The Minute After: Michigan

  • 02/02/2014 4:01 pm in

Thoughts on a 63-52 win against the Wolverines:

The time, team and place were right.

Michigan, a program that’s struggled in Assembly Hall under John Beilein, took the court this afternoon winners of 10 straight and holders of a perfect 8-0 mark in conference. A loss was bound to happen soon. From the opening tip, Indiana made it known that loss would come today.

Yogi Ferrell’s performance was one to remember. He was fire from beyond the arc, hitting 7-of-8. On only 10 shots, he scored 27 points. But his work on the other side of the ball was equally impressive. While he gave up size to Nik Stauskas, his quickness allowed him to faceguard the projected lottery pick and potential Big Ten player of the year. It confused and frustrated Michigan’s league-leading offense. Stauskas never really got involved (1-of-6, six points). He was a non-factor.

It was a stroke of genius from Tom Crean during a game a chorus of boos rang down on him for a stretch of the first half when Jonny Marlin and Jeff Howard entered and Indiana’s lead quickly evaporated. Hoosier fans have griped about Crean’s substitution patterns all season, and this was them standing up and shouting “no!” loud and clear. Marlin and Howard were yanked at the next stoppage of play, never to return again save for Howard coming in with less than a minute left and the game sealed.

Evan Gordon has a bum middle finger and his role has evaporated some with the emergence of Stanford Robinson. (He was also sick and not cleared until this morning.) But the fifth-year senior made his presence known in important ways today. Gordon scored with brilliance in transition (eight points) and made smart decisions on defense.

As the season wears on, it’s becoming a bit clearer that Noah Vonleh’s offensive repertoire — though impressive for a kid his age — maybe isn’t quite as advanced as we thought. As Bill Raftery put it on the broadcast, Vonleh’s game is a little “green.” Still, Michigan played man-to-man defense for most of this one and it allowed Indiana some more space to get him the ball and get him involved. Vonleh got nine shots attempts and posted a double-double (10 points, 12 boards). The freshman was also big on defense, coming up with two shot blocks.

The man-to-man defense also helped IU’s offense as a whole, giving them a little more room in general to run their action and sets. There’s just less struggle when teams don’t zone up and pack it in against the Hoosiers. They scored 1.14 points per possession this afternoon, their highest mark since the Wisconsin win (1.17), another game where the opponent threw a lot of man-to-man defense against them.

While Indiana turned it over on 23.7 percent of its possessions, it wasn’t a disastrous number in the 30s we saw against Nebraska. It was also balanced out by good defense (.94 points per possession for Michigan, who had been averaging 1.185 points per possession in conference), a 39.1 percent offensive rebounding mark and strong shooting (62.7 effective field goal percentage).

After the win, Indiana’s moved into one analyst’s eyes as one of the first four out of the NCAA Tournament. The Big Ten is a weird wild world this season. And the Hoosiers, after a tremendous performance against a top 10 team, ain’t dead yet.

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  • bojak

    Tell that to the athletic directer or any other one of Crean’s bosses. They hire a coach that they feel gives IU the best chance of turning the program around and I don’t think booing the coaches constant bad substitution patterns is something that is going to bother them if it means starting to win some games. I think bad substitutions have cost the hoosiers at least 2 games this year and it doesn’t look like he is about to change. So if a few boo’s is what it takes then so be it..

  • VAHoosier

    I agree… this is the main problem with our offense: it is dribble-based and not pass-based. I don’t know enough about CTC to know whether this is part of his coaching philosophy, or just a matter of this year’s personnel (and I admit, Yogi is generally excellent with the dribble). But it seems like last year’s team moved the ball much better.

    This is why we have sucked against zone, I think. You can’t beat a zone with the dribble; you need quick passing and ball-reversal. But those just are not things we do with our offense.

  • VAHoosier

    Next year we have the potential for one of the best backcourts in the nation. But I think Yogi is gone after 3. Hopefully, Johnson is as good as advertised and JBJ sticks around for at least 2 years, though.

  • VAHoosier

    I think Stan gets the nod just because of his slight size and experience advantage over Johnson. But they should all get plenty of minutes.

