The Minute After: Northwestern

  • 02/25/2015 10:34 pm in

Thoughts on a 72-65 loss to the Wildcats:

EVANSTON, Ill. – The 3-pointers stopped falling. Indiana’s energy started to sag. And when Vic Law and Yogi Ferrell got tied up at the 13:53 mark in the second half and exchanged some words after the fact with the Wildcats up three (49-46), Northwestern’s contingent of Welsh-Ryan Arena started to roar.

The momentum began to swing the Wildcat Way, and Indiana fell into an awful offensive drought. After an even 40-40 first half where both teams blazed out of the gate at 1.41 points per possession each and played little defense, Troy Williams hit a lay-up at the 13:23 mark to pull the Hoosiers within one at 49-48.

But from there it was clank after clank after clank. Indiana failed to record a point for the next 10:06 of the game until Williams hit a jumper in the paint at the 3:17 mark. Indiana tried to rally from there, scoring 17 of its 25 second half points over that final 3:17. A press, one Tom Crean said in his post-game remarks in hindsight he could have started sooner, helped a little. But the 12-point hole it had dug itself was just too big.

“The same shots we were making with ease in the first half, we were missing in the second half,” Tom Crean said in his post-game press conference. “The same looks.”

All and all, okay: The shots weren’t that bad of looks. But as each one missed, a Hoosier squad that’s shown plenty of fight this season regardless of score or location, seemed to sink into the abyss. Indiana’s first couple 3-pointers in the first half came off patience and ball movement. And they were able to find their way into the paint a bit to free things up as well. It gave the Hoosiers little trouble and they’d enter the locker room hitting 64.3 percent from distance (9-of-14). But it mattered little as far as gaining an advantage was concerned, because Indiana’s defense allowed Northwestern to shoot an 60.3 eFG% and rebound 60 percent of its misses for 11 second-chance points.

Yet as the drought hit, the body language sunk and things just looked a little out of rhythm. The crowd and situation got to the Hoosiers unlike any other time this season. The energy just wasn’t there. There wasn’t an adjustment. They just keep shooting over the zone and it wasn’t working. On a night it started 9-of-14 from distance, it ended 12-31, hitting just 3-of-17 in the second half. Indiana also could have kept things close by hitting more free throws, as it hit just 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) for the contest.

On the other side of the ball in the second half, Tre Demps made sure Northwestern would keep the lead as he went off, blowing by the Hoosiers on a couple occasions  He finished with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

Northwestern’s win gave the Wildcats their first four-game Big Ten winning streak since 1967. Let’s run that back: Northwestern has not won this many Big Ten games in a row since the Peace and Love Era. Indiana now has lost eight of its last 12 against the Wildcats.

This loss wasn’t a good look for the Hoosiers. But they get a while to clean this one out of their system. Iowa doesn’t come to town until Tuesday, and an opportunity to win out against the Hawkeyes and then Spartans the following Saturday is still in play to close out the Big Ten schedule.

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  • Alan

    Yeah Crean doesn’t put him in the best situations to succeed I’ll agree. There’s just never been a point at any time this season where I say to myself “Yeah Stan helps our team by being on the court right now.” Especially on offense.

  • calbert40

    I know…but not for the reason you think I should.

  • bojak

    I was wondering what everybody’s ideas are on this. Since HMP can’t seem to guard anyone in the middle and can’t rebound either, I am wondering how well TW would do guarding the big man. It would have to be better than having SR trying to do this. TW has a great deal of atheletism and I would think it would be worth a try.

  • calbert40

    Nope. Not kidding at all. NW is a good team. Ask the other B1G coaches. Should we have won the game last night? Yes…IF we played well, but we didn’t. We are more talented than them, but they are good enough that if we don’t play a good game, they will beat us in their building.

    I stand by that contention.

  • Speed

    I was trying to state this with some degree of tact because I, like you, know exactly where the fault lies.

  • INUnivHoosier

    I think that’s more about his skillset not matching our offense as it’s run than him not being skilled.

