The Minute After: Oakland

  • 12/10/2013 9:40 pm in

Thoughts on a 81-54 win against the Golden Grizzlies:

As Yogi Ferrell sat on the bench with two fouls in the first half, Evan Gordon found an offense groove. He kept the needle on it all night, eventually garnering “Ev-an Gor-don” chants from the Assembly Hall faithful and finishing with an eye-popping line (26 points on 10-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-5 from distance, five rebounds, three assists, three steals).

Gordon played with serious confidence and now sports two strong offensive outings in a row after posting 15 against North Florida on Saturday. It comes at a good time. The Hoosiers desperately need more balance in their offense with Big Ten season just three weeks away.

And Gordon wasn’t the only encouraging shooter from distance tonight.

For the second game in a row the Hoosiers started out hot from beyond the arc. This time, it continued through the game — save for a rough stretch to start the second half where they settled instead of finding 3-pointers in the flow of the offense — as they hit 9-of-21 (42.9 percent). Troy Williams added a 1-of-1 mark from 3-point range and finished with 13 points. Ferrell hit 3-of-8 attempts. Stanford Robinson connected on 1-of-2. Jeremy Hollowell (0-of-3) and Austin Etherington (0-of-2) didn’t make any this evening, but it’s a good sign Etherington is continuing to shoot from 3-point land.

Luke Fischer had a nice night, picking up three offensive boards and putting them all back in for scores.

Will Sheehey did an admirable job shadowing 3-point specialist Travis Bader, as he hit shoot 0-of-10 from distance and just 2-of-15 from the field. But Sheehey appears lost at the other end of the floor. He was 0-of-5 tonight, which makes him 7-of-27 in his last four contests in which he’s averaged just 4.5 points. Sheehey was both blocked at the rim — a common occurrence this season — and stripped in the closing minutes of this one.

Perhaps Sheehey’s struggles are a result of the changing tides in the program. His scores on the break last season came in the mid-range as trailers like Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford spread the floor on the wings and the likes of Victor Oladipo and Yogi Ferrell brought the ball up quick, looking to get to the rim or pawn it off to efficient scoring teammates (Cody Zeller was also there, rim running better than pretty much any big in the country). He doesn’t have those kind of teammates this year on the break. It’s often much more haphazard, as a number of players (Ferrell, Hollowell, Noah Vonleh, Williams, Robinson, Gordon, etc.)  have tried — and sometimes failed — bringing the ball up with control and sound decision-making after a quick rebound. The consistently and familiarity just isn’t there right now.

Sheehey’s looks in the halfcourt never came on one-one-one stuff last season. Rare, too, was Sheehey getting a ball screen on the perimeter and reading the defense. That continues this year; there is no new wrinkle to his offense repertoire. He found, and continues to find, his points off the baseline and in the small spaces around the hoop and in the mid-range. He could shoot the 3 a bit as well last year. This year, with an offense that has struggled to spread defenses because of poor outside shooting and one that’s still trying to figure itself out with new pieces and styles, perhaps Sheehey’s role just hasn’t fully formed yet (Other than the fact that he’s no longer the fire off the bench. Instead, he’s the starting senior leader). Perhaps it’s just a mini-slump.

Whatever the case may be, he’s too good and too valuable to be seemingly so lost in the flow of this team’s offense.

The Hoosiers get the Fighting Irish on Saturday in Indianapolis. It’s a measuring stick and maybe even a must-win. IU failed to win a close one against Connecticut and failed to show up in the second half against Syracuse. But at a more friendly neutral site in the Crossroads Classic, a win against the current No. 50 squad in the KenPom rankings would be a nice feather in the cap for the Hoosiers before conference play begins.

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  • BlakeD1223

    The teams looked great tonight. Maybe it had something to do with the lack of competition but regardless it was a great game for our boys. The article above stated that it’s good to see Austin getting some three balls up. I’m really wanting to see that kid hit some threes. I haven’t seen it yet. Apparently he’s an incredible three point shooter but unfortunately it hasn’t shown in games. If we can get him hitting some shots than that allows us to have another shooter on the floor which obviously opens up a lot more on our offense.

    Evan is in beast mode. I love that he’s becoming a scoring threat. We need that out of him as well.

    I don’t know what’s up with Sheehey and Hollowell. If they can’t score against these level of teams than they will really struggle against the big ten teams. Hopefully they can break out of their slump soon!

