Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Notre Dame

  • 12/16/2013 8:04 am in

Indiana dropped its third game of the season on Saturday afternoon in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Hoosiers fell 79-72 to Notre Dame, squandering their last opportunity for a resume building non-conference win.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the loss to the Fighting Irish:

· Indiana failed to play to its strengths offensively: Whether you want to credit Notre Dame for forcing Indiana to operate on the perimeter or blame the Hoosiers for failing to get the ball into the post against the zone, this game featured far too many perimeter shots from IU.

The Hoosiers hoisted 31.7 percent of their shot attempts from behind the 3-point arc and another 39.7 percent of their shots were 2-point jumpers. For a team that’s built on getting the ball inside either on post feeds to Noah Vonleh or getting to the basket using the dribble-drive offense, to have 71.4 percent of your shot attempts coming on jump shots is too high.

“Like I told our guys: We made one more three than Notre Dame did and lost the game,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “That’s not a good trade off … We’re not a team that’s going to be successful shooting a lot of jump shots.”

· Notre Dame didn’t shoot well from the perimeter, but …: The Fighting Irish hit just 30 percent from behind the 3-point arc, a figure that came in 10 percent below their season average. A lot of the looks were open, but failed to go down. The defense inside the arc was a much different story.

Notre Dame took 46.3  percent of its attempts on Saturday at the rim and hit on 48 percent, which isn’t great, but the overriding point is that the Fighting Irish did a much better job of finding high percentage shots and knocking them down.

· Will Sheehey comes alive and the freshman go (mostly) silent: It was the breakout game that Indiana needed offensively from its senior from Stuart, Florida. Will Sheehey tied his career-high with 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field and was as effective as ever in the midrange game.

When he’s at his best, there are few better in the country at moving without the ball than Sheehey and he was the only Hoosier that was consistently hurting the zone.

But as these things typically go, Sheehey’s performance came on an afternoon when IU’s freshman played poorly overall. Noah Vonleh had eight points and six rebounds, but had trouble guarding Garrick Sherman. Stanford Robinson had six points, but three careless turnovers. And Devin Davis, Luke Fischer and Troy Williams combined for 0 points on 0-of-7 shooting.

· Indiana beaten soundly at the foul line: The Hoosiers have enjoyed a healthy advantage over opponents at getting to the line this season, but on Saturday, it was Notre Dame that easily won the free throw battle.

The Fighting Irish shot 30 free throws compared to just 16 for the Hoosiers. Notre Dame’s free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 55.6 perecnt was the highest for an Indiana opponent. Crean said postgame that failing to get the ball into the post was a major reason that Indiana didn’t get to the line enough.

“There’s nothing wrong with shooting jump shots as long as you’re playing through the post,” he said.

That didn’t happen enough as Vonleh, IU’s most efficient post scorer, attempted just five shots.

· The Crossroads Classic feels stale: Two years ago, the Crossroads Classic had a considerable amount of buzz as it was the inaugural version of the event. Last year had some sizzle with the Hoosiers being ranked No. 1 coming into Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

This year’s event just felt tired overall despite an announced sellout. There were a ton of empty seats in the upper level and IU brought more fans than the other three schools involved combined.

While the idea of playing a neutral court game in Indianapolis each season is an excellent one, it’s certainly fair to ask what Butler, Notre Dame and Purdue are bringing that IU couldn’t get from playing a game on its own with a new opponent each year.

Filed to:

  • Eric Sir

    False- It must be that simple with you and Crean. There is not a half court game plan besides that weave and the “slip screan” that hasn’t worked since I was at IU. And with some of these line-ups he has in and he constant subbing, how are we in a position for success? These players are 18-23, they can play more than 4 minutes time and +30 mins a game. Especially the key players.

  • Hoosierfan2335

    I don’t disagree with that. It’s ridiculous the amount of substitutions that occur. And this close to conference play, Crean should have a good idea of what lineups work and what don’t, no matter how many freshmen are on the team. But it’s not the end of the world that IU almost beat UCONN, got killed by a much better Syracuse team on the road, and were a few possessions away from beating a very experienced ACC team.

  • Alford Bailey

    Agreed on the cost of tickets. Wife wanted to go this year and I said no. I would however, pay that much to see IU- UK in Lucas Oil. UCLA would be good. Alford wants to recruit here. Call Billy Donovan he is not afraid to play anybody anytime.

