Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Purdue

  • 02/10/2017 9:17 am in

Indiana suffered its 10th loss of the season on Thursday night as the Hoosiers fell 69-64 to Purdue at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers are now 5-7 in Big Ten play with six games remaining.

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

· Another close game, another failure to close out an opponent: It’s been a theme this season for the Hoosiers. In games that go down to the final minutes, Indiana is having major trouble closing.

Thursday’s loss brought IU’s tally in games decided by five points or less to 2-6. The two wins: the season opener against Kansas and the buzzer beater over Penn State in State College.

Why was this loss more alarming than others?

This is the type of game that Indiana typically wins at home under Tom Crean. A ranked opponent with three days prep in front of raucous crowd is usually a good situation for Indiana to pull out a win. But it didn’t happen even with Purdue playing far from its best game.

Indiana once again played well enough defensively (as it did in Madison), but 16 turnovers against a team that doesn’t turn anybody over was the back breaker.

· More on the turnovers: For the ninth time in 12 Big Ten games, Indiana turned the ball over on more than 20 percent of its possessions.

Purdue turned 14 Indiana turnovers into 16 points. The Boilermakers turned it over 12 times and IU had 13 points off of those miscues. While only a three-point differential in this game, turnovers may end up as season defining for the Hoosiers.

In seven Big Ten losses to date, IU’s opponents have scored 59 more points off of turnovers. Overall in 12 Big Ten games, IU has been outscored by 48 in points off of turnovers. That includes the Rutgers games in which the Hoosiers outscored the Scarlet Knights by 22 off of turnovers.

· Guard play not good enough to win: The return of James Blackmon Jr. to the Indiana lineup was much needed, but the Hoosiers didn’t get an offensive lift from its backcourt.

Blackmon Jr. came out aggressively, but was just 3-of-14. Josh Newkirk, who was red hot coming in, was just 3-of-9. And Robert Johnson was just 2-of-11, including a 1-of-6 performance on 3-pointers.

“8-of-34 with our three starting guards,” Tom Crean said postgame. “That’s not good. That’s not good.”

· Bryant the lone bright spot offensively: As John Gasaway pointed out on Twitter this morning, Indiana’s offense is trending in the wrong direction.

Indiana is now down to third in the Big Ten in offensive efficiency at 1.09 points per possession. The Hoosiers managed just .94 points per trip against the Boilermakers.

The lone bright spot was the play of Thomas Bryant, who stepped out and hit three 3-pointers and finished five of his eight 2s before fouling out in 26 minutes. Bryant finished with 23 points, the third time he’s scored 23 or more in the last four games.

“Just staying aggressive, just taking what the defense gives me,” Bryant said of the performance. “If they collapsed on me my teammates know that I’ll find them.”

· Indiana’s margin for error is gone: Indiana is likely to be on the outside looking in when the next round of NCAA tournament projections come out. The Hoosiers, once ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press poll, are unlikely to make the tournament without multiple road wins down the stretch.

There’s been hesitation to use the words “must win game,” but Sunday’s game against Michigan is just that. With three Big Ten home losses and four road games to play, is there a path for the Hoosiers to sneak into the tournament? It’s a narrow one.

Crean was asked about his team’s NCAA tournament chances in the postgame, but wasn’t ready to discuss anything beyond Sunday’s game against the Wolverines.

“We’ve got to get ready to play Michigan, okay. I really — I’m not smart enough to think past that in all honesty,” he said. “We’ve got to get ourselves ready to play that game, and we’ve got to keep making the improvements that we have to make, and that’s our next game, and they shoot it phenomenally well, and we’ll put our game plan together, and that’s what our focus has got to be.”



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  • calbert40 – AC000000

    In all fairness…you HAVE to be joking. How can you say that with a straight face?

    Some of the guys you mentioned were kicked off the team for non-basketball related endeavors. I’ll leave it at that. Crean was applauded by fans and media alike for rooting out the garbage Sampson allowed in. IIRC, we had two returning scholarship players. Kyle Taber started for us!! He couldn’t have started at IU-South Bend!

    I am not asking anyone to change their mind about Crean. I just want people to be fair in their criticism, and you aren’t.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Yeah…I had really high hopes that first year…the one where we had no scholarshiped players. Should’ve won at least 20, right?

