The Minute After: Minnesota

  • 02/16/2017 12:23 am in

Thoughts on a 75-74 loss to Minnesota:

Tom Crean tried a new starting lineup, inserting De’Ron Davis for Juwan Morgan and Devonte Green for Robert Johnson. He had a quicker hook for players committing bad turnovers. He stomped the sidelines with a fervor.

But in the end, his team, despite putting itself in position to win down the stretch, fell short once again — an offensive rebounding opportunity landing just right for the Golden Gophers to put them up a point with three ticks to go. A James Blackmon Jr. buzzer-beating 3-pointer saved the game for Indiana a month ago in State College.

Tonight he couldn’t hit as time expired.

The Hoosiers are now losers of four straight and sit at just 5-9 in league play. They’re in 11th place in the Big Ten.

Despite this team’s shortcomings and where the season’s been heading, there was still a proper energy and effort that was noticeable tonight. This team hasn’t given up. And that’s what makes the loss a little tougher to swallow.

“These guys came to play, without a doubt,” Tom Crean said on radio after the game.

Indiana had a forgettable first half. When the Hoosiers weren’t turning it over (23.5 TO%), they failed to hit shots (33.8 eFG%) and entered half scoring just .76 points per possession. But Minnesota’s splits in those categories weren’t much better — 20.9 TO%, 35.3 eFG%, .86 PPP — so the Golden Gophers held just a four-point advantage at half. It was an ugly 20 minutes of basketball.

Indiana got down by nine early in the second half, but kept fighting and battling. James Blackmon Jr. had a return to form tonight, hitting some key buckets over the final 20 minutes on his way to a team-high 22 points. De’Ron Davis, who got the start tonight, found himself in foul trouble all evening. But he was able to get it going during a stretch in the second half as well to help keep the Hoosiers in good position to win, scoring on back-to-back possessions to put them up five with 2:26 to go. In just nine minutes of play, Davis scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds and recorded one block.

Thomas Bryant had a rough night offensively (3-of-14), but scored four huge points in the final minute of action. Juwan Morgan looked healthier on his way to 14 points and seven rebounds.

Indiana committed just four turnovers all second half until Blackmon Jr. turned it over trying to feed Bryant on a tough angle with 1:11 to go. Eric Curry’s steal of that pass led to Davis’ fifth foul on the other end against Jordan Murphy. His two free throws put Minnesota up 71-70 with just over a minute to go, its first lead since the 10:08 mark of the second half.

Bad play at a bad time.

From there, the Hoosiers and Golden Gophers traded the lead twice over the final minute of action, it all culminating with the Akeem Springs putback and the Blackmon Jr. miss.

This game was right there for the Hoosiers to win, but it slipped through their finger tips, yet another loss in a season gone wrong.

Indiana gets some more time than usual to recover from this one as it doesn’t play Iowa until Tuesday. It’s another road game the Hoosiers have a chance to win. But as this season’s proved, nothing comes easy for this group.

(Photo credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)

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  • Larry Brown

    Just wondering how many pressers Minnesota will have after the season announcing its guys will / will not go pro. I bet none.
    So if we’re supposed t believe TB and JBJ are NBA material, then once again I ask: why are they getting outplayed by guys who are not? And losing?

  • Steve S

    CTC will tell you in his next press conference!

  • SeeingRed

    I thought they scrapped pretty hard, but this is a wins and losses business. Has there ever been a team in the modern NCAA Tourney era that was ranked in the top 3 at one point and missed the NIT? Seriously, has this ever happened?

  • Fatty Smokes

    Great question. I remember in 2002/2003 Alabama got up to #1 and missed the dance. Not sure about NIT

  • Fatty Smokes

    In these kids defense, we haven’t been able to consistently close games in Crean’s entire tenure. I get excited when we can in bound the ball safely. Damn shame.