    That’s my two cents.

  • SCHoosier

    Hoosiers showed some great offense from Gordon..did a good D job overall on Oakland..especially on their 3 pt shooter. But before we get all giddy and %$&@. have to admit that the next time Oakland plays any defense will be the first. They didn’t have the depth or ability to cover IU’s break or prevent wide open shots. Grizzlies had no legs in the second half at all. Good thing Gordon lit it up cause Will was 0-5, Yogi 4-10 and JH..not sure but not good. Bench had some good minutes for the young guys. Last five minutes with vets on the floor again very sloppy with Will, JH and Yogi all losing the ball. Hate to keep hearing that IU has one of the worst TO ratios in the nation. ND IS important because its only the third team on the schedule so far that can actually play D and come close to matching IU’s size. Need to show we can play with the Irish in Indy.

  • SCHoosier

    Yea..IU wanted to add to its terrible TO ratio which JH-Will and Yogi obliged the last five minutes: Geez. Played same way in closing minutes against UCONN and North FLa..I know its hard to focus with a 30 point lead…but what’s up with that?

  • ILive4IUBball

    Also, there were like 4 or 5 turnovers in that last 2-3 minutes of garbage time. I’m pretty sure there were 3 back-to-back steals.

  • Kenneth234

    I honestly feel that many on here are down grading the contributions that Hollowell makes on the floor. And overly build up the mistakes he makes. 6 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal in 25 minutes against 2 turnovers, and 1 foul is a very solid performance. His shot last night was just a little off, but he has shown the ability to knock down the outside jumper already this season.

    None the less, despite his off shooting night, he continued to do other things well. The fact that he has knocked down shots allows him to help spread the floor for others, and a bad shooting night is not going to stop that. Overall, I would say that he is currently among the top 5 contributors on this team game in and game out. Maybe he is not suited to be the back up point guard, and that is alright. It really should not have been his any way, guys like Evan and Stan must not have been showing up early on to not force that move by Crean.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Agreed. What surprises me most is Evan’s quickness. He identifies gaps and gets to the rim very fast. Luke Fischer is also very impressive. He is going to be an important cog in the IU machine.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    I’m starting to wonder. He’s a great defender for sure. But maybe as an offensive guy, he’s just a great complimentary piece. And without strong 3 point shooters to spread the floor, maybe he’s not getting the space he was last year.

    Those midrange spots are a lot more crowdede this year.

    Also, he may have to learn a shot fake under the hoop.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Poor analogy. UK players make WAY more than prostitutes.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    The two bigs (Fischer and Vonleh) lineup got some significant run last night.

    Maybe Crean’s been reading the board…

  • Ole Man

    Will played great D on Bader when it was his task.
    IMHO, no way should Will be coming off the bench. His Senior leadership, as has been pointed out by CTC, is essential to have on the court.
    Ease up on Will. If half the shots he’s had go in and out had stayed down, no one would be having these 6th man thoughts.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Hollowell’s not in a slump. I know that’s the narrative on this site but he’s not in a slump, he’s actually played pretty decent ball the last couple of games.
    North Florida – 12 points (4-8), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 turnovers in 21 minutes.
    Oakland – 6 points (didn’t shoot well at 3-10 but they weren’t forces), 10 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal in 25 minutes.

    That’s pretty good work the past two games, not great but pretty good and it’s certainly not something I would call “in a slump”.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    not a whole lot to learn from a game like this, other than the fact they can whoop inferior competition. however, it’s great to see SR and LF getting more minutes.SR made some bad decisions, but we’re getting glimpses of what he’s going to become.

    this was brought up in one of the forums yesterday, but i gotta reiterate…WS should be moved back to 6th man role! i don’t see this as a demotion, and i don’t feel like his minutes necessarily need to be whittled down. i just think it’s a role he’s comfortable with, and one where he’ll be able to contribute much more. yes, he needs to provide senior leadership, but who’s to say he has to be a starter in order to do so! come off the bench and provide a spark, get the team energized, make some big plays. that’s who he is! because let’s face it, right now he’s being out-performed by our frosh.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I was happy with how Will played last night. I know he was frustrated with his lack of offensive production but I thought it was a big improvement over the past few games. He was very good defensively and had 8 rebounds. That being said, he’s going to have to start shooting at least a little bit better because this team needs him to score a bit (probably starting on Saturday).

