Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Illinois

  • 02/26/2016 12:39 am in

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Indiana moved another step closer to a Big Ten regular season title on Thursday night as the Hoosiers crushed Illinois, 74-47, at the State Farm Center.

It was the third straight win for the Hoosiers and 13th in conference play. A win on Tuesday in Iowa would clinch at least a share of the regular season title.

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

· Ferrell puts his stamp on the game in second half: For 20 minutes, it looked like Indiana had a fight on its hands against Illinois. The Hoosiers offense was sputtering and its defense didn’t start out well either as the Illini jumped out to a 14-4 lead.

But Indiana’s senior point guard and leader, Yogi Ferrell, was not going to be denied in a game the Hoosiers needed to have. Ferrell locked up Kendrick Nunn defensively in the second half and held him to two points. And offensively, Ferrell couldn’t be stopped by anyone on Illinois.

In 19 second half minutes, Ferrell had 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting and was the reliable floor leader we’ve seen nearly all of the Big Ten season.

“He impacted both ends of the court and was the senior leader that we needed to have,” Nick Zeisloft said. “After the first half, we needed to step up and he definitely took the front of that. We were rolling behind him after that.”

· Big night for Bryant: Freshman Thomas Bryant has played limited minutes in several Big Ten games due to fouls, but the lack of a true post scorer on the Illini limited their chances of forcing him to the bench.

As a result, the 6-foot-10 center put together another efficient performance on the offensive end. Bryant hit all five of his field goal attempts, including a 3-pointer and hit all of his free throws as well to finish with 14 points. In addition, his eight rebounds were a team-high.

“I just came in with the mindset to be assertive down there in the post,” Bryant said afterward. “I saw that I could get some things down there that they gave me and I just tried to take full advantage of it.”

· Hoosiers again own the glass: Rebounding has been an underrated part of Indiana’s success all season and on Thursday, the Hoosiers were once again brilliant.

Indiana rebounded 40 percent of its missed shots and outscored Illinois 15-2 on second-chance points. Six different players grabbed an offensive rebound.

And on the other end of the floor, Indiana allowed Illinois to grab just two offensive rebounds for an offensive rebounding percentage of just 6.9. That’s the best job the Hoosiers have done on the defensive glass, percentage wise, all season.

· This was Indiana’s second best defensive efficiency performance of the season: Aside from the season opener against Eastern Illinois, this was Indiana’s best defensive performance of the season.

Illinois scored just .77 points per possession, the lowest offensive output for a Big Ten opponent against Indiana this season. Through 16 league games, IU has the league’s third best defense at just under one point per possession allowed.

“I felt like we turned around (in the second half) and got our defense set,” Yogi Ferrell. “I felt like OG (Anunoby) and Juwan (Morgan) really brought that energy for us in stopping Malcolm Hill. That just transitioned into offense for us.”

· Indiana has positioned itself to play for a share of the Big Ten title on Tuesday: At minimum, Indiana will play for a share of the Big Ten title on Tuesday in Iowa City.

At 13-3 and a game and a half ahead of Iowa and Maryland in the league standings, a win Tuesday would give Indiana at least a share of the regular season title. However, if Maryland loses at Purdue on Saturday, Indiana could be playing for the outright title on Tuesday against the Hawkeyes.

Regardless of the specific stakes, Indiana taking care of business against Illinois means that the Hoosiers still control their own destiny to win the Big Ten, which is something that would have been unthinkable when this team was 5-3 in early December following a lopsided loss at Duke.

(Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports)

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  • Really? I would have to point out that Duke having injury issues is having a relatively mediocre season, compared to what was expected of them.. Fell out of the Top 25.. Yes, I’m sure they’ll make the NCAA but you would have to admit, they are really struggling..

  • What a great day, this has been.. Purdue knocks off MD (not that I’m a Boiler lover at all..) In fact, in most cases any PUke win is a bad win.. but, I’ll gladly take this one…
    Because, I believe that helps IU.. and Kentucky gets dumped by Vandy.. Now that one is sweet.

