Notebook: Defensive effort sparks win

  • 12/06/2015 7:58 am in

It was almost like seeing a whole new team Saturday at Assembly Hall. For at least one night, the defensive lapses that have plagued the IU basketball team were not there for IU’s 92-59 win against Morehead State.

It was refreshing, as the Hoosiers passed the eye test and improved in the box score.

IU out-rebounded MSU 35-31. The Hoosiers turned the ball over 13 times and forced 23 by the Eagles. IU even forced two shot-clock violations in the first half.

It was sound basketball.

The Eagles shot 31-percent from the floor and made just four triples.

IU blocked seven shots and had seven steals. It shot 36 free throws. Players were diving for loose balls. It was the kind of performance people expect to see.

Morehead State, which ranked No. 117 in KenPom before the game, is a better team than others we have seen at Assembly Hall so far this year. Certainly no Duke, but not Alcorn State.

The players knew they had to play better defensively, and responded.

“I think we know our defense needed to get better and we really worked on it the past two days,” Max Bielfeldt said. “Just simple things somebody got a little sloppy on. I think we really worked together today and put out a pretty good product.”

Tom Crean noted the season is a process, and that he was pleased with the way his guys responded to the tough loss on Wednesday.

Bielfeldt was one of the standouts, scoring 12 points without missing a shot and grabbing four rebounds.

“I think we emphasized these past couple of days, all five playing one big defense collectively rather than each guy trying to take their own match-up,” Bielfeldt said. “It was fun to see guys playing together, all five as one unit.”

Johnson leads on defense

Robert Johnson isn’t the flashiest player, but he brings a much needed defense-first mindset to the court. It showed against Morehead State. He pressured the ball on both shot-clock violations the Eagles had, locking down the ball-handler all across the perimeter. It’s that sort of effort that is contagious.

James Blackmon Jr., who has been a liability on defense thus far, looked better and had two steals. Troy Williams, who led the team in scoring with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting, only turned the ball over once.

When the guards are able to pressure the ball like they did Saturday night, it’s difficult to get the ball into the lane. Morehead State Coach Sean Woods said after the game that he thought his team would be able to get into the lane more, but was shut down.

“They hadn’t been real tough defensively,” Woods said. “I thought they were much tougher tonight. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they haven’t been good defensively.”

Still unbeaten at home

IU (6-3), is 5-0 at home in Assembly Hall this season.

In each win, the Hoosiers have gone on a big run that pushes the game out of reach for the opponents. This time the run came midway through the first half, as IU went on a 29-6 run that started with them being down 13-12.

Filed to:

  • straight no chaser

    And if I remember correctly he did end up shooting someone who duly forgave him and didn’t press charges. But hey, someone who’s been on hunting trips with Bush senior and Norman Schwarzkopf deserves a few perks, right? LOL. Okay, I better stop, because someone is going to think I’m asking for Knight back as interim coach.

  • BMusic

    Ha, Blazing Saddles. Awesome!

    Telling examples. The first two seem ridiculous to me, but the other two….? Would the Yale profs say people have a right to wear swastikas or KKK robes? Is that the kind of speech that should be free on campus?

    A comedian’s choice to perform or not perform risky material is a business one, and the three you mention are somewhat beholden to their corporate employers (Disney, etc.) and their other mainstream pursuits. There are plenty of comedians still out there riding the edge. (Having said that, my teenager is SUPERsensitive re: issues in inclusiveness and tolerance, so maybe it’s a generational thing…and we’re just old.)

    So…to your point: are good coaches staying out of coaching because they’re afraid of being criticized for yelling at their players? Or, even more to your point, does Tom Crean go easy on the Hoosiers because he’s too PC? Did other coaches see the Knight firing and decide the writing’s on the wall, and quit? I don’t see it. But if the more respectful atmosphere keeps away the guys who are inclined to slug a player, I can’t say I see that as a bad thing.

  • straight no chaser

    I think we might be punning on the verb “to score” here. LOL.

  • Casey B.

    Who the hell is going after Crean’s family?

    People are frustrated watching our counterparts in West Lafayette, South Bend and Indianapolis outperform us with equally or less talented teams. No one wants Crean to feel pain. We just want a new coach if this man (who’s had eight years now) can’t put us on an increasingly upward trajectory.

    And for the record, with these results, Crean would’ve lasted two years at UK. What a sacrilegious comparison, anyway.

  • oldiugymnast

    I lurk. I have a hard time reading the posts lately, but I did – embarrassingly – respond to mark the fellow who thinks that the 15th century missionaries were super nice fellows who never murdered or enslaved any native Americans….. Good to hear from you too. Hope all is well in your world!

