This much is true: Across three games this season, Ethan Happ dominated the Hoosiers.
Happ shot an efficient 76.6 percent (23-of-30) against IU, including a 7-of-9 performance in Friday’s quarterfinal matchup of the Big Ten Tournament.
We’ll take a look at all seven of his scores — split across two categories — in the latest edition of Film Session:
LEFT TO RIGHT BLOCK REVERSE LAYUP
This is one of Happ’s go-to post moves and it’s quite effective. In the span of two minutes, he put it on Thomas Bryant and De’Ron Davis in the second half and they were pretty much helpless.
And near the game’s end, when the Hoosiers had the reverse double covered, he reversed back for the score.
Notebook: Hoosiers fall back into old ways in loss to Wisconsin
WASHINGTON – Indiana fell back into several of its old habits on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament and the result was a 70-60 loss to Wisconsin.
The Badgers (24-8) slowed Indiana’s offensive machine to a halt. The Hoosiers (18-15) only managed 61 possessions the day after accumulating 76 against Iowa.
“Yesterday we were getting up and down and having fun,” James Blackmon Jr. said after the game. “Today they kind of slowed us down.”
It was Indiana’s third loss of the season to the Badgers, who have perplexed the Hoosiers since Crean’s arrival in Bloomington. Wisconsin has now won 16 of 18 matchups against Indiana during Crean’s nine years in Bloomington.
On Friday, each Badger possession was methodical, passes were precise, and nearly every cut was with a purpose.
Whenever Indiana missed a defensive rotation, Wisconsin took advantage, knocking down open 3s on several occasions.
“We could have rotated to shooters better and recognized personnel,” Josh Newkirk said after the game.
As a team, Wisconsin finished the night 10-for-22 from long range with Bronson Koenig leading the way (4-for-7).
“(Koenig) is a tremendous player,” Crean told reporters after the game. “As I said to him, it’s been an honor to coach against him. He’s gotten nothing but better and is going to be a long-time pro.”
Inside the arc, Ethan Happ once again shredded the Hoosiers’ interior defense, scoring 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Over the three meetings with Indiana this season, Happ shot 23-for-30 from the floor (77 percent).
Happ befuddled the Indiana frontcourt, especially Thomas Bryant. The sophomore picked up two personal fouls early in the first half and didn’t make a single field goal on the night.
“I could have played better, just helping my teammates out, especially in the first half,” Bryant said after the game. “I got two early (fouls). That’s on me right there on the defensive end. Offense will take care of itself, but I’ve gotta be locked in on the defensive end.”
Even with the struggles inside, the Hoosiers were in the game until the final minutes. A 15-point Wisconsin lead with 8:14 remaining was trimmed to four with 1:21 to play after Blackmon nailed a three.
But the Badgers would score the next six points of the night, putting the contest out of reach and sending Indiana packing.
In the locker room following the game, Bryant defended his coach.
“Coach Crean is my guy,” Bryant said. “I’ll stick by him each day throughout anything. We know he won’t give up on us and he knows we won’t give up on him. All that coach Crean stuff, I’m not answering it. You guys already know my answer.”
In the locker room, nearly every player was asked their thoughts on how they would feel about playing in the National Invitation Tournament.
“I love playing with these guys,” Morgan said, echoing his teammates. “They’re my brothers. I’ll play with them as long as I can no matter what tournament it is.”
Current NIT projections place Indiana as a 3 seed, which would mean they could host a game this upcoming Tuesday or Wednesday.
Indiana will learn their NIT fate at 8:30 p.m. Sunday when ESPNU airs the NIT Selection Special.
Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Wisconsin
WASHINGTON – Wisconsin’s dominance of Indiana continued on Friday night at the Verizon Center as the Badgers beat the Hoosiers 70-60 in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Big Ten tournament.
The loss was Indiana’s third this season to Wisconsin. The Badgers have now won 18 of their last 20 games against the Hoosiers. Here’s a look at five takeaways from the loss to Wisconsin:
· Wisconsin controls the pace – again: It hasn’t mattered if Bo Ryan or Greg Gard is coaching the Badgers against Indiana under Tom Crean: Wisconsin controls the pace and wins the game as a result. Friday night was no different.
After Indiana had 74 possessions against Ohio State last Saturday and 76 on Thursday against Iowa, the Hoosiers managed just 61 against Wisconsin. The Badgers have figured out how to force Indiana into halfcourt games and the result has been complete dominance of the series in recent seasons. Indiana often thrives when its able to play in transition, but Wisconsin only allowed three fast break points on Friday.
