Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to UConn

  • 11/24/2013 11:36 am in

Indiana suffered its first loss of the season on Friday night, 59-58, to UConn in the 2K Sports Classic championship at Madison Square Garden.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the narrow loss to the Huskies:

· Turnovers prove costly: Connecticut dictated the pace of the game, which was played at 68 possessions and turned Indiana over on 28 percent of those possessions. In a couple of IU’s early games, we noted that the turnovers were a bit on the high side, but added that a lot of it had to do with the pace that the Hoosiers were playing. When forcing the tempo, some mistakes are inevitable.

But Friday’s game was played at a pace that Indiana will see often in the Big Ten and the Hoosiers had 19 turnovers. Piece together the fact that Indiana’s other close game this season (LIU Brooklyn) was played at a slower tempo than any other game besides UConn and it’s not hard to see that teams are going to try to force Indiana into playing in the half court.

· Evan Gordon finding his niche: After playing a significant offensive role in two seasons at Liberty and one at Arizona State, it’s been an adjustment in roles for Gordon as he begins his final collegiate season. But his performance on Friday suggests that he’s becoming more comfortable as a reliable contributor off of IU’s bench.

In 19 minutes, Gordon was 3-of-3 from the field with two rebounds, two turnovers and an assist. All six of his points came in the game’s final 12 minutes and his layup with 5:15 remaining gave Indiana a five-point cushion at 51-46. He also assisted a Jeremy Hollowell jump shot that gave Indiana a one-point lead with 3:50 to go and scored the final IU basket of the night with 1:34 remaining.

· Freshmen will be freshmen: Noah Vonleh and Troy Williams combined for 40 points in Thursday’s win over Washington and backed that effort up with a total of two points in the loss to UConn. Both players will have far more highlights than lowlights this season, but the Hoosiers can’t count on them to carry a heavy load in every game.

Vonleh’s night was cut short because of foul trouble and Williams didn’t play much in the second half as Tom Crean opted to go with the more experienced Gordon. Despite getting virtually nothing from either guy, Indiana was still in the game until the final possession, which speaks to the contributions from guys like Gordon and Devin Davis off the bench.

· Hoosiers need another 3-point shooter: In two games at Madison Square Garden, Yogi Ferrell was 5-of-13 from behind the 3-point arc. The rest of the IU roster? 1-of-12.

Indiana doesn’t need to become a great 3-point shooting team. But the Hoosiers do need to find someone else besides Ferrell who can knock down perimeter shots on occasion. Sheehey and Gordon seem like the most logical candidates to fill the current void as both players are in the mid 30 percent range from 3-point range over their careers. Jeremy Hollowell, who is 3-of-9 this season, could also emerge as a perimeter threat.

· Offensive rebounding is essential until perimeter shooting improves: Crean said recently that he expects Indiana to improve its shooting as the season progresses. Given the inexperience of the IU roster, that’s a fair expectation to an extent.

But until it happens, offensive rebounding is pivotal to Indiana’s success offensively. And against UConn, Indiana has its worst offensive rebounding game of the season. The Hoosiers were only able to corral 32.4 of their missed shots and had just six second chance points compared to nine for UConn. When you combine a poor shooting night with an inability to effectively work the offensive glass, you get a night where IU struggled to find points.

Filed to:

  • ForeverIU

    Will made 5 of 20 three-pointers this season (25%). He was almost 35% last season. Yogi is at 40% this season, compared to 30% last season. Yogi has taken 40 shots this season, and Will 20.

  • HoosierTrav

    I like everything you said except the part about Yogi’s play. Yogi has been phenomenal and I want him shooting the ball more than I want Will Sheehey trying to create and shoot more. We win this game decisively with Noah Vonleh on the court….I’d love to see more of Colin Hartman as well.

  • Dee McDonald

    He also said they had 3 options to the play and the only one that was open was Vonleh. It ultimately falls on the guys to get open and make a play. X & O’s are great, but the guys have to make a play. If Vonleh hits that shot, we’re not even having this conversation, so I guess that’s my logic to know it’s not what’s killing us.

  • sarge

    I agree it is a cop out, but all 5 of those MJ’s would hit the shot.

