Video: Tom Crean reacts to loss at Georgia Tech

ATLANTA – Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 75-63 loss to Georgia Tech on Tuesday night at McCamish Pavilion in the NIT.

Watch his postgame comments below:

Video: IU players react to loss at Georgia Tech

ATLANTA – Thomas Bryant and Juwan Morgan met with the media following Indiana’s 75-63 loss to Georgia Tech on Tuesday night at McCamish Pavilion in the NIT.

Watch their postgame comments below:

Video: Josh Pastner, Georgia Tech players react to win over Indiana

ATLANTA – Josh Pastner, Quinton Stephens and Ben Lammers met with the media following Georgia Tech’s 75-63 win over Indiana at McCamish Pavilion in the NIT.

Watch their postgame comments below:

The Minute After: Georgia Tech

Thoughts on a 75-63 loss to Georgia Tech:

All those months ago, coming back from Hawaii on a high from the Kansas win, the Hoosiers stopped in Phoenix en route back to Bloomington.

“We wouldn’t mind coming back here sometime,” the team’s official Twitter account hinted about the site of this season’s Final Four. “Hear it’s nice in April.”

But the Hoosiers won’t make it to April, didn’t even make it to the NCAA Tournament. No, Indiana’s season ends with a whimper in the first round of the NIT, playing on the road by choice. The administration chose to duck the Hoosiers playing in front of their fans, ones that helped spur them on to a 26-game home winning streak that went all the way into late December earlier this season.

This was a season that changed in the most drastic of ways and leaves a frustrated fanbase wondering what the heck happens next.

Indiana turned the ball over on 22.9 percent of its possession tonight, just a bit over its season average of 21.4 — which is 322nd in the country. Georgia Tech turned those turnovers — a number of which came in the second half as the game got away from the Hoosiers for good — into 22 points. That was nearly 30 percent (29.3) of the Yellow Jackets’ points tonight. Indiana had more issues than just turnovers this season. Lack of leadership. Ho-hum defense. Free throw discrepancies. Injuries.

But its inability to take care of the ball with the fundamentals — the easy pass, dribbling instead of shuffling to avoid the travel — was perhaps the defining characteristic of this team. Indiana’s offense was pretty dang good when it could get through a possession without giving the ball away, but it didn’t happen enough this year. And tonight even when Indiana wasn’t turning it over, its offense had trouble against Georgia Tech’s zone.

Indiana failed to even hit 1.0 points per possession (.90) this evening and shot an effective field goal percentage of 42.2. The Hoosiers hit just 5-of-19 (26.3 percent) from 3-point range. Robert Johnson made only one field goal in eight attempts.

Credit due to Georgia Tech. Despite their faults, the Yellow Jackets came to play and remained engaged throughout the contest, not always an easy feat in the NIT. ACC Defensive Player of the Year Ben Lammers had five blocks. At one point in the closing minute of the contest, he shut out Thomas Bryant twice in a row, though the second block wasn’t recorded in the box score because the shot clock expired on Bryant’s attempt.

Josh Pastner didn’t let the gift of a home game Indiana gave him go to waste, as he paid for any student that wanted to show up. Show up they did. The crowd was loud and into it. After the game, Pastner called it “money well spent.”

Too often this season, the Hoosiers self-inflicted their wounds. And in games they had a chance, they more often that not failed to make the plays down the stretch to pull out the victory.

So Indiana ends the year 18-16 overall and with a record of just 2-11 vs. teams in the KenPom Top 50, an unfathomable finish compared to its start all those months ago.

At the Buzzer: Georgia Tech 75, Indiana 63

ATLANTA – Quick thoughts on a 75-63 loss to Georgia Tech:

How it happened: A little more than seven minutes into Tuesday’s National Invitational Tournament matchup at McCamish Pavilion, it appeared that Georgia Tech would run Indiana out of the building. The Yellow Jackets were moving the ball, playing an effective 2-3 zone and had built a 19-6 lead. But the Hoosiers didn’t cave in. Indiana stormed back to tie the game at 24 with 4:19 to go in the first half on a James Blackmon Jr. layup. That momentum was short lived. Indiana went into the locker room trailing by seven at the half on just .76 points per possession. It was another instance of a defense-first team giving the Hoosiers fits. Indiana did grab a lead – by two – on a Juwan Morgan free throw with 15:54 to play. But this was a game Georgia Tech controlled throughout. It didn’t take the Yellow Jackets long to regain control and they led for the final 15:31 of the contest. Georgia Tech was the more engaged and aggressive team all evening, which is what matters in a secondary tournament like the NIT. Indiana’s once promising season is over. The Hoosiers finish up at 18-16 and at this point, there are far more questions about the program’s future than answers.

Standout performer: Sophomore forward Juwan Morgan, who played much better in recent weeks to close out the season, finished with 14 points and six rebounds.

