Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss at Michigan State

  • 02/15/2016 12:06 pm in

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Indiana played well for about 16 minutes on Sunday afternoon at the Breslin Center, but the success was short lived as Michigan State blitzed the Hoosiers for an 88-69 win. The loss dropped Indiana to 20-6 overall and 10-3 in the Big Ten.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the blowout loss to the Spartans:

· Indiana’s defense is regressing to the mean with better competition: The Hoosiers allowed just one of their first 10 Big Ten opponents to score more than a point per possession, but the defense has been on a slide the last three games.

It started in State College when Indiana allowed Penn State, which was averaging just .95 points per possession at the time, to score 1.04 per trip. That lackluster defensive performance resulted in a loss that severely hurt IU’s chances at the Big Ten title. On Thursday against Iowa, IU beat Iowa because of a ridiculous offensive performance, but not much was written about the fact that the Hoosiers allowed Iowa to score 1.21 points per possession.

Sunday was the worst performance of the three as Michigan State torched the Hoosiers for 1.28 points per possession, including 1.47 in the second half. Indiana doesn’t have to be a great defensive team to win, but it needs to be better than what it has shown over the last three games. After spending a decent chunk of the conference season leading the league in defensive efficiency, the Hoosiers are fourth and are one more shaky performance from seventh.

· Cold shooting from Yogi continues: Tom Crean said following IU’s loss that he doesn’t buy into the notion that Yogi Ferrell is in a slump, but the numbers say otherwise.

Over his last three games, Ferrell is 4-of-21 on 3s and 4-of-13 on 2s. Here’s Ferrell’s ShotAnalytics chart from the last three games:


Indiana beat Iowa because it had others step up in the absence of a solid performance from Ferrell. That wasn’t the case on Sunday afternoon as IU’s senior point guard went just 3-of-10 from the floor and Michigan State’s potent offense was just too much for the supporting cast to keep up with.

· Williams’ struggles continue away from Assembly Hall: It was an afternoon to forget for Troy Williams as the junior forward went scoreless in 17 minutes.

While some players thrive regardless of environment, it’s clear this season that Williams is a different player in true road games. As the graphic below shows, his numbers are down across the board in road games compared to contests played in Bloomington:


· Michigan State dominated the paint: The Spartans uncharacteristically allowed Indiana to grab 16 offensive rebounds, but it didn’t matter because the Hoosiers scored just five second chance points. Those numbers represent a huge opportunity missed from Indiana.

From an offensive standpoint, Michigan State completely dominated the Hoosiers in the paint. The Spartans scored 42 points in the paint compared to just 26 for Indiana. Crean mentioned IU not stopping Michigan State’s assault from behind the 3-point line in the postgame, but the Spartans shooting 24-of-36 from inside the arc was just as problematic.

Over IU’s last three games, opponents are shooting are shooting 53.8 percent on 2s (63-of-117).

· Valentine making his case for Big Ten player of the year and national player of the year consideration: Iowa forward Jarrod Uthoff may still be the favorite for Big Ten player of the year, but Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine is going to make it an interesting race.

Valentine was brilliant on Sunday afternoon in scoring 30 points, dishing out 13 assists and grabbing five rebounds. Tom Izzo stopped short of saying that Valentine deserved to be the frontrunner of national player of the year because of how great Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield has been, but it’s clear he believes his senior belongs in the conversation.

“Everything we’ve asked that kid to get better at, he’s gotten better at,” Izzo said. “He’s become a better shooter, he’s become more disciplined with the ball, but he can guard people. He can guard and rebound on the one end and pass and score on the other end. I don’t know anyone that I’ve had that can do that as thoroughly as he does it.

“I think he deserves to be in the race. I think the guy that’s been everyone’s favorite deserves to be there too. The first ten minutes, he wasn’t playing that well and he was just existing out there and we talked about it in the huddle and then he started to change.”

(Photo credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports)

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  • I hear you, but I also liked the resiliency. Hanging on when Iowa made their run showed some maturity and attitude that unfortunately was sorely missing yesterday.

  • Hoosier Hall

    No, not nearly. “Did” beat Michigan State at the Breslin Center.

  • Just real quick: I watched The Run a few times myself, and I thought it was almost 100% keyed by the defense. Yes, shooting was good, but it was all in transition after defensive stops–and this team seems to shoot better and perform overall better offensively in transition. It’s when a decent half court defense gets set that our offense starts to sputter and the shots stop falling, IMO.

  • pcantidote

    Valentine just got another free run to the rim as I was reading this.

  • pcantidote

    This is 100 percent fact. Our mini-run against MSU yesterday was mostly all coming from stops on the other end as well. I suspect if you go back and watch the big runs against OSU and Illinois, we strung together a bunch of stops there too.

  • ToothGuy

    What we’ve both left unsaid (out of respect) is what I was getting at with the Troy takeaway. Lots of pride on all sides of this thing so three ways this could go.

    1) He ignores his level of unpreparedness and goes all-in for Pro ball on sheer talent. This is possibly a mistake, but he may be equally unprepared to own up to the fact he doesn’t have a Pro skill set (yet).

