Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss at Illinois

  • 02/08/2013 9:26 am in

IU@ILLITH0002CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — After leading by 14 points on two separate occasions, Indiana couldn’t hold on Thursday night at Assembly Hall and the No. 1 Hoosiers dropped their second conference game 74-72 to Illinois. The loss moved IU into a three-way tie with Michigan and Michigan State for the Big Ten lead.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from IU’s loss to the Fighting Illini:

· About that final play: Tyler Griffey’s game-winning, wide-open layup will get all of the headlines, but Indiana’s inability to put Illinois away when it had the chance is the real story of this loss. One particular sequence that stood out: The Hoosiers led 55-41 with 12:55 remaining following a Will Sheehey dunk. Hanner Mosquera-Perea was subbed in for Cody Zeller at the 12:45 mark and gave up a layup and then a 3-point play. The Hoosiers would extend the lead back to double digits on a couple more occasions, but when there’s blood in the water on the road, allowing an opponent to quickly regain momentum can prove costly. “We didn’t put them away when we had the opportunity,” Tom Crean said postgame. “That’s really the bottom line.”

· Sheehey’s technical was unnecessary and costly: It may have seemed harmless at the time because Indiana was beginning to open things up on Illinois late in the first half, but the technical foul on Sheehey ended up being a crucial mistake. Debating whether the technical was deserved is futile, but it’s fair to wonder if Sheehey’s antics on the bench and also in the win at Purdue have given him a reputation with officials. Playing with an edge is one thing, but when it leads to picking up an unnecessary technical foul, it may be time to dial it back and just play.

· Cody Zeller didn’t get enough field goal attempts: Illinois had no one on its roster capable of guarding Cody Zeller and IU failed to take advantage of the foul trouble that plagued Nnanna Egwu all night. Zeller finished the night with just six field goal attempts. Christian Watford, Victor Oladipo, Yogi Ferrell and Sheehey all had more looks. Does Indiana need to do a better job of finding Zeller? Does Zeller need to do a better job of establishing position and calling for the ball? Probably a little bit of both, but when there’s a clear mismatch, Indiana needs to exploit it. Zeller still finished with a team-high 14 points because he got to the foul line six times (all in the first half), but getting the ball inside as the lead was evaporating may have changed the outcome.

· Indiana shot better, rebounded better, had a better free throw rate and still lost: The Hoosiers came out on top of this game in effective field goal percentage, offensive rebounding percentage and free throw rate and still managed to come up short. The reason? Turnovers. The Hoosiers coughed up the ball 14 times in all, including eight in the second half. Six of the turnovers came from Watford, his highest total since his freshman season. In Big Ten play, Indiana is turning the ball over on 20.4 percent of its possessions, which is the second worst mark in the league. As effective and potent as Indiana is on offense, it simply can’t afford to give opponents extra possessions and expect to get away with it.

· This loss changes the Big Ten race: Indiana was up just one game in the loss column, but the Hoosiers are now tied with Michigan and Michigan State. Those are two teams Indiana still has to play on the road and one glance at the remaining road slate shows that things won’t get any easier from here. Trips to Ohio State, Michigan State, Minnesota and Michigan are on the horizon, which is the downside to IU’s backloaded road schedule. Michigan’s remaining road games: Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State and Purdue. Michigan State’s remaining road games: Purdue, Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan. It’s likely that 14-4 will at least earn a share of the conference crown, but for IU to get there, the Hoosiers would need to hold serve and split the remaining road games.

