The Minute After: Nebraska

  • 03/05/2014 10:01 pm in

Thoughts on a 70-60 loss to the Cornhuskers:

After back-to-back wins over ranked opponents, the Hoosiers seemed ready to avenge their loss to the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, keeping their slim NCAA Tournament at-large hopes alive in the process.

But they fell short, just couldn’t get over the hump, and it’s another heartbreaker on senior night.

Tied at 52 with 10 minutes to go after a Will Sheehey 3-pointer, Indiana had a number of shots that would have finally given them the lead in the contest. They just didn’t fall.  Still, it never trailed by more than three for the next eight minutes of the game, despite the Cornhuskers’ zone giving them a bit of trouble. The hustle and effort were there; there was no quit. A Yogi Ferrell missed 3-pointer that air-balled was saved out of bounds by Troy Williams. Devin Davis got his paws on it and scored. Indiana trailed by just one with 2:30 t0 go. A hustle play and the Hoosiers were still right there, still in the hunt.

But Indiana, which had its issues on defense throughout, got a little crossed up on the right wing with some pick action between Terran Petteway and Walter Pitchford. Pitchford got free for a trey and sunk it. 62-58 Cornhuskers and the Hoosiers would never get any closer.

Despite Petteway being in foul trouble and hitting just 3-of-10 from the floor, Nebraska was still able to score 1.1 points per possession in this one. Both Pitchford (17 points) and Shavon Shields (17 points) gave Indiana issues. Pitchford scored the first nine points for Nebraska and it set the tone early that IU was going to have to battle back all night. Too often in the first 20 minutes, Indiana let Nebraska turn the corner around screens and get buckets. The Cornhuskers also scored nine off second-chance points to Indiana’s zero. And the Hoosiers, a typically stout offensive rebounding squad, only snagged 18.8 percent of their misses.

After the break, Indiana was able to score 26 points in the first 10 minutes, matching what they pumped in during the first 20 minutes of the contest. It got hot from 3-point range, hitting four in those first 10 minutes. They were able to leak out and get some quicker, easier scores.  Problem was, they were trading buckets too much with Nebraska, and once the Cornhuskers sunk back in the zone, Indiana couldn’t punch through.

Despite some confusion here and there, it found the gaps and seams enough in that zone to keep it interesting. Troy Williams had 18 points tonight. He hit two 3-pointers after making just three all season coming into the game and was pretty effective in the paint and attacking off the perimeter (7-of-12). He also had six rebounds and a steal. Davis had maybe his best game in conference, making plays on both ends of the floor and finishing with seven points.

But Indiana was a jump shooting team a little bit too much, and it doomed them just enough, as it shot just 5-of-21 from distance. Yogi Ferrell was 1-of-10 from beyond the arc to go along with his aforementioned air-ball. He was just 4-of-14 from the field. Sheehey made only 2-of-7 from deep.

Tim Miles has his Cornhuskers at 10 wins. They entered this game with the second-best defense in the conference from an efficiency standpoint and it showed tonight. Make no mistake, this team, despite the name on the front of the jersey, has proven to be pretty good in conference this year and is clearly in the mix for an at-large NCAA tournament bid.

The Hoosiers, on the other hand, just played their way out — save for a Big Ten Tournament championship.

Filed to:

  • JP

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree even though I do agree with your statement “I’m not saying he’s the best coach in American or anything even close to that.” Especially the “or anything even close to that” part.

    I believe virtually any coach other than Davis (due to the Knight fiasco) and Sampson (due to Sampson) could have done the same thing Crean has done with the stature and strength of Indiana University. Yes he inherited a mess. But he also inherited a basketball rich state’s dominant university with an incredible support structure.

    My shock when they hired Tom Crean was second only to my shock when they first hired Sampson.

    I think Tom Crean is a good man. He’s not a great coach…..and that’s what IU deserves and needs.

  • BMusic

    It was there for a while, early…ball moving, people moving. Got some nice easy shots out of it.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Maybe, not according to NBA scouts, but I would agree Yogi is our most valuable player, but he certainly was not our best player last night. The point I was making is that against Iowa, the team came together and played great without Noah, which teams tend to do when losing a top player for one game. It is very hard to extend it past one game. The team as a whole did not play well last night.

  • gman

    Thank You Sir… You are correct.
    Fake IUBB fans!!! I feel its typical of fare weather fans. But great complainers however… What an embarrassment. As Eastwood said… Back your team or get another one. If all you have to do is complain why bother. What jokes some of you are…

  • calbert40

    There are some games where it feels like Crean is simply throwing a lineup against the wall to see if it will stick. Once the year is over, I believe Crean will acknowledge that this team confounded him much like it has us.