Statistic that stands out: Indiana’s offense, which entered the game ranked 27th nationally in adjusted efficiency according to Ken Pomeroy, scored just .90 points per possession.

Final individual stats:

Final tempo-free stats:

POTB 167: IU’s decision to decline an NIT home game

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

In this edition of the show, Morris and Inside the Hall editor Alex Bozich are joined by Chronic Hoosier to discuss a variety of topics. Among them:

· The last 48 hours for IU basketball
· Whether the NIT is a lose-lose situation for Indiana
· The silence from the athletic department
· The optics of an NIT run for Indiana
· Fan disappointment and reaction from IU’s decision not to host
· IU’s explanation of “not devaluing the Assembly Hall experience”
· What to expect for Indiana at Georgia Tech
· What’s next for the program and Gregg Doyel’s column on Monday

And much, much more. As always, feel free to drop the show a note at [email protected].

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

What to Expect: Georgia Tech

Indiana is headed for the National Invitation Tournament. The 18-15 Hoosiers will travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech on Tuesday night at Hank McCamish Pavilion.

The Yellow Jackets, the No. 6 seed in the Syracuse quadrant, are 17-15 overall and 14-4 at home. The game will be broadcast at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN with Mike Morgan and Paul Biancardi on the call:

Indiana’s 2016-17 season, which began with great promise, is now destined for a secondary postseason tournament. The Hoosiers weren’t among the 68 teams selected for the 2017 NCAA tournament and accepted a bit to the NIT as a No. 3 seed.

Normally, the higher seeded team hosts in the NIT until the semifinals rounds, which are played in New York at Madison Square Garden. But the Hoosiers are the only higher seeded team without an arena conflict not hosting their first round game.

Why?

The official word from Indiana is that the decision not to host was made because students are out of town for spring break and students make up a significant portion of ticket holders. Indiana also said it would host any subsequent games in which it is the higher seed that are played on March 20 or later.

While the absence of students might be a part of it, declining enthusiasm and fanbase anger about the state of the program can’t be dismissed as serious considerations for the decision, either. The last time Indiana hosted an NIT game, just over 5,000 fans showed up.

Whatever the reason for Indiana’s decision to decline hosting, the games must go on. Indiana, once ranked in the top 3 of the Associated Press top 25 poll with wins over two No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament, is an NIT team.

MEET THE YELLOW JACKETS

Georgia Tech was projected to be one of the worst teams in the loaded Atlantic Coast Conference. The Yellow Jackets exceeded expectations this season and finished 8-10 in the league with a 7-2 record in conference games at McCamish Pavilion. Among the home victories for the Yellow Jackets: North Carolina, Notre Dame and Florida State.

The surprising season for Tech earned first year head coach Josh Pastner ACC coach of the year honors. And it appears Georgia Tech is hungry to play in the NIT with Pastner telling the Atlanta Journal Constitution: “We’ll need to play, obviously, really, really well, but it’s a great opportunity for our program. One, it’s postseason. Two, it’s Indiana. Three, it’s a home game. Four, it’s national television. It’s huge for our program.”

Tech is playing a tight rotation with just seven players seeing major minutes recently.

The frontcourt anchor is 6-foot-10 junior Ben Lammers, the ACC defensive player of the year and a second team All-ACC selection. Lammers is second on the team in scoring at at 14.3 points per game, leads the team in rebounding at 9.3 per game and plays a team-high 35.2 minutes per game.

Lammers commits just 2.6 fouls per 40 minutes and has the 27th best block percentage in the country. Lammers is also a reliable free throw shooter as he knocked down 76.2 percent from the stripe in conference play.

Quinton Stephens, a 6-foot-9 senior, joins Lammers on the front line. Stephens is fourth on the team in scoring at 9.9 points per game and second in rebounding at 7.6 per game. He finished the season as the ACC’s ninth best defensive rebounder. Stephens also hit 47 3-pointers this season, but shot just 30.7 percent.

ACC all-freshman guard Josh Okogie looks like a building block for Pastner. The 6-foot-4 Okogie leads Tech in scoring at 15.5 points per game. Okogie was third in the ACC in free throw rate (FTA/FGA) at 58.3 percent and knocked down 74 percent from the line in league play.

Joining Okogie on the perimeter are 6-foot-2 senior Josh Heath and 6-foot-2 junior Tadric Jackson. Heath was fifth in the league in assist rate in conference play, but is also very turnover prone. He is, however, a solid finisher (54.4 percent on 2s). Jackson is Tech’s third leading scorer at 11.8 points per game and is a high usage, low efficiency offensive player. Jackson made just 26.2 percent of his 3s and 55.8 percent of his free throws in ACC games.

The name to know off of the bench is 6-foot-4 freshman Justin Moore. He averages 4.4 points in 20.4 minutes per game.

