The Minute After: Rutgers

  • 12/30/2015 3:43 pm in

Thoughts on a 79-72 win against Rutgers:

As we turn over to conference play, a trend has emerged. Indiana doesn’t win clean and clear. It’s often a frustrating struggle to the bitter end.

This was an ugly contest. Indiana reverted to Maui form with a number of inexplicable turnovers. Bad passes to no one. Dribbles off feet. With a turnover percentage of 31, it was its worst performance valuing the ball on the season. As Alex noted in ATB, this is about the only team in the conference you can hand the ball over to on nearly a third of your possessions and still win. Had this not been Rutgers, IU might have just started the conference season 0-1 on a bad performance.

Instead, the Hoosiers are 1-0 and survive a weird weekday tip time in Piscataway. Troy Williams went Bad Troy with the ball and turned it over a career-high seven times. Yogi Ferrell, the sure-handed senior, didn’t do much better with six turnovers, though he had a nice second half and scored a game-high 20 points. Robert Johnson was awful today in what was maybe his worst performance in the cream and crimson. Johnson has been about the most consistent player on IU’s roster this season, but it didn’t show today. He had five turnovers of his own and missed all six of his shots, including three from distance.

Rutgers converted Indiana’s 23 turnovers into 37 points — just over half of their scoring output (51.3 percent).

Thomas Bryant had a height advantage on Rutgers’ frontline, but he couldn’t stay on the court. Bryant fouled out in just six minutes of action. Some fouls seemed a bit ticky-tacky, but his limited action meant just one shot attempt. He was fouled on a dunk and hit the and-1 for three points on the afternoon.

So thank goodness for Max Bielfeldt.

The Michigan graduate transfer had career-highs of 18 points and 14 rebounds and a number of smart defensive possessions. He hit from 3-point range and in the paint. His performance was key in a game he was needed. Indiana also got a number of great bench performances as James Blackmon Jr. was out with a knee injury and other starters fumbled the ball away. O.G. Anunoby scored eight points (2-of-2 from distance) and snagged seven rebounds in 15 minutes. His play the last couple games has made him a factor in the lineup.

Ryan Burton also came in and made an impact. Burton knocked down two 3-pointers in 10 minutes of action. Juwan Morgan only got six minutes of playing time, but had a nice steal on a sideline inbounds pass and dunked it home on the other end.

For Indiana, the defense was good enough. Not great. Good enough. The Hoosiers held the Scarlet Knights to under a point per possession (.96) and contested shots. Rutgers went to a lot of isolation play — stepback jumpers and such and so there were at least hands around the ball. The Scarlet Knights also drove to the hoop a lot on Indiana, but Hoosier defenders stuck with those drives and at least had a body around the ball and put up some resistance. Yes, of course, the Hoosiers allowed their standard open layups on occasion, but they didn’t define the game like they have at other times this season.

Had Indiana not been so careless with the ball, the Hoosiers would have won this game going away.

But they didn’t. It was a little too close for comfort. But as we’ve found this season so far, that’s been the Indiana Way. It’ll work against Rutgers. But the rest of the conference won’t make it so easy.

(Photo credit: Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports)

Filed to:

  • Ole Man

    I hope you’re correct.

  • Young Hoosier

    No. I’d rather just start 4 players. Put a chair out there. Defense would be better.

  • John D Murphy

    Your story is moving from TC defender to a FIRE TC guy mimics many of us here and around Hoosier Nation. Your observations of on the deficiencies are probably more astute and knowledge based than many of us. But it sadly doesn’t take a great deal of bball knowledge to spot the glaring wrongs of this team.

  • Young Hoosier

    And if they’re playing well then play them. If they play like they did yesterday them they belong in warmups on the bench. What is hard to understand about that? A coach has to have a natural feel to the game. We’re not talking about LeBron James here. It is Troy Williams. You can win without his crappy play.

  • John D Murphy

    I hope a new coach can welcome you back next year.

  • Fivelefts

    Well said! Keen observation!

  • John D Murphy

    Agree on Morgan. Made the most of his minutes.

