Indiana looks to bounce back against Minnesota, Dave Rice with team

  • 01/30/2016 8:00 am in

Indiana returned home from Wisconsin with its first loss in Big Ten play, falling in overtime to the Badgers by three. Now, the Hoosiers will look to pick up their second win of the season against Minnesota, which visits Assembly Hall Saturday.

The Golden Gophers have struggled in conference play and are yet to pick up a win (0-9). However, Tom Crean believes you can’t just go by their poor record when looking at the Gophers.

“Minnesota is getting better, and again this is not a game where you play their record, you play what they’re capable of,” Crean said. “They’re right there and they’ve been in, including ours, all of these games that they’ve played and they’ve come down to the wire or overtime or the last couple of possessions. I know our guys are locked in, and we’ll need every bit of that.”

Indiana (17-4, 7-1) is still tied atop the Big Ten standings following Iowa’s loss to Maryland, but must get back on track. The Hoosiers are unbeaten at home this season (12-0).

At Assembly Hall, IU has been able to get off to fast starts, and has put several opponents away by halftime. Robert Johnson said the team’s start in Minnesota wasn’t good enough.

“We started off with five straight jump shots that didn’t go through the paint, and that’s something we talk about a lot,” Johnson said. “There’s nothing wrong with shooting jump shots, as long as they go through the paint first because that means we’re getting the movement and the spacing that we want, so that’s something we want to do this game.”

Minnesota is ranked No. 196 according to KenPom, with the 200th best adjusted offensive efficiency and the 194th ranked defense. To contrast, IU is ranked No. 23 and is 18th in offense and 51st in defense.

Against Wisconsin, IU slipped into old ways, turning the ball over 19 times.

“We didn’t make the simple play,” Crean said. “We drove into the paint a little bit too much, we just didn’t make as many simple plays, especially off the ball screen, as we could’ve made. There was a little fatigue and a little of their defensive pressure, but really when you look at the film it was more us. We’re not a dribbling team, we’re a driving team, a drive and kick team, a drive kick and reverse it team. And when we start over-dribbling we’re not nearly as good.”

The last time IU played Minnesota, Yogi Ferrell led the team with 20 points, and Thomas Bryant had 10 points and seven rebounds. Crean said that Bryant has continued to get more comfortable in conference play, especially after road games.

“He wants to play with emotion, we want him to play with emotion, but not emotionally,” Crean said. “There’s a difference, and we want to keep helping him understand that.”

Dave Rice with Indiana this week

Former UNLV coach Dave Rice, whose team beat Indiana in Maui, will be working with the team for the next few days, Tom Crean said. His full statement follows:

“Obviously he’s got a good view of this team from being at UNLV. I just like him. I think he’s a great coach. I think he got a really bad deal, that’s my opinion. I think he’s an outstanding coach. He’s one of the tougher coaches that I’ve prepared for. I’ve had a lot of respect for him since he was an assistant. I don’t know him that well, but I have great respect for him, great admiration for him and know he’s going to be a head coach again, hopefully soon. I feel for guys that go through tough situations like I think he did. I think everyone that pays attention to it knows he got a very raw deal at UNLV. So we bring him in for a couple days to keep him around the game, and have him be around us and learn some things for us, and we’ll be that much better . . . I like having people around that really know what they’re doing.”

Earlier this week, Rice visited New Mexico’s program.

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  • henryhansen

    I don’t intend to be a chicken little, but I think this is a VERY important game for IU to win. Lose, and you can see how they start sliding down the loss column, pretty much solidifying the thinking that they got lucky with an extremely soft early B10 schedule. And everyone will start questioning Crean again.

    The Barn always gives us trouble, so I expect this to be a tough one. Seems like we really need this one.

  • BL

    We know exactly what we have with our experienced players. Fact is, our ultimate potential will be based almost entirely on how much the freshman can improve from here. I know TB will be a factor today. Seeing big minutes for OG and JM would make my day.

  • BL

    Agree we should take Minnesota very seriously. Good news; game is at AH.

  • Young Hoosier

    Our season will be based on the two biggest inconsistencies. Robert Johnson and Troy Williams.

  • BL

    Yes, I consider that a known quantity and frankly, not worthy of further analysis or discussion. What we don’t know is how good OG and JM can be. Sure would like to find out. Could be a silver lining.

  • RDD#76

    Yes like to think of it as a Cathedral not a barn

  • Outoftheloop

    When you are in the race for a B1G Title, you must win every conference game. You are only allowed 2 slip ups. We just had 1 in OT to a good, but not top opponent in WI. IU needs all W’s until the 2 big away games: at MSU and at IA!

  • VegasHoosier

    I live In Vegas. Rice is beyond clueless. The fans here hate the guy.

  • Young Hoosier

    We know what we’ll get out of OG and Morgan. Some hard play and possibly 10 points and done rebounds out of them. Them not playing well shouldn’t dictate anything we do. They don’t play enough.

  • Not too excited about this game, but think it’s basically there for IU to lose. Especially after the tough OT loss earlier in the week, against better competition, I’m not all that worked up today about this one. I hope the players feel 100% differently about it and are ready to go today. The loss in Wisconsin was not a bad one, but a loss today would be a complete disaster. This should be a blowout like last year (and last time against this team), but who the hell knows what’s going to happen. I don’t like the drop-off in competition today, especially as the team needs to prepare for MUCH tougher games on the horizon. My main worry is that the team regresses and begins to slip back into the IU team that played the last time the UNLV coach was on the sidelines. I hope they don’t disappoint and crush the other team, preferably by a record margin. Can we go +50 today, fellas? Pretty please?

  • partial truth. You’re not completely off-base, but I think the season depends on consistently good play from virtually every player. Those two absolutely cannot disappoint, however.

  • the team needs to establish dominance early on, which would provide them with more opportunities to play. I think this is one of the most important parts of today’s game: getting experience for the underclassmen. As you say, we’re definitely going to need them down the stretch.

  • don’t know much about him, but I would expect that most people in Las Vegas, residents and tourists alike, are pretty much clueless, too.

  • BL


  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    3:35 left to go and TW is doing nothing but bad decisions both offensively and defensively. This has to be his worst game this year.

  • vicbert caladipo


  • VanPastorMan

    A win is a win is a win.

  • VanPastorMan

    Glad to see Thomas Bryant become a real option on offense. He really came through today.

  • vicbert caladipo

    We are going to have to play A LOT better if we are going to beat Michigan.

  • henryhansen

    My mistake… had it in my head we still had to go up there. Good to get a win today.

  • henryhansen

    I honestly don’t think we are in race for B10 title. I think we are looking at coming in somewhere between #2-4 when it’s all over. I think you’re asking a lot to think we’ll only lose at MSU and at IA. Glad for win today, but our execution says somewhere between 2nd-5th place is likely.

  • Hardwood83

    The Conf season is half over and IU is tied for first. They are, by definition, in the title race. Will they win? That is the question. Iowa does have an easier remaining schedule, but Hoosiers get 2 shots at them, so each controls their future.

  • henryhansen

    Technically, IU is in the race. We’ll see if they can hang with the big boys. I hope they do… but I still think they lose another 3-4 games.