The Minute After: Wisconsin

  • 01/02/2018 9:53 pm in

Thoughts on a 71-61 loss to the Badgers:

Another year, another trip to the Kohl Center, another lackluster performance from Indiana leading to a loss.

New coach, new system and it didn’t matter — Ethan Happ remains an enormous thorn in the Hoosiers side … on both ends of the court. Happ took this seriously depleted Badgers squad — one playing walk-ons in the rotation and that’s already lost three at home by double digits — and put them on his back this evening. He willed them to victory with every post move, post bucket, pass, block, steal and defensive denial. His line for the evening: 28 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks and four steals.

Whenever the junior had the ball, good things happened. Stay one on one with him? He’d use his superior footwork and maneuvering to blow past the likes of De’Ron Davis and Freddie McSwain. They had no chance.

Shuffle down on a double team? Happ often found the open man on the same side of the court who’d ring in the 3-pointer. Indiana has been poor for most of the season recovering out to the perimeter on shooters and tonight was no different. Wisconsin hit 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from beyond the arc this evening.

Indiana’s post entry work this year has been solid and it’s allowed Juwan Morgan to shine on the block. The Hoosiers have been best on offense with an inside-out approach as its shooting has struggled. But Wisconsin — and particularly Happ — made it difficult for Indiana’s big men to get established, though Morgan got it going later in the game to finish with 17. Davis had just two points. McSwain had none in 12 minutes of action.

It wasn’t all bad, as the Hoosiers looked like they might be able to get out of town with a victory after leading 33-30 at the break despite Morgan and Davis being in foul trouble. But Indiana’s performance in the second half was awful. It all came down to effort. Happ and the Walk Ons brought it. The Hoosiers didn’t. At all. Their effort and energy was low and they didn’t even seem to care as the game slipped way. There was no pride and little communication.

And so despite having much more talent on the court, Indiana was outworked by Wisconsin, as it gave up 1.28 points per possession in the second half and was outscored 15-4 in second chance points for the contest.

Collin Hartman pumped in a career-high 18 points for the Hoosiers. The fifth-year senior hit four 3-pointers. The other nine Indiana shot? None dropped, leading to a 3-point percentage of just 26.7 percent. With each passing game the Hoosiers shoot poorly from distance, it gets harder to envision a scenario in which they ever recover. They’re one of the worst teams in the country (now 315th) in 3-point shooting.

With Wisconsin’s thin roster, the Hoosiers had a golden opportunity to pick up their first win at the Kohl Center in nearly 20 years.

But a team with more experience and talent was bested by Wisconsin, a troubling sight to see.

Filed to:

  • TomJameson

    Really, are you seriously saying that you think Archie has had enough time and should be fired? Or am I missing your sarcasm. A later post you made hints at the same message. “Archie has had enough time. We know enough to know”

  • vicbert caladipo

    I mentioned Knight. Others said in other threads that his fiery nature and no nonsense approach was similar to Knight. CTC was oft criticized for not being tough on players or refs. It’s a narrative gone on for years. Many dislike him for good reason, but no one can deny he was our best coach ever. The comparisons will always happen.

  • Arch Puddington

    If we had talked right after the Duke game, of course I would have been very excited about DD. But I’m not sure you can look at what we now know to be something of an outlier as a true indicator of what is possible.Consider the following:

    — Over the last 5 games, he is averaging just 5.8 points and 4 rebounds in 15 minutes of play. And those totals aren’t due to foul trouble; he has had 2 or fewer fouls in each of those games.

    — He has not had a single double/double this year. In fact, he has not had more than 7 rebounds in any game; JM, by contrast, averages 7.

    — He has only played more than 25 minutes one time this year, and has only reached the 20 minute mark three times in the last 10 games.

    Whatever we think of his potential, the reality is that it is much more surprising when he does play well than when he doesn’t. Granted, we have no outside threat to stretch defenses, and he might look much better if we had a crew like JBJ and YF on the perimeter. But we don’t have that kind of crew, and he doesn’t seem able to consistently produce with the one we do have.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I am hoping for the same approach, but with so many who either phone it in or have no cerebral basketball skills, who do you start and play?

