Notebook: Pritchard provides spark in limited role

  • 11/28/2011 8:52 am in

Notes, quotes and observations from Sunday night’s 75-59 win over Butler:

Take one glance at Sunday night’s box score and Tom Pritchard’s impact may appear minimal. The 6-foot-9 forward went scoreless and didn’t record a rebound in nine minutes.

But Pritchard, now in a reserve role due to the arrival of Cody Zeller, was a key contributor defensively in the second half.

“Tom, he gave that spark,” Jordan Hulls said. “He had a huge steal that I thought really turned the game around. They had a cross screen, he stepped in front of it and got a deflection and was able to pick it up. We got a fast break going and I really think that turned the game around.”

Pritchard, a three-year starter, is averaging just 9.3 minutes through six games, but is adapting well to his new role, according to Hulls.

“He’s taking it to heart what his role is on this team,” Hulls said. “Just come in, give great minutes and that’s what he did tonight.”


Through six games, Indiana’s free throw rate continues to rank in the top 10 nationally and the difference Sunday night in attempts between the Hoosiers and Butler was significant. Indiana shot 36 free throws to 22 for Butler.

It’s one of the primary changes thus far from a season ago when IU ranked at the bottom of the Big Ten in sending their opponents to the line and didn’t get there frequently enough themselves.

“It’s extremely important. Because good teams, 25 percent or better of your points have gotta come from the foul line,” Crean said. “We’ve never been to that point. And the big thing for us was to cut our fouling down. We’re making progress, but we’ve still got a ways to go with that.”


It’s one of the first statistics Tom Crean talks about in his post-game press conference: deflections.

The Hoosiers recorded 74 on Sunday night with 42 coming in the final twenty minutes.

“I’m truly blown away by our defensive effort,” Crean said. “To have 74 deflections, I’ve never been a part of a team as an assistant or a head coach that’s had that.”

Since it’s not a traditional statistic, Crean was asked to define how he defines the term.

“It’s a charge. For us we count it as a shot clock violation. It’s a tip. I tip it, you grab it, deflection for me, deflection for you,” he said. “It’s a blocked shot, it’s a steal. It’s a loose ball. It’s just not a rebound.”


Butler sophomore guard Chrishawn Hopkins scored a game-high 13 points in the first half.

But Indiana tightened up on Hopkins in the second half and held the Indianapolis native to just one field-goal attempt after the intermission.

“Our length was good, we didn’t lose him,” Crean said of IU’s second half effort on Hopkins. “We didn’t give him uncontested shots. That was really important. I think we just did a better job of staying with him.”

Will Sheehey said Indiana was giving Hopkins too much room to operate in the first half.

“We were giving him too much room where he could jab step or take two dribbles and get the pull-up jump shot,” the IU sophomore said. “We did a lot more switching in the second half. We didn’t really back off that much. We tightened up our defense on the perimeter.”

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  • Anonymous

    Hulls” comments about TP are right on. He can have a role..just needs to play it..took up some space on the boards..played D..went on the floor for the ball. He does give you one non-scoring position on offense..but Tom doesn’t have Moore and Rivers on the court with him at the same time this year. He will be needed going forward because as skilled as Zeller is in holding his position and not slapping in the post (like Elston)…Cody will run into some foul issues against big quick front lines. Dawgs a little short in talent this year..but their team defense in the first half was something IU should strive for. Hey Wat and about trying to dribble into the middle of that Butler defense again…love to see you losing the ball):What is it with Wat in that he can’t finish? Living proof that (some) black men can’t jump?”One of those two needs to be on the bench next game..although I’m sure Crean won’t want to tinker with a winning line up and loves the energy Sheehey brings from the bench.

  • JerryCT

    TP neutralized every one he defended, Smith, Marshall, and especially Butcher who was creating chaos. On one play Butler takes a shot and TP deposits Butcher out near the 3 pt line before heading under the basket to rebound. ……. I wish we could wire him for sound effects .

    Based opn the poor officiating ( ie Cody foul on Nored ) it appears they are getting Cody confused w TP.

    Abromaitis for ND , out for the year …………….. things could be going our way. This game was perfect for us ……………. a grind it out win when shots are not dropping.

  • MillaRed

    Pritch helped us win the game and is capable of doing that regularly. Was very proud of him.

