A second look at Indiana-Temple

  • 03/26/2013 10:18 am in

IUTempleITH0012Sunday afternoon’s game had so much to it, it was difficult to digest it all immediately after the game. Especially when a late March snowstorm was staring right at the greater Dayton area.

So, after more than 24 hours to think about and analyze the Hoosiers’ 58-52 win over Temple, and how they got there, I took a look at the game in a much more complete way.

First, when I said in my column from Sunday night that the Hoosier won ugly, I wasn’t kidding. It was UGLY in every possible way, and Indiana undoubtedly caught some breaks (like the fact that every Temple player not named Wyatt seemed to forget how to score), but to advance in the NCAA Tournament, you sometimes need an element of luck. Ask Marquette. Or Ohio State. Or Miami.

The fact of the matter is, in a game they had no business winning, the Hoosiers found a way to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year. And ultimately, that’s all that matters. I remember sitting on my couch watching the 2008 team play in the Tournament. There was no fight, no will, no desire. The Hoosiers faced adversity, and they quit.

When Tom Crean took control of the program, he vowed to change the culture. So give him credit because he has done that. Even when the Hoosiers trailed and couldn’t seem to do anything right against Temple, they kept believing. They played hurt. They made winning plays.

That, more than anything, is what I take from Indiana’s third-round win. Sure, it was ugly and there are many things that need to be corrected before it sees Syracuse on Thursday night, but we now know that this team has no quit in it (if we didn’t already).

Who’d Wyatt score on?

Not everything about the Hoosiers’ win over Temple, of course, was pretty. There was this guy, Khalif Wyatt, who went off in the first half and poured in 31 points. Wyatt’s done it many times before, but his production against Indiana was a bit surprising because the Hoosiers knew how dangerous he was. And they had the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in Victor Oladipo to check him.

But nevertheless, Wyatt went off in a losing effort. So how much does it mean? How troubled is Indiana’s defense going forward?

Answer: Not very.

Look, Wyatt dominated the first half. There’s no denying that. But in crunch time when the best players shine, Wyatt was nowhere to be found. Oladipo started to guard him exclusively with about nine minutes to play in the second half, and Wyatt scored only two points down the stretch — on two free throws. Oladipo face guarded Wyatt all over the floor, and Wyatt too easily gave up and stood far away from the basket. He’d run Oladipo off one screen, and if he was denied, he’d run to the wing and stand.

Wyatt stopped getting to the lane where he could use his big body to get good looks at the basket. Instead, he settled for contested 3-pointers, and mostly missed them.

I went back and watched the game again, and payed attention to who was guarding Wyatt when he scored his points. Here’s the breakdown:

— Against Will Sheehey: 10 points

— Against Oladipo: 9 points

— Against Remy Abell: 6 points

— Against Christian Watford: 4 points

— Against Cody Zeller: 2 points

Oladipo spent the most time on him, especially in the second half. And as I mentioned before, Wyatt scored only two points against Oladipo after halftime. Maybe Wyatt wore down, but maybe Indiana’s defense improved and made adjustments. In reality, it was probably a combination of the two.

Zeller’s struggles

I haven’t ever been one quick to criticize Zeller because I know the kind of scrutiny he’s been under since he got to Indiana and I know how much attention he gets from the opposition. But Zeller’s performance against Temple left much to be desired.

He went up soft and failed to finish many times on the offensive end, and his defense wasn’t great in the second half. In an effort to stay out of foul trouble, Zeller often just stands straight up when a player comes at him instead of moving and trying to alter the shot. Sometimes, that’s effective. But many times, it’s not. If Indiana is going to win a national championship, I think that needs to change, at least some of the time.

Hulls says his shoulder is ‘fine’

Jordan Hulls hit two big shots down the stretch in Sunday’s win, but he knew he was going to be sore on Monday. Hulls took a hit to his right (shooting) shoulder in the first half and had to head to the locker room at one point. But he played in the second half and was a big factor in the Hoosiers advancing.

“It’s good,” Hulls said after the game. “We’ll see how it is tomorrow.”

Filed to:

  • You have broken me down. I too, have witnessed some poorly played championship games. Theoretically Indiana can, of course, play “less than their best” and continue to win, if the other team manages to play even worse. But my point was not that playing poorly against Temple in any way predestines us to lose against Syracuse. My point was that CONTINUING to play that poorly will lead to a high probability of defeat against Syracuse and that Thursday night would be a great time for this team to start firing on all cylinders.

  • Jonathon Rupert

    As with most of us here, I cringed for most of the game and went nuts after the clinching three pointer by Olidipo. However, I have only seen it a few times, but why doesn’t Cody use a soft hook more often? I’d say on average he probably gets a couple blocked or stumbles to the floor at least 3-5 posessions a game. To me he is a very, very, good player but with a player his size a soft hook would negate the blocks and keep him upright especially against more physical play.

