Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to UNLV

  • 11/26/2015 8:19 am in

Indiana’s trip to the Maui Jim Maui Invitational ended in major disappointment as the Hoosiers dropped the fifth place game to UNLV on Wednesday, 72-69.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the loss to the Runnin’ Rebels:

· Indiana’s season is already at a crossroads: Late in Indiana’s loss to Wake Forest, I tweeted that it was only November, which insinuated that fans shouldn’t worry too much if the Hoosiers weren’t able to pull out a win.

However, it’s already time to worry.

Early in the season or not, there are major red flags with Indiana basketball right now. The defense showed no improvement in Maui. The turnover situation thus far is worse than what we saw with the 2013-2014 team, which completely missed the postseason. And Tom Crean is bringing up the fact that IU dismissed several players – something that happened months ago – in his postgame remarks.

This team has the talent to win with three McDonald’s All-Americans, multiple four-star recruits and experience. There is pressure to win and win big. Losing to middling teams like Wake Forest and UNLV was pretty much a worst case scenario for Indiana on this trip. Yes, it’s November, but Indiana is already at a crossroads and if the Hoosiers don’t change course soon, this season could get ugly fast.

· On the turnovers: Indiana totally negated any advantage it had offensively on Wednesday because it couldn’t take care of the ball. The Hoosiers finished the afternoon with a turnover percentage of 28.7 and now rank 336th nationally (out of 351 teams) in that statistic.

A team with a senior point guard and two other perimeter players on a preseason list for major national award should be taking care of the ball and getting quality shots.

Indiana was the 60th best team in the country in turnover percentage in 2014-2015, but the regression through six games is defining this season through six games.

· On the defense: In yesterday’s postgame press conference, Crean was asked about his team’s defense in the context of what the TV announcers said during the Maui broadcasts. His complete response follows:

“Well, you’re way ahead of me on the TV commentators. I’ve actually been preparing for games so I haven’t seen or listened to any of the broadcast, so I’ll make sure I do that. We have a lot of room for improvement defensively. No doubt about it. We’re playing with three freshmen on the front line. We don’t have the front line that we were projected to have. We don’t have the front line that we thought we were going to have. So we’ve got to get that down. They’ve got to deal with the different coverages that are there and all that different type of stuff. There is no question we can get better at every aspect of the game.”

Indiana may be playing with newcomers in its frontcourt, but it returns all of its perimeter pieces from last season’s team. And none of those players seem committed to stopping the ball or dribble penetration with any consistency. Defense begins on the perimeter and when that breaks down, the frontcourt gets exposed.

· Starters return to the lineup: After being demoted to the bench to start the St. John’s game, James Blackmon Jr. and Troy Williams returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday.

Blackmon Jr. scored 13 points, but had four turnovers and the worst plus/minus on the team at -9. Williams had nine points and six rebounds, but also had four turnovers. To make things worse, Yogi Ferrell also had four turnovers and missed three free throws.

It’s tough to win when one of your best players doesn’t perform well, but when multiple guys struggle, it only becomes more difficult. Indiana simply can’t have its three most talented offensive players turn it over 12 times and expect to win.

· Indiana’s non-conference resume will be lacking: Not only did the Hoosiers lose twice in Maui, landing in the consolation bracket cost them opportunities to build an NCAA tournament resume.

While it’s possible that UNLV or Wake could surprise this season, the only certain tournament teams on the non-conference schedule right now appear to be Duke and Notre Dame. And if Indiana doesn’t win one of those games, they’ll be putting a tremendous amount of pressure on winning conference games.

On paper, the non-conference schedule appeared to be upgraded this season. Right now, however, it sits at 322nd in the country (per KenPom) and the missed opportunities in Maui are the primary reason why.

