Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Kentucky

  • 03/19/2016 10:50 pm in

DES MOINES, Iowa – Indiana advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 73-67 win over Kentucky on Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena. The victory improved the Hoosiers to 27-7 on the season.

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

· Indiana won with defense: The numbers don’t lie: Kentucky entered Saturday’s matchup with Indiana with the nation’s best offense.

The Wildcats left Des Moines with their second worst offensive performance of the season and Indiana’s defense had plenty to do with it. Kentucky scored just .94 points per possession against Indiana. This wasn’t just about Kentucky missing shots. It was also about Indiana defending.

The work on Jamal Murray was especially impressive as the future lottery pick shot just 7-of-18 from the field (1-of-9 from 3-point range) and had 16 points. Indiana also did a great job with positioning as Kentucky committed six offensive fouls in the first half. Kentucky turned it over on 22.5 percent of its possessions, more than six percent over its season average.

“Give them credit,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “They played, they fought. They did what they had to to hold on and win that game.”

· Bryant dominates down the stretch: The theme of Thomas Bryant’s freshman season has been constant improvement. On Saturday, Bryant got stronger and more aggressive as the game moved along.

After picking up two early fouls and scoring just two points in seven first half minutes, Bryant exploded in the second half. He scored 17 points, including 7-of-9 from the line. No two free throws were more important than the ones Bryant knocked down with 10.4 seconds to go that sealed the win.

As has been the case all season, Bryant continued his remarkable efficiency on Saturday. He made five of his seven shot attempts in the second half and four were dunks or layups.

“The point of emphasis I had was staying on the attack,” Bryant said postgame. “Coach told me that he wanted me to attack more, you know, get a quick whip or get a quick bucket down there on the block when I can. He believes in me, and I just went with his plan.”

· Ferrell starts slow, but prevails late: Early on, it appeared that Tyler Ulis would dominate the much discussed matchup with Yogi Ferrell.

Ferrell started just 1-of-6 from the field, but as the game moved along, things heated up for Indiana’s senior point guard. Ferrell scored 11 of his 18 points in the second half and he finished the game with four assists and just one turnover.

By comparison, Ulis scored 27, but had four turnovers to just three assists.

“Yogi, he took the game into his control like he does sometimes,” Max Bielfeldt said. “He just has that ability to put the team on his back when he needs to and make the right play when he needs to.”

· Late assists from Williams prove pivotal: Troy Williams has been criticized throughout his career for making questionable decisions with the ball and the first half of Saturday’s game was no different.

Williams was wild with the ball and committed three turnovers in the game’s first 10:22. There were also some flashes of good Troy in the first half as he scored nine points before halftime on some incredible drives when the Hoosiers desperately needed offense.

But Williams made arguably his two most important plays in the second half when the Hoosiers needed it most. With 7:32 remaining, Williams found Bryant for a layup to put the Hoosiers ahead 52-50. He followed that by finding OG Anunoby for a 3-pointer with 6:57 remaining that extended Indiana’s lead to six at 56-50.

“If I saw something there (in the first half), I just took it,” Williams explained postgame. “And then at the same time, I didn’t have something, I just kicked it out to teammates for a 3 or a backcut.”

· A satisfying win for Tom Crean: A lightning rod for criticism early in the year and at numerous times throughout his tenure, Tom Crean deserves the credit for reviving a team that looked totally lost in early December at Duke.

Crean said the Hoosiers would figure it out following that Duke loss – and they did – but there were still plenty of skeptics coming into the weekend as Indiana came off a disappointing loss to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament.

Could the under-seeded Hoosiers get past Kentucky, a program that had been to two straight Final Fours?

They just did.

And for Crean, who probably takes more criticism at times than is warranted, this was a win that clearly meant something despite his unwillingness to look forward to anything beyond the next game.

“I’m not good at putting it in context, you know? I’m just glad that sometime later tonight to get a nap and we will be able to start diving into film,” Crean said. “I truly am. I know it sounds simple, but that’s what motivates you.

“That’s what motivates me. There will be plenty of time down the road for us to put the season in context. Right now we have no intention of just showing up in Philadelphia, you know, being there for a few hours, you know, lose and go home.”

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  • HuntinHoosier86

    Slight correction: you said you didn’t know if RJ had the tear, but I think you were talking about JM. I really hope that was just a typo and not something else we need to worry about with RJ!!

  • HuntinHoosier86

    No question about it! Man, what a tough kid to continually play through pain like that. He has to know it will probably slip back out again and again and yet still plays hard. Love JM!

