The Minute After: Wisconsin

  • 02/03/2015 9:34 pm in

Thoughts on a 92-78 loss to the Badgers:

As if Indiana wasn’t up against a big enough challenge on Tuesday night in Madison, where it hasn’t won since 1998, word trickled out just before tipoff that the Hoosiers would be without James Blackmon Jr.

Blackmon Jr., who tweaked his ankle in the second half of IU’s win over Rutgers on Sunday afternoon but continued to play, sat on the bench in candy stripes and watched an offensive buzzsaw completely demolish his Hoosier teammates.

The Hoosiers, who have now dropped three of their last four contests, kept this one close for a half thanks to hot shooting from the perimeter. Indiana hit eight of its 11 attempts from behind the 3-point line in the first 20 minutes for 1.24 points per possession. This despite trailing 9-0 to begin the game as Tom Crean had to burn an early timeout.

But it’s typically a bad sign when you shoot that well and still trail by eight and that’s exactly where Indiana was as it entered the locker room at the Kohl Center.

The eight-point deficit was a direct result of Wisconsin’s elite offense (1.52 points per possession, eFG% of 76) and an Indiana defense that put up little resistance.

The start of the second half, however, would quickly bring separation for the Badgers. It was a start that radio play-by-play man Don Fischer described as “atrocious.” By the time Indiana scored its first point after the intermission, Wisconsin had already scored 13 of its own and its lead had ballooned to 21. It would continue to grow – all the way to 32 points – before a late IU rally closed the final margin to just 14.

This was a balanced scoring effort from Wisconsin, which ranked first in adjusted offensive efficiency coming into the game, as five players finished in double figures. National player of the year candidate Frank Kaminsky set the pace with 23 points and six rebounds. With the size discrepancy, the 7-foot Kaminsky (smartly) didn’t take any 3-pointers and made nine 2s and five free throws for his final tally.

The Badgers also took 20 more free throws than the Hoosiers and scored 19 more points from the line, a number that a road team simply can’t overcome especially against the No. 5 team in the country.

From the IU perspective, it was a very good offensive performance as the Hoosiers scored 1.2 points per possession and posted an effective field goal percentage of 60.5. Nick Zeisloft, who stepped in to start for Blackmon Jr., finished with a team-high 17 points to lead five players in double figures. Indiana hit 13 of its 24 attempts from distance, a good enough performance to keep things interesting had the defense put up a bit more resistance.

But alas, it did not and this was a performance on that end to forget as Wisconsin ended the night with 1.42 points per trip and effective field goal percentage clip of 66.7.

“We’ve got to have more guys play with a better spirit, a better fight,” Crean would tell Fischer in his postgame remarks. “On the road, especially, for longer periods of time.”

The loss drops Indiana out of a tie for second place in the Big Ten standings, but the Hoosiers must quickly regroup and move on as Michigan arrives on Sunday in Bloomington for a matinee on CBS.

(Photo: AP Photo/Andy Manis)

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  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Look if IU was a CORP. I run, I would assess their success annually. I would envision, where will we be in 3 years, next year, etc. I guarantee if a petition were started to hire Brad Stevens, it would happen, cuz IU fans have EPIC karma! Cheers.

  • dwdkc

    I have made this argument many times before but you might have missed it. It’s not his fault that we don’t have available good bigs because of the freaky streak of issues that resulted in them not being available. Vonleh was very young and likely was a 2 year player but his stock rose in a down year and he made it to the lottery. Fischer was very good but a strange kid who got homesick (yes, there’s actual evidence that this was true). Devin Davis jumped in front of a car. Hanner hurt his knee. So nothing happened to guards or wings but we lost 4 big players who were all outstanding to useful. That is freakin’ bad luck, and will not repeat. Crean has recruited incredibly well–that will repeat. We are still pretty competitive and a tournament team despite all that. Are there other frustrating coaching issues? I think so, but get some perspective.

  • dwdkc

    Yeah, we should have had Vonleh as a sophomore, and maybe Luke Fischer, and Devin Davis to bang. Oh wait….

  • Guyton25

    No matter what the committee will be checking our resume. Even the most pessimistic of people have IU as a solid bubble team.