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  • HotSauce Johnson

    Vic’s situation was rare because Orlando was so young and so bad that they tried him out at both sg and pg. The next year they drafted a pg (elfrid payton i believe). Hulls was a terrible ball handler/decision maker when pressured heavy. Yogi was a freshman, and as you can tell by now obviously isnt equipped with the skills to distribute the ball without turning it over. One of the things I remember from that team was Vic was one of the few guys who would actually throw the ball to Zeller when he had a gew on his hip. Hulls couldnt pass over the top of anyone and Watford was looking to score. Still miss watching that team play everyday though. Loved those guys. This years team could learn a lot from that team just because I believe those guys realized the roles that each one was responsible for. This years team consists of way to many guys that need to control the ball in a one on one situation to score rather than guys that can distribute or cut and almost zero defensive minded guys. I truly miss some of the transfers, Remy Abell in particular. Anyway you look at it Crean’s seat is getting pretty toasty. I could deal with the losses if this was a bunch of Indiana kids with clean noses playing hard. But there are 3 players that see the floor from Indiana. I will continue to dog on Crean until he recruits the state heavy. Based off ESPN top 300 recruits we got 1 kid in 2016. 0 kids from 2015 class from IN. 1 from 2014. Thats ridiculous. Each year IN has around 10 to 15 kids in the top 300 on average and we are not targeting them.

  • ChitwoodIN

    I would like to contest your sentence of Walton being annoying “most of the time”.
    All I have to do is think of him, and I want to punch him….or anyone close to me.

  • straight no chaser

    Hits the nail on the head! I have been saying this forever. And because of Crean’s poor teaching, we have bloated our system beyond control (not just when he is teaching in practice and managing games). We are bloated in our recruiting; we offer far too many scholarships far too early for the return we get. We spend way too much on facilities for the return we are getting. We have a system of player substitutions that is concerned too much with what we have promised players and their parents. We have a million consultants we have become beholden to: the NBA, past players, past coaches. Oh, and the pressers! There is just too much ado about nothing. I am a professor, and this is one thing you learn early in my profession: there is no substitute for good fundamental learning and teaching. A good teacher knows how to distill the complex into simple workable units of teaching and does not need extravagance and snazzy facilities. I still teach with blackboard and chalk. Don’t believe the hype about what “kids want nowadays”; it is all just rationalization for bad teaching. We don’t want those types of kids with dollar signs in their eyes.

    To quote the poet Yeats from “The Second Coming”: Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.

  • HotSauce Johnson

    Honestly, Davis’ teams were 10 times better defensively and offense wasnt too awful compared to this team. Davis got a lot of heat because he lost some huge instate recruits. He liked to pull guys from Alabama and Georgia and overlook Indiana kids. Davis himself had enough respect for the program to see that he was not the right man for the job. Will Crean do the same? No way in hell. He is a me first guy who throws his players under the bus in press conferences and takes no responsiblities for their actions. He calls out their leadership when he is not providing any leadership at all.

  • Young Hoosier

    What good Indiana coaches are there? Woodson? Nope. Wittman? Nope. Zeke? Nope. Bailey? Nope. Alford? Nope. Smart? Nope. Fife? Jury still out. I wouldn’t care to have Calbert back. Or Fife as an assistant.

  • HotSauce Johnson

    Well I know we are all in the fetal position hoping for the best with this team but I’m just glad we finally are playing some schools that I’ve atleast heard of. Still may be a weak out of conference schedule but atleast this cupcake has sprinkles on it. I have a very strong feeling that we will see a completely different team when we play Duke. I may be wrong but they will have enough time to look over film and practice the things that they have been so poor at this year (TOs, Defense, Rebounding). I woudnt be surprised if Troy, JBJ, and Yogi are using a Wilson as a pillow after this short stint. We are gonna be out of the top 25 and thankfully in my opinion this team might start playing like it has something to prove and be a little hungry. The turnovers were expected in my opinion and they will dewindle down as we enter B1G play. I still expect us to get dominated by Purdue this year. They are stacked and underrated. Only thing keeping them from being a top 10 team is the attitude and mentality of AJ Hammond. Here’s to another season that will give me grey hairs and cause me to drink just a tad more than the old lady likes. This team is talented but has a lot of holes. Crean will be around for 3 more years then he is gone. I hope to the basketball gods that we dont fire him until Brad Steven’s and Boston start under performing which as things are looking now might never happen. If we have no shot at Stevens then why even try for a new coach at this point? Getting a solid coach in the college game for a program like Indiana will rely on timing and luck. Our biggest draws are history and a crazy awesome fan base. Awesome draw for someone who is young and unproven. I love the idea of bringing in an Alum but there is way to much respect and loyalty amongst most those players now turned coaches to RMK for them to even consider an offer from Indiana.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    I agree, I was just making a point using Walton’s babble that a very elementary part of basketball is to make your man use his weak hand, and by elementary, I mean as in elementary school when you are taught that.

