The Minute After: Kentucky

  • 03/24/2012 1:30 am in

Thoughts on a 102-90 loss to the Wildcats:

The road ends here in Atlanta, the Hoosiers running out of gas against a matured and supremely talented Kentucky squad that was just too much.

But what a way to finish, what a way to go down swinging. This game was the height of college basketball entertainment; two storied programs with top five offenses in the country putting on a show. Christian Watford hit some incredible stepbacks and played with no fear. He scored 17 in the first half and ended the contest with 27 points on 9-of-20 shooting. Cody Zeller went after Anthony Davis early and got him into foul trouble. Tonight was not a night where we’re left to wonder what could have been if Zeller got more touches. He got plenty tonight, scoring 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Davis has a higher ceiling, is more jaw-dropping. But Zeller is the more skilled and complete player of the two at this crossroads in their careers. They’ll meet again at the next level.

Victor Oladipo was able to be effective driving to the hoop tonight despite the Wildcats’ strong interior D, and finished with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting. But he fouled out with 4:49 to go and Indiana was down an offensive weapon for the remainder.

And really, that’s a lot of what it came down to inside the Georgia Dome: Kentucky using its athleticism to draw fouls. The Wildcats got to the line at a high rate (57.8 free throw rate) and they shot lights out (35-of-37, 94.6 percent). For the game, 34.3 percent of Kentucky’s points came via freebies. Beyond Oladipo, Will Sheehey also fouled out, Watford had four fouls and Zeller and Hulls each had three a piece. And when Zeller and Oladipo had to sit, Kentucky took advantage of Indiana’s defense off the bench. Marquis Teague went after Remy Abell. Terrence Jones had his way with Tom Pritchard. Darius Miller went right around Matt Roth.

And so while playing the Wildcats just about even in the first half thanks to Davis riding the pine with two fouls and some blistering shooting from the Hoosiers (62.5 eFG%), the second half found the Wildcats always just a bit out of reach for Indiana. Kentucky stretched the lead to 10 at the 10:26 mark, and the Hoosiers really never seriously threatened the rest of the way, only getting as close as five with 5:14 to go before Kentucky shot it back up into double-digits to close it out by a margin of 12.

Step outside the immediate disappointment of defeat and look at this season as a whole: It’s been one to cherish. Few believed this team had the chops to arrive back on the national stage; it was supposed to happen next season. But the Hoosiers cruised out to a 12-0 start before Big Ten season, winning on the road (N.C. State, Evansville) and beating No. 1 Kentucky along the way. Picked to finish at the bottom of the Big Ten, the Hoosiers claimed fifth, beating No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan State in the process.

They made quick work of New Mexico State in the first round, completed a thrilling comeback against VCU in the second and played a Kentucky team about as well as they could in the Sweet 16. This was a surprising, inspiring rebirth of a program. Tom Crean deserves much credit for this 27-9 season, as do his players for sticking it out and seeing this through.

The Hoosiers are unlikely to lose any significant offensive contributors heading into next season. They will add a McDonald’s All-American point guard in Yogi Ferrell to the fourth-most efficient offense in the country along with a host of other strong recruits.

“The Movement” is now officially on the way, and the Hoosiers are already back and here to stay.

Filed to:

  • Kenneth234

    I have zero doubt that we did commit a bunch of fouls in the game.  However, some of the early fouls against the boys in red were just horrible calls.  Sheehey’s moving screen was crap as the first IU foul.  I never seen a replay showing Zeller’s first foul being committed.  The second was totally crap, a point gaurd lowering his shoulder into a 6’11” guy in position with hands up should never be called on the defensive player.  And in my opinion this was the call that changed the game.  If we were able to have Zeller inside against either Jones, Whitcher, or Vargas, we lead by 10 or more going into half time and the pressuere is clearly on UK in the second half.  Another game that the zebra’s were the main factor in beating this club.  That is  the real shame in this game.  It is one thing to overcome a great effrort by a very talented team, but to do it with the zebra’s handicapping them is a lot to expect from any team. 

