Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Notre Dame

  • 12/20/2015 7:55 am in

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana improved to 9-3 on Saturday with a come from behind 80-73 win over Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Fighting Irish:

· This win should be a confidence booster for Indiana: Things looked bleak for the Hoosiers five minutes into the second half. But rather than letting Notre Dame pull away, the Hoosiers fought back.

Slowly but surely, IU was able to chip away at Notre Dame’s lead and finally pulled even at 71 with 4:13 to play. From there, the Hoosiers outscored Notre Dame 9-2 the rest of the way to grind out the victory.

It was pretty evident from the reaction on the IU bench that the win – the first for the Hoosiers that will stand out on a potential NCAA tournament resume – meant quite a bit. There was genuine excitement. Given how poorly IU played for most of the afternoon and it was still able to find a way to win should help build confidence for a group that hadn’t found much success away from Assembly Hall.

“I’m very proud of the contributions of almost everyone in the second half and the comeback,” Tom Crean said. “That is how you get better. You learn how to get better inside of the game and it usually comes the old fashioned way, on the defensive end and rebounding.”

· Troy Williams was huge, especially in the second half: I wrote coming into the game that Williams was the biggest key and the junior had a terrific afternoon.

The 6-foot-7 forward finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes and his work on the glass was a major difference maker as Notre Dame couldn’t keep Williams off the boards. He had several impressive drives in the second half in which the Fighting Irish couldn’t keep him out of the lane due to his athleticism.

Williams did have four turnovers, but the positives he brought to the game far outweighed the negatives in this one.

· Indiana was able to string together stops when it mattered: The Hoosiers have been criticized frequently for their defensive lapses in key spots, but holding the nation’s No. 2 offense to two points over the game’s final 6:32 was impressive.

Credit Crean for making the adjustment to get his team into a zone that disrupted Bonzie Colson and Zach Auguste, who were dominating the game early in the second half. And also credit the IU players for their execution defensively down the stretch.

“Zach and Bonzie were doing a fantastic job,” Crean said. “You don’t go into the game thinking you are going to be zoning Notre Dame, but you do have to have it ready, and we had another defense ready.”

· Johnson’s steady play continues: Sophomore Robert Johnson had been a consistent bright spot for Indiana through 11 games and he continued to show off his improvement on Saturday.

Johnson’s line in 32 minutes: 17 points (6-of-9 shooting, 2-of-4 FT), three rebounds, three assists, two blocks and no turnovers. The Richmond, Virginia is leading Indiana in 3-point shooting at 57.5 percent and his turnover percentage is down more than four percent from last season thus far.

With defenses keying on Williams, Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr., Johnson is making the most of opportunities and has quietly emerged as one of IU’s most consistent players.

· Bryant’s solid performance: It wasn’t a breakout game by any means, but freshman Thomas Bryant held his own against Auguste.

After two fouls sent him to the bench early, Bryant didn’t commit a foul the rest of the way and finished with 10 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes. Auguste, meanwhile, had just 12 points and seven rebounds – below his season averages in both categories – committed five turnovers and fouled out.

Indiana didn’t need Bryant to dominate Auguste to win the game, but they certainly needed him to have a better showing that what we saw in losses to Wake Forest, UNLV and Duke. IU’s emotional freshman delivered.

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  • Ole Man

    Great taste!

  • Arch Puddington

    Not to excuse anything, but I do wonder how much he is impacted by CTC’s determination to have other players initiate the offense. I could not back this up empirically, but it is my observation that the “positionless” offense, along with CTC’s attempt to get JBJ and Troy to the NBA, result in Yogi handling the ball less than a senior All-America PG should. I know that I am bothered every time I see someone else taking the lead while he stands in the corner. Maybe he is as well.

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    I heard Brey talk right before the game, on Fischer. He’s a turbo talker just like Crean. I think they might even share the same lexicon. Plus, why would ANY of us say ANYTHING when Crean has produced every phonemically morphologically syntactically possible insight into IU basketball that is humanly produceable.