  • DcHoosier

    I think there are many problems with this program as a whole but some things are definitely going in the right direction.

    1. Ball Movement is something that Crean doesn’t emphasize enough. Too much standing around on offense and guards are SO SCARED to drive into the middle of the key. Honestly driving to the key is the best way to break down any defense whether it’s zone/triangle/2-2-1 pressure. Also are guards haven’t learned how to split defenses, and the fundamentals to that is SUPERIOR footwork and knowing where your feet need to land…..that pisses me off because the best teams have fearless guards that will drive into the middle of the key and then suddenly find 1 or 2 people open. Yogi/JBJ/Rob are not strong but they can be quick and use their quickness to split the D and drive into the key to collapse the defense.

    2. Boxing out. Rebounding is not as much as an issue as much as boxing. The fundamental to rebounding is not to stop and stare at the ball while it’s in the air. You get in front of your opponent and box them out, then look for the ball, which in half the cases require good reflexes, but practice will help that since that skill requires repetition. Too many IU players in the past just stop and stare at the ball in the air instead of actually boxing the opponent out, then getting the ball. The only people that don’t/didn’t do it is Victor Oladipo from years ago and Troy Williams now, unfortunately Williams is rail thin so sometimes he gets pushed out.

    3. Nobody talks on defense. It’s frustrating for those trying to be active.

    4. No one takes pride in defense. We don’t have a stopper. In fact no one takes pride in anything. Yogi hasn’t been the example Jordan Hulls was by any stretch. Leadership sucks. Jordan Hulls actually didn’t drink until he graduated from Indiana. Yogi just parties and several times last year I saw Hanner/Devin/and other athletes from the football team go to big red and buy alcohol every week. I think once Yogi is gone a better person (Hartman) will be more suitable to be the Captain and lead this program.

    5. Work out regiment. Yeah it’s nice having big arms and chests. But a man named RMK once said “Defense is not created with your waist and long wingspan…its created with your legs” I think IU needs to focus more on leg strength than anything else. Oladipo was a great defender because he had strong legs and never got tired in the half court defense/offense because his low and fast twitch muscles were strong. It’s great having strong fast twitch muscles since it helps with being explosive and flying high to dunk and sprinting really fast in short bursts….but you also need to train the low twitch muscles to be strong (Marathon Runners do this) and this is how you get better at defense. Half-Court games tire out the low twitch muscles since they don’t rest at all where as in sprinting they recover slightly when the opposite foot is on the ground. Basically what I am trying to say is that we build the players bodies to bolt in short burst. Their not built for stamina which is a glaring issue and that’s why Crean has weird stubs and thats why Thomas Bryant was asking for a sub like 3 times in Maui……these guys are not built for the college game.

    I am no expert by any means, this is just my 2 cents of how I perceive the problem.

  • mark

    Ah, it’s you and those of your ideology who, by consigning everything before “our time” to mere “traditions” which you falsely believe have no basis in reality, justify thereby genocides against traditional peoples like the American Indians, the Tibetans, the Orthodox Christians of Russia (Stalin killed millions), the traditional Chinese ….
    I get it . You justify the worst atrocities of the last century with your modernity-worshipping ideology.

  • Not really.. I’ve watched some of the games.. still root for them to win… but I have a lot of other things going on in my life that are right now, taking precedence over dropping everything to make sure I seen the game.. It just isn’t that much fun when they’re throwing the ball away 25% of their trips down the floor..

  • don

    The first 3 years of that 8 we were under sanctions so I wouldn’t take those into account necessarily. Then he had 3 improving years. Then the loss of VO and Zeller. Then Vonleah.

  • KmanCRK

    Keep in mind the contract has offsets. Crean will get a job elsewhere so the money is not an issue.

    The only issue is whether or not Glass can suck it up and admit a mistake.

