News and notes from Tom Crean’s radio show

Inside IU basketball with Tom Crean was live on Monday evening from the Holiday Inn in Bloomington. The Hoosiers had three games in five days and are now 7-1 following wins over No. 3 North Carolina, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Southeast Missouri State. Collin Hartman was the player guest.

Below are news and notes with comments from Crean and Hartman on Monday evening:

· After playing four games in an eight-day stretch, Crean said it’s been a while since IU had a real practice. His main concern is it’s been hard to work on some of the things they need to work on. Things slow down a little bit over the next week and Crean said it’ll be good to have some time to go against each other and work with lineups a little bit.

· Crean on the atmosphere against UNC: “Tim Garl (longtime IU athletic trainer) has seen every atmosphere possible and he’s been there for so many years. He was literally blown away by that level. He usually texts about our injury update late at night but he usually doesn’t text at the fact at how great that crowd was. He’s seen it all. Bottom line is when you get a guy like Tim excited, it’s a special night. The energy in the building never waned. There’s nothing like it…it gave our players an incredible amount of strength.”

· Defensive improvement: Last year through eight games, IU allowed opponents to shoot 45.5 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from behind arc. This year through eight games, IU is holding opponents to 37.4 percent from the field and 26.4 percent from the 3-poing range. Crean said, “We’re getting better, no doubt about it. A year ago we were left for dead on the side of the road.” Specifically, defensive rebounding has improved from everyone, including guards.

· Crean’s comments on Juwan Morgan stepping up to fill in during OG Anunoby’s absence: “Juwan comes in and takes over the starting role and puts up a double-double. He’s becoming a leader, taking responsibility vocally, rebounding well, defending well and making shots.” Morgan was 12-12 from the field over IU’s last two games and led the way on defense and rebounds.

· On De’Ron Davis increasing playing time: “We knew it was coming, and it’ll get even better. It’s just a matter of time, playing longer stretches, learning how to play with Thomas (Bryant), it opens up so many more options through the post.” If Davis can play the post, that allows Bryant to move around the perimeter more.

· Concerning Anunoby, Crean said it’s difficult for anybody to come in and make up the way he makes shots and plays defensively. But they’ve made up for the loss in rebounding, with Morgan and Davis especially. Right now, his status is “day-to-day, we’ll see how it goes,” according to Crean. He mentioned Anunoby has been doing mechanical work shooting from the chair working on follow through and building range.

· For Josh Newkirk adapting into his leadership role: “The bottom line is that he needs to make better decisions with the ball, he’s making some turnovers right now that can’t be made but he’s shooting the ball better.” Crean also emphasized there are times where IU is out on the court looking at each other, and that’s when Newkirk needs to take command of the team.

· IU is off until Dec. 10 when it faces Houston Baptist at home. Crean’s comments on the matchup: “They score a lot of points, their average time of possession is 15 seconds so they have a fast pace of game. We don’t want to be out there trading baskets, we want to get out and get our break. But this week is time to get ourselves better and focus on them later in the week.”

· Hartman’s comments on the team this season: “They’re extremely talented, they have all the talent in the world. They’re smart guys and they love to win. Put all that together with a little bit of experience, a lot of coaching, and it’s dangerous.”

· Crean has given Hartman new roles to focus on inside practices and games. Hartman said his experience makes it easy for him to give tips to the younger guys with things to tweak or tips of how to improve. One guy that Hartman said has impressed him is Zach McRoberts. “He’s diving on the floor for balls, has high energy, moves the ball, makes hustle plays, crashes the boards, that kind of thing. It’s not on stat sheet, but it keeps game going.”

Film Session: SIU Edwardsville

While Indiana’s offense is often predicated off quick scores on the secondary break, this weekend’s slate of games in Bloomington showed the Hoosiers are beginning to expand their offensive repertoire in the half court.