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  • IUHoosiers23

    I completely agree with the assessment that the HMP substitution was a bad move. It felt to me like Crean thought the game was in hand and wanted to get HMP some playing time instead of putting the game away. I love the kid’s potential, but this is no time for learning. Save that for when we are up 30 in West Lafayette. CTC has forgotten more about basketball than I will ever know, but that was a poor decision in my opinion and threw off the momentum of the game. I can live with Will’s technical. I’d rather him play with that edge and cross the line at times than play with zero engery and not show up like he did at the beginning of this past month.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    wow, you got a big ‘vote down’ for expressing such optimism. that’ll learn you!!

    i definitely don’t have the ‘sky is falling’ feeling like i had after the other two losses. as i said in an earlier post, unlike the first two, we gave that game away last night. we made a plethora of horrible plays, they couldn’t miss with time running out, and it still took an unlikely defensive breakdown with .9 left for them to beat us.

    the thing that disappoints me the most (watford’s 6 to’s being a close 2nd) is the fact that iu’s worst case scenario on their last possession should have been forcing overtime. protect the ball, protect the ball, protect the friggin ball!!!! unfortunately didn’t happen. very frustrating

  • WhatsUpKnight

    wow, you got a big ‘vote down’ for expressing such optimism. that’ll learn you!!

    i definitely don’t have the ‘sky is falling’ feeling like i had after the other two losses. as i said in an earlier post, unlike the first two, we gave that game away last night. we made a plethora of horrible plays, they couldn’t miss with time running out, and it still took an unlikely defensive breakdown with .9 left for them to beat us.

    the thing that disappoints me the most (watford’s 6 to’s being a close 2nd) is the fact that iu’s worst case scenario on their last possession should have been forcing overtime. protect the ball, protect the ball, protect the friggin ball!!!! unfortunately didn’t happen. very frustrating

  • I just find it interesting that IU isn’t getting beaten by stacked teams like Michigan or Michigan State or North Carolina, but are being upset by the less talented teams they should, IMHO, handle with ease. I don’t think that they are overlooking them either. I’m just at a loss to explain the horror that I witnessed last night and am looking for someone to blame. Crean it is.

  • CreamandCrimson

    If you need to play the blame game…blame away. Just remember, if we have top-5 talent (and we do), then 18 or 19 of our wins have been against the lesser talented teams and many of them have been “handled with ease”. Again though, if you really need just one person to blame, in the words of the Dude, “that’s like, your opinion man.”

  • Yes, I am sure that Coach Crean was emphasizing these things at the end of the game during the TO he called to set up our last offensive play since our offense had looked really terrible since about the 4-minute mark. Oh, wait . . .

  • CreanFaithful

    Perhaps they already knew what they wanted to do???? They certainly didn’t look confused. Iso play with Dipo out top, looking to take it to the rack (looking for a last, high percentage shot or a foul). He simply lost the handle. No amount of clipboard sketches changes that. Timeouts can be effective. I won’t argue that. However, if you game plan with a few set plays (such as the one they ran) for certain situations, it can give you an advantage by NOT calling a timeout — not letting the D get set. Of course you can only get credit for this when the play works…

  • Eastwood88_2

    Restate…if wat is going to handle the ball enough for 6 turnovers, he better add some value….assists would be a way. Better, PASS THE BALL

  • calbert40

    You know, you are probably right. If we had called a TO there, all would have been cured. We would have won and Illinois would have just lay down right there for us.

    Read Kravitz’ column today. It may help. Contrary to popular opinion on this page after a loss, CTC is a better coach than any of us who are posting otherwise we’d be coaching and he’d be posting under JimandJohn’sbrotherinlaw.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Yeah I’m still trying to figure out how someone read my post making a prediction and was like “Boo, we suck! We are going to fall apart and not go 14-4.” Funny stuff. But here is the thing, I’m on here all the time, win or lose. I’ve got my prediction out there, 14-4 and a share of the regular season with a win over Michigan. If I’m wrong anybody is free to say I told you so. But when we don’t go 12-6, all these people making their “sky-falling its over for sure” statements won’t be around.

    Cowardly down vote. Where’s their prediction? Or do they prefer to just stay anonymous?

  • inLinE6

    He just needs that work ethics. Get up in the morning and shoot from 7am like Sheekey, and dribble the ball while walking on the street like Oladipo. There’s no reason he can’t be an elite player.

