The Minute After: Ohio State

  • 01/25/2015 4:21 pm in

Thoughts on an 82-70 loss to the Buckeyes:

When Indiana takes care of the ball and shoots it well, its suspect defense fades into the background. This is a team that entered today’s contest ranked 11th in defensive efficiency in Big Ten play and No. 198 in the country, per KenPom. But on afternoons like Sunday, where the opponent disrupts Indiana’s offensive flow and the Hoosiers get less shots due to a bevy of turnovers — both forced and unforced — it’s hard to have the game’s balance fall on their side.

The dynamic offense has less chances to keep pace — or in many cases so far this year, surpass — what Indiana’s underwhelming defense is giving up. So despite scoring 1.12 points per possession and shooting a 64 eFG% at Value City Arena today, Indiana still ended up with a 12-point loss in a game it only had control of during the opening minutes. Ohio State’s defense tightened things up after the Hoosiers started 8-of-8. It made it hard for Indiana to get into the paint, so its offensive possessions sometimes looked like last year’s, as the Weave of Death around the perimeter ended with someone having to fling up a less-than-ideal look late in the shot clock. The Buckeyes also tossed a full-court press at Indiana, which it struggled against.

Ohio State sagged off Troy Williams. It made it harder for him to create off the bounce and his jump shot still isn’t there yet where he can keep defenses honest. It threw him off and he ended the game with five turnovers. Indiana also did itself in too often. The passing and decision-making wasn’t quite up to its standards at times. By contest’s end, the Hoosiers turned the ball over on nearly a quarter of their possessions (24.1 TO%). That’s simply not going to get it done on the road in the Big Ten.

Still, when Indiana was able to get into their offensive flow and kick out for triples, the results came. Collin Hartman continues to shine. He hit 4-of-5 from distance and finished with 12 points. Yogi Ferrell had to put his Superman cape on late in this one to try and get some offense going for Indiana. He finished with 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Robert Johnson missed some time during this game due to what looked like a left knee injury. Stanford Robinson got some extended minutes in his place. He had two turnovers, airballed a 3-pointer and got beat to the hole and gave up an and-1 to D’Angelo Russell as the first half came to a close.

Russell, a likely lottery pick in June, was sensational in this one after having a lackluster performance against the Hoosiers in Bloomington. He finished with 22 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Had he not sat for stretches in the second half due to cramps, he may have snagged a triple-double. Jae’Sean Tate scored 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting. Indiana had difficulties containing them and really the entire Ohio State offense. This one was reminiscent of some early non-conference games like Eastern Washington, where Indiana just let the opponent get to the hole at will on possession after possession. When the Hoosiers needed stops late to try and cut into the lead after scoring, it simply couldn’t get it done. The Buckeyes scored 1.32 points per possession and sported an eFG% of 67.0.

Yes: Despite turning the ball over on nearly a quarter of its possession and surrendering 1.32 points per possession, Indiana was as close as seven points (4:10) during the final minutes of the game.

A few more stops, a few less turnovers and it could have been an interesting couple of closing minutes for a team that has shown a great ability to close out games no matter the location.

But Indiana was simply bested by the Buckeyes today, and Wednesday’s game up in West Lafayette will be no walk in the park.

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  • Laffy

    I don’t know how you can say the schedule is “intelligent” when a weak schedule kept us out of even the NIT last year and kept SMU out of the Dance even though they were ranked in the Top 25.

    We had zero games on the road before the Big Ten. We also turned down two great “tournaments/showcases”, one in our backyard, so we could play Lamar instead.

    Those sure would have helped with recruiting.

    I don’t expect to play just Top 50 teams. But some games on the road would be nice. And not so many sub-300 teams.

    Crean still can’t teach them how to inbound the ball or how to use two big guys at the same time. So please forgive me for not being overly impressed.

  • calbert40

    You can focus on difficulties with inbounding the ball, or you can look at the fact that we are the highest scoring team in the B1G. We scored 70 against a good team on the road in what I would say was one of our 3 or 4 worst outings of the year.