    2) He (with the support of his inner circle) temporarily humbles himself to return to IU. I’m biased, but honest in saying I believe this to be the only real option for him. There will be hard feelings, but hopefully he can see the bigger picture to which E Foy alluded…a truly special skill set to go with his already special raw talent. Troy digs the spotlight and he would be in it plenty next year (probable preseason All-American among other things). If he leaves for Pro now he’s a gamble. If he leaves for Pro a little more polished he’s a franchise.

    3) The offseason possibility that we don’t speak of…

  • RDD#76

    I would like to see some Troy and OG on the court at same time and see what kind of energy and athleticism that would bring in a smaller lineup with any one of our 3 centers might help Troy’s game

  • dwdkc

    Not sad. He’s not going to go along with saying Yogi is in a slump because that won’t help him pull out of it. Also, he mentioned the problem with not stopping the perimeter game because the closeouts and finding guys in transition was weak. Just because he didn’t happen to mention the paint D didn’t mean he wasn’t aware it was a problem.

  • pcantidote

    I thought it was an interesting “tell” of the MSU defensive philosophy when Forbes got called for a second quick foul hip checking Yogi. You could read Forbes’ lips saying “They are calling me on that every time”. He wasn’t pleading that there was no foul. He was admitting that they foul on every play, and uh-oh, they are actually calling it.

    This is the same way that Penn State plays, and guess what… Purdue as well. PJ Thompson actually puts his hands on the guy he is guarding the entire time to prevent separation. If I were sitting in one of the courtside seats at the PU game I would probably be the first fan to ever get 2 Ts and an ejection because that crap makes me crazy.

  • IUJeff

    TB is getting abused by the zebras because he challenges them on EVERY call. When you argue calls you are questioning their integrity and judgement. Stop whining and he will start getting more benefit of the doubt. Until then, more phantom fouls.

  • Ms hoosier

    Man!! I just can’t stop watching OG’s dunk!!

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    OG should be getting more of TW’s minutes, it’s time.

  • BL

    I think our D has been really good at times but definitely not consistent enough; not for 40 minutes. I notice Coach pulling guys throughout the game for poor execution on both ends of the floor. Guess you don’t see such.

  • BL

    No doubt.

  • BL

    After the 1st half play, I was shocked they played so poorly in the second half. Thought for sure we were going to steal one on the road.

    They still have a tendency to slip back into poor play when they don’t shoot well; they don’t move and cut as well; they play more hero ball. Also, the extra effort on the defensive end wanes. Absolutely have to get better at playing the right way for 40 minutes, even when the shots aren’t falling. That is totally on our upperclassmen, especially YF and TW.

  • BL

    No change in our AP ranking, still #22?

  • ihoosieru

    Its really pretty simple, Michigan States shot 57 percent of field goal for the game and 43 of the 3 pts. I’m guessing it was better the second half. Michigan State played great defense on Yogi(slump?) As a result of the great defense Indiana’s field goal percentage was 37 for the game. Northwester, Wisconsin and Michigan State all played great defense with the same result. We need someone to step up. Anunoby? maybe he looked pretty good early then we didn’t see him much. The bench has been stepping up. Michigan State played an exceptional game.

  • Arch Puddington

    My original comment was that they are “nearly impossible” to beat at home. Please see above.

    It’s not a disputable point. Since 1990, they have the best home winning percentage in the B1G, roughly 83%. It’s more like 90% over the last 15 years.

  • just a fan

    I watched one play where State had the ball down low, one man for IU playing defense (Max) and Yogi glanced over his shoulder as to say “I have my own problems, you stop him”. He could have doubled down, extra hands working for the ball and State’s center would have had trouble getting off a shot. NO help defense. A shooting slump is one thing, but you don’t neglect to help a team mate who was obviously getting hammered trying to stop his man. How many more situations were there like that?

  • IULore

    How many titles has he won in the past 15 years?

  • IULore

    Most people want coach to whine after every foul

  • IULore

    Probably not without shields

  • just a fan

    Some of those long since decided games we’ve recently played, maybe now we’re seeing that Harrison N. should have been cutting down Yogi’s 35 playing minutes. Winning by 20 is great stuff, but no one in the NBA goes all out every night–and their coaches don’t expect them to, the season is too long–the Michigan game, for instance, what were his minutes? Regarding age/ fatigue–join me for a half marathon this weekend, then again next weekend, 22 or not, you’ll feel it (been there, done that).

  • Interesting, don’t remember seeing that and deleted the game off of my DVR (no space, dammit).

  • BL

    I hate we are where we are. Like most fans, I was expecting TW to be soooo much better this year. If Coach is going to continue to start Troy and play him 25 minutes per game (his BIG average), he’s got to do something to boost his confidence and get him playing better. Having racked my brain, I’ve come up with two ideas:

    1. Run some high percentage new sets specifically designed for TW to get him going on the offensive end. I would probably try posting him up similar to the play where OG had the nice spin move and jump hook against MSU. Something where he’s not trying to drive the ball from the perimeter. Another option would be setting multiple picks for him designed to get him catch and shoot opportunities in the paint (in the area he hit the key jumper late against Iowa).

