Good, Bad and Ugly: Gonzaga

  • 12/06/2008 4:32 pm in


After the Wake Forest drubbing Wednesday, I think we were all bracing for a slaughter this afternoon inside Lucas Oil Stadium. Gonzaga has size, experience, talent; they’re ranked No. 5 in the country and are serious contenders to make the Final Four.

IU was only down nine with 3:35 to go.

Now, this wasn’t so much IU playing their best game of the year, playing at a higher level than we’ve seen — it was Gonzaga only hitting 3-of-16 3-point attempts, the Bulldogs shooting 45.8 percent from the field and only 59.1 percent from the line. IU does deserve some credit for their defense, but in the first half Gonzaga seemed uncomfortable with the odd angles and sightlines at Lucas Oil. It was an off game for them on the offensive end.

But setting aside all that, IU was in this game until the last couple minutes. No matter how many times we turned the ball over, no matter how many times we got nothing going on offense and had to chuck something up in desperation as the shot clock ran down, we were in this game. Credit Tom Crean for getting these guys to scrap. Credit the team for not giving in and playing hard till the buzzer sounded. And credit the guys that went to the line today, as we hit a respectable 19-of-24. I’ll take it. Hitting 50 percent of our 3-pointers (6-of-12) in the second half helped out a ton, too.

(Aside: This is two games in a row now the general consensus was the other team — Wake, Gonzaga — played bad. Perhaps this is a trend. If IU can get teams like Penn State, Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota or Iowa to play bad too, maybe we’ll sneak a couple wins out when Big Ten season rolls around.)

There were times in the second half when I wanted to believe. Just when Roth, or Dumes, or Taber drained a three and I thought “Well, maybe we can do it!” — Gonzaga came down and hit a quick three. Or Josh Heytvelt got position inside, dropped in a layup and got an and one. This is what good teams do. They finish. They respond. They overcome. They win.


I might as well just etch out my first sentence under bad and ugly for turnovers from here on out. It seemed like before the tip even came down, IU already had six turnovers. They had a ton early, and finished with 25 for the night. You can’t beat Gonzaga when you turn the ball over that much.

Without Verdell Jones to play at the point, Daniel Moore played a ridiculous 37 minutes and notched seven turnovers. With Moore not being a scoring threat, IU essentially played with four — and oftentimes less when Tijan Jobe or others were on the court — players with offensive prowess on the court. Taking nothing away from Moore who has been nothing but serviceable this year, but a freshman walk-on point guard should not be getting 37 minutes of play during a game. But this is the reality we face this year.

For as bad as the Zags shot, IU was even worse — shooting a woeful 14-of-46 from the field for 30.4 percent for the game. Adding in our seven made threes for the game, IU ended up with 21 made shots … four less than the total amount of turnovers they amassed.

When IU let the Bulldogs get out in transition in the second half, Matt Bouldin always seemed to be in the right place, as he got a few quick and easy buckets under the rim.

This was a lot closer than any of us expected. Chalk it up to one of the many “moral victories” and “learning experiences” we’ll get this season.

But, at the end of the day, it’s also another defeat.

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  • pacino

    Impressed with the game. For how bad we looked at times, it amazes me that we were able to make it a game. I can't imagine what we will be like when we get our good recruits and have five scoring threats on the floor. Also, Tijan Jobe could possibly be the most awkward and goofy bball player I have ever seen. Can he even tie his shoes? haha jk. I loved it when he had that block and got the crowd goin wild.

  • gowabash

    I was unable to watch the game, but looking at the box score, Tom Pritchard can not play 22 minutes and have 0 defensive rebounds, especially when he was able to come up with 6 offensive. It's not like Gonzaga was hitting all of their shots and there were no rebounds. And add to that 6 turnovers.
    As for us causing Wake Forest to play bad, the numbers do not support it. It was their most efficient game against a team not from North Carolina and their best shooting night of the early season.

  • I actually enjoyed this game . Oh dear, something must be wrong with me. I am satisfied when our team loses by 20 or less to big teams! 😯 Maybe its because I know when our kids come out to play, that they leave every thing they have on the floor….I don't know, but it is great to see a team TRY. Take care of the turnovers now, and we will be in good shape. Give Iowa, Northwestern, and the like a run for the money.

    btw, did ya'll see that new commercial the BTN has out, all the coaches from the BT on it talking about screens, etc? I love TC's one “THIS IS OUR HOUSE!!!” and slams the papers all on the floor. LOL got a laugh out of tha tone

  • NC Fat Boy

    I disagree regarding the sightlines and difficulties for Gonzage at Lucas Stadium. Indiana had the same sightlines and shot just as poorly. Same for everyone. Really same for everyone, first ever basketball game in Lucas.

    Other than that, I was pleased they stayed in the game until the end. Even when they were down 14, they cut the lead to single digits a couple of times.

    While Pritchard didn't get a defensive rebound, he was among the trees. Overall, I thought he played well, especially with 3 fouls. The 4th foul was a cheapy…

    Not sure where Roth went tonight, Williams either… consistent offensive production will keep them in ball games.