  • In Crean’s defense, Watford always looks tired…

  • sloan screen #45

    Ha Ha love it. You are brave but it is always fun to watch the kool aid drinkers blow a gasket. I am not going to touch the coaching part but the three losses this team has are troubling. I can take a loss against a team where you just say they outplayed us or they got a couple of bounces we didnt or its on the road and they got a few more calls. This team has gave away three games to far less talented teams. That is very, very, very frustrating.

  • sloan screen #45

    This team should be undefeated Right NOW. IU has not played the teams on the road that “should” beat us yet. The three losses were giveaways to inferior talent. IU has more to do with the three losses than the other teams actually “beating” us. We beat ourselves. Has this team played a game yet this year when they werent Favored to win?

  • SCHoosier

    Then have Hulls in the deep corner where his defender can not help with the driving VO..having Hulls on the wing..put Richardson (Hull’s defender)..right where he could . and did steal the ball when Vic..for whatever reason tried that behind the back ..ugh…dribble. .

  • SCHoosier

    Check out the breakdown of ILL’s final 3’s where double screens are set for Richardson. Hulls would faint if IU put something like that in the playbook..he also might be average 16 a game.

  • SCHoosier

    Check out (play breakdowns) the screens used by ILL to get Richardson free..EVER see anything like that used in IU’s offense for Jordy early mid or late game? Answer…no. Best 3 pt shooter in the conference..and nothing in the playbook worth a damn to help him get open.

  • SCHoosier

    I mentioned this above..I’m all for VO in Iso..but the play took a long time to develop..ILL saw it coming..and then Hulls for some reason was on the wing ..should have been deep in corner to keep his defender from helping on the driving VO..which is exactly what happened. I mean Hulls placement invited his defender to help on VO..who wasn’t about to think “pass”

  • SCHoosier

    I mentioned this above..I’m all for VO in Iso..but the play took a long time to develop..ILL saw it coming..and then Hulls for some reason was on the wing ..should have been deep in corner to keep his defender from helping on the driving VO..which is exactly what happened. I mean Hulls placement invited his defender to help on VO..who wasn’t about to think “pass”

  • BrierBrax

    I’d much rather have Hollowell in over Elston but I’d rather have Elston in over Hanner. Hanner has been the biggest disappointment of the season for me. We haven’t seen a single dunk from him, right?

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I bet he would average over twenty if he took all of the shots. Coming into this game we had four players in the top fifteen in field goal percentage in conference play. Oladipo, Zeller, Watford and Yogi. So I guess I can see why we have other guys shoot. Not to mention, we have just about the best offense in the nation. And scoring really wasn’t our problem last night. Now maybe you are saying you’d like Crean to run a play for Jordy like that out of a timeout. That might work. Still, I like giving the ball to VO and having Cody set a ball-screen for him on the final play. Maybe we shouldn’t have done it two play in a row though?

  • shknqk

    Indiana is still a really good basketball team. IMHO, not as good as 76 or even 92, but as good as 81 and 87 and 2002.

    Coach Crean is a really good, but imperfect Coach. What I am sure of is he has brought consistent improvement to this program and until the sky falls, will expect them to continue to do so.

    In my best Samuel Jackson voice… “Chill the F^%( out!!!” or you are gonna miss the scenery.
    My 24 hour ITH moratorium after a loss really does help…. serenity now.

  • RON

    If I.U. has two player of the year candidates and the possible sixth man of the year, how is it they can’t beat Wisconsin or Illinois ? One of our presidents once said the world is filled with unsuccessful people that have potential. Is that what this team is about to come ?

  • Kevin Tolliver

    I like the optimism but I kind of doubt we do that well. This team is good enough to do what you said and even better, however, mentally this team is struggling. Do they have a chance to turn it around, sure, but some players need to step up and others need to step back so others can lead the way. I will not mention names but it must happen or IU is going no where.

