Indiana focused on stopping efficient Notre Dame offense

  • 12/14/2013 9:02 am in

After his team lost to North Dakota State, 73-69, on Wednesday, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said his team needed more confidence on the court.

Especially on the offensive side, after his team had its second-worst shooting performance on the season (43.8 effective field goal percentage), his biggest worry was that his team has lost its offensive rhythm.

“For a program that’s kind of hung its hat on being efficient offensively, I just think this week, not the greatest of rhythms,” he said on his teleconference with the media on Thursday. “I think it’s a little bit of confidence with stuff. That’s why I think in practice, you’ve got to play a little bit. You’ve got to step up. I want guys to keep taking shots.”

Heading into today’s game in Indianapolis as part of the 2013 Crossroads Classic, Indiana is well-aware of those shooting struggles. But for the Hoosiers, stopping the Fighting Irish’s offense will still be priority number one.

“I know they didn’t have great scoring the other night, but they’re fully capable,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said on Friday. “They’re always one of the better shooting teams in the country. I don’t think this team is any different.”

Even including their loss against North Dakota State, the Irish have one of the most efficient offenses in the country: their adjusted efficiency, according to Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, is 28th best nationally. Led by its 3-point shooting, Notre Dame has scored an average of 81.4 points per game with a 3-point shooting percentage of 40.6 percent and an effective field goal percentage of 54.6. In fact, four of its five starters — guards Jerian Grant, Pat Connaughton, Eric Atkins and Demetrius Jackson — have already made at least 13 shots from behind the 3-point arc this season.

In addition to their perimeter shooting prowess, though, the Irish also have an interior presence in 6-foot-11 senior Garrick Sherman, who averages 14.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game.

The Hoosiers know the Irish can rely on both their interior and perimeter offense for productivity. Which, according to freshman Troy Williams, make it that much more of a challenge come tipoff at 3:15 p.m. today.

“I’m expecting them to hit some big time shots, a lot of 3-point shooters on the team,” Williams said. “I’m just hoping we can do well on defense against them. Just taking away their airspace on their step-back 3-point shooters and making sure we can stop Sherman from scoring and shooting over the shoulder. Those would be the two biggest things.”

But how Notre Dame gets its offense rolling has Indiana’s attention. Crean said his team will have to watch for Notre Dame’s spacing and especially know when and when not to switch, defensively. On Wednesday, he thought the Irish simply did not make shots. Indiana wants a repeat performance today.

“They run a lot of sets to a ‘T’, they move the ball very well and they get it out in transition,” he said. “We’ve just been focusing on transition defense and kind of just guarding their personnel. We just need to play disciplined on defense. If we break down, we’ve got to help each other. It’s definitely going to take a team effort.

“If we guard our yard and stay to their tendencies, we’ll be OK.”

Davis and Williams active

Crean said that both Williams and freshman Devin Davis will be available to play in today’s game.

Williams had injured himself on the final play of Indiana’s 81-54 win over Oakland on Tuesday when he leaped over multiple chairs in the waning seconds going after the ball, but he was dunking in practice on Friday.

Davis, meanwhile, re-aggravated a sprained ankle last Saturday in IU’s win over North Florida and missed Tuesday’s game against the Golden Grizzlies.

Williams has started all 10 of Indiana’s games, averaging 9.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, while Davis is playing 11 minutes per game and averaging 3.4 points and 4.4 rebounds.

(Photo credit: Robert Franklin, Associated Press)

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  • Indiana needs this win today. A loss at Syracuse was expected. A close one with uconn was heartbreaking, but reassuring. Now we have notre dame on a neutral floor and the Hoosiers need to beat a decent team. The kids need it to build confidence. The first two games of the B1G (@ Illinois & Michigan State at home) will decide if iu can contend to repeat as champs. If this team ever figures out what they are trying to do they could be extremely good.

  • GaHoosier

    The Hoosiers are playing poor basketball. Down 8 with 12 minutes to go.

    Also wonder how ND only has one foul this half!!!!!

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Maybe we should focus on play sets, execution, in-game coaching & playing w/I each players capability! This game sux!