We’ll take a look at some set plays from Indiana’s win over SIU Edwardsville in the latest edition of Film Session:

Devonte Green calls out the play as Robert Johnson instructs De’Ron Davis to head to the unoccupied right corner:

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Davis makes a move first to the right block:

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And as the ball swings to Johnson on the right wing, Davis moves to the corner:

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Davis gets the pass in the corner from Johnson. Johnson cuts through to the paint:

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Davis makes the pass back up top to Green. Him and Johnson begin to head each other’s way:

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Davis sets a screen for Johnson, who goes into the corner:

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Green zips the pass into Davis and the Cougars swarms. The defense has already been shying off Thomas Bryant this whole possession, and now they really are. Bryant is wide open on the left wing:

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Davis makes the pass:

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And Bryant bangs home the triple:

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After Sunday night’s contest against Southeast Missouri State, Tom Crean had this to say about Davis passing out of the post: “It’s something we know we’re going to need. We don’t do it a lot in practice just yet. We’ll have more time to do it this week.”

Video:

POTB 153: Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News

Podcast on the Brink is back for a new episode with host Jerod Morris of The Assembly Call. The show is now available weekly during the season.

In this edition of the show, Morris and Inside the Hall editor Alex Bozich are joined by Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News to recap Indiana’s win over North Carolina. Among the topics discussed:

· How to reconcile the fact that Indiana beat UNC and Kansas but lost to Fort Wayne
· Indiana’s win over North Carolina and how much of a factor the environment was
· The point guard by committee situation and if it can hold up over the course of the season
· The growth of James Blackmon Jr. as a more complete player
· Indiana’s bench and how it is evolving eight games into the season
· The overall state of the Big Ten at this point
· Indiana’s games later this month with Butler and Louisville

And plenty more. As always, feel free to drop the show a note at jerod@assemblycall.com.

Listen in the audio player below, download the episode, subscribe via iTunes or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Southeast Missouri State

Indiana recorded its seventh win on Sunday afternoon, an 83-55 beatdown of Southeast Missouri State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Redhawks:

· Johnson’s strong start continues: Junior Robert Johnson turned in another solid performance on Sunday afternoon with 17 points, seven rebounds and two assists in 30 minutes.

Through eight games, Johnson has been one of Indiana’s most efficient offensive players. He’s shooting 43.2 percent on 3s and 69.7 percent on 3s for an effective field goal percentage of 67.1, which ranks 42nd nationally. He still hasn’t solved the turnover issue (22.1 TO%) that’s been present throughout his career, but Johnson is off to a very good start in his third season.

“Rob controls the tempo on the floor,” freshman De’Ron Davis said of his teammate. “And he controls everybody pretty much. As a team we’re working on our communication. But Rob really controls the tempo.”

· So far, Indiana’s 3-point shooting isn’t what we’ve seen in recent seasons: As Ryan pointed out in The Minute After, Indiana’s 3-point shooting this season has regressed.

Is it a trend that will continue?

Indiana’s 2011-12, 2012-13, 2014-15 and 2015-16 teams all ranked in the top 10 nationally in 3-point shooting. In that five-year stretch, the only team that didn’t shoot it well from distance was the 2013-14 group, which missed the postseason altogether.

This year’s team is currently hitting 38.2 percent of its 3s, which is 67th in the country. It’s a number that should improve assuming Juwan Morgan and OG Anunoby make a reasonable percentage. And even if the Hoosiers don’t finish the season as one of the nation’s best 3-point shooting teams, they can make up for it with elite efficiency on 2s and on the offensive glass.

· Bryant takes just two shots, but still makes significant impact: Sophomore Thomas Bryant looked frustrated at times on Sunday afternoon at the lack of post touches he received.

Bryant was posting up hard most of the game, but Indiana wasn’t finding good angles to get him the ball. But rather than letting the lack of touches take him out of the game, Bryant went to work in other areas of the game. This was the result:

· Quietly, Indiana’s defense proving to be above average: It’s not generating a ton of discussion, but eight games in, the Hoosiers have the 32nd best defense in the country according to Ken Pomeroy.

Indiana isn’t forcing turnovers, but is doing everything else well. The Hoosiers are defending without fouling and opponents aren’t getting to the offensive glass, either. It’s a small sample size, but IU’s effective field goal percentage defense is 12th in the country. Last season, the Hoosiers were 168th.