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    I know…grindingblots of axes today, aren’t I?

    Actually, I have said numerous times over the past couple years that I was unsure if Crean is the right guy for the future. I just want people to judge his legacy fairly. It is my opinion that well over half of the people who want him gone tomorrow are less than fair. My opinion isn’t worth a lot to many of those people, and me saying it probably emboldens them because half of this site thinks I’m an idiot, though.

  • David Macer

    Agreed. They don’t have a purpose for the most part in Crean’s offense scheme.

  • Apoc

    Then our definition of fair is quite different, as is what Crean’s definition is. If we are looking at how he has treated off court behavior over the years, it seems to be quite conflicting. Who got free passes, and for what? Who didn’t, and how many times did it take to kick them off the team permanently. For Hanner, was it two…three times? Davis? Holt?? And you find it hard for me to believe that someone may have conflicting views with how it possibly was handled? Of course the media was all over it…Sampson was the train everyone jumped on at the time. They were easy targets. It didn’t derail the others from having successful careers, at Xavier..one still playing in the NBA. How did teams such as Xavier, Ohio, etc. handling all these unmanageable hooligans that Crean supposedly couldn’t handle? This is a very fair criticism and to say it is not is basically putting on the blinders to all that has happened off the court over the years.

  • Apoc

    Fair to the man and his legacy..interesting last comment in that how was I not fair to the man and his legacy. I stated facts. Some, you choose to disregard. And how does “legacy” even come into this? I am stating things that HAVE happened…they are what they are.

    You forget that this is still a business, and Crean is the 8th highest paid coach. There are coaches that make significantly less that make the sweet 16 more often, and I mentioned them above. Conference champions 2/9 years, with last year coming from a ridiculously easy path. Their teams also do not have the major down swings that IU has.

    To answer your question, the mid 70’s all the way to 1994 were way more successful, and it is not even close. They would have continued as well, if not for Knight’s temper, as we saw what his 2002 team was capable of (and possibly others as well), on top of his accomplishments at TTU. Wisconsin has been way more successful…5 sweet 16 appearances with 2 elite 8, 1 ncaa runner-up. MSU 6 sweet 16, 4 elite 8’s, 2 FF’s, 2 BIG champs. Michigan 2 sweet 16’s, 2 elite 8’s, 1 FF/1runner-up, 2 BIG champs. OSU 4 sweet 16’s, 2 elite 8’s, 1 FF, 3 BIG champs. Even Purdue has 2 sweet 16’s….this is all since 2009. Out of all the main original B1G teams, IU simply does not outdo any of them. 8th overall highest paid coach yet only maybe the 5th/6th best coach in the conference.

    He was great for building the program back up, but he, IMHO, is not the guy to sustain it for all the reasons mentioned above and in my original comment. These are the numbers and they do not lie.

  • deez33

    I’ve read all your comments and I appreciate that you seem to put a lot of thought into your posts, however it just seems like you’re arguing for the sake of arguing. Earlier you mentioned facts, fact is CTC is in his 18th year as a head coach and has only been past the sweet 16 once. And that was when he had a top 25 all time NBA player who went absolutely nuts in march. Yes, crean lifted Marquette higher than they were in many years. He’s done the same thing at IU and I really appreciate his efforts here. He’s a really good coach but he’s not winning a natty or even building a program that can consistently compete for one, like say Wisconsin. It’s okay to say thank you, time for a change. We should be critical as fans, we all watch the games, we can see that this program has peaked under crean. That doesn’t mean we all have pitchforks trying to unfairly run ctc out of town. And yes, we typically have a good offense under CTC, that’s great but it doesn’t change the fact that we aren’t improving as a program. Heck I’ll give a pass on years 1-3, that means we have seen the same results for 6 years, going on 7 if next year plays out like we all think. Yes, injuries have been a big issue this year but the team should still improve despite injuries, I’m not demanding a B1G title w all these injuries, I get it. But I don’t see improvement. The last 2 months have been a microcosm of the last 6 years, by that I mean the same issues continue to haunt us and we don’t fix recurring issues like TOs. Sorry for the long post but I’ve read like 238 of ur posts defending the state of the program and I wanted to try to address all of your points. Bottom line is it’s time to move on from ctc and that’s okay. Wouldn’t u be really excited if we hired someone like Archie? Change can be good, it’s time for some fresh blood.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Fair weather fans

  • Fifer39

    Your points are always rational, thought-through and consistent. Just because I or others don’t always agree certainly doesn’t make you an idiot.

