Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Wake Forest

  • 11/23/2015 10:43 pm in

Indiana dropped its opener in the 2015 Maui Jim Maui Invitational on Monday with an 82-78 loss to Wake Forest at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the loss to the Demon Deacons:

· Indiana’s ball pressure and defense has a long way to go: Through three games, Indiana’s defense looked improved.

On Monday, the Hoosiers took a step back when they allowed Wake Forest to drive uncontested into the lane repeatedly and score easily at the basket. Danny Manning’s team kept going to what was working for a majority of the game: Get into the lane and finish at the rim.

The Demon Deacons scored 52 points in the paint and with the exception of a 13-minute stretch of the second half, the Hoosiers simply didn’t play good enough defense to win. Given how dependent the trajectory of Indiana’s season is on an improved defense, Monday’s performance was a negative.

· It appears the Hoosiers are going to have trouble with teams that have size: Thomas Bryant is an upgrade in the front court. But on Monday, he played like a freshman. There will be more games where that’s the case and as a result, Indiana is going to have games where it will be dominated in the paint by teams that play aggressively.

“We were not as committed as we needed to be on the glass,” Tom Crean said in his postgame press conference. “And we weren’t hitting anybody, which was disappointing.”

The impact of not having much of an offensive presence in the post in this game was also felt as Indiana really didn’t get many easy scores at the rim. Getting outscored 52-32 in the paint isn’t going to win many games unless you shoot a ridiculous percentage from deep, which Indiana didn’t do.

· Troy Williams had some strong moments, but he hurt IU down the stretch with turnovers: Indiana had momentum and a nine-point lead with 7:34 to play. The Hoosiers even had a window to put together a bigger lead, but three straight poor possessions were the beginning of Wake getting back into the game.

Those aforementioned possessions all involved Williams, who had five of IU’s 13 turnovers.

The junior wing had turnovers at both the 6:51 and 6:24 marks and then missed a 3-pointer, which marked three straight missed opportunities with the Hoosiers leading by seven. From there, Wake cut the lead to five and eventually was able to overtake IU down the stretch.

· Indiana needed more out of its backcourt: It was a rough afternoon for Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr., who combined to shoot just 5-of-19 overall and combined for 16 points.

The two were just 1-of-9 on 3-pointers and Ferrell’s streak of 67 straight games with a made 3 also came to an end. The duo also shot just six free throws.

Compare that with the Wake Forest backcourt of Mitchell Wilbekin and Bryant Crawford, which combined for 26 points on 10-of-26 shooting and it’s hard to draw a conclusion other than the Demon Deacons winning that battle.

· This was a bad loss because of how it happened, but it’s only November: There’s no sugarcoating a loss like this, particularly when Indiana was in position to build a bigger lead and pull away late.

Indiana played an awful first half defensively, turned it on for about 13 minutes and played well on both ends and then faltered down the stretch.

The Hoosiers certainly have plenty to learn and this game isn’t going to make or break the season. It’s still November and it’s up to the players and coaches to be able to isolate the negatives and improve on them as the season builds towards conference play. The best Indiana can do now is a fifth place finish in Maui, which is certainly a disappointment, but this isn’t a season defining loss by any means.

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  • twarrior87

    i don’t totally disagree with you on Max… however, he was IU’s second leading scorer yesterday, shot 4-6 from the field, hit 2-4 3 pointers, added a block a couple boards, a couple assists, and a steal… so, IMO yesterday he was one of our better players.

  • EBeck

    Remember, I only saw the last 7 minutes of the game, and that included him taking that terrible 3 from the side that resulted in an airball. Maybe it’s too early and I haven’t see enough of him yet I guess. My bad…….

  • Jack Nolan

    Can you guys tell Walton to either speak into his microphone or be quiet?! I think he’s loosing his marbles. Today he started talking about Captain Lewis? Then the reintroduction of native species?!

    Focus Bill, focus. For cryin’ out loud.

  • MarkHoltzHoosier

    TWO timeouts!
    I swore so much, my 3 year old daughter was repeating them and that made me even madder at Crean…

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    Yogi WAS his norm. Remember, he is statistically our worst defender. This kid has been abused by numerous point guards over the last year. And taking that 3 at the end of the game just to keep a personal record…he should sit until Jan.

    As for Troy, he is asked to play out of position: point forward.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    Walton did say he’d been in China and not watching much TV

  • Jtime

    Hear ya. But having JBJ and TW on this team again next year would be a good thing.

  • metalhead65

    wait Crean recruits a bunch of scorers and then people are surprised they do not excell on defense? how do you expect somebody who has never been ask to do that to suddenly be good at it? if they do work on it you are sacrificing what got them here in the first place. does Crean even have system? if he does then why does he recruit guys who do not fit it? they can’t change who they are at this point in their lives and should not be expected to. the big time programs recruit kids who fit and can play their systems which is why you never see them out of the top 10 no matter how many kids leave after a year. that is another thing Crean does not do, IU always seems to be rebuilding instead of reloading every season where the top programs just plug the new guys in and continue to win. I dread the beat down they will get by Duke next week, if they keep under 20 it will be considered a win by Crean. it’s not as if this a team of freshman and so much was made when the guys announced they were coming back to go along with incoming class and yet they play like they have no clue what is going on.

  • Mr. Mitchell

    It’s a crean thing. He always point the blame at the players and never takes accountability you saw that post game interview. Media saying we held a practice is basic news. Yah yah practice. I bet defense wasn’t a focus.