Indiana moves past Syracuse, focuses on North Florida

  • 12/07/2013 8:23 am in

Indiana coach Tom Crean sensed in the postgame locker room on Tuesday night that his team wanted to quickly move on from the loss.

After the Hoosiers lost their second game of the season in a 69-52 collapse at No. 4 Syracuse, Crean questioned everything from Indiana’s spirit to its leadership. His team trailed only 33-29 at halftime, but in the second half, a 23-3 Orange run would ultimately doom the Hoosiers.

“The other night was a lot of different things for us, but at the end of the day, it was the first true road game,” Crean said on Friday afternoon in advance of Indiana’s game against North Florida tonight. “And in the second half, we played like that.”

When Crean looked at his team in that locker room in Syracuse, he saw that his players knew they were capable of more. There wasn’t going to be much dwelling on the loss, Crean thought, because he could sense the hunger and desire for his team to move on and stay locked in.

And in the practices since the team arrived back in Bloomington, Crean says his players have done exactly that.

“I think our guys from the other night, they knew they did not play the way they are capable of in the second half,” he said. “They have not needed a lot of reminders on that. They have come out with great energy and focus and resolve.”

So, Crean has put the Syracuse loss on the back burner, for now. When it’s time for Indiana to play on the road again, he’ll go through with his players how to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.

Especially with a young team, Crean said, he has learned he and his players cannot afford to look far ahead. Instead, they will take it one challenge at a time.

“No matter what it is with this team, we have to stay completely locked in to what our improvement is like, because they are very young, inexperienced and don’t know what it is like to win on the road, even though that was our first real road game,” he said. “The bottom line is we are trying to stay focused on the things that we can control, and they can control how much better they are getting everyday with the way that we practice. That has been very good for us.”

Hoosiers focused on North Florida

Tonight in Assembly Hall, Indiana will start a three-game in one-week stretch, highlighted by a matchup with 5-2 Notre Dame on Dec. 14 in the Crossroads Classic.

But to the Hoosiers, first up and most importantly at the moment is North Florida (5-5), who they will tip off against at 7:30 p.m.

“They’re a highly talented team,” freshman Troy Williams said. “They get a lot of threes up, and they have one of the leading 3-point shooters on their team. So we’re just looking to close out on the other shooters and having a good game. It starts on defense.”

In fact, nine North Florida players have already made at least three 3-pointers this season. Only three players on Indiana have achieved that same feat.  One of the Ospreys’ other strengths comes from its offensive rebounding, where they grab 32.8 percent of their misses.

And their depth has been impressive as well: North Florida has 10 players seeing at least 14.5 minutes of action per game, topped by senior Travis Wallace who in 24.1 minutes per game averages 12.4 points and 6.9 rebounds.

“We’re going to get the whole team,” senior Evan Gordon said. “They’re a fast-paced team. They get it out on the break, and they do score on it more in their transition, so we’ve got to work on getting back and make sure we’ve got our defense.”

“One thing that sticks out to me,” Williams added, “is that most of their players average between the 6 and 12 points mark. So any given night could be somebody’s night.”

Where North Florida might struggle, though, comes in its offensive efficiency, as the Ospreys have an effective field goal percentage of 47.0, which ranks 245th nationally. Combined with Indiana’s holding of opponents to a 41.2 eFG% — the No. 7 mark in the nation — the Ospreys could struggle from the field tonight.

And as Indiana has enjoyed living off blocked shots this season, it could again be the case tonight, too. North Florida has 13.3 percent of its shots blocked (No. 314 in the country), while the Hoosiers block 15.3 percent of the shots they face. The Ospreys also turn the ball over on 22.5 percent of their possessions, one of the worst rates in the country.

But especially after a loss, nobody on Indiana is looking ahead. All that’s on their minds is the desire to win.

“I think you can just read it in people,” Crean said. “They are ready to go. There is not a great deal of experience here, but there is a lot of hunger. I think when you have a group of guys that are hungry, they want to get right back at it.”

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  • Hoosier Hall

    I predict a 25-30 point win tonight. This will be similar to the Evansville game where our guys were hungry for a win after losing on the road. I really hope Hollowell and Sheehey bring it tonight…

  • marcusgresham

    Why can’t this team complete an alley-oop? It seems that 75-80% or more of our alley-oops don’t result in a dunk, and a lot of times not even in a basket.

  • ILive4IUBball

    I feel like we should’ve practiced alley-oops for the Syracuse game. Or make SET plays for certain players to get the alley-oop!

  • WisconHoosier

    Because Hanner didn’t dunk enough in high school warm ups.

  • Name

    That is the bad part of playing a relatively week schedule. They will win tonight and Tuesday by at least 25-30 points and it will not matter. The Syracuse game will hang out there until Saturday versus Notre Dame. By the way LIU Brooklyn is 2-5 and lost to Eastern Washington by 32. At the beginning of the year I felt IU would easily make the dance, now it looks like they could be more of a bubble team or NIT bound.

