The Inside the Hall Mailbag: February 9

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), via email, submitted on our premium forum and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

@connor_galyen writes: What’s IU’s identity? Are we the team that beat Michigan or the one that struggled against Minnesota and Penn State?

Is somewhere in the middle an option? I’m of the opinion that you should probably throw out these outlier type of performances when evaluating a team. Indiana probably isn’t as good as it played at Michigan and it certainly isn’t as bad as it played on Saturday on Penn State. The Minnesota game probably doesn’t even belong in the conversation because IU won that one and the Gophers have played some other Big Ten opponents close.

The problem, of course, is that a team that doesn’t perform consistently is going to have a tough time stringing together a long NCAA tournament run. Success for the Hoosiers is highly dependent on good shooting and taking care of the ball. Can the Hoosiers perform at a high level in both facets over the series of several games? It remains to be seen.

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Tourney Watch: Hoosiers will face Iowa, MSU in critical week

We’re back for our third installment of “Tourney Watch” as Indiana continues the back half of its Big Ten schedule.

In our weekly feature that will continue up until Selection Sunday on March 13, we take a look at IU’s current nitty gritty profile, updated bracket projections and much more.

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News and notes from Tom Crean’s radio show

Tom Crean returned to his live radio show Monday night in Bloomington following Indiana’s split in road games last week. Here are the highlights.

On the 28-0 run against Michigan

“Even though you would never expect to have a run like that, the way we came out inside of the game, gave us a lot of confidence,” Crean said. “We have to play better at the beginning of games, there’s no doubt about that, and we’ve got to execute better, but at the same time we were aggressive.

“The defense was keyed by the fact that we were adjusting quickly to the mistakes that we were making. We never got done mindset wise because we weren’t making shots at the beginning and that’s got so much to do with how you play.”

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Film Session: Penn State

We know Indiana’s offense struggled in its loss to Penn State in Happy Valley.

But over the final 10 minutes of action, the Hoosiers also made a number of miscues on defense and the Nittany Lions capitalized to emerge victorious. It was IU’s second worst performance on D in terms of points per possession (1.05) in conference play.

We’ll take a look at the defensive missteps down the stretch in the latest edition of Film Session:

Brandon Taylor inbounds the ball to Julian Moore in the left corner:

psu1

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Big Ten Power Rankings: February 8

The Inside the Hall Big Ten Power Rankings are back following the sixth week of conference play and there are more shakeups in the league’s pecking order. Here’s a look at where each team stands after the sixth week of Big Ten play (Note: Points per possession numbers in parenthesis are for conference games only):

14. Rutgers (6-18, 0-11, .91 points per possession, 1.24 points per possession allowed) … Rutgers went to triple overtime against Illinois which is almost a win!

13. Minnesota (6-17, 0-11, .94 points per possession, 1.1 points per possession allowed) … The Golden Gophers followed a string of close losses by getting their doors blown off at Northwestern. There simply aren’t many positives for this team right now, other than the fact they don’t have the label of the worst team in the conference thanks to Rutgers.

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Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Penn State

Indiana suffered its most disappointing loss of the season so far on Saturday night as the Hoosiers fell 68-63 to Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center. It was just the third Big Ten win this season for Penn State and dropped IU to 19-5 overall and 9-2 in the Big Ten.

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

· Indiana’s best player struggled, so the Hoosiers struggled: Indiana has one great player on its roster: Yogi Ferrell. There are other good players, guys who are potential pros and other role players who can make an impact on a given night.

But Ferrell is the engine that makes Indiana go. And when he struggles, as he did against Penn State in shooting 3-of-12 and committing five turnovers, Indiana is very beatable. As the chart below shows, Ferrell is scoring 2.1 points less per game in losses and his shooting percentages as well as assists take a dip. This isn’t a revelation, nor is it surprising, but it’s reality for a team that is highly dependent on its best player to perform in order to win.

yogicompare

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Notebook: Hoosiers can’t stop Taylor in loss at Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Turnovers proved to be the key statistic at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday night as No. 22 Indiana fell to unranked Big Ten foe Penn State, 68-63. The loss dropped the Hoosiers to 19-5 and 9-2 in the conference.

Indiana turned the ball over 15 times, while the Nittany Lions only coughed it up on seven occasions. Penn State forward Brandon Taylor, who notched a game-high 24 points, attributed Indiana’s trouble with keeping possession to the Lions’ ability to speed the Hoosiers up and get them out of rhythm.

However, Indiana coach Tom Crean didn’t see it that way.

“I saw a different game,” Crean said. “I saw us have some unforced turnovers. But, he might be right. He’s the winner, they get to see what they see and I’ll watch the film and see what we have to get better at. I thought a couple times we just tried to make some plays that weren’t there.”

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