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    So, you would rather be 5-6 right now than 8-3? If our preseason schedule was much more difficult right now with the way this young team is playing, we would already be close to missing the tournament and have to do even better in the conference to have a prayer of making the tournament.

    All this talk about the scheduling is getting old. Yes, there’s some truth to it and I would like to see it improve, but the fact of the matter is as a member of the B1G, we’re always going to have opportunities for resume-building wins during the conference season.

    Especially with a young team (like this year), I don’t see the point of scheduling a brutal pre-B1G schedule where you finish 7-6, then have to basically run the table in the conference to make the tournament.

    And, in my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with needing “a really good B10 season to have a decent tournament resume.” That’s the way it should be. If you can’t win games inside of your conference, you shouldn’t make the tournament, regardless of what you did pre-conference.

  • Mk

    Yeah but we can’t beat anyone…you want a losing record or a “resume”

  • Hoosierfan2335

    Of course we will have opportunities in the Big Ten. I’m not saying we need to play a duke or UNC every game, but why can’t we play a good MAC team or a big 12 team? I just don’t see any value in playing games we win by 50 points.

  • Hoosierfan2335

    maybe getting our heads kicked in will teach us a few things so we don’t lose to notre dame? who knows? one thing is for sure, there is nothing gained by beating Samford by 50 points.

  • Raynger

    I agree it has not worked at all. I’ve said this before but the game last year at Min, that we lost, we had the lead and Crean pulled the starters and let the Gophers back into the game. Even the game commentator commented on the strange substitutions. He must assume any five will work if they just demand the ball –forgive the sarcasm. I’ve never seen this sort of game plan where substituting by a clock is the rule. Usually coaches sub if a player is struggling or there is a match up problem but that is not what Crean does. I’ve seen players pulled after they’ve scored or made a good play.

  • BeatWisconsin

    Regarding substitution patterns, the one that stuck out to me was when Austin was taken out after an old fashioned 3 point play. I have never coached, but I have played a lot. Making a great play not only gives you confidence, but you also feel, how should I put it, “less guilty” at taking your next shot. Since you have shot and scored, you have somehow earn the “right” to take another shot. It loosens you up. Seems like Austin would do well being a little looser (e.g., might take the next shot when he is wide open from 15 feet). I’m not sure if Crean really didn’t play ball, or just didn’t play in College (hopefully he has some experience). Anyway, if you are trying to get Austin going for the season, really bad idea to take him out after an old fashioned 3 point play (unless he was tired).

  • 3AM Burrito

    Agree with this completely, IU has extremely lttle to no upside in this event.

  • Eric Sir

    Great Point! Totally agree.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    great response, as were the other two. perspective much appreciated, and i don’t disagree with what you’re saying. still, i gotta say my only expectation for this team was to see them steadily improve as the season went along. i’m just not sure yet if that’s what i’m seeing. like C&C said, the game on new year’s eve will be a really good measuring stick. can’t wait!

  • 3AM Burrito

    I agree, Stan has a great feel for the game. Still a little loose with the ball but I think that is getting better. At this junction it seems like his level of play is rising and Troy Williams is falling, will be interesting who can step up and can sustain improvement through the BIG 10 season.

  • Hoosierfan2335

    exactly, and remember how hesitant he was after he got put back in later in the game? there were several times he was wide open to shoot and the hesitantly passed it off instead. getting taken out like that has to kill your confidence, especially if you’ve had the kind of luck etherington has had.

  • 3AM Burrito

    I am not too worried, IU is one win less than I had anticipated at this point and have been very competitive in all games except for the 2nd half at Syracuse. The jump in level of competition night in and night out in the Big 10 will be a challenge for this young team, but I am encouraged from what Will was able to do against ND on offense, I think Vonleh will continue to get better, and I hope Yogi will get better at his decision making and shot selection as Will and Evan become more reliable scorers. One thing I am concerned about is that Troy Williams’ improvement appears to have stalled a little. He had that great game against Washington, but other than that has largely just tried to out athlete everyone on offense and on defense is lost. Hopefully he can start to settle in and work on becoming a great basketball player and not just be a player who looks to make occasional great basketball plays.

  • Iball

    IU did a horrible job feeding the post in zeller’s 2 years.

