Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Michigan

  • 02/13/2017 8:30 am in

Indiana’s season is officially in complete chaos as the Hoosiers fell 75-63 on Sunday afternoon to Michigan at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The loss dropped Indiana to 15-11 overall and 5-8 in Big Ten play.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from Sunday’s debacle:

· Indiana laid an egg: This wasn’t a hard fought loss. This was Indiana getting soundly beaten, wire-to-wire, by a team that hadn’t won a road game all season.

The Hoosiers started slow and never really challenged Michigan, a head scratching result in a home game with the season on the line. Michigan hit uncontested 3s in the first half and Indiana turned it over to give the Wolverines extra chances. As the afternoon moved along, the crowd grew restless and was never fully engaged.

By the final 10 minutes, it was clear who was going to win as Indiana had already proven itself incapable of mounting a run. Most of Indiana’s losses this season have had a similar theme: Poor defense and turnovers. This performance was no different.

· Tom Crean is feeling the pressure: After expressing a belief that Indiana has been getting better following each loss this season, Crean took a different approach after Sunday’s loss.

Crean didn’t hold back on the postgame radio show with Don Fischer when talking about some of his players.

“I’ve never coached a team with this lack of maturity when it comes to being able to respond and rebound from when things aren’t going well for them personally,” Crean told Fischer. “And that includes my teams that I had that won six and 10 games.

“So I’ve got to do a much better job because we don’t respond and then our communication breaks down. It’s not even close. Thomas (Bryant) is really trying to lead a team and he’s not getting a lot of help. He’s trying to make up for a group of juniors who just really have no ability to see past themselves when it comes to what it takes to be successful as a team.”

Whether there is merit or not to the comments, they were poorly timed given that Crean waited until the team had dropped five of six games to make them. This isn’t the first time this group has faced adversity this season, so why now?

Because Crean is surely feeling the heat from a fanbase that is tuning on this Indiana team. There were thousands of empty seats in Bloomington on Sunday. And the home finale against Northwestern in two weeks could be much worse.

· Turnovers, again: For the 10th time in 13 Big Ten games, Indiana had a turnover percentage north of 20. Michigan scored 20 points off of turnovers on Sunday.

In eight Big Ten losses, IU’s opponents have outscored them by 83 points off of turnovers. It’s a problem that is going nowhere.

“I’m trying to be proactive, and I’m not shirking responsibility one iota,” Crean said in his postgame press conference. “It falls on me. One thing I’ve learned in nine years, it all falls on me. But the bottom line is that we’ve got to do something to get communication up.”

· De’Ron Davis was the lone bright spot: Indiana freshman De’Ron Davis, who took a shot to the face in Thursday’s loss to Purdue and didn’t return, was terrific in 14 minutes on Sunday.

Davis, who has the potential to be Indiana’s best back to the basket player since D.J. White, had 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 free throws. On an afternoon where very little went right for the Hoosiers, the play of Davis was a positive.

“We’ve got to continue to play him more,” Crean said. “And he’s not as great in the ball screen coverages. So that sometimes limits some of that. But he’s very, very hard to guard, and he’s got great feet, great hands, great eyes. He can pass the ball.”

· Indiana’s guards struggle again: After an 8-of-34 performance against Purdue on Thursday, Indiana’s trio of junior guards weren’t much better on Sunday.

James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson were both 2-of-7 from the field and Josh Newkirk was 5-of-10. Michigan senior guard Derrick Walton Jr., who had a game-high 25 points, outscored all three players combined on his own.

Johnson was asked postgame if the team would consider having players-only meeting to try and stop the free fall.

“I mean, I don’t know, to be honest,” he said. “I just think at the end of the day we just have to all come together in whatever it takes. If that’s what it takes, maybe that’s something we should think about, but at the end of the day we just all have to come together and decide that we’re going to get better once and for all.”

Filed to:

  • Vernon Aldrich

    I love Thomas Bryant Ole Man. His tenacity and effort, as well as his talent are excellent. He could benefit greatly by an effective mentor that could teach him to control and contain his emotions on the court and possibly impact the attitude of the rest of the team that look to him as the “emotional” leader, and possibly increase the focus of the team as a whole. Sorry for hitting your last nerve. I love this program too. 😉

  • pcantidote

    Are you being serious? How old were you in 2008? Do you even remember it? The situations you cited were night and day different than what Crean walked into. I believe the leading returning scorer was Kyle Taber, a walk on who averaged less than 1 point a game. The team was a cobbled together group of players that had no business in D1, let alone IU.

  • John D Murphy

    We fired Bennett’s sister. He hates IU.

  • Hoosierkamp

    Agreed in 2016-17

    But in all other years with the exception 13-14….. it has been towards the top end of Ken Pom

  • John D Murphy

    That was his best coaching job. One heckuva job really.