  • Zach

    Funny thing is he just recently announced he’s transferring away. All we can say is GOOD LUCK to him wherever he goes

  • Missing Moye

    My point wasn’t necessarily to compare the two, as much as to compare CTC’s usage of them. That said, I’m not sure it’s a huge stretch to compare them offensively (obviously defensively there is no case to be made for Troy). Troy’s outside shot looks improved – combining last year and this year so far, he’s shooting 41% from 3 (VO shot 43% his junior year). Both players are athletic finishers and capable passers at times. Vic averaged 2.3 TOs his junior year, Troy averaged 2.2 last year. Vic was a bit out of control, and certainly got his pocket picked frequently trying to crossover and split the double teams up top on the pick and roll. The difference is that he brought so much else to the table that most didn’t care. The same can’t be said of TW at this point.

    My original point stands that CTC is putting the ball in the hands of Troy more to let him develop and showcase those skills for the NBA than for the betterment of the team.

  • So are you saying the contract say that if he gets a jobe elsewhere IU dos not owe the money. Typically guaranteed contracts do not have that stipulation.

  • BC

    Mr. Coppock, u are correct with the final score. I went over the story line for that game and it was a typical TC game- IU spurted out to an 8 pt lead but by halftime PU closed it to 2, and then PU, came out in the 2nd half and built their own 8 pt lead(16 pt swing). And the way PU out played us gave me the impression that they were clearly the better team. I think IU whittled the lead down to 1 late, but it took a couple of Yogi 3 pt bank shots at the end of the shot clock to get us there- which I thought was lucky.

    Purdue lost Jon Octeus to graduation, and Bryson Scott to transfer. Scott barely played. So I do feel like PU pretty much has the same team. Everybody else comes back plus a couple of really good freshmen bigs.

    Thanks for the reply, it helped the frustrating venting process I needed, lol. And happy holidays!

  • millzy32

    The real problem is that these 3 have been told they are all legitimate NBA prospects which is false. They all have significant deficiencies in their games that will either keep them out of the NBA entirely or make their careers there very short.

  • millzy32

    We win something like 100% of the games where we outscore our opponents so scoring is good.

  • millzy32

    If things keep going the way they are we could lose those two anyway. If this season goes as bad as it has the potential to go then the wheels could really start to fall off near season’s end.

  • millzy32

    Crean came from that same tree and look at all the Izzo stuff he teaches (zero).

  • millzy32

    Right now I wish you both were

  • millzy32

    That stuff is so 1980’s. Just like winning was.

  • millzy32

    It takes at least 10 years to build a program. That is unless it isn’t built by then and then it will be a 15 year process. Only at Indiana does it take this long to test drive a new coach. 8 years? All other programs would have been done with this failed project years ago. Indiana fans patience is to their detriment in this scenario.

  • SilentBob

    Perhaps, but once they have their LOIs signed I believe they are subject to the same rules as transfers if they aren’t released from it. But yea I mean if we get blown out by Duke (most likely), lose Notre Dame, and stumble out the gate in big ten play then by all means be merciful to the man and let him go. You know he isn’t going to quit, which is something I admire about Crean, but unless he pulls off a miracle then it’s time for him to leave.

  • “unscientific theory of evolution”… you proved my point. moving on.

  • SilentBob

    Perhaps but they’re two different players and the coach had to realize that. Troy is more like Sheehey than Oladipo. When Vic drove to the basket you knew he was either going to finish at the rim, or take to the defender chest and get to the foul line. Not make some crazy jumping pass. Also we had a freshmen point guard and a really short two guard (Hulls) on that team. We have a four year starter who was named to the Wooden Award watch list this year.

    Plus the Magic were in a position to gamble a bit with Vic. They knew Vic would be at least a solid two guard, but if they could teach him the point guard it could be special. I believe he was there first high draft pick post Dwight Howard. And he did a pretty decent job at it and now the Magic have the luxury of having one of the few good combo guards in the league. But they only did that project for a year. Crean does this year in and year out and he doesn’t have one pick. He brings in 5 new players every year.

