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:

  • A_Schick

    I see Yogi playing true point with Abel backing him and Jordy get’s to settle into a scoring 2 guard role 

  • A_Schick

    I see Yogi playing true point with Abel backing him and Jordy get’s to settle into a scoring 2 guard role 

  • stroot

    I believe you can attribute that (Davis, MKG on there; Zeller, Watford not) to expectations, not abilities. Cody would be a lock as a top-10 pick if he goes out this year.

    If Christian opts to go to the next level, he’s definitely a 2nd round pick, and could possibly (but not likely) hear his name at the end of the 1st. I’m one of the believers that another year under CTC would help him continue to move up the draft boards into a comfortable 1st round spot and guaranteed contract.

  • SCHoosier

    The problem has never been his offense..but Jordy and most everybody else on the team spent most of the night reading the names and numbers on the BACK of the UK players uniforms as they blazed past them to the bzasket. That has got to change. even VOh ad a problem keeping his man in front of him. UK was soooo tough going to the hole. Of course..they couldn’t stop VO either..but the refs did):

  • Stephanie_manning3

    Davis actually had 3 blocks… Just to be accurate in your rant

  • Stephanie_manning3

    Davis actually had 3 blocks… Just to be accurate in your rant

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I have debated this issue with several Hoosier fans and there are a lot of arguments going both ways about how the time/starts will shake out, but I’m of the opinion that you start Yogi, slide Hulls over to the two and play your best three defensive forwards.  The offensive upside of that lineup will more than balance out.  Especially if we have some athletic helping forwards on the back end, the possibility of the drive and post-up from the opposing guards will be fairly neutralized.  Zeller, Hanner, Watford, Sheehey, Dipo, Hollowell and maybe even Jurkin will all fit the bill defensively.  We will be nasty no matter how we divide this thing up. 

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I also just got done watching Yogi finish a board short of a triple double in the state finals.  The guy is so quick to the ball he actually plays pretty well on the defensive end.  He will not be a liability overall even there.  Yogi and Dipo will be running two waves of rim attacking at the defense next year.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Yeah, I thought Kentucky exposed our lack of depth. There were a few guys that really looked like they belonged on the big stage. The foul trouble to Sheehey, Dipo and Cody hurt, because they all were playing at Kentucky’s level. Those guys are the future of this program – the future now. And the future is bright with the influx of top level talent we will have. I’m predicting final four next year.

  • Larry Hester

    I think if we win our 6th next year the alum. need to give money to buy 5 extra rings to give to the first 5…..
    We would not be here with out them.

    Thx, Guys.

  • Larry Hester

    I’m with you. I taped it also and the blocking foul not long after that was a very bad call….
    I thought we had them when Davis goes out, then the refs. have to even it up for some reason.
    Myself and my wife are going crazy when this all goes down and the Kids left the room….

  • IUJeff

    Though I heard that CTC got ESP_ dot com coach of the year?

  • IUJeff

    Seemed like the refs were more jacked up then either team at the start of the game. They were the story early for sure. 

  • IUJeff

    Jerry, remember when you and I debated whether or not Jordy was an elite PG? 

    Last night he played like an elite PG IMO. What say you?

  • IUJeff

    C Wat comes back and we HAVE to be a favorite to win it all. 

    Who has a deeper team than IU next year?

  • IUJeff

    C Wat comes back and we HAVE to be a favorite to win it all. 

    Who has a deeper team than IU next year?

  • IUJeff

    With out depth next year, I’d absolutely love to see a VCU type press. We should be 13 or 14 deep so let’s upon up a can on every team we face. 

  • IUJeff

    Don’t forget about Buss Patterson, Peter Jurkin and hopefully Mo Creek.

  • guest

    the fact that you think freshman will elbow out a star senior with NBA potential is almost funny

  • IUJeff

    CWat and CZ will be back. CWat will finish his degree next year. Plus who wants to miss out on hanging banner 6 at IU. 

  • IUJeff

    Press all game gets everyone almost equal PT..

  • IUJeff

    Press all game gets everyone almost equal PT..

  • IUJeff

    He is a grad student working on a Masters and has a year of eligibility left. I believe he gets that this May. So unless he is pursuing another Masters or going after a Phd, I don’t see him walking on. 

    Perhaps someone else can correct me or enlighten us?