  • Logan

    Not at all, I agree. I think it’s immature and belongs in the ESPN comment sections rather than the ITH boards.

  • 3AM Burrito

    really good points here

  • ScoopGeoff

    8 freshman is a bit of an exaggeration… We have 6 scholarship freshman, 5 of which seem to be part of the rotation. So yes, your points are valid, but tone back the hyperbole a bit and it’ll be more believable.

  • ScoopGeoff

    We play 5 freshman… Where do you keep coming up with this 8 number?! If you’re going to use it in the future, please let us know who these 8 freshman are…

  • ScoopGeoff

    Here we go again with “8”…

  • drewheck

    When we start going to the basket harder and not get our shots sent back we will win. Will sheehey and Jeremy Hollowell are the most guilty of this yogi does it to they get too deep in the paint and get the ball stolen or blocked this happens multiple times a game if you take those plays and go up hard with it you either get fouled or score that’s another 10 it 12 points a game

  • drewheck

    We have 8 freshmen 5 get minutes and 3 only play if it’s a blow out

  • Hoosierfan2335

    we have 8 freshmen. do you have a point, or are you just being obsessive?

  • Gregory Spera

    This has been mentioned by others on this thread, also, but what you are seeing is what I am seeing. This team, for whatever reason, does not seem to be improving through the first month of the season. I thought that the second half of the ND game was as bad as they have played, so far.

  • Eric Sir

    Great Point! If I were a big man, I would NEVER go play for Crean. He says our guys don’t demand the ball down low enough, false. Our bigs are always open and in good position. The worst part, our passes down into the post are low quality and usually down by the posts feet. He can sit them, if they choose not to feed the ball down low. This weak schedule would of been a great time to work on that and instill an inside-out game, especially since we cannot shoot. I am with you 100% on thats why they are unproductive. Fisher has great post moves and so does Vonleh. Even better, Vonleh gets fouled a ton when he gets it down low and both can pass out of the post. Vonleh should have 12+ HIGH PERCENTAGE shots a game and Like 5-6 shots down low, but we continue to neglect him like we did Cody. It is all 100% on Crean, if he wants to play 12 guys deep, fine, then he can sit those who continue to neglect the post. If we cannot figure that out, then we are in for a lonnngggggg year

  • Candy Striped Kid

    WTF are you babbling about?

  • ScoopGeoff

    As long as you keep trying to say we “play” 8 freshman then I will keep asking who those 8 are. I’ve seen it in 4 different posts from you now in this string….

    Yes, I have a point. The point is we DON’T play 8 freshman. So every point you try to make after using that as an excuse is null and void.

    We play Noah, Stan, Devin, Luke, Troy, and occasionally Colin.

    5 seem to part of the rotation. 8 is a figment of your imagination.

  • CreanFaithful

    He’s counting non-scholarship players… I was confused too.

  • dwdkc

    Hard to say when so much of what you see is dependent on the opponent. They are so up and down within games–part of the Syracuse game was the best they played all year. I think they played as well against ND or better for most of the game than they did against UConn, which was actually not a very well played game by either team. But improvement is not a linear process. I hope the lack of mental focus for much of this game can be chalked up to Finals and limited practice time, but either way there is lots of basketball to be played. They’ve shown good flashes combined with lots of mental errors. I think the key is Yogi, who needs to figure out what’s needed from him at different times.

  • kbb247

    AMEN!!! Preach it. Preach it.

  • IU_theoracle

    I agree 100% with the last point made. I was at the game on Saturday and I love the idea to have a “Big 4” event between the four basketball powers in the state of Indiana. However, this is basically a home game for IU in Indianapolis as I can tell you that I sat in what was suppose to be the Notre Dame section but was full of IU fans. There were probably less that 2,000 Notre Dame fans in the entire arena, and during the IU game, the most Butler and Purdue fans were not in the arena until the last few minutes of the game. Then once the IU game was over, the arena was about 1/3 full for the Butler vs Purdue game with the majority of the remaining fans being a mixture between Butler and IU fans both rooting against Purdue. I will give Purdue credit that the did offer a student section which was full, however it was in the corner of the balcony. I will agree with the others that this seems like a great idea in theory, however this is really a waist of time for IU considering that we could play a home and home with both Butler and Notre Dame, then create our own annual game to be played at Lucas Oil against a new rival such as Louisville, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA or anyone else for that matter. We have endless options and considering that we are in the state of Indiana we have access to both Lucas Oil and Bankers Life Fieldhouse. This event should be far more entertaining than what I saw this weekend. I loved the fact that IU fans were the majority in attendance, however it is an absolute joke how few Notre Dame and Purdue fans attended the game, and I have to believe the only reason there are a decent amount of Butler fans is the fact the game is played in Butler’s home town. Also, I want to point out that I have no affiliation to Notre Dame, it just happened that I was able to get decent tickets to the event and they happened to be in the Notre Dame section.