  • Khoosier3

    So true! We would’ve been better just leaving the players on the court and having Yogi heave up a last second 3 than what we got. And just for the record, this sort of thing has been going on since Year #1 with Crean. As has, not being able to in-bounds the ball.

  • creamdelacrimson

    Yeah I was thinking last night why can’t we play a 3-2 zone with Troy and HMP in the post? We would have quick guards on the perimeter and two descent sized bigs in the post to keep opposing teams bigs away from the basket. Just a thought.

  • Khoosier3

    It may be blasphemy, but I always thought Sampson was a good Xs and Os guy. I hate him for what he did to our program, but what he did is legal now……… CTC on the other hand couldn’t draw up a pick and roll if his life depended on it.

  • Khoosier3

    I would bet Shaka would get the All Americans he needs at IU too.. Not just the scraps that Duke and UNC don’t get.

  • Khoosier3


  • Khoosier3

    Yes, Yes, You are very right!!! I have a buddy that claims to be a UNC fan, and ever since their last Championship he keeps saying they’re tied with us.. And that’s always the first thing out of my mouth.. haha Pisses him off so much. But ESPN recognizes it and gives them the 5 because Stuart Scott’s ties to UNC and his tenure with the network………. blah

  • Khoosier3

    I have been feeling like we have needed to start pressing more teams since we are so quick and like to play fast. We finally catch a glimpse of it last night with 3mins left and it was fun to watch… (even though we were losing)

    We won’t see it ever again…

  • creamdelacrimson

    Eastern Washington. Yeah they aren’t terrible but it was at home and it was… Eastern Washington.

  • IU Coop

    Not the same…living in buckeye, Spartan, or wildcat country gets rough. Certainly not embarrassed by the school, but we clearly don’t have any bragging rights anymore. Even out of state Purdue fans give it to us now!

  • pcantidote

    So you want to be elite and you don’t think Crean is an elite coach. Hmmmm, what to do, what to do. I agree, we are not going to get Coach K, but that doesn’t mean you just throw away the next 20 years either. We gave Crean his shot, now let’s give the next guy a shot. There are plenty of guys that show all of the signs of being an elite coach if they are put in the right situation. It is time to make the move.

  • Candy Striped Kid

    see JBJ, Hulls, Zeller, Ferrell? i’m sorry but not every great indiana high school player can go to the same school

  • millzy32

    I’d use Urban Meyer since he just won a title but exactly. OSU was under suspension when he took over. Now a bad year is if they don’t win it all. That is the mind set. Is it extreme? Absolutely, but they did it. For the record I hate OSU football ever since they came to Memorial Stadium and beat us and ripped down OUR goal posts!

  • KmanCRK

    If you think coming to IU now is even is the same conversation as coming to IU 7yrs ago, you have lost it.

    No coach wants to go somewhere with zero scholarship players, zero 4-5 star recruits and a 2yr tourney ban.

    That is not the case today. You gotta bring it better than that bud.

  • KmanCRK

    I actually thought we ended that season well with the exception of losing to IL (if I’m remembering that right) in the conf. tourney. You are right, beating Michigan the last game of the regular season at their place was huge.

    I think aside from record, the eye ball test is always sufficient. But if you lose more than you win down the stretch, I’d say that is all the proof you need. Correct me if I’m remembering this all wrong, but we were a tourney team last year (although lots of chatter about our terrible non-conf SOS) until the final 10 games when the wheels fell off.

    This will make 2yrs in a row where we lost more than we won over the last 10 games. And we’ve got plenty of talent to go 50/50 over that stretch.

  • Smilinjayd

    1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009

  • Smilinjayd

    Really? Everyone expected a PU loss at AH? I challenge your flippant observation.

  • Ole Man

    That’s nonsense! Where coaches go to die? Why do you Purdue and UK fans come on this board for anyway?

  • Ole Man

    UK has 7. KU has five.

  • Ole Man

    UNC won one in 1924.

  • Bud Jenkins

    Oh man Ole Man ! I am busted !! Go PU !!!! 😉 If you read what I said, I said firing OUR guy now is / would not be a smart idea… oh yeah go Wildcats !!