  • Geoff_85

    For what it’s worth, a lot of those offensive rebounds were long rebounds, or at least it seemed. When Indiana fails to get those 50-50 balls, it ends up in a loss for them sometimes (Minnesota last year, Butler this year, wisconsin every year). They need to make up for that by getting to the free throw line or by forcing turnovers, both of which they are very capable of doing.

  • Geoff_85

    This is driving me absolutely insane. I have no clue what’s going on with that, but a couple of times it KILLED fast breaks, which ended in turnovers. Very frustrating to watch.

  • Geoff_85

    Yeah, well in regards to Watford’s block, that was awfully clean, and Zeller took an absolute beating and many of those fouls weren’t called. As far as Oladipo slamming into Wyatt, there were a few times Oladipo drove and there was plenty of contact and nothing was called (the one that stands out is when he got mugged inside and threw up a reverse layup that I believe only made contact with the backboard). So if the officials are consistent throughout the game, we don’t have to worry about them “seeing things IU’s way in crunch time”

  • Geoff_85

    If they’re going to run half-court plays, they could at least run “Computer Blue” or “Darling Nikki”

  • Geoff_85

    Yeah, their draw was not bad AT ALL. I’d take their’s over Indiana’s any day.

  • Geoff_85

    No one should EVER cue Olivia Newton John.

  • Geoff_85

    Sheehey is awfully sneaky around the baseline…which usually results in a reverse dunk.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I agree with most everything….two questions though:
    1. What is a “cripple on the offensive boards”?
    2. If “viewing this merely as a fan perspective” isn’t okay, how should we viewing things?

    Again, agreed with most everything, particularly the point about Victor. I really think both Victor and Will could be big factors if they can get behind the zone on the baseline, receive a good pass and finish consistently. Louisville shredded Syracuse in the second half by consistently getting the ball to Dieng at the free throw line and using Harrell to finish near the rim.

  • 5_Banners

    Exactly. That’s why I didn’t understand why Crean didn’t press to speed up the game. He let temple walk the ball up and run their offense and let them get into a rhythm.

    I hope IU presses against Syracuse on Thursday to play at faster pace. We all know IU plays better that way.

  • HoosierTrav

    I’m sick to death of the officiating in college basketball. If I were a player, I would have no idea how to adjust my play bc they are so damn inconsistent with how they call a game. The “block” on Cody was ridiculous! Yeah the defender had his hand on the ball……. but he slammed his other arm across Cody’s forearms and there was excessive body contact. Enough body contact to make it so Cody couldnt land on his feet. Whether its clean up top or not, the body contact is defined as a foul in the rule book. As for the foul(s) on Jordy; Do I even need to speak on this? He almost broke his collarbone AND got a concussion. Nuff said! How in the hell can you allow physical play like this but not allow the slightest of contact when hedging a screen? Its &*^^%(^ ridiculous. Honestly I cant wait for us to win this thing so i can have some time off from watching this trash. Its affecting my health. Lets get #6 and bring on the summer.

  • Jimmy Mackey

    Agreed Ole Man; rough play may be avoided by the coaches of these teams but when it comes to winning, the pressure from their school is the same to keep their job. I just hope we don’t see any caving regardless of what the tapes reveal. Indiana is one of the teams I’ve been following from the beginning and they haven’t disappointed yet. My job at DISH requires me to work odd hours sometimes so I can’t watch the games live all the time. I just use my Game Finder app on my DISH Hopper DVR to keep track of my favorite teams, that way I don’t miss any of their games.

  • chiv86

    I keep wondering if the reason they didn’t play Victor on Wyatt the whole game was cause of potential for foul trouble. As we saw, we lost Cody for 7 mins in the first half and the last time both Victor and CZ were on the bench for that long in the 1st, we lost the game. Maybe the coaching staff didnt want to take that chance and put Sheehey and Remy on him just incase so we can have Victor on the floor.

  • chiv86

    I can definitely see this being our game plan for the first part of the game…have Sheehey and Victor troll the baseline while they pull zeller to the foul line. This leaves Hulls and Yogi with the ball up top looking for the pass in. With Hulls’s 3 point threat, it can shift the zone towards him when he has the ball which can give a nice inlet pass to CZ on the foul line, making the zone shift again and hopefully leave Will or Victor forgotten at the baseline for a layup/dunk…or the threat of Yogi driving to the rim to collapse the D and leave Zeller in the paint for an easy 2.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Guerilla marketing…well done.

  • Jason Dubnoff


  • chiswede

    Hilarious, go look at the rest of his comments.