  • IUJeff

    I hear you Larry. The refs were the stars of the first 5 minutes. 

  • Panther1

    Much closer, as many of their free throws came at the end when we started fouling.  Had they been shooting them at a more realistic rate, the game would have been much closer and we would not have been fouling to extend the game.  Regardless I am proud of our team.  Go Baylor.

  • unclekerfuffle

    I didn’t like that comment either but I didn’t lose something I never had.

  • Squinkert

    He was saying he only had one on Zeller just to be accurate.

  • wyohoosier

    TOTALLY DISAGREE……No way Watford takes a lesser role next year. Hasnt Coach’s loyalty to guys like VJIII showed you that?

  • wyohoosier

    TOTALLY DISAGREE……No way Watford takes a lesser role next year. Hasnt Coach’s loyalty to guys like VJIII showed you that?

  • ATLhoosier

    Good point

  • Derbus

    i could not be more stoked, if we played any other team this rou. Wtfnd we’d be in the Final 4! How bout them zebras, can they call a game or what?!! Wtf

  • Reed

    Awesome season guys!!! You played your rear ends off. To score 90 points and still lose tell’s me that if we would have been in another bracket i’m sure we would of made it to the championship but thats the way it goes. not to often do i watch a IU game and not find something wrong with the way we played  the game but tonight was flawless and kentucky also played amazing and if they didnt we for sure would of won that game so hats offf to both teams. I will forever remember this year and hat’s off to out senior’s . I’m still sadened that are season is over but we are back for sure. Kentucky was just to fast and athletic for us but the free throws won the game for them. Zeller and wat no doubt outplayed kentucky’s best. The refs made some bad calls on us but also on them as well so no complaints from me. Let’s go get them next year we will no doubt be the most loaded class next year and i cant wait.Crean should no doubt be coach of the year. Come back wat we need you but i understand if you dont. Once again what a year boys!! Thank you for what you have done for this program. We are only going to get better! Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoosiers!!!!!! Thanks again Guys for this season it’s one i will never forget.

  • jmfriedman

    I certainly don’t need the approval of a UK fan to make those comments.  Yep, coach Cal is on the level………The sad thing is you really believe that.  That is what is wrong with college hoops, especially UK.  Guys like Crookipari will work the system any way they can to win, no matter the cost….that is all that matters, right?  Winning?  Who cares if it is in the rules or not, UK is winning, right?  Calipari has repeatedly shown over his career that he is not doing it the “right” way.  Read about World Wide Wes (if you even know who he is, which I doubt) and read about he and Cal being buddies.   Is that what is wrong in college hoops?  You are d$#n right it is…So, if you don’t want to read comments that aren’t “classy”, then go to site about UK.  I am sure with all of the “classy” activity by Kentucky, you will find plenty there.

  • Silkyslim

    Heck of a season !!!  I thought 18 wins and the NIT at the beginning of the year.  What a GREAT ride !!!   Extremely proud of our Hoosiers.   Disappointed by the outcome of last night’s game, but not the effort, improvement, or teamwork.  And that was without Verdell and KY shooting a insane 94% at the FT line.  This team showed outstanding CHARACTER and will turn heads next year.  Well done HOOSIERS !!! 

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    My wife left the room!  HA

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    What do you think IU will be rated preseason next year?

    I’m guessing top 5 or so?

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    What do you think IU will be rated preseason next year?

    I’m guessing top 5 or so?

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Let’s face it . . . Watford is probably coming back and this team will be unbelievable.  However, even if CWat leaves (which please, God, don’t leave) IU will still be very, very good!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    You mean they really do pick tobacco leaves out of their teeth, or should I say tooth, and smell like manure???

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

     Yeah, the Hoosiers didn’t look the least bit scared of the little kitty cats did they?

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

     Yeah, IU had to make a choice last night.  Their two choices were to sit back and let pUKe shoot after just watching them shoot Iowa st. to death or guard them tighter and then foul them hard on drives.  Well, they laid back off Teague and Kidd-Gilchrest but they still had the quickness to get past our guards to the rim. 

    That stops next year!  Next year Remy, Vic, Jeremy, Mo, and especially Yogi will be able to stay in front of quick guards and go right around their men at the same time!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

     There may be more zones and presses next year too?  You never know.  Look at how Mizzou negated their size disadvantages all year by playing high octane on O and D.  Sometimes styles can cover for lack of size. 