  • straight no chaser

    If our moaning does not matter and does not change anything, then how has it destroyed Crean and his family? If anything, Crean and IU seem impervious to our moaning.

  • eville87

    Your crazy if you think everything is good right now with the Indiana Basketball program. You need medical help.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Nice to see the team defense in this one and also scoring alot despite not many 3’s. Still think rebounding needs to be better but certainly, regardless of opponent, IU played much better defensively.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    I’m guessing fourfourputtsforfoursnowmen is available if you want it.

  • dwdkc

    The RPI is useless, especially early in the season. This arguing is pointless because one game doesn’t mean much, but you are wrong about Morehead st. This was a decent team, one of the better defensive teams in Div 1. Just look at their results to date. IU destroyed a team that wouldn’t even finish last in the Big 10 and had them down 70-29. That showed what IU is capable of. I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination it erases what we saw before, as my other posts point out.

  • VanPastorMan

    I’m not a fair weather fan. It’s just that with the lapse in defense over the last few yrs it is harder to get excited about the team. Last yr I took my daughter to the Eastern Washington game. One of their good players kept driving to the bucket. One time he did it against Troy and I actually yelled, “Oh, Come On!! At least stay in front of Him!!. I guess the Hall was quiet enough that a lot of guys looked at me, nodding in agreement. Now I am not one to do stuff like that. I feel as though I was driven to it. Thus I am now driven to be less enthused. And for me this is a new experience. I stood by Crean through all the rough yrs. I was there during Samscum and his phone call debacle. I was there during Mike Davis, whose teams played some of the best defense I have seen IU teams play. I was there when Knight was fired. I even go back to the throwing of the chair back in 85. I just think we should demand a certain kind of excellence from our basketball team. “It’s Indiana” for crying out loud.

  • pdhoosier

    I definitely did. .. but luckily I took faithful’s route and got to enjoy it! So same wifey for now

  • straight no chaser

    Arch, the trend you mention regarding “micro aggressions” and the obsession with “trigger warnings” is being met with a corrective backlash. Like most social justice movements, it has its unfortunate extremes, but it arose from a real place of social injustice.

    Also, your example about the “Muslim world” is silly. Maybe you should have specified where this “native informant” is from exactly. There isn’t a Muslim world any more than there is a Christendom, although you wouldn’t know it if you listened to our clueless frat boy politicians. Your overwhelming generalization is unfortunate. Are you talking about Turkey (a secular democracy), or Saudi Arabia (a theocracy, and one of our strongest allies in “the Muslim world”), or Lebanon (where the President is a Maronite Christian), or Tunisia (recently adopted a secular Constitution), or Pakistan (which until recently had a female President who was lost to assassination), or … you get the idea.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Great point!

  • INUnivHoosier

    Libertarianism isn’t a purely economic ideology, and it more often than not aligns socially with classical liberalism.

  • IULore

    I did not say that. I said it’s wrong.

  • IULore

    Where did I say that? You are proving my point. You get mad and get personal, even with me!

  • IULore

    You would have called for Calipari’s head after the NIT year.

  • IU Coop

    BRAVO!! I get so tired of all of the judgment from some of the people on here that if you are not 100% in support of IU Basketball 100% of the time, you are somehow not a ‘real’ fan. Everyone on here is obviously an IU Basketball fan, there is no litmus test or ranking of how much a fan any of us are. Any of us can be disappointed with the coach, choose to skip a game, or even hope that Crean gets fired and still be a fan. And some of us just have a lot going on and choose to spend our time differently than watching BAD basketball! Remember what Einstein said (and i believe he was smarter than any of us), “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Sometimes I try not to watch the same thing over and over…Having said that, I did watch the game the other night. I just get tired of the judgement of other people…

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    not exactly a signature win, not even enough for me to feel cautiously optimistic. but perhaps it’s a start.

  • IUJeff

    No. Knight was just an a$$ and needed to go.

  • TomJameson

    We’re thinking alike, just our minutes are off. LOL

    The last 3 minutes don’t count because the bench was cleared (I can argue both ways for that, not sure if I like it totally). I think there was 5 minutes of sloppy play, defense and offense, in the second half, but then it straightened out. Otherwise I really liked the focus and intensity.

    Absolutely … The sustainability question is the biggest question I think we all have.

  • pcantidote

    So the moaning isn’t going to change anything….but the moaning ruined a good caoch. A bit hypocritical, don’t you think?

  • pcantidote

    Look, the people who were calling for Crean’s job after the Syracuse game or after the 2014 season were irrational. I equally believe it is irrational to not think that Crean is and deserves to be firmly on the hot seat now.