  • Kevin Tolliver

    I like the optimism but I kind of doubt we do that well. This team is good enough to do what you said and even better, however, mentally this team is struggling. Do they have a chance to turn it around, sure, but some players need to step up and others need to step back so others can lead the way. I will not mention names but it must happen or IU is going no where.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Completely lost their composure or forgot they weren’t in Columbus yet!

    1) Totally agree (I watched Hulls, Watford, Yogi, and Will all pass up open threes in a game where we were shooting 50+ percent!
    2) Careless TO’s against unorganized and fundamentally poor pressure.
    3) Failed to use our timeouts.
    4) Helped too much on D against a 3-point shooting team and left shooters open.

    None of those things really started to show (except the TO’s) until the last few minutes of the game, not to mention Cody not having a structured touch in the last 6 minutes.

    It wasn’t a good game at all!!!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    NO MORE FREAKING LESSONS FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!

    A national contender and top team in the country doesn’t need any lessons this late in the year. They don’t need any moral victories and they don’t need any mental lapses like the one we just had. You can’t “check out” of the game you’re playing and start moving on to the next one when you’re playing a dangerous team on the road. I said before the game they couldn’t overlook this one because Illinois was a wounded animal who hates our guts!

    You definitely don’t need any CHOKE games like the one last night. It was devastating to their B1G title chances and they may have just pissed away the #1 seed that would’ve put them in the Midwest in Indy!

    NO MORE LESSONS!!!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Gotta expect that on the road, but you’re right, IU should’ve been in that situation!

  • HoosierinKY

    I totally agree… When was the last time you saw a Duke, MSU, or UK team have a total melt down like we saw in the last three minutes of last night’s game? This team has the talent to beat anyone in the country but when the game is tight and the X’s and O’s become the final determiner of the game… We’re missing something… Wish they could figure that out!… GO HOOSIERS

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Problem with this IU team is that they have now lost 3 games this year they weren’t supposed to lose (Butler – neutral, Wisc – home, and IL – road) and have yet to win a game they are supposed to lose! Beating teams like MSU and MICH at home are to be expected out of a top team, but where will the 2 or 3 unexpected wins come to balance this out? IMO, they have to win 2 of 3 at OSU, MSU, or MICH and the Minnesota game has to be a must-win!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Problem with this IU team is that they have now lost 3 games this year they weren’t supposed to lose (Butler – neutral, Wisc – home, and IL – road) and have yet to win a game they are supposed to lose! Beating teams like MSU and MICH at home are to be expected out of a top team, but where will the 2 or 3 unexpected wins come to balance this out? IMO, they have to win 2 of 3 at OSU, MSU, or MICH and the Minnesota game has to be a must-win!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Funny . . . cause I think that’s what the team said at about the 6 minute mark of last night’s game!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I could see IU going 14-4 still but I’m going on record as saying that still won’t win the B1G. I was counting on an OSU win at Mich the other night and I don’t see Mich losing 2 more games!

  • HoosierKen73

    I agree with you 100%. I couldn’t believe we let that one slip away. When you out shoot and out rebound and for all but two minutes pretty much out play… you gotta win the game. I couldn’t sleep after that game at all. Just can’t believe how were losing these games we should be winning… I mean all three losses..really came down to not being able to finish… What a shame. We very easily could be undefeated at this point in the season…This team is way too good and talented to be losing games like this. Seems like they get to a point and have these mental lapses or whatever.

  • HoosierKen73

    I agree with you 100%. I couldn’t believe we let that one slip away. When you out shoot and out rebound and for all but two minutes pretty much out play… you gotta win the game. I couldn’t sleep after that game at all. Just can’t believe how were losing these games we should be winning… I mean all three losses..really came down to not being able to finish… What a shame. We very easily could be undefeated at this point in the season…This team is way too good and talented to be losing games like this. Seems like they get to a point and have these mental lapses or whatever.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I’m usually quick to point out individual performances, good or bad, and to be honest I shouldn’t because these guys are still just kids doing their best, but in this case, I think it was a team loss! HA – Multiple players passed good shots and then either took contested shots or turned the ball over. Multiple players left shooters to help when they didn’t need to creating open threes for Illinois.