Indiana hasn’t beaten Wisconsin in Madison or on a neutral court under Crean and Friday’s loss was the third to the Badgers in the last six Big Ten tournaments.
“We know they’re an up-tempo team,” Ethan Happ said of IU. “We want to control the pace. Not that we want to control the pace, but we controlled the pace in all three matchups. We were able to do it that way.”
· The Badgers stifle Indiana inside the arc: Wisconsin entered Friday’s matchup with the Big Ten’s best 2-point field goal defense. The Hoosiers had no answer for Wisconsin’s defense inside the 3-point arc.
Indiana was a dismal 14-of-34 on 2s in the loss (41.2 percent). Thomas Bryant was 0-of-4 and De’Ron Davis was 1-of-6. The duo, who scored 26 points in Thursday’s win over Iowa, combined for just four points in 38 minutes. Wisconsin’s big man, Ethan Happ, was 7-of-9 from the field and finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
“They missed shots they usually make,” Tom Crean said postgame. “It’s one of those things. You have to play through the contact. When you’re going against a Wisconsin team, whether it was when Bo (Ryan) first came into the league or whether it’s now, they’re going to put their chest into you. That’s what it is.”
· Badgers deliver balanced offensive performance: Wisconsin had little problem finding its offense in the win as the Badgers scored 1.15 points per possession and had five guys in double figures.
Senior Bronson Koenig had 16 points to lead Wisconsin and four different Badgers hit a 3-pointer.
“(I) thought they played for the most part really well tonight,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “Shared the ball. They had 15 assists on 27 baskets.”
Wisconsin also had just seven turnovers for a turnover percentage of only 11.5 percent. Indiana, meanwhile, had 12 turnovers for a turnover percentage of 19.5.
· What’s next for Indiana? The Hoosiers aren’t going to make the NCAA tournament, but an NIT bid appears likely and Indiana will accept the bid should it come.
It will be Indiana’s first appearance in the NIT since 2005, when it lost at Assembly Hall to Vanderbilt under Mike Davis.
Will Indiana be ready to play?
“That shouldn’t even be a question,” Robert Johnson said. “If you get to put the uniform on and go out and play, it shouldn’t be a question of how hard you’re going to play or what you think it’s worth. At the end of the day, we still have to go out there and play.”
· What’s next for Tom Crean? The speculation regarding Crean’s job status hasn’t slowed down and it won’t until a resolution is reached.
There are reports that Missouri has an interest in Crean for its opening and IU athletic director Fred Glass hasn’t spoken publicly about Crean or the program in several months.
With IU’s run in D.C. officially over, attention will quickly shift to what happens next with Crean and Indiana.
Video: Greg Gard, Wisconsin players react to win over Indiana
WASHINGTON – Greg Gard, D’Mitrik Trice, Ethan Happ and Bronson Koenig addressed the media following Wisconsin’s 70-60 win over Indiana in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament on Friday at the Verizon Center.
Watch their postgame comments below:
Video: Tom Crean, IU players react to loss to Wisconsin
WASHINGTON – Tom Crean, James Blackmon Jr. and Juwan Morgan addressed the media following Indiana’s 70-60 quarterfinal loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament on Friday at the Verizon Center.
Watch their postgame comments below:
Video: IU players react to loss to Wisconsin
WASHINGTON – The Indiana locker room was open following Friday’s 70-60 Big Ten quarterfinal loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament at the Verizon Center.
Watch what seven different Hoosiers had to say following the loss to the Badgers:
After back-to-back 3-pointers by Zak Showalter and D’Mitrik Trice put the Badgers up 15 with 8:14 to go, this one looked just about done.
The Hoosiers had scored 90-plus points in their last two outings in wins against Ohio State and Iowa thanks to hot shooting, but Wisconsin’s defense locked them up tonight and made them look like mere offensive mortals after their recent super human shot making. Indiana often had trouble getting any sort of rhythm or flow in its halfcourt offense, and the seconds ticked aways towards :00 on the shot clock with the Hoosiers having to hoist something less than ideal, or worse yet, getting up no shot at all. Indiana mustered just .99 points per possession this evening.
But the Hoosiers, despite their disappointing record this season, did what they’ve done all year: They didn’t give up. From that 8:14 mark to the 1:21 mark, the Hoosiers went on a 18-7 run to pull it within four at 64-60. Indiana got 3-pointers from Juwan Morgan, James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson during that stretch and its full-court pressure caused a Wisconsin turnover.