    I don’t think legacies can ever be measured until years down the line. Some comments are clearly OTT but I think many calling for a change just think a change is needed but are, in the main, respectful for what he has done. I’ve never said I think he should go but whenever he does I hope it’s at a point that we can all look back with some positive views about what he has done for the program. Because you’re right, there are plenty positive things.

  • Fifer39

    I agree with you but, to be fair, it’s better than talking about the basketball 🙂

  • Missing Moye

    Actually, the complete opposite. Fair weather fans would have bailed and not stuck around to discuss the issues. Being discontent with the current state of the program has nothing to do with how dedicated a fan is.

  • Arch Puddington

    “CTC is in his 18th year as a head coach and has only been past the sweet 16 once”

    This is in many ways the beginning and end of the debate. We can argue individual stats and pick and choose which parts of his career to look at until we’re blue in the face, but this is the whole story. Eighteen years, one trip past the Sweet Sixteen.

  • Arch Puddington

    Right. I think everyone agrees that you have to take your time and find the right guy, but that doesn’t mean you just wait endlessly for things to happen on their own. Even if he plans on giving CTC another year, which I am nearly certain is the case, Glass should absolutely be looking right now. If next year is as bad as it is shaping up to be, he’ll either have to make a move or risk losing his own job. Against that possibility, he needs to be working behind the scenes right now to identify and evaluate potential replacements.

  • mharv2631

    Cubs fans had to wait 108 years.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Long posts are fine when reasonable. Thanks for the good discussion.

    I think something that I probably do a poor job of conveying is that my goal is less defending the program and Crean than it is to try to encourage more dialogue like this. I appreciate it even when we disagree.

    I’d be fine with a change if I knew the change would improve us. I think a dean is a god coach – not elite, not without faults, not without concerns that haven’t been addressed in his tenure here – but I think we would need a homerun hire to make it worthwhile.

    I think Archie would be a great hire. Midwest roots, consistent results at a non-traditional program, etc.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    If you want to judge the man on those first three years, be my guest. They are facts, true. You are just ignoring context willfully. It shows you have an axe to grind, and I don’t believe it is reasonable.

  • Apoc

    And what axe would that be? I have no personal connection to the man, and I wish he had been more successful as we wouldn’t currently be in this discussion. It seems to me that if using logic and facts to justify letting Crean go is having an ax to grind, then everyone who does not take your viewpoint is grinding axes, and as you state above, are then not very receptive to logical arguments. I’ve pointed out everything you have asked for…4-5 B1G teams that have been more successful since 2009 (giving Crean TWO years in the beginning to accomodate what you think is an unfair assessment of his beginning years even though in any other business, a person would get fired for his results). He is the 2nd highest paid in the conference, with much greater compensation than his peers below him, yet only the 5th/6th best coach in the B1G. This is after nine years. How long do you think is an acceptable grace period to run a consistent program where there is 1 good year for every 2 bad years(and by bad, I mean really tanking)?

  • MarkHoltzHoosier

    How did they do with that strategy against IU?

    Crean sees it work against teams that play that style,so he gets evidence that it works. The trouble is, his teams struggle against teams that try to turn everything into a grinder… Aka, most of the B1G and the likes of Butler.

  • Ole Man

    You are boring people with your opinions.
    You won’t find your “Facts” supported anywhere.
    And the expression “SMH” is trite and overused.

  • Larry Brown

    Except that we do know the story. Those kids were not attending classes. They were not getting good grades. They were doing drugs. Once again you are putting a spin on things, but that is just your way.
    The problem with you is that you emote rather than think

  • I’m not actually saying anyone’s wrong in making that the topic. I just find that it adds insult to injury for me personally at this point — the season has been disappointing enough all by itself, and now the prospect of so much negativity and controversy is depressing. No matter what happens from here on out — barring a miracle run to a championship — this forum is going to be filled with mostly impotent kvetching about CTC, or worse.