  • HuntinHoosier86

    Yeah, and I really hate that too. He was one of those guy that I always looked to see if he was trailing after running back from a defensive rebound to see if they would kick it to him for a 3. Kinda like what Watford used to do. I really hope the extra few days off lets his wrist heal enough that he feels confident to drain a 3 in transition again. Really, if all our main B1G rotation players were healthy, I seriously don’t think there’s a team that could beat us. Now, if we also had a healthy JBJ as well, that would be awesome!

  • Wow, I am impressed.. You medaled in Moscow.. Congratulations.. That is something you have accomplished that is very rare.. I had no idea you were that accomplished in the field of Gymnastics.. Again congratulations, that is so cool. SO you would know a lot more than most on here that espouse what seemingly is fact, but then don’t even know it is rotator cuff, not cup…lol… I really do not know, other than having had rotator cuff surgery.. Mine however was not done in such an honorable fashion as yourself. Mine was torn weight lifting for football.. It’s not that hard to come back from, but it is amazing how much strength you lose while having it done.. and if your young you can come back from that much easier than if you do it when you are older.. I believe, and I’m certainly not familiar with his individual situation, but I do think JM’s shoulder will keep doing this until he has it surgically repaired though. Notice it is now happening with greater frequency as it gets reinjured repeatedly.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    Hahaha! I am the exact same way and when he started bringing the ball up instead of Yogi, I looked at my wife and said “I need to take my blood pressure pill”. LOL

  • HuntinHoosier86

    No doubt about it! I live in Henryville, IN and it’s only about 20 miles north of Louisville. Gotta work with a lot of Kensucky fans and it’s definitely no fun. After the game I was whoopin’ and hollerin’ and my 2 years old ran in and said “what’s wrong, daddy?!” I told him IU just beat the bad guys. He said “who?!” I said UK and pointed to their bench and he said “why? (as in ‘why are they bad?’) and I said because they’re cheaters and he said “OHH NOO!”. Haha! Like the good book says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”. He already can sing most of the IU fight song. Sorry for the long winded comment. Can’t help rambling about my boy!

  • N71

    Effortless is a good way to say it, you don’t see “effortless” and 46 points, let alone as a sophomore, very often if ever. He would appear to be a remarkable talent that’s starting to emerge. Southport was a beast as well, for him to get 46 against one of the best teams in the country, very, very impressive.

  • marcusgresham

    This is what I tagged a couple of mouthy Kentucky fans on.
    Fairly tame for me considering the crap I hear from these two on an almost daily basis.

  • marcusgresham

    Johnson got called for a charge right after he drew one.

  • marcusgresham

    Nothing will top Taurean Prince’s “how does Yale out-rebound Baylor” answer.

  • marcusgresham

    His father is a professor. He’s been around a school or two. lol

  • marcusgresham

    With the exception of Thomas Walkup from SFA. That kid looks like Thor.

  • Ole Man

    Now that’s something that doesn’t happen often! LOL!

  • Ole Man

    Thank you. Seeing the Dr. today 🙂

  • BL

    Never had a HIGH ankle sprain and believe RJ also has a bone bruise. Unlike a normal sprain, I don’t believe bracing (taping) is an effective remedy or precautionary measure for high ankle sprains.

  • BL

    Missed that. Get well ?

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’m with you…I know it’s a big “if” but I found myself thinking about the Elite Eight during last night’s games. How odd would it be to knock off UK and UNC and find ourselves tipping off with the Final Four on the line and staring at Nigel Hayes and the Badgers? Who would have believed that IU-Wisconsin would be a game with those stakes? Can’t say I’m giddy about the prospect about the prospect of playing an opponent (ND or Wisconsin) that already knows us…guess we’ll worry about that bridge if we get to it.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    funny, i was watching that game last night, and couldn’t decide who i wanted to win. to be honest, i was leaning toward xavier so there was no chance we’d have to play wiscy again!

  • IUMIKE1

    Not to mention what it will do for our recruiting

  • Hoosier_in_Houston

    Actually, the final 4 was in New Orleans in 1987 – I was there. We won the 1976 championship in Philly

  • BL

    Yes, with Southport having top tier D1 recruits that are upperclassmen, I was shocked he got 46 at his age. What’s really cool, he has a complete game. Scores inside and out, handles it, sees the floor and is really active on the defensive end. Man, it would be awesome to see him in cream n crimson. Ok, I need to calm down; he’s an ’18 recruit.

  • BL

    I hope Maker was watching the UK game and noticing the development and impact of TB and OG. Feeling strongly it’s KU, ND or us. Just can’t see him choosing ASU or UNLV; both are in rebuilding mode.

  • IUMIKE1

    Ditto that ! With what is left out there might not be a bad thing to consider. Something tells me he would not be a problem going forward.