But Bronson Koenig, Mr. Clutch himself, drove to the hoop and scored to put the Badgers up 66-60 and that started the end of Indiana’s shot at a victory.
The Hoosiers are now a disastrous 2-16 against Wisconsin in the Crean era and are likely headed to the NIT. Indiana will miss the NCAA Tournament for the second time in four seasons and have a record of 40-38 against conference opponents in that same stretch.
Blackmon Jr. had another impressive offensive performance this evening, going for 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including a 3-of-6 mark from distance. He added eight boards, an assist and no turnovers across 34 minutes of action. Morgan continues to play with more spring and spirit now that he’s healthy and posted 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. The sophomore added seven boards and two blocks.
But Indiana’s centers had a rough go of it. Thomas Bryant didn’t score until the 12:54 mark of the second half on a free throw. He didn’t hit a bucket all game (0-of-4). The sophomore had more fouls (four) and turnovers (three) than points (two). De’Ron Davis was a perfect 7-of-7 from the field last night against the Hawkeyes, but struggled in this one, going just 1-of-6 on the night for two points.
Indiana turned the ball over on less than 20 percent of its possessions (19.8%), so the points off turnovers didn’t really kill the Hoosiers tonight, as they lost that battle just 13-10. Things were pretty even in the free throw department too, as Wisconsin hit 6-of-11 and the Hoosiers made 5-of-9.
So in the end, Wisconsin’s defense, particularly its 2-point defense (41.1%), was just a little too much for the Hoosiers to overcome. Wisconsin Wisconsin’d Indiana once again and the Hoosiers’ shot at the NCAA Tournament is gone with it.
At the Buzzer: Wisconsin 70, Indiana 60
WASHINGTON – Quick thoughts on a 70-60 loss to Wisconsin:
How it happened: Early on, it appeared Indiana would give Wisconsin a battle in Friday’s quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson both came out hitting from the perimeter as the duo hit all four of IU’s first half 3-pointers in the first seven minutes. Nigel Hayes picked up two fouls in the game’s first four minutes. By the 7:59 mark of the first half, the Hoosiers led 22-19 on a Juwan Morgan layup. But as it always does against Indiana, Wisconsin found its footing and mounted a run. The Badgers outscored Indiana 14-5 over the final eight minutes of the first half to grab a 33-27 halftime lead. It only got worse from there. Indiana was within nine at 51-42 on a Thomas Bryant free throw with 8:55 to play, but the Badgers answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead to 15. Indiana never got closer than four the rest of the evening. The loss dropped Indiana to 18-15 overall, 4-9 in the Big Ten tournament under Tom Crean and 2-16 against Wisconsin under Crean. With the NCAA tournament out of the question, the Hoosiers will await their NIT fate late Sunday night.
Standout performer: Johnson finished with 13 points (5-of-13) and seven rebounds in 36 minutes. Blackmon Jr. had 17 points, on 7-of-12 shooting, and eight rebounds in 34 minutes.
Statistic that stands out: As noted in this morning’s “what to watch for” piece, Wisconsin’s 2-point field goal defense is one of the Big Ten’s best. And that was the case on Friday night as Indiana shot just 41.1 percent on 2s.
Final individual stats:
Final tempo-free stats:
Film Session: Iowa
In Indiana’s blowout victory against Iowa on Thursday night in the Big Ten Tournament, James Blackmon Jr. had one of his better all around games as a Hoosier.
The junior turned it up in the second half both before and during the stretch Indiana built its lead en route to the blowout.
We’ll take a look at a variety of ways Blackmon Jr. impacted the ball game in the latest edition of Film Session:
On the defensive end, Blackmon Jr. is tasked with Cordell Pemsl on the right block after an entry pass from Jordan Bohannon:
Blackmon Jr. holds his ground and leads Pemsl into Thomas Bryant. Bryant blocks his shot, one of his five on the evening:
Josh Newkirk comes up with the ball after the block:
Newkirk streaks down the court and he’s got Blackmon Jr. up ahead as he approaches the left wing. Isaiah Moss is within distance on the left wing ahead of Blackmon Jr.:
Blackmon Jr. catches and sets up well beyond the 3-point line, which gives him some space from Moss:
He rises from deep and knocks down the triple with Moss still on the ground:
Nice D from Blackmon Jr. followed by hustle to find his shot on the break.