  • Smilinjayd

    According to Wiki, UK 8: (1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998, 2012). IU and NC have 5, Kansas has 3 (1952, 1988, 2008)

  • calbert40

    That’s hard to say with any certainty, at least for me. Crean has gotten platitudes from many analysts for his ability to adjust…at least for this year. Is he great at it in game? Probably not, but I’m not sure that is what our problem was last night.

    For me, it reinforces that last night was a bad game. Last night, our eFG% was 46.0. For the season, it is 52.6. And we hit 13 3 pointers last night, which inflates that number (average is about 8 per game).

    I don’t want to oversimplify our issues from last night to just “we didn’t hit our shots,” but I do think that was a big part of the reason we lost. If those shots go down, we still can win that game despite playing poorly. But there were a few other reasons we lost that game besides that.

  • calbert40

    I didn’t say they were great, but that they were “pretty good.” The way we score, if we had a D in the Top 100, I’d be satisfied. We’d win a ton of games. When our offense is so efficient, we don’t have to be excellent defensively…just good.

  • calbert40

    I’m certain that Vic’s influence was substantial on those teams, but certainly it is more than just that.

    One of my biggest problems is our defensive intensity compared to our offensive intensity. On offense, we make crisp cuts, spread the floor as well as anyone in the nation, and we attack the offensive glass. We shoot well, penetrate almost at will, and Troy is as good on the baseline as anyone is the NCAA.

    But on D, we aren’t as focused. We aren’t crisp. We don’t execute. We don’t communicate as well as we do on the other end. I think a big reason is JBJ just doesn’t want to play D…at all. I hope that is remedied over the summer.

  • calbert40

    I wish I sat on the bench with him, bojak, but sadly I don’t. I know you are one who incorrectly believes I am blindly loyal to Crean. Read my comment to Kman just below this. I’m not.

  • calbert40

    You could be right, but finding that guy isn’t like going to Marsh to pick up a gallon of milk. Who is the right guy? Is he available? Does he want to come to IU? What’s his buyout at his current employer? What’s Crean’s buyout? Who is paying for all of this?

    There is a limited supply of elite coaches out there. That’s why they are elite. We would be an attractive job opening, but that doesn’t mean we’d get anyone we wanted. If that was true, Rick Pitino would be the coach here right now.

  • IUBizmark

    Agreed. Didn’t mean to put words in your mouth. My final caveat is that we need at to be at least a top 25 D to win a National Championship.

  • calbert40

    I forget the exact stat, but something like 10 of the last 12 teams to win the title were top 25 in BOTH adjD and adjO.

  • Outoftheloop

    I disagree. There is no such thing as “current style of play”. It is always the 5 guys on the floor, the 3-5 more guys in the rotation, your offensive, and your defensive concepts, your scouting game plan, and your game adjustments. But having a bad defense does not work!

  • calbert40

    Honestly, I don’t recall. I thought we were a bubble team basically all season until we popped our own bubble. I’d have to look it up.

  • Outoftheloop

    In 3 minutes! Do you want him jacking up 3’s? Max can score, but he plays team first. I like that.

  • eville87

    How about a coach that got the top kids from indiana? Kids that didn’t go to other big ten schools as they do now. Here of late izzo and Matta have been picking our state talent apart.

  • Apoc

    “NW is a good team. Ask the other BIG coaches.” What does this exactly prove? That in every conference, no matter how bad the team, the coaches will say the team is good. Why? To make the conference look better for seeding purposes in the tourney. Does it mean the team is actually good? Not always, and I think this applies in this situation. NW does not have any great wins and their record is horrible. The game in Evanston was basically a neutral site game given the IU following there and IU could not even come close to beating NU.

    “I stand by that contention.” Per kenpom, NU is 98, IU 46..NW adjO 80 IU 6 adjD NW 142 IU 246. So NU is neither an offensive or defensive juggernaut = bad loss.

  • Alan

    Nah I want a 8 man rotation. I don’t want him on the court. What type of impact will he have with 3 mins of PT?

  • b_side

    I suppose Brad Stevens’ years at DIII Depauw were exactly what Butler and the Celtics were looking for on his resume.