  • Yes, The Fischer loss was the one that hurt.. He’s doing pretty well at Marquette.. Last I heard.

  • Hey Purdont did it.. They pulled the upset.. I guess that would be one time in my life that I didn’t mind that piece of crap team winning..

  • DO you think they actually used lightning?

  • Yes.. and I remember there were quite a few fans on here that thought it was a bad move.. that he wasn’t a D1 level player.. Man he has proven any ofthose critics wrong. As you say, he has been a real find.

  • That was good.. we’ll all have to ‘hand it to you’, for that one…

  • Not me.. These guys risk injury every time they step on the court.. I would love to see us in a re-match with Sparty and this time beat his ugly head in.. I get so tired of all the love those guys get in the national media.. It’s probably deserved, but I still don’t like it.. Guess I’m just jealous.

  • Hey yeah.. C&C.. Congrats. That is cool how it ended up to be OG anyway. Owen Gregg.. ..Now if he can just shoot the three…

  • You know, that is true.. That is going to be so different.. Very sad, for sure. He has come up very BIG this year for us.. Hard not to miss the heck out of that when he’s not here.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Win on Tuesday, then Big Ten Champs. I like that. Now it is time for drinkey!!!!Basketball concerns later next week.

  • YES things are setting up nicely… I just still want to see us win out.. That would be so cool.. Even if OSU somehow beats Iowa.. We need to win out… I really think we can.

  • Chi-Town Hoosier

    Oh thanks. Please make sure to continuously audit my comments. Appreciate it

  • I’m just not going to make any predictions for Tuesday. I think we most certainly can win, this team continues to improve, and if everyone contributes some great things can happen. That’s as much as I’ll say at this point.

  • BL

    Definitely possible but a massive challenge with RJ out.

  • I normally start getting really nervous about a game around the day before. Not so much this game.

  • BL

    Same.

    You know, we have two shots to win this thing; at least a tie. Sure, RJ may not play. Notwithstanding, Coach should convince the team all the pressure is on Iowa; they lose, it’s over. Get our guys to play extremely confident and loose. Like BIG champions. Damn, that sounds soooo good.

  • ForeverIU

    We can win it without RJ. Harrison is capable. I prefer that RJ rest even if cleared to play.

  • BL

    Yeah, I said the same earlier. We need RJ 100% for the tourney run.

  • Koko

    Actually I think the pressure is on Iowa. The way they have played lately they have to show up tomorrow, play well and win….they have to win tomorrow. OSU at home despite down a starter, will be dangerous tomorrow. They played well in the first half with MSU. Right now Iowa is not close to the confidence level of MSU….they are struggling.

  • Koko

    They play at UM which up that worry level a couple notches.

  • Koko

    Actually Seth is a typical media. It is his job to use information obtained from any source. And in the case of ESPN, they sometimes like to report things obtained from sources without verification. I doubt Seth got that from TC.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Ken we are sitting pretty. I has their own destiny to take care of and it got easier after Purdue won.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    I know and they almost blew it. Made me watch the whole game.

  • marcusgresham

    Well, the Notre Dame hatred stems mostly from football. A.-no team should have its own contract with a network. B. It pisses me off that there are actual rules written to the playoff system specifically for Notre Dame because they’re too arrogant to join a conference.
    I always said if ever elected governor of Indiana the first thing I would do is give St. Joseph’s County to Michigan so we didn’t have to claim them any more.

  • marcusgresham

    Sheehey was the first one to suggest it. Then the coaches discussed it with Stan but left the decision up to him.
    I wouldn’t take Fischer over what’s going on this year but I sure would love to have him and give more chances for playing two of the three together.

  • marcusgresham

    It does seem like the numbers would be a lot different but I think there are also a lot of passes Bryant throws that lead to the passes that end up in baskets. Vonleh just didn’t send it back out.
    Vonleh had a more NBA-ready body. If Bryant were to stay and bulk up more like Noah I think he’ll be incredibly hard to stop and Davis would slide into the role Bielfeldt holds. OG is already huge, possibly still growing, and with an off-season with Anderson the sky’s the limit physically.