  • chiswede

    Agreed, did you see them completely cave against Louisville in the second half? Once Southerland went out, they looked like they gave up.

  • 5_Banners

    Yea I am with you. NC State pressed in the second half of the first round game against temple and got back into game.

    Obviously, IU plays better at a faster pace why not impose that pace instead settling into a half court game. One important point that everyone pointed out was the refs. IF teams are allowed to grab, hand check, and foul with no calls then IU struggles. So hopefully, the IU- Syracuse game will be called fairly.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I noticed that…I can’t imagine that kind of thing is effective but you never know.

  • chiswede

    Well, I zoned out for bit after reading his comments, and when I came out of it I was on the phone setting up a DISH installation time!

  • MillaRed

    How much stock does this guy own for crying out loud?

    I’ve been there done that with Dish. It sucks.

  • AtariHero

    The play was physical; but Cody was blocked more than he was hacked. He doesn’t go up strong. He leads with the ball; he doesn’t fake. The play was physical, but I’m not convinced that that many calls went against us. We need to show more toughness.

    To me, the team faltered because we couldn’t run our offense. And we couldn’t run our offense when Hulls was out and Yogi was running it. By the way, Hulls was +20, with a Roland Rating of +34 during that game. Read that line a few more times to realize how important Hulls is to our offense. Yogi was -4; Zeller and Watford were +6.

  • AtariHero

    Hulls was +20 in that game. He had a Roland rating of +34. As a comparison, Zeller and Watford were +6; Sheehey was +3′ Oladipo was 0; and Yogi was -4 with a Roland Rating of -14.
    The reality is that Yogi simply cannot run the offense as well as Hulls yet, and it was unfathomable that Hulls was on the bench so much in the second half, regardless of his shoulder. Crean needs to really understand how important Hulls is to running our offense against good defenses.

    Hulls has the highest +/- in the country.

  • AtariHero

    It seemed to me that Oladipo – at least in the 1st half; was not particularly effective against Wyatt. He gave him several feet of space, and Wyatt hit jumpers.

  • AtariHero

    A shooting % would have been more helpful than just raw points….

  • Eastwood88_2

    Lots of fuss regarding our “slow pace'”. If the open shot is there we take it. If not then we run an offense. Would you guys prefer we rush a bad shot then try and get a good one? Leads to turnovers and transition baskets. Syracuse is a perfect example of working the zone to get a quality shot. Don’t expect us to play at a fast pace.

  • Agree with most of the comments here, just changing the angle to ask a few questions that for the life of me I don’t understand.

    Why don’t we play our best guys more minutes? OK Cody’s a big guy and 40 minutes might not be reasonable but Oladipo? Wyatt is no where near as fit and he played 40 minutes and if you check out other box scores (for close games, blowouts don’t count) most coaches do the same. How many minutes did Craft play on Sunday, 40 and you’ll see this over and over. I just can’t understand why he isn’t out there for 40 in a game like we had against Temple.

    The other is why it took us so long to make a change on Wyatt. He was the only guy that could score and it went that way for all of the first half and most of the second before we started to extend the defense on him (and rarely ever double teamed him). They were doubling Cody and he wasn’t having anywhere near the impact on the game that Wyatt was. I just don’t get it, he almost single handedly beat us and we didn’t make any changes until it was almost too late.

    Look I love what Crean has done for the program but sometimes he sticks with his ways regardless of the situation. Spreading out minutes against Belmont in the pre Big Ten season is one thing, in the NCAA tourney is a whole different story.

  • Eastwood88_2

    Anyone listen to Cody on Dakich yesterday. Specifically stated he needs two more semesters of College to graduate “ON CAMPUS”. Said the Summer will count as one and the fall two. the third can be online classes. Tough to be on campus in the NBA. I have been saying all year this kid needs another year. The Temple debacle could have open the door to a third year. I continue to hold hope he will reutrn. Vic no way should he be back. Quite frankly any team that doesn’t draft him will regret it. Best player in college basketball and will only get better.

  • Outoftheloop

    To say that IU “caught a break” because Temple shot in the low 30% range is simple minded. You shoot a low % when the defensive toughness is high. Basketball is a simple game at the good college level. If you are tough and committed on defense and rebounding and you have one great scorer on offense, then you can make a tight game of it against a superior, talent wise, team: Temple, WI, Butler, Georgetown, IL, MN, Iowa, etc. Quit pretending to be a “great sports critic”. After round 2, you are only playing top 32 teams on a win streak who are only one win away fro the “Sweet Sixteen”. Every win is precious and the next is always more difficult to earn!

  • Outoftheloop

    IU is 6 really good players deep with 2 more OK and 1/2 with Elston. How can yo press, except for short bursts?

  • Ole Man

    Great Season, Hoosiers. You thrilled us!
    Thank You!