  • Alford Bailey

    Yogi and Gary would have been plenty outta that class. IMO

  • Shaggy_C

    Is there something contractual preventing IU’s participation? I seem to remember mocking Purdue for playing in the tournament last year so it would seem it is open for the lower tier Big Ten schools.

  • dssnyder1

    kudos to you
    you continue to have an upbeat attitude when there is so much doom and gloom here on ITH

  • Snookafly

    There was a lot of booing for 2-3 of our possessions with about two and a half minutes to go. It was some of the loudest noise from our fans all game. Our offense was stalling and people started screaming “MOVE!” and then immediately started booing.

    I’m pretty sure our players knew it was directed at them and not CTC. I understand yelling “move” early on in the half if things are stagnant, but with the game on the line, I don’t think creating a road game atmosphere helped our guys.

  • MillaRed

    None of this takes away a simple fact, this descendent of mighty Colorado State owned CTC this season. That’s all I said. It’s fact. Fluff it as much as you like. It’s fact.

  • Snookafly

    Read my post below on the boos for offense, but Jeff Howard did get quite a few of his own when Crean started doing his late-game offense/defense subs.

  • calbert40

    No, it is your opinion that Miles owned Crean. The fact is that Nebraska beat us twice.

    I’m going to give you a statement, and you tell me if it is a Fact or my personal opinion.

    Crean “owned” Thad, Fran and Beilein (so far) this year, because those teams are all better than IU, so if we beat them, it is because our coach outcoached them.

    That type of rationale works both ways.

  • Kenneth234

    You have got to be delusional to think that there is any fear involved in playing against a team on a basketball floor of any era. Do us all a favor, and just keep this sort of negativity to yourself, because it does no good to anyone in, around or who even cares about the actual program and its current status; rather than the good ole days of Indiana basketball.

  • Ole Man

    Couldn’t agree more. It’s possible to disagree without the nastiness we’ve seen this year.

  • Ole Man

    I thought IU came close to being a “top notch” program last year.

  • Ole Man

    My statement is fact, not conjecture; which is the game you’re attempting to play.

    Your “question” has nothing to do with my statement.
    You want to “overlay” one era on another as if that’s somehow relevant.

    It has nothing to do with RMK. CTC stands on his own.

  • Ole Man

    I don’t claim to be “sage-like”, but I can understand how it would appear that way to you.

    Next years Frosh have to adjust to the college game.
    IF Noah leaves, our inside game is suspect; which allows greater pressure on the outside shooters.
    That’s just two off the top of my head.
    Want more, subscribe to the Forum. Many more who are “wiser” than I posting there.

  • KmanCRK

    As I’ve said before, the 1st yr we are relevant in 20 yrs it’s a complete failure if we don’t get to a Final Four? Perspective is needed my friend. Duke, UK, KU, Syr, UNC are relevant almost every yr and don’t get to the final four but every so often. Please try and dispute that last year was the first time we were relevant in 20yrs. It’s called March Madness for a reason.

  • Andy

    Translation: shooters will make the difference.

  • KmanCRK

    Amen brother

  • KmanCRK

    Great points. Glad to see the positive folks standing tall. Our first true class of recruits (plural) are sophomores right now. I’ve got all of the Player Calendars hanging from Crean’s era and they are freaking pathetic until very recently. We are moving in the right direction. No doubt about it. How else can Crean say he has more top ten wins than all but 1 coach the last 3 years.

  • KmanCRK

    In a game where you put the ball in a basket to score, who needs shooters?

  • KmanCRK

    So are you saying that Freshman don’t quickly adapt to the college game? Because we’ve been starting 3 of them for most of the year.

  • GatewayHoosier

    Yeah, sorry I wasn’t more clear. What I meant by stressing that is I was surprised Yogi was mentioned because, even though I acknowledge tradition surely played a role, it’s hard for me to use a player Crean recruited in an argument against Crean.

    I don’t think coaches recruit only on their names. I’ve said elsewhere on this post that I think IU’s tradition and Indiana’s feeder system gives Crean a leg up.

    What it *doesn’t* do is “seal the deal.” You mentioned Jeffries and Gordon — I loved them both. But outside of them, can we think of any top Indiana players that IU successfully recruited after the Alan Henderson / Damon Bailey years?

    I admit I could be missing people. Maybe Luke Recker counts? I think that would be a stretch. In contrast, Crean has gotten the best player (or close to it) from Indiana 3 of the past 4 years. Cody, Yogi (maybe McGary / Gary Harris?), and JBJ. And if you count Recker, then I think you need to count Hulls. That would make Crean 4 for 5.

    I don’t know how anyone can argue that Crean isn’t protecting the home turf better than any time in the past 20 years.

