The Minute After: Iowa

  • 03/02/2016 12:36 am in

Thoughts on an 81-78 win in Iowa City:

Up three with just over a minute to go in the first half, and here was Indiana’s lineup: four freshman (Harrison Niego, OG Anunoby, Juwan Morgan, Thomas Bryant) and a redshirt senior (Nick Zeisloft). The Hoosiers were saddled with foul trouble as starters Collin Hartman (three fouls), Troy Williams (three fouls) and Yogi Ferrell (two fouls) watched from the bench.

Niego entered the ball to Bryant near the left high post. Bryant barreled his way into the lane, jumped up from 10 feet out and scored with his right hand over Ahmad Wagner. Indiana went up five.

On the other end of the court, Anunoby split a double screen from Wagner and Dom Uhl like a running back finding a seam in his offensive line as they tried to free Peter Jok. Anunoby met Jok and gave him trouble on the left wing. Jok eventually took a contested long 2 over Anunoby’s length that missed.

Bryant got the rebound and Tom Crean came out on the court barking orders for Indiana’s last possession of the half. Niego dribbled and dribbled near the left hash mark.

“Huge possession right here,” said Dan Dakich on a night he continued to effuse praise for the Hoosiers.

Zeisloft listened to the bench and directed some action for Indiana’s set from the right wing. Eventually, Niego got a ball a screen from Juwan Morgan and took it to the paint. Zeisloft got the pass on the right wing. He moved towards the top of the key, got Jok in the air on a ball fake and then shot a 3-pointer as Jok looked on from behind him. Splash.

Wagner would get a tip-in with three seconds remaining to cut IU’s lead to six at half (47-41), but this unconventional Hoosier lineup extended the lead heading into the break.

That’s just been Indiana this Big Ten season — finding ways to get it done no matter the lineup.

James Blackmon Jr. goes down and the Hoosiers don’t flinch. Lose Robert Johnson to an ankle injury? Win back-to-back road games to clinch an outright Big Ten championship. Fans were reading Crean his death rites after the Duke loss on Dec. 2. They’re showering him with praise now.

“I love them as much as I did in the Duke locker room,” Crean said about his team after tonight’s win, moments after he cried addressing them in the locker room. “I believed in them then as I do now.”

The Hawkeyes were the darlings of this league for several weeks, but it’s Indiana that now stands alone on top of the conference for the second time in four seasons after tonight.

How sweet it is.

Yes, Iowa mounted a furious comeback on a night it looked like Indiana was headed for a blowout victory after getting up 14 points. The Hawkeyes even took the lead at 74-72 with 4:27 to go.

But when it mattered, Ferrell, Indiana’s stone cold senior point guard that came back this year for one last go round, hit a nasty stepback 3 from the left wing. It came with 37 seconds left and the shot clock winding down to put Indiana up five.

Jarred Uthof, the favorite for Big Ten Player of the Year not that long ago, tried to match him with a 3-pointer on top of the key on Iowa’s side of the court. It missed.

It was a fitting symbol of the Big Ten sea change over the last few weeks. Indiana in for Iowa for the Big Ten crown. And maybe, just maybe, Ferrell getting the nod for player of the year.

Some weirdness down the stretch made things interesting, but Indiana secured the victory after Jok’s game-tying corner 3 attempt fell short.

This group has shown tremendous resolve and mental toughness. There is a togetherness and selflessness to these Hoosiers. A love, even. And they’ve gotten much better on defense after a disastrous start on that end of the court threatened to derail a once promising season. After Indiana’s loss to UNLV in Maui, Crean told an old friend “we’ll get this fixed.”

Few would have believed that at the time.

Do you believe now?

Filed to:


    I can count on one hand how many times I have posted something on FB, as I usually just share the things I like and that other people have posted, but I watched the clip from ESPN and posted it. Maybe it’s just me having been the coach and gone through something similar (no nothing of that magnitude, but very emotional none the less) that was very emotional and getting very emotional myself when I spoke afterwards, but thought it was that good.


    I find the opposing coach’s post game presser as interesting, or even more interesting, than our coach’s presser. It gives me a person’s views that is only associated with IU in that his team just played us.


    Wondered why he didn’t run the base line. If I’m not mistaken it was an instance where he could have, right ?

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Mark, ESPN’s show Around the Horn is going to discuss Indiana. It is on here (Chicago) now. FYI.

  • Cool, thanks, checking it out.

  • Okay, watched it. Pretty even split between “yeah, but their B1G schedule was weak and they didn’t play anybody” (incredibly stupid at this point) and “yeah, great turnaround and they’re playing well.” Last guy even called CTC a legit contender for national COY, so that’s good.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    PTI on Espn just discussed IU and Tom Crean. Lots of love by Kornheiser and Wilbon for IU and Tom Crean.

  • Dave Carnes

    We are mentioning the Obvious.Sparty gets a better ride with the refs and with the national media.A two seed are you kidding me.I know there is a lack of separation at the top of college b ball but MI ST is not as good as people think.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Dereck thanks for the thumbs up. Are you planning on going to the IU Ncaa tourney game. I realize it depends where they play.

  • Dereck Johnson

    Sounds like Juwan Morgan will be fine. Hopefully this doesn’t set him back tho bc he was really developing. I heard Rob say, he’s surprising himself in the weight room. I just hope that doesn’t mess with his shot, bc its very important to continue shooting. When you’re working out like that. Get well soon guys, it’s been a hell of a year, but let’s get greedy & keep it going.

  • Dereck Johnson

    I think the 2013 team improved throughout that year. They just didn’t play well against Syracuse & their height/length was to much for IU. That zone was dominate, with MCW @the top with Fair.

  • Dereck Johnson

    Yeah it depends on where they play. My 11yr old son wants 2go bad, so hopefully it’s close enough & by that I mean within a couple states lol. What about yourself? I thought about going to the Maryland game, bc I’ve never been to senior nite & I want 2c that banner get put up. His mom has tried to convert him 2a KY fan, but he’s to smart 4that. Even he thinks Cal is a shady character. I was so proud when he said that & I hadn’t put that in his head, or said it.

  • Dereck Johnson

    My bad I just heard CTC say he thought Yogi was the 2nd Hoosier 2win 2 outright BIG titles. He also said, Max was prob the 1st 2do it at 2 different schools. (In the BIG 10)

  • Dereck Johnson

    I also agree & had those same arguments with my friends about CTC. I also thought it was over after Maui. I believe a lot of Hoosiers felt the same, but here we are BIG 10 champs baby. This will be the 3rd year in a row I’ll be collecting 20$ from a friend, bc he said CTC would get fired. I guarantee he stops that bet after this year lol. By the way he’s now on the CTC bandwagon. He wanted me 2point out that he knew he could recruit but didn’t trust his coaching.

  • Dereck Johnson

    Your post should have a lot more up votes also. As I read it, I thought did I post this, while I was half asleep lol.

  • BlakeD1223

    I’m just really happy for Crean. I believe he is a great guy and he really cares about his players and the fans. I hope he has continues success and that the fans calm down! ha ha

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Sorry it took me so long to respond. I plan on going if the game is within a 10 hour drive of Chicago. We will see if that happens. The reason why I’ve been so livid at the lack of media attention to IU seeding is so they can play close to the Midwest area.