Notebook: No defense for IU’s latest loss

  • 01/27/2017 7:49 am in

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Michigan Wolverines pounced on a lethargic and out-of-sync Indiana Hoosiers defense on Thursday night at the Crisler Center.

The end result was a 90-60 blowout loss for Indiana in a game where the Hoosiers allowed Michigan to score 1.54 points per possession.

“They got very comfortable,” Crean told reporters after the game. “We didn’t switch aggressively. We had some tough matchups tonight. They create some of that. But switching aggressively and being up on the ball and understanding what we’re trying to take away is important. We didn’t do as much of that. They were far too comfortable shooting the ball.”

Indiana (14-7, 4-4) had already shown glaring defensive issues this season. Michigan (14-7, 4-4) just magnified them.

Every over-help was met by a wide open three. Failure to get back after turnovers, of which Indiana had 16, led to wide open layups. Anytime an Indiana switch created an advantageous matchup for Michigan, the Wolverines pounced.

“It was definitely a lack of aggressiveness, and there’s no excuse for it,” Crean said. “And I don’t have one.”

For a team that came into Ann Arbor riding a three-game winning streak, it’s hard to comprehend what led to a night like this.

“(We have to be) more prepared,” said Josh Newkirk. “Just being more prepared mentally and locking into the game and just warming up right.”

Sure, Indiana’s offense was adequate. The Hoosiers shot 54.5 percent from the floor, hit seven threes and scored 26 points in the paint. Those numbers aren’t spectacular, but combined with above average defense, they’re usually good enough to win.

Pair it with one of the worst defensive performances by a major conference team in a decade, and it leads to a 30-point loss.

Even racking up consecutive stops was a near impossible task for Indiana on Thursday.

In fact, only four times all game did the Hoosiers stop Michigan from scoring on consecutive possessions, with only one of those coming in the first half. The other three all came in the final 12 minutes, when the game had already been decided. And of those, two occurred only because of Michigan missing free throws.

It wasn’t just the defense, either. It was a lack of the right mindset, effort, focus, communication and hustle. All of the buzz words that have been brought up again and again by players and coaches were out in full force once more following the team’s seventh loss of the season.

“It just starts with our mindset,” Thomas Bryant said. “There’s no excuses. We just have to go out and execute better. It falls on us. We have to go out there and execute.”

Blackmon’s streak ends

Prior to Thursday, James Blackmon Jr. had played 65 games in an Indiana uniform, starting in all but one. Not a single time had Blackmon finished a contest without putting up at least one attempt from deep.

In his first game in Ann Arbor as a Hoosier, the streak came to an end. (Blackmon did not play in last year’s game in Ann Arbor). In 33 minutes, Blackmon hit two of three shots, all coming from inside the arc.

“(Blackmon) put himself in some bad situations in the corner,” said Crean, who quickly placed a qualifier, “But our screening was a joke. It was more us. I’m sure they’ll feel good about it, all that type of stuff. But it was more us than anything else.”

Priller ruled eligible

The Tim Priller eligibility issue has come to an end. Priller was in uniform and on the bench in Ann Arbor.

Priller had not traveled with the team for the two previous Big Ten road games. According to the university, Priller had been ruled ineligible due to a progress-toward-degree issue, which the university was appealing.

“It was resolved today,” Crean said of the matter.

Priller has not played since December 19th, when he logged two minutes of action against Delaware State.

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  • Ole Man

    A sobering, but excellent analysis, Josh.
    Thank you.

  • SCHoosier

    Haven’t seen the game yet..can anybody tell me how JBjr can play in a full game and not even take one three pt shot?

  • Shaggy_C

    Priller is back! Our long national nightmare is over. Hopefully we can get some minutes out of him given the injuries in the front court over recent weeks. JM didn’t seem like he was in game shape last night given the reports I’ve read on the game.

  • Scott Judd

    Our problems this year are not new. Tom Crean coaches IU like Tony Dungy coached the Colts: “Let’s just hope we get the ball last so Peyton can score. But we aren’t going to play any defense.” Tom Crean is a wonderful guy, who has given IU a lot of success, some that we hadn’t seen in over 20 years. However, he does not have the slightest clue how to coach to defense. He does not know how to correct turnovers. This is not going to change. Last year was different considering we had Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams. They would at least play defense. We also had Max and Nick. Crean’s plan will always be to play fast and hope that we get the ball last. Case in point is Penn State. When we can play fast and score we are a lot of fun. But when the same game plan isn’t working, you get the results we seen last night.

    We might as well get used to this, considering it’s been the same for eight years now. Crean will get some players here, we will mature some, but the game plan will always be to hope that we get the ball last and hope no one shoots 60% against our awful defense. There will never be adjustments for turnovers (haven’t seen that in eight years) and we will never be a good, or mediocre, defensive team. Gone are the days of fundamental basketball that we grew up watching, that’s for Bulldogs now.