  • Zach

    I’m convinced the only explanation for RJ’s complete 180 in play from the first half of the season is that the Monstars from Space Jam stole all his talent https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/258a6a38787a313ad3745e80b18043bf25e837414033ee7d498100e62a315e9d.jpg

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  • IU84

    Davis is a lone bright spot it seems. We need to create a scheme that limits his fouls. His patience getting his shot when he gets the ball down low is impressive.

    Put Johnson on the bench. Not sure who he is now Can’t shoot, can’t pass, can’t play D, Can’t get a rebound that was laying in his hands.

    20% turnover rate, last in the League in D. This is an extremely undisciplined team. Not even sure we’re well conditioned. That’s low hanging fruit isn’t it?

    I might be overreacting but to me it’s embarrassing the way our players whine to the refs after every call. The refs aren’t going to reverse the call, man up and lets get back on D!!!!!!

  • TomJameson

    Don’t think this team will even make the NIT this year. Too many road games, and too much “unfriendly” officiating standing in the way.

    I’ve already seen somebody suggest that losing is a good thing for this team, with the sole purpose of possibly making Crean lose his job. Whatever happens to CTC, I think it’s a shame when a supposedly fan hopes for his/her team to lose … for any reason.

    Still watching the games, still supporting the players, still extremely disappointed in the season, and still hoping they win.

  • Guyton25

    Blackmon is such a plague on defense. I can’t believe he didn’t try to box him out here at the end, or at least crash the boards instead of watching his assignment crash and put it back. This team cannot finish a game if their lives depended on it. Which is unbelievable because after the UNC game I remember thinking IU hasn’t had much finishing teams in recent memory and these boys did it well up to that point. Especially after the Kansas win. At this point I wish we never beat Kansas. I think it got into their heads and these players have no real unity to make that sort of outside noise not mean anything. I can go on about entry pass woes, inbounding woes, dependency on the 3-pointer when we only have 1 3-pt shooter, how bad our rotating D is, and overall but instead I’ll make an observation that has become clear to me.

    JBJ and TB cannot exist on the same team… they are both leaders of different offensive styles with different mentalities.

  • My expectations are simply not high any longer… consequently, I enjoyed watching the scrappiness of play, last 3 games at least The enjoyment is tethered by: carelessness of ball possession, TB getting way out of position on defense following point guards at the top of the key, on what should be defensive switches, all season and last night was the FIRST time it ever resulted in a turnover; static offense focused on feeding the post – Run a play instead.

  • Donnie Vick

    At one point in the first half Bryant was calling for it in the post (shocker) and Blackmon wouldn’t and probably couldn’t get it to him. But Bryant started yelling at Blackmon while the play was still going on after Blackmon reversed the ball. I see those two all-americans as selfish players.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    That JBJ post fees TO in the final 1:20 was infuriating! No matter how well he plays he consistently finds a way to sink the ship late (i.e. – letting 5’10” Thompson grab a key offensive rebound and putback late against PUke)!

  • DonaldneedsAsafeSpace

    Good game by most Hoosiers, unfortunately blowing a lead has become a staple of our teams(Football and bball). This one wasn’t on Crean, bc the kids came out playing defense and moving the ball on offense. The only question I have for Crean is why he kept RJ in the majority of the game, when he clearly wasn’t contributing anything positive. I feel Green played very well, moving the ball around specifically. Another sad loss for the Hoosiers :/ The refs clearly are in question this game as well, as we kind of dominated the first half, yet didn’t get into the bonus while Minnesota had a minutes of double bonus.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    I saw one poster on here already mention that he thinks it’s a shame when any fan hopes for his or her team to lose. I think it’s a shame we HAVE to hope for that. What I mean is, it’s a shame the AD and university haven’t already made the call to get a replacement for Crean before all that fans are FORCED TO HOPE for losses just to ensure that Crean is gone. He’s taken the program as far as he can. I wish him the best of luck, but it’s time for him to move on from IU.

  • DonaldneedsAsafeSpace

    Man, it’s BS when we are up by a bunch in the first half not getting any foul calls. Minnesota ended the 1st half still w a foul to give. That is nonsense and at least Crean got them to call a more even second half. That being said, players whining to the ref does nothing. True

  • Tom In Florida

    I counted 9 simple layups that we missed. Very simple shots, that if we made, we should have won by 17.