  • VAHoosier

    Late season is always weighted heavier than early-mid, whether the committee admits it or not. So, it remains to be seen whether IU can play themselves into a bid.

  • CreanFaithful

    He came back with Will and Yogi after 2:10 sec of that lineup. It’s not like it was an immediate change. Those are also the two highest min/game players on the team. They were coming back in regardless.

  • CreanFaithful

    Not sure what your point is… Obviously CTCs bosses have their criteria for evaluating his success. I’m positive, they too, have opinions about decisions that are made like the rest of our fans… What does that have to do with the booing? Are you telling me that the boos are now going to impact the certainty of CTC keeping his job?

  • 5_Banners

    I agree. that was a horrible call. A play like that could have settled the team down .

  • MillaRed

    Honestly I’m not sure what to think about it. That lineup though? The chance of success against a Michigan team is so slim. Why would Marlin see time before Evan under any circumstances? Just weird.

  • Kyl470

    They didn’t drive anymore in the 2nd half than they did in the 1st half. The only reason IU got to the line more in the 2nd half is because the refs actually blew the whistle. In the 1st half they weren’t calling anything and neither team even got in the bonus. In the 2nd half both teams got in the bonus.

  • kbb247

    No, I don’t think they will. But we have a right to voice our displeasure, which is exactly what happened yesterday. The positive and negative of coaching at Indiana is generally the fans know when you made a bad decision. If he would clean up his subbing and lineups many of us wouldn’t have a lot to gripe about. I agree with bojak that this has probably cost us at least 2 games. The main problem people have (myself included) is that he keeps making this same mistake over and over. On the positive side it was a great win, and his game plan defensively was excellent, and should receive a large amount of credit for that. Behlien clearly didn’t see that coming and really never had an answer for it. Overall, great game for coach, except for the 2 minutes or so he went brain dead.

  • kbb247

    David, on one hand, I would be glad my kid got into the game. On the other hand, I would be pissed that my son was put in that position. That is my take. That lineup was bad with very little chance of success. Part of coaching is putting kids in situations that give them the best chance to be successful. I don’t have a huge problem with Howard etc. playing, but coach has to know that he can’t put them out there together.

  • CreanFaithful

    I agree. Believe me, I was doing my fair share of complaining while watching at home. I just can’t dig the concept that booing is OK.

  • GL81

    Really enjoyed an overall great performance by the Hoosiers and watching Seth Davis eat his halftime words…..what a hater!

  • HoosierFan76

    Those guys were great, and their backcourts were great as well. I’m not trying to discount any other past Hoosier greats when I’m saying that, but I’ll stick with it. Obviously it’s all conjecture at this point, but if Yogi improves even halfway as much in the next offseason as he did in this past offseason, he’ll be incredible next year. Same with Stan – if he can find a better shot from the FT line and from midrange outward, look out. JBJ is a machine offensively and RJ seems to do everything well, if not with quite the glitz and glamor of guys like JBJ.

    We’ll see how the freshmen adjust to the college game, but I do think that the potential is there for those 4 guys to form the best Hoosier backcourt of all time. What other IU team had 4 guards who were that good?

  • Outoftheloop

    This team is only 10 players deep: Yogi, Noah, Will and Stan (our 4 starters), plus Evan, Troy and Austin (our 3 quality versatile substitute players), plus Hanner and Devin (our 2 quality big rebounders/defenders), plus Jeremy (our enigma?). Jeff Howard is capable but it is hard to see why he should get minutes instead of Hanner and Devin, when Indiana will need them for next season and when Devin (#2 rebounding .330/min) and Hanner (#3 rebounding .271/min) are better rebounders and defenders. This year’s IU team is ALL about rebounding and defending! Add in teamwork and solid passing. Simplify and win!

  • David Macer

    That is a good way to look at the situation. Still don’t like our fans booing our team. We’re not Philly of NY fans…. But I can sure see your point.