    Otherthan that, I am completely happy with the effort of IU, and there is not much that I would wish to change.  Maybe a few ill advised shots here or there, but if UK hadn’t made nearly all of their free throws we may be moving on, instead of moving out.  Great game and great season, can’t wait for next year, and come back Christian Watford!

  • BFowler

    This season was a lot more fun than the last three.  This TEAM played inspired basketball most of the season.  A couple losses to wins (MInnesota, Nebraska) and we are talking about a B1G Champion.  Not bad after 12-and-whatever last season.  The 27 wins is one shy of matching the last 3 seasons combined.  A sweet 16 team this season, very much unexpected and appreciated.  This team is together and tough and it was a great season to be a Hoosier fan.  We have nothing but blue skies and sunshine left for the foreseeable future.  Very excited and proud to be a Hoosier fan at this time. Congratulations coach and team on a great season.

    Now, not to be a downer (which I know I am anyway, but still….), am I the only one somewhat concerned about chemistry issues next season?  I remember the 1993-94 North Carolina defending National Champions and they had Montross, Williams, and Phelps returning that season and Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse coming in and they had problems being the same ohesive unit without George Lynch and Pat Sullivan.  I just hope #themovement is willing to be #thebenchmob as well if that is their roles.

  • NWI_Hoosier

    After watching the game last night, I came away being reminded of a few things: 

    I love college basketball. 

    I love Indiana basketball.

    I can’t wait for banner #6 next year.

  • Luke72

    Sure all the scouts know more than me, but CW would be wise to stay another year to secure a first round pick and the rewards that go with it,could also use a mentor for these kids coming in next year. As good as they are they will still have alot to learn!

  • Benhyoung14

    I don’t think he goes pro.  Their is a chance, but not a good one.  He will not lose that many minutes.  He will be one of the rocks next year.  He will start every game, and will have more experience playing with a big man.  The exposure he will get with deep NCAA Tournament run will be invaluable  

  • Kelin Blab

    What a season and what a run by this team. Tough to get down about last nights game and a lot to be excited about:

    + I tweeted months ago, Zeller is a better player than Davis and he proved it again tonight. Not sure how Davis will handle Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum going at him if he can’t handle Cody.

    + Christian seems to be a big game player and I hope he comes back but it wouldn’t shock me if he didn’t.

    + We are ONE Hanner Perea away from Kidd Gilcrest having someone that can keep him off the boards and as athletic as he is.

    + I was hoping for someone on the bench to step up but it didn’t happen. As a senior I hope Elston redefines his role and becomes an inside banger. He has the body for it but does he have the want too.

    + I thought Jordy played tough and aggressive. His life gets easier with Yogi coming to town.

    + I agree with Crean…NO ONE on that court could guard Victor.

    + Finally it will be a horrible shame if IU and Kentucky don’t continue to play one another. The AD’s need to work it out asap. College basketball needs it. We have no rivalry with L’Ville and Mr. Dennys himself

  • HoosierFromCt

    Thank you, Seniors. You are what IU basketball is all about. 

    So which senior do we see coming back as a graduate assistant? 

  • HoosierFromCt

    Thank you, Seniors. You are what IU basketball is all about. 

    So which senior do we see coming back as a graduate assistant? 

  • That was a fun game. Just not enough gas in the engine compared to UK. Great effort and phenomenal season. I won’t know what to do for the next 8 months.

  • brosallman

    Much like our Hoosiers the coverage on ITH started strong and improved all year. Kudos to Alex and Ryan for their outstanding efforts and  to all that comment for keeping this site the go to spot for all that is Hoosier basketball.

  • 323SGrant

    Nice season team. Hope you come back even stronger in October.

  • HoosierPat

    I hate to see this team lose to Kentucky, but what a season it was. They exceeded just about everyone’s expectations. I never thought this team would be a four seed and get to the sweet sixteen. I am so proud of Tom Crean and the team. Thank you “First Five”. You are the pioneers of the renaissance of Indiana basketball. You will never be forgotten. Go Hoosiers!!!!!!