“We’re digging in the post more. We’re getting more connected,” Tom Crean said on Sunday. “But it’s not there 1 through 10 yet by any stretch. And I think that’s where we’ve got to continue to really make strides the best that we can. And so we’ve seen enough in this week to know that it can be there. We’ve seen enough to know that it’s not there.”

· Morgan stepping up in Anunoby’s absence: Indiana is expected to get OG Anunoby back soon, but in his absence, Juwan Morgan is gaining confidence offensively.

Morgan is 12-of-12 from the field over his last two games and owns the team’s best offensive rating right now according to Ken Pomeroy at 132.4. Morgan is just 2-of-9 on 3s this season, but he’s been excellent on the offensive glass and finishing in the paint the last two games.

On Sunday, he finished with 11 points, three rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal in 22 minutes.

Notebook: Blowout win over SEMO overshadows larger issues

Indiana finished up a stretch of four games in eight days with an 83-55 thrashing of Southeast Missouri State.

The 7-1 Hoosiers led wire-to-wire in a less than capacity Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. With students finishing up semester-long projects and prepping for finals, the Hoosiers were unable to feed off the crowd like they were able to against UNC.

Indiana showed the same flaws that have been apparent throughout the season, particularly when it comes to turning the ball over.

Indiana has committed at least 15 turnovers in all but one game this season, and tonight was no exception. The Hoosiers gave SEMO 18 free possessions, with six different players ending the day with at least two.

“We forced a couple passes,” junior Robert Johnson said. “I think making a simple play is something we’ve got to continue to get better at, making passes one dribble sooner and not waiting. I think the more we just play together, the more connected we’ll get.”

On the season the Hoosiers have turned the ball over on 23 percent of possessions, ranking 324th in the country, per KenPom.

But there were plenty of positives to take away, even after considering the low quality of opponent.

For the fourth consecutive game, Indiana blocked at least six shots and held the opposition to under 40 percent shooting from the field.

The most impressive defensive stretch was at the start of the game, where Indiana held SEMO to two points over the first eight minutes.

“The guys are really talking and active, especially in the one stretch in the first half,” Johnson said. “I think we set the tone early with how we wanted to handle certain guys and take away tendencies.”

Two nights after holding SIU Edwardsville to just seven assists, Southeast Missouri State couldn’t do any better, finishing the game with season-lows in assists (7) and points (55).

Juwan Morgan, Thomas Bryant, and De’Ron Davis continued their recent stretches of solid play, with Davis reaching double-figures scoring for a second straight contest. The Hoosiers made a concerted effort to get the ball into Davis down low, and Crean says he’ll expect more from the freshman as the season progresses, especially when it comes to using his passing abilities when he’s in the post.

“It’s something we know we’re going to need,” Crean said. “We don’t do it a lot in practice just yet. We’ll have more time to do it this week.”

Morgan had another perfect night from the field, hitting all four of his shots to go along with a block, a steal and an assist. Morgan has not missed a field goal since the 7:30 mark of the second half against UNC on Wednesday.

Bryant, meanwhile, took only two shots on the day but contributed in a variety of ways, becoming the second player in Division I this season to post a line of seven points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and four blocks.

After making a hustle play late in the first half, he enthusiastically gave Crean a chest bump.

“Sometimes we have too much self-inflicted pressure because the frustration kicks in. And they’ve had a very long week,” Crean said of the chest bump. “(Bryant) just needed a reminder that it’s okay to have some fun.”

Cleveland drops the hammer

6-foot-6 Antonius Cleveland was one of the lone bright spots for the Redhawks, scoring 13 points and completing a number of highlight plays.

Three of Cleveland’s six made field goals were slam dunks, with the most notable coming at the expense of Zach McRoberts.

Anunoby progressing

OG Anunoby missed his second consecutive game with what Crean has labeled as a “high-ankle sprain,” with the assumption being that his recovery time would be measured in weeks.

