Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss at Iowa

  • 02/22/2017 9:23 am in

IOWA CITY, Iowa – In a game it led nearly throughout, Indiana couldn’t come up with a play when it mattered the most down the stretch on Tuesday night. As a result, the Hoosiers dropped their fifth straight game, falling 96-90 in overtime to Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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

· Indiana has the second worst opponent free throw rate of any power five conference team: Indiana has had trouble keeping opponents off the free throw line all season, but the issue reached new heights on Tuesday night.

Iowa outscored Indiana by 23 at the line and posted a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 83.9 percent. Indiana’s opponent free throw rate in conference play is now 46.3 percent, the second highest of any power five team in league play. Only West Virginia, which plays a full court pressure defense with the objective of creating turnovers, has allowed a higher opponent free throw rate in conference play.

Postgame, Tom Crean didn’t want to discuss the officiating, but it’s clear Indiana’s inability to keep opponents off the line has played a significant factor in Indiana’s collapse. In 10 Big Ten losses, Indiana has been outscored by 76 points at the free throw line.

· The turnover problem continues: As Indiana built a 17-4 lead in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa looked like the rattled team. The Hawkeyes were turning it over and Indiana was capitalizing early on.

But as the contest moved along, a familiar script returned: Indiana couldn’t take care of the ball. The Hoosiers turned it over 22 times for a turnover percentage of 26.6. It was Indiana’s second worst turnover game from a percentage standpoint in conference play. It’s late February and Indiana’s turnover problem isn’t going away.

The 22 turnovers turned into 25 points for Iowa. In Big Ten losses, Indiana is being outscored by 94 in points off of turnovers. That’s a number too high to overcome, particularly in close games.

· No answer for Peter Jok: Iowa senior guard Peter Jok was benched, along with the rest of the Hawkeye starting lineup, just over two minutes into the game as Indiana sprinted out to a 9-0 lead.

But once Jok returned, Indiana couldn’t keep him off the foul line. Jok finished with a game-high 35 points and hit 22 of his 23 free throw attempts. The 22 made free throws broke an Iowa record set by Don Nelson against Indiana in 1962. And the 23 free throw attempts were a Carver-Hawkeye Arena record.

“He was really good, he was really strong,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “He mixed it up. He posted a little bit. He came up top. He was on the wing. He gave it up a few times. He was really, really special tonight.”

· Indiana’s slim at-large NCAA tournament hopes are now gone: Tuesday’s loss clinched Indiana’s second sub .500 record in Big Ten play in the last four seasons.

It also all but guaranteed that the Hoosiers won’t receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament for the second time in four seasons. Indiana’s chances to make the tournament now rest on winning the Big Ten tournament next month in Washington, D.C.

As a likely bottom four seed in the conference tournament, Indiana is likely to play on Wednesday of the event for the first time since the conference expanded to 14 teams.

· Indiana appears to be out of answers: The Hoosiers are now in a downward spiral and with seven losses in its last eight games, this season is beginning to look like Crean’s first three years in Bloomington when the team couldn’t win down the stretch.

Indiana is now 1-5 in February with two games remaining against a likely NCAA tournament team in Northwestern and a definite NCAA tournament team in Purdue. After that, the regular season wraps up in early March with a road game at Ohio State. The Hoosiers have won at Ohio State just once under Crean and that came during the 2012-2013 season.

The frustration on the face of Crean and the IU players in the postgame was evident. The same topics are coming after each game – turnovers, defense and free throws attempts by the opponent. Right now, Indiana has no answer for any of its issues.

(Photo credit: Iowa Hawkeyes)

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  • calbert40 – AC000000

    I didn’t figure you’d like it. I’m not pushing the idea to an extreme. You did that already.

    I would sub any of them out…for specific poor plays on defense, blocking out, running the floor, stupid fouls, etc

    So, what are you suggesting, if I was wrong? A guy misses a block out, you’d sub him out for a time. Didn’t run the floor…sub. Reaching in…SUB! If I’m not representing your view properly, I’d suggest that you didn’t write it out as clearly as you think. I understand you don’t mean keep them on the bench indefinitely, but you still would sub them out. My contention is that no coach really operates like that.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    So, if there is a 10 second or less difference between shot clock and game clock, you believe it is “good coaching” to have your team ignore the game situation? THAT is playing “the game the right way?” I guess that most NCAA coaches don’t play the game “the right way,” then.

    It’s called situational basketball. You don’t play the same way all game long without paying attention to the situation. That is what they were doing. That is what every team does.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Why do all of your comments come across angry, Loop? Seriously, calm down. We can disagree and still be cool. I like your passion. We just see things a little differently.

    You love painting situations as only black and white, don’t you? Technically, we could do exactly what you suggest. We could let our incoming class come in and enroll in summer classes, and then fire Crean to save money, and then keep the kids at school or make them transfer. Completely legal within the rules. We would look A-W-F-U-L as a program, if we did it though.

    My contention is that particular course of action would be the worst one we could take. I’d rather just fire Crean and eat the $4M buyout OR let him coach next year’s team. Firing him midstream is just not a good option. JMO.

  • IUMIKE1

    When things as fundamental as blocking out aren’t done by ANY player at ANY time, it should result in some motivational pine time.

  • IUMIKE1

    I as well.

  • IUMIKE1

    Agree, I think that Glass has some reasons for making a coaching change, but has more” reasons ” for NOT making a coaching change….for one more season.

  • General Zod

    I don’t see how next season is going to see an improvement over this year. There is a pretty decent chance both og and tb will leave for the nba. Neither are ready but, of course that hasn’t deterred an nba gm drafting on “upside” before. If either get reliable info that they are 1st round picks, they are gone. The recruiting class coming in is underwhelming and while sometimes, guys get overlooked or develop into more than scouts originally saw, then there could be a surprise. Crean has been lucky before with oladipo and og but, neither guy was particularly dominant as freshmen. I think next year could be a repeat of this year or worse. Kent sterling wrote an article recently explaining that crean has burned bridges with indiana high school & summer coaches which means he isn’t going to get anymore elite in-state talent.
    It doesn’t look good to be honest.