Notes, quotes from Tom Crean on the Big Ten teleconference

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The Big Ten held its weekly coaches teleconference on Monday morning to review the final week of conference play and to look ahead to this week’s conference tournament in Chicago. Here are some notes and quotes from Tom Crean’s appearance:

On Yogi Ferrell’s play this season:

“Well I think he continues to get better and better. He’s his own worst critic at times and at the same time, he’s got an edge and a level of toughness that is outstanding. We need him to play with that. We need him to play with edge on defense as well as offense and be the stopper and be the team leader on the defensive end of the court that he is on the offensive end of the court because when we have that, we’re good. He does a lot of things. He improves all of the time. He improves every year and throughout the year and I wouldn’t trade him for anybody, he’s done a fantastic job.”

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Film Session: Michigan State

Indiana’s failure to secure the boards and put up enough resistance on the defensive end — no matter how it was set up — was its undoing on Saturday afternoon against Michigan State.

We’ll take a look at the rebounding and defensive issues in the second half in the latest edition of Film Session:

Indiana appears to be some sort of a matchup zone — maybe? — with Yogi Ferrell guarding space out on the left wing. As we’ve seen too often this season, it leaves an opponent wide open as Marvin Clark has plenty of space in the left corner. The ball is passed to Travis Trice up top:

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Ferrell pursues and Clark gets even more space:

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Trice zips the pass into the let corner as Ferrell leaves Trice to cover:

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Podcast on the Brink: A regular season recap and a look ahead

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Podcast on the Brink is back for another episode with host Jerod Morris of The Assembly Call.

Coming off of three straight losses and facing a must-win scenario on Thursday in the Big Ten tournament against Northwestern, Morris is joined by Inside the Hall editor Alex Bozich for a jam packed edition of the show. Among the numerous topics discussed:

· Indiana’s slide to end the regular season
· The upcoming rematch with Northwestern on Thursday
· Indiana’s defense and theories for why it never improved
· Breakdowns of several individuals, including Nick Zeisloft, Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams
· The Thon Maker and Thomas Bryant recruitments
· All of the talk regarding Tom Crean’s future

So tune in and enjoy. As always, feel free to drop the show a note at jerod@assemblycall.com.

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

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2015 Big Ten tournament bracket set, Indiana to open on Thursday against Northwestern

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Regular season play is now complete and Indiana will open the Big Ten tournament on Thursday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 against Northwestern with the winner facing second-seeded Maryland on Friday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. ET on BTN.

Indiana is the No. 7 seed and will be the home team on Thursday at the United Center, which means the Hoosiers will wear the cream version of the adidas heritage uniforms.

The full Big Ten tournament bracket is available after the jump.

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Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Michigan State

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Indiana suffered its third straight loss on Saturday afternoon in Assembly Hall as Michigan State controlled the second half and held off a late rally for a 74-72 win. The loss dropped the Hoosiers to 19-12 overall.

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

· Indiana has another early, costly second half lull: A pair of layups, one by Hanner Mosquera-Perea and another by Yogi Ferrell, pushed Indiana to a 38-34 lead at the 18:56 mark of the second half. The crowd in Assembly Hall was engaged.

The next two and a half minutes, however, would set the tone for most of the second half. On Michigan State’s next possession, the Spartans missed a pair of 3-pointers, but grabbed offensive rebounds on both before Travis Trice set up Marvin Clark for a 3-pointer. By the 16:13 mark, Michigan State was in the midst of a 9-0 run and even though IU would again take the lead briefly in the subsequent minutes, the inability to sustain energy early in the second half proved costly.

“They got a lot of second-chance opportunities with the offensive rebound kick outs,” Yogi Ferrell said. “We’ve just got to fight them better. Got to crack them before they come into the paint because we know that they are big.”

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Indiana’s late run falls short in 74-72 loss to Michigan State

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As the buzzer sounded for the under-4 media timeout in the second half of Saturday’s game against Michigan State, Hoosiers fans became restless. Indiana trailed by 11 points and Yogi Ferrell had just turned the ball over with just 3:50 remaining.

Fans began to boo. Some left Assembly Hall. But the Hoosiers didn’t quit.

Indiana went on a 16-7 run in the final 3:15, but it wasn’t enough. The Hoosiers (19-12, 9-9) on Saturday lost their third straight game in a 74-72 defeat to the Spartans (21-10, 12-6).

“I feel like we came out too slow and we all tried to turn it on too late,” freshman James Blackmon Jr. said. “We turned it on and made that run, but we should have just picked it up from the start.”

After a first half in which both teams were even on the scoreboard, Indiana went on a 4-0 spurt to start the second half — two quick layups back-to-back to bring Indiana’s lead to a 38-34 margin. Michigan State, though, would follow with a 9-0 run of its own, setting the tone for much of the second half.

Two offensive rebounds led to a Marvin Clark 3-pointer. A missed Hanner Mosquera-Perea layup turned into an Alvin Ellis III layup in just four seconds. Another offensive rebound led to a Clark put-back. And then the Spartans tore the Hoosiers’ zone apart off a set-play, ending in a Travis Trice jumper.

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The Minute After: Michigan State

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Thoughts on a 74-72 loss to the Spartans:

After a Yogi Ferrell turnover with 3:42 to play, the Hoosiers looked sunk as they entered the under-4 media timeout. Their zone allowed too many good, open looks — both in the paint and from distance — over the first 16 minutes of the second half. Michigan State, as it did in the first half, continued to rip down offensive rebounds for second-chance opportunities.

Down 11, this had the feelings of the Iowa game from earlier in the week. Indiana seemed destined for another double-digit loss, its third straight on its home floor. Assembly Hall reigned down some boos and some fans headed for the exits.

But Indiana looked inside itself and failed to lose without a fight. The defensive intensity ramped up a notch and the Hoosiers kept chipping away at the lead as the crowd — the majority of which stayed — kept right with them. A James Blackmon Jr. and-1 in transition brought the Hoosiers within five with 1:47 to go. Playing the foul game to stop the clock, Indiana stuck with it and pulled within three points (72-69) thanks to a Nick Zeisloft 3-pointer (5-of-8 from distance) with 27 seconds to go. After a Michigan State timeout, the Spartans inbounded the ball to Matt Costello and he was fouled with 24 seconds left. He’d miss the first free throw. And the second.

Suddenly, Indiana had the ball with a chance to tie. After a shaky possession, Blackmon Jr. appeared to be fouled as he went up for a 3-point attempt. The refs called it on the floor. Blackmon made the first free throw. And the second. One point game at 72-71. Travis Trice would make his first free throw on the subsequent IU foul and miss his second. 73-71 Michigan State. As Yogi Ferrell streaked down the floor, Denzel Valentine made a crucial error and fouled him near halfcourt to send Ferrell to the line with a chance to tie the game on a double bonus with just two second left. Valentine knew it. He put his hands in his face and bent over at the top of the key.

Indiana needed a miracle to crawl back into this one, and it looked like it had just gotten it.

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