  • WhatsUpKnight

    of course he’s been reading the board! we know what we’re talking about! by the way CTC, please take your starters out of these blowout games a bit earlier. i think i can speak for everyone when i say i wanna see some more peter jurkin! thanks buddy

  • 3AM Burrito

    I don’t necessarily think he should play less but coming off the bench may help him at this point. Be real, he is struggling, for whatever reason, he is struggling on offense. Had a bad charge and tied for team lead in turnovers last night. I think if he came in with second team and could be looked to as a primary scorer that may help JumpStart him. I like Will and there is no doubt he needs to be a vital part of the team for it t reach its highest level but to just continue to say he should keep starting cause he is a senior if he continues to play like he has is short sighted. Maybe have him come off the bench in the next two home games and then he might be in a groove where he will hit his stride and be a starter when B1G starts.

  • sarge

    Will is a boss. He does all the little things all the time that make our team great. He doesn’t give up on plays, and when he isn’t scoring he is trying to find other ways to impact the game. You can tell the team respects his knowledge of the game, so I don’t think he is yelling at them for his mistakes either, Andrew. If you are watching the games at AH these guys are always yelling to each other, its called communication and all the good teams have it.

  • kbb247

    I may be wrong, but the days of all that talent going to Ky on a consistent basis may be coming to a close. Duke has a load of talent coming next year. Kansas and NC are starting to get a few, and a few other teams as well. I think we will continue to sprinkle them in also. Their coach, who shall not be named, is not good at player development IMO. If you look at the guys that do not leave for the draft, who gets better?? IMO very few of them, if any. Two examples are Poythress(or however you spell his name), and Cauley-Stein. Poythress barely gets on the floor, and Stein is still as awful offensively as he was last year. Sure his defense is good, but it was last year too. The one we will not name, has historically been good at getting a bunch of kids that are going pro to gel and play well together. I think you are seeing chips in that armor as well. I really hope I am right

  • Alford Bailey

    10 rebounds= hustle

  • 3AM Burrito

    Right on there, Gordon will likely have a tougher time with those close shots and driving layups once big 10 rolls around. I’ll be happy if he can just hit open 3’s and jumpers and take care of the ball.

  • Alford Bailey

    Does it really matter who starts the game? After 5 minutes CTC starts his wholesale substitution pattern and it continues the rest of the game. I dont care if Will starts or comes off the bench just get your job done when you get in the game. That goes for the whole team not just Will. Not like “starters” are playing 16 min per half on this team.

  • Alford Bailey

    Especially after seeing TW tumbling over the table in the last seconds of the game. That could have been a disaster.

  • Ole Man

    Maybe you should be the coach. Tom Crean basically disagrees with everything you posted. Listen to his news conferences sometime.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Crean did this a lot last year, I recall Oladipo and Zeller out there late in blowout games for no apparent reason.

  • Alford Bailey

    I think its just about run its course down there. Another year like last year and those fans will run him out of town especially if UL continues to be successful. Every year most of these 5* guys are getting harder and harder to bring together as a team. The patients are running the asylum. Now the kids are going together before college to decide where they want to go. Its crazy.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Bingo…I’ve been “defending” Hollowell for the past couple of weeks because I don’t want one player to get singled out and have every flaw nitpicked to death (see VJIII). I’m glad to see others doing the same. I don’t think Hollowell is a great player and he’s certainly not without flaws or mistakes. But he is playing well enough to not be the whipping boy on here. Hollowell is going to have some inconsistent games offensively but I hope his increased rebounding production is here to stay.

  • 3AM Burrito

    I agree, if he can stay away from injury he is going to be a great one. When he fills out and gets experience, he is going to be a force, just a really smart player and hard worker. and doesn’t hurt we took him right out of Bo Ryan’s backyard!

  • Eastwood88_2

    I watch the game this morning. 5mins to go we turned it over 6times. I knew it would skew the numbers. We took the open shot played AWESOME defense again and rebounded the ball great. How many wide open threes does number 3 hit last year? Watford, hulls helping off a screen? Those days are done. This teams have the athletic ability and desire to defend. I am a believer

  • MillaRed

    Yea but how about watching Troy bite the dust? Lose him in that situation and Coach is in the frying pan. The Bader kid didn’t get his three because he missed wide open shots. We played good Def but I could care less about this kids stat sheet.