  • HoosierStuckInACCCountry

    I’ll give CTC some credit for the energy tonight, and for yanking guys after stupid turnovers. That’s a criticism I’ve had of him for years: when dumb play after dumb play is made, he claps and encourages rather than yank a player for bonehead passes. That said, I believe any game that comes down to the wire like this is won by the better coach 90% of the time. The same can be true for last night. Other musings: JBJ is getting a scholarship to have the best seat in the house, watching the game from on the court. TB is the most overrated player in the B1G. Love his enthusiasm, but I am sick and tired of the whining for foul calls, diva behavior in the post, and propensity to shoot from 25 feet. You’re 6’11”- act like it. At least LOOK at the hoop before you put up a turnaround fadeaway.

  • GetMeSomeO.G.Flyers

    I agree with everything your saying, and JBJ had 22 points. Or more. The kid made 12 in the first half, then started playing distributor, then was very quite the majority of the second half. I called him having a 20 pt game though, so I’m proud of that! Unfortunately, when the B1G tourney comes around I bet he’ll be down to 11

  • TomEke

    What is Crean’s criteria for playing or benching a guard?
    ROJO: 26 Mins 0-6 from the field 0 PTS 5 REB 2 AST 3 TO
    CUJO: 5 Mins 0-1 from the field 0 PTS 0 REB 1 AST 0 TO

    What about ROJO’s stats justifies that he received 5x the playing time of CUJO last night?

    I’m beginning to wonder if CUJO, maybe our highest rated recruit from last year, is considering leaving for a school where he is given a chance to make mistakes, let alone just a chance to play.

  • GetMeSomeOGFlyers

    Best shooting free throw night we’ve had all season though!

  • There is one characteristic of Crean’s IU teams that has remained consistent throughout his tenure: his teams have gotten worse as the seasons have progressed.

  • I have to say, this team does miss more bunnies than any I can remember. I don’t get it — and what can you complain about there? These kids have been practicing layups for years and years. It’s not like it’s something they need to be coached up on. They’re just missing really close shots.

  • Except last year’s team did the exact opposite, and for specific reasons (such as, CTC reduced the physicality of practices to cut down on fatigue and wear).. And if you go by the “what have you done for me lately” metric, then there was hope heading into it that this season might be difference.

  • IdahoHoosier

    No one is making anyone hope for a loss, that is your choice. Remember that IU is coming off a very successful season. Would you really expect the AD to make a call to fire the coach during the season right after a B1G championship? Not to mention firing a coach midseason in college is rare and highly disruptive. I’m not disagreeing that it is time to move on, but I hope you aren’t wishing for losses.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    I’m hoping that whatever it takes for the university to fire CTC happens.

  • Or stop turning the ball over, or play defense, or start strong on the road or…….

  • Sandra Wilson

    I’ve gone through two columns, and you are the only one I’ve found that mentioned JBJ not blocking out…..Not only did he not block out, he WALKED in towards the basket while Springs was scoring…..He blocks out, we likely win the game.

  • Ole Man

    CuJo has been hurt. That may still be lingering.

  • John D Murphy

    Morgan’s man, unboxed, got the tip kick back springs.

  • Ole Man

    Gawd, your TB comments are cliched, moldy even. Hyperbole.
    Most overrated player in the B1G. Only to your untrained eyes.
    He got clobbered last night (again). What diva, darling?
    He shoots from out there because of how he is being used and coached.
    You live in ACC country. At least act like some of that basketball knowledge has rubbed off on you.
    And if this seems like a personal attack, so what. You just personally attacked an IU basketball player. SO no WHINING from you.

  • Ole Man

    I see Blackmon, since he’s done it all season, as being immature and selfish, no team play.
    He also doesn’t like that TB is vocal.
    Neither is All American at this point.

  • John D Murphy

    Max Hoetzel is playing 20 mpg for SD State.