  • vicbert caladipo

    Many here dislike Dan D. but you have to admit he provides a ton of incite other analysts don’t bring. If he truly has been to practices and witnessed what he reported then you have to see our problem. And from what I see on the court, what DD said is very believable. Thomas Bryant was a frustrating player to watch at times, but at least he cared and brought effort all the time

  • BBB

    I know people were excited (as was I) about the hiring of Archie Miller, but I never understood why anyone would be so optimistic about his first season at Indiana. Take last year’s team, which was extremely disappointing, and remove the 3 best players (Blackmon, Bryant, & Anunoby (who admittedly didn’t contribute much last year)). Did you really think 3 unheralded freshman and a new coach, installing a new system, are going to make this year’s team significantly better? The talent is not there. Archie is installing a new system with guys he did not recruit. Please temper your expectations. If things aren’t looking much better by year 3, then you can be worried.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Fans……….do you think the teams performances have any weight on Romeos decision?. Not one of you can deny we really really need him next year.

  • beppecolo

    Yep. Been reading through the comments looking for these thoughts and was pretty sure I’d find them. Watching this team play defense is like me trying to speak Spanish. I can do it a little but I have to take my time and think about it. Can’t play defense like that on the court and expect to win very often. Couple that with poor effort, especially from the seniors and you’re, well, ____ (fill in the blank). I got to watch part of the game last night before I dozed off but, from what I saw Johnson, Newkirk, and Davis should be benched, as well as anyone else not willing to put out the effort (are you listening JM?). This season is going nowhere and the court time would be better spent on developing the younger players to build a core and an attitude for next year.

  • TomJameson

    Dakich doesn’t see IU BB practices, so how can he give an assessment of that? Dakich is still sore at IU for not getting the HC job. He shows it in ways like his relentless pounding and denigration of an IU player, last night the unlucky young man was De’Ron.

  • It’ll get better

    Can’t wait for Newkirk and RoJo to leave. I was hoping they went home for Christmas break and realized they suck and stayed home. I’ve never seen a worse combination of guards in my entire history of watching IU.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Good comment Bill. I think the bigger point you are hitting on is that we all know the roster IU has right now, and that they were recruited by Crean. But the only thing Archie can control right now is what he does with what he has, regardless of who recruited them. So I agree with you, that at this point we need to be seeing something from Archie that demonstrates he is making adjustments, teaching, building his culture right now. That is all he can control and I’d like to see some evidence that he is willing to make a statement with actions.

  • It’ll get better

    If we could get him it would turn things around. I think Robert Phinisee is already better than any guard we’ve got now. If Romeo comes with him this team is good. Bottom line though the Hoosiers have to get better at guard.

  • Mark Bando

    And the last couple years it was bryant and blackmon. Dakich loses credibility when he says we should have hired Alford.

  • JethroTroll

    ‘Swing and a miss’.

  • Vernon Aldrich

    Dude, your humor is the driest I’ve ever seen…I can’t be sure if I’m smirking or smiling… 😉

  • Arch Puddington

    Only the Shadow knows….

  • Arch Puddington

    No, I am mocking those who are already losing faith. The font is as purple as it gets. I think Archie will be great, and I CERTAINLY think it will take much more time before we know anything at all. I’ll hold off judgment until at least the end of the 2019-20 season, and maybe longer. Things are really bad right now, and all I will hope for in the next couple of seasons is some clear sense of progress. The model I have said right from the start that I think we will be closest to is that of Jay Wright. It took him several years at both Hofstra and Villanova to really get his program going, but once he did, it was awesome. If in four years you see the same comments out of me, you can assume I am serious. For now, sarcasm and irony.

  • Gary Cline

    This team is just not good! Average players, no leader/s, no point guard, weak front line, and little help from the bench. Previous coach was not recruiting effectively and this team is the end result of it. Will still root for the Hoosiers but this season is just a continuation of the debacle of last year and it won’t change until new blood fills the roster.

  • TomJameson

    Phew, that’s a relief. I didn’t really believe it of you, but feelings can get raw and things can get said that really aren’t believed, even by the “speaker”. Did you know that there already is a “fire Archie Miller” site? Some people are totally ridiculous.

  • Dialogos68

    Our guards are useless seniors…. One freshman PG is not going to fix this program next year either…. This will be a long term rebuild of 3 to 5 years… Old school see IU as it is… According to the WSJ, IU is a top program in economic value…. But today’s high school recruits see IU as just another average school like a Vanderbilt…

  • Dialogos68

    Romeo is not going to IU…. All of his signals show this… Accept it!!!