  • Arch Puddington

    It is sad – worse than sad – to think how far things have gone in the wrong direction since that bunch left. Even apart from the caliber of their play, there was a big group of players I consider to be true Hoosiers in the “good old days” sense of that term: Cody and Jordy for sure, but also guys from out of state like Vic, VJIII, and Watford. They were all solid citizens, hard workers, and reliable players. Of course they had their flaws both personally and athletically, but it was easy to root for all of them and be proud of the program in all its forms.

    At this point things feel much more like the end of the Sampson era than the peak of the CTC era. CTC is no Sampson, but for whatever reason the program has lost its soul. Too much commitment to getting guys to the NBA, not enough commitment to playing solid team basketball. Too many questionable decisions off the court, even to the point of risking the lives of other people and really tarnishing the program. I’m not saying these guys are bad people, because they are not. But there is something immature about the players who have dominated our program for the last 2+ years, something that keeps them from succeeding the way we would all like them to. And CTC seems utterly lost. I will not go so far as to say I feel sorry for a coach making millions of dollars per year or elite players on scholarship at a high major school, but I sure don’t feel any joy for them or the fans at this point. Something isn’t right, and hasn’t been for some time…..

  • Outoftheloop

    If you don’t watch the actual games, then your comments are based on what? Your opinion is uninformed. Watch and weep with the rest of us!

  • Outoftheloop

    What is ATB? How can comments, by whom?, make a cesspool? I am not one of your roommates, I need Simple English or a translation. Thanks.

  • Drew

    Kenpom’s final ratings for Rutgers last season was #215 in the nation.
    This season, their rating is at #245. That is what I used to base my comment on.

  • John D Murphy

    Finally got to the end of the comments. The tone on these article comments sections has changed. Those of us who said (prior to the season start) the defense would be terrible and we would continue the bad turnovers of the past several years and predicted 19-21 wins and 8-9 seed as the upside for this team have been joined by masses. A few holdouts remain in TC’s corner. The B1G is probably the #4 conference right now (really down) and we have at worst on of the more favorable schedules. We might scrap into position #6 or #7 and can possibly still sneak into the dance as a 8/9/10 seed. I will not endorse mediocrity for IU Basketball. I will continue to root for and even watch this team, but that is a reflection of my personal (and deep) issues. The rational portion of my brain wishes I could treat IU Basketball like I treat IU Golf, Swimming, Football, Baseball, etc… to keep track from afar and applaud their success without noticing their flaws and failures – 99% emotionally divested. I can’t and that is a ME problem.

  • dwdkc

    At the Buzzer. Alex’s post right after the game ends. I think I was tired as the wording was inelegant. Anyway the comments just were over the top nasty. People are disappointed and the comments section is there for venting, so no big deal, I just thought the D was better last night. Maybe had something to do with TB and JBJ sitting, as they’ve been struggling on that end.

  • I wonder, could Yogi be sending a message, like internal trouble a brewing, he seemed to take that 1st half off yesterday and then played like an all-star the 2nd? Probably not but that was strange.

  • dwdkc

    You’re not wrong, but the very difficult contested shots that went in that you don’t figure they will make probably at least made up for the misses. I mean they were throwing in some real slop. I was crazy frustrated with the turnovers but the D was generally better.

  • dwdkc

    I think the only difference was he sort of found his shot in the second. Had bad turnovers in both halves.

  • dwdkc

    Good point on Troy. His quickness driving and exploding to the rim is basically unstoppable if the defense isn’t in perfect position already. But on D his feet seem to be stuck in clay. I think the lateral quickness is missing as opposed to straight ahead, but that seems like an insufficient explanation.

  • Adjustments need to be made to exploit rule changes. Has CTC made the requisite adjustments? Those with more basketball knowledge can perhaps chime in here.

