Hoosiers rejuvenated after six-day break between games

  • 03/03/2015 9:36 am in

Each year, Big Ten teams get two byes in the 10-week, two-game-per-week schedule the league currently uses.

Indiana’s first came following its first conference game of the season between Dec. 31 and Jan. 5. Its second, however, came just this past week following last Wednesday’s loss at Northwestern.

After six days since playing a game, the Hoosiers (19-10, 9-7) will take the court at Assembly Hall tonight for a matchup against Iowa (19-10, 10-6). And they are feeling rejuvenated after their break in action.

“It was a nice stretch,” junior Yogi Ferrell said. “It was good for us, a good time for us to get back, build our bodies up and get ready for these last two home games and try and come out 2-0.”

The six-day break started with a day of rest on Thursday following the Hoosiers’ 72-65 loss at Northwestern. But from there, Indiana coach Tom Crean said “it’s really just been getting ourselves acclimated with where we need to improve.”

It allowed them to achieve a period of self-reflection, actually.

“I have got a plan and a strategy,” Crean said. “But if you’re not willing to adjust it and be flexible, that’s not any good. We’ve looked at exactly what we’ve needed to do. We’ve pinpointed what we could improve upon and on Thursday, we spent a lot of time looking at what has to happen for us, what can we do, what can we improve upon. How close is this? How close is that? And at the same time, we are getting ready for the games.”

In that span, the Hoosiers worked on situations in practice. They worked on their transition game, their rebounding, their defense and ball screen coverage. And they made sure things were kept at a high tempo.

They also had more time than usual to install their game plan for tonight’s Iowa game. And it’s one in which the Hoosiers have to achieve what they have practiced on — quickly getting back in transition and matching up. After all, “they are as fast after your made basket as they are after your missed shot,” Crean said.

“It’s the test of skill, the test of will and the battle for endurance,” he said. “Not to sound cliché but that’s what it is. You’ve got to have that constantly. That’s what were working towards.”

Crean said that the Hoosiers also have been practicing finishing defensive possessions with rebounds — something he stressed will be especially important against a Hawkeyes offense that ranks second in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding percentage. He noted that in games the Hoosiers have won, their rebounding margin has been plus-eight. In their losses, it has been minus-five.

But in a game that will require a high level of energy — the Hawkeyes are the fifth-quickest scoring team in the Big Ten — the Hoosiers feel as prepared as they have been all season.

And with just two games to go until the postseason, that, the Hoosiers believe, is a good sign.

“We can use it to our advantage,” Ferrell said. “Going into these last two home games, we have the most energy we’ve had all season. We know that these last two games for us are big, so we want to go out there with the most energy we’ve had all year and get the energy from each other, get the energy from the crowd, just do everything we can to do well out there.”

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  • calbert40

    I think the time off will be very helpful for the team. If you look back, it appears as though the team typically hits a February wall under Crean. I don’t know for certain if Crean’s practices are very intense (I’ve heard that they are, but I have no proof of that), and by this time of year, they are spent physically. So, taking a day off during this time of year has to be helpful. I hope so at least. We need to play well to beat Iowa and MSU…even if the games are in our building.

  • Bryan

    We will see

  • 3AM Burrito

    Really need to win this game, if IU loses pressure to win MSU game will be huge and if IU drops both and goes 2-4 in this closing stretch amd misses tourney will be a massive step back for program. JBJ has got to play better on both ends and Hanner has got to rebound better and stay out of foul trouble.

  • Gregory Spera

    “I have got a plan and a strategy,” Crean said.

    Good to know.

  • calbert40

    “But if you’re not willing to adjust it and be flexible, that’s not any good.”

    I’m sure it was accidental on your part that you left off the continuation of his complete sentence. FTFY. 🙂

  • Gregory Spera

    After going 4-6 in their previous ten and now playing higher rated teams in their last two games, they need to beat Iowa at home to avoid that nasty “tanking” label again.

  • Gregory Spera

    Since the “B” in “But” was capitalized and preceded by a period, that was actually the start of a separate sentence. Still, I did only use the part of his comment that fit my joke. 😉

  • calbert40

    I’d love to disagree with you, but….

    I may have to look up the team’s records during January, February and March later today. I’d be interested to see if they truly do play poorly in February compared to January, or if it is just a false narrative in my head (and lots of other people’s too). Challenge accepted!

  • Gregory Spera

    well I can tell you for a fact that they went 3-7 in their final ten games last year. And even the B1G Title team crashed and burned in both the conference and NCAA tourneys.

  • calbert40

    haha!

    Well, I would disagree with Jordan’s punctuation in that sentence. I happen to be a bit of a grammar nerd, and surprisingly, most print journalists are not. Read Crean’s sentence, and I think it makes the most sense as, “I have got a plan and a strategy, but if you’re not willing to adjust it and be flexible, that’s not any good.” I never liked beginning a new sentence with a conjunction.

    And so ends Calbert’s grammar lesson about which no one cares. (see how I didn’t end that sentence with the preposition ‘about?’) Dang it…I did it again!

