Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Louisville

  • 01/02/2017 9:44 am in

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana never found its footing offensively and again struggled to defend on Saturday as the Hoosiers lost their second straight game, 77-62 to Louisville. It was the third straight loss for Indiana at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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

· Another clunker on defense: Louisville, a good but not great offense, had no trouble scoring against Indiana. The Cardinals scored 1.17 points per possession against the Hoosiers, their sixth best offensive performance of the season.

There’s an alarming trend with Indiana’s defense if you look at how the Hoosiers have performed against high major teams versus low majors:

The sample size of high major opponents is still relatively small (five games), but Indiana’s overall numbers have clearly been artificially inflated by playing nine small conference teams. Eight of those teams are currently ranked 231st or lower in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings.

· Indiana’s point guard problem is real: This is not an indictment of Josh Newkirk. The Pittsburgh transfer has played well at times and has shown himself to be a capable shooter and defender at times.

But Indiana’s point guard play from last season was incredible with Yogi Ferrell, who played at an All-American level. This year, the Hoosiers are getting average play at point guard. In bigger games, it’s been a major problem.

The loss to Louisville was a perfect example. Newkirk got loose late for a few layups, but the game had already been decided. When then game was on the line, Newkirk made countless drives into the lane with nowhere to go. Those are plays that, last season, Ferrell was finishing with either assists or pull-up jump shots of his own.

So, what’s the solution? There might not be one. Tom Crean put the ball in the hands of Juwan Morgan for a good part of the second half. Ultimately, Indiana might be best going with Robert Johnson and a bigger lineup more regularly. You can also argue that Indiana should have recruited an elite point guard to replace Ferrell, but that didn’t happen as several attempts to land a replacement didn’t materialize.

· Offense stagnates against Louisville pressure: Indiana had its second worst offensive output of the season. Some of it was just missed shots, as Crean and the IU players explained postgame.

But some of it was Indiana failing to make adjustments until it was too late. When Indiana drove the ball smart and went into the lane with the intent of finishing plays at the rim, the Hoosiers found some success. That’s how Indiana got the game to within six midway through the second half.

That run, which proved to be Indiana’s last shot at staying in the game, was quickly ended with a turnover. The turnovers, of which Indiana had 10 in the first half, continue as a major problem. Crean called them “ridiculous.” The question is: what can be done to fix the turnover problem with this team?

· Offensive rebounding kept Indiana competitive: When shots aren’t falling, Indiana has one strength that should be able to keep it in any game: offensive rebounding.

The Hoosiers grabbed 46.3 percent of their missed shots against the Cardinals and scored 21 second chance points. It’s a strength that Indiana needs to continue developing as the season rolls along.

Through 14 games, Indiana ranks second nationally in offensive rebounding percentage at 42.2.

· Perimeter defense underwhelming against elite teams: Besides the North Carolina game, Indiana has done little to stop the opponent’s best perimeter player.

Frank Mason of Kansas dropped 30 points, which is tied for his season-high. Butler’s Kelan Martin had 28 against Indiana, his second best scoring output of the season. Nebraska’s Glynn Watson had 26 against IU, his second best scoring game of the season. And Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell had 25 against the Hoosiers, a career-high. Deng Adel’s 17 points were his second highest of the season.

It’s a trend that Indiana can’t afford to let continue with Bronson Koenig coming to Bloomington on Tuesday evening.

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  • IUBizmark

    You’re saying use the Jim Boehiem method and only play one defense, but play it well. I am mostly in agreement. I’ve seen many times were a team just can’t stop another team, so they roll out some gimmicks like the box and 1 or the blob defense, but for the most part, pick a core defense and get good at it.

  • IUBizmark

    Man, sorry to hear this. If it’s realistic, try exercising or something to help your blood pressure so you can keep watching your Hoosiers.
    Edit: I just read about your son and all. I had/have this exact same challenge. Sports is fun for me to vent a little, but I also struggle to keep it civil. My Dad used to go ape around the house when fixing stuff, so I applaud your effort to not pass that down to your kids.

  • IUBizmark

    I’ve wondered what a starting lineup of Bryant, OG, Morgan, JBJ and Johnson would look like.

  • IUBizmark

    Agree about JM at point guard. Disagree about TB. TB is allowed to play that way because that’s what he was recruited on. To expand his game as a stretch 4 as prep for the league. One man’s opinion.

  • If that’s true, I can’t really blame CTC. He’ll never recruit top players if they perceive that he’s going to stunt their careers. It’s a fine line, for sure, and I certainly wouldn’t him turning IU into a farm team for the NBA. I’m still not sure that’s what’s happening, though, because TB never did look like a pure center and he doesn’t seem to have that skillset. And I’m definitely not saying that TB doesn’t have things to work on, regardless–including being a better back to the basket player.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    It’s a struggle, man! LOL There were many times growing up I remember watching the games with my dad and IU would screw up and the remote suddenly grew wings and flew right into the wall! HAHA! I’m bound and determined not to let my boy see me that way.

    On your point of exercising, I made the decision (and not just b/c of New Year’s!) to join my local Planet Fitness sometime this month as well as doing the paleo diet 4 days a week. I don’t know if you’ve surmised by my username, but I’m a hunter, so I figured the “cave man diet” would suit me best! Last time I did it for 6 weeks and lost 15 pounds. Plus I felt way better. Anyway, really hoping the Hoosiers get out of their funk!

  • EBeck

    Yeah, we don’t see the practices- which is where McRoberts must be lighting it up.