  • That is too funny. Yes, I heard that as well. He is a lot like Crean in that respect. Kind of drives ya nuts trying to listen to them. They start out on a thought, switch to some aspect of what that line of thought was, then switch to something else and sometimes they are so fragmented off into some never-never land of thought pattern the never really complete the initial thing they were starting to say.

  • Well the way I saw it, he handled it about all I wanted to see him handle it. The team had 12 turnovers. Yogi had 5, Troy 4 and the rest of the team had 3. I just didn’t think Yogi was ‘with it’ again yesterday. At least Troy did some real good things that made up for his turnovers. I’ve been real disappointed in Yogi’s play this season. I really expected him to do a LOT better this year. I think tha is why Crean is having some others play the point at times. He likely sees that same Yogi at practice that we’re seeing at the games. I don’t think Crean has a burning desire to see JBJ or Troy in the NBA any more than he wants Yogi to get there.. so not sure where you came up with that line of thought. I think Crean wants to, above all, win games. I think he’s trying to do it any way possible. Did you watch the Wake game? Yesterday Yogi reminded me of Yogi in the wake game.. JMO. I watched the MSU game yesterday. That Tum Tum Nairin plays a lot better point than Yogi and seems so much quicker. And he doesn’t look as big as Yogi. Back when Nairin was being recruited, I thought Yogi was the better of the two.. Now I don’t. Tum Tum is in my opinion a lot better than Yogi. he can get his shot off driving the lane better he distributes better, just a lot better all around. At least in tht game he was.

  • Missing Moye

    I must have missed it, which I guess prohibits me from sharing my opinion (and apparently makes me a jerk as well, if I’m following your logic).

    I do know that Blackmon and Bryant went out at the 7:02 mark and the defense looked much better at that point, holding ND to 2 points for the rest of the game. I’m sure the rotating defense had something to do with it, as Brey alluded to, but I’m also confident that the players on the floor at that time also contributed. Buy hey, what do I know, I missed the post game comments.

  • Hey man I’m sorry.. Really thought you probably had seen the Mike Brey interview after the game. In fact IU switched from man-to-man to a 2-3 zone, which everyone else thought was a 1-3-1 zone because I guess they called it a rotating zone or whatever. But anyway, Iu switched to that with I think it was maybe 9 or 10 minutes left.. and that is when the Defense started looking a lot better and they started climbing back into it. But we also started getting some offensive rebounds.. and Brey acknowledged that the zone had them a bit confused, but he also said that it forced them to take some jump shots )which they weren’t hitting), instead of getting the ball inside to Auguste. Then They got Auguste fouled out with around 5 minutes left. Anyway, that was how Brey analyzed it. The switch in defenses messed them up.

  • Yes, that change was made but I believe Bryant did come back in, but Blackmon stayed out pretty much the rest of the game, I think. but as I said below, Auguste, the ND big man fouled out with five minutes left, so it made it more reasonable for Bielfeldt to be underneath. Earlier Auguste was just too big for Bielfieldt to handle underneath.

  • IU4me

    Hard for me to rewatch the game and think Yogi should have had the ball more. Something is not right with him. Sure, even a “good”
    senior point guard is not going to play great every night, but to play that poorly and demonstrate so little leadership is more than a problem of coaching.
    Almost seems like he played best his sophmore year when he was our offensive focus to a much greater degree, but there was not as much expectation to win – he always had the greenlight. This year he seems to have more trouble finding himself within the team, little lone leading it. IMO that is something a coach can help with, but is ultimately up to Yogi. Sure hope he figures it out because I think we can only go as far as he can take us.

  • DLH

    I agree, there seems to be too much focus on it rather than playing to each player’s strengths and how they best can help the team be the best.

  • Koko

    Sorry if I came across too harsh Mark. I do agree with your point of view. I especially liked your having slept on it comment above. That sums it up for me. I too liked watching RMK teams for the same reasons as you. Heck I started watching Texas Tech when he went there. The team showed me they have the toughness to make a bad situation go right on Saturday. Now we can only hope CTC had a coaching epiphany as well.