  • ScoopGeoff

    I’m not confused… I understand… But his arguments/excuses for why this team is inconsistent is misleading… 8 freshman don’t “play” and he keeps using that “play” word.

  • kbb247

    One other thing that I would like to see from Crean is to occasionally get up in their sh%t every now and then during the game. Full disclosure he may do so, and I just miss it. Sometimes a good butt chewing and little venom can go a long way. He doesn’t need to head butt, choke, or throw a chair. Sorry, couldn’t resist. If anyone watched the Louisville game, then you saw a few veins sticking out of Pitino’s head during a couple timeouts in the first half. I doubt he was telling them how well they were doing. This by no means needs to be a every game or constant thing, but there is nothing wrong with getting on them hard. Maybe he saves it for practice. I don’t know.

  • kbb247

    Understand what you are getting at. My bad on taking it the wrong way.

  • IU_theoracle

    I would like to hit on some major points that I saw in the game on Saturday. The biggest reasons in my opinion that IU lost to ND is that we were out rebounded, out hustled and overall out smarted. I do not like placing blame on anyone for a loss, but I will place blame for the reason the loss happened, that blame is to be placed on overall very poor decision making which is a collective effort from the players and coaches. The reason I say this is because of the terrible shot selection considering that 37% of the shots taken in the game on Saturday were 3’s. If this were the 2012-2013 season then I wouldn’t be so upset with this stat, but considering this is the 2013-2014 Indiana Hoosiers which is a team that does not have any clear shooters, I can’t understand why I continue to watch players like Yogi Ferrell dribble down the court only to chuck a 22 footer with 30 seconds remaining on the shot clock, while I’ll watch Noah Vonleh establish position in the post only to watch Yogi Ferrell chuck this low percentage shot as opposed to giving our star player a touch in the post. This is only an example and not a rant against only Yogi, I’m using him as the example because he is the teams starting point guard and he along with everyone are not looking into the post near enough. This problem needs to be addressed in practice as this seems to be a theme for the past three seasons as I can remember for instance watching the IU vs UK game when IU had a lead only to throw it away while Anthony Davis was playing with four fouls yet Cody Zeller did not receive any touches in the post. I’m not worried about this team at all because we have an abundance of talent on this team. What bothers me is the laziness on defense and constant team break downs in half court sets and especially on inbound plays as well as the terrible shot selection. The only players on the entire team that should be looking to shoot first from the 3 point line are Evan Gordan, Austin Etherington who by the way will not shoot any open shoots by the looks of it, Colin Hartman who has not been playing, then Will Sheehey and Yogi if nothing else is available which means last option is an open 3, Yogi really needs to learn this. Everyone else should be looking to drive or post up, this includes Hollowell, Robinson, and Williams. I really hope that Coach Crean is able to clean up these problems because these are things that in my opinion are not difficult to fix, how hard is it to tell a player to use good judgement in their shot selection, answer pretty easy.

  • kbb247

    I do think that he has had them long enough to figure out what he has. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t/can’t evolve or change somewhat. I think it would go along way if he started demanding accountability out of the kids during the games, as some others have alluded to. It seems like sometimes he lets them get out of control, and doesn’t do a lot to reel them back in, remind them of their roles, and what the game plan was/is.

  • CreanFaithful

    Yes, 8 players is misleading. However, we are very reliant on our Freshman. Here’s the breakdown:

    SR: 26% (That counts Evan)
    SO: 35% (That counts Austin)
    FR: 39%

    Also, keep in mind that Austin has played a combined 3 full games of minutes through 2 seasons. This is Evans first year as a Hoosier, but he is starting to gel. Peter appeared in 3 games last year.