    Also I don’t think it was Vic being allowed to run the point is what boosted him so high. It was the fact that everyone knew he wouldn’t be a bust and all the intangible that come with knowing that (great leader and worker to name two). He had also improved in every single area of his game. His ball handling as a sophomore wasn’t even good enough to be a good two guard let alone point guard.

  • straight no chaser

    But Fife actually played basketball, and had a great defensive game at that.

  • millzy32

    I was only suggesting that learning coaching through Osmosis doesn’t always work and giving a case in point.

  • Young Hoosier


  • KmanCRK

    Yes. Say we owe him $3.5M next year but he gets a gig on ESPN or coaching for $1M then IU would owe him the difference of $2.5M. Glass pointed this language out last spring.

  • oldiugymnast

    Interesting take – I mean what with all of your holier-than-though protestations about how super awesome older religious beliefs are, especially Catholicism, and then you blame the murder of Native Americans on my “ideology?” Hint – I don’t have an ideology – you do! But just in case your idiocy is influencing one of the younger posters, let’s get this factually right.

    1. The murder of Native Americans was primarily at the hands of Catholic Missionaries, followed by white supremacist Christians. Not sure how you are attaching those ideologies to me – because they are both abhorrent.

    2. Tibetans were murdered by Maoists. Another ideology that I find abhorrent.

    3. Hitler and the Nazi’s used a combination of Catholic Propaganda, mythologies from the Norse and Mesopotamians – which seem a lot more like the ideology that you like. Heavy emphasis on nationalism, overwrought focus on traditions (many manufactured like most of our national “traditions”). Hitler, by the way, hated modernity. So there’s that.

    4. Stalin killed lots of people. Stalinism, as I addressed above, was really an extreme form of Oligarchy. Again, ideology I abhor.

    5. I am betting that you are ignorantly lumping in the Khmer Rouge – which sought to restore the Khmer traditions. You know, the guys that built Angkor Wat… Sure, they were funded by the Chicom and USSR, but beyond that had very little resemblance of Soviet Stalinism or Maoism.

    Of course, if you studied something other than mystic traditions and actually studied history, political economics and things you can actually measure and learn about reality from, you are likely to continue to get things wrong. You arrogantly assign what you think my ideology is – because you suffer from the severest forms of affinity fraud and epistemic cloture. Me – I just hate that I lowered myself to this level by responding to your idiotic rantings.

  • mark

    Glaring ignorance.
    Firstly, I never even mentioned Catholicism and I am not Catholic. But your assertion about Catholic missionaries being responsible for the genocide of Indians is TOTALLY false. Not even close. In historian John Tracy Ellis’ book American Catholicism as in many other works, it is shown that it was the European states, NOT the Catholic Church, which mistreated the Indians. In fact, Pope Paul III in 1537 issued a bull expressly prohibiting Catholics from depriving non-Christian Indians of liberty or property, and many Catholic missionaries were persecuted by European states for standing up for the rights of Indians! — that is FACT sir, and not your ignorant rewriting of history. Good grief, are you actually going to sit there telling me, who’ve lived and studied culture and history in several countries, that I know nothing of history while you go about rewriting history according to your obvious biases?
    From there it just gets worse; it would have been better if you could not read, to be honest, because obviously what you have read is just a heap of lies. And yes, your ideology is ultimately equivalent to those which have committed genocides all over the globe. Why? Because you, just like all modernists who take their ideology to its logical conclusion (Mao, Stalin, et al) look down on anything of the past as inferior and delusional, and in your ignorant pride, cannot see the hideous stupidity and self-contradictions in your assertions. Entirely a product of the time and place in which you live, you are a classic relativist who proudly proclaims that it is true that there is no truth,
    So be it. I could have a more intelligent discussion of such matters with my cat.

  • oldiugymnast

    Once again breaking commandments. The missionaries themselves talked about subjugating and murdering natives. So I am supposed to believe an apologist over Junipero Sera himself? And the Spanish state was an arm of the Vatican when the worst atrocities happened! Someone is definitely ignorantly rewriting history!!! And arrogance? Me? Do you even care how transparent your projection is?

  • oldiugymnast

    Gee, I wonder why a theologian and Vatican funded person might rewrite history? I suppose you think the “scientists” that investigated the shroud of Turin were credible as well.