  • marcusgresham

    Doesn’t affect IU, but thank you, Vandy, as well.

  • marcusgresham

    I’ve said before, if Kentucky were playing the U. of Taliban I’d wear a turban that day.

  • Ole Man

    It hasn’t been Duke’s finest season. Yet, if you take Coach K’s body of work, isn’t he considered a great coach?
    He won a title last year with basically a six-man rotation. He’s keeping Duke relevant with almost a five-man rotation this year.
    So, for them, a down season.

  • Missing Moye

    Thanks for mentioning it. I don’t typically watch many of the pressers, but did based on your post. Groce’s comments about Ferrell were really interesting. He mentions him repeatedly throughout the entire thing.

  • BL

    Remember thinking the same thing when he pulled HN but then realized he was bringing an All American back on the floor and though Ok, glad HN played well.

  • BL

    OG needs to work on a mid-range game but after watching TW’s development, I’m not confident he will. Just doesn’t seem coaches teach this anymore. It’s either a three or all the way to the rack. Frustrating, having a mid-range game would make players like TW and OG impossible to guard.

  • BL

    You bet. I’ve begun listening to them regularly. Interesting the little things you pick up. Love listening to our players; you can just feel the camaraderie which is a huge intangible. Most times, they’ll be some mention of game planning strategy or practice emphasis that is informative as well. Naturally, there’s a fair amount of coach-speak for the media but that’s ok.

  • BL

    Man, how awesome would an upset in Columbus be?

  • Koko

    It would make my day for sure. This is a big game for Iowa. Let’s see if they can handle the pressure. MSU just had PSU for lunch. I think they should be back to the #1 spot come Monday.

  • I’m saying nothing about the potential outcome of the game for fear of tempting fate, but OSU is up by 5 at the half.

  • BL

    Go Bucks!

  • Looks like Iowa threatens to pull away. Edit: or not.

  • BL

    Wow!!! Share of the BIG title guaranteed. Congrats to Coach Crean and his awesome team. Time for icing on the cake; win one and it’s ours outright. Go Hoosiers!!!

  • ForeverIU

    I hope Alex will give us a forum for this one! I mean a separate thread.

  • BL

    2nd that big time.

  • Man, I just wouldn’t have imagined even a week ago that we’d have a share of the B1G wrapped up with two games remaining. And since I’m just certain we’ll beat Maryland, I’m pretty confident of an outright title. Now I just want to sweep Iowa–I can’t imagine a better argument for a high NCAA seeding than sweeping the team that just a couple of weeks ago was the runaway favorite to win the conference. Only thing better would be to beat MSU in the B1G tourney (the only possible positive from that train wreck of a money grab).

    I’m sure the players realize what they can accomplish on Tuesday. Here’s to hoping that they’ll grab the moment to make a real statement.

  • BL

    That’s 2 BIG titles in four years. Pretty remarkable when you consider the player personnel problems. Damn, who could have guessed. So Jazzed!!!!

    Totally confident this team will continue rolling. YF has become a true leader on the floor (if you haven’t listened to Groce presser, it’s a must) and team chemistry is fantastic.

  • Yep, listened to Groce, and he wasn’t just making up excuses. Yogi is playing like a man possessed right now, and this team has the right personnel to respond to a strong on-court leader. I remember saying a couple of weeks or so ago that I was starting to threaten giddiness. Well, it’s official: I’m now downright giddy, full-stop.

  • Well, only a little revised now. Win one more, period, and outright B1G champs. But of course I’d rather won both. 🙂

  • BL

    They don’t give out special awards for outright but I’m reminded, if we don’t win one, MSU will most likely sneak in and get a share. That can’t happen.

  • Well, since I’ve pretty much made it clear that we’ll beat Maryland, and set myself up for much grief should we fail to do so, I think we know where I stand on that issue. 🙂

  • And voila!

  • BL

    I’ll go on record with you; we’ll beat Mary. Remember my “Book it Danno”?