The Minute After: Iowa

  • 01/23/2011 8:31 pm in

Thoughts on a 91-77 loss at Iowa:

Indiana, coming off a hard-fought loss Thursday night at Wisconsion, walked into Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday afternoon without the services of both Maurice Creek and Verdell Jones.

Creek, who suffered a season-ending knee injury eight days ago in IU’s only Big Ten win over Michigan, didn’t make the trip to Iowa City. And Jones, who is out indefinitely with inflammation in his left knee, could only watch in a gray sweatsuit from the sidelines. (The Jones injury was news to everybody until roughly 40 minutes before tip-off.)

And yet, even without both guys, this was a contest that should have been competitive for a Hoosier team that had played well in its last two games and appeared to be heading in the right direction.

Instead, it was an abysmal defensive performance against the Big Ten’s worst offensive team.

Consider this: Iowa had broken the 75-point barrier in a conference game just once. The Hawkeyes hung 91 on Indiana.

As Ryan wrote yesterday, Fran McCaffery’s club came into the game scoring just .94 points per possession. They put up 1.17 points per possesion against IU. It seemed like the Hawkeyes scored at will as they shot almost 58 percent. Devyn Marble, a freshman reserve, went for a career-high 18 points in 20 minutes.

Simply put, it was an uninspired, disinterested effort on defense. And for a team that must hang its hat on being scrappy and out-working opponents in order to win, Indiana came out on Sunday as if it expected to win, but failed to do any of the things it takes to win.

A couple of other bullets:

+ Christian Watford had a solid game offensively, pouring in a career-high 30 points (and added eight rebounds). With Verdell out indefinitely, Watford will be counted on to be the guy on offense and he did his best to carry the team in that regard on Sunday.

+ Tough game shooting the ball for Jordan Hulls. He connected on just 1-of-8 shots, but with how well he’s been shooting, he was probably due for an off-night. (Tom Crean said afterward that Hulls had been sick all week and threw up at halftime.)

+ After committing just seven turnovers on Thursday in Madison, Indiana coughed it up 15 times.

Beyond that, as I tweeted late in the game, I have nothing else to add.

Filed to:

  • Casey B.

    Have you considered that Crean is teaching the right things and that the players simply aren’t receptive? It’s highly possible, given Crean’s solid track record at Marquette. He’s proven he can coach — I don’t think he forgot how the moment he set foot in Bloomington.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly what I was thinking. Matta seems to be a pretty good coach and recruiter but let’s see what happens if the valve at the end of the talent pipeline from Indiana remains closed. I’m not saying he suddenly becomes a bad coach but take all of the Indiana kids out of the equation over the last few years and it would look, well let’s just say, somewhat different.

  • BFowler

    I am with you 100%. I think I feel exactly the same way you do. I really thought this team would be better with experience and some toughness derived from a Big 10 season that was just as good, if not better, a year ago. It is wierd that we play Wisconsin, Purdue (at home last year), and the better teams (minus OSU) well, then lay eggs against Iowa and NW. I am with you though, very, very frustrating.

  • Anonymous

    exactly – I notice it all the time – not just with Watford either. I find myself yelling at the tv a few times when i see a loose/or close to loose ball within the reach of an IU player and them just watching it and not making any effort to own it. i seriously think IU’s biggest problem are these hustle plays – not that they do not hustle for a lot of the game, it’s that they do not hustle the ENTIRE game – 100% effort 100% of the time.