  • Guyton25

    Agreed. This has been a glaring problem for a couple years now. Ever since the game when Crean got booed at Assembly Hall (last year I think) and defended it later by saying, “well our players have to get rest.”

    I was REALLY hoping to hear a strategical idea behind taking out the hot hand, but all we got was that “they get tired.” If someone who is on fire is tired, then obviously he’s at his best when he’s a bit worn.

    This is definitely the one issue I won’t give Crean the benefit of the doubt on until I hear a real explanation.

  • Guyton25

    Ok so you said the standard rebuttal here. People will say “well his 16 would have taken away from other’s points, so it wouldn’t have mattered.” This is a common misconception. Maybe JBJ being in there would have meant 6 of our turnovers would’ve been made 3’s instead, or some d. rebounds Wisconsin got might have been JBJ offensive rebound put-backs.. the point is there’s no way to know what could have been so the only point of reference we can make an assumption off of is his standard ppg. Everything else is purely speculative

  • David Macer

    I can see your point, but humbly disagree on misconception statement. Logic would dictate that Nick’s possessions go down when JBJ is in the game. We only had 11 TO’s in the game which is below normal but expected against Wisky. Could it have been 8, of course. Could Wisky been called for a couple fouls on Yogi, absolutely.

    Pretty much everything we post is speculative as we are either in the stands, watching on TV, or listening to Fisch on the dial. None of us are insiders. We are all pretty good judges of what is good and not good because we have all played, coached, refereed, or watched basketball during our lives.

  • David Macer

    But they aren’t a corp and as such should not be judged in that manner. Too many times we look at things as a business. We need to stop that now.

  • Jesse

    Try not missing one game that you can remember. Try living in indiana on the border of Louisville and Kentucky fans. They all say we suck and we are full of excuses. To be honest they are correct. I still stand up for my team but it’s getting real hard. That’s all I’m saying.

  • Jesse

    That’s all well and good but I couldn’t care less if we played are butts off or not. Which we have been playing extremely poor defense which directly correlates with lack of effort. I’m a winner and want a winning team. Sorry if that offends anyone.

  • Jesse

    Amen

  • Jesse

    In the long run getting Crean out is the best thing for iu.

  • Jesse

    Not lost. Got demolished! Scored 78 points from fantastic shooting but still lost.

  • That may very well be true. But I find utterly ludicrous the notion that trying to be positive and making the best of the season and enjoying and supporting the kids who are playing the game somehow makes one something other than a true fan. Which is the assertion in the post to which I responded.

  • Outoftheloop

    “Mediocre for so long…”? The last 4 seasons, including this one so far, have seen the Hoosiers ranked in the top 25 in 3 of those seasons, reach the Sweet Sixteen in 2 of those seasons (this year still a possibility), and win 1 B1G title ( while in a dog-fight for 2nd this season). Can you spell “hyperbole”?

  • Outoftheloop

    Only if the petition were limited to residents of Boston!

  • Outoftheloop

    Jordan had a dislocated shoulder. Sort of hard to be in rhythm shooting 3’s with that injury, or to guard an NBA Rookie of the year who was 5 inches taller, faster, quicker, etc.

  • Outoftheloop

    Absurd!

  • Outoftheloop

    They are 6-4 in the B1G. So much for your “analysis”!

  • Outoftheloop

    No you could not! You could not score on me and I am on Medicare, 5’10, with a bad shoulder, wrist, elbow, knee and ankle! LOL!

  • Outoftheloop

    Which “play”? Going for the TD not the safe FG at the end of the half or going for the unexpected slant pass-pick and not the safe expected run?

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Both teams are 6-4, so your use of “they” is confusing and adds nothing to the conversation. Please contribute something constructive or insightful instead of vague one-upmanship. Thanks!

  • Outoftheloop

    I missed it, just when did Butler play at MSU, at OSU, at Purdue, at WI? Villanova and Georgetown are good teams, what is Butler’s record at those schools?

  • Outoftheloop

    Absurd! IU never had a chance to win after 6 minutes into the second half!

  • Born&Bred2BleedHoosierCrimson

    Same situation for me, southern indiana.