  • Dee McDonald

    I agree completely. My biggest problem with AE thus far is HE DOESN’T SHOOT THE BALL WHEN HE’S OPEN! All I’ve seen him do this season is pump-fake a great look and drive to the basket and dish. Shoot the flippin’ ball! Guys need to take their open looks…especially if they’re regarded as one of the best shooters on the team. Am I way off base here? I find myself talking to the TV half the time just telling CH and AE to shoot when they’re open. That will begin to stretch the court and open things up in the lane.

  • Ole Man

    True. Thank you. I should have used the word, historically, Will is a better 3 point shooter. I think as Will gets more into the flow, and stops pressing, his % will rise.

  • drewheck

    Great shooting in high school doesn’t always mean great shooting in college

  • Dee McDonald

    Napier and his co-pilot Boatright had their hands completely under the ball multiple times without a call. I’m convinced IU actually thought they had stopped their dribble and then those guys put it back down on the floor again and got to the rack. I thought it was a bit excessive, even for the NBA, but nobody asked me unfortunately. Good call on him being “one of those guys.” He gets away with stuff like crazy.

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    I think (hope) once this team settles in, we will have two solid backups in Gordon and Stan Robinson.

    Agree Hollowell is NOT the answer…..

  • deedubbadoo

    Didn’t IU still have one timeout left? I thought they did after the timeout fest that proceeded the last play. If Crean didn’t like the look, Hollowell should have known that he could have called timeout and drew up another play.

  • Kenneth234

    Not to mention times where the dribble got away and he nearly had the ball at eye level while driving. I am not sure it is a violation, but it is not good ball control none the less.

  • Kenneth234

    Troy can knock down a 3 point shot from time to time, but I really don’t think he will ever be considered a consistent 3 pt shooter. I would like to see him and many of the other players who are constantly looking to drive the lane, take that first few steps and pull up for an open mid range shot rather than constantly trying to force the action into the paint. Players like Troy, Jeremy, Evan, Devin, and Stanford would open up a lot more opportunities for themselves and their teammates if they did not make every opportunity an attempt at getting to the basket. Plus, it would also open up opportunities for the post players to hit the glass even more effectively.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    hate to lose a close game like that due to silly, silly turnovers. and it irks me that our opponents so far seem to be winning the majority of the loose balls. seemingly lots of butterfinger plays, but maybe my perception is wrong. and, i really really hoped to see hmp step up and play some quality minutes when nv had to sit. unfortunately, he just didn’t rise to the occasion.

    on a positive note, our guys showed they can hang with the big boys, and they did it without their best player. our bench showed a lot of promise, and the entire team showed a lot of character to be able to fight back in the 2nd half. at the end of the day, the to’s were just too much to overcome.

    i’ll never use the phrase ‘moral victory’, but i will say i’m excited to get at least a glimpse of what this team’s capable of. in spite of the sloppy play, if they make even half of their missed open looks, they get the W.

  • Oldguyy

    IU gave up 0.87 points per possession. That’s good. The problem was in the offense which only scored 0.85 PPP.

  • Kenneth234

    I would also like to point out that, the spot in which the inbound pass had to come from was really a difficult place on the floor to inbound from because it doesn’t leave much room for a pass to a player going toward the basket which would have been idea for the amount of time on the clock. To catch a ball with your back turned from the basket with .7 seconds left is nearly impossible unless it is leading the receiver in one direction or the other for some quick finger roll type shot. A player catching the ball facing the basket only has to go through the shooting motion, not pivot toward the rim, so it is a much more feasible play to make in such a short amount of time.

  • Kenneth234

    If he would have made the shot, it would not have counted. Didn’t get it off in time no matter what.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    he did force his shot maybe a bit too much. i like that he’s playing with confidence and shouldering the scoring burden, but it sure seemed like he let their D off the hook several times by firing immediate 3’s. even though he got the ball swatted away a few times, i’d still prefer to see him drive the lane instead

  • Kenneth234

    I absolutely believe that they did have another timeout. However, I have seen it posted that they did not, so I am less sure than I was at the end of the game. I don’t have the game recorded to find out for sure either, so if someone would chime in that has the game recorded, and settle my mind, please do.

  • MillaRed

    not sure its the 25 foot clankers we are rebounding. in fact, they have been leading to fast breaks. just my opinion, the softer shots seem to give us a better shot at an o-board.