  • Sphinx 98

    Frustrating loss…everyone except Yogi acts like they are scared to shoot. Also tired of the three man weave at the top of the key. It runs too much time off the clock. Again a frustrating loss.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Someone, please SOMEONE, ask CTC in the post-game presser what offense this program actually runs!?!?

    I said this was THE GAME to determine what direction the season would go and I’m sticking to it. We better prepare to start the B1G 0-2 and possibly 2-3 which will put a lot of pressure on this team the second half of the season if they want to make the tournament!

    I just don’t understand how we can come out of a timeout, get a turnover, have an opportunity to tie or take our first lead, and the offense consists of a dribble fest by Yogi followed by a forced, contested, and ultimately blocked layup?

    Why do you let a lineup play extremely solid basketball for 4-5 minutes, pull us back even after being down 8, and then decide to “go back to your starters” and pull the lineup that’s playing well? I know I’m old school, but growing up in Indiana, we would play the hot lineup until we were ready to pass out and then coach would make changes. I can never figure out why coach continues to break the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” rule of substitution patterns?

    I’m being critical, but CTC is STILL NOT a good X’s and O’s coach no matter what I’ve heard some analysts and other coaches say! Of course other mid-major coaches are going to praise him because he’s scheduling them and giving them a big payday and recruiting tool!

    The best thing about today’s game was hearing Dakich tell the truth about the UNC/pUKe rivalry when he said UNC better not win today at home or Calipayoff will never go back! Other than that, this game was disappointing on a lot of fronts:

    1) Still no real leadership.
    2) Dominated on the post for much of the game when everyone thought that would be one of IU’s advantages.
    3) Still too many forced shots and silly turnovers when chances to take a lead were there – clear sign of a young, immature team who isn’t growing their confidence to win big games by beating up on Oakland and Sam Houston St A&M West Side!!!
    4) Gave up too many offensive rebounds.
    5) Did Troy Williams go home at halftime or did we forget he plays for us?
    6) Why can Stan Robinson figure out how to cut without the ball and show some offensive fluidity while others can’t?
    7) CTC is a great recruiter and good motivator, but is he a good enough game coach to help a young team pull out big wins and build confidence? I’m not sure? Some of those late game sets, or lack thereof, were none too impressive!

    I really thought the Hoosiers NEEDED this game heading into the B1G season, so I’m noticeably disappointed they showed a considerable level of mental weakness and were never able to get over the hump when I thought we were the more talented team!

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Agreed. We are too deep this year not to try to speed the game up, especially against ND who has slow bigs. Should have pressed them and pushed on missed shots every time just to make them run.

  • Raynger

    Once again the constant substitution and no apparent offensive game plan has IU losing to an average team. This is mostly a coaching failure.

  • Kenneth234

    Today, I completely agree that this loss falls squarely on the shoulders of Crean. For no other reason than for not realizing that the dribble drive game was not working the entire day, and then stubbornly going too small against a team that was consistently winning in the post, and on the glass with 2 6’10”, non athletic players. At one point, and for a stretch that seemed forever long, he played I believe Hollowell with Etherington, Robinson, Gordon, and Ferrell. And they still could not get out and run against Notre Dame! The Big Ten is going to be really rough, if we constantly shy away from physical teams and try to out fineness them while not trying to match size in the front court!

  • Kenneth234

    I would .like to see some consistency in the half court defense before they try to extend it out to full-court. If anything this team needs to go big, and force the ball down low. As methodically as necessary in order to limit mistakes by playing far too fast!

  • Ole Man

    Actually, I would have preferred Yogi not try to carry this team down the stretch. Talk about FAIL.

  • Very disappointed in what I’m seeing on the floor. This can be a really good basketball team if the right players were on floor and in the right positions. The sub patterns are mind boggling as well. Am I the only that sees good things happen when Stanford Robinson is on the floor? Yogi needs to be a playmaker not a hero. Vonleh needs more touches. Troy Williams needs to be more involved in our offense. If this teams go-to-guys are going to be Will and Gordon it’s going to be a very long road to the NIT (no disrespect to those players I just feel there are more talented guys to play through.)

  • Snookafly

    I know. He didn’t score much at all the first 35 minutes and then wants to start jacking threes down the stretch. I like leaders to take over in close games, but there were so many better options today.