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    I’m very proud of this team and our coach , We proved that we are back and can play with anyone . 

  • JerryCT

    I do not see this game as the end of the season.

    I see this game as the ” completion of the beginning” of the successful program most have hoped for after several suffering years .

    We did it . We had a great season . We played KY pretty much even.

    Our expectations are now forever changed.

    Beating a media darling like VCU and standing tall against KY have made us attractive to the TV media. This unlocks our reach into national recruiting at the highest level.

    Let the new season begin !

  • JerryCT

    I do not see this game as the end of the season.

    I see this game as the ” completion of the beginning” of the successful program most have hoped for after several suffering years .

    We did it . We had a great season . We played KY pretty much even.

    Our expectations are now forever changed.

    Beating a media darling like VCU and standing tall against KY have made us attractive to the TV media. This unlocks our reach into national recruiting at the highest level.

    Let the new season begin !

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Okay, am I going to be the only person to ask this question . . . what the he** was that referee thinking when he called that first foul on Zeller???  He wasn’t even looking at Jones and Zeller when they bumped!  First of all, it wasn’t even close to a foul.  Zeller was stationary, didn’t turn his hips or shoulders, didn’t raise his arms, didn’t lean it, and barely touched Jones who ran into him!  Then Jones throws his arms up like a 6’8″ 240 lbs wuss and the referee turns his head and blows his whistle just because he saw Jones’ arms go up!

    That call alone was the difference maker in the game.  It was like the officials just couldn’t let Davis get in foul trouble alone, even though his two fouls in the first half were legitimate, hard fouls!  Why do officials feel they have to determine the outcomes of big games?

    Zeller went to the bench with 2 fouls and it completely killed IU’s recently gained momentum.  IU was poised to continue that run and push out to a good lead and instead Cody and then Vic have to go to the bench and that allowed pUKe to score at will like they did.  

    I was furious.  I recorded the game and if anyone wants to see what I’m talking about, I’ll use my phone to record from the TV and then figure out how to get it online so you all can see it again.  It was the single worst foul call (I saw some bad calls this year) of the season and maybe the worst I’ve seen in a few years!  Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES could that be considered a foul at any level of competitive basketball.  I’ve seen more contact in a tennis match!  That call changed the game and put IU at a serious disadvantage.

    NOW, despite the fact that the referees gave pUKe every call and put IU’s best player on the bench for no apparent reason at all, the Hoosiers fought valiantly and stayed in the game longer than anyone thought they would.  Before the game I told a buddy that if IU just stayed within 10-12 points CTC would have to be considered the best coach in college basketball this season because almost any other team in the country, under similar circumstances, would’ve entered that game scared out of their mind.  There was a revenge factor.  pUKe is loaded with NBA talent, though they sound a lot like pUKe fans when being interviewed, “Ur, duh, um, day hit dem a lucky shot, der, um.”  It’s hard to beat a great team twice and pUKe was playing their best ball of the year.  All signs and stats would say that IU would’ve never been in the game, but that wasn’t the case!

    CTC had this team prepared to play, with a solid game plan (that would’ve worked going at Davis if the pansy a** officials hadn’t decided they wanted to put Zeller on the bench for NO REASON!!!), and they weren’t scared of the kitty cats at all!  I still think if that first foul had not been whistled on Big Z they Hoosiers would’ve pulled out to a comfortable lead by halftime and there’s no telling how pUKe would’ve responded.  

    To continue on the officiating issue, let’s see, there was the play where Teague just flat out punched Remy in the chest because he was mad he was being guarded.  Remy just looked over at the referee like, really?  Then the play at the end of the first half when Lamb shoved Roth to the floor then the refs proceeded to NOT give us the makeup call by calling a block on Pritchard so Lamb got away with two fouls.  I could go on but it was ridiculous!

    Anyway, valiant effort by the Hoosiers playing 5 on 8 last night!!!  That official should be investigated and/or fined for that first foul call on Zeller!  DID THE DUDE TAKE DIRTY pUKe MONEY???  Un-freaking-believable!!!

