The Minute After: Michigan State

  • 03/07/2015 3:25 pm in

Thoughts on a 74-72 loss to the Spartans:

After a Yogi Ferrell turnover with 3:42 to play, the Hoosiers looked sunk as they entered the under-4 media timeout. Their zone allowed too many good, open looks — both in the paint and from distance — over the first 16 minutes of the second half. Michigan State, as it did in the first half, continued to rip down offensive rebounds for second-chance opportunities.

Down 11, this had the feelings of the Iowa game from earlier in the week. Indiana seemed destined for another double-digit loss, its third straight on its home floor. Assembly Hall reigned down some boos and some fans headed for the exits.

But Indiana looked inside itself and failed to lose without a fight. The defensive intensity ramped up a notch and the Hoosiers kept chipping away at the lead as the crowd — the majority of which stayed — kept right with them. A James Blackmon Jr. and-1 in transition brought the Hoosiers within five with 1:47 to go. Playing the foul game to stop the clock, Indiana stuck with it and pulled within three points (72-69) thanks to a Nick Zeisloft 3-pointer (5-of-8 from distance) with 27 seconds to go. After a Michigan State timeout, the Spartans inbounded the ball to Matt Costello and he was fouled with 24 seconds left. He’d miss the first free throw. And the second.

Suddenly, Indiana had the ball with a chance to tie. After a shaky possession, Blackmon Jr. appeared to be fouled as he went up for a 3-point attempt. The refs called it on the floor. Blackmon made the first free throw. And the second. One point game at 72-71. Travis Trice would make his first free throw on the subsequent IU foul and miss his second. 73-71 Michigan State. As Yogi Ferrell streaked down the floor, Denzel Valentine made a crucial error and fouled him near halfcourt to send Ferrell to the line with a chance to tie the game on a double bonus with just two second left. Valentine knew it. He put his hands in his face and bent over at the top of the key.

Indiana needed a miracle to crawl back into this one, and it looked like it had just gotten it.

Ferrell’s first free throw bounced all over the place and just rolled in. Drama. One point game. His second missed.

“I guess the basketball gods felt good for me on the first free throw, but the second one just rolled out,” Ferrell said.

Collin Hartman fouled Trice on the rebound with .7 to go. He made the first. Missed the second. Zeisloft’s desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer didn’t fall. 74-72 Michigan State.

There are gripes here. Ferrell was clearly tripped on a 3-point attempt to end the first half, but the refs went with a no call. Had the correct call been made, that’s another three points for the Hoosiers to pick up and it could have been the difference.

Michigan State only went 7-of-28 from distance, 11-of-20 from the line, finishing with a pedestrian 49.2 eFG%. But Indiana’s failure to lock up the boards — Michigan State rebounded 34.9 percent of its misses for 18 second-chance points — was killer. As was its defense for most of the second half until it turned it up late.

“I’m proud of our fight,” Tom Crean said in his post-game remarks.

Indiana better bring the fight of the last few minutes for its Thursday game to start the Big Ten Tournament. Because if the Hoosiers don’t go on a run and win a couple games, their tournament fate hangs in the balance of the committee — and they might be on the outside looking in for the second season in a row.

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  • who’syourhoosier

    If the NBA is his main concern, which it is, showcasing his ability is probably his main objective. Plenty of time for girls and beaches when you’re making millions. I don’t know if IU would be the best choice for displaying his potential. It worked for NV and I hope Thon sees that. If he’s a guy that wants to do it on his own, regarding his development, I think we are a good fit. If he wants a coach that will develop his skills as a big man, he won’t come to IU.


    One could look just look at this team and think that it would be a good idea to press, or to at least to give it a good long look, and that would be without the prior knowledge that we pretty much suck in any kind of half court defense. One could have watched this team struggle all year long defensively, and spend every minute of their free time trying to figure out a legitimate reason why they aren’t at least trying it, if not actually doing it, and never come up with the answer. Sorry coach, I, along with just about everyone else, don’t buy into the, ” we don’t want to give up easy baskets “, thinking. We can’t be giving up any more easy baskets than what our half court defense does, especially when we attempt to play zone. The layup / dunk we usually give up when we lamely try and confuse the other team by switching from one defense to another on the same possession immediately comes to mind. The only team getting confused and making mistakes when we do that is US. Maybe, just maybe, we offset some of those easy baskets with some easy baskets of our own by pressing, at least some, and before out of desperation. Guess we’ll never know cause I don’t see Crean trying it. Yep continuing to utilize the defensive scheme that has failed most of the year should get us where we want to be, NOT.