    2. Challenge him with taking the toughest defensive assignment (e.g. Valentine) and give him a goal of holding the player below his average. De-emphasize the offensive end for Troy but pump him up with a huge opportunity to help the team.

    If something isn’t done to get TW going, I’m more than willing to test your hypothesis that OG can’t carry the load. In fact, allocating a major portion of TW’s minutes to OG/JM may be similar to the JBJ situation – addition by subtraction – at least in the short term.

  • BL

    They’ve been good together at times. They were both on the floor for a good portion of the run against Mich.

  • BL

    and that Eurostep; unreal for a 6’8 unranked recruit.

  • jmfriedman

    If Crean gets us to a final 4 I can ASSURE you, the talk will stop about his coaching skill. Izzo has earned the respect he gets. Crean has not. Your statement is silly

  • HooshWin

    Just read where OG is averaging only 12 minutes a game. Hard to figure. Coach seems to have a phobia against sitting burger all-americans and/or players with perceived NBA futures when the occasion calls for it. I could speculate why that is, but since it is so close to Valentine’s Day my heart is filled with nothing but love

  • Bballpop

    They weren’t in the AP poll last week. They moved up to 21 in the USA Today poll. I guess they figured our win over Iowa was better than our loss to MSU.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    You sound like how I’ve been all throughout Bo’s reign at Wisconsin. Talk about a team that fouled all the time and hardly ever got called… Zeller getting body-checked to the floor on a rebound, anyone?…

  • BL

    Take it.

  • NOW wait, you aren’t going to use the ‘T’ word are you? I still maintain there is no such thing. It is a figment of the imagination, enlisted by the media to explain way a team is flat for some apparent reason, they otherwise can find no plausible explanation…lol…

  • Bingo… the way the Hoosiers, especially Yogi and Troy are performing.. the Huskers could take us to the woodshed.. I hope not, but once again, I have just about zero confidence in these guys.

  • BL

    Have a feeling we may see OG in the starting lineup tomorrow. Regardless, when he’s on the floor I’d like to see him escalate his aggressiveness, especially on the offensive end. Move, cut, get into space and demand the ball. Take his performance against MSU and build on it. Will make us less reliant on perimeter shooting. Would be awesome to see him and TB develop a one-two punch in the paint. Can’t get that interior pass he made in the Iowa game off my mind.

  • BL

    Think Michigan.

  • You are right, what happened to the supposedly new rules against such thuggery? (Did I just make that up or am I spelling it wrong?). At any rate Mr. Izzo successfully got them thrown out the window didn’t he?

  • Gosh Clyde, you are one very ‘deep’ Dude…

  • Sure, I’m sure his teammates love it when he shows such ‘great energy’ in throwing the ball away..

  • So, what did he do immediately after that play? Drive right into four guys and throw the ball away…. He surely did not hit a shot, he didn’t do that all day..

  • Hey did you see.. OG’s slam made the highlight reels on SC?

  • Bballpop

    TW just needs to slow down. First touch was a TO and his 2nd touch he fell down, looking like he was trying to go about 100 mph, although it wasn’t a TO. I know he doesn’t want to turn it over and probably frustrates him more than anybody else. If he could just slow it down a little and only take what is there and not force it, he could be a tremendous impact player. I’m really hoping he can turn it around yet this year and show what he’s made of. It would help him and, more importantly, the team. Gotta win these next two!

  • BL

    Reality is, coaches (guessing players as well) have been trying to slow him down for nearly three years. Experience suggests, unfortunately, that’s TW. Highly unlikely he’ll flip a switch and play with more control. Feel like the best way to help TW help the team is to essentially take the ball out of his hands. When he’s in the game, drop the weave and run offensive sets; especially those designed to post him up or create catch and shoots for him.

  • Nope, very cool. I’ll need to go search it out now. OG is awesome.

  • His average is 12 minutes overall? What is it in the last few games? I think he’s getting more minutes lately, and will likely continue to see his minutes increase. CTC might be stubborn about such things sometimes, but eventually he makes the adjustments. Usually.

  • Couldn’t agree with you more. And while NE is a potential trap game (although they all are from here on out), it’s still a good time to try some different things before PU comes to town.

  • Yep, and really it’s probably spot on. Just average where we should be ranked when we’re on The Run at UM and beating Iowa soundly and where we should be ranked when we’re laying an egg at PSU and in the second have at MSU.

  • BL

    Really want to see us jump on Nebraska. The guys have to know we have zero margin for error if we want to win the BIG. I’ll be shocked if they don’t show up with tremendous energy. I hope AH is packed.

    Been thinking about PU. OG would give Swanigan fits. He’s long and strong enough to defend him, and no way Swanigan can stay with OG. Max could also do well on Swanigan but we’re going to need him to back up TB.

  • Ha, thanks. I’ve been around.