    I loved this HOOSIER team and they are going to be flat out loaded next year if CWAT and Zeller both return!  Preseason Top 5 easily with those two, the rest of the returning cast, and the stud recruiting class!

    Hoo Hoo Hoo . . . . HOOSIERS!!!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    How come nobody is mentioning that first foul on Zeller?  It was flat out ridiculous and changed the game!!!  Watch it again!  It was a flat out screw-job!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    The media has never showed a replay of that foul and questioned it either!

  • Wheatgerm

    Our dark days ended three years ago when we got rid of a bad hire.  I know IU fans can relate.  The turnaround for IU took three years, but your dark days are over, too.  This is what basketball should be in this part of the country.  IU, UK, UL all playing at a high level.  Xavier, Cincinnati, Ohio State.  Even Ohio U.  Notre Dame and Murray Sate.  The center of the basketball universe is shifting back to where it belongs, in large part because Indiana is back.

    Let’s stay classy.  No more “best team money can buy” or “UK is unethical and all that is wrong with college hoops.”  C’mon now.  Do IU fans proud.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I rewound Zeller’s first foul and watched it over and over again.  IN NO WAY could that ever be considered a foul on Zeller.  He wasn’t moving, didn’t extend his arms, didn’t turn his body, didn’t lean in to Jones.  NOTHING.  Jones bumped into him then tossed his arms up like he’d been mugged and the referee who blew the whistle was looking towards the ten second line and all he saw was Jones’ arms go up!  THAT’S IT! 

    THERE WAS NO FOUL AND IT CHANGED THE GAME!!!

  • A_Schick

    Let’s not overlook the fact that both Cody and Christian outplayed Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis, two players that are “sure locks” for the NBA and that Victor pretty much did whatever he damn well pleased as well. The Hoosiers executed as perfect an offensive game plan as you’ll ever see. Unfortunately so did Kentucky. 

  • A_Schick

    Let’s not overlook the fact that both Cody and Christian outplayed Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis, two players that are “sure locks” for the NBA and that Victor pretty much did whatever he damn well pleased as well. The Hoosiers executed as perfect an offensive game plan as you’ll ever see. Unfortunately so did Kentucky. 

  • Outoftheloop

     That was a great game! That was a great season! That was a great ride for the Hoosier Nation! IU did everything it could to win: Watford was tough and aggressive (27 pts/5 reb); Jordy was awesome (9 A/0 TO); Zeller was Zeller (the best Big on the court, 20 pts/ 7 reb); Oladipo was outstanding (15 pts/ 5 reb in only 20 min); Sheehey was outstanding (10 pts/ 5 reb); Abell was a player (6 pts/ 1 reb in 14 min). But give KY credit, they hit 50% from 3 point range, 48.4% overall, outrebounded IU 39/31, had 12 assists to only 6 TO, and hit 35 of 37 FT. Indiana is about 4-6 points short of #1 in the nation right now. Next year I like our chances. Way to GO IU!

  • NervousWreck

    Can’t thank Coach Crean and this team enough for what they gave me this year. Far and away my favorite IU team in my 25 year old life.  Proud this morning to call myself a Hoosier.  

    What lost them the game?  Kentucky breaking the record at the Free Throw line and Jones would have helped in this game.  But I’m not going to focus on that – I’m going to enjoy and remember this team for what they did.  Special thanks to the “First Five”.  Thank you for laying the groundwork when no one else wanted to.

    On a side note, Watford possibly making the jump scares me – for selfish reasons of course…. 

  • Once we beat VCU I felt like we could beat Kentucky.  No shame in losing last night.  We were playing with house money.  If Watford stays this team is going to be very tough.  I’m excited as I have ever been.  

  • Tom Puckett

    Thanks for the great season guys – players, coaches, and the ITH gang – it’s been a great one.  Go Hoosiers!

