The Minute After: Purdue

  • 02/09/2017 10:11 pm in

Thoughts on a 69-64 loss to Purdue:

The Hoosiers came to play. They competed. They hustled.

But despite the strong effort, the high energy, the collective will to win, it simply wasn’t enough. The reality twelve games into conference play? The Hoosiers aren’t part of the Big Ten’s elite.

So it goes down as Indiana’s third home loss in conference this season, dropping the Hoosiers to 5-7 in the Big Ten. What started off as a spirited march towards the Big Dance this year has grown into a weary crawl, the Hoosiers now on the verge of not making it.

Tom Crean said on the pre-game radio show it was about James Blackmon Jr. “getting integrated back into the team” and “not trying to get it all back at once.” But the junior, playing in perhaps his last home game against Purdue, wasted no time and wanted to make his presence felt immediately.

Blackmon Jr. attacked the basket early with ultra aggression. He had 10 field goal attempts at half, though he made just two of them.

There were other early signs Indiana had that extra juice in them tonight. Zach McRoberts had a putback on an offensive rebound. Freddie McSwain did, too. McRoberts drew a charge on Caleb Swanigan. Josh Newkirk saved an Indiana turnover in the backcourt in a possession that led to a Thomas Bryant 3-pointer. Plays like these ensured the self-inflicted turnovers didn’t kill the Hoosiers.

Indiana also wasn’t lost on defense. Isaac Haas took too many shots out of the paint. He finished just 1-of-6 in the first 20 minutes of action. The Hoosiers also didn’t let Purdue get too hot from distance, as they made just 3-of-11. So while Indiana failed to score a point per possession (.96), Purdue did too (.85). It all helped Indiana carry a 36-32 lead into half.

After the break, Indiana continued to play well enough to win. Thomas Bryant really asserted himself at the midway point of the second half on offense. He scored from beyond the arc and down low on his way to a team-high 23 points. Bryant’s play over the last couple games has been inspiring, a reminder of why he’s been regarded as an NBA talent since he stepped on campus.

In between back-to-back Bryant scores around the 10 minute mark, Indiana doubled down on Haas. On his kickout the Hoosiers closed out on the 3-point line twice to ward off a shot attempt. The possession ended in a P.J. Thompson turnover as the shot clock wound down. It was a solid sequence and gave hope Indiana was going to keep the lead and pull this one out.

But they just couldn’t make enough winning play down the stretch after Purdue tied it up at 57 with 3:49 to go. Indiana continued to feed Bryant to mixed results, and it culminated in that odd double-foul call, Bryant’s fifth of the game, fouling him out with 44 seconds left and Indiana down five. During that stretch, Blackmon Jr.’s only shot attempt was stolen away by Vincent Edwards.

On a night Indiana was about even with its opponent on points off turnovers (13 for IU, 16 for Purdue) and its defense held one of the better offenses in the country to a respectable 1.02 points per possession, the Hoosiers just didn’t muster enough quality possessions down the stretch to emerge victorious.

Indiana’s now dug itself a huge hole with just six games remaining in conference. Getting back to .500 in Big Ten play is going to be a big challenge, and who would have thought it just few months back?



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  • DonaldneedsAsafeSpace

    It’s not the players fault, it’s not the coaches fault. It’s purely god’s will that our boys get hurt more often than the other team

  • IdahoHoosier

    As you already said, kids play through the injuries. So it is possible, nay likely, that many of IU’s guys are playing at less than 100% considering up to 8 of them are or have been hurt this year. You still don’t seem to believe there is a need to consider injuries as a factor ever, so I’ll leave it at that. May God have mercy on your soul.

  • Dean Olson

    You do realize you twisted what I said into something I never claimed, right?

    A final four a decade, not every few years. You would agree a decade is different than a few years, no? And I said our facilities (like having one of the best college atmospheres, as noted by Roy Williams, among many others) are one of the things that make us elite. Perhaps my previous post was unclear, but I’m not depending on merely facilities as the reason we should be in the Final Four every hear.

    Washington has been irrelevant for my lifetime too, yet they managed to grab one of the best coaches in CFB. I would argue we’re in a better position. There’s no reason this program should be a step below Wisconsin year in and year out. There’s no reason Butler and Notre Dame have been the class of the state for the last few years (to be clear, that’s not particularly important except it shows programs with less at their disposal are doing more). I just don’t see how we can see what we’ve seen, and feel good about the direction. It’s been 5 years since Victor and Cody. And what’s our trajectory look like since then?