  • oldiugymnast

    No medals for me! I was decidedly mediocre. Gymnastics is a small family and if you stay in it you know everyone. I helped several of the former soviets immigrate to the US in the early 90s and became friends with some guys that were unreal athletes. I have no doubt you can come back and what sucked in the 80’s is much less sucky now. You are right about the frequency. It isn’t uncommon in my sport to get this – rings is a lot like weight lifting only even more likely to end up in a bad position with momentum. I don’t know about JM – but the 30 or so guys I know that had similar issues had a torn labrum and torn subscapularus. Here is to him being full strength Friday!

  • ForeverIU

    Nigel Hayes, yuck! I think I prefer Notre Dame. I’d rather play against the #172 defense (ND) than the #12 defense (Wisconsin). But we can handle either one.

  • Except, this isn’t the same team either of them played already. This team has grown considerably, especially since ND but even since Wiscy. I mean, it’s March, anybody can beat anybody, and all that. And, we’re also not the same team in that we have some injuries we didn’t have then. But if Hayes comes in and thinks he’s going to manhandle IU the way he did at Wiscy, he’ll have another thing coming–the refs and much improved team defense won’t let him get away with it.

    Can’t look past UNC, that’s our toughest game this season by a long shot, and they have me scared. But if we’re facing Wiscy, I’m vastly more confident.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I completely understand that it’s March, that teams have changed, that players have changed, that the venue and officiating would be different…that’s all very true.

    That being said, there has been one constant during the past decade or so and that is that Wisconsin is an absolute pain in the backside to play. Our games against them become a disjointed slog that ends up being a nightmare for me to sit through. Perhaps I’m alone in that but I know I’d be an absolute basket case if we were playing them with a Final Four trip on the line. I know Notre Dame is very capable of getting hot and cutting up teams for 90 points (unlike us, they haven’t really evolved on the defensive end) so I guess that’s why they scare me. I’ve seen Xavier play probably a dozen times this season and I wouldn’t have been overly concerned with them. X is tough and they play very hard but I thought we would have presented them quite a few problems that they don’t really have answers for. Alas…we will never find out.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking past North Carolina at all. I saw quite a few people posting that they thought Providence was a tougher matchup and I really don’t think those people watched very much of UNC or Providence. Providence has two very good players but the overall squad leaves a lot to be desired and it showed in the final 15 minutes of UNC’s curb stomping. The Tar Heels are favorites to beat us and I think they have earned the respect they are getting. The ACC has proven to be a top conference and they won both the regular season and tournament titles. Their guards don’t shoot particularly well (but they are capable of hitting some shots) but they do everything else well, their frontcourt is deep and capable of dominating the glass (Johnson is a particularly scary proposition…not sure how to approach that matchup). I’m certainly not looking past the Tar Heels, I know this incredibly fun season could end abruptly on Friday night.

  • Rie

    I hope so!!

  • TomJameson

    hahaha … good catch. Just need to worry about RJs ankle. Fixed my comment.

  • MK

    where are those pics would love to see them

  • Yeah, I hear you. And really, although it’s part of the process and a big part of the fun for a lot of people, slicing and dicing things to figure out how we can win (and lose) isn’t something I really want to spend much time doing. I think this team could win out and take home banner #6, but I also think UNC could be too much and we’ll be back on Saturday nursing our wounds. Regardless, this has been an incredible season that I’ve really enjoyed, and I’ll be disappointed if we lose but mainly for the kids and the coaching staff. Personally, if they just called off the tourney for some strange reason, I’d consider this season to have already been an unqualified success.

  • IUMIKE1

    Is pUKeoff his list ? Plus seems like I remember there being some kind of connection with him and/or his handler to ASU.

  • TomJameson

    I fixed the cup/cuff typo, but I’ll stand by the description. I needed to refresh my thinking, so I went to the medical journals to inquire about the description of the injury, and the possible surgical fixes.

  • BL

    They know Hurley well but ASU is in total rebuild mode. Hard to imagine he wants that if he’s one and done. Not very competitive in practice and sure would be nice to make a decent run in the NCAA’s.

    UK not involved based on everything I’ve seen.

  • John Walker

    I call bullshit!I also dated Kate Upton !lmao some people!You didn’t even come close!

  • John Walker

    You have a head like a bastard alley cat!Maybey one of the male cheerleaders! Lol

  • Holt is not as long or as athletic as JM.. I wouldn’t mind seeing him come back, but he wasn’t and likely would not in the future be nearly the defender or rebounder these two Freshman are..

  • You can hurl all of the insults you want you ‘pencil necked’ geek, but that doesn’t change the fact that it did happen, 30 years ago, but it did happen. You must be a Kentucky grad, you can’t even spell ‘maybe’.. Is that how they spell it down in the hills you hillbilly? I’m guessing the best looking date you ever had was the Playboy centerfold, over in a dark corner all by yourself…