The Inside the Hall Mailbag: January 20

  • 01/20/2012 10:52 am in

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehalland sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can. Now, onward … (Photo credit: Jamie Owens of J. Scott Sports)

Tim Skibbe via Facebook writes: Do you think all these close games in the Big Ten season are because of the parity in the league, or is it more because Indiana is playing up to the good competition and down to the level of the teams with lesser talent?

Alex Bozich: I think it’s a little of both. As we saw last night with Illinois going to Penn State and losing, it’s tough to win a road game in the Big Ten. Michigan, who currently sits atop the league standings, is 5-0 at home and 0-2 on the road. The Wolverines have yet to win a true road game this season. In the losses to Minnesota and Nebraska, which are by far the most scrutinized, both teams played with more poise down the stretch than Indiana. Minnesota controlled things throughout the second half and held off a furious rally by IU and in Lincoln, the Hoosiers had control and let things slip away. There’s no such thing as a good loss, but this group should be able to go back and look at both of those situations and extract valuable lessons.

Hoopstrainer via Twitter writes: With the addition of Luke Fischer to the 2013 class, is there another potential 2013 guy or is IU done with that class?

Alex Bozich: I’d be shocked if the 2013 class is complete. Even if the recruit that ultimately ends up in Bloomington isn’t on the radar at this point, there’s still plenty of time this spring and summer to get involved. Of the kids currently being mentioned, Bo Zeigler out of Detroit or BeeJay Anya out of DeMatha seem to be top targets. Zeigler has spoken highly to us about Indiana and Anya, who has a long list of schools to choose from, has done the same.

rick_park via Twitter writes:  Is there a root cause to the three-game losing streak or did we lose each game for different reasons?

Alex Bozich: Some of you probably feel like I’ve beaten this point into the ground, but I always go back to the points per possession the Hoosiers are allowing in Big Ten play. 1.11. Last in the conference. Indiana’s offense hasn’t been as elite in Big Ten play as it was in non-conference play, but Indiana must get back on track defensively. The perimeter defense especially is troublesome because it’s allowing opponents to get into the lane with little resistance. That’s leading to easy points in the paint and when the Hoosiers are able to react and collapse on penetration, the opposition is kicking the ball back out for open looks.

asokes via Twitter writes: when are we going to see more of remy abell? he always seems to be a spark off the bench.

Alex Bozich: Good question. It’s been a bit surprising that Remy hasn’t played more (just 16.7 percent of available minutes), but given the experience of the players in front of him, maybe it shouldn’t be. After every loss there’s second guessing as to why a particular decision was made or why a certain player isn’t playing more, but since we don’t see practice or what goes on behind the scenes, it’s tough to say. In limited minutes, Abell has been effective. His turnover rate (14.6) is low, he gets to the line at a healthy clip and his defense does provide a spark. Whether or not he gets a look these next few games will be interesting to watch.

CallMeG_Unit via Twitter writes: seems like all the talk about Jordan hulls being the leader has regressed to this point. Who needs to step up as well and lead

Alex Bozich: I’m not sure that’s a fair statement with regards to the regression part. I think Hulls has done a stellar job to-date leading this team. The results over the past three games have not been good, but the chemistry of this group is the best I’ve seen in the Crean era and I believe Hulls is a big part of that. But it’s not all on him. Verdell Jones is a senior that’s been through battles in this league. Victor Oladipo can lead defensively. Cody Zeller can lead by example. And Christian Watford has shown more grit and determination at times this year than we’ve ever seen before out of him. All of these things were clicking when IU started 15-1. Some of them have been missing at times throughout the past three games.

eric_c_cooper via Twitter writes: which of the McDs All American Nominations has the best chance of making the team? Yogi?

Alex Bozich: Yogi seems like the best possibility because he’s one of the top three point guards in the country, he’s got a state championship under his belt and the national analysts, who typically have a vote in determining the rosters, hold him in the highest regard of the group. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t selected.

JHub336 via Twitter writes: what do you think about people saying we could slide and miss the tourney?