  • Nah, you’re fine. I was being a touch sensitive. 🙂

  • Chappy Dan

    I think Yogi is definitely struggling with his role this year. Maybe he’s a little butthurt that the team isn’t quote, unquote his and his alone this year, his SENIOR, ALL-AMERICAN, BREAK THE CONSECUTIVE THREE POINT RECORD, BREAK THE ASSISTS RECORD (although that will still happen), YEAR that isn’t quite going according to plan. There’s no question that CTC’s desire to get a bunch of guys into the League for recruiting purposes hurts Yogi’s usage rate. He’s used to having plenty of possessions to do his thing. Now, with possessions limited, he’s pressing to do more with less. Save for his freshman year, his game hasn’t been about efficiency. I want Yogi to have a Napier-esque send off…but so far the results haven’t been pretty.

  • Chappy Dan

    Hoosier Nation should be tickled pink that Kentucky, Duke, and Purdue all lost while the candy stripers posted an in-state W.

  • dwdkc

    Disagree. Yogi still a good deal better. He had an off game but he hasn’t been forcing shots this year and until yesterday, he hasn’t turned it over much either. The attention he’s drawn has allowed him to make great passes to shooters in rhythm. I love the fact that he’s intentionally looking to get others involved more than looking for his shot this year, which is the right approach on a team with this kind of scoring ability. I think your analysis is a little too affected by “recency bias”; yesterday’s bad game. And I agree I suspect Yogi is not providing the leadership a senior of his caliber would be expected to provide, although none of us really know for sure on that as we aren’t at practice and around these guys.

  • Chappy Dan

    What you fellas don’t realize is that you are in the presence of two savants!

  • dwdkc

    This is a really good and thorough analysis. I particularly agree that Crean probably overthinks things out there. For this year not to end as we all expect, in disappointment and a coaching search, he will have to show some things that have not been in evidence in the past, particularly a team that is playing better late in the year and is showing much more consistency in fundamentals which we have only seen in spurts this year (I think we saw it for 30+ minutes against Morehead, who was a real team that IU made look like Alcorn State). As for individuals–I have to disagree with you on Yogi, as I think he has been very solid with looking to get others involved and few turnovers other than the bad game yesterday. I’m more down on Troy for his “bad Troy” decisionmaking; that shouldn’t still be happening. Love his energy but come on, you’re a junior and a 3 year starter. JBJ seems to be trying on D but it’s not working so well; he needs to be coached up. Collin may finally be back to being himself; that could mean a lot to this team, and was wonderful to see. Nick is also better than I thought he’d be; we are playing better with him on the court and I figured before the year started that his minutes would be cut due to lack of ability to keep up on D.

  • Samuel_L_Smackson

    I just think that Yogi is not a clutch player. You see it time and time again. When the chips are down, more often than not, he chokes. Don’t expect him to play well in March!

  • Donnie Vick

    Did you see the 3 he hit to tie the game? WHEN he’s engaged, there’s nobody in college ball I’d rather have with the rock!

  • VAHoosier

    Thank you for the recency bias reference. I can’t imagine any other reason for all the criticism of Yogi. Heading into ND game he had 71 assists and 23 TOs, for a ratio of over 3:1. And he was averaging nearly 17ppg. Kid has been one of the best PGs in the country. Even the lame CBS crew mentioned that he was one of only three players in the nation averaging his points, assists, and rebounds. He has defensive lapses now and again, but by and large Yogi is STEADY for this team and is having a very good SR season.

  • CreamandCrimson

    The NCAA has an ongoing investigation. They have interviewed/are in the process of interviewing recruits that may have been involved in the violations and people surrounding the program. The recruits are perhaps the most interesting part of the investigation because they are current players (not necessarily on Louisville…guys like Jaquan Lyle at Ohio State) that the NCAA can hold eligibility over. “Tell us the truth or we will suspend you”…Most college basketball experts I’ve heard expect that the absolute earliest that any NCAA ruling is handed down will be the summer of 2016. Louisville would receive a “Notice of Allegations” and then have an amount of time to respond. In short, it’s going to be a while before any repercussions are felt.