  • Bud Jenkins

    If you are winning who cares… it means you figured it out. Crean.. I am not sure has figured it out. Not saying he doesn’t do things very well. The kids seem to love him. He really cares about them and their future, at times it appears he cares more about their future than his own. Which is frankly incredible. But you know as well as I, people expect something different at Indiana, not putting a value judgement on it, just stating fact. I personally think the kids are more important than winning… but that is just me…

  • TomJameson

    Great! I look forward to “seeing” you in a bit calmer arena lol. I’ll let somebody else get the commission check, my reward is the always improving content of the premium site; I know how that sounds, but I learn a lot from you guys that know what you’re talking about. 🙂
    I’ve noted the same thing about the number of posts depending on the game outcome. Kind of a twist on the old saying, now it’s “If I don’t have something bad to say, I’m not going to say anything at all!” LOL

  • calbert40

    I was not suggesting that we ask them through a reporter with a mic in his face. I just meant asking them…off record.

    They are seriously about a couple heartbeats away from being 10-5 in the B1G instead of 5-10. The lost in OT at MSU, by 5 to ILL, by 2 at UM, by 2 to OSU (Russell hit a 3 with seconds left…I watched that one), and by 1 at MD (Dez Wells tip with about 2 seconds left. NW had leads late in most of those games, but just couldn’t put it away. That was early in the season.

    So far as their numbers are concerned, I’ll concede that they aren’t good. This probably will be characterized as IU’s first “bad” loss. While I don’t agree fully on that point, I acknowledge that it certainly appears that way based on the numbers, so the selection committee will view it that way. So, in that regard, yes, it is a bad loss.

  • Bill Graham

    This Post specifically addresses CTC. I challenge you Hoosiers to hear me out for 2 mins.
    Ok here’s my spin. 1st off: Glad your ticked about losing to NW. 2nd: Yes CTC is at fault to an extent. One end of the Hoosier spectrum has their pitchforks out and says fire him and return to the prototypical fundamental days of all 5 position players with tough as nails D, solid ball movement, and more than a pick and roll-motion-swing style offense…The other end of the spectrum says, “but look at the talent, we’re a top 15th in offensive efficiency and not to mention 3rd in 3pt% (at least b4 last night).” They say, “CTC just needs player retention and maturity and were contenders…. The fact of the matter is…Your both right to an extent.

    …Here’s the deal. College basketball teams can be categorized into two larger groups (obviously sub groups exist) Anyway… You have teams like Gonzaga, Butler, and Wisconsin. These teams and coaches (Few, Ryan, and Holtmann) have your prototypical “Bob Knight,” style team they have a traditional PG, SG, SF, PF, and C. Their style of play reflects this.

    ….The second group is a specialty or compensation based group with teams like VCU, Villanova, and Iowa State to name a few. These teams and their coaches (Smart, Wright, and Hoiberg) rely on specialty or nontraditional strategies. These strategies can include constant pressure and physical full court play, run and gun, and 3pt gunners with 4 or 5 man motion O’s.

    Point being: CTC does not utilize traditional play strategies, he’s unconventional. Even with Zeller we still were run and gun. This year we slightly resemble a typical NOVA team and the problem with this specialty play is it is susceptible to its counter part: traditional play. Just like fire and water. We are losing to traditional style teams (mainly) and I believe the pitchfork crowd is frustrated b/c they believe traditional play is superior. That is a debate for another day. Point is stop basing all CTC critques (positive or negative) on personnel. Start assessing CTC on more substance (strategy, player and staff retention, academic performance, recruiting, results, and public face to name a few). Wouldn’t you want the same if you were a coach???

    Candystripes for life. Peace.

  • Outoftheloop

    Then give him more minutes in the right situations. His numbers in 224 min: FG 22/50, 44.0%; 3-point 9/25, 36.0%; FT 14/20, 70.0%; 67 pts = .300 Pts/min; 40 reb = .179 reb/min are basically the same and slightly better than Will Sheehey as a freshman! After the top 2 freshmen each year, none would choose you as a coach!

  • Outoftheloop


  • Bud Jenkins

    inconceivable !