Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Minnesota

  • 01/16/2016 4:00 pm in

Indiana won its 10th straight on Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis as the Hoosiers beat Minnesota, 70-63. The victory moved IU to 15-3 overall and 5-0 in the Big Ten.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Golden Gophers:

· Yogi Ferrell continues to thrive in league play: Saturday’s performance was the latest example of Ferrell’s brilliance thus far in Big Ten play. No, Ferrell didn’t shoot the ball particularly well. But when Indiana needed him to make a play, he did. The senior point guard made free throws, baskets down the stretch and set up his teammates with a team-high seven assists.

Through five Big Ten games, here are Ferrell’s numbers: 19.8 points, 5.8 assists and four rebounds in 36.2 minutes. James Blackmon Jr.’s absence has meant more scoring opportunities for Ferrell and he’s taking advantage without his production falling off as a distributor.

· Zeisloft breaks out of shooting slump in major way: The Hoosiers were in desperate need of offense after trailing Minnesota 17-9 with 10:06 to play in the first half. Nick Zeisloft had already missed his first two 3-point attempts after shooting 0-of-7 from deep against Ohio State and 1-of-6 against Wisconsin.

But Zeisloft kept shooting and hit four in a row from the 9:48 mark to the 7:34 to get Indiana right back in the game. He finished the afternoon a solid 5-of-8 from distance for 15 points. On an afternoon where Indiana got just two points in 21 minutes from Robert Johnson, getting that type of production from Zeisloft off the bench was crucial.

· Defense holds strong again: Indiana held its first four Big Ten opponents to under a point per possession and the streak continued on Saturday as Minnesota managed just .91 at the Barn.

Indiana currently owns the Big Ten’s best defense in conference play at .93 points per possession allowed, which was probably unthinkable for many after watching Duke torch IU for 1.53 points per trip at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

But give the Hoosiers credit for this: Unlike early in the season when suspect offensive teams like Kennesaw State and St. John’s racked up very good offensive numbers, it’s no longer happening.

· Bielfeldt again delivers on the road: Senior Max Bielfeldt has been through the battles on the road in the Big Ten before as a Michigan Wolverine.

Bielfeldt’s experience shined through earlier in IU’s win at Rutgers and it was again on display against Minnesota as the graduate student came off the bench to score 10 points and grab four rebounds in 21 minutes. Thomas Bryant didn’t play the game’s last seven-plus minutes and perhaps Tom Crean felt he had a better matchup with Bielfeldt down the stretch.

Regardless of the reason Bryant sat, having a reliable backup option to turn to on the road is a major plus and Bielfeldt now has 31 points in three road wins.

· Indiana is taking care of business early on a backloaded Big Ten schedule: It’s no secret that the Hoosiers have had a favorable start to conference play schedule wise, but they’re taking advantage. Indiana might not be moving the needle much in terms of its NCAA tournament resume, but as the wins continue to pile up, the resume is strengthening nonetheless. And for a team that is still adjusting to playing without one of its leading scorers, continuing to build confidence is important.

With a trio of road wins already on their resume, Indiana still has multiple road games left that it should be favored to win, which could position the Hoosiers to have a road record better than .500 in conference play.

At 5-0, Indiana returns home next week for a pair of games against Illinois and Northwestern and a legitimate shot at a 7-0 Big Ten record. Since the loss at Duke in early December, Indiana has reeled off 10 in a row.

(Photo credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)

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  • E Foy McNaughton

    Doug Gottlieb annoys me beyond belief. Yes IU has played teams currently 5th, 9th, 12th, 13th & 14th in the B1G standings, but 5-0, 3-0 shows they have been taking care of business. And anyone who has taken the time to watch the last 2-3 games can see IU has developed a defensive mentality. His ignorance is baffling considering some of the teams IU has defeated include teams like a good ND team that just beat Duke in Durham, an OSU team that has beaten Kentucky, and even MN who has beaten Clemson. And, as we saw last night in MN, officials often spot home teams 10-15 points with uneven calls. IU is improving and playing like a top 4 B1G team. Get with the program Doug!

  • VanPastorMan

    Yogi got mugged in the second half and nuthin. I felt the officiating was some home cooking. So is the BTN announcers. They seemed to be rooting for Minny imho.