    Plus Crean coached teams don’t have a real good track record of being teams that, 1) are able to, or are taught to, make the entry pass into the post, 2) actually do it with any kind of regularity.

    Don’t know if NV is the best example for him to look at if we want him to sign with us.


    I don’t disagree with what you are saying about Yogi’s D could have been better today, but there was a ton of things that could have turned this game the other way, including the total screw job we got at the end of the first half when the refs allowed Yogi to be put on the floor while attempting a shot.


    Exactly, it’s creating confusion alright, but the only team getting confused and creating an advantage for the other team is us. The only ones more confused than our team is the knowledgeable IU fans, confused as in, why the hell do we continue to do something that does nothing but create easy buckets for the other team, you know the kind that might happen if we pressed other than out of desperation at the end of games. Errrrrr !


    Thus my total lack of cred for the props that he gave Crean. I have to believe that behind the scenes he is saying and feeling the same kind of things that most IU fans are.


    Was just about the say the exact same thing, we scored every single time we threw it into the post, that’s right BOTH times. Watched the screen and roll with HMP and EH pretty close today and counted a minimum of 6 times that the screener was open as he rolled to the basket without so much as a look from the player receiving the screen. Thought for sure we would at least try it more often after the success we had with it in the Nebraska game.


    We may not want to hear what they had to say, especially if they are 100 percent truthful.

  • MAB 6275

    Stay faithful Hoosier Nation. Y’all forget how young these players are. The team had NO SENIOR LEADERSHIP, which could have made a difference down the stretch. They are making the effort to get good grades & improve on the court. Starting over with a new coaching staff/philosophy is not the answer for next year. Chill out & keep supporting the Hoosier student athletes.

  • disqus_Y0IHORLcBP

    Absolutely terrible call. But, I’m more concerned with the things that we should have done and didn’t. Guys should be held to task for playing sloppy/lazy D – they were not. Guys should be taught what to do on defense – if they were taught they didn’t learn. I don’t think Yogi is the worst offender, but he’s an offender.

  • This kid probably could have been the #1 pick this year without playing 1 minute in college. I don’t think any additional exposure will matter.

    I heard he’s an animal in the gym. Work ethic out of this world, which really sets him apart from other top recruits Including his brother.

  • disqus_Y0IHORLcBP

    It’s not so much the record that bothers me – though that bother me too – it’s the fact that they seem worse now than they did a month ago. It’s also the fact that they play terrible defense, not the first time I’ve seen that from a Crean coached IU team.

    Iowa, Michigan State, Purdue and even Northwestern beat us because they had a simple game plan that Crean could not adjust to. That’s unacceptable. Time for a new coach.

  • MDHoosier

    Nobody on that roster is ready for the NBA yet.

  • Jewbaaca

    We clearly had the best team in the nation that year, not many people argue against that (even where I live in Kentucky). Exiting the NCAA tournament because you can’t develop a plan of attack on a poorly executed zone is inexcusable.

    Name one year, other than Wade’s final year, when CTC didn’t under-produce.

  • gnrnabk1

    Its always next year with your type of philosophy. Next year with this coaching staff will never come. I’ve been hearing next year for the last 4 years, Im sick of it. We have juniors that should lead, thats bogus too. Your logic is just ridiculously old!!!!! Look at his Marquette tenure. Its alittle above average but not great year in and year out.

  • gnrnabk1

    Oh brother. WOW your easy to please.

  • gnrnabk1

    Spot on! Couldn’t have said it any better.

  • Eljay

    I think the 2011-2012 team did more (beat UK) & went further (Sweet 16) than was generally predicted at the outset of that season.

  • Eljay


  • Eljay

    Respectfully disagree. Even Coach Knight took IU to the NIT.

  • Show-Me-State HOOSIER

    And I don’t exactly agree with everything RMK did as a coach. We will get smoked in the NIT. I’m sure he thought he had decent enough teams to be competitive.

  • MikeinNC

    Indiana Recruiting Rankings for the past 5 years:
    2009 – #11 Nationally, #1 B10
    2010 – not ranked nationally, but snagged Will and Vic
    2011 – #27 US, #5 B10
    2012 – #5 US, #1 B10
    2013 – #14 US, #3 B10
    2014 – #19 US, #3 B10

    How do you get to where we are, when you’ve had those kinds of recruiting classes for the past 5 years? Even attributing to bad luck and unexpected early departures, how does it happen?