    There are plenty of reasons why we have chemistry/identity issues at this point in the season. While I agree, HoosierFan was exaggerating, we are still a very “young team” in regards to actual age, playing time and team cohesion.

  • kbb247

    On a side note ESPN just released their latest version of Bracketology. Indiana a 10 seed and trending downward. Strength of schedule 139. 1 of 3 against the RPI 150. 7-0 against RPI 150 +. Just thought I would throw that out there. I know a lot can and will change in the coming months.

  • ScoopGeoff

    Exactly… So why use a misleading argument. All he needs to use is reality… Like you just did.

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    Please plass the offering….haha

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    I don’t disagree he’s had them long enough to figure it out…..definitely agree with you there.
    Frustrating….

  • indianaourindiana

    Group of us Indiana fans drove down from Chicago with little to no issues. Purdue fans in Chicago laughed when I asked if they were going. It’s just not the same type of following as IU

  • ScoopGeoff

    Ok, so why is Arizona #1? They play 6 freshman…

    Why is Wisconsin #4? They play 6 freshman…

    Why is Lousiville #6? They play 6 freshman…

    I mean that’s more players than even are allowed to be on the court for one team during live action!

    There must be a huge difference between playing 6 freshman and playing 8.

  • Hoosierfan2335

    Yikes. Sorry I offended you and you can’t see through a minor point. Yes, I exaggerated. I’m sorry, I must be the first person in the history of the internet to exaggerate. The fact, or REALITY, is, as creanfaithful pointed out, we rely heavily on freshmen and “new players.” Vonleh, Williams, Fischer, Perea, Gordon, Robinson, Davis, and Etherington are either new to this team or haven’t experienced legitimate playing time.

    My entire argument is the fact that it’s not the end of the world that we lost to three tournament teams given the fact of how little experience we have right now. So no, we should not run Crean out of town or bench yogi and call the team or season a disaster. We should be patient and realistic about the fact that we have a young team that has a lot to figure out. I hope you can move on and have a better day.

  • CreanFaithful

    Let me start with #4 Wisconsin. They have 4 freshman that have played in the regular season. I hope you exaggerated that # on purpose (kudos if so). Check out the minute distribution:

    SR: 18%
    JR: 51%
    SO: 16%
    FR: 16%

    Quite a bit different than IU:

    SR: 26% (That counts Evan)
    JR: 0%
    SO: 35% (That counts Austin)
    FR: 39%

    Far from apples to apples…

  • Brian Goodman

    At the same time, it makes you wonder if we can ever win a close game against a good team (LIU-Brooklyn doesn’t count). At first the UConn result was encouraging, but now after seeing what happened against ND down the stretch it’s discouraging because we don’t have a finisher/closer. Uconn had Napier, and Grant got it done for ND. I believe in Yogi and Will to lead, but it’s looking like they both aren’t going to step up as the go to guy at the end of games.

  • ScoopGeoff

    And I agree with you on all those points, but when building an argument, you should use critical thinking… Ask yourself, “if someone were going to rebut my points here and try to take down my argument, what would they say?” Then you don’t have a-holes like me blowing you up. If you feel passionately about what you are writing here, and it seems like you do since you repeated the same thing in several comments on this single thread, then you probably shouldn’t leave your argument so wide open to scrutiny.

    It sounds silly when you defend something with an argument that so clearly defies the reality of the situation.

    Its kinda like the TSA defending their detainment of an airline passenger because they had a sock puppet in their luggage with a 2 inch toy plastic gun sewn into its hand, by saying we have a no weapon policy.

  • Snookafly

    If you really wanted tickets they were selling bunches of them online for as low as $11-12 dollars (compared to their face value of about $70). I knew it wasn’t going very packed just based on the quality of the teams in the field. No one was even ranked. Aside from that, I will say I’ve been disappointed in general about the attendance at our games this year. I know we’ve had a tornado and snow storms, but the turnout for some of these games has been pathetic for Assembly Hall.

  • CreanFaithful

    Here is #1 Arizona. They have 5 freshman that have played in the regular season. 2 of those freshman have logged less than 10 minutes the whole year, so really 3. HEre is the distribution of minutes:

    AZ
    SR: 3%
    JR: 32%
    SO: 37%
    FR: 28%

    IU
    SR: 26% (That counts Evan)
    JR: 0%
    SO: 35% (That counts Austin)
    FR: 39%