  • Jerry Pickett

    If a tree falls in a forest and I’m not there to see still fell…same with a Crean coached team, I don’t have to watch I know how it will be

    Sent on the new Sprint Network from my Samsung Galaxy S®4

    ——– Original message ——–

  • People were calling for CTC’s dismissal after the Syracuse game because CTC had demonstrated an inability to coach against a zone and to make sound in-game adjustments. That IU team should have beaten Syracuse, and the reason they didn’t was because 1) the team faded at the end of the season, which seems to be a CTC characteristic and 2) the team wasn’t coached to play well against a good zone. I remember the discussions and was on the pro-CTC (or the “let’s slow down here”) side, but looking back I see that many of those people weren’t incorrect. They simply saw some things more clearly that many are only realizing today.

  • pcantidote

    I agree that some of the writing was on the wall then, but the idea that we were going to fire a coach that had taken us from the ashes to an outright B1G title was ridiculous bordering on insane. The trend line was straight up then. That is clearly not the case now.

  • sam

    Thank you..
    Not making excuses but you have to take in consideration that the players just spent time with family and friends over the holiday and basketball was probably far from their mind so it may take a game before they get back in the grove of it all… Just my opinion however… I just don’t see RJ and Yogi turning the ball over that much again this year. TW will also be okay… It’s a shame they only come out of the closet when things don’t go as some think they should. Some fans… Sad…

  • Jeffrey Prater

    I’ve noticed and am NOT badmouthing any IU fans. People whom used to worship the cream and crimson are so disappointed with the coaching as well as with Troy and Yogi’s turnovers. It looks like a display for the mentally ill. Very disappointing game. Takes a Michigan transfer to save our butt during the game and meanwhile (I’m running down to the store to try and find CTC the Clapper and send it to Assembly Hall.) Horrible coaching – 23 turnovers. Try that crap with Purdue. Unbelievable lack of discipline when driving the ball – crazy. Very discouraged at what is not IU basketball.

  • IUJeff

    The ONE thing we can always be certain of, is that Yogi WILL get his. Instead of proving he is the best distributor in college ball, which he easily could with all of our scorers, he still thinks he needs to lead us in scoring. I don’t understand the logic there. I don’t think the pro scouts told him he needed to be a graet scorer at the next level. Small dudes need to lead and distribute the rock. Every since Crean called him out in public as not being a leader, he has seemed different, apathetic, like I am towards the product Crean puts on the floor. Yogi will get his whether the team has success or not. And you can book that.

  • IUJeff

    Hardly knee jerk reactions. Just the SOS for 8 years now wearing the knowledgeable IU fanbase out. I like the positives in your post for sure, but they in no way overshadow the sloppy, careless, disrespectful way our “team” played against a really bad team. Crean is unable to harness the potential in this team. Worse than last year with mostly the same major players is a step backwards for a program that needs to move forward. Crean will be a good assistant somewhere. He is not a head coach though. And those that do not see this are either in denial or do not know basketball at all. IU is officially an AAU team now that is fortunate to have great shooters from deep. Enjoy the roller coaster ride to the NIT.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    You are right about Collin,I just keep having nightmares about TW trying to drive thru 3 defenders and gettin his pocket picked at will

  • MrNobody

    Agreed on TW. Collin even with lesser foot speed and athleticism is still one of out best defenders and players on the court due to bbal IQ and knowledge of positioning and footwork. Would take a team full of CH 2-4 positions and win a lot of games.

  • It would be easy to beat a dead horse here, because on the one hand you’re entirely correct: calling for his removal at that point was premature. He’d earned at least some benefit of the doubt. I still think it’s interesting to think back to the arguments then and recognize how insightful some of them were. And it’s unfortunate that CTC himself wasn’t thinking some of the same things and engaging in his own process of self-improvement.

  • I don’t have time, unfortunately, to watch many other basketball games. Heck, I have to steal time away to watch IU play. But I do notice that so many people comment about how poor the team looks when compared to other teams, and I know how poor this team looks compared to other, much better IU teams.

    And I would submit that this has long been the case, even during CTC’s “good” years–there’s just a _difference_ that’s sometimes hard to quantify between a really well-coached team (even if perhaps less talented) and a poorly-coached team (even if perhaps more talented). No time to delve into it, but I know exactly what you’re saying.

  • Jason Russell

    He did not but he’s the one in charge of the preparation is he not ? We usually start 3 very experienced guards and still turn the ball over, who’s fault is it ?