    Blech.

  • Larry Brown

    I will add this. Why is it that when the IU job opened up so many well qualified coaches had no interest in it? Simple. They know that there are too many fans like you who are using the nineteen-eighties and Bobby Knight as a measuring stick. If you want to know truthfully why Fred glass does not make a move to get a better coach, perhaps you should look in the mirror.

  • Apoc

    I stated that we do not know the story. I have put no spin on anything. We can all agree that disciplining athletes for off the court issues has been a problem in the past for Crean, as I took the time to point out, and his enforcement of said issues has been…inconsistent…as I pointed out as well. I also commented on how these “hooligans”, as you are portraying them to be, were quite successful at other schools, such as Armon Bassett at Ohio under John Groce (Assistant Chris Holtmann/now Butler’s coach) and Jordan Crawford at Xavier (even underwent a regime change there with no hitches between Sean Miller and now coach Chris Mack). Why is it that these coaches handled these players and utilized their talents when Crean could not? If they were not successful in other schools and Crean did not have as many other discipline issues, then this would be a moot point. However, these situations have no occurred inside a vacuum and, to be fair, would have to look at them in their entirety.

    By the way, making personal insults to try and make your point any more valid is rather weak, and usually does very little to sway people to your side. I will however dissect your last statement. “I emote”….I have used emotions at all in my arguments…only facts based upon what is. You can take them or leave them, but they are still facts. “Rather than think”…to not think would be to take the media’s take on things without questioning them, as you have done. I, however, HAVE questioned the circumstances surrounding all the disciplinary actions, which, by definition, is thinking, so I think you may have applied that phrase incorrectly to this situation.

  • Apoc

    How do you know that no well qualified coaches had no interest in the position? Were you personally involved in the hiring or gauging interest part of the hiring? Who says Glass didn’t just jump on the first coach who had some success and had a, to that point, clean program? There were tons of options, and to say none showed interest would be naive…Tony Bennett, Steve Alford, Calipari(yuck), etc. All those guys would have been ready to make a move, although, I have a gut feeling some of these names would be striked off due to risk-reward and connections to the Knight era. Remember this:
    http://www.insidethehall.com/2008/03/29/goodman-iu-offers-job-to-bennett/

    Then read the bottom…Bennett calls reports inaccurate. What does this mean? Was he an option and IU was not pursuing him as hard as they could have?

    Fans like me? What type of fan am I? Are you confusing using Knight as a measuring stick with using yearly success as a measuring stick? Don’t get me wrong, Knight was amazing at coaching and to say different would be plain wrong. Did this mess start with the way his situation was handled…sure, no doubt. Did I say it was justified due to his temper…yes, and you can actually read that above.

    To your last sentence, fans like me strive for the best. Do I think Crean is the best for IU…no. Do I think he is the best for some college..yes, but it isn’t here. The reason Fred Glass does not make a move is that all of his marbles are now in Crean’s jar, plain and simple. Wilson didn’t work out. He approved pay increases/contract extensions to make Crean the 8th highest paid coach in the country, and he knows that if that fails, he will most likely be gone.

  • Here’s what I think happened this season (to inject a topic other than just CTC’s future, as someone below suggested that I do)… This won’t be popular because it doesn’t involve pinning everything on CTC and calling him a horrible coach, but here it is nonetheless. And note: my version does put much of the responsibility on CTC, and implies that he’s a good but not great coach, if you read it closely enough.

    Anyhoo, I think that that this team’s defensive identity was formed around OG. It was the same last season as well when the team’s defense improved. A healthy OG who’s playing well is a completely disruptive force, and not just against the player he’s specifically guarding. Simply put, when OG was healthy, we played good defense. Take OG out, and suddenly the defensive identity falls apart. And, to a certain extent, that’s true for the offense as well.

    That happened first against IPFW. OG was sick, and so he played poorly early and then was out late. He was recovered by the UNC game, and we saw how that went. Then he was hurt late in that game, and it took him quite some time to get back to 100%. During that time, the team — and CTC — didn’t respond by formulating a new defensive identity.