  • HoosierStuckInACCCountry

    You’re a riot, old guy. I can always expect when giving a valid criticism you’ll pop in with an ad hominem attack with no substance. Thanks for keeping the streak alive. I’ll keep reinforcing my Thomas Bryant take until he proves me wrong. Over. Rated. De’Ron Davis took the same contact TB did, and performed much more respectably. This is the B1G, you don’t get to be 6’11” and throw your hands up when you get touched in the paint.

  • Ole Man

    Nothing valid about your vapid criticism
    Shouldn’t have yanked your pathetic chain. Should have known from your first post you don’t have enough knowledge to respond with any intelligence.
    You go off with a personal, non-basketball attack on a player and expect to get away with it.
    Then you get called out on it.
    Better look up the meaning of ad hominem. You used it incorrectly.
    You can say over rated all you want. Doesn’t mean anything. You don’t have the bonafides to carry any weight.
    Next time you want to use the term, look in the mirror and say it aloud.
    Gonna whine some more now? Waaaaa. I can’t say stupid kwrap about players and call them names without being called on it. I’ve sent the Waaaaaaaaambulance your way.

  • HoosierStuckInACCCountry

    You’re adorable.

  • AndyCapp

    I agree that they may both be “leaders of different offensive styles” without being leaders of most anything else. I don’t think it is in their DNA to be the kind of floor general that can take a team on their shoulders to close out a game. Like both of them but leadership doesn’t appear to be a strength.

  • AndyCapp

    Sounds like there might be some history between you too;)
    And for the record Hoosier I believe that Ole Man has some DEF substance in his, uh, counterpoint (attack seemed kinda strong). I have seen a lot of his posts on TB and admit that OM is a major defender, but he does NOT wear rose colored glasses about his on court performance. I think he responds with vitriol to the CONSTANT complaints about TB’s whining because OM, like the rest of us, see the guy getting the literal crap beat out of him (not just touched) on a nightly basis and then getting called for a ticky-tack foul on the defensive end. It’s been hard to watch our guys play of late but singling TB out as the most over-rated player in the B1G seems like pure hyperbole.

  • HoosierStuckInACCCountry

    Take note Old dude, that is how you respond to criticism. (No history between us, he just seems to really like when I post) When I say he’s the most over-rated player in the B1G, I don’t necessarily mean that he is a bad player. I think he’s a good player with TREMENDOUS potential. No matter the network coverage, I hear them call him the best big man in the Big 10 or one of the top NBA prospects and I cannot for the life of me figure out what they’re talking about. A big body is able to stop him in the post, and a player like Ethan Happ is much more capable in nearly every aspect of the game (decision making, post scoring, post defense). I think TB’s ceiling is light years above Happ. Does he get hammered in the post? Sure he does. Some of his flagrant hand signals are absolutely warranted. Lebron is arguably the best player to ever set foot on a court, my favorite player, and I have the same criticism of him. Shut up, put your head down, and get back on defense. I think if he did that he might catch a call or two. Tantrums aren’t to be rewarded.

    Ole Man is 0-2 on knowing what ad hominem means. But no one’s keeping score 😉

  • AndyCapp

    Well I think you will agree, and have already said, that TB has far more upside than Happ. You may also agree that the NBA drafts as much (if not more) on potential so, there you go. We all agree that TB probably will (and should) get drafted before many of the B1G’s other big men. And why don’t I think he is over-rated? Because *I* believe that Crean doesn’t know how to coach bigs and TB is only doing what he has been instructed to do. He seems like a really bright guy and while I don’t know how he will do at the next level, REALLY believe that with proper instruction his decision making (and hopefully post scoring and defense) will vastly improve.

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  • Outoftheloop

    Curtis needs to drive into the paint, shoot a floater, jump stop for a 10 foot jumper, make a solid assist, or finish at the rim. Passing 30 feet from the rim and hoisting long 3’s are not cutting it! And Defense, Defense, Defense! But I agree, he needs 10-12 minutes/game. Devonte needs 12-16.

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