  • VanPastorMan

    Yogi was gassed too. He should have come out before the 8 min break and came back around the six min mark. Being tired affected his shooting and he almost turned the ball over.

  • VanPastorMan

    I loved Morgan’s defense when he was in there. OG’s was very good too. Also OG’s steal and dunk made me yell. Hope the neighbors weren’t home.

  • Ole Man

    Finally someone sees the actual game that was played.

  • Ole Man

    So much truth in what you say.
    It’s not enough that he’s talked about being the best freshman center in the B1G this year, along with Diamond Stone.
    Our fan base has to project something onto him which isn’t there.

  • Ole Man

    Yin…..next time watch the game before commenting.
    Every play?
    That goes beyond exaggeration into the land of ludicrous.

  • Ole Man

    We were switching the entire game.
    As for quickness, I’m not sure what game you watched.
    Numerous times TB went out and helped double team or switched to an outside man; then, QUICKLY moved back to cover his man in the middle.

  • Ole Man

    Sorry, but you couldn’t be more wrong.
    A certain segment of IU fans has decided that by watching on TV they can discern TB’s emotions and reactions. This despite that they rarely hear or see the entire scene play out.
    They’re creating and perpetuating a myth.
    Why, I’m not sure.
    But it’s beyond tiresome.

  • Ole Man

    Yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah…..

  • Hoosieriniowa

    what is that?????? Yogi complains all the time. I have no problem with it because he is doing it while he is still playing. TB would sit on the floor with his hands in the air looking at the refs while Minnesota is moving the ball down the floor. I am not talking about bad calls or good calls. Rewatch the game. TB did it many times. TC is the only one who knows why he didn’t play him the last 7:30. Max committed a few fouls and had a TO and he also scored some points and rebounded.

  • ForeverIU

    I doubt you’re right about TB, but if you are, then I say good for him, the player-activist. Let him give the refs hell. It shows he has a mind of his own, and that’s what we need on this team, a smart player with charisma and intensity.

  • ForeverIU

    I think our first hint at a real test will be @Wisconsin, and then @Michigan. And then the bloodbath begins. I’m not saying we won’t come out victorious, but I think we’ll be seeing a different face of the game than we have already. That’s not to say we haven’t done well. Even great teams could have suffered losses with out B1G schedule thus far. But if the teams we’re set to play in the latter half of our schedule are playing at their best, then we’re in for some losses.

  • kris

    Yes, TB has matured in the past few weeks. However, he lost his cool towards end of Minny game, his fellow teammates were trying to calm him down, so CTC took him out.

    This has been confirmed by more than one Hoosier fan who attended the game at The Barn on Saturday (on the ITH Forum).

    TB is maturing and is a stud for our team. We love him and even those who are more critical of his temperament, they love him too. Coach made a decision, took some guts, could have cost team… but he made a decision, stuck with it and it paid off.

  • kris

    I agree some are focusing too much on it. Personally, I have no concerns about TB long-term, love his game, love his fire. Yet I can’t recall a player in recent memory that an IU coach had to sit down due to the player losing their cool, getting too upset. So I think it’s very understandable that some are discussing this aspect. There’s no need for extreme reactions from either side of the debate. That’s the tiresome part for many reading thru all these posts.

  • IUMIKE1

    I too have stayed away from criticizing the officiating, but I also have to say that this game’s officiating was, well calling it blatantly bad, is probably being too nice to the zebras. I’ve seen games this year where the officiating was bad….both ways, but this had to be the most lopsided officiating I’ve seen this year and not just in IU games.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Hopefully it won’t be a blood bath. I’m hoping for a top 4 finish and to not have a losing streak going into the B1G tournament. I do think that this team has grown since December and maybe capable of surpassing expectations at the end of December.

  • FKIM01

    The funniest part was the Minnesota players upset at the end of the game when their intentional fouling of Yogi wasn’t called. Very lopsided poor officiating. I’ve seen better at Y-league games.

  • yimyames

    I watched the game twice, and yeah he whined a lot, actually more whining then maybe I’ve ever seen from one player in one game. And don’t tell me I need to do something before commenting when you have no idea about me.