    That was a rugby game. If the officials did their job, teams like Butler would be taken out of that mugging mentality after 10 minutes. They look like the Baltimore Ravens and it’s ugly basketball.

    Getting tired of this “deflections” thing and anything else that only our team is talking about.

    Some questioned Will’s defense last week and he absolutely silenced Hopkins in the second half. Too long for him to get off a shot.

  • I think Pritchard did provide a spark, but I’m surprised how overlooked Matt Roth’s 3 has been in the whole discussion of the game. Matt Roth has one job on this team, get it and hit a timely 3. With IU up by only a possession, he nailed the three that got Assembly Hall rocking. Soon after that came Pritchard’s deflection and Hulls’ lay-in. I thought Roth played his role excellently tonight and deserves that credit as well.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    TP played with heart and intensity.  That is a huge contribution.

    Butler was hacking away, and yet WE ended up in foul trouble early.  Go to the play in the first half where CW was backing into the paint, and he got hacked by 3 Butler defenders on both of his arms. Butler started a break and Jordan had a partly clean swipe stopping a transition bucket but still got called for a foul.  Butler got away with wayyyyyy too much last night.  Factor in our blown shots within 7 feet and we probably should have shot about 16 more free throws, we possibly could have one by 40.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda though. It is what it is and I am happy for the win.  

    I am still out on the deflections.  If it motivates our guys to be all over the floor then I don’t care what he calls it or tracks it as.

  • Anonymous

    Not related, but what’s the easiest way to get to a box score from ITH?  This site is pretty much my only source for IUBB, but I find myself going over to the four letter just to look at the box score.  I’m sure there’s a better way.  

  • “Deflections” are an important role to the team. It’s a philosophy that every team plays with and emphasizes, yet do not use the same terminology.  What’s the point in putting your hand in a passing lane if not to disrupt the path of the ball?  A steal doesn’t have to be made every single time because a deflection disrupts the rhythm of the other team.  If basketball is anything it is a rhythm game and to disrupt an opposing team’s rhythm has a direct correlation with our rhythm and our momentum by creating scoring opportunities that would otherwise not be there.

    Butler had 63 possessions last night
    *Of those 63 possession we forced 21 Turnovers (33%)
    *14 of those turnovers were steals (getting your hand on the ball)
    *We had 74 deflections. So we changed the direction of the ball 1.17 times every possession.
    *6 blocks which directly resulted in missed shots

    Now imagine how frustrating it is to a team that when trying to make a pass it is altered more than once every single possession.  That 1/3 of your time on offense youre going to just completely throw it away.   and roughly 10% of the time you’re going to take a shot that has absolutely no chance of going in because it was blocked.  It gets in your head.  Eventually you have to feel as if you can do absolutely nothing.  You feel smothered. You feel like you’re playing against 7 players on a court half the size as normal.

    If this is the tool that Tom Cream and the Hoosiers use to play the defense they’ve been playing this year and especially last night, I support it 100%.

  • It’s linked at the top of The Minute After every game. Just click the final score link.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks.  I knew there was an easier way.  

  • Anonymous

    The problem with ‘Deflections’ is that you can’t use the stat like you are here.  The way Indiana tracks them you could have had 5 or 6 in the same scrum for a loose ball.  Most of the steals had 2 deflections in them.  Meaning one player deflects the ball to a team mate and they each get a deflection on one steal. 

    What it does is help quantify the teams defensive intensity on any given night and thus be able to compare that effort across games.  And I agree… if it is helping the coaches to inspire the players to this kind of effort, I’m all for it!

  • jacobdetroy

    You can also access past box scores by clicking on the scores in the “Schedule” tab.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to expand on your post.  Each player has strong points and weak points, and they all need to play to their strengths when they’re in the game.  Hopefully Crean uses them when their strengths are most needed, and this year, when he finally has a variety of weapons, I think he’s done a pretty good job of doing that.  So I hate to hear people say they don’t ever want to see Moore on the floor (or Roth, or Pritchard).  And I don’t know why the Jones vs. Hulls discussion needs to take place, given that the answer to whether one or both needs to play depends on the situation.  It seems to me that that discussion is better reserved to the offseason, and I hope the players don’t read ITH.  Just my opinion. 

  • JerryCT

    Good point. Roth has actually played good defense all season so far as well. He seems to get the most out of his minutes , in fact , CTC is using him more this year as a result.