Alex Bozich: It’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen the rest of the way. No one had Indiana at 15-4 at this point on record that I know of besides Dan Dakich. Right now Indiana is solidly in the tournament. If they beat North Carolina Central, they’ll own a perfect 13-0 non-conference mark that includes wins over Butler, N.C. State, Notre Dame and Kentucky. Obviously they can’t afford to keep stumbling in the Big Ten and expect to still get in, but they’ve got six more conference games at home and opportunities to try and win on the road as well.

Filed to:

  • Anonymous

    I think Oladipo needs to step up big. Before this last stretch of games, he was playing with so much swagger. But he has disappeared as of late. When he plays with a lot of energy, the team plays well. Step up Vic.

  • Peter

    Remy Abell needs to play more. I’ve been saying it and saying it… our guards (Hulls, VJ, Roth) are poor defenders. It was clearly evident against Nebraska. We’re not fast enough. Nebraska started on the wing, set a pick, lost a defender and got towards the hoop. Happened time and time again. We need speed. Remy > Roth. I know Hulls is our “leader” but the kid basically lost it for us down the stretch. He panicked.

  • Anonymous

    I think one of our biggest problems has been Verdell’s unwillingness to take the open shot. When we are at our best is when everyone on the floor is a threat. The last couple of games teams are sagging on defense with him because he doesn’t even look for the shot. There were a couple of times when Victor did the same thing. If they don’t look to shoot the defense just colapses and tightens in on Cody and Christian. Verdell needs to look for his shot to open up the lanes and get things moving again. That and better defense and I think we will be fine the rest of the year. 

  • MillaRed

    I can’t remember if Will was in on that last defensive possession against Nebraska, but the fact he kept Jordy in there over Remy shocked me.

    Really hoping to see more of Remy. Especially in defensive situations. Get a lead, make sure Remy, Vic and Will are on the floor in the end.

  • Abpreston

    I think the team will be OK. Playing in the Big Ten is tough every game and no matter what the other teams record is it is Game On! Every Team has the ability to beat the other and IU needs to focus on playing great defense and the offense will follow.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure he’s disappeared (on offense) as much as teams have made adjustments.  He was playing so well at the start of the season that I’m sure opposing players are getting it hammered in their head by coaches to really lay off him and make him a jump shooter. 

    I haven’t watched his possessions that closely though, it’d be interesting to hear what someone really focused on his play has to say. 

  • IUwolf

    I agree 100%.

  • IUwolf

    I agree 100%.

  • Anonymous

    I agree 100%.

  • Anonymous

    That was a pretty good indication for me that Crean did not plan on calling a timeout if Nebraska scored.  We already went through our dialogue in TMA so no need to rehash it.  Suffice to say, you can’t put in a “cold” Remy on defense and expect him to contribute offensively in the game’s most crucial possession.  He had only played 1 minute, if that, up to that point.  Not saying it was the right thing to do, but I understand Crean’s mindset. 

  • Anonymous

    I would love to see more Remy too.  He doesn’t turn the ball over, gets to the line, and most importantly, he plays solid D.  Like Alex said, we have no idea what goes on in practice, so maybe there is a tangible reason Remy isn’t playing, of which I will not speculate.

    RE: Will – maybe he still isn’t physically able to play full minutes at 100 percent?

    Regardless, I’d love to see more of Remy and Will in particular, especially in endgame defensive situations.

  • Anonymous

    Completely agree re: adjustments.  They’ve got nearly 20 games of film on already.  When’s the last time you saw Vic get the ball in the left corner on a swing pass and attack the glass?  We saw that play against both NC State and pUKe.

    It’s Crean and Vic’s job to start making adjustments now.

  • WindyCityHoosier

    On the offenseive side, agree with D South that teams have made major adjustments and are really playing off of Vic hurting his driving lines in the set offense.  Even if he makes a couple of outside shots that is not going to change.  He’s not going to show up against Michigan and have a consistent J. 
    The correctable issues with Vic is related to his defense and 1) how much time he’s spending out of position 2) gambling less on defense 3) improving his ability to help and recover under control.  Coach C has talked about this quite a bit in his recent interviews. 