  • Steve S

    If Stevens isn’t ready, there’s
    Archie Miller
    Chris Mack
    Scott Drew
    Mike Cronin
    Greg Marshall
    Rick Byrd
    You could even add Quonzo Martin to the list, but I’m a little surprised Purdue hasn’t tried that yet. Maybe after another quick exit from the tournament, but maybe they are satisfied with getting there.
    A coaching change is always a process, but if we continue to wait I just see more of the same. If Troy Williams hadn’t jumped to play D league ball, perhaps this team would have had a little more leadership and depth, and without the injuries, at least a chance to do good things. I don’t really believe any of the kids we have now wouldn’t benefit by staying and getting a degree, but I imagine someone will jump.
    All of the coaches I listed have had success at schools with what I have to believe have less recruiting capabilities than IU, but the competition isn’t as stiff in most cases either. Still, it seems most fans, myself included, are growing tired of the CTC act. It’s probably a good time for a change. Just don’t see it happening yet as long as Glass is the sitting AD.

  • Dean Olson

    Tony Bennett or Chris Mack. Because both can recruit at high levels, with Mack having three top 25, including a top 10, class in the last 4 years, while UVA had the 7th best class last year. Both have out coached their recruiting classes. Both have Midwestern ties. Both are under 50, and Crean is paid about 50% more than either one, so I think we would have the financial resources to get one of them.

  • DonaldneedsAsafeSpace

    Yes, it’s likely kids across the NCAA are not playing at 100%. I concede. I think we were very mediocre even when OG and JBJ were healthy, and I don’t know really where there’s an argument against that. Also, Davis, Green and Jones have been there all season so IDK what injury you’re talking about

  • IdahoHoosier

    It’s called hyperbole, when you’re older you’ll understand it (joking, because we’re both young, get it?). I can’t really say much more than I already did. IU should be striving for more, probably need a new coach, need to improve the culture, etc. I just hope people can recognize that IU not being the cream of the crop isn’t exactly a new thing. You just can’t pin all the shortcomings of the program on the last couple years, that is my point. You and I are on the same page. We both want IU to keep moving forward. I’m just looking at the big picture and I’m thankful IU is winning the occasional B1G championship and going to the tourney, because that hasn’t always been the case.

  • pcantidote

    My guess is you are right about Stevens. It just drives me nuts when people act like they know what’s in his heart.

  • Tim Kramer

    Come on now. The NCAA tournament is essentially a crap shoot. You’ve gotta be fortunate to have a number of things break right, none of which seem to ever happen for IU. The 2012-13 team won a brutal Big Ten outright. That conference was night and day better than this year’s. Unfortunately, that IU team peaked in late January-February and wore down at the end of the season. As you recall, they nearly lost to Temple in the game before the Syracuse debacle. There’s no denying that their performance against the Syracuse zone was terrible. Crean deservedly took major blame. He still seems to be ridiculed for it in a lot of circles. Unfortunately, I don’t think that team was going to go much farther anyway. They were actually playing better the year prior, but had to deal with an Anthony Davis-led Kentucky squad looking for revenge. As crazy as it sounds, last year’s team probably had the best chance had Robert Johnson not gone down and had Morgan and Hartman not been severely limited and maybe if Blackmon were available, etc. Last year’s squad was playing as cohesively and peaking at the right time as any of them, but beating Kentucky and then North Carolina with all of those key players out just to reach the Elite 8 was too tall of an order.