  • John D Murphy

    I quit watching a few games ago. It still depresses me to have to delete the games from the DVR. I’m going to have to cancel the season record and unsubscribe from the calendar.

  • Mark Bando

    Well, I was 50 in 2008 but that’s besides the point. Not sure if you have noticed, but you can actually win in college basketball with freshman. In fact Calipari did just that his first year at Kentucky with freshman like Eric Bledsoe, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. He also did it a couple years later with some freshman guys named Davis, Teague and Kidd-Gilchrist. Crean’s big freshman signings his first year were Verdell Jones, Tom Pritchard and Malik Story.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Just wondering, how would you explain the KU/UNC wins? I was guilty of getting excited when they won those big early games, and got my hopes up. So if you saw this huge letdown coming I want to know how you knew, and want to offer you a coaching position at IU.

  • Ohio Hoosier

    Plus we had TW last year who could at least create a shot or a throw due to his athletic ability late in the shot clock.

    …or a turnover (just like this year).

  • Ohio Hoosier

    I don’t think these guys believe in his system. Way too many scripted plays
    and not enough read and react. His offense is patterned after the pro game
    and requires elite ball handlers who can create their own shot late in the shot
    clock. Wont talk about his defensive strategy because I really don’t know what
    it is.

  • Ohio Hoosier

    Plus he was limited by really not being able to recruit at Army.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I won’t disagree. This is perfect analysis

  • Ohio Hoosier

    Right on the mark Ole Man.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Amen!!!!!!! with the biggest being Grayson Allen. Reach for the race card when you can’t make a legitimate arguement

  • vicbert caladipo

    Take a hike if you can’t add anything other than your social agenda.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Spot on!

  • Eyes Wide Open

    How about we choose a different ball screen defense. How many players can we say can’t play defense before we acknowledge the system is flawed.

  • NA K.W

    Michael Lewis can coach. GO IU!

  • Missing Moye

    All links get blocked initially and need moderator approval. I’ve even linked ITH articles on here and had it blocked.

  • Missing Moye

    Whoa, the comments are fast and furious and it’s hard to keep up with for a working man. A little late, but I want to get my real five takeaways in:

    1. I know we hate to name names when talking about this junior class and their problems, but Tim Priller is obviously not contributing on the court and all I ever hear about is his wild off-court demeanor. Clearly this is who CTC was talking about.
    2. Has Simon Skjodt requested a refund?
    3. De’Ron Davis can be the best back-to-the-basket player since DJ White. If you stop and think about the back to the basket players we’ve had since DJ, we’re basically saying De’Ron Davis is going to be better than Pritchard.
    4. Speaking of Davis, he’s going to have a hard time being better than anyone while sitting the bench for 25+ minutes a game.
    5. I hope we make a coaching change after this season.

  • BC

    Here’s my best case scenario:
    I’m not sure Glass will fire TC. But hopefully Missouri wants to woo a coach from a esteemed program. They tried with Painter a couple years ago. TC has a recruiting background in the state. And he can sell their fan base that he’ll need 6 years to turn things around. It’s a program that would love to get a 5 star recruit every other year, make the tourney 2/3 years and have a high octane offense. From TC’s perspective he gets to go to a wide open SEC, more job security and less scrutiny. I think Mizzou was willing to pay Painter 2.3 mil a year, so TC wouldn’t be taking a pay cut and he doesn’t force Glass to fire him. Recruiting at IU is gonna get a lot harder for him without a contract extension.

  • BC

    And I love our kids! I don’t think it’s a lack of heart(some have questioned their heart). I think it can be demoralizing when ur not put in a position to succeed, especially when it’s obvious that TC’s strategy/play calling is not working

  • kelton drewery

    If these “kids” don’t want to give a better effort, they should leave. I don’t care for Crean, but these “kids” make the same mistakes, over and over. Read your own earlier post.

  • MColl

    Why has it taken Tom Crean so long to see that D Davis needs more minutes? Saw it 6 weeks ago!

  • pcantidote

    Tom Crean is 33-39 vs the RPI Top 50 over the last 6 years. Unacceptable.

  • Bud Jenkins

    Crean to the Thunder as an assistant (his style is better for the NBA) and Donovan to IU !

  • pcantidote

    Not sure if you have noticed, but because of the state of the program, he wasn’t able to get even one 5 star / McDonalds all-america for the first 3 years, let alone an entire team of them like Calipari gets. It is a completely irrational and illogical comparison. There is a LOT of justifiable criticism of Crean, and I am calling for his job, but you delegitimize all of your arguments when you try to lump in his first 3 years.

  • Bud Jenkins

    For 3Mil a year he is well compensated for that pressure

  • pcantidote

    It’s ok to talk about CTC going now. The season is over.

  • KmanCRK

    IU should be a lock for the tourney 9/10 yrs. We are staring at 1/4yrs. This can’t be acceptable to any Hoosier fan.