    On offense.. .as Hulls goes, so go our Hoosiers.  You could make the same case for Vic on Defense. 

  • WindyCityHoosier

    On the offenseive side, agree with D South that teams have made major adjustments and are really playing off of Vic hurting his driving lines in the set offense.  Even if he makes a couple of outside shots that is not going to change.  He’s not going to show up against Michigan and have a consistent J. 
    The correctable issues with Vic is related to his defense and 1) how much time he’s spending out of position 2) gambling less on defense 3) improving his ability to help and recover under control.  Coach C has talked about this quite a bit in his recent interviews. 

    On offense.. .as Hulls goes, so go our Hoosiers.  You could make the same case for Vic on Defense. 

  • Distant Hoosier

    There are two, make that three, main weaknessess in IU’s recent play.  1) allowing the opposition backcourt to penetrate almost at will, 2) the inability of our guards to penetrate on the offensive end, and 3) the fact that our guards are NOT good distributors of the BB. 

    This leads to breakdowns on the defensive end, the lack of touchs for Zeller, fewer open looks for Watford, and too many turnovers attempting to make the wrong pass at the wrong time or being out of control on the dribble.  (remember, Verdell is just one of our guards)

    Additionally, I know Zeller is just a freshman and with all the hype surrounding him coming into the program, he had to take great care to “fit in” and be a good teammate.  At some point though, his teammates need to recognize that he is the best player on the court and “feed” him to the best of their ability.  His teammates by now should know that he is not a “black hole”; he will give the ball back. He is the best passer on the team, but you have to have the ball to make a pass.

  • Anonymous

    I agree whole-heartedly with Alex in regards to our defense and our inability to stop penetration.  I would piggy-back off of that and say that it is largely due to our inability to effectively guard ball screens at the top of the key, which accounts for a lot of the penetration into the lane.  Secondly, I would say it is discipline.  Although it is much better than years past, there still our signs.  Mainly, our poor execution close outs, which exposes our defense and shifts players out of ideal positioning.  

    I watched some of the Duke game the other night.  They don’t do anything cute on defense.  Yeah, they have good athletes, but not great.  If anything they are really disciplined.  Guys don’t leap at the shooter on a close out.  Guys our almost always in place on the weakside help. AND, they defend ball screens like clock work.  There is a plan, it is practiced, and everyone knows what to do.  I feel like Crean gets a bit cute with some of the coaching (i.e. which players switch and which don’t).  Pick one plan and stick to it, period!

  • Joe B

    Regarding the last question: yes we have 6 B10 home games left, but 3 of them are against Illinois, MSU, Purdue.. hard to imagine we take all of those, so lets say we go 5-1 in remaining B10 home games and take dow NC Central.  That puts at 21-5.  Now to the road games (Wisc., Mich, Pur,Iowa,Minn).. I hate to be pessimistic but I see at best taking 1, mabye 2 of those.  So 23-8 going into B10 tourney.  I think that pretty safely puts us into the tourney at a 6-8 seed, and maybe 4-6 if we can go on a run/win the B10 tourney.  However, the turnaround has to start Sunday at Penn State because there are no more “Easy” weeks as I thought this week would be… so much for that..

  • CreamandCrimson

    According to Jeff Rabjohns, that is the case.  It makes sense.  He couldn’t really do anything conditioning wise for a few weeks.  That shouldn’t be an issue in the next week or so.

  • Jerry

    Will was guarding Spencer on the last possession when Spencer blew by him and then made the dish to Ruiz as Cody came to help.

  • Anonymous

    D. Willis was suppose to announce his choice today, has anybody heard yet?

  • Jerry

    Oh yeah and Jordy was in there to make free throws at the end. When he missed CTC didn’t have the luxury of calling a timeout to make defensive replacements for Neb final possession.