“He’s got the boot on. He’s off the crutches. It’s a day-to-day thing, I imagine now,” Crean said. “He couldn’t have played today, but he’s definitely making progress.”

With nearly a week before Indiana next takes the court, Anunoby could well be back in the rotation when the Hoosiers face Houston Baptist next Saturday.

Video: Tom Crean reacts to win over Southeast Missouri State

Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 83-55 win over Southeast Missouri State on Sunday afternoon at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Watch his postgame comments below:

Video: IU players react to win over Southeast Missouri State

De’Ron Davis and Robert Johnson met with the media following Indiana’s 83-55 win over Southeast Missouri State on Sunday afternoon at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Watch their postgame comments below:

Video: Rick Ray reacts to loss at Indiana

Southeast Missouri State coach Rick Ray addressed the media following his team’s 83-55 loss to Indiana on Sunday afternoon at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Watch his postgame comments below:

Photo Gallery: Indiana vs. Southeast Missouri State

Check out 39 photos by Jamie Owens from Indiana’s 83-55 win over Southeast Missouri State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in the embedded photo gallery. Purchase prints from J. Scott Photography.

The Minute After: Southeast Missouri State

Thoughts on a 83-55 win over the Redhawks:

On its last leg of a four-games-in-eight-days stretch, Indiana slopped its way through the first half of Sunday afternoon’s contest. Over the first 20 minutes of the game, Indiana turned the ball over on 33.3 percent of its possessions thanks to some overly happy feet and some serious lack of focus.

Despite turning it over at an alarming rate, Indiana still mustered a solid 1.08 points per possession. When the Hoosiers actually held possession in the first half, the offense hummed with inside-out crisp ball movement for scores all over the court.

Juwan Morgan continued his impressive weekend on Branch McCracken Court. After an 8-of-8 performance (18 points) against SIU Edwardsville, Morgan tossed up another perfect game from the field (4-of-4). OG Anunoby was off crutches today and there are some signs his high ankle sprain injury may not keep him out long term. But in his absence, Morgan has done a great job picking up some of the offensive slack.

This was yet another contest the Hoosiers shot under 40 percent from 3-point range (7-of-20, 35 percent) and it’s becoming a bit of a trend. That said, Johnson had a number go halfway down before coming out in the first half. And the looks were mostly pretty good tonight. Over the last two seasons, Indiana has been among the best 3-point shooting teams in the country. Last season, they hit 41.6 percent, good for fourth in the nation. Two years ago, they hit 40.6 percent, good for sixth in the country. Entering tonight’s contest, the Hoosiers sat at 38.6 percent, which ranks them 52nd. Still quite good, but not elite.

It’s a number to keep an eye on as the non-conference season rolls along.

Indiana racked up eight blocks again this afternoon as it did on Friday night, tying a season-high. In a game he only took two field goal attempts, Thomas Bryant accounted for half of Indiana’s blocks (four) with De’Ron Davis (two), Freddie McSwain (one) and Juwan Morgan (one) accounting for the other half. Indiana also racked up 10 steals in the game and scored 16 points off turnovers, more than the 13 the Redhawks got off of Indiana’s 18 turnovers. They held Southeast Missouri State to just .77 points per possession.

Curtis Jones had an efficient 3-of-4 (eight points) shooting performance in 13 minutes of action and continues to show nice body control around the basket on the break. Devonte Green got back in the scoring mix a little with five points thanks to a 3-pointer and two makes at the line. And the Hoosiers also had a nice, balanced mix of scorers tonight with four players in double digits. Morgan (11 points), James Blackmon Jr. (11 points), De’Ron Davis (14) and Johnson (17) all chipped in.

Indiana’s turnover percentage improved by game’s end to 25.2 percent, but that’s a number that’s still much too high. The Hoosiers ended last season with the nation’s sixth best offense despite a turnover percentage of 19.6 percent, which ranked 272nd in the country. This is an offensive system that can still be successful despite a less than stellar turnover rate.

Still, it continues to be a concern and could come back to bite Indiana later in the month when it takes on elite teams in Butler and Louisville.