Notebook: Hoosiers still learning mental toughness after Michigan State loss

  • 01/09/2015 5:18 pm in

As Indiana coach Tom Crean watched film from Monday’s 70-50 loss at Michigan State, he couldn’t help but realize the Hoosiers actually had numerous chances to get back into the game against the Spartans.

A stop here, a basket there, one more pass and one less dribble, he thought, and the Hoosiers were right where they wanted to be.

But that wasn’t the case. Crean found that his team played nowhere near the level he had expected them to. He felt the team didn’t play with a purpose on offense. That his players got their heads down early and never recovered.

And after a 20-point loss, Crean realized he still has plenty of work to do with his team.

“It’s never out of your mind, you work with that into your psyche as you go through it and you prepare for Ohio State,” Crean said. “And we’ve got to get tougher, there’s no doubt about it. We’ve got to get tougher, we’ve got to get mentally tougher.”

As the Spartans built their lead on Monday, taking advantage of rushed Hoosiers shots and capitalizing on transition baskets, Crean never felt like the game was completely out of reach. After all, his team has a top 15 offense, nationally, and a top 20 offense in effective field goal percentage.

All the Hoosiers needed was that one spark, for someone to take momentum into their own hands, Crean said. He felt like the game wasn’t out of their reach. Of course, however, a comeback never occurred.

It turned into a teaching moment afterward, instead.

“You can’t get quiet when it’s not going well for you,” Crean said. “Somebody’s got to be the momentum-getter. There were numerous times momentum was up for grabs; first half, second half. And as good as they were playing, momentum was still up for grabs. And they kept it, we didn’t grab it. And so that becomes you never know who is going to grab momentum. Is it youth, is it an older guy, is it a big guy, is it a guard?

“You never know, you’ve just got to be prepared when it’s there.”

In showing the tape of the Michigan State game to his team, junior Yogi Ferrell said the team can “definitely learn” from the loss. Freshman Robert Johnson said his biggest takeaway was that the Hoosiers have to come into every game with the same intensity and “100 percent effort.” But talk is talk.

Crean said he is most looking forward to seeing whether his team has the right mindset to compete against Ohio State (13-3, 2-1) in Saturday’s noon game in Assembly Hall. That his team understands, especially with its shooting ability, that the game is longer than they think.

And Ferrell said the Hoosiers are ready to make a statement.

“It always hurts to lose by 20,” Ferrell said. “But you definitely learn from that. Next day we got practice and got in film and watched the game. It just gives us an extra edge to try and come out, especially on our home court, and try to make a statement from the last game.”

Ohio State’s Scott concerned with Yogi Ferrell

Heading into Saturday’s game, the Buckeyes have their eyes on stopping Ferrell, “one of the toughest players to guard in the country,” according to Ohio State senior guard Shannon Scott.

In Ferrell’s three games against the Buckeyes in his career, the Indianapolis native has scored 48 points along with nine assists, and this season the 6-foot guard is the Hoosiers’ second-leading scorer with 16.3 points per game.

“Just the way he plays, he can get past anybody and shoot the 3-ball,” Scott said. “He’s a hard player to guard. But it’s not just on me, as a whole team defense we have to worry about how to stop players like that.

“You know Yogi is going to score, he’s a great player. but our main thing is to make him shoot hard shots. No easy looks, just have our hands in his face at all times.”

Crean still undecided on potential benching of Hanner Mosquera-Perea

Crean said on Friday he still is unsure whether he will take junior Hanner Mosquera-Perea out of the starting lineup after his zero point, one rebound performance against Michigan State.

After the game against the Spartans, Crean said Perea is now in “a dogfight” for a starting role against freshman Emmitt Holt, and throughout the week Crean said he has not been hesitant to switch things up in practice.

“I think he’s responded well,” Crean said. “He’s had a good week. He knows he didn’t play well. I’ve thought about a lot of things. So I may make a switch there, like I said the other night. I don’t know.”

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  • Hey, I didn’t say never.. hahaha.. I really do breathe a prayer for them more often than I would like to admit. Guess there’s nothing wrong with that.. If it helps, it helps..
    And heck yes, I was praying back in ’75, ’76 as well. Seriously I had an aunt back in the day, that was convinced the reason the New York Yankee’s were winning so much was that there was so much positive energy about them from people praying for them, that sp many more New Yorker’s were out praying the other teams…lol… I do believe in prayer. One would think, it may help. don’t know for sure, but bet it can’t hurt.