  • 888

    Would it be same to say that if we see IU doing the same things against PSU sunday that have caused them to lose the last 3 games and CTC doesnt at least give Remy or AE a chance to come in a stop it that CTC doesnt have a clue how to coach. Or at least let Will play the minutes hes been giving to Verdell. This is a home game so that should help the freshman cope somewhat. If he just sits back and watches PSU play volleyball on the boards, or shoot layups because the usual guards arent athletic enough without giving the other guards at least a shot at getting it stoped then I say he doesnt know what hes doing. What will all of you say if we lose this game the same way? I know if I was there Id be yelling at him to try to give him a clue. These teams have figured us out and a good coach would make adjustments. Well just have to see what happens. I truly beleive CTC is a good coach but if he lets this keep happening then my mind will have changed. We DO have the talent to win now. No more excuses. At this point its on him. UK isnt getting beat by bad teams. We beat them by being better than they were period. It wasnt luck.

  • FWHoosier

    Didn’t Watford’s man set a pick on Will and Watford didn’t step out to tsp him or switch?

  • FWHoosier

    Didn’t Watford’s man set a pick on Will and Watford didn’t step out to tsp him or switch?

  • FWHoosier

    4pm

  • MillaRed

    We may argue that the adjustments the opponents are making to our tendencies have resulted in this losing streak. Furthermore, our (non) adjustments to these adjustments are contributing as well.

    Did we play any zone when we were 15-1? Puzzling.

  • Anonymous

    4:00pm eastern.

  • MillaRed

    I dunno man. He’s not shooting the ball he’s playing D. I would take a cold Remy over a warm Jordy on D 100% of the time.

  • Anonymous

    I get that a cold Remy can play better D than Jordy.  Believe me, no debate there.  What I’m saying is, Crean knew he wasn’t going to call a timeout.  With that in mind, he had to keep Jordy in for the offensive possession.  Even if Remy were playing D that possession, it was VJ’s man who got fouled.  At that point, we’re bringing up the ball and to me, playing 4 on 5, because Remy hasn’t taken a shot all game.

  • EgreenIU

    YES!  This is exactly what is killing us!  Does Crean teach help-side defense?  It seems that when the offensive guy penetrates our guys our quick to hug their man instead of helping.  This isn’t the way it is suppose to be done.

    Also, size and quickness helps with defense and right now our roster does not have that!

  • EgreenIU

    YES!  This is exactly what is killing us!  Does Crean teach help-side defense?  It seems that when the offensive guy penetrates our guys our quick to hug their man instead of helping.  This isn’t the way it is suppose to be done.

    Also, size and quickness helps with defense and right now our roster does not have that!

  • Jerry

    Would it be safe to say that if Jordy hits the free throws with 24 sec to play CTC would be a better coach in your mind? Or on Neb second to last possession and IU leading by three where we forced a tough look 3 pointer in which we had perfect block out position by our best interior player(Zeller) but he fell down when his man fell down – when he fell he also knocked Vic out of position who was also in position to get the rebound and because of our two rebounders out of the play it lands in a Neb players hands for an easy layup –  instead of having the ball and up by three with 25 sec to play we are only up by one (with our best free throw shooter getting fouled on the inbounds play and going to the line)  – is it safe to say CTC would be a better coach if Zeller hadn’t fallen? 

    The over reaction and need to blame someone really confirms my opinion is IU is fortunate to have CTC because he doesn’t do that and he has much more at stake then any of us.  

  • matt

    I think we need to keep in perspective how young we are as a team. Our potential top three guys are freshman, sophomore, sophomore…theres a lot of growing up that happens going into the junior and senior years.

    Not to mention our team leaders have proven to be immature. The body language from Verdell and Pritch has regressed over the last month, when both were being praised at the start of the season for being great sideline guys and Jordy has displayed some alarming confidence issues.

    To sum it up – We have a lot of growing up to do, and as evidenced by the last few weeks growing up has some growing pains.

  • Laueb

    starters new to go thru Cody and until they learn how to do that, wins/loses will be dependant on defense(suspect)  three point shooting(spotty at best the last three games) and lastly CWat playing determined,focused, and with energy.