    Good game, you're improving every game….

    Go Hoosiers.

  • That was halarous! The Capital P played a little D for once LOL

  • Ditto that, a whole bunch of impovement in this game conpared to the last several. There has been improvement in every game this year. Shoot, I was incredibly impressed at the end of the first half when we were only down 5 on the 5th ranked team in the country. MIght not have done a wonderful job getting there, but we done it. Wouldn't have been there a couple games ago thats for sure.

  • Hoosier_Hound

    I had a really busy day so I only watched spurts of the first half, heard the first 10 minutes of the second half on the radio while driving, and nothing about the end of the game. But I have to say, that the turnovers are driving me nuts. Coming out of the first TV timeout of the second half, Leary is on the radio pleading for the Hoosiers to just chuck up a three as soon as they get the ball up the court before they have the chance to throw it away again.

    I get that this is a young, inexperienced team. I can understand the charges, the lack of anticipation, forcing the ball into the defense, and other freshman mistakes. But for the sake of my sanity, why do they feel the urge to pass it to people sitting in the stands at least twice a half? If they just stopped chucking it out of bounds willy nilly they would save five or six possesions a game.

    Also, why won't Moore shoot it when he's left wide open on the perimeter? He may be a five-foot nothing walk-on, but surely he can hit a wide open jumper right? Additionally, does he not realize he is going to get his turkey stuffed every time he drives to the basket? Daniel, try a 10-foot pull-up jumper instead. He just seems resigned to be a nonscorer.

    Taber, too doesn't even look to shoot it. Come on, at least threaten the defense with a sideways glance at the basket. They know as long as they don't leave a wide open cutting lane to the hoop, he's not going up with it.

    Story frustrates the crap out of me, but I also really like him. He reminds me of Rod Wilmont when he was young, except he gets way more playing time. I am pumped about Story's potential to be the next Rod.

    I also like Pritchard, except it seems that he wasn't going after rebounds as hard in this game when he had been so after it in the past ones. Also, Tom, do not foul when you hedge screens to cut off guards 40 feet from the basket. That type of bonehead play is why you were in foul trouble all day.

    Damn, that was a vent. But I'm calling it right now. TCU at home is going to be a win, a comfortable win too in the best played game so far. Get ready for some fun.

  • garydavid711

    once these kids quit doing super stupid things they can compete. i like to watching them because of their effort. Pritchard picking up a foul trying to steal the ball out on the court–his size and speed the only time he should get a foul is stopping someone from scoring down in the paint. You can tell most of these kids did not come out of the good indiana high school programs and are not under control. They are still trying to make passes that only worked in high school.

  • HoosierSmitty

    I had a feeling Lucas Oil might neutralize Gonzaga's shooting. Even so, I'll argue that 46% from the floor isn't that bad for a team…especially given how poorly the Zags shot in the first half (not as bad as us though)

    I was pleased that we shot FTs well and hit some big 3s. Those are two things we need to do to win games in the Big Ten.

    We also we were very competitive on the boards against a team with ridiculous height.

    This was an ugly game, but it was fun to watch because of that hint of hope that kept getting dangled in front of us all game.

    It was mentioned last time about playing better each game…and this was a competitive game for MUCH MUCH longer than the 10 minutes against Wake Forest and 7 minutes against Notre Dame.

  • HoosierSmitty

    The difference is that we are already a bad shooting team and Gonzaga isn't.

  • JerryCT

    I agree w Garydavid except I donot think the turnovers are “stupid”. They come from playing HS basketball where the recognition and delivery of a pass happens more slowly while in college the “window” is very narrow. This is why I am braced for expecting turnovers to be there all year.

    What I think we CAN improve are 3pt shooting, FT shooting and zone defense

  • NC Fat Boy

    I'll have to agree, Jobe is as awkward as they come. He is remarkably better than the first game. It would be difficult to disagree if someone were to say so far, he's the most improved. He is actually playing defense (albeit not good defense yet), and when he gets a rebound, he at least looks like a ball player (remember the first couple of games when he just stood in the lane waiting for the ball to come to him?). I venture to say the credit goes to Roshown McCleod, or one of the other asst coaches… whoever is working with Jobe, nice job so far, long way to go though..

  • NC Fat Boy

    Could be, but regardless, they both had the same environment. It's the same whether we're a good shooting team or bad. If they normally shoot 55% and shot 45% and we normally shoot 45% and shot 35%, it's a wash.

  • NC Fat Boy

    You're right, we're going to see turnovers all year. In the beginning of the second half, the Zags cranked up the pressure on defense right from the get go and our guys were not prepared for that intensity. Learning experience. It'll happen again.

    We're going to struggle for a while against that kind of intense defensive pressure. Ball handling skills will improve. Breaking a press is a mental game and it takes 5 players working together to break it. They WILL turn it over. We will face teams with outstanding foot and hand speed.