  • Kenneth234

    My questions to you Ole Man is, does Marlin provide anything that utilizing Gordon as a back up point guard doesn’t? And then also, does Gordon provide anything at the back up point guard slot that Marlin doesn’t?

    The whole point is what is wrong with utilizing a 3 man back court rotation of Yogi, Stan, and Gordon, rather than then using a guy who brings nothing to the table other than passing the ball to guys who are in no better position to score than himself? At least when using those 3 guys, they are at least interested in scoring the ball, or putting pressure on the defense in some fashion. Marlin doesn’t even really pump fake a shot, let alone look for a shot.

  • Kenneth234

    I agree with you. Hanner is being misused at this point. He should never be posting up a player around the block. He simply is not ready to make a move from that position, and still struggles to catch the ball with a guy on his back. His role should be as the guy who comes out and screens all over the floor, and dives to the basket for opportunities to rebound and catch a dump off pass if left open near the rim. Play him to his strengths, and continue to develop his weaknesses in practice and in the off season. But place him only in positions that can lead to success.

  • kbb247

    I get your point on the boos. It really isn’t what you like to see. I was at the game, and booed as well. I am just not sure what other avenue us as fans have. From my take there was about 17k people that just couldn’t take it any longer. I think 90% of the people agree that his quirky lineups and subbing need to stop. Personally I wanted Crean to know my displeasure, but it didn’t feel good either, indirectly booing players on the floor.

  • HoosierFan76

    Thanks! Never a dull moment around here, huh? 🙂
    I think it’s only human nature to spot the negatives even among other things that are overwhelmingly positive. That was a huge win and a great 40-minute effort from the Hoosiers yesterday, and probably the best full game of basketball they’ve played all year. The defensive game plan worked incredibly in shutting down one of the most efficient offenses in the nation. Still, though, there were things that could have been better.

    But that’s basketball, and that’s how IU is this year. I enjoy the big win for the Hoosiers, but I’m hoping that the experience they’ve gained to this point can help the team be more consistent going forward. We’ll see Saturday when they go to Minnesota for a tough game in the Barn.

  • GL81

    Like the enthusiasm but maybe a tad reactionary but good conversation on a normal day

  • CreamandCrimson

    I think a big turning point in the improvement of the zone was the decision to drop Yogi from the top of the zone down to the baseline. Having players with a bit more length up top is making it a bit more difficult for teams to find open passing lanes and eventually find an open, uncontested 3. Now, if we can just close down shooters with a bit more discipline and stop fouling shooters behind the line…

    You are right though, the zone has become a decent/good option for us.

  • kbb247

    Just MO, but I do think he was affected by it. He was doing the nervous tie stroke thing, and adjusting his coat a hundred times while the boos were coming down. Does he care at the end of the day?? Probably not, but he is human and I would bet a lot of money that it affected him. I booed as well, don’t necessarily like doing it, but as Milla pointed out what other option is there??? I will add that it was clearly about 17k people doing it.

  • kbb247

    I will add that he will probably get booed every time he puts a lineup like that on the floor, unless they are up or down 30. On side note number 2, I really do like Crean, and think he does a whale of a job most of the time. He also deserves a lot of credit for the win yesterday.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I happen to think Gordon should be used as backup point for the 3-4 minutes a game that Yogi needs a breather (it shouldn’t be any more than that) but I do have one thing Marlin adds a bit more than Gordon…
    -In 41 minutes of action (small sample size but it’s all we have to go on), Marlin has 1 turnover. Basically, one TO for every 40 minutes.
    -Evan Gordon is averaging a TO every 19 minutes. So about 2 TOs for every 40 minutes.

    Add in Evan Gordon’s finger ligament injury (which he is apparently pretty much over, hooray!) and IU’s problems with turnovers and maybe that’s enough in CTC’s mind to give those few minutes to Marlin. I don’t necessarily agree with it but I can at least sort of make a case for it.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    good post, and i echoed the same after we beat wiscy. personally, i’m a very happy hoosier today because…

    1. we pulled off a huge win yesterday, and did it in relatively dominating fashion, especially toward the end of the game
    2. after the first few minutes, we really didn’t commit all that many to’s.
    3. our shooters seem to be gaining some confidence (or gaining it back, in yogi’s case)

    4. ctc finally came to his senses after a good old-fashioned booing!