  • Anonymous

    Couldn’t agree more re: the weakness of the perimeter defense which speaks to the lack of quickness by our guards. Other teams r spacing the floor and giving their quicker players room to operate. I can’t believe that after 3 years C.Wat has not been coached to use the pump fake (maybe twice a year). Against NEB 2 of the first 3 plays were run for him on a side clear out..he backed down low to within 3ft and missed both shots which were strongly contested. A pump fake in either case would have resulted in foul shots and maybe a made basket. He gets stuffed more than any 6-9 kind I’ve ever seen..just not explosive enuff and needs to use the fake. I have Hoosiers finishing 21-10..hope its better than that.

  • Anonymous

    Couldn’t agree more re: the weakness of the perimeter defense which speaks to the lack of quickness by our guards. Other teams r spacing the floor and giving their quicker players room to operate. I can’t believe that after 3 years C.Wat has not been coached to use the pump fake (maybe twice a year). Against NEB 2 of the first 3 plays were run for him on a side clear out..he backed down low to within 3ft and missed both shots which were strongly contested. A pump fake in either case would have resulted in foul shots and maybe a made basket. He gets stuffed more than any 6-9 kind I’ve ever seen..just not explosive enuff and needs to use the fake. I have Hoosiers finishing 21-10..hope its better than that.

  • Peter

    There are two things that bother me about CTC (other than his haircut)
    1. Inefficient out of bounds plays
    2. He can let the game go when he could’ve called a time out.

    Other than that…there is no such thing as a great coach without great players.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry IU is not better than UK..we executed one more play in the game than they did…but you’d better hope the Hoosiers..if they make the NCAA don’t run into the Kats right off.

  • Anonymous

    Teams are adjusting..he’s open for a 3 cause the other guys want him to take it rather than drive. For most of pre-season..IU would clear out the right side and let VO take his man right to the rim. Teams are stepping over on him now and block a straight path to the bucket. Hey those other guys can coach too.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Postgame…Crean said he was going to call a timeout until Hulls turned the corner and had a path to the basket.  He held off on the timeout at that point.  I don’t know if that’s true but that’s what he said after the game.

  • Zacmac

    I also agree 100%.  Does anyone have any idea why AE does not see the floor at all? 

  • Zacmac

    I also agree 100%.  Does anyone have any idea why AE does not see the floor at all? 

  • McCauleyDK

    Announcement is expected at 4 pm Eastern time

  • eph521

    I just want a win against Penn State and a fresh perspective for this team. They need confidence… they need some home-court-lovin. They need to put the last 3 losses behind them.

    Tired of losing… and even though I love my ITH family and fellow IU fans, I’m tired of all the analysis by fans (even good analysis, enough already!), tired of Crean-bashing, Verdell-bashing, Jordy-bashing, cries for Remy to play more, blog commenters who seem to know more than Coach (maybe some of you do?), tired of Wait Til Next Year, tired of the Kool-Aid drinkers (maybe that’s me?),etc…

    JUST WIN!

  • McCauleyDK

    He picked the University of Kentucky

  • Anonymous

    He is going to UK.  I’m not that disappointed that IU didn’t get him.  We have enough young men his size and ability coming to IU over the next couple of years!  I doubt he will get much playing time as a Freshman or Sophmore @ UK.  Oh well…best of luck to him.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah Crean doesnt know what he is doing. Give me a break.

  • 1FloridaHoosier

    In the past two or three games, I have seen CW actually run away from an offensive player going to the bucket, instead of stepping into the path. I’ve watched each game a minimum of twice and it is as clear as the nose on your face. He literally moves away from the ball!

  • Plane1972

    Like it, Jerry.

  • Anonymous

    Not just you, couldnt agree more. Except maybe the wait till next year part. I thought they would struggle this year before season started. Being 15-4, big suprise to me. Just like everybody else, I was caught up in “we’re back” stuff too. We are not back yet. Next year they will be. A good PG is a must in CBB. Yogi will fill that void