  • I hate to nitpick after last night’s debacle, but last year’s defense was not because of Yogi and TW. First, TW was _not_ a good defender. In fact, he was a surprisingly poor defender given his length and athleticism. Second, Yogi was capable of being a good defender, and was on occasion. But the real reason last year’s defense improved was OG and then team defense in general got better. The communicated better, switched more effectively, and were more locked in and aggressive — all things they’re not doing this year.

  • One might be tempted to say that UM guarded JBJ well. And maybe they guarded him better than MSU and PSU did. But he also didn’t move with the purpose he did against MSU, at least during the first half that I could stomach watching. Probably a lot more than just that, but my hope that JBJ had turned a corner into becoming the player we’d all hope he’d eventually become were quashed.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Not to mention being guarded by a 6-7 guy, but if you ask resident after losses poster, Larry Brown. UM was under sized

  • vicbert caladipo

    Duke has a team full of top 10 recruits including the #1 in Giles, but I get your point Coach K’s job will never be in jeopardy and apparently under Senor Glass neither is CTCs

  • vicbert caladipo

    It’s always sad when you have to have a built in excuse but it is what it is….OG is by far our best defender and without him we have no margin for error.

  • “progress-toward-degree issue”
    What is that about?? WTH !

  • kelton drewery

    Mindset, mindset, mindset, is anyone tired of hearing this?

  • IUBizmark

    Yea, and there’s zero reason a Sophomore should be IU’s best defender.

  • weitrhino

    Welcome to the NIT…….maybe.

  • Sandra Wilson

    OG, and to some degree JM…..Both were freshmen and were coming off being instructed by their high school coaches…..How would you say they were doing this year on defense compared to last ?…Frankly, I don’t think either was nearly as good or aggressive this year…..There has to be a reason for this.

  • Sandra Wilson

    We were terrible on defense this year with him……There’s no excuse there.

  • In fairness to all involved, OG and JM have both suffered from injuries this season (and yes, of course, JM was also injured last season, but it was of a different nature). OG was better before he hurt his ankle, and he was just starting to return to form before he blew out his knee. Last night, JM looked like he hadn’t played for awhile — which make sense, because he hadn’t. Earlier in the season, JM was much more impactful.

    There’s lots to complain about the defensive performance this season. No way it should have been that bad last night in particular, and that’s at least in part on CTC. But we can’t simply ignore the impact of injuries on OG’s and JM’s performance this season, and that’s not on CTC.

  • Rkeg

    IU doesn’t have a “one and done” curriculum setup for players that can’t spell their name. We actually expect our kids to go to class and graduate. Part of the reason it’s difficult to attract some of the top talent. “We ain’t come here to play school” – I believe that was an OSU football player quote!

  • kaponya44

    I have no defense for that crap we saw .Michigan laid the true “floor” for this team wide open to be seen by beating IU in areas they generally do well, as well as areas where they do not ..The things which typically key IU to rallies in prior games where they fell behind did not materialize – Michigan did nothing to beat themselves, and went to the glass well which pretty much slammed the door on Indiana ,ESPECIALLY without JBJ asserting himself ..It was probably on the wall,but valid reasons to believe the rallies IU made in previous games were because of IU just as much as the lack of a rally last night.. It was a top to bottom spanking ..Someone call CPS on the team in maize and blue?

  • IdahoHoosier

    I don’t think age has much to do with defense, unless we’re talking age 19 versus age 45.

  • IdahoHoosier

    There are only a few truly elite scorers out there who can create their own shots. We all know JBJ is a scorer, but I have never felt like he could just go get his shots whenever he wants. IU, like most teams, can’t be successful with just one good scorer. UM just demonstrated if you take out the scoring threat, there is no one else on this roster that can pick up the scoring slack. I definitely don’t blame JBJ for the fact that, at this point, IU is totally reliant on him scoring a ton. He can’t live up to that nightly and pretty much no one could.

  • Good quote! I’m less of a Priller fan if that’s the case. More BB less GF.

  • Austin Alexander

    Easy answer, weak screens, jogging on cuts, not hustling. JBJ was in slow-mo for the entire game. I think he got beat off the dribble 7 or 8 times. 90% of our scores were off 1 on 1 situations. The entire team lacked effort on offense and defense especially. I’d act surprised but I’m not….when we give 100% effort we are impossible to beat…when we play like this we are a cupcake. The problem is setting the bar…I have no idea where to put it…we have played like the best team in D1 college basketball and we have played like worst team in D2 college basketball. I am having a hard time managing my expectations…as I’m sure the rest of you are as well.