    You get the picture. I thought this was pretty much an all-around team choke!

  • HoosierKen73

    Yes, you did get a big down vote.. But I gave you an up vote. I hope you’re right. This team is talented enough, they could conceivably do what you say. I think they can win Sunday…and then hopefully go on a streak… Gosh, I hope you’re right.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    A loss that prevents us from winning the National Title? NO.
    A loss that prevents us from winning the B1G title? YES – I hate to say it, but yes it probably cost us the B1G regular season title. I can see MSU losing another two games, especially if we beat them, but Michigan’s schedule was front-loaded and I don’t see them losing more than one more game unless we beat them in Ann Arbor. They’ll most likely lose at MSU, but not at Wisc or Minn at home and I don’t think they play at Iowa which is a trap game. I’m sorry, but I still think IU has just as good a shot at winning it all as Duke, UF, Louisville, MICH, etc. but I think they lost the B1G last night.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    At least bad CWat usually only shows up for “not-so-big” games. He usually shows up for the big ones.

    Hopefully he thinks every game is big once the tournament roles around. He did last year!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Only issue I have is I’m still hearing from everybody not an IU fan, especially pUKe and PUke fans, that IU can’t win a big game or against an elite team away from Assembly Hall. They’ve got a decent argument because we lost to Butler on a neutral court and have yet to beat an RPI top 50 team on the road!

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    Glad I’m not the only one yelling at the TV for the ball to go into Zeller.

  • Gotta love how we let them hit 3 after 3 right in front of our bench by going to that zone, when all Illinois does is shoot threes. Way to let them back in the game. I don’t understand the hurry when your up. Let’s hurrry down the floor and throw up a 3 with 30 seconds left on the clock, instead of making them foul you. When your up big you need to be surgical, and just run the same offense that got you there in the first place. ther eis .9 sec on the clock and you have no one under the basket for an ally oop, intead we get back doored for a layup. Wonderful.

  • CreanFaithful

    Yes / Probably… do not mean the same thing

  • CreanFaithful

    Yes / Probably… do not mean the same thing

  • MillaRed

    Watch the game again. Dribble behind the back or not, nothing was happening. He was 26 feet from the basket with 7 seconds left. If I saw any kind of action to free anyone up I would agree. But I just didn’t see it or understand it. I think most coaches would agree.

  • MillaRed

    Watch the game again. Dribble behind the back or not, nothing was happening. He was 26 feet from the basket with 7 seconds left. If I saw any kind of action to free anyone up I would agree. But I just didn’t see it or understand it. I think most coaches would agree.

  • MillaRed

    People haven’t talked about this point much but it was a big deal. The help defender affected Vic’s decision, and as you said he shouldn’t have been there anyway. Fact is when you are running nothing that’s what happens. Confusion.

  • MillaRed

    Ya know what Calbert, you are not sure about the idea of a TO being called. IMO, we would have run something that did not result in a turnover and would have ran the clock. Worst case is over time. I think we win in OT because their 3’s were bound to start clanking. Either way, we don’t lose on a layup with 0.9.

  • MillaRed

    I think CWat should have shot 6 more free throws with the way they were hacking. One turnover was an epic flop, he barely touched the wuss. Another TO was very questionable. They just didn’t help him out. I don’t blame him for the loss. But he has certainly played better.

  • MillaRed

    It’s almost like a nervous glitch. I’ve never seen anything like it before. I’ve really paid attention to this lately and it’s true. Almost every time someone gets hot he cools them off on the bench. It’s really weird.