  • VAHoosier

    And don’t forget Robert Johnson (So), with Devin (Jr) and Stan (Jr) early off the bench, too. Yep, that would be a mighty good team.

  • Eastwood88_2

    My feeling, although a dumb reason, was to keep bodner from getting his three. Team played so hard to shut him down to marlin lose him in the last 30 secs might have left a bad taste in their mouth

  • 3AM Burrito

    Obviously Crean likes Sheehey, you were the one not too long ago saying Crean had it in for him so maybe you should listen to his pressers sometime. And If you read my post, no where do I say this is what Crean thinks or that I am right, just my opinion. You are so stuck on Sheehey any slight critique of him you cry about it. I want him to do well and right now he isn’t playing great, maybe you should watch the games objectively sometimes.

  • MillaRed

    There is a lot that has surprised me with these guys but I have to admit at this point I am downright shocked at Will’s inability to score. How many times has he been swatted at the rim? He looks like Watford as a FR. He has to be leading the team in this category by a mile.

    I thought the kid was mentally tougher than this. I know he has the ability. Very disappointing.

    If Gordon continues to score put him in the lineup and bring Will back as the 6th man. Crean will never do that but it make more sense to me.

  • Alford Bailey

    That is the million dollar question and goes back to the discussion on the strength of the pre conference schedule.

  • The_Bob_Michaels

    Agree on all points. Luke isn’t as athletic or explosive as Hanner, but I believe he’ll be more consistent and steady by the middle of the BT schedule.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Again, I don’t disagree with you at all. The lineup at that point should have been Hartman, Jurkin, Howard, Marlin and maybe Etherington to hopefully have him hit a shot or two. I was just making a separate point that I liked the minute distribution last night.

  • Alford Bailey

    He was the same way with Cody last year. I predict it will be Luke next year.

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    Maybe he can finally bring us a win against ol’ Wisky…..

  • Alford Bailey

    Yea much more of that and the youngsters will quit listening to him.

  • 3AM Burrito

    No doubt, I was at the game when Wisky came to AH last year and won, that sucked.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    never say never! and you’re right, it makes perfect sense. why reinvent WS? at this point, he is what he is, and what he is ain’t bad! i miss that guy, the one who came off the bench and played with some serious attitude. the guy who hit the clutch jumper against vcu. y’all know who i’m talkin about.

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    Just in case you wondered, it sucked on TV too…..haha…..

    A year later, I still have no idea how one team can hit so many contested, off-balance, desperation shots in one game…..

    It was amazing…..

  • 3AM Burrito

    Right that is what I was saying with Will, just a change of pace to try to get him going not really have him play any less.

  • BT

    If you look at IU and UK’s results thus far, it’s virtually identical: 8-2 with one loss to a Top-20ish team and one to a Top-5 team. All wins vs. creampuffs. UK is ranked 11th and IU is receiving votes. They get a couple nice non-conference games before SEC starts that IU doesn’t have but IU’s conference schedule is far superior.

  • ForeverIU

    Absolutely agree Ole Man. I have no doubt WS will be fine. This is sort of like Noah’s first eight missed free throws, a statistical anomaly.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Especially if Will leads team in dumb fouls and turnovers while struggling to score, might not have a captive audience for his ‘coaching’.

  • Michael Whelan

    Why can’t Coach Crean see what a waste Jeremy Hollowell is? He can’t drive without loosing the ball, He can’t play defense and He looks like He doesn’t give a damn. Please bench this guy and send Him to some division 2 school and use the scholarship for someone who wants to play and would help, NOT HURT, our IU basketball team.

  • ForeverIU

    Boo.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    wow, really? both harsh and inaccurate IMHO. the kid’s not a lights-out scorer, but i see a lot of improvement this year. and the kid plays pretty darn solid D.

  • IUMIKE1

    Little over the top on that one ? I think so. Does he do some things that I wished he didn’t, sure, does he get more minutes than maybe he should, maybe, and as the season wears on & if he doesn’t pick it up while still getting the same amount of minutes, I’d have to say probably. Now does he need to have his scholly taken and given to someone else or be forced onto another team, NO.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Is it? 10 games is a much bigger sample size than 8 free throw. I’m not suggesting that Will is going to struggle all season but I can’t totally dismiss what I’ve seen from him offensively thus far as a statistical anomaly.