  • MillaRed

    A shooter is a shooter. It’s all between the ears. But I agree, doesn’t always translate.

    Cody won the 3-point contest at HH vs Hulls. Never translated.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    not sure if that’s a fair criticism. it’s a low-percentage play no matter how you slice it.

  • Kenneth234

    I noticed that too, but I also noticed that there were many times where an IU player was about to rebound a ball, and then a teammate come flying in out of nowhere trying to pull down a one handed rebound and knocked the ball loose again. Although, I like aggressiveness when going for a rebound, a little more awareness in these situations would have equaled a lot more rebounds, and more put back opportunities. And for the record, I am talking about Troy Williams in this for the most part. He may not have been the only one, but he seemed to be one that did it the most.

  • MillaRed

    Happened every time on the cross over that the commentators called “unguardable.” Well yes, it’s illegal.

    And man did they whine the entire game?? Reflects poorly on the coach. We had many calls go against us and just went about our business.

    Did anyone notice Noah get shoved with both hands as hard as they could on the final inbound play? Twice! Unbelievable. Watch it again if you can.

  • Oldguyy

    Sorry Arnold, but the facts are very different from your opinion.

  • b_side

    Sorry he wouldn’t. Recall the famous quote in his commercial: “26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.”

    And how many of the game winners did he hit with .7 of a second left? Fans who think Crean is to blame for us not executing and winning with .7 of a second need to do a little research and see the probability of winning when your only opportunity is to tip in or a lightning fast catch and shoot.

  • b_side

    Think it’s unnecessary and unbecoming of the ITH community to talk about transfers, especially 5 games into the season.

    Saying that it’s “evident” AE isn’t getting it done in practice is hogwash. Crean wouldn’t be playing him over Hartman and Stan if he wasn’t making progress behind the scenes.

    While I agree with Aceman that he did pass up an open shot vs. UCONN, he also pumped faked his way to a perfect assist on the baseline (either Devin or Troy finished, can’t recall). He also did a helluva job defending some much taller UCONN bigs when Crean went small and even drew an over the back foul using his strength to box out.

  • Dee McDonald

    I saw the shove on the final play. I wanted it bad. Noah actually didn’t shoot a fade-away, it was just the motion of his body reacting to the two-handed shove in the back he got receiving the ball. 2 of Noah’s fouls were complete hogwash, it was a frustrating game to deal with the officiating….sometimes I wish Crean would get a technical just to make a big deal out of the garbage calls we get. Some of them are absurd.

  • 3AM Burrito

    The only reason I can see Crean sticks with Sleepy Hollowell is he sees him as GRIII Lite. Similar frame and stroke, not as explosive but decent athlete. JH to me though has not grown much from the lax, timid with the ball, random out of control player on offense he was last year. Only differece is he gets more minutes. Also Crean is probably giving JH a chance out of necessity, if Gordon or Stan don’t step up he would be out of options, and as bad as JH is he is still third viable option to back up Yogi. Still, I cannot fathom JH running point vs Craft or Appling, he wouldn’t even be able to get ball past 10 second line.

  • ForeverIU

    According to the play-by-play on ESPN IU took one timeout in the first half and three in the second half.

  • ForeverIU

    Exactly, and then how big of a data set would you need to even begin to draw conclusions about success, considering the extremely low odds of success even when the “right” decision is made.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    with the style of play we have, turnovers are going to be a constant with this young team. NV does not get in foul trouble the Hoosiers win by 10

  • WhatsUpKnight

    yes, exactly! it looked like a volleyball game out there at times! now some of the credit has to go to uconn, and you can chalk some of it up to freshmen playing like freshmen. again, i still think they’re taking steps forward every game. let’s just hope they continue to learn to get comfortable playing a slower tempo, AND get better at protecting the ball.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    i definitely think the game looks a lot different if he’s able to stay in there. the kid’s gotta play smarter than getting two quick fouls from moving screens, and i absolutely believe he will.

  • MillaRed

    You will not be shocked to hear I would have been T’d up big time on foul #4. We are not there to see the refs.

  • Dee McDonald

    That is the one that keeps standing out in my head. My wife wasn’t happy with the display following that one. She almost T’d me up. Yikes!