  • Austin Alexander

    It’s hard to get open when you’re getting screens my 14 year old could walk through. JBJ was jogging on cuts too, just going through the motions. I would sum the whole game up like that for the entire team. They were there and playing basketball but they were just going through the motions…like a wedding rehearsal.

  • Austin Alexander

    Amen, the communication on switches and help at the rim really saved their season. The funny thing is that other teams are taught to do this…IU last year had to figure it out on their own. I played on a team that was full of kids who didn’t know eachother and the coaches made us do “yelling drills” they seemed silly but it made us a lot better at communication. Last night during the UM game I saw a lot of silent faces getting beat off the dribble…and not really caring.

  • Austin Alexander

    Injuries shake a team up, no doubt, but the coach keeping players on the floor after allowing their man to dribble right by them, or sagging off a hot three point shooter….is a coaching issue. RMK would have yanked the entire starting lineup 3 minutes in and played whoever was hustling the most for the rest of the half…heck, most coaches would do something to that effect. It drives me nuts when our guys start slacking off on defense and the coach leaves them in, or when he puts in a sub who is playing solid defense but messes up on offense…then yanks him 10 seconds later only to put back in some guy who is playing defense with his feet together and his arms at his sides. Play the kids who break their backs on defense…you can’t reward poor defense with play time and expect your kids to play defense consistently.

  • Austin Alexander

    You’re right someone should call CPS…those kids will be traumatized for the rest of their lives by that medieval rape-fest of a basketball game.

  • Well, to be quite honest, I have no idea what the players are taught. We make assumptions that CTC isn’t actively teaching things like communicating, although he talks enough about it, but we’re not in the practices and so we really don’t know.

  • I remember in the ’94 Minnesota game, the players were playing incredibly lackadaisically and without any spirit, and RMK did indeed bench the entire starting five. Minnesota won that game by 50 points, 106-56. And RMK proceeded to get thoroughly reamed by the fans and the press over his “harsh” tactics and the embarrassing loss.

    For all the talk of benching players, I wonder how this forum would react if CTC benched the starters and we got beat by 60 points. Maybe we’d all be cool with it, I don’t know.

    Did RMK doing that in ’94 turn the season around? Nope. It was late in the season, mind you, but we still got beat by Boston College in the Sweet Sixteen, and that was a decently talented team in its own right with Bailey, Evans and Henderson.

  • Actually, a healthy sophomore OG would be the best defender on a lot of teams. It’s one of the reasons he came into the season so high on the NBA draft boards.

  • Wannamaker

    The quote was from OSU QB Cardale Jones – a tweet. And the tweet, in context, was about the state of college athlete’s lack of standing in programs that make $millions off of them.

    And any player that intends to declare for the draft doesn’t have to attend any classes during Spring semester: As per NCCA regs his GPA is not counted against the school’s program if he goes pro.

  • Bud Jenkins

    but isn’t part of a coaches job description is to get through to the players ? to get them to perform as he/she wants. we all think we know what needs to be done to fix the problems, that honestly is the easy part, actually getting people to perform above their level as a group, not so easy …

  • Oh, sure, it’s the coach’s job, ultimately. The buck stops with him.

    I was just saying that we don’t know what’s actually going on in practices. CTC could be running all kinds of drills to get the kids to communicate and they’re not responding. Or, he could be doing nothing but talking about it. We really don’t know.

    I’m maybe not as quick to put it all on CTC because I’ve seen the same thing from RMK-coached teams — and nobody could accuse RMK of being unable to motivate teams. Sometimes, I think it’s a combination of things that results in a team performing way below their capabilities, and we just don’t know why this particular team could come out and play like they did yesterday.

  • Red Wedding rehearsal.

  • Ohio Hoosier

    So the coach can only be judged by the way his team plays on
    the floor. Bottom line should be if you want playing time
    you better play defense. If not, you can learn by watching a
    teammate while you sit on the bench. All good basketball
    teams can play shut down defense when they have to. Also,
    you don’t have to be a great athlete to play good fundamental
    defense. IU hasn’t been good defensively in any year of the Crean
    era. We can only judge him based on what we see (over and over and over again).

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    No fight no effort and the end result is a shalacking. This should have been a win or at least close.

  • Chuck Wanager

    No use discussing what happened with Blackmon. That’s a side issue. The major issue here is that this team has no fight, no leadership. In my opinion, this kind of performance starts with the coach. Can’t this coach get a team to defend, motivate them to do so? The coach says we weren’t aggressive. “I have no excuses.” No, no excuses for that kind of performance. I would like to see him blame himself. He seems to always, not necessarily directly, push it off on the players. Blame himself, and he would be right. He has to do something; he must push this team. Get his players to play defense, secure the ball, be aggressive. They play soft. Get them to play with pride or the coach should get out.