  • MillaRed

    I have been a basketball player and coach for over 35 years. A deflection is simply getting your hand on the ball. I know what the importance is. That is obvious.

    CTC was asked what his definition of a deflection is and it was pretty weird. He named 5-6 ways to get one.

    I am not losing any sleep over this. I’m just saying this coaching staffs definition of one in my experience is unique. And its getting quite obsessive.

  • Anonymous

    You gotta be kidding me, nitpicking on the deflection thing!? What ever CTC thinks is the way to play better D, is fine with me. Its working.

  • Kfdchev

    The game turned out pretty much as I thought it would. I was a little disappointed in CW last night. He just can’t allow himself to get down when his shots aren’t falling and run around with his head down like a little kid. He has got to show more maturity than that or teams are going to pick up on that and learn if they shut him down the first 5 minutes they have him contained for the game. I was very impressed with TP and the rest of the team as they were very active on the “D” side of the game. If this team will continue to play defense with the type of energy they displayed last night they will be tough for any team to beat. I am very anxious to see this game Wednesday and then getthem ready to put up a fight against UK. I could take trading a win against UNC State for a win against UK! I HATE TO GET BEAT BY UK AGAIN!

  • CutterInChicago

    Tom “The Plain Dealer” Pritchard was great last night. Really did a nice job.
    Was it just me or was Butler setting more moving screens than our beloved Brian “Sloan Screen 45” back in the 80s? If you can get away with them, excellent.
    NC State, the next big test… Go Hoosiers

  • Anonymous

    Deflections aren’t really a new thing—Pitino has counted them for years if not pretty much his entire coaching career.

  • MillaRed

    And we haven’t talked about them the last 3 years……..because we didn’t have any i suppose?

    As I already mentioned, not losing sleep over it.

    I just think it’s getting a little over-used. We are playing good defense. It’s awesome.

  • So_Cal_Hoosier

    Agreed. While I don’t really value it too much as a statistic, it gets our team after the ball more, which I believe CTC has made a priority improving from the past couple of seasons. So whatever works

  • Anonymous

    I agree that the explanation odd but I get the obsession.  I played for a coach for whom deflections was second only to charges taken (which we didn’t consider a deflection, by the way).  More important to him than FG%, rebounds, or steals (also not “deflections” in our system) as he wanted to the defense to create chaos and turnovers.  Deflections in practice or games dictated playing time.   

    If you want to play a swarming, attacking defense then deflections are better indicators of how involved a defender is than steals.  Obviously, it’s less relevant to other defensive philosophies.   As marcusgresham points out below, it’s more relevant to a defense like Kentucky-era Pitino than Purdue under Painter.

    I know you know this but wanted to point out for the general blog audience.   

  • Rotation will tighten up a bit against better competition. As of right now, it appears Matt Roth has the edge over Austin Etherington and Daniel Moore is ahead of Remy Abell. I’m not surprised given the experience edge for Roth and Moore.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    It’s just like the block he got last week or the block-out/over-the-back foul call he worked last night . . . he’s a smart player and defensively he gets into pretty good position.  He will still get beat 1-on-1 sometimes and may get caught cheating too much with his instincts, but he’s a serviceable defensive player and given his ability to shoot, that could get him extended minutes as the season progresses. 

  • Anonymous

    Fair enough

  • Anonymous

    Fun fact:  Roth has had one turnover in 278 minutes, or the equivalent of almost seven forty-minute games, dating back through last year.

  • Anonymous

    OK just start putting my name on some of your posts once in a while cause you would probably just as soon do that then continue to read “agree” in my replies. lol

  • Anonymous

    Crean said he told MR over the summer that the days of being just a specialist and getting minutes because of it are over and he seems to have taken it to heart. The person that I watch the game with each time and myself both made this same remark about MR.

  • Anonymous

    CW getting out muscled on the missed free throws upset me some but it did lead to a couple of his teammates coming over and getting in his you know what over it and that did the opposite of upsetting me. Rarely if ever seen that kind of thing last year.

    Loved what WS done it was kinda like if that is how you’re gonna block out than let me in there where you are. No ? Well then block your man out and get the rebound if you don’t want me to fill that spot, my god act like your 6’9″ and 235. Geez.

    Oh yea, that last sentence of yours, agree 1,000 percent.