TEMPO-FREE PREVIEW

Georgia is an elite defensive team that struggles to score. Indiana, on the other hand, is a very good offensive team that struggles to get stops. Which style of play will win out?

The impressive numbers on Tech’s ledger include the nation’s seventh best defense at .91 points per possession allowed and a top 40 opponent free throw rate number. The Yellow Jackets had the best 2-point field goal percentage defensive in ACC games and also the top block percentage. Quality looks could be difficult for Indiana to come by.

Both teams are turnover prone, but the Hoosiers should have an advantage on the offensive glass if they’re aggressive. Georgia Tech was just seventh in defensive rebounding percentage in the ACC.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

The NIT is all about a team’s mindset. It’s not a desired destination for any team and winning the event means relatively nothing nationally. Which team will have come out with the mindset of doing whatever necessary to keep its season alive?

The Vegas line currently favors Indiana by 4.5, but Pomeroy likes the Hoosiers by just one. Sagarin favors Georgia Tech by roughly four once adjusted for home court.

When Indiana beat Kansas and North Carolina in November, this isn’t the outcome that anyone expected come March. But less than four months removed from that win over the Tar Heels, an NIT road game is IU’s reality.

(Photo credit: Mike Comer/Getty Images North America)

Around the Hall: Reaction to IU’s NIT draw, road game

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall staff.

Mike Miller of The Herald-Times writes that Indiana simply wanted to keep playing, even in the NIT:

Indiana learned Sunday night that it received a No. 3 seed in the NIT and will open the consolation tournament with a 9 p.m. matchup against No. 6 Georgia Tech at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta.

Typically, the higher-seeded team hosts games on campus in the NIT, but Indiana declined to bring a game to Assembly Hall this week with students — a large portion of the ticket holders — on spring break. An Indiana spokesman said the school would be able to host a game, if still alive in the tournament, as early as March 20.

Sam Beishuizen of TheHoosier.com writes that Indiana missed an opportunity by declining a home game:

Indiana Athletics does countless things right. They’ve gone out of their way to improve fan experiences on game days, been active and sometimes groundbreaking in the use of new technologies to bring viewers closer to the games and generally do a good job in helping the community around the school.

But they whiffed on this move.

The reality is that the crowds at an NIT game at the newly renovated Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall were not going to be standing room only. Already slightly embarrassed to be in the NIT to begin with, empty seats certainly wouldn’t have been the greatest of looks.

But is this worth it?

Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star writes that Indiana is all over the NCAA tournament bracket – except for one team:

Butler is 2-0 against No. 1 seeds in this field, both wins against top overall seed Villanova out of the East Region. Know who else is 2-0 against No. 1 seeds in the 2017 bracket? Indiana. The Hoosiers took down No. 1s Kansas (Midwest) and North Carolina (South) earlier this season. Researchers are furiously looking for another example of a team knocking off two eventual No. 1 seeds without making that NCAA tournament itself. I’m going to save them some time and declare: It’s never happened. I could be wrong, but would it matter?

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has reaction from the Georgia Tech side, which is excitement for the opportunity:

Having been given a chance to keep playing, Tech can conclude the season with a more positive feeling than its first-round loss to Pittsburgh in last week’s ACC Tournament. The game will be broadcast on ESPN. Tech was given a No. 6 seed in an eight-team quadrant headed by Syracuse. Indiana is a No. 3 seed.

“We’ll need to play, obviously, really, really well, but it’s a great opportunity for our program,” Pastner said. “One, it’s postseason. Two, it’s Indiana. Three, it’s a home game. Four, it’s national television. It’s huge for our program.”

CBSSports.com examines the rules changes in place for the NIT:

A few experimental rule changes will be in place for the NIT, allowing the NCAA to collect more data as it considers the impact of its current game format with two 20-minute halves. These rules break down the accumulation of team fouls into 10-minute segments, providing a snapshot of what college basketball with four quarters might look like.

Indiana to open NIT as No. 3 seed in Atlanta against Georgia Tech

After not being selected for the NCAA tournament for the second time in four seasons, Indiana will play in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) for the first time since 2005.

The Hoosiers, the No. 3 seed in the Syracuse Quadrant, will open the NIT on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN at Georgia Tech.

The ESPNU broadcast said that Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall is not available due to renovations. However, an IU spokesperson says that Indiana will not host due to students being out of town for spring break. Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall would be available to host future games, if the Hoosiers advance and are the higher seed and the game is played March 20 or later.

Indiana’s last NIT appearance in 2005 ended in a first round, 67-60 loss to Vanderbilt in Bloomington. Here’s a link to the full NIT bracket.

Two other Big Ten teams – Iowa and Illinois – also received NIT bids.

Seven Big Ten teams earned NCAA tournament bids this season: Purdue, Minnesota, Maryland, Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Michigan State.

Indiana is 18-15 overall and lost to Wisconsin 70-60 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.

Film Session: Wisconsin

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.