  • GatewayHoosier

    Thanks for the pushback, and I realize now that wasn’t a clear term. I mean that I think there’s a difference between having a great year and being a top-notch program.

    Virginia is having a great year (and I think Tony Bennett is a GREAT coach). Virginia is not a top-notch program.

    By top-notch I mean sustained excellence, year after year. There are very few who can claim that. The blue bloods.

    I don’t see how we can reasonably expect to piss away 20 years where we really didn’t move forward and still consider ourselves a top-notch program. Top-notch legacy, yes. Top-notch potential / future, yes. Top-notch, elite program — still rebuilding to it. 2 years does not make an elite program.

    And I’m clearly in favor of giving Crean more time.

  • GatewayHoosier

    Great post. Well put.

  • pcantidote

    The only parallel to ND fans is that we have been suffering through 20+ years of mediocrity with an occasional exciting season. Delusions of grandeur. The really interesting thing is that their great seasons have been around the same time as ours….87 (88), 93, 02, 13 (12).

  • aHoopandaPrayer

    High-risk: Hollowell, Jurkin
    Medium-risk: Mosquera-Perea
    Low-risk: Davis, Hartman

    Prediction: Two Transfers

  • Ole Man

    To say IU was not relevant for 20 years is to trash a lot of history.
    Yes; they weren’t making the Final Four every year, but they were making the tourney most of the time.
    Also, doesn’t stop the fact that most IU fans and the BBall experts thought IU was a Final Four team last year.
    That last point is fact, not conjecture.

    Instead, you want to play “definition”–by that, what is the meaning of the word “relevant”? You say potato and I say potato.

    Despite all your attempts to do so, it’s obvious you’re avoiding my point that the second youngest team won the championship.

    You must be a politician because you keep changing the subject and won’t address the truth.

  • Ole Man

    How on earth you arrive at that conclusion from what I wrote is anyone’s guess.

    I attempted to be nice and gave you two legitimate reasons why outside shooting might not solve “all of our problems.” But you don’t want to “talk about IU”, you want to argue.

    Andy; it’s obvious you don’t understand. It’s not my job in the world to educate you. It’s also obvious that you don’t want to understand. Done wasting time with you.

  • Ole Man

    And we’ve been watching the trials and tribulations of the Frosh all year long; plus using their youth as a built in excuse.
    Which is it? They adapted quickly or their youthfulness cost us games.
    Quickly. You can’t have it both ways.

  • Ole Man

    Thanks! Think we are still rebuilding as well.
    And I’m all for giving CTC more time; always have been.
    Just want this year to be an anomaly and not a pattern that develops.

  • KmanCRK

    So you disagree the twenty years comment? Under what basis? Just saying “history” doesn’t prove anything. By relevant I would think powerhouse, perennial top seed in the tourney. But the facts are facts are we were never higher than a #4 seed for 20 years. And that #4 seed was only once. Sorry, but if 6, 7, 8 seeds in the tourney means we are relevant nationally to you, then we disagree on what relevant means. Having a 6,7, and 8 seeds and losing int he 1st and 2nd round every year is not relevant. And ANSWER your question/point about youth, I would think its pretty darn obvious that UM is the exception not the rule. But I guess you can spin anything the way you want. And of course everyone thought we would be a Final Four team, but heck even ESPN ran commercials about brackets mocking us for not having a chance since we had a Freshman point guard. We almost locked up the overall #1 seed. Of course it was dissapointing. But try and tell me the last a coach at IU had us as a #1 seed. Tell me the last time a coach at IU had the President of the U.S. (speaking of politicians) picking us to win it all. THAT IS RELEVANT.. But try and spin my numbers above. This should be interesting…

  • Jeff

    Very disappointing season and I agree with an earlier comment that stated IU is not in a rebuilding situation any longer – we expect to at a minimum be in the Big Dance every year. We can not be considered a Blue Blood program making the Dance only most of the time. Last year we had two high draft selections and still only got to the sweet sixteen. We lost to a zone defense. This year a number of our defeats came at the hands of zone defenses. It is the coaches responsibility to recruit the talent, develop it, and put together the game plan (strategy) to win! Just like any CEO or President of an organization they are paid handsomely and are responsible for delivering results. If they don’t they are boo’d by falling stock prices. If there is any booing going on it should be focused at the management; not the players. Our management has demonstrated they do not know how to win against a zone defense. They must demonstrate they can figure it out or another management team must be brought in just as it is done in business. And in today’s world with the compensation at the levels it is at the leader doesn’t get too long to figure things out before a new manager is brought in. We have now had failure in the past two years. A third year and a new management team must get a chance to bring us back to the level we expect regardless of how nice the current management team is.

  • Andy

    You are truly the most arrogant, self-important person I have every come across on social media. Well done.