    We need to recognize that Coach Crean is a good man, an strong recruiter, and an average coach. He has done some good work bringing us back from the abyss. But he has had a chance to show if he was capable of bringing us back to regular national prominence as a powerhouse along the lines of the Dukes, Kentucky, Kansas, etc. He has demonstrated he cannot. We need to move on, or be willing to accept mediocrity, with sporadic runs to a sweet 16 or elite 8. That’s all we are going to get with the present course. Time for a change. Thank him for his service, respect him for his effort, and allow him and us to move on.

  • Guyton25

    These are my thoughts as well. He just can’t coach in-game. He develops and recruits players with the best of them but when it comes to playing chess against the opposing coach in the game, he doesn’t quite understand.

    But who is out there available to hire right now? Starting over again with a new coach is a big decision and we IU fans are downright sick of starting over…

  • MikeinNC

    It’s a great question, and it brings up the issue that we’d all prefer not to address – that it has really been since about 1993 that IU was truly in the national conversation on a regular basis as a legitimate powerhouse. We just don’t have the stature or prestige that we might think we have….so it could be tough. In an ideal world, we could get someone like Brad Stevens, Sean Miller, Tony Bennett, Mark Few, Shaka Smart, or Kevin Ollie to take the job as a destination position. But I don’t think that is realistic, as much as I wish that was the case. So, the next layer would be some of the hotter up and coming coaches like Bobby Hurley, Billy Donlan, Michael White,Archie Miller, Dave Rice…maybe even people like Greg McDermott or Kermit Davis or Gregg Marshall….after that, I think you have to look at the coaching trees for the kinds of coaches we’d like – Coach K, Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo (yes, I know…) Bill Self, Roy Williams…to see if there is a promising assistant or a hidden gem coaching in relative obscurity somewhere that we could pluck…

  • Guyton25

    Exactly, but if we can’t get an ideal coach like Stevens then why take a gamble on a possible hidden gem? We already have a coach that almost won us a national title based solely off his recruiting. I think the chances of winning a title with Crean are better than most of those other names you mentioned.

  • Eljay

    Inasmuch as Knight probably questioned the “competitiveness” of any of his teams that didn’t make the NCAA tournament, it appears he thought there was merit in trying to turn things around in the NIT. It gives this team a chance to end on more of an positive note than taking our ball & going home. This team has nowhere to go but up.

  • calbert40

    I think what you meant to say was that Syracuse runs what is almost universally recognized as the BEST 2-3 zone in the nation…not a poorly executed one. I’m sure that was an accident.

    At Marquette, Crean made the NCAA more times in his nine seasons there than they made in nearly 2 decades previously. He certainly didn’t underperform there. After Marquette joined the Big East in 2005, Crean’s WORST season was 20 wins, and that was when the Big East was ridiculously tough.

    At IU, the first three years were exactly what we thought they’d be. Then he far outpaced our most vivid expectations in ’11-’12. In ’12-’13, we won our first outright B1G title in nearly 2 decades. Without a doubt, we underperformed last season. This year has been about what everyone thought at the beginning of the season. I don’t think there was a single national publication that predicted us to finish as high as we did. He elevated our thoughts of this team with its great play in the middle of the season, so it appears as though they underperformed.

  • who’syourhoosier

    I used NV as a reference point for the plus side of one and dones at IU and only that aspect. Simply meaning that if you are good enough, you will get noticed and have a shot at the NBA. We are not obscure, just not very good. (WHY DID MY POST GET DELETED?, NO PROFANITY ECT….)

  • tdp2332

    We can’t adjust when we don’t have size to compete in the BIG. The small ball gimmick worked in the early season when our freshmen hadn’t hit the wall, but as season progressed teams have figured us out. Also, the leadership thing is a joke. Kentucky doesn’t have a senior on the team and they are leading just fine. It starts with the coach.

    If your entire roster is composed of mostly talented guards, run a press defense the entire game and take advantage of your speed and quickness. Instead we sit back and get scored on over and over in the half court and we don’t use the only advantage we have. I would love to see TW in the middle of a 2-1-2 press. SR could get way more clock in this scenario playing up front with Yogi. Crean simply doesn’t coach to his strengths. CTC has never developed a big man either. Cody was a baller when he arrived. Crean is a guard only coach that doesn’t develop a game plan to his teams strengths. I’m over it.

  • Bob Crum

    I don’t care if you need me or not, that’s not why I am here.

    But I would like to know why the writer didn’t say whether he made the third free throw!

  • Bob Crum

    Thanks man. Do you know if Blackmon made the third free throw?