Hoosiers look to ‘move forward’ in Saturday’s game against Rutgers

  • 01/31/2015 7:53 am in

Today at 3:15 p.m., Indiana will play its first home game in more than a week against Rutgers, a team that is 10-12 and just 2-7 in the Big Ten.

It’s a welcome change in pace.

After losing their last two games, each by double digits on the road, the Hoosiers return to Assembly Hall this afternoon for their game against the Scarlet Knights, who have lost five straight themselves.

“You just have to continue to move forward in everything that you do in this league,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “When you win, you’ve got to learn from that. When you lose, you’ve got to learn from that, and that’s the sign of a very good team, when you can continue to learn from those areas. We’ve got to continue to build a hunger that allows us to do that, and allows us to make progress and continue to move forward into whatever the next challenge is, and Rutgers is for us.”

There have been plenty of lessons to learn from in Indiana’s past two games. In the Hoosiers’ game at Ohio State last Sunday, the Buckeyes got to the paint with ease and were able to spread the floor. On offense, the Hoosiers struggled with penetration and cuts. Ohio State won, 82-70.

Against Purdue this past Wednesday, Indiana got to the paint with ease — but they had significant trouble in converting, passing and spreading the floor. And on defense, the Hoosiers allowed Purdue to shoot better than 70 percent on its 2s en route to allowing 83 points.

After the loss to the Boilermakers, junior Yogi Ferrell called the Hoosiers “soft.” And on Friday, sophomore Stanford Robinson didn’t disagree, also mentioning Purdue’s 8-0 run to start the final 20 minutes.

“I felt like we did come out soft a little bit in the second half,” Robinson said. “… We were mentally soft because we didn’t stick with the game plan.”

That game plan that the Hoosiers had against the Boilermakers — and against the Buckeyes and in their overall prior 21 games — has included “making the next pass” and finding open shots, not forcing the matter like they did last season to the tune of the nation’s 21st-worst turnover rate.

On Thursday, Crean chose to show his players tape from the Purdue game — particularly the drives they chose to make and how that turned into rushed shots and easy Boilermakers baskets in transition. “Our players see us trying to challenge A.J. Hammons and it looks as ridiculous to them on film as it does when you try to do it in the game,” Crean said.

Hammons finished that game with a career-high eight blocks.

“Certainly we’ve got to take care of the ball better and make it simpler and make our play simpler,” Crean said. “And not try to make plays that are not there.”

While Rutgers is struggling in recent weeks, it did hand Wisconsin its only Big Ten loss to date.

The Scarlet Knights are a “rhythm team,” Crean said, one he thinks is based around a Princeton cut-based style of offense. He said it’s the Hoosiers’ job to ensure they don’t let them get in rhythm. And when it comes to defending the post, Crean said it comes down to activity. Setting up better in transition, forcing deflections and rushing the paint when shots go up all are priorities.

But offensively, the Hoosiers hope to get back to basics. To get back to finding the open shooter and not taking rushed, non-ideal shots. It’s when they have been at their best this season.

The Hoosiers still have plenty of room for improvement. They have another 40 minutes to show progress this afternoon.

“It’s not as much about who you’re playing but just doing the things that make you be successful,” Crean said. “If you do that, you’ll have a good psychological edge.”

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  • thrawnjan

    This feels like a “trap” game in the sense that everyone might just assume things will work out just “because it’s Rutgers”. Let’s see some urgency!

  • sd chuck

    Yogi is kind of put in a tough position, we need him to score but in the framework of the offense, when he wasn’t hitting shots it was tough but we won, dribble, dribble don’t work, something that has always bothered me is our pick and roll. Yogi never hits the roll, so much they don’t even look or open to the ball, IMHO that pass needs to be made at least a couple of times per half. Interviewed he said, first he looks to drive, next to kick out. The big never has to stay honest because the pass to the roll is never made, defense doesn’t have to plan for it, the only game it was made was Nebraska. Not cutting on Yogi, when he comes out of the game the team falters badly.

  • Eastwood88_2

    After the last two debacles, this is anything but assumed. To fans or players. They need a really good showing and effort. The players are fully aware they could lose today

  • INUnivHoosier

    They’ve got something to prove today. They lost a bad one on the road, and their captain called them a bunch of softies. I think they’ll come out hungry.

  • alwaysiufan

    Forget deflategate. The BIG paid Bo to throw the game at Rutgers to “grow” the market on the east coast. This should be an easy win

  • Cm

    What big

  • pcantidote

    “Moving forward” might mean playing some help defense and blocking out. Since 2011-12, IU has been consistently among the worst teams in the country in terms of % of shots opposing teams took at the rim:

    11-12: 295th
    12-13 320th
    13-14: 329th

    14-15: 327th

    You CANNOT CONSISTENTLY WIN when you are giving up layups. PERIOD.

    Winning or losing should not come down to whether you are hitting a bunch of 3s. Unfortunately our coach does not focus on the fundamentals, and it costs us big time. He is a nice coach and I am not calling for his job…but we should expect more.

  • sd chuck

    The other team

  • alwaysiufan

    I’m with you and I admire the coach for giving his everything but it’s time for a defensive coordinator for our bball team

  • Arch Puddington

    Well said. Yogi is playing at an extremely high level, but of course he’s not perfect. And I’m not sure the fact that he never looks to hit the “roller” after the pick is even his decision. If CTC wanted Yogi to hit the roll more often, he would hit the roll more often.It just doesn’t seem to be part of CTC’s philosophy. It has never been a meaningful part of our offense regardless of who has handled the ball and who has done the rolling. Neither Cody, Watford, or Vonleh ever got much off the pick and roll, and all three of them had the ability to handle the ball and shoot at a high level for big men. If even guys like that weren’t getting it, it must simply be the overwhelming preference of the coach that our guards do just as Yogi says: drive or kick out.

  • Michael Crawley

    Our guards are working so hard for rebounds are we giving up to many easy transition baskets?

    TW does not take mid-shots so bigs are staying home on him. Is that a road map for other teams?

    I’m not sure our young team new how to handle Purdue or OSU. I thought they were caught off guard by the crowd rooting against them. You can tell them what it’s like but until they experience it you will not be ready for it.

    Food for thought

  • HoosierBuddy

    I kind of disagree with this statement. Yogi and Hanner were working on it. hence the lobs to the basket after the roll. right now we do not have a big in the game that has good post moves. EH I do not think is confident yet in his abilities. so that leaves hartman, would you rather see hartman rolling to the basket or getting free for a corner 3 where he is money.

  • Brian Goodman

    You’re joking right?

  • sd chuck

    If CH is setting the pick he’s not in the corner, doesn’t matter who’s setting the pick if you never throw the pass, then the game plan states, you don’t have to cover the roll. Arch is right, has to be a coach’s decision, because it hasn’t been made in the past (NV,CZ), the way the weave is sputtering almost any change might spring some shooters free. Help comes from somewhere.

  • Hoosier1158

    I wouldn’t call them “soft”. Small would be a better word for it. I think Collin and Emmett play pretty well inside considering they give up half a foot and at least 50 lbs. The officials were letting the Purdue big guys get very physical inside.

  • alwaysiufan

    Just speculation

  • alwaysiufan

    Painfull to watch this