    Thanks for working hard to bring IU out of the dumpster, but it’s time to say goodbye

  • IUBizmark

    Great post. I agreed with all of it except about attacking players meaning a coach is lost. It’s a common motivational tactic and other coaches do it regularly. Crean is one of the few who won’t.

  • BMusic
  • BMusic
  • BMusic

    You are so right about Grayson Allen. That’s a lineage that goes back to Laettner.

    But why call the VCU players “thugs”? Is it because they played a physical brand of ball under Coach Smart, or got into lots of fights in games? Did they all have criminal records? I always thought Shaka Smart was a solid coach and a good man, so I’m honestly curious what makes one think his players are thugs.

  • I have no idea why he called those players “thugs” (I didn’t do so). I don’t know anything about them, in fact. I was just responding to the allegation that using that word is racist.

  • PBzeer

    I didn’t see a huge letdown coming, only that we weren’t going to be as good as those two early season wins. If you look back over the past 5.5 seasons, last season was the only one where we were noticeably better in March than in November. And I felt the lack of intangibles that made last season possible would be exposed by the time we started conference play. We had the potential, but we don’t have a coach who can make the most of it. And I’ve thought he lacked that since about a third of the way through ’13-14.

  • jayrig5

    RJ is also asked to do way more than any other guard, since he’s the only one that can actually defend.

    He’s a fantastic off-guard at the college level who was a huge part of their run last season, when they actually had a PG on the roster. He’s now being forced to be a creator, a shooter, a driver, and to guard the opponent’s best wing or guard. And his role changes whenever another guy goes out, OG or JBJ. And all of it’s new, because any team with a player like Yogi is going to play differently when he leaves. Idk. I just feel bad for him. Not going to fault the guy who’s always playing hard on both ends and has been out there all season.

    Just an unfortunate roster construction. Made moreso by the Hartman and OG injuries.

  • Eyes Wide Open

    They have as much talent on that roster as any conference team. Allowing the players to whine after every call, having the most ridiculous substitution pattern in basketball, having the worst offense and defense efficiency out of timeouts, not playing both ends of the floor, the unwillingness to adjust to your teams strengths and weaknesses, throwing your team under the bus publicly…that all coaching.

  • IUBizmark

    This is not 1971 dude.

  • IUBizmark

    Mike Davis was on the hoosier dot com and had a pretty good quote. IU should be your last head coaching job, not your first. Obviously not Fife’s first, but pretty close.

  • IUBizmark

    Miller will be at NC State next year. Gottfried is getting canned. He’s an alum there. I wouldn’t mind getting Archie now, but maybe he would go to NC State while we try to get a marquee name, then hire Archie if he does well in the ACC.

  • Arch Puddington

    It’s a good quote, but

    a. Mike Davis floundered his way down the coaching chain until he was out altogether. He was never qualified to be Indiana’s coach, and his experience is not indicative of anything other than that. (Nice man, though).
    b. Dane Fife has as much or more experience as a head coaching as all of the following before they got their big jobs: John Wooden, Bob Knight, Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Tom Izzo, Billy Donovan, and Denny Crum. Between them I think they have 27 of the 53 national championships since 1964.

    That’s not meant to be smart-alecky, and certainly not meant to suggest that Dane Fife belongs on this list, just to point out that extensive experience of the sort some people seem to hope for in our next head coach (whenever that is) is by no means necessary.

  • Hoosierkamp

    I love the Billy Donovan “rumors”. Would be the home run IU needs

  • Hoosierkamp

    I wouldn’t say that is a lock. I agree Gottfried gets fired. But IU pays more currently (3.2 vs 2.5).

    Also if Archie goes to ACC and has success at his alma mater. He isn’t coming to IU

    The Billy Donovan rumors are fun…… that would be a home run

  • IUBizmark

    That was exactly the point Mike was making. He listed his coaching jobs and then said they should’ve been in the exact opposite order.

    And if you want Fife, why wouldn’t you want Miller? He’s got better achievements than Fife ever had and the same experience.

  • Ole Man

    Best thought on the subject I’ve read in a while!

  • Ole Man

    Sorry to offend. I’m getting fed up with a bunch of posters constantly bad mouthing the kids in what I consider to be “non-basketball, personal” posts.
    I have taken up for Crean all year long. But no more.
    And like you, I always watch the games.

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  • Jeff Nicholson

    Crean is simply not up to the task of coaching at this level. His biggest problem? He’s too much of a “nice Guy”. The players have no fear….of the coach.

    No matter what they do, Crean is clapping and patting their behinds, when he should be stomping, and ripping those behinds.

    I am so sick of the Crean see-saw…..get your hopes up…crash! Get your hopes up…crash! Year after year. He has had several Final Four caliber teams, and has “nice Guy’d” them right out the tournament, over and over.

    Enough. Indiana needs a Head Coach, not a Head Cheerleader.