think it’ll be seen as a “bad loss” on the resume at the end of the year.

  • HoosierFan76

    I don’t disagree that they’re playing people tough at their place, but any time you lose to one of the bottom two or three teams in the league it’s a bad loss IMO. I expect a tough game, but I also expect a Hoosier win. Gotta get the wins somewhere, and if you can’t beat one of the bottom teams it’s a bad loss.

  • HoosierFan76

    Can’t find much to disagree with there. It was just a sad end to a great period of time for IUBB.

  • HoosierFan76

    Oh trust me, I know. I’ve been going to IUBB games since Isiah was a Hoosier and I graduated from IU in ’98, so I got to see the good (early ’80s to early ’90s RMK), the bad (mid-’90s to 2000 RMK), and the ugly (end of Davis’ tenure, Sampson’s last year, CTC’s first three).

    Knight’s struggles certainly weren’t all related to the hype, and the hype wasn’t entirely unfounded. For all the incidents he had and the technicals he got, he really wasn’t like that all the time, though. I’m not making excuses for the stuff that happened – there’s really no place for that. It’s just unfortunate that those things are what define his legacy to people under 30 years of age or so.

    You already stated why the mid-90s RMK teams and onward didn’t work out, and I agree with your line of reasoning. It was still a sad way for things to end, and I hope that there comes a day when RMK can find it in his heart to come back to Bloomington and get the welcome he deserves for all he did for IUBB. Not to coach, mind you, just to be honored.

    I don’t worry about it, though, because IU has done their part to get him back – the ball is in his court now.

  • HoosierFan76

    To be fair, I don’t get the impression that Troy is more worried about making ESPN’s top 10, he’s just trying to be aggressive and score right away off of the tip-dunk rebounds. Stan had a few missed dunks that would’ve been two points on a layup, too.

    I chalk it up to youthful exuberance and maybe not realizing that the guys in the B1G are grown men who can – and will – undercut you when you try to go up big for a tip-dunk or posterization.

    Let’s be careful about characterizing guys as thinking about ESPN instead of winning games. There is absolutely no way to know what they’re thinking, so it’s not fair to be putting thoughts in their heads. I like our group of guys and they seem to all be improving as they get more comfortable with each other and acclimated to the college game.

    If guys truly were putting their own individual ambitions above the team cause and lacked the proper focus, I have every confidence that CTC would be finding some pine time for them to adjust their priorities.

  • TomJameson

    That’s exactly right! They get him the ball pretty good, could be better, but still pretty good. Some of our turnovers are actually because we’re trying too hard and forcing it into Noah. Defenses know how to defend IU. You pack it in the center, cut off passing lanes to Noah, and let IU shoot from outside.
    IMO Yesterdays game was won by the supporting cast, and Yogi’s 2nd half. Big game for Austin! Stan is playing pretty good, and gets to the rim very well (needs to make his layups). Troy may still turn it over in his excitement, but he shot a good percentage. I think they looked like a TEAM more than they have lately. GO IU!

  • TomJameson

    Good reply. Agree 100 %

    I really like Troy and Stan’s futures at IU!!

  • TomJameson

    I actually think that’s been a complaint from coaching all over CBB. Once conference play started most of the refs went right back to what is used to be. New rules only seemed to be used in pre-conference. NCAA commissioner even mentioned it being a problem.

    But, I believe most everybody didn’t think the rules would last past pre-conference anyway. LOL

  • William Hagenmaier

    He is and always will be the general

  • Blair McKee

    Again the sun rises in the East, and Illinois under-performs. Still it is a win IU must have, and they got it. GO IU!

  • William Hagenmaier

    Montross had a big attitude problem

  • b_side

    Michigan also had Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. Love Yogi and Will, but neither player is on that same level.

  • Blair McKee

    Basketball is not a game.
    I was watching a friend’s son’s third and fourth-grade (8 and nine year olds) team play YMCA ball last summer. They were working the inside-outside game and the pick-and-roll like old pros. Parents and officials and visitors like me were commenting, encouraging and offering advice to grade schoolers like it was a college game. Every possession mattered, and every play was important. (And every kid on the bench and on the court was fully engaged in the game.)
    It was awesome.
    And it was Indiana.
    But in relation to your post, Ke Sang. I think Indiana University held onto Bob Knight too long in veneration for his work in the 70’s and 80’s. He lost his will to prepare and win games and kept his tremendous ego.

  • David Macer

    I’m sitting here thinking about the tournament chances myself. While it certainly would be disappointing not to make the NCAA’s this year, I hope they play beyond the end of the season. Many on this site would see that as a failure as IT’S INDIANA. But these kids need the tournament experience should the committee decide to exclude our Hooisers. Plus, several of the NIT games would be home games adding to the coffers of the Athletic department.

  • Ok, I’ll agree that given IU’s current predicament it would be a very bad loss.. Maybe even in terms of Nebraska really being a tough out at home as bad as the loss to NW was. Now that one and really the first loss at Illinois was a bad loss as well. Illinois is not that tough. They have nights when they’re shooting pretty well, but they are not that good and that first loss to them, was in my mind an easier one to get than this one we’ve got coming up with Nebraska. We absolutely do need to win this one.

  • HoosierFan76

    That’s fair. It’s hard to figure out Illinois. Right now, they seem to have no offense of any sort. In the pre-conference schedule and even the early going of conference play, they were much better. This seems to happen to them every year – they start off pretty well and then collapse toward the end of the year. That was a problem even before Groce got there, too.

    I still think that Groce is a really good coach and will do big things at Illinois, but that’s in the future. That first loss to them does look pretty bad now.

  • ForeverIU

    Agree, but with our freshmen beginning to blossom, anything is possible. I think our next big surprise will be Stan and Troy starting to make threes, not to mention Austin. Imagine if Stan and Troy become 3-pt threats, as Noah has become. Oh, and Jeremy. Anything is possible with this team.

  • Ole Man

    Didn’t know that. Thanks! IU would have been better served in their style of play if the refs had stuck to the new rules.
    Brings up the point as to if CTC wasn’t building a team for the new rules.

  • PDXHoosier

    But he had an amazing flat top

  • William Hagenmaier

    we still can’t shoot a lick

  • William Hagenmaier

    He needs to spend some time with bobby knight