  • Tim Kramer

    In essence, with the foul situation the way it was and with Indiana’s lack of leadership and “closer” who demands the ball and can get his own shot or create for others, IU is in trouble if they can’t build a several possession lead cushion. That’s why I knew that it was vital to make a couple of those open threes in the early part of the second half. IU could’ve very easily gone up by 10 or more and maybe made Purdue feel some pressure. But it didn’t happen and the seven point lead was quickly erased. Any sort of tight situation late in games is going to be a major challenge to come out on top in, especially against a seasoned veteran unit that is at full health. Johnson and Blackmon needed to be at least slightly better. They weren’t. They can be called excuses, but I’m just stating the obvious. Ask Tom Izzo this year how difficult it is to reload after losing several key veterans. And Izzo had what was called his best recruiting class ever. They’ve had some injuries, but not nearly to the extent or severity that IU has had. Kentucky’s stud 5 star point guard De’Aaron Fox recently turned his ankle and then missed a game because of the flu. In the game he missed, UK needed a buzzer beating three just to send a home game with Georgia into overtime. They pulled that one out to avoid what would’ve turned into a four game losing streak. Take away two starters and have another one or two banged up and in and out of the lineup and I’d really like to see what Calipari would do. There is no coach in the country who can make up for what IU has had to deal with. I’m not sure what you meant about McRoberts. Yes, he has been playing and doing quite a few little things that have helped out. However, he has taken virtually no shots and is not a threat to shoot. Having him on the floor at crunch time was never anticipated three months ago.

  • IdahoHoosier

    CTC mentioned various tweaks and injuries to almost everyone on the roster at some point. Some documented more than others. I don’t disagree that IU was not great even before the injuries. But I do believe without some of them IU would be in a better position right now. Debatable, but my opinion.

  • Steve S

    And Rutgers!

  • pcantidote

    I suppose that’s a chicken or the egg argument. Do we really not have elite players, or are they just not being put in a position to succeed?

  • DonaldneedsAsafeSpace

    For sure, w OG we may have won an additional 1 or 2 of the last 5. Though he was far from offensive guarantee this year. Anyway, we should be playing inside out ball with Davis and Bryant, two stellar big men. Unfortunately, that aint creans style and god knows how long Davis will be out. Fingers crossed for the kid

  • Steve S

    Rusty, always inconsistent. Johnson has lost his shot and not been able to get it back. Not enough assists. Too many shots taken off the dribble because of the lack of any strucured plays that work. How many 4 minute scoring droughts can a team have and still expect to win. There were times when they could have stretched the lead but came up with too many empty possessions. You could see the end coming when Davis went down with all the rest of the inside players in foul trouble, thanks to some lousy calls. Still, no one could knock down a shot. Josh was playing well coming into the game and appeared to have a good touch from outside, but they only got him 3 shots from outside. JBJ and RJ just kept chucking it up and couldn’t make anything, but they’re rarely set to shoot. The empty possessions from bad shots and turnovers are way too many. Looks like street ball most of the time.

  • PreKnight

    Tony Bennett turned down the job just before Crean was hired. Why would he come now?

    Chris Mack has a record in the NCAA tournament of 7-6. He has 3 sweet sixteens, 2 second rounds and 1 first round. So you are saying if we got to the sweet sixteen every second or third year, you would be content. I thought most of the fans wanted at least a final four (if not a championship) every decade.

    Don’t get me wrong, I would love for Indiana to get beyond the sweet sixteen every few years, but I don’t know who we can hire to keep the commitments that we have and at least a few upperclassmen (so we don’t start like we did with Crean) and would win like we want.

  • N71

    I wasn’t trying to imply I knew him, I was just offering an opposing outlook, you say no way, I’m saying why not, no need to be nuts.

  • Dean Olson

    The report that IU offered the job to TB was discredited as wildly inaccurate. And further, even if it had been true, the IU job ID far more attractive now than it was.

    And… You understand the point of a vertical change is the coach is expected to improve, right? Certainly UCLA hoped Alford would do better than getting bounced in the first round even year. In other words, one would expect Mack to be able to outperform his current Xavier team at Indiana, the same way one would expect Archie Miller or Buzz Williams to do the same. Chris Mack has outperformed Creans Indians almost every year, by both NCAA tourney standards and Kenpom.

  • Steve S

    Please! The offense looks more like it did playing Fort Wayne, and the only close games they’ve been able to pull out in conference were against Penn St. or they’d be 3-9. This team is just lost, there’s no assists being handed out and no leadership. Our freshman guards can’t contribute anything off the bench, which at this point in the season and with PT available, is awful. Running the table is possible, but I don’t believe that means winning the remaining games. Maybe they can beat Ohio St. I’m not even sure about that at this point. You would like to think they can beat Michigan in the next game, but there doesn’t seem to be a home court advantage for these guys and that’s the same team that was pounding them by almost 40 points before theyou emptied the bench.
    A run of 5 or 6 games for these guys? I’ll have to see it to believe it. No more Delaware’s or MVS’s on the schedule!