  • Yeah, at least I didn’t throw that brick through the TV before we got to the good part… To be honest, I was just about to the point that I was ready to turn it off, and then they seemed to get a little life.. so I stayed tuned. Glad I did.

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    If indeed the allegations are true, it’s amazing to me how programs can do stuff like that with impunity.

    C&C, this is unrelated, but the mention of OSU reminded me. Remember you were the first to answer a question way back about Trevor Thompson as a potential recruit for IU? Yikes, look at what he’s doing at OSU. Looks like he is going to be a major contributor.

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    I don’t care what Brey said. His words are not Scripture, and I always like reading your posts and getting your insights.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’m amazed by very little that occurs when money and power are on the line.

    I remember Trevor Thompson’s name being considered but I don’t remember what I said about him or whether or not I thought he would do well…if I was right about him, well, every dog has his day and thanks for noticing! If I was wrong about him, it’ll the next thing on a long list haha.

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    I’m pretty sure you said good things about him. You knew something about his Indy background. I do remember you saying he would be a good recruit for IU, but I could be wrong in my recollection.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I did see him play at Ben Davis High School and I have a ton of respect for Mark James (BD’s coach)…he looked good against Kentucky, that’s for sure. Ohio State looked awful in the other two times I watched them but they were very good on Saturday (particularly in the first half)…no clue which team they actually are and who they will be when IU takes them on in the B1G.

  • Khoosier3

    I see what you did there….. 😉

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Thank you very much. I’m still amazed at how aggressive the NCAA was with Sampson but yet Louisville and North Carolina drags on slowly.

  • millzy32

    Pretty sure IU was very aggressive with Sampson before the NCAA was. A lot of self imposed penalty with that situation in hopes to lighten the penalty from the NCAA.

  • millzy32

    Lets keep it rolling and do some come from ahead victories as well. Would be nice to play some great games wire to wire.

  • millzy32

    I was actually busy Saturday and turned it on when we were down 9 in the second half. We looked like the 76 Hoosiers from that point forward:) I got lucky.

  • millzy32

    Xavier is the best team in the country right now IMHO. They are scary good this year but since they are Xavier they don’t quite have the national respect.

  • TomJameson

    While I’m normally fluent in sarcasm, I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not! LOL That’s the printed word for you.

    But either way you are 100% correct (IMO). I don’t normally actively hate on a specific team and hope that they lose, but those 3 losing really shows that anybody can lose games they are expected to win. For that point alone, I’m glad they lost. Of course it doesn’t hurt that they are Kentucky, Duke, and Purdue! Hahahahaha

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    True and correct. What a nightmare that was. Everything during that time. Bad all around.

  • FU2

    I totally agree with you, and honestly that’s one of my many issues with some of the team members (esp TW) is that they look like they’re only interested in their personal NBA stock and not IUs success as a TEAM. I really think if the guys appeared mote engaged with the teams performance amd success as a whole their individual stock will only increase (rising tides life all boats). Oh well, as CTC said it’s “only December”

  • John D Murphy

    I watch almost no sports live anymore. So I hit the fast forward when we were down by 16…boom down by 7. I watched the from there and then went back to when we were down 16 and watched from there to the end (so I saw some twice).

  • John D Murphy

    Watched Utah-Duke right before the IU game. That was high quality basketball from both teams for the majority of the game. That doesn’t mean all the shots are falling. It means good decisions on offense and solid defense. Neither IU or ND looked very good in comparison.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    That is a great one! Took me a little time to get it but WOW!

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    I almost have a heart attack everytime TW handles the ball above/within the arc

  • Bill Graham

    My issue is that we couldn’t contain Colson. Not to take anything away from him (he is a good player)….but I wouldn’t say he is a great player. If we can’t contain a guy like that what happens when we have to contain great players like Valentine, Levert, and Stone to new a few. THe BIG is a league where one guy can beat you on any given night.

  • nmstan

    I read in the Elkhart newspaper that offered the perspective that ND got tired legs and without a deep bench, IU was able to take advantage. I can agree with that somewhat, but was glad the guys dug in with defense and rebounding that caused the tired ND legs. Go Hoosiers!