  • Terra2007

    You are correct. I just chek the nba.net 2012 mock draft.  Great news no Cody or C. Wat in the first two rounds.  2 KY. boys in the top 4.  So there gone.  We have a super deep team next year..

  • Terra2007

    You are correct. I just chek the nba.net 2012 mock draft.  Great news no Cody or C. Wat in the first two rounds.  2 KY. boys in the top 4.  So there gone.  We have a super deep team next year..

  • IUeconAlum

    I was at the game. I had UK fans around me and yes they are all the stereotypical things that you always hear. I didn’t think it would be that way. IU played tough. Definitely worth the trip. What a great year!

  • HoosierHawk

    – Thanks ITH for your work all season. Best website I know.
    -For a team that struggles on the road at times, they played tough in a building that was all blue. And I agree with other posts, at the game the Kentucky fans are exactly what you would expect.
    -Christian Watford – wow. He is a such a laid back guy, but when he gets the fire in his belly, he is a beast. I really hope that he doesn’t go to the NBA. I would see it like Darius Morris last year – why be a late pick if you are leaving early?
    -I am very thankful for the senior class and their contributions to this program. But when you think about swapping that class for what is coming in, the freshman will be a huge upgrade from day 1.
    -I truly think Crean has done a great job and built this program back the right way. I think he is recruiting guys with character, and from my view, I think building it just as well. Different style as Knight obviously, but I think that his players will say the same things they did about Knight – that he made them a better person as much as a better basketball player.

  • MillaRed

    No kidding. Where is all of this coming from? CWat will be a Hoosier next year. No question.

  • MillaRed

    Watford has not been nor will he be anywhere on the NBA mock draft boards.

  • MillaRed

    Watford has not been nor will he be anywhere on the NBA mock draft boards.

  • MikeinNC

    Great season, not sure why Crean did not receive more press for coaching honors in the B10 and nationally.

    Great game, the free throws really made a difference…..if they had shot just 75% at the line that is 7 points off their total. Their athleticism really drove the FT disparity. Would have loved to have seen what might have happened down the stretch had VO not fouled out early.

    Hope Watford stays and focuses in the offseason on fitness and his ability to bring the A-game and intensity on a more consistent basis. I think he could really improve his draft potential.

    Many thanks to everyone at ITH for a great season of outstanding analysis and insight. This really is a fantastic resource for fans. Often times the in-game chat was so interesting it made it hard to follow the game!

  • length_upside

    After the sting of the UK loss dissipates, this season is going to be an amazing one to look back upon.

    *This team shares the ball so well. Since the motion offense flowed across the court, IU fans have been impatiently waiting over a decade for a return to the most beautiful part of the great game of basketball: ball movement. Adding a young jedi named Yogi will add even more to the aesthetic look of this team.

    *The confidence,belief, and fearlessness the team showed throughout the year really shined through against the Cats. They just took it right to them. The same attitude next year+off season improvement+reinforcements=B_nn_r?

    *I think Christian Watford should definitely test his draft stock and get a chance to hear what NBA front offices think of his skills. When this is done and over with, I fully expect him to return to Bloomington with a better understanding of what it takes to reach the next level(It is very hard to be an NBA 1st round draft pick. This 2012 draft in particular is projected to be very deep. Just look at the names on draftexpress or nbadraft.net and you will see what I mean). CWat can then channel his focus on ending his IU career as one of the leaders of the best IU team of the last 20 years and becoming a 1st round draft selection in 2013.

    *MKG is an awesome player. I don’t watch a lot of non-IU college ball until tourney time, but this guy is such a winner. Can’t wait to watch him at the next level(and get the hell off IU’s schedule!).

    *Can’t wait for this summer and millions of discussions on our lineup “problems” for next year!

    *Madd props to ITH for all the work you do. This is a real classy joint.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    All agreed.  And we haven’t much this season. 

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Going to the 2A Final today.  Moving forward to next year.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    Cwat would be foolish to leave, he needs another year to get stronger, besides that we have a ligit shot at a title next year. with or without him we will still be really good. congrats on a great year, more than any of us expected.  does anyone know how Jaquan Lyle’s recruitment is going?