    What got me was seeing Taber on the perimeter attempting entry passes to Pritchard and failing on the angle miserably. I know Taber's not a post player, we need him in the post as well as Pritchard. By the way, was that Jobe I saw calling for the ball in the post? :o)

  • iuoiu

    Aside from IU actually making the Zags long trip worth it, don't forget that the conference had a pretty good day overall (about time). OSU beating ND and Michigan beating the Dukies for the first time…..since I don't know….was great.

    I've been saying that the best B10 hire (prior to Crean) was Coach B. I think he will get Michigan back into relevance, and will be a tough go for IU in the future. 3 years down the road, I'm betting that IU and Michigan will be the top two teams in the league.

  • JerryCT

    I like Taber but he scares me alot. On defense he cannot hedge on the pick because he is just not quick or agile enough to ge tback on his man. If its Moore's man he is hedging on , leaving Moore to cover a post player …………..guess what…….the other team gets 2 open shots……..Moore's man AND Taber's man.

  • Kelin Blab

    I have a questions….Is EVERY player 6'10 to 7ft tall enrolled at Wake and Gonzaga…damn how many 6'10 guys does a team need? They just kept coming and coming…

    Nick Williams has been MIA
    Please Jordan Hulls hurry and get to IU
    Vj please come back soon
    Tijan Never gets the ball in the post, I just want to see what happens
    Crean gets after it…….
    There is a kid at Avon H.S. we need to be recruiting….he is a BALLER!

    Lucas Oil, very nice by the way.

  • NC Fat Boy

    Yes, at some point we have to hope that Williams, Story, Dumes and Jones become the guard rotation with Moore filling in (but I agree, is 18 feet outside of Moore's range?). Moore's not getting many passing options when he drives, everything collapses and no ones positioned for the chippy (maybe that's because they're all perimeter players except for Pritchard).

    For Moore to be effective, he has to at least become a possible threat to score offensively.

  • ChronicHoosier

    Talk about suspended reality. I actually felt like we had a chance to win that one. Forget that everybody knows skill, athleticism, and experience will always trump raw effort, but for the first time this season it seemed like we just might get to play spoiler. My head (and Pargo's persistent points) kept telling me it was foolish to believe, but my heart wouldn't stop thinking we could do it. Wow, did that feel good! Not what I was expecting, especially this early, this year, against that team. But for some horrible officiating & our unending turnovers, and we would have made a real game out of it. Yes, Virginia, there is a basketball team there. And just for good measure, +25% free throw improvement!

    The FUGLY:
    -We might be the poorest passing team in the country right now, definitely the worst in the conference. Bounce passes at the knees, telegraphed like Morse code, away from the cutter/postman, with middle school velocity will not allow us to compete in games we might otherwise. Other teams already bring plenty enough to the table to beat us, we cannot keep helping them in that endeavor with bush league passing.

    -Without Pritchard on the court, our offense disappears faster than a box of donuts in a room full of fat girls. Yeah, that fast. Gonzo.

    -We'd have had 10 more turnovers if they counted the rushed shots which resulted from our complete disregard for the shot clock. Time and time again, we dribbled without purpose while the clock ran out.

  • ALH_00

    Agreed…Big 10 has some outstanding coaches right now…minus that dork in Champaign.

  • deedubbadoo

    First off, I love the poll at the top of the page in regards to “moral victories.” I feel that Saturday was definitely a “moral victory” for the guys. Getting blown out consecutively by 20+ points, you begin to look for anything positive. I think the game against the Zags was definitely a positive. That being said, everyone knows what we need to work on and my basketball mind is no where near coach Crean's so I will not comment on that. I will say what everyone else is saying though. Daniel Moore, I love you, now SHOOT THE FREAKIN BALL!!! Everyone is whole damn arena knows there is no way that you are going to even attempt to shoot, so surprise them! When they give you space, shoot it! It's not like a few missed shots are going to kill us here, hell Matt Roth will pull up from the parking lot if he gets a little room to breathe. It makes it much easier for teams to defend us if they know that our point guard is not even thinking of shooting. All that aside, a pretty good game. Glad to see that it didn't turn into another And-1 Mixtape like the Wake Forest game, no double alley-oops that I saw at least. One more thing, I was in the car listening to the pre-game with Don about an hour before tip-off and he had a really good interview with Tijan. The guy has been through quite a lot, he is definitely raw in every sense of the word but, I think come February / March he will be much improved. I still can't listen to him talk without thinking of that Kevin Bacon movie, “The Air Up There.” Maybe coach Crean can show him the “Jimmy Dolan Shake and Bake…”


  • Kelin Blab

    Glad to hear a little more about Tijan, I have been a little hard on him but he plays hard and trys….and he is 7foot tall…I will lay off.

    I agree if D.Moore doesn't at least do a shot fake once a game I am going to be pissed.

  • Kelin Blab

    Glad to hear a little more about Tijan, I have been a little hard on him but he plays hard and trys….and he is 7foot tall…I will lay off.

    I agree if D.Moore doesn't at least do a shot fake once a game I am going to be pissed.