  • You know Milla, I probably should apologize.. Guess I tend to get carried away sometimes. Boy, I get ‘so wanting’ them to win.. It sometimes just ‘hits me wrong’ when guys express it in terms like that.. My bad… I know we all have the same feelings about it.. Hopefully they’ll get back on the winning side of the ledger today.. Go Hoosiers!!

  • MillaRed

    There is definitely stress here and in the forum these days you are not alone. Let’s see how this game looks today. For some reason I think it’s an important game. Really want to see how these guys respond. Cheers!

  • I agree with you FIU I do think we deserve a big win today. I also agree with the thought that, in some cases, when a team gets really rough with us, like Louisville and MSU and face it sometimes Butler.. we tend to back off.. That’s why you hear the talk on these sites, we are a ‘finesse’ team. We absolutely need to play through the hits and the rough play to be successful in the B1G.. I do sometimes think that can be a downfall for us. especially when the refs do not seem to call it both ways… or should I say ‘not call’ it both ways.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with you on that. And it can be fleeting. No question about it…lol…

  • Outoftheloop

    A 20 point loss counts as 1 L! Nothing more…nothing less. Louisville was that much better than IU. MSU had a fire lighted under them by a Hall of Fame Coach and IU reacted like weak, spoiled, underage kids playing tough men on a mission. Beat OSU, PN St, and IL in our next 3 games and IU is 4-1 with 2 road wins in the B1G. I would like that a lot! But I am not sure that Coach Crean can coach this team to 3 straight wins against above average teams.

  • No, I just haven’t started yet today…hahaha Sorry, I really don’t want to offend anyone.. just rattle their cages a little bit.. As one great poster on here puts it.. Haw…lol…

  • You know I thought that also. They really did let up or I thought so, in the 2nd half.

  • Outoftheloop

    I saw no “confidence” from Hanner against MSU. So exactly how does one “dissolve” the non-existent?

  • Outoftheloop

    Together on the floor at the same time. What a truly novel concept!

  • Outoftheloop

    Absurd! Holt would have matched up well against Dawson, then Hanner vs the MSU big could have been an even match up.

  • Outoftheloop

    Do you watch the games? Both Holt and Hanner have shown this season that they are capable of scoring 15 points in a game! If they are both in the game, that still leaves 3 spots open. One spot for Yogi. Then 2 for the best of James, Troy, and Robert (combined 5/25 shooters against MSU)! That leaves plenty of time for subs like Nick, Collin, Stan and Max (combined 4/15 shooters against MSU). When you are down 30 you can afford to take some new risks!

  • Outoftheloop

    Jeremiah April is on scholarship and on the roster. He never gets to play, but there is reason to think that he can give 5-6 minutes of decent play.

  • Outoftheloop

    Then IU will lose some games that it could win. Sounds like unimaginative coaching to me.

  • ForeverIU

    No way. if you go back to the Hanner DUI threads you will find that I had heated arguments with posters who were arguing for harsh punishment for Hanner. I don’t know where you get your information. When CTC months later made his “fun and games” speech about Hanner, I argued that if CTC thought way back then (last season) that Hanner was about “fun and games”, and if the DUI was part of that pattern, then CTC should have dealt with him more punitively back then. Of course, the point of my argument was to say that CTC can’t expect us to buy his fun and games criticism of Hanner if he himself had not dealt with him more firmly back then. In any case, I don’t want to revisit that discussion. I’m just setting the record as to how you might have misinterpreted my Hanner comments. I have always been a loud voice for developing Hanner, even when many posters had no faith in his game and even wanted Anthony Lee over him.

  • ForeverIU

    I agree, and we can call it whatever we want. What seems clear to me is that culture has been a problem in the past, and it is hard for me to imagine that the coaching staff is not responsible one way or another.

  • SilentBob

    And mental toughness is part of consistency.

  • dwdkc

    ’87 memory–when they went down about 10 in the LSU game in the regional file and I think Ricky misses a dunk with about 4 minutes to go–and I really thought it was over, and I couldn’t believe it was to a mediocre team with an a**hole coach in Dale Brown. Something got thrown. But they came back and acted like it was no big deal. There have been more talented IU teams but that team was the most unflappable.