The Minute After: Nebraska

  • 01/02/2016 7:03 pm in

Thoughts on a 79-69 win over the Cornhuskers:

Indiana continued to be careless with the ball in the first half (23 TO%). The Cornhuskers made them pay. Nearly a third of Nebraska’s first half points came off Indiana’s miscues (12 of 39) and here we stood again: The Hoosiers fumbling the ball away in Big Ten play and failing to lead at half in a game it was favored.

But they re-grouped at halftime. There would be far less silliness in the second half. Indiana took much better care of the ball. Got great offensive performances from key pieces. And most impressive: The Hoosiers D’ed up, allowing just .83 points per possession after the break.

Save for too many missed free throws down the stretch, Indiana put together arguably its best half of the season, covered the seven-point spread and moved to 2-0 in the Big Ten.

After a forgettable performance against Rutgers he spent mostly on the bench, Thomas Bryant dominated the Cornhuskers. It was clear from the onset they had no answer for his size and skill and Indiana continued to find the freshman enough to make him a big factor (19 points on 8-of-10 shooting). He’s so efficient around the rim there’s no reason he shouldn’t be getting the ball a lot on offense. Shots from distance count for one more point, sure. But a guy shooting nearly 80 percent at the cup deserves touches. He got his this afternoon.

Yogi Ferrell was part of the turnover problem in the first half. But he was a big reason Indiana got over the hump in the second. Fifteen of his game-high 24 points came in the final 20 minutes. Ferrell hit some tough shots. A long 2 with the shot clock winding down from the right corner. Later, he created separation for himself on the right wing and knocked down the trey. Ferrell’s numbers have been good this season, but he isn’t always passing the eye test with his play and leadership. So the second half was an encouraging sign.

Indiana’s other freshmen continue to get better and were both factors in this one. OG Anunoby had 11 points (4-of-4, 1-1 from distance). He also had a steal and breakaway score in the second half. He’s earned his minutes in the rotation and then some. Juwan Morgan had just two points, but competed on defense and had a brilliant pass to Nick Zeisloft out of the post for a 3-pointer.

On defense, the Hoosiers were much better contesting at the rim. Guys were there jumping and contesting shots. Bryant had three blocks. Collin Hartman had one as well. The Hoosiers also slid into position and took charges. Shavon Shields (3-of-13) was held in check. Simply put: Nebraska didn’t get a lot of easy buckets. The Cornhuskers had to earn what they got — especially in the second half. Indiana has now held both Rutgers and Nebraska to under a point per possession to start Big Ten play without James Blackmon Jr. in the lineup.

Indiana’s been up and down in their first two Big Ten games, but it’s taken care of business with two road wins. Wisconsin looms Tuesday in what should be Indiana’s toughest test to date in conference play. But the Hoosiers will be back in Bloomington for a shot at 3-0.

(Photo credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)

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  • eville87

    1. It’s a win on the road I will take it.
    2. It’s Nebraska were supposed to win.
    3. Thank god for the little guy with 22 points.
    4. Does anybody else think Og earned more minutes?

  • eville87

    5. Forgot but it’s important keep getting Bryant the ball.

  • Lance76

    There were a few calls that caught my attention, especially the blocking foul on Yogi. OG is sooooo long that he will cause problems for opposing teams. OG & Morgan are coming along well this year.

  • bojak

    I sure as heck do!!! He plays defense. Offense pretty good too. Don’t even know if he had any turnovers but I don’t remember one. The other guy is just out of control most of the time.

  • bojak

    agree

  • BMusic

    I think this game (in the second half), we actually looked the way this team should look. Yogi running the show, Bryant getting fed, hitting open 3’s, and decent D. Less Troy-centric. And everyone expending effort on D. I like to think that, game by game, we’re finding ourselves, and this game brought us one step closer to where we should be.

  • Bruce Clark

    Love that TC made halftime adjustments that yielded much better 2nd half defensive results. Team is looking much more cohesive…

  • Speed

    Didn’t get to see the game but listened to “Fish” on the radio. Valentine is always iffy but if “Fish” was right, the officiating must have been terrible today. Despite this they team competed and the second half improvement is encouraging.

  • Missing Moye

    Very nice to see some solid play today, especially on the defensive end. Yogi moved his feet well, Zeisloft played some really nice help defense (especially underneath on the wide hedges by TB), and O.G. and Hartman were solid too, as was the rest of the team. I thought the defense in the first half was very good too even, though I’m not sure the numbers bear that out with a lot of breakaways off turnovers and Nebraska hitting some toughly contested shots.

    For the 2nd game in a row, I’ll say that I wish Morgan would get a few more minutes. He looks so fundamentally sound and does a lot of really good things in a quiet way. He gets credited with 1 steal today, but his defense directly caused two other turnovers. And as Ryan pointed out, that was a beautiful pass out of the post. He probably doesn’t have the upside that O.G. has, but I think he can be a consistent contributor.