    The weak scheduling didn’t keep us out of the NIT last year. The lousy record did. If you figure the top 60-70 teams (not counting AQs in the NCAA. We were better than those teams) receive either an at-large bid to the NCAA or an invite to the NIT, I don’t think we were in that group. A stronger schedule would have just made our record even worse, which would have probably kept us from even reaching .500.

    Also, SMU may be a good team, but their conference schedule is not nearly as strong as IU’s is, so they have to play a tougher non-conf, because they aren’t going to get 10-15 opportunities to play a Top100 team like IU is.

    Also, I could be wrong, but isn’t there an NCAA rule limiting the number of tourneys a team can play in? Something like two every four years? Maybe we declined for that reason? I haven’t looked it up, so I don’t know. I’m with you on removing the 300+ teams. I can stomach one…maybe two, but I think we can improve the schedule simply by replacing three of those 300+ teams with teams around 150. BTW – Lamar is 277 KenPom and 263 RPI, so they aren’t in the group that you and I both dislike.

  • Laffy

    You’re just wrong. We had the record to get into the NIT. They told us no because of Cupcake City.

    And I don’t think they were actual “tourneys”, but “showcases”……one was the “Top Programs of all time” thing. we turned it down and Ohio State took our place. Ouch.

    What troubles me the most about the team is turnovers and defense. We give up more easy lay-ups than a bunch of crippled kids playing against NBA’ers….and that was even against cupcakes.

  • yimyames

    1. It was bet to nine from 7.5, so maybe people know what I was explaining.
    2. “they have already played us so they had time to prepare”. Umm how is that more of an advantage? We did play them already too, right?
    3. Thad Matta isn’t the greatest basketball mind either.
    4. “So put your tinfoil hat away”. I don’t even know what that means but next time you want to tell me to do something, I suggest you hold it because you make yourself look like an a**.

  • Laffy

    2. Only if Crean were a great tactician.

    3. He was Coach of the Year at Butler and coached them to a school record. Took Xavier to the Elite Eight. At Ohio State, won the NIT even though he had 4 new starters. Been to the Final Four twice. Yeah, he stinks. (rolleyes)

    4. You were whining it must be some huge conspiracy.

  • yimyames

    I now see your whole motive is to bash our coach and bash other posters. I thought for a second you were actually here for a discussion. it didn’t take long for your comment to turn against our coach. I have no desire to argue with you about Crean vs Matta. But you insisting that he’s one of the greatest basketball minds, I will not agree with, and I wouldn’t trade coaches either.

  • Laffy

    Get a grip.

    It’s called stating facts. Crean is not a great game coach. Period.

    He has no clue how to use two big guys and our defense is awful.

    And I never said Matta was “one of the greatest minds”, Drama Queen.

  • yimyames

    “It’s called stating facts. Crean is not a great game coach. Period.”
    That in FACT is an opinion just like the opinions of those that think he is a candidate for COY.

    “And I never said Matta was one of the greatest minds, Drama Queen.”
    No but you did say Crean wasn’t then followed it up with Matta’s resume, sooooo whatever.

    How do you explain all the times Crean has beat all these other coaches that are so much better? You could go back and look at all the rank teams IU has beaten in the last 3 years. Guess he just gets lucky more often than any other coach.

    You can respond if you feel the need, I’m done I’ve read your comments and I know your agenda. Peace and love brother!

  • calbert40

    We were NIT eligible, but a 17-15, 7-11 record with a 3-7 finish wasn’t going to get us in. Especially considering that we lost to NW and PSU at home. NW had no postseason, and PSU went to the CBI. Our record…or if you’d rather…our performance on the floor kept us out of the NIT last year moreso than our weak non-conf schedule.

    Obviously, both were strong factors, but I think the on-court performance was more detrimental than our schedule.

  • Outoftheloop

    I did not know at the time about Robert’s injury. That was a tough break. I hope he heals very fast, IU needs him!