    Then, right when OG was almost recovered and he and the team were starting to return to early season form before OG was hurt, he blew out his knee. Once again, the defensive identity — and to an extent, the offensive identity as well — was torn apart. Notice that now, after quite a few games without OG, we’re starting to play better defense (although offensively we’re struggling, because JBJ got hurt in the meantime).

    In short, I think that the team — and CTC — were simply too reliant on OG. I remember saying early that as OG goes, so too will this team go. I got that idea from watching them last season — it was simply a different team with OG on the floor. If you remember, last season OG didn’t start, and on quite a few occasions when we fell behind early, I caught myself saying, “It’s okay. OG hasn’t played yet.” And then he’d come in, and the entire tenor of the game would change.

    Yes, that’s on CTC. Seeing how we played against IPFW without a healthy OG, CTC should have been thinking hard about contingencies. But that’s an interesting question — is it a bad thing for a coach to form a team around a player like OG? And then, how long does it take for a team to recover from losing a player like him?

    Maybe, a better coach would have leveraged OG’s strengths, and then built up a team around him that was even more dominant. Then, when he went down, the remaining players would be able to recover more quickly. But there’s no doubt in my mind that what we’ve been watching is a team that’s been learning to play without OG. And had JBJ not gotten hurt, then maybe we could have done better in the last two games — our defense was much improved, and it was our offensive efficiency that killed us.

    It’s all speculation, but that’s my story, and I’m sticking with it. It doesn’t answer the CTC question, and it’s not supposed to. But I do think the story this season is OG’s injury, and I truly wish we hadn’t lost him and could have seen things play out if he’d remained 100% healthy all year.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Thanks for the update, OM. I used SMH, because I was literally shaking my head reading your post. Trite or not, it was appropriate.

    I don’t care if others agree with me. If people want to March on Cook, let them. I won’t participate in that…but I will call them out for it. You included.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Also, if I was “boring” people, why am I still getting 20 notifications so days after the original posts? I may be a lot of things, but I don’t think boring is one 🙂

  • bball at nick’s

    I stopped reading after your third line because you are simply provoking those who don’t have a favorable opinion of CTC and dismissing them as irrational. I don’t think most of us CTC critics are calling you a homer, so I think some mutual respect is called for here. So, my answer to your first three lines: one needn’t pin ALL the blame on CTC to have a valid argument for a coaching change. No blame is ever 100% on one person. We can go into all kinds of labyrinths of explanation and rationalization here, but the bottom line is that we have had CTC for nine years, and the overall results are mediocre. I’m not against the intellectual exercise in any discussion, regardless of whether one is for or against CTC. Not all of us feel that CTC’s job status discussion should be put off to the post-season. You have no right to dictate the terms of this discussion. I agree that bitter vitriol against CTC is wrong, but his future at IU is certainly a discussion we could have. Now, if the mods decide that CTC’s job status is off-limits, then I will abide and decide if ITH is a worth-while forum for discussion.

  • First, if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. Second, I can no more “dictate the terms of this discussion” than any other visitor to this site. I can, though, voice my opinion on it — just like you did here. Third, seriously? My god, if what I wrote is “provoking” someone, then there are some serious double standards in effect and some very fragile snowflakes. Fourth, frankly, I couldn’t care less if you didn’t read past the third line.

  • Larry Brown

    Your arguments are ridiculous and I am not the only one to point this out. Nor am I a big Crean fan. But your attitude is neither objective, nor just, nor supportive.
    In my mind we should be talking about the incredible performance the team made in the past 2 games. Missing 2 of their starters, and 2 other playing banged up, they came within a few points of the 10th-ranked team in the country on their hostile court, and within a few points of the #15 team at Assembly Hall. I don’t hear you even whispering about that performance by not only the players but THE COACH.. I’m not surprised, either, since you CHERRY-PICK .

  • Larry Brown

    You’re a cherry-picking, joke of a fan, like calbert40 pointed out above. Your arguments simply don’t hold water, and I have to wonder if you were expressing them last year as IU went on its B10 title run and CTC won Coach of the Year. Betcha not. Now THERE’S cherry picking.