  • HoosierHawk

    Draymond Green projected as a late 1st rounder. Nuff said

  • HoosierHawk

    Draymond Green projected as a late 1st rounder. Nuff said

  • HoosierHawk

    The problem is how could you possibly slide Oladipo or Sheehey to the bench? Those guys need to start as 2 way players. I think Yogi and Hanner off the bench tear apart the second unit of any team.

    It is crazy to think that we have too many guys who shold start next year vs. 4 years ago when Nick Young, a highly touted shooting guard, was having to play power forward because we had no one.

  • Jszook61

    Are you nuts?  If Watford comes back he will play a big role.  Who is going to “limit” his role?  There is nobody in that recruiting class that can take his job as a starter.

  • SoCal Hoosier

    I am a high school coach and usually watch games pretty clinically.  This game was a clinic in how to play offense (by both teams) and how not to officiate (by all three).  I need a new remote after flinging mine against the wall about 10 times….refs tipped an awesome game.  Same guy that blew the UNC-Asheville game last week – clearly not qualified to do tournament games.

    Aceman, you are absolutely right on the folly of CZ foul #1, and Oldguyy is spot on too.  The list goes on and on – Roth getting fore-armed to the floor on a flash-and-fill at the end of the first half, and Pritch subsequently getting called for a block that was a textbook charge.  But flash forward 5 seconds later and look at CWat’s three attempt at the half…most people miss badly when they can’t follow-through on a shot because their arm got pushed back over their shoulder by the defender.  Potential 5-point swing in those 8 seconds.  Super-zoom on CBS showing Davis “blocking” Zeller by whacking his arm and wrist and never touching the ball.  Pritch getting called for an and-1 by a ref who could miraculously see body contact through Pritch’s body, all without ever actually touching the KY player as he flashed past.

    But even beyond the foul calls (or lack of), the refs’ sheer inability to count to three was nothing short of stunning.  Most of us learned how to do that before we got to school and moved on to other things.  Not so this fine crew…On three separate occasions a KY player caught the ball on the wing, established his pivot foot when he landed, took a balancing step with his other foot, then pivoted on this second foot to face the basket….one-two-three steps.  In one case, it actually hit four steps before the dribble occurred.  And in EVERY one of these, it became two points for KY.  MKG and Davis fight for an offensive rebound, both grab the ball together, MKG hops TWICE with it while fighting with Davis, and CWat gets called for an and-1.  Oh, and let’s not forget Cody getting called for traveling in the first half WHILE DRIBBLING!  Because it looked funny….just like his first foul.
    I have unbelievable respect and admiration for CTC, not only for his ability to extract maximum effort from a team that truly plays as a team, but also for running a Tom Clean program with a perfect APR and kids that graduate.  Oh, and for somehow maintaining self-control last night and not getting t’d up.  I have no idea how he did that.

    All that being said, Indiana wins last night against any NCAA team not named KY, and wins fairly easily.  Hats off to KY for the most amazing FT shooting I’ve ever seen.  Shoot their 71.7% average on those 37 FTs, and there won’t be 37 of them because the game would have been played very differently and it comes down to the wire.

    Amazing season, incredible memories, enormous anticipation.  Thanks Hoosiers and Coach!  Is it November yet???

  • 888

    Id say 4th of 5th  but I beleive we will be #1 for a good portion of the season. Well have it all next year. Experience, great athletes, shooters gallore, best big man in the country, a lightning quick point guard who can shoot, two deep at every position. If we dont win it next year we wont the next either. Well lose alot after next year. If CWat goes pro (huge mistake if he does) then that will hurt us but Mos coming back and already doing drills. Thats a great sign he gonna be ready this year. Hes like a caged tiger ready to explode and hell probably only be a sophmore. WOW. Mbakwe just got a year added i beleive and Mo should as well. Next years our best chance till 2015 so lets get it done.

  • 888

    I think well be so deep next year CTC will have the luxury of playing all sorts of lineups. Play a zone on us bring in the shooters, play tight man and bring in the rim rockers. We should run two groups and run the crap out of people. 40 minutes of chaos. NO MERCY. Nobody gave us any when we were down.

  • SCHoosier

    Yogi will be a “dribble-drive and dish delux delight!” Cody best be alert next year…cause that orrange will be coming into him from various directions , speeds and heights. Our bigs may have to play with face protectors:)