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Absolutely agree, Tim. Injuries don’t excuse losses, but they give you some context as to why a team is struggling. We happened to lose two of our best players at the same time we went through a very difficult portion of our schedule. It stinks, but it happens. Now, we have to figure out a way to overcome it.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Not really a chicken and egg example, but I get what you’re saying. In my opinion the answer is a mix of both. These are talented players who for whatever reasons, haven’t gelled and don’t seem to make great decisions on the floor. Are there more talented players? Yes. Is there a better in-game coach/system? Yes. Do both parties, players and coach, deserve accountability? Heck yes.

  • Steve S

    Don’t forget OG was sick when we lost to Fort Wayne! Guess we didn’t have enough talent to withstand him being out against them!
    And if Troy had come back, and Hartman not had surgery, and OG not had to try to rebound a brick with 5 seconds left in a half, and JBJ could play more than 1 good game in row, they would be in first place and be headed for a 1 seed in the tournament. Wrong! Cause he still couldn’t beat Wisconsin. And still wouldn’t get past the sweet 16, but that seems perfectly fine with some people. Excuses, just tired excuses.

  • DonaldneedsAsafeSpace

    Yep, tired excuses.. agreed. Even with Yogi, Vic, Zeller, and great perimeter shooters we still played fast paced, sporadic, erratic basketball.

  • Steve S

    Yeach, but you know if Calapari didn’t have Anthony Davis to help KY win the championship, Zeller, Vic, and Vernon would have won it, right? Oh, I’m sorry, that would be another excuse for not getting past that magical round of 16. Fact is they couldn’t do any better when they had the 1 seed. Almost went out to Temple a game faster. Oh, we had that inexperienced top rated point guard who finally decided to put in a little more work and lead the team when he was a Sr last year. Oops, another excuse. My bad.
    All kidding aside, I am glad to see his hard work pay off tho! Good for him! Perhaps if he’d had a coach push him a little sooner, he’d have been drafted by someone. Then again, maybe the harder way will work out better for him.

  • Bud Jenkins

    and he has on court experience as a player ! which imho is essential !!

  • Bud Jenkins

    and the injuries seem to be a consistant theme for the last couple years

  • IdahoHoosier

    Honest question: Theory on the cause of the injuries? Bad luck? Injury prone players? Workouts too grueling? Crean (thought I’d blame him before someone else does)?

  • Steve S

    Last year I made the comment that was CTC’s best coaching job after JBJ went down. Actually it was Yogi’s best coaching job. CTC was forced to play 2 long freshmen who obviously knew how to play defense before they showed up at IU. I wonder if they would have seen much playing time if JBJ hadn’t got hurt. CTC said Yogi was the smartest player he ever coached. Really? Then why did it take a blowout loss to Duke in his Sr year and his leading scorer to go down before he figured he needed to lead the team and play some defense if he wanted to go to the tournament his last year in school, after the abysmal end to the previous year. I’ll give him credit for figuring it out because I didn’t give them much chance after Blackmon went out for the season, and I am sure I’m not the only one. However, they gelled and became a very good team. I’d give more credit to CTC if I seen the same thing this year, but Yogi is definitely the missing piece. CTC doesn’t have anyone out there who wants to take that responsibility on this team, and it’s difficult to watch an offense that appeared to have so much promise to look so bad. I think someone else mentioned how easy it is for other Big 10 coaches to shut down this high powered offense, especially late in close games. CTC and JBJ blew off the Nebraska loss as if it was no big deal. However with the ugly loss to Louisville and another home loss to Wisconsin, the script for this team was being written. And I believe that the only guy banged up at that time was Morgan, with his bum shoulder, which didn’t really cause him to miss much time. Therefore, the injury excuse is after the fact. They were already cruising the wrong way. The lack of leadership necessary in close games was obvious, and nothing has changed. The defense looks a little better, but the offense just goes from bad to worse, if you toss out the 3OT game with Penn St. This team has gone from a slide to free fall. I’d like to think the person who mentioned running the table could be right, but I think in order for that to happen for these guys, their opponents would have to forget there was a game on those days. They might be lucky to get an invite to “that other tournament”.