  • Here I am! Did you read the article, the fans had to boo his substitutions off the court, how’s that for a start? He went 7 (SEVEN!) deep in his bench, its crazy and just because Yogi saved the day doesn’t make it right. At this point of the year we should be playing no more than 3 deep off the bench in a competitive game. Vonleh, Shehee, Yogi, Stan and Williams should play the vast majority of minutes with Vonleh, Yog and Stand taking the bulk of the shots. Sub Hollowell and Gordon, Gordon just enough to give the guards a breather (and never sub Stan/Yogi at the same time) and Hollowell maybe more depending on how he’s playing. After that HMP just to spell Vonleh and THAT’S IT, everybody else on the bench and don’t expect to see the court unless their is foul trouble or injury. Our bench played 52 minutes and contributed 12 points and guys like Marlin, Davis and Howard should never be out there. When we had our best guys out there we dominated, then Crean would make some substitution and let them back in it.

  • Phillip Ross

    I think the stability from not subbing like usual helped a lot by cutting down on turnovers.

  • Kenneth234

    That is at least more valid than saying he is an experienced point guard at this level. But to the defense of Gordon’s turnovers, I would say that they are at least coming (for the most part) out of trying to make something happen. And Marlin is essentially focused primarily on ensuring that he doesn’t turn the ball over, and nothing more.

  • Kenneth234

    Furthermore, the tournament hopes this season rest essentially on how the mid major automatic bid conference tournaments play out. If the top team in most conferences win their conference tourneys, than there will be more spots open for teams like Indiana and other major conference middle of the pack teams to get an at large bid. But no matter what, we need to continue showing that we can compete with the cream of the Big Ten conference, and hope to not have many more set back down the stretch. I’m not saying that we cannot afford to lose again, because losses in the Big Ten are going to happen, its inevitable with the strength of the conference from top to bottom.

  • GL81

    No I give the guy a LOT of credit, it was an amazing individual performance but to throw around all time at IU are big statements but worth a look. There have been some great single game performances by Henderson, Cheaney, Thomas, McGinnis, Alford and Rayl. Tough to pull defensive statistics from that long ago but maybe some of the ol folks around here can enlighten us!

  • Ole Man

    It’s fun to imagine, for sure.
    I want to see Yogi’s assists to TO ratio improve at the same time his assist avg. goes up.
    Isiah avg. 5.7 for his career. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, TO records were not kept in that period, or are incomplete.

  • Ole Man

    First, I didn’t say put Marlin out there with the other non-scorers.
    Second, now that Gordon is getting healthy again, I expect the Marlin will move farther down the bench.
    Third, Marlin hustles, seems to understand the offense, makes crisp passes and looks to facilitate.
    As for Stan, I hope they continue to develop him as the off guard rather than at point.
    As to Marlin not shooting, he isn’t the only one. I won’t hesitate a guess as to why, but obviously it has to do with what they practice or are told in practice.

  • Kenneth234

    Ole Man “I said Marlin was useful for two, three minutes a game giving Yogi a break. I stand by that”.

    I thought you stood by that, why are you backing away from it?

  • HoosierFan76

    Given the scorers who Yogi will have as teammates next season, it would be a disappointment if both his assists and assist/turnover ratio didn’t improve significantly. I’d also like to see him cut down on his turnovers, which will further boost the A/TO ratio. I expect that all of those things will happen.

  • Ole Man

    Kenneth, I don’t debate with “arguers.”
    So to you I say, whatever.

  • Ole Man

    From your lips to Yogi’s ears! LOL!

  • calbert40

    That was another big move. Will played well.

  • HoosierFan76

    I have no doubt that he places those expectations upon himself already – he seems very driven and focused and knows his own strengths and weaknesses. I can’t wait to see what all those guys in the backcourt can do together next season.

  • calbert40

    I was being sarcastic, Ole Man….or at least trying to be.