  • Larry Brown

    And you are totally right.

  • Larry Brown

    You are right to call them out. I was criticized on here for being over-critical of CTC just a couple weeks ago, but now find myself defending him against these ridiculous attacks that won’t even grant him a pass for the first 3 years when he took over a program left for dead.

  • Larry Brown

    2 starters out with injuries. 2 others playing with injuries. I believed in your argument until that occurred. Now, I think the team is playing damn well to get within a few points of ranked teams. You’ve got to cut them some slack now, at least. But certainly not for FW, Nebraska, Butler ….

  • Larry Brown

    your numbers are good but I bet no change comes. Glass is very slow to make changes. Recruiting has been good. Coach of the Year last year. Injuries this year. As much as I too would like to see a different style of play and more success …. no change is coming soon, I bet, unless Glass goes too.

  • SeeingRed

    There’s no point to dragging this out. Not good for either party. If Glass has decided CTC is done, the right thing to do is make it so. That way IU can move on, and CTC can get a fresh start somewhere else.

    If Archie Miller is your guy, for example, why screw around and let somebody else hire him because you dawdled? Being wishy washy is a terrible trait for an AD. After the long shot, super star hires say no thanks, go get a plain ole good coach.

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  • Apoc

    This will be the last post I make to you as you sound incredibly unreasonable and stressed, due to the randomness and wide-sweeping nature of your posts. Consider the following for both of your replies:

    1) How has the conversation gone on this particular thread and then think about WHY I responded to calbert40.

    2) This one is important because I don’t think you quite understand it: Definition of cherry-picking: selectively choose (the most beneficial items) from what is available. Now, consider the seasons you are picking out…seem familiar to the actual definition?

    3) You don’t know me, nor what I think or how I feel. But, I will give you an insight. Yes, I did have these feelings last year as well. Was I happy that the team did well…of course, I love IU basketball. Did I temper my expectations with reality..yes. I realized that the success of 1 season does not carry over year after year under the current regime. This pattern goes all the way back to his years at Marquette.

    4) If you want to talk about the improvement, that’s great. I mentioned it to my colleagues at work how much better they were playing defensively, but once again, the topic of this thread did not shift to the defensive conversation so you may want to find that thread elsewhere. However, in terms of the banged up players, let’s not pretend the problems started with their exit. IPFW, Butler, Nebraska at home, blowout loss to Louisville, Wisconsin at home..all with IU’s players. There were problems way before OG and Blackmon were injured.

    5) If barely losing gets you excited, then so be it. Think about the last plays ran in that game with about 30 seconds left. Crean calls a timeout…out of a TO, how long did it take for them to get a shot and how confused/stymied did the offense look? His end of halves play-calling is really bad.

    6) My view is not objective or based in reality? Let’s go to reality. In any business, if you are a manager or CEO, you have 3 good years and 6 bad years in managing the company…would you get fired or get a raise?

    7) Another thing to think on…think back to Mike Davis’s tenure at IU. Most people will say, “Oh, it was Bob Knight’s team”, but it did have some of Davis’s key recruits (Jeffries, Moye, Leach all he brought in as freshman) plus he was the recruiting guy so he recruited most of the players. Just to appease you, since you obviously have an obsession about Crean’s first years, I will give Crean a 2 year grace period. Since then:
    Crean has a 52% overall win % and 47% B1G win %.
    Davis: 58% overall win % and 57% B1G win %.
    B1G Titles- Crean: 2 Davis: 1
    Furthest run in tourney- Crean: S16 Davis: Runner-up
    Made tourney: Crean: 4/7(most likely) years Davis: 4/6 years
    Placed LOWER THAN 4TH IN B1G: Crean: 5/7 years Davis: 2/6 years.

    IU fired Davis, and don’t get me wrong, I think it was probably the right move. But looking at the numbers, even giving Tom Crean a grace period, his numbers are WORSE than a guy IU fired and his salary is probably 9-10 times better than Davis’s was.

    This is the reality. I’m sorry that you may not like it, but that’s what it is. I’m done giving numbers, as some people irrationally choose not to look at them, and that’s their right. Either way, I still wish IU luck the rest of the season. On IU.