  • yimyames

    I haven’t said anything about his skills, I think he is a great player. Mature? No not at all and that’s ok he’s a Freshman.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I certainly understand why you are questioning the decision (I was during the game as well) and I really wish I knew the reasoning behind the decision. That being said, for all of the comments about that decision, Bryant left the game while we were five ahead and we finished with a seven point victory. Ultimately, I’d like to see Bryant as part of our “crunch time” lineup moving forward and I have no problem with his mindset or body language that many others seem to be strangely preoccupied with.

  • CreamandCrimson

    At Wisconsin is going to be incredibly difficult (as always)…they looked great yesterday against Michigan State. I happen to think Illinois is a big test (they beat Purdue handily) that will beat us if we play poorly and NW is much improved and could beat us as well…I’m probably just paranoid though!

  • b_side

    In my “mythological” narrative, I’m just happy that Bryant wasn’t yelling at a teammate or a coach this time. Getting shafted by the refs is easier to forget and less damaging long term vs. potential team chemistry concerns.

    The good news is that Bryant is improving mightily. Especially on the defensive end. But I hope we don’t see a constant “two-steps forward, one-step back” kind of season with his emotions.

    Not advocating for Bryant to have the robot persona of Vonleh. Love his fire and passion. Just wish TB would take it out on an opposing big man with a hard foul on the other end of the floor.

  • PDXHoosier

    I was wondering the same thing… he had just made a couple of great buckets in the post and I thought we would be able to ride him the rest of the game…

  • MK

    Not that i disagree but that is strictly your opinion, as is most the chatter on this page. Very rarely are facts presented in this comments section.

  • HoosierStuckInACCCountry

    I was thinking the same thing. If a guy gets half a step on TB, the bucket is good, or the foul is called. He’s not quick. Length has saved him a number of times with his reach.

  • Ole Man

    And if he did do the hard foul, there is a segment of our fan base who would criticize him for it; claim he was being too temperamental.

  • Ole Man

    LOL> the “strangely preoccupied with” is a well-turned phrase.

  • HoosierStuckInACCCountry

    I’ve gotta agree with Darrell on this one. Every foul call he runs over to the official with his hands out like “I didn’t touch him!” with the same look on his face like he can’t believe it. More than once i’ve been worried he’s going to do/say something to get T’d up. OM I enjoy your comments and you do add real value to the discussion, but sometimes I can’t help but think you see what you want to see.

  • ForeverIU

    We can easily be top 4, even with the blood bath. I’m aiming for top 2 baby!

  • ForeverIU

    What a breath of fresh air. I was starting to think we’ve been transported to the set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

  • ForeverIU

    People just need to quit the tight-ass “emotional” analysis of Thomas?

  • HoosierStuckInACCCountry

    Having read that, i’d like to clarify one of my earlier comments. While I can’t stand his attempts to negotiate every foul call like he can’t believe it, I love that he is an emotional player. If he weren’t, that one handed dunk under the hoop wouldn’t have happened. While i think sometimes Yogi gets tired of reeling him in on the 2nd or 3rd foul call in any given half, i think his mojo also pumps up the team on some of our offensive runs. Still immature (which is fine, he’s 19), but I do love some emotion.

  • ForeverIU

    Let him get T’d up. If our coach is not going to get the T, then someone should. Refs are out of control.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Lets not jinx them again this year…. Laughing

  • ForeverIU

    Ha ha, I thought about that. I should have known what you’re doing.

  • Ole Man

    “Seeing what I want to see.” Possibly.

    And how does that make me different from anyone else commenting here?

  • HoosierStuckInACCCountry

    Gotta understand the situation here. Look at how the game was called. If TB gets T’d up for going ape sh*t over one of 20 bad calls, we give them the ball, 2 points, and nothing changes. This is a close away game. There’s a time and a place for using a Tech as a motivational tool. This was not it.

  • ForeverIU

    Baloney! Sorry if I’m offending refs who might be ITH posters. But there only two explanations of bad officiating. Either it’s intentional, which is corrupt. Or else the refs are fat and lazy and just can’t keep up with the game. I know it’s a tough job for them, and I don’t know if they get paid enough for what they do. But there is nothing more unfair to a team and player than a bad call. It will make us play tight and tentative, which is a recipe for catastrophe for our game.

  • 7 more fouls would seem like a lopsided officiated game, but rewatch the first half. There were definitely some missed calls that would have benefited IU, but they also went the other way as well. We took A LOT of jump shots. Hard to draw fouls when you play like that.