  • calbert40

    I don’t know if losing in the Sweet 16 equals “crashed and burned,” but I follow you. I’m hoping that I am wrong about it, but I think February has always been a rough month for us…at least over the past four years.

  • hoosier93

    We need to see a great game tonight. Hopefully they were working A LOT on defense(the worst defense in IU history). I want to see some improvement for once. I want to see Yogi make it 61 games in a row with a hit 3. I’d like to see a W.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I had a spare moment in between work assignments so I went back to 2011-2012 (the first year I would consider relevant because we weren’t atrocious)…

    2011-2012 = B1G record heading into February was 5-5, February record was 6-2 (with a random game against North Carolina Central included), March record was 2-1 heading into the Dance and then 2-1 in the NCAA Tournament.

    2012-2013 = B1G record heading into February was 7-1. February record was 5-2, March record was 2-1, B1G Tourney was 1-1, NCAA Tourney was 2-1.

    2013-2014 = B1G record heading into February was 3-5, February record was 3-4, March record was 1-2, B1G Tourney was 0-1.

    I will say that the severely undermanned teams of pre-2011 didn’t fare well in February or March either…2011 saw a 9 game losing streak to end the year, 2010 saw us win one game after January 21. 2009 saw us get within 10 points only three times after beating Iowa on February 4. I don’t think those first few years show us anything meaningful but I thought I would share that info in addition to the more recent data.

  • CreamandCrimson

    The players believe they have as much energy as they’ve had all season…time to prove it.

    Here’s to hoping they go out tonight and earn themselves an NCAA Tournament bid by drilling the Hawkeyes.

  • Hoosier Hall

    “…Hawkeyes are the fifth-quickest scoring team in the B10…” What does this mean? I’m guessing how much time elapses from the shot clock on average… I have not heard that statistic until now. I bet we are pretty close to the top in that regard.

  • calbert40

    Thanks, Cream. I got a pinch occupied at work, and I was unable to look it up that quick.

    So, the last three seasons, IU’s February record was 14-9. This year, we are 3-4 in February, so a combined record of 17-15. But the last two seasons are where the bulk of those losses come from.

    I’d say it isn’t a completely false narrative, but maybe it isn’t as bad as we’ve thought overall. It has mainly been the last couple of seasons, when we weren’t as good as we were the two previous seasons anyway. Interesting nonetheless.

  • TomJameson

    As far as the intensity of practices is concerned, CTC made a comment about taking it easy and doing more walk-throughs and film sessions prior to the last couple of games. I believe that he saw the fatigue and physical weariness showing through. I normally am afraid of these kind of breaks because the team seem to play rusty their first game back, but I think this break may be good for them.

  • IUBizmark

    I’ve listened to hours of Crean audio and the guy gets out a complete sentence about half the time. (stats not provided).

    English majors hate him.

  • Gregory Spera

    When I listen to Crean pressers

  • TomJameson

    I’d rather watch and listen to him than read a transcript, it is much easier to understand. Body language, tone, inflections, even his “rambling” structure is easier to understand. IMO anyway.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Interesting read on SI from late February about the speed of the college game. If they implemented those rules, IU would benefit. Too bad it isn’t happening this year (or probably soon.)

  • ‘Nuff_Said

    And I daresay a number of fans as well.

  • millzy32

    Conjunction Junction what’s your function? That about sums it up. Now go play better than last Wednesday. That is all.

  • millzy32

    Not sure if the time off will do any good but I do know it was nice to not lose a game for 6 days.

  • millzy32

    FYI, it should read 17-13 if your numbers are correct.

  • KmanCRK

    this year and last I think its true. The Zeller years were most likely a different story, or at least an incomplete story.

  • I’ve listened to decades of audio of various people speaking, and the way they do so extemporaneously (or even sometimes in carefully crafted speeches) often fits this description. I’m not going to knock CTC for his speaking style.

  • marcusgresham

    I add, again, because people keep glossing over this, much of February was played with no Hanner, and when he did get back it wasn’t at 100%. Blackmon missed a game and wasn’t right for a while. Johnson was injured. Hartman has been out a few games.

  • marcusgresham

    Not a rip at all, but expect IU to give up a lot of points tonight. That’s been the way most recent IU/Iowa games have gone. The pace is furious and the baskets are frequent both ways. Wasn’t there one fairly recently when IU gave up over 90 and still won by 10 or so?

  • Dunbar

    So, it’s like reading Cormac McCarthy.

  • calbert40

    Good point. Hopefully, we got healthy and rested over the off week.

  • Gregory Spera

    At least McCarthy uses periods at the end of sentences.

  • IUMIKE1

    I don’t remember the exact date either, but I know what game you’re talking about, it was a home game and it was the first time we played them that year. I’m thinking it was the last year that CZ & VO were here.

  • MillaRed

    Calbert, whether you use both sentences or not, is he not being Captain Obvious again? I for one struggle to see plans B and C out there.

  • IU1972

    Watching the game now, down by double figures. Rejuvenated, my big fat behind! Fred Glass, time for a change.

  • Hoosiersteve

    Uh, what?