  • pcantidote

    You know they say the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. You can blindly call me fair weather all you want, but at least I’m not insane. Yes, we know IU can roll mid-majors at home under Crean. Woop dee freaking do. I for one am not going to give up 2 hours of my busy life to get my hopes up that it will some how translate against a good opponent. I’ve been fooled too many times.

  • pcantidote

    You are right, I watched all the games through the first three Crean years because he had a bunch of nobodies playing with heart. They represented IU well considering the circumstances. The state of the program is now a stain on the IU brand and I am choosing not to watch. Of course I will be checking scores and hoping they win. A fair weather fan has no clue what is going on until a magical season happens. I am far from it. In fact, I am so emotionally invested that I cannot bear to watch.

  • SilentBob

    Hey man I join in right with you in frustration over the fans who take it too far. But to paint all fans and ITH commenters with one brush is just ignorant. All fan bases have their bad apples. And when a program that is accustomed to success starts failing, those voices will get louder and more distasteful the longer they continue to fail.

    Some certainly take it too far, but any one who has ever gave a cent to this university has the right to voice it’s displeasure over the product they are recieving. If I spent $400 on a gaming system and it didn’t work the way it was advertised, you best believe I’d be calling the company with a complaint and demanding either a full refund or a replacement. IU markets and sells itself as elite, so anything less deserves complaints. If our slogan was something like “in 49 other states it’s just basketball, but in Indiana it really is just basketball… We really don’t care how we do.” Then you may have an argument. If I could get tickets for a family of four and by them all hots dogs and cokes for less than $50 then you may have an argument. But that isn’t the way it is.

    Nobody destroyed Crean with a anonymous internet comment. He destroyed it himself. I’ll admit he has had some rotten luck, but he has had more than enough chances to fix that. In college sports the coach is both the GM and the coach. So when this much failure happens the only person you can look to is the coach.

  • straight no chaser

    Yep, that’s me!

  • IUBizmark

    Some might call this fair weather fandom. I think that term is used to manipulate people to support/pay for a terrible product. The Cubs are a perfect example.

    I used to watch them religiously. Then I realized, the management doesn’t care about winning, they have no reason to. People will show up no matter how terrible they are and management will collect the check. Players and fans suffer, but not management.

    I say, vote with your dollars! Hit’em where it hurts…their wallets. To do otherwise is to abdicate change to team management. That’s fine if you trust team management to make the right choices on your behalf.

  • IU86grad

    First of Hartman has one “n” not two and maybe you were watching a diffent game then me but Hartman had the following defensive statistics:
    1. Total deflections – 11 (nine in the first half) (The Total team had 62 for the game.
    2. Three steals
    3. One blocked shot
    4. Three rebounds (two were offensive).

    “Yes” he sagged back in the middle because that what film said to do. Did you ever notice that IU plays better defensive when Hartman is on the floor. Watch him directing other players to be in the right positition. If you are going to comment about a player know your facts or don’t say anything.

  • GaHoosier

    Thanks for pointing out the incorrect spelling of his name and his stats, but I stand by my statement. I didn’t knock his defense, I merely stated that he is struggling with an injury. I think the offense and defense are both better with Hartman on the floor.
    I said, “he was solid on rotations and moving laterally.” I wasn’t trying to criticize Hartman at all. He is a game changer!

  • MK

    It is unfortunate that IU fans will do anything to protect their “homegrown” Indiana recruits, usually of a certain background. The fact is Hartman has not been good this year, at all.

  • IU86grad

    Waht is more unfortunate is basketball fans like you that do not understand the history of IU basketball and the work “TEAM” that was put forth by the championship teams of RMK.
    Hartman’s role is not to be a big scorer but to bring “order” to the court. The team tracks both deflections and the +/- factor on the scoreboard when players are on the court. If you would take the time to study these statistics for both last year and this year Hartman has the some of the highest rankings in both areas on the team.
    My suggestion would be that you follow the wildcats where how much one score gauges how good they are.

  • MK

    Since clearly you have taken the time maybe you can enlighten us on the +/- stats?

    I appreciate team basketball but you are just assuming Colin is some sort of amazing glue guy this years and referencing stats of which you give no proof….

  • IU86grad

    look above for starters. Hartman had 20% of the teams deflections in the last game. Take time and watch how the team does on “D when he is in and when he is on the bench.

    I will share my reading glasses with you if you need help

  • MK

    And the game before he had 0 rebounds. I am watching the same games you are watching and he hasn’t been that good in my personal opinion, at the very least he could be better and hasn’t been as effective as he was last year.