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    Cwat would be foolish to leave, he needs another year to get stronger, besides that we have a ligit shot at a title next year. with or without him we will still be really good. congrats on a great year, more than any of us expected.  does anyone know how Jaquan Lyle’s recruitment is going?

  • I think JaQuan is coming to fort wayne soon to see James Blackmon, that’s the last i heard from him

  • Cpallen14

    So proud of the Hoosiers for their great season, and I agrree, what an effort! They played the best team in the nation twice, beating them once and competing the other. Hope Christian comes back.

  • Oldguyy

    Maybe Davis just had his worst two games of the year against IU, but Cody owned Davis in both games.  Did you see the bricks Davis threw up in a vain attempt to get Cody in foul trouble?  

  • IUJack

    Sad the season is over, but looking foward to next year when we have more athletic options off the bench.  They would have made the difference last night.  It would have given the starters more rest.  Cody’s two fouls in the first half came after 6 minutes of intense playing and he needed a breather.  Yes, the one foul was a bad call (seemed to be a lot of calls on IU that KY was not getting, but that is another matter).  KY took off when our second unit came in, next years second unit will be MUCH better, and that will not happen.

    There were a lot of “What if’s”, but there were three defensive lapses that should not have happened where a KY player basically walked to the basket to put the ball in.  And as noted, if they hit at a 75% clip of their free throws, it is 7 points off the score.  Big difference in how the game might have gone….. 

    Oh well, good job boys and coaches.  The coaches will have their work cut out for them next year in trying to figure out playing time.  Able and Creek deserve time and I look for Yogi and Holowell to get good minutes, and some combination of Perera and the 7 footer to get Pritchards minutes.  If we get any quality minutes from Elston, then that will be a bonus.  His moter runs higher than his brains, maybe it will click next year for him.  

  • Oldguyy

    Zeller’s second foul was bogus, too.  

  • Charlesleolus

    I agree wholehaeartedly.  they called a lot of touch fouls on IU , often resulting in KY 3-point plays, but I noted several instances when the same sort of call wasn’t made on KY.  You know, there’s a reason they say KY has the best team money can buy. 

  • Charlesleolus

    CWat hasn’t even made All-Big 10 and he’s thinking of leaving?  A few big games won’t make him a 1st-rounder.  He definitely isn’t one.  He’s a poor man’s Robert Horry and should make the NBA, but only as a role player.  I don’t know, but for me he didn’t have a great season, only a few great games when playing the top-10 schools, which does show that he has the talent, but he lacks the motivation to be consistent.  I think he’d benefit from another year.

  • Classof73_N1Fan

    30 years. I have watching them for 55 years and those games were just as exciting as last night. Had a small 8 inch round screen – black and white – and was just as exciting then as now. I remember you could buy a big magnifying glass to put in front of the tv so the picture looked bigger.

    The ole Hoosier basketball. My little dogs run and hide during game. I yell – smack the wall. YES! Ouch! Wow – did  you see that 3? Fouled him my butt. This many fouls damn KY bought off the refs — Man can’t wait till next year!

    This has been an extremely exciting year though. Great job team!

  • Charlesleolus

    roth walking on?  I just don’t understand his situation at all.  I mean, I thought over the summer he was just a junior and had red shirted, then I learn he’s a senior ….  ??????  please clarify

  • Charlesleolus

    Jordy may have played his best IU game ever last night.  9 assists and 0 turnovers against an NBA-long, quick team ….  and some of those passes were incredible. 
    Is anyone besides me wondering how Crean handles the PG situation next year?  Obviously both Hulls and Ferrell deserve to play, and I just don’t see how you can move Hulls to SG and have 2 midget guards when all B10 teams have 6’4″ or taller at at least 1 guard spot …. 

  • SeattleHoosier

    Milla – I think this discussion stems from the interview he did where the reporter asked him if he’s considering the NBA.  He indicated that he didn’t want to talk about that.