  • dwdkc

    Pretty good effort. Although still a long way from their best, they imposed their will in the 2nd half. Some thoughts:
    1. There apparently is a rule that when Yogi drives, it can’t be a foul. Ever.
    2. The bigger lineups with at least 2 of TB/OG/JM and Max or Collin or Troy was superior defensively to what we’ve had out there. We actually had some rim protection!
    3. Big 10 officiating has not improved in the 40+ years I’ve been watching it. That was some wretched work out there. Swallowed their whistles on IU’s end late in the game.
    4. OG!

  • pcantidote

    I actually saw some help defense!!!! I can only think of one drive to the basket they had that wasn’t heavily contested. Amazing how you don’t need to score 90 to win when you protect the rim. Well done.

    Nice game for Yogi too. They are a few idiot haters on this site (4putt, etc.) that Yogi continues to make look stupid.

    Troy looks awful lately. OG needs to eat into his minutes.

    LMFAO Purdue.

  • pcantidote

    I liked the halftime offensive adjustments.

  • Ms hoosier

    Yea Fish was really ripping the officials. Must have made a lot of awful calls.

  • SCHoosier

    That win was earned! I wondered if Yogi still will to take over a game..he did the second half. With James out & Rob repeating last years B-10 funk..Ferrellmust be more aggressive offensively. Nice i nside-outside game between TB and Yogi. IU’s Better second half defense and some sloppy play by NEB)..ate away at the Husker lead. Was happy to see Yogi fire away..not one bad shot was taken by him during that run. A couple really bad play calls late in the game led to 2 more Troy to’s.. 60% FT shooting will k ill us in the games headed. But… enjoy this one and congrats to the bench for another outstanding performance. Those guys are earning their keep!

  • Freemason

    IU-JB= cohesive?

  • BL

    Definitely pulling for more minutes for bigger lineups. Far better D and rebounding (which helps D by limiting 2nd chance points). Funny thing is, the big guys can shoot. OG is shooting 57% (67% from three).

  • BL

    Agree regarding Morgan. Tough to get all the young guys minutes. Definitely don’t want to steal from OG. I would have no problem playing really big where Yogi is the only true guard on the floor. As I noted earlier, all of our bigs can shoot.

  • Ben thorne

    Really liked watching OG. Didn’t like that when I think he and JM get some momentum they get subbed

  • inLinE6

    At least better defense.

  • Lance76

    We just might have to play real big with the Purdue game. Hi -low with Bielfeldt to Bryant was very enjoyable. Hope it happens again and again.

  • cooper

    Pretty similar to the ND game just against a worse team. It’s two good wins, I wasn’t convinced they could win both. Still has to get a lot better, especially the turnovers. You can’t be bad at defense and turn the ball over.

  • vicbert caladipo

    OG needs more minutes!! He is starting to become my favorite Hoosier. For those who say we are no fun to watch, watch OG. If coach can stop worrying about giving the vets minutes and play him more. He’s gonna be a star.

  • Shaggy_C

    It seems Crean’s philosophy has long been to pull a young player after they make a good play so that when they look back on the game they can do so with confidence. Aggravating for the fans, yes, but Crean seems to know what he’s doing when it comes to player development so I’m not going to second guess him on freshman minutes.

    That said, OG has been a great surprise this year. He was the forgotten man in many respects, the unheralded freshman from this class, yet he has been great the last few weeks. I hope he keeps up the momentum!

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    LOL about Purdue. But don’t be too happy because we play Iowa twice and Purdue only once.

  • Jimmy Chitwood

    Wow! How good would we be with a good coach???

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    Why does this question sound so ill-timed? Oh, maybe because we just won our first two B1G road games (and every other worthy Indiana team lost today).

  • BoxingGlobe

    He had a good game plan today.

  • John Martinek

    Both of these wins are ’embarrassing wins”. We aren’t very good against inferior opponents, especially on the road. So sad. Final 4 talent with…

  • Shaggy_C

    I won’t bemoan any win on the road in the B1G, especially when the arguably far more talented 2011/12 squad let the Huskers storm the floor after losing in rather embarrassing fashion.

  • marcusgresham

    Indiana was down 39-36 at the half. I told my wife if Blackmon were playing it would have been a different story–it would have been 47-44 because he’d have scored eight more, but so would the person he was guarding.

  • marcusgresham

    0 TOs for OG.
    Other than the 11 combined from Yogi, Troy, and RJ, the team only had 3 others. I realize those are the three with the ball the most so it’s somewhat understandable that they’d have the most, but that’s way too many for 3 guys.

  • marcusgresham

    Other than Johnson, they may be the two best defenders on the team.
    I’m going to add this, as well. I know there is blame to be put on Crean for things but one thing you often hear is that “the guys who got better (i.e., Oladipo,) did so because they just worked hard and did it on their own,” and that is not true—the progress that Anunoby has made from the beginning to the season to now has to be attributed to good coaching.

