The Minute After: Michigan State

  • 01/04/2014 4:36 pm in

Thoughts on a 73-56 loss to the Spartans:

Seniors Keith Appling and Adreian Payne sat on the bench near the end of the first half, saddled with two fouls a piece. It mattered little. This Michigan State team defended well without them and fellow starters Garry Harris and Branden Dawson made sure points were still going upon the board. The Hoosiers trailed by nine at half and it was just about as close as they’d get the rest of the ball game.

Indiana paid itself little favors, made it so much harder, and that’s just no path to victory against a Spartan team contending for a Big Ten championship, one looking for yet another Final Four trip with Tom Izzo at the helm.

Despite the boos, Harris, as he did last season under similar circumstances, was sensational in this one. When he wasn’t ripping treys (5-of-10), the sophomore was stealing the ball from the Hoosiers (five) and scoring on the other end. He finished with a career-high 26 points in what was maybe his final trip to Assembly Hall. He showed the emotion of a confident, fearless kid and it’s an attitude that will serve him well at the next level. Oh, to think how this season might be playing out a little differently had Harris opted for the cream and crimson.  

We could harp on the turnovers (23.5 turnover percentage), but there was so much more that doomed the Hoosiers in this one. The Spartans were tough at the rim (season-high nine blocks) and so Indiana failed to get easy buckets in the paint; IU shot just 36.8 percent on 2-pointers. The Hoosiers were also bested on the offensive boards (31.2 vs. 29.4 offensive rebounding percentage). Michigan State’s ability to keep possessions alive and hit some dagger second (or third) chance buckets took the life out of Indiana.

The Hoosiers did a pretty good job of getting to the line (41.6 percent free throw rate), but they missed the front end of some crucial 1-and-1 opportunities in the first half and finished the game just 13-of-20 (65 percent) from the charity stripe. Michigan State packed it in and limited IU in transition, forcing Indiana to often have to make a go of it in the halfcourt. The Hoosiers did, however, shoot it well from 3-point distance once again (5-of-10, 50 percent). But add it all up and Indiana scored just a measly .896 points per possession while giving up 1.11 to MSU.

Will Sheehey played with spirit, taking out a referee while diving for a loose ball and getting in some words with a host of Spartans on the court. He finished a perfect 3-of-3 from distance and 2-of-2 from the line en route to 13 points. Stanford Robinson continues to make the case. Jeremy Hollowell took a quick 3-pointer during a possession in the first half and Crean had some words for him during the next stoppage of play in the huddle. Whether Crean was berating him, and what was said, I don’t know. But we do know Robinson got the start in place of Hollowell in the second half and he finished the game with a career-high 13 points.

Robinson hit two jump shots (4-of-6) and turned the ball over just once. He did lose Harris on occasion in the first half, but Tom Crean continues to trust him defending the opposing team’s top players. Indiana desperately needs more options on offense and maybe that’s going to be Robinson’s role. The fact that he’s a two-way player helps, too.

It’s a tough loss and Indiana now has one week to prepare for Penn State in Happy Valley. It’s winnable, but if the Hoosiers keep making things hard, it isn’t going to come easy.

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  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    A young, inexperienced, and pretty immature team needs to get the breaks because they’re just not mature enough to “make” their own breaks. This was a game where IU needed to shoot well from the foul line, get all the calls and breaks, and MSU needed to struggle shooting a little bit.

    None of those things happened. A TV timeout right as IU cuts the lead to 8. A J. Marlin TO when IU was making another run. A bad out of bounds call and then bad foul call when IU had cut it to 9. It just wasn’t meant to be, but I hope this team learns from those things, matures, and gets to the point where they don’t need to get every break to win big games!

    It’s going to be rough because they’re looking at a probably 2-3 B1G start and maybe even 1-4! They better develop that maturity and resiliency fast!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I honestly wondered if he wasnt’ feeling well because he was really sucking wind and looked like he could care less what was going on!

  • calbert40

    I was sitting right in front of both of those plays. Neither one was a foul, and it wasn’t close. I’m not suggesting that the refs cost us the game, because they didn’t, but they certainly didn’t help any. That was as poorly officiated a game as I can quickly remember.

  • calbert40

    They did run some sets. They didn’t execute them well at all.

    The biggest difference I saw between the two teams offensively was spacing. When we would run those ball screens, or even when we were running screens underneath, our spacing was atrocious. When MSU ran anything, their spacing was phenomenal.

    That was how State had so many open looks. They’d drive. We’d help (not as often as we could have, but anyway…). They’d kick. They’d hit the shot.

    We need to work on our spacing.

  • calbert40

    Agreed. MSU is just better. That is a solid team, and if they aren’t playing in the Final Four, I’ll be surprised.

    I liked the rotation. Sure, Marlin played, but I’m guessing that was more message than anything. Robinson looked great. He held his own against Harris defensively, and he looked like he gained a year of experience during this game. I won’t be surprised if he isn’t starting before the season is over. I’m not sure if you could see it on TV, but he was even taking a leadership role talking to guys, especially if Yogi or Will was on the pine. Very impressed with him yesterday.

    We have had a rough schedule to start the