  • calbert40

    I have always thought Will was most effective when he was more selective shooting the ball. I think we are seeing that play out. In the past, when Will has taken more shots, his efficiency has suffered, IMO.

    So far as Yogi, I agree somewhat. I feel like he is forcing the action when he comes down and launches a 3 with 25 seconds still left on the shot clock, but otherwise I don’t have much issue with him being the #1 option offensively.

    RE: CTC “berating” Will, I think that is a product of him being the lone senior who plays. CTC needs him to be the leader, and when one of the younger players screws up something, it kinda falls on Will’s shoulders.

    By no means am I comparing myself to Will, because I never played at anywhere near that level, but I was PG in HS, and whenever the team screwed up, I was the one who got yelled at. One day, I just had enough of it, and I marched into my coach’s office after practice and demanded to know why he yelled at ME instead of the guy who screwed up. He said that I was the extension of him on the floor, and that if he yelled at every player every time they screwed up, he wouldn’t get through to them. He said he could tell that I could take it and also that if I got on the other players’ cases, they would listen more. I think that is all that is going on with CTC and Will.

  • calbert40

    That’s the only valid criticism that I can find with Yogi. We don’t need him to chuck 25 footers with 25 seconds on the shot clock before he ever passes the ball once. That is something that needs to stop. However, I think he is doing a great job otherwise. The other night, he scored 20+ and had 5 assists without committing a single TO. He isn’t a problem, IMO.

  • Outoftheloop

    This IU team will live or die based upon rebounding and defensive “takes”. Against U Conn the rebounds were even 38-38, but U Conn had 18 “takes”, blocks plus steals, while IU had only 5. This group is not a great (or even good) shooting team and the inexperience and lack of leadership means that relatively high TO numbers are to be expected. So dominating on the boards and winning the defensive take battle will be critical.

  • Outoftheloop

    No Coach in America has a good play for down 1 and .7 on the clock!

  • Outoftheloop

    No they did not. It was used in the “cat and mouse” game of time-outs between Creen and Ollie.

  • Outoftheloop

    Wrong! Not if Dan Dakich was guarding him.

  • Outoftheloop

    What I really like is the possibility of keeping the top 10 non-seniors from this team and adding those three great shooters from the class of 2014 for a Banner run in 2014-15!!

  • Outoftheloop

    Will is a very smart basketball player with great skills. More importantly he can take it! Yogi is the PG, McDonalds All-American, with 1 year experience. He has to have the ball in his hands and make tough decisions. He must improve. Will is the “rock” of this IU team. He is playing very well, but this team needs for him to play GREAT! He can do it. But he has never had to do it before either in HS or college so far.

  • Outoftheloop

    Yogi vs Napier: 6/19, 2/6, 19; 10/14, 4/6, 27. Will vs Daniels (a Rivals 5 star): 4/8, 1/3, 12; 2/8, 1/2, 7. Yogi -8: Will +5; IU -1. But with Noah and/or Troy playing well (not great) IU +10.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    for the most part i have to agree, as much as it pains me to admit it (i think yf and ws do provide some leadership). i desperately want to believe they’re going to become a good shooting team as the year progresses, but i think it’s more realistic to expect that they’ll become a ‘better’ shooting team. I just hope their play becomes less sloppy, because it absolutely cost em the game. i honestly thought they looked like the better team the other night, just couldn’t overcome all the senseless mistakes.

  • b_side

    Fair enough, but that’s not the point I’m trying to convey. Just disputing the fact that a long 3 isn’t the same as a turnover.

  • sarge

    Maybe not collegiate MJ, but MJ in his prime would… even if 25 D. Daks were guarding him. Never said CTC is to blame bside, just saying the best player ever is the best player ever and as clutch as any to ever play. We should’ve beat UCONN, but it was nearly improbable with .7 left given the circumstances.

  • drewheck

    exactly i think hartman and etherington could eventually be threats from deep in games but from what i see coach is using them as role players cause they can take care of the ball plus hartman is looking more athletic than i thought he would.

  • Dave Carnes

    I think AE need a third of JH’s minutes

  • Dave Carnes

    I was complaining about that crossover too.BTW those announcers would have justified any stupid call the refs made.The first two fouls on NV were xxoo>>.