  • Missing Moye

    I can’t really disagree. I was probably one of the more vocal people rooting for CTC’s dismissal at the end of last year.

    The knee jerk comment was more in reference to people going a bit over the top about this game specifically, especially the ones calling out Rob Johnson who has been one of the few consistent players this year. Obviously this team is going to have plenty of bad games, but it seems like every one of them is some sort of unforeseen catastrophe to everyone and it’s time to get all up in arms again.

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    How did Trevor Thompson look. It seems he is making noise too. I think OSU can easily beat us in AH.

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    I see you’ve turned into a cynic! Welcome to the club!

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    LOL! Bingo.

  • IU diehard from CT

    It’s the guys who turned the ball overs fault

  • Jtime

    Exactly. I can’t imagine any team would draft Troy at this point. Or any of our starters for that matter. Blackmon is not going to the nba this year either. Unless CTC gets fired and they transfer out, we should have everyone back except forYogi.

  • Jtime

    Great comparison to Bracey/Davis. It is hard to understand why there are never any consequences for Troy’s poor play. My guess is Boo Williams.

  • Jtime

    Or put TW on the bench for 2 minutes every time he turns the ball over.

  • He looked really good.. I don’t think we’ll come close to stopping him, even at AH. I was way more impressed with all of OSU’s young guys, than I am with our veterans. BTW, I am in no way disparaging OG or Juwann But the Buckeyes have some very long, very athletic young guys and they impressed. I mean Jaquan Lisle had 13 assists and 1 turnover.. I think the 13 was a record for Freshmen at OSU.. I mean he was consistently passing up shots to pass to a teammate for a better shot. Yeah, I would at this point mark that one down as a ‘L’ against the Buckeyes. I just don’t think after witnessing this group for two years, just talk, and talk about fixing things and ‘face it’ it never got done. The first year after the Zeller/’Dipo era I pretty much gave the coaches a ‘pass’.. but then when the same stuff happens for year after year.. Well, there’s not much confidence in the direction or our program as I see it from my perspective.

  • I think you’re right on with that Mark. I would love to see it turn around, but I just have zero confidence that it’ll happen.
    We’ll do well if we don’t lose tomorrow at Nebraska.. IMO.

  • Hey B at B you might as well throw Yogi into that mix as well. History has shown, he hasn’t shown up when we needed it.. At this juncture I wish we’d have gone hard for Jaquan Lisle and talks Yogi into joining the Draft last year..

  • I would agree with that, but I wish we had at least one of them, in terms of depth. Of course this way, we are more or less forced to use OG and Juwan.. where if either Hanner or Holt were here, they would probably see the floor more and O & J would sit more.

  • Ultimately yes, it is Crean’s responsibility.. But then why last year was he able to get them to take care of the ball better.. whereas this year he can’t? I pretty much blame the guy who makes the turnover. I’m sure they are being practiced the same way as last year.. but when they get in to the game, they are trying for something that isn’t there. And are you telling me Crean isn’t telling them during the game at timeouts.. hey let’s take better care of the ball. I think everyone is trying for the flashy play to look good for the scouts in the stands and taking unnecessary risks with the ball. I just think this group of guys aren’t nearly as good at this point in their career as we hoped they’d be.

  • I agree with what you’re saying Bruce, I just wish I had the confidence that it was going to happen. Yes we do have the talent, but I just have started thinking, we’re going hear about fixing it, I’ve seen it happen too long.. I’d love to see it happen, just hard to believe it will.

  • Yeah, I guess I have. I just expected so much more from these guys this year.. I really don’t trust them anymore this year than last year.. maybe less. Last year I expected them to get it going at any time.. But after seeing what happened last year, I just don’t think it’ll happen this year either.

  • LennyFassbender

    Pretty sad (but true) when the most technically sound player on our team is a guy who 1) learned his fundamentals from a coach somewhere else, and 2) wasn’t even viewed as necessary or good enough to see the floor for Michigan this year. Crean should be embarrassed to have Max on this team (for how much it exposes his inability to coach), yet he doesn’t even seem to understand that.