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    Yes, exactly. But I also feel that the price we pay is not limited to the man he is guarding. Whether we are playing man or zone, bad D from one player affects the rhythm of the entire defense. As much as I appreciate the kid and wish him well in his recovery, it might be our blessing in disguise to be able to find our rhythm with him on the bench.

  • marcusgresham

    I don’t really recall a bad shot taken by anyone. Troy had one semi-wild lay-up attempt on a drive, but if he doesn’t turn it over sometimes he hits those so I won’t complain about it.

  • Donnie Vick

    I saw a Hoosier or two deny some passing lanes today!

  • dwdkc

    OG has the quicks to guard wings. Bielfeldt doesn’t but is smart, as is Collin. Not sure what you’d do with Troy in that situation though. He’s a liability pretty much on everybody he covers.

  • dwdkc

    Crean seems to think the hockey-like line changes should keep everyone fresh and wear the opponent down. I never thought it was a good idea when I saw Dean Smith do it (he was the only guy who could stop Michael Jordan), and don’t care for it now. Yogi is fit enough to go all 40 with almost max effort. With JBJ out and RJ struggling, that’s a good thing.

  • Dyerhoosier

    Good stuff today, I like seeing Yogi drain those contested jumpers, he definitely looked like a leader too. Of course there are always those turnovers but it I liked the way we got it done in the second half today. 2 road wins in the BIG and next up Wisconsin. It will be interesting what Crean does with the lineup if JB isn’t back… It’s great to see some minutes from other bench guys. I’d like to see a big game again from TB against Wisconsin, we need to continue to feed him.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I agree with you on TW, but for the life of me, I just don’t understand how he’s such a poor defender with all of his physical gifts…..

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I’m w shaggy- a wins a win! We surely need to improve- but it’s a win nonetheless

  • pcantidote

    I think you let your agenda dictate your perspective. There was nothing embarrassing about the Nebraska win. The second half was everything you should want out of this team.

  • kaponya44

    We had posters on here saying OG wasn’t going to contribute anything this year..They stand corrected….

  • SCHoosier

    Glad to see Yogi take charge of the game. He’s capable (if taking good shots) and needs to step up with JB out. Nick has lost his stroke and Rob just seems “lost”. Max came in big on the boards and OG and Juwan are earning their minutes. Hartman is solid. Troy continues to be an enigma… gonna hurt you as much as he helps. Big concern is that Rob is shooting only 52% from the line..Troy 63%. Hard to have them in the lineup at crunch time with shooting like that. WIS will be a test at home..half court game better be strong!

  • kaponya44

    I agree with you ..That is a Crean-ism I will be glad to see go someday ..Leave the effective player (s) on the floor unless they are needing a breather .- Common sense.

  • kaponya44

    Somehow the most instinctive ,versatile ,and well rounded game of the 3 freshmen went largely under noticed..This guy has had “can’t miss” written all over him even before his first game.How in the F he was even under-recruited in the first place is beyond me ….We were lucky to have been up against Iowa for his services.

    OG has always struck me as the kind of kid capable of putting up triple-doubles with the right coaching /development….OG could and should absolutely take over games if needed, within a year or two…Take his past several performances and imagine how much better it could be, even by March .His play warrants more time than he is getting right now.That much I am sure of .

  • marcusgresham

    I will confess to being one of those who thought OG might not quite be ready this season.
    I agree that the results are schizophrenic but I really can’t fault the effort–these guys may not always play smart basketball but they’re playing hard.

  • Koko

    Do you mean like Purdue stomped Iowa’s throat after a significant lead at half?……at home. I agree we have played below our potential but disagree that we are an average team. Two road wins in any conference is significant no matter the opponent. Ask any coach….including Coach K. Since the Duke game we have improved on a gradient….team and individual players. Let the gradient improvement continue. Have fun watching three freshmen improve as they become significant parts of this team and factoring in on wins. Chill and enjoy the ride.

  • Chi-Town Hoosier

    It was a really tough game to watch from an officiating standpoint. Bryant and Yogi were not getting any calls down low. I believe Nebraska also got away with a double dribble in transition and their little Australian clown, McVeigh took three steps in the paint before a layup. However, it seems like the team really kept it’s composure and played well down the stretch.

  • Koko

    And how good would Purdue be with a good coach? Or how good would Butler be with a good coach? Maybe they would have won their games yesterday with better coaches…you think? No one says you have to like Crean but don’t let your dislike cloud your observations. Crean coached well in our first two B1G road wins.

  • Koko

    Yes but other B1G teams play Iowa twice as well. As we pull the B1G sleeper curtain back, Iowa has stepped out and appears it is going to make a lot of B1G teams wonder what happened.