  • Name

    Because an alley oop would also count as an assist and right now IU is 300th+ is assists per game. They have plenty of alley-oop dunkers but not enought alley-oop passers at this point. At this point a simple drive and dish for any easy basket would be nice.

  • MillaRed

    Too early to make that prediction IMO

  • MillaRed

    Maybe it’s time for all of us to on from the last loss. We got it all out last week. New week. New opponents. Go Hoosiers!

  • Niggadopolis

    Our team has been too inconsistent to make that prediction. When they’re at their best, they clearly can compete with anyone, as demonstrated in the first half of the Syracuse game and UConn game. However, the second half of the game and the LIU Brooklyn game is what worries me. Will this team be capable of playing the Big Ten schedule?

  • Hoosier Hall

    Agreed. You’ve got to expect ups and downs with a very young team. We’ve already seen flashes of both greatness and mediocrity. They will be fine. As long as our defense and rebounding stays consistent, it’s our ball control and shooting that needs to improve. We will have a good indication of where we are towards the end of January.

  • marcusgresham

    This team will lose a couple of head-scratchers and will win a couple most people don’t think they can.

  • marcusgresham

    …it is just an assist and a basket, but it’s so much more than that. First off, it’s a momentum builder as it gets the crowd involved. It’s also an embarrassment of sorts to the defense–getting dunked on plus a bit more. It also causes the defense to drop back a bit to do everything possible to keep it from happening (for the reasons previously stated,) opening up the lane and interior passes just a bit more.
    You are dead on, though—it’s not the dunkers at this problem, it’s the passers; and as good as Yogi is, he isn’t very good at this pass at this point.

  • Bricklayer

    Thank you. As a great man once said “Forget the past”.

  • HostileHoosier

    I just want to beg CTC to give Stan Robinson some play time tonight and every game up to the B1G starts. I was impressed by his play against Cuss and he needs more time on the floor!

    That said I can see a 20-25 point win tonight.

  • wesmont

    Anybody know where to get the Big Ten Network in downtown phoenix?

  • MillaRed

    As they say, 2/3 into the season the freshmen are no longer FR. Could not expect any more than what Troy and Noah have given. Yogi good but can be better.

    The rest of you? Step it up man!!!!

  • doodle777

    Tell Kentucky how young we are. lol After they won it all with Freshman and here we wont make the tournament with TWO I say again TWO top ten recruiting classes playing together.

  • doodle777

    HOOOOOSIERRS!!!!! Yesterday I again watched maybe the greatest movie ever made about basketball, It wasn’t called wildcats, bluedevils, or even Orangemen It was called Hoosiers I say again HOOSIERS!!!! I have LOVED Coach Crean and what he has done and been patient up to this point, But if I hear another excuse of how young this team is again I may very well go COO COO for COCO puffs. Coach Crean has two, I say it again and louder TWO top ten recruiting classes here and will be lucky to make tournament. He Had TWO top 5 picks last year and three others playing professionally and couldn’t get past the sweet 16. CC time and patience are running thin, Is it time to try someone else at the point??? Could we let Crean recruit and see if Dakich would come back and coach??? We will win tonight over another cup cake but it means NOTHING.

  • wesmont

    Dakich? No one can stand that arrogant,self-important blowhard.I turn the sound off whenever he is announcing.Yeah,let’s get a third rate Knight clone to coach…

  • Hoosier Hall

    That Kentucky team had a junior and 2 seniors that played 12-20 minutes per game. Darius Miller was the senior leader on that team and was a first round draft pick. Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones were sophomores and returning starters from the previous year. Sorry, but I get tired of hearing about UK’s “freshmen” revolution. It’s BS. We are in a different situation experience and talent-wise. We have 2 seniors that probably will not play in the NBA and only returned 1 starter.

  • PDXHoosier

    Interesting that CTC, Izzo, and Calislimy all just called out their players’ lack of fight after a loss. But only CTC gets slammed for “throwing his players under the bus”

  • PDXHoosier

    While not very “fundamental” basketball, oops are really underused i think. If executed well it’s going to be either a dunk or a foul.

  • PDXHoosier

    Although possible, I would be shocked if we end up in the NIT. We are fringe top 25 right now. pick up a couple of good wins in the B1G and it’s all good

  • hoosier1158

    Dan is a former IU player, cut him a little slack. He knows basketball and is a pretty good coach. As announcer he needs to give the other guy an opportunity to talk some.

  • hoosier1158

    Coach needs to give up on JH playing guard. That isn’t going to work out, not this year anyways. Ironic we could use a good guard, last year i was excited to watch Ron play, too bad that didn’t work out.

  • Gerald

    Just curious but how do the mods let ur name pass? _dopolis?


    Way too early….with this team.


    Thank you !!

  • Bobby34

    We will make the tournament and you will look like a babbling buffoon. Well hold on, you already do. I guess we’ll just make the tournament….