    When a two year player says that he wants to compete for a National title and that he wants to see how his final three pan out over the season….. The writing is on the wall…

  • calbert40

    I don’t think any one player will fix anything with the program, but I think an additional year of development in the new program standards as well as the infusion of a solid recruiting class will be very beneficial. I don’t believe this is a “3 to 5 year” rebuild. It’s a 1 or 2…unless your expectations of where a rebuild begins and ends are different than mine.

  • Outoftheloop

    Your assertions are based upon what evidence? How many years ago were you a top HS basketball recruit? How many and which college programs have you analyzed doing rebuilding. OH St has gone from very bad to top 5 in the B1G in 1/2 year. IU needs to beat MN and become 2-2 in the league with 3 away games played. That will change the dynamic.

  • Outoftheloop

    Absurd based on nothing! I will wait for Romeo to speak.

  • Outoftheloop

    Our performance so far proves that IU could change overnight with one great scoring guard!

  • Outoftheloop

    Try Juwan, Zach, Collin, Robert and Justin. Have Al, Devonte, Josh and Clifton ready. Take out anyone not focused on defense, rebounding, ball control and unselfish play. Forget the scoreboard, reward passion, aggression and toughness.

  • Outoftheloop

    Irony and satire do not work well on sports posts! But good try!

  • Outoftheloop

    Just how bad is it really? If IU beats MN there, we are 2-2, with 3 away games played!

  • Neil

    I keep hearing not much talent on the team but do you think Indiana State and IPFW have more talent? I hear the talent argument but it doesn’t work when you get blown out by 20+ to these teams. I know everyone loves AM here but he should not be given a free pass. I’m not saying to fire him, we have to be patient but so far I’m not impressed and the early signs aren’t looking good for him. He better be very careful and as a coach have his players ready to play with a system they can succeed in. That is totally 100% without a doubt the responsibility of the head coach. That’s why we pay him. No excuses.

  • BBB

    You make a fair point. No, I don’t think those teams have more talent, and many would argue that Wisconsin has less talent too (other than one All-American). But those teams all have established coaches and systems in place. For Wisconsin especially, the system is so critical to their success. For years Bo Ryan did more with less talent, and Greg Gard has continued that legacy. But I think there’s a ceiling with that approach. There is a reason teams like Wisconsin and Butler haven’t won National Championships. You need a lot of talent and a good coach/system to accomplish that. Each of hose programs have had both for short time periods, but ultimately fell short.

    With regard to the in-state mid-majors, both of those teams shot better than 56% from beyond the arc. Yes, some of that is on IU’s defense, but you don’t make that many threes without getting a little lucky. Not taking away any credit, because they both dominated IU, but you can’t deny that the games would have been a lot closer if they’d had more pedestrian shooting nights.

    My whole point is that people should not have expected this team to contend for a BIG10 championship, or even finish top 4 in Archie’s first year. New coaches and systems take a while to be put in place, and with a sub-par talent level (by Indiana standards), it just wasn’t realistic to expect them to compete at that level. Has Archie coached perfectly this season? No, and I know he’d say the same. But the point is give him some time to figure things out, recruit his players, get some more talent, and establish his system. Like I said, if things aren’t looking a lot better by year 3, then we can worry.

  • Mack

    I agree that Indiana state and IPFW aren’t more talented than the Hoosiers, but we don’t possess the kind of talent that you can just ride to victory. If we are going to win games, particularly in the B1G, we have to play harder than our opponents. The fact that our guys aren’t playing hard isn’t a new development, or do we all need to dwell on the NIT from last year. When AM was announced as our new head coach I wasn’t expecting a heart transplant for this team, I was hoping to see coaching taking place in the game. Something i hadnt seen at IU for nearly a decade. So far I’ve gotten what I wanted. When someone makes a mistake they get pulled and then coached. When we call a timeout, we have an actual play called and can inbound the ball in the half court and usually score a couple points in the post. Admittedly i would have been happy with a stray dog in an IU sweater pacing up and down the sideline over Tom Crean, but instead we got an actual coach. It takes a lot of pieces to make a championship team and with AM I feel that we’ve acquired one. My patience is stretched thin too, but for the first time in a long time, I think we are going to start to improve.