What to Expect: Penn State

  • 01/21/2012 12:21 pm in

Indiana returns home to Assembly Hall for a Sunday matinee with Penn State following a 70-69 loss to Nebraska on Wednesday night. The Hoosiers won their first meeting with the Nittany Lions, 88-82, on Jan. 8 at the Bryce Jordan Center. 

The game will be shown on the Big Ten Network (Tom Hart and Dan Bonner) and broadcast on the IU radio network (Sirius 91/XM 91):

Through seven league games, Indiana has yet to establish an identity defensively. Tom Crean has talked at length about defense creating offense and the players have acknowledged that they must correct the problems that have resulted in a three-game slide. But even Nebraska, the Big Ten’s worst offense, was able to muster up 70 points on Wednesday after failing to register 60 in its previous three games.

After the latest setback in Lincoln, Indiana guard Victor Oladipo was asked how the team can avoid letting things slip even further: “We just gotta go back to the drawing board. Compete in practice and that sort of thing. Make sure these losses don’t pile up and try to get a win on Sunday.” Given the long losing streaks in conference play over the past few seasons, the Hoosiers, as Oladipo said, must stop the negative momentum on Sunday.


The numbers are not pretty. In Big Ten play, The Hoosiers are last in opponent points per possession (1.11) and steal percentage (7.1). They’re eleventh in effective field goal percentage defense (53.5). They’re tenth in defensive turnover percentage (16.8) and 2-point field goal percentage allowed (53.8). So what’s changed?

Dribble penetration is the most glaring deficiency. Perhaps Marquis Teague’s second half performance in Assembly Hall was foreshadowing, but Big Ten opponents are getting into the lane far too easily against the Hoosiers. When any team fails to contain dribble penetration, the result is usually an easy look for the ball handler, a pass by the ball handler for an easy look inside once the defense collapses or a kick-out to an open shooter once the defense collapses. Some of this is the result of Indiana failing to communicate and switch on screens and some of it is just getting beat off the dribble.

Going back to what Crean has been discussing, Indiana must generate more offense from its defense. In the Hoosiers’ two biggest wins to-date — Kentucky and Ohio State — they managed to turn over the Wildcats at a 25.7 percent rate and the Buckeyes at a 24.1 percent rate. The result? 23 points off of turnovers against Kentucky and 16 points off of turnovers against Ohio State. Over their previous three losses, IU is generating just 9.3 points off of turnovers. It’s a statistic that bears watching on Sunday.

Speaking specifically to Penn State, Tim Frazier is pivotal for the Hoosiers to key on in order to stop dribble penetration. As Ryan broke down in Film Session, this is a huge component to the junior guard’s game. He’s not often efficient, but Frazier will convert at a high enough clip to keep Penn State close if he’s allowed to go anywhere he wants with the ball.


The Nittany Lions, who we gave a player-by-player break down of in our previous “What to Expect,” are coming off a 54-52 win over No. 25 Illinois on Thursday night at home. Penn State now owns a pair of Big Ten wins, but is 0-3 on the road in conference play. Its three road losses have come by an average of 14 points.


Through Thursday night, here’s a look at the Big Ten standings sorted by efficiency margin:


Dan Dakich has an interview with Penn State coach Pat Chambers that is available here. … Indiana leads the all-time series with Penn State 29-9. … KenPom.com gives Indiana a 94% chance to win the game and predicts a final score of 80-61.

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  • Anrhill

    The defense is terrible, and that’s something that just isn’t going to get much better during the season.  Here’s to hoping the offense can outpace the bad D.

  • Tolly1

    I totally disagree. Defense isnt about talent. Its effort, heart, and will. This team has played good defense at times. You should give 100% effort on the D side of the ball if you dont have enough energy for both. Stats seem to agree with me. VJ and Hulls may not be as athletic as the other teams but they are not playing the angles and are being lazy on getting around screens. A lot of reaching for the ball. I remember Coach Knight always preaching play defense with your feet not your hands.

  • Anonymous

    PSt. killed ILL with Frazier’s penetration and the rub off play that gave a wing a jump shot i n the lane. IU let’s them have that..and it will be a long day.

  • IUJeff

    Agreed it is terrible but arguably our best on-ball defender is just getting back to game shape. 

    I expect once a healthy Will gets his minutes up, he will help us regain our edge on perimeter D. I also expect a small fire to be lit under Vic ASAP. We need the aggressive Vic back on both ends right away please.   

  • Derbus

    Just watched Mizzou beat Baylor, WOW! You want to view great hoops teams and really know the game . . . Any of their guards could get CZ the ball! No more excuses IU guards, make it happen for our viewing pleasure!!!

  • 888

    I hope your wrong but till things change I cant disagree. The players need to get nasty on D and CTC can hopefully become a little more flexible about everything. I agree with Dakich when he says theres potentially 4 pros on this roster. The talents there to win big now. Hard to explain running the dribble-drive without guards that can penetrate. I think with a few small tweeks and teams better watch out but CTCs the guy making the call. Very frustrated but still beleive were capable of big things.

  • defendtherock

    I am not as close to the ledge as some people are on this site, but I will say that the early season success has led to increased disappointment with the recent results.  This is a growing process.
    *Fact- we have nobody on this team with veteran grit or any winning experience in close road games, period.
    This is my problem with the people who seem to be in the game in the clutch situations.  We play the upper classmen, but why?  They have two career road wins.  They have proven they can and will lose.  We have younger guys who need experience in winning time.  Will and Vic should always play together the last five minutes.  If Christian wants to rebound, he should play.  Cody should be in and the offense should run through him every time.  Jordy/ Remy should be offense/defense substitutions.  This lineup has potential to win close games, and when they figure out how to, will be a top ten team. 

    I bet Vic is sick about watching his missed block out over and over.  I expect a big win against PSU, but I can’t wait until we start winning on the road.  We are getting close.  We just need coach to finally pull the trigger on hurting some feelings to make the team better. 

  • Anonymous

    Main thing for IU is stop guard penetration.  I know I’m not breaking any new ground by  saying that but it leads to my second point.  I agree with most in that our defense has not improved and will not improve much because our guards simply are not quick and athletic enough.  Obviously that does not apply to Oladipo and sheehey but the others are going to struggle big time.  Part of the reason we were able to upset UK and OSU is that there teams’ offense does not run through there guards.  Uk played through Davis and Jones until after they played us and they all saw Gilchrest is an absoulte stud, and Ohio State obviously plays inside out with Sullinger (look at who wnet off the second game against them, Smith, a guard, i know he did it with the three mostly though)  Watch the second half of the UK game and it is clear that when Teague and Kidd-Gilchrest decided to drive they went right around our guys and got to the hoop and that is when they really took it to us.  We struggled against MSU and look who had to huge day for them, Appeling.  Penetration by Frazier killed us in the first penn state game, he could get to the hoop and kick it out to the shooters.  Sheehey being back and finally getting healthy at some point will help, and REmy getting more mature and maybe getting some minutes (if Crean realizes that he deserves them).  Yea we will lose some offensive output but it is time for Roth to go back to his come in and hit a couple threes role.  i love the kid and same with Hulls, but these bigten guards are making it look like they can’t guard standing water

  • Jdewitt82

    I think if IU can just rebound better on defense our defensive numbers wouldn’t look so bad.

  • Anonymous

    OSU holds Nebraska to 45pts………still can’t believe we gave them 70.  Bring the fight against PSU!!! We need this one.

  • Anonymous

    I completely agree.