  • mark

    It is quite amusing to hear a man who denies the Absolute proclaim his opinions to be absolute. Every time you open your mouth, you contradict yourself.
    Well did the psalmist say of you, “The fool says in his heart, there is no God.”. But as usual, you know better.

    If you want to discuss the Shroud of Turin or various other historical matters, I would be happy to provide you plenty of facts. But like any good liberal/atheist, you don’t care about facts

  • oldiugymnast

    Once again, you are making claims about what I believe without a shred of evidence. I am quite sure that your shroud of Turin “facts” are just as easily dismissed as your “facts” about how wonderful the Spanish missionaries were to native Americans. When the only “historians” you read are those who agree with you and when you dismiss all contrary opinions and research as “biased” you have what is known as epistemic cloture and confirmation bias. One would expect a person who managed to get a BA in any social science to know this and to make an effort to adjust your thinking. Sadly, you don’t. As I have repeatedly stated, I don’t know what will happen to me when I die. You don’t either – and it is arrogant that you claim you do. You cannot ask anyone, you cannot test a hypothesis, and you cannot get a response from your “god.” So you don’t know. I don’t know how this is “denying the absolute.” There certainly may be a “god” – but I don’t know. And the god that the Christian bible and Talmud describe is not worthy of my worship or loyalty. That god is malevolent. The “god” of the Buddhists is a little easier to live with, depending on which traditions you chose. Jesus is easier to live with, but then again – according to Paul his dad and by some magic he are the same guy that murdered everyone in egypt’s first born son. Couple that with the fact that the canonical version of the Bible was decided upon some 3 centuries after the supposed life of Jesus and it makes the whole thing a little difficult to accept at face value (as does reading the text). You are free to “know” what you know. But the reality is that you cannot know at all – which scares the crap out of most people.

  • mark

    You can’t get much more stupid. Again,

  • mark

    And since you seem quite obsessed with the Shroud of Turin, perhaps I should ask you why this is so …. are you somehow going to insist that “science” debunked it? This is not of particular importance to me, but actually, quite the contrary. Science — independent, non-Catholic scientists — were baffled by it. The only point people like you lay claim to is the carbon dating tests of the 1980s, but there are very credible textile experts who have now shown that the weaves from the main cloth and that of the fringe from which the tiny samples were taken, are two different weaves, the former characteristic of Palestine 2000 years ago, and the latter characteristic of Medieval Europe.
    It is of no importance to me, however. The Absolute is in itself so infinitely more evident and real than anything in this world — indeed than any of the contingent “gods” that people of your relativist ideology inevitably worship — that I have no need for miracles. But it is amusing to see “scientists” and people like you unable to account for things like the Shroud, or the sword of St Galgano, or the image of Guadalupe, or the incorrupt bodies of saints in various religions. But again, you would consign all of this to the age of superstition, which is why you have no problem with the destruction of such cultures and peoples.

  • oldiugymnast

    Oh my. I am so not obsessed with the shroud of turin and could care less. It, as with everything else you mention, are tools of oppression, obviously fakes and silly to believe. Incorrupt bodies of saints! Ha!!!! Please. Wax effigies and mummies! The only reason anyone is perplexed by the shroud is because nobody is allowed to actually closely examine the whole thing. There is zero evidence that Jesus existed – and given the fact that the Romans kept plenty of records of who they executed – wouldn’t you think that there would be some historian who wrote about his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. There is way more evidence of John the Baptist than Jesus. But there is none and all the evidence there is is at least 3rd hand and mostly from a Roman well aware that the empire was crumbling. There is zero evidence that there was ever a slave uprising that coincides with the Exodus. This is all just a tool that the powerful used in the past to keep the masses under their thumb. And all these ancient cultures that you revere so much oppressed and murdered to maintain power. All of religion seeks to keep from learning new things due to fear. Full stop.

    And since you keep claiming the “Absolute” is so infinitely evident, please – present a little tiny bit of not easily falsified evidence. So far you have presented only “because I said so.” And in your mind, is this “Absolute” (why, btw, is this capitalized? I am not aware of a deity with this name) a volitional being? If so, how is he/she/it not malevolent if so?