    ILive posted that ESPN stat which stated only Kansas has won more games against Top 10 opponents in the past three years than IU. So, I inserted Bill Self in place of Crean to illustrate that some of the blanket complaints are, well, pretty lame.

  • calbert40

    I know, Bruce. It aggravated all of us. The message board was filled with much angst, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and based on the last play, rightfully so. But it was a year ago. Being upset about now doesn’t help change it.

    I don’t think what Crean does “defies logic,” but I don’t always agree with his moves either. I miss the motion offense too. That’s what I was taught to play, and without sounding sappy, it is pretty to watch. When run right, motion offense is poetry in motion. But, it is difficult to run properly. Crean prefers the pro style offense, and while I don’t love it, it has been effective when we have the right pieces in place. I try not to bring my personal bias on offensive schemes into the discussion, because if I had my way, we’d run motion too.

  • Ole Man

    Not my down votes. As I said, “I have no dog….”
    Those blanket complaints exist in both camps when it comes to Crean.
    And note, for having a civil discussion with you, I received two down votes. LOL!

  • InTheMtns

    > “i’m gonna go out on a limb and guess the players had a pretty good idea what was going on.”

    That’s my point, What’sUP, the players did know what was going on. And what was going on is that the Indiana fans at Assembly Hall were booing the Indiana coach because he was putting certain Indiana players into the game. The fans didn’t believe those players were good enough to play. So if you’re one of those players that’s going into the game, that means you know the Indiana fans are booing your coach because he’s putting you into the game. Indiana fans booing because you, an Indiana player, are going into the game. I agree 100% with you – the players did know what was going on.

  • CreanFaithful

    “The ultimate Crean/Hoosier fan.” LOL! Ok… Sorry for picking a team relevant username. Meanwhile, I don’t think it’s a very high bar to set – not booing our own head coach at home. Under CTC, we have beaten 10 top 10 teams since the start of 11′-12′. Only second to Kansas. Bottom line is I, like others, may question certain decisions, but the guy know his stuff. Let the media ask the questions in the post game presser.

  • CreanFaithful

    Also, looks like Crean agree’s with you… His comments on the booing: “I learned a long time ago, if you coach long enough, you’re gonna see a little bit of everything. The bottom line is, we have to rest players. I don’t have any concern on that. … We’ve got to continue to build depth, and the only way you build depth is to get guys to be consistent. And when moves don’t work out, you know what? I’d boo me too then.”

  • calbert40

    If you hitch your wagon to me, you may end up getting some down votes! Surprisingly, my posts were pretty popular on this thread, but that is not the norm. Proceed with caution!

  • WhatsUpKnight

    if your original point is that the booing is what caused that lineup to not score a point and give up the lead, then i strongly disagree.

    if your point is that the fans should be more sensitive to the players’ feelings, i once again strongly disagree. not saying it should be a free-for-all, but i don’t feel like saying ‘boo’ crosses any lines. haha

    then again, maybe you’re right. let’s let those poor unfortunate kids know how much we feel sorry for them. that’s bound to make em feel better. and next time CTC puts em in the game, he should let em play the entire 2nd half so they can really feel like they’re part of the team! and let’s continue to cheer em on even when they get down by 30+. after-all, their feelings are way more important than winning and losing!

    anyway, i’ve had my fun with this, gonna put it to rest now.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    you’re right. to all of you who haven’t coached in college or higher, keep your unqualified opinions to yourselves! there’s no room for such nonsense on a fan message board! haha

    i’ve said it once and i’ll say it again, when you sign up for big boy basketball and all the great advantages that go along with it, you better have some thick skin and be prepared to deal with the downside. i don’t feel like saying ‘boo’ is crossing the line, nor do i feel the need to patronize those kids by telling them it’s alright for ctc to put such a ridiculous lineup on the floor and expect them to be effective.

    whether or not the booing had an impact, i can’t say. afterall, i’ve never been a coach! however, what i saw was CTC yanking them pretty darn quickly and not pulling that same crap in the 2nd half. consequently, you’ll notice we beat a really good team (in the midst of a winning streak) by double digits.