  • HoosierOne

    Stevens would bring every top prospect in the state of Indiana to Bloomington…..along with those out of state. On the flip side, if he didn’t win a championship by his 2nd year would everyone not his forum be calling for his head? I love TC but he has been plagued by injuries starting with Maurice Creek…..is it destiny or are these guys getting put through the grind and working too hard in the off season? I don’t know but something has to change if you get to 10-12 years without a shot at a tittle…..at some point you have to look in the mirror as and AD and a university and make some changes. I’ve watched every game for 10 almost 20 years and this is the hardest season to watch so far. At least in the early days you got to see guys develop and grow without expecting much. Now we have a lot of talent but no results and people dropping like flies.

  • Steve S

    Miller lost a key transfer, Josh Cunningham, to a nasty knee injury and was able to keep Dayton at the top of their conference. He’s going to get him back now, so I fully expect him to get his team into the tournament again, and he didn’t have a team that was ranked 3rd in the country before losing to Fort Wayne, Butler, Nebraska, Louisville, and Wisconsin before they had any key injuries. Duke started the season without Giles and other key freshmen, and Jefferson missed some time, and Grayson Allen has been a problem child and suspended a game, not to mention the games that coach K missed, but I don’t see them on a burst bubble. Rather another high seeding. South Carolina missed Thornwell, their leading scorer for 6 games, yet they are tied at the top of the SEC with KY and FL. Yes other teams manage thru key injuries, but I guess if you have Indiana on the front of your jersey, it’s an excuse for the mediocre and poor play that was occuring even before they happened.

  • Bud Jenkins

    Could be many things or nothing, from classic over training to the shoes they wear. It would be super interesting to compare shoes brands to the number of injuries in college ball. I think we are with Adidas

  • Freemason

    Do you really think Stevens would leave Boston? You are dumber than I thought..lol How are the rest of the coaches on your list better than Crean? You must be a purdon’t fan at heart..blahhhh It’s ok to be dumb, just live with it. I just hope the ignorance stop with you.

  • Steve S

    Yes, I watched both of those games. They peaked too early and couldn’t get up for the NCAA tournament? You are right, they did nearly lose to Temple, which would have made it an even bigger failure than it was. What happened was Tom’s lack of structure on offense failed miserably and they were outcoached by Syracuse after a week to prepare, just like he is always outcoached every time he plays Wisconsin. And I do believe the team was playing better the previous year, altho VCU nearly knocked them out before KY did. You have to play the hand you are dealt. You are also correct that there is some luck of the draw involved. I guess they needed to have someone else knock off Kentucky and Syracuse, since they couldn’t do it. We were the 4 seed when KY was the 1. Syracuse was the 4 seed and we were the 1. We couldn’t beat the 4 as a 1 because all the offense could manage was 50 points. Michigan however, was able to knock out their 1 seed Kansas and get to the final 4, and then was able to take out the same Syracuse team and get to the final. Maybe IU would have been better off losing the big 10 to Michigan and being sent to another region as a 2. Do you think they would have done any better? No! Eventually no matter how many tournaments Tom gets to, he’s going to run into a team that plays defense and the offense will look like they did last night, or against Louisville or Wisconsin. It’s not going to change. Luck of the draw or a high seeding will only get them thru the first weekend. Then they are more likely to run into someone playing well with a week to prepare for CTC. The only time in his entire career he’s been able to get any further was when he had a hall of fame, once in a lifetime player. Only thing that is a fair bet at this point is that we don’t have to wonder how far he can get them this season. I think that shis left the dock about a month ago when they fell from the top 25 after blowing the season opening home game to a Nebraska team that lost 6 of its last 8 games, Louisville, and another home game to Wisconsin.
    Besides, Tom said he wasn’t smart enough to figure out what it would take to get into the tournament. He had to prepare for Michigan. That would be a good start. Depends on who shows.up for both teams.

  • Spooky

    Crean apologists are dwindling.

  • pcantidote

    Dumb is sitting at your computer in your mom’s trailer and pretending like you know anything about Stevens while just generally acting like an awhole. No one doubts that you are a tough guy, so relax, ok? Dumb is thinking that there are no coaches out there that can do better than Crean’s career average of 12 losses per season. Dumb is insisting over and over that someone else is dumb. It’s called projecting. Own it.