Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Northwestern

  • 01/24/2016 12:56 pm in

Indiana extended its winning streak to 12 games on Saturday with another blowout win. The latest victim? The Northwestern Wildcats, whom the Hoosiers crushed 89-57. Indiana is now 7-0 in the Big Ten.

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

· Ferrell’s run of brilliant play continues: Another game, another dominant performance from Yogi Ferrell. We may have to give Ferrell a permanent spot in five takeaways as long as his current play continues.

In seven Big Ten games, all wins for Indiana, he’s now averaging 18.9 points, 6.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. As much as we’ve questioned Ferrell’s ability to lead in the past, he now deserves credit for putting this team on his back on both ends of the floor.

Offensively, he’s IU’s catalyst and leading scorer. Defensively, he’s upped his level of play considerably from what he’s produced in the past. It’s hard to find much to criticize these days with Ferrell, who is playing as well as any guard in the country.

· Incredible perimeter shooting continues: As pointed out by John Gasaway of ESPN, Indiana is scoring 1.41 points per possession in its last two games.

After torching Illinois for 1.46 points per trip, the Hoosiers put up 1.36 points per possession on Northwestern. The reason for the offensive explosions the past two games? 3-point shooting.

Indiana is 32-of-64 from distance in its last two contests and nine different players have made a 3-pointer. When the Hoosiers aren’t turning it over and are getting good ball movement, this offense can score as well as any in the country.

· The addition of Max Bielfeldt continues to pay dividends for Indiana: For whatever reason, Michigan didn’t have Max Bielfeldt in its plans for the 2015-2016 season, which allowed him to transfer and play right away in Bloomington.

A rare transfer within the same conference, Bieldfeldt has been a major player in IU’s recent 12-game winning streak, particularly in conference play. For the season, Bielfeldt is 53rd nationally in offensive rating and has hit 12-of-26 3s. He’s a perfect compliment to Thomas Bryant as he can either back him up or play beside him if the Hoosier opt to go with a bigger lineup.

“I really worked on my shot over the summer with the coaches,” Bielfeldt said on Saturday. “I’m getting comfortable in the system. Everyone’s sharing the ball really well, and it’s making it a lot easier.”

· Defense continues to hold strong: After giving up 1.08 points per possession in its final non-conference game against Kennesaw State, Indiana has held each of its seven Big Ten opponents so far under one point per possession.

For perspective, Indiana held just three Big Ten opponents under a point per possession last season in regular season play.

“Along with mentality is also experience. The young guys are stepping up and being like sponges and absorbing our concepts and really studying extra film,” Collin Hartman explained when asked about what is different for IU defensively.

“So if you learn concepts and people’s tendencies, it’s easier to get stops because you know what they’re doing before they do it. So, I mean, that’s the biggest thing is just getting extra film. We all work hard all the time. It’s just a matter of being there and being in the right spot at the right time.”

· Turnovers continue to decline: Indiana had a turnover percentage of just 15.2 against Northwestern, its lowest mark of the Big Ten season so far.

Why are the Hoosiers turning it over less frequently? Yogi Ferrell joked that part of the reason for the change is due in part to the fact that he and his teammates are now being forced to run extra in practice if they don’t meet certain numbers dictated by the coaching staff.

“We don’t talk about, hey, let’s not turn it over,” Tom Crean said. “We just keep talking about the decision making and keep putting them in situations in practice where they have to do different things. A lot of three on four, four on five things when we can, and that stuff helps them. But, again, when you’re cutting and moving without the ball like that, it shouldn’t be that hard.”

Filed to:

  • IULore

    TB should take a few here and there to keep them honest.

  • IULore

    Ha! Good one!

  • Chi-Town Hoosier

    If we would have lost, this wouldn’t be a conversation topic.

  • Koko

    As well you should. If one cannot get excited about what the team is doing then….well I don’t know what to say. No question we are playing very good bball right now. Savor it, enjoy it, have fun with it and stand tall behind our team as they travel a rough and tumble road to the end of the B1G season.

  • Oh, sure, lots to work on if the team’s going to take that next step and beat the best competition. I was _only_ referring to the question of shooting and the impact of a couple of players having an off night–that’s a problem I don’t really see this team having given all of the very good shooters and the excellent ball movement. But yes, defending the pick-and-roll (which actually was addressed in-game against NW, which is one of the new things with this team), TB defending in the post, and… well, I’m sure there’s something else… are all areas of improvement.

  • Agreed, when it’s very much in the natural flow of the offense (like the last three he hit). But I do think the best offense has somebody feeding him in the post where he’s, what, 75% or something? It’s not often, I don’t think, that he should be in the position of taking a three without the offense set up to put him there–and that might not be the right offense for him yet.

  • Smilinjayd

    I’ll take this opportunity to speak for the overwhelming majority of those whom read and post on this site. CTC has received his criticism not because of who he is, but because of our expectations of improvement over the season, being consistently in the top 4 of this conference, recruiting quality players and young men whom follow the rules, and getting better as a coach. I’m thrilled to see this team playing as they have been. Without regard to whom our competition is, if we play great defense, share the ball, and keep turnovers low, we will win far more games than we have for the past several seasons and IU fans will become far bigger fans of coach.

    The puzzling piece to this coach/fan relationship is to see this team’s dramatic changes, so abruptly, in stark contrast to his prior 7 years’ MO and record. We are all reluctantly excited to see these changes, yet cautious that he will continue in this fashion of coaching. Possibly being that close to the end of his tenure has made him rethink his coaching beliefs? What ever the reason, I am tangibly excited about how they’ve played. I could care less about who they’ve beaten. Weak competition in the past has not guaranteed these same types of wins, especially in the fashion that these wins were earned.

    So I say “Congratulations Coach and Team!” Job well done. It can be unbelievably rewarding for you when your devout fans are well served.

  • Agreed, and I’m definitely enjoying their play right now. Thing is, given all of the rancor of a few weeks ago, we should keep our feet at least a little planted and be prepared for a loss here and there. Better to keep things a little tempered so that we don’t have a fan implosion if they have an off game.

  • Koko

    Agreed there are losses on our horizon….a rough and tumble road I mentioned. Keeping the feet a little planted and excitement tempered so we don’t have a big let down is a consideration. The more we keep winning the higher level of excitement until a loss. But seeing what I’m seeing, once that loss occurs my point of view will not be a let down. Maybe temporarily discouraged at how we lost but not a let down. Unlike last year this team has demonstrated it can bounce back….so far in a big way.

  • Zach

    Absolutely not. I’m all for being respectful above everything else and thought that we were. Guess that’s where we’ll agree to disagree about how we conducted ourselves. But like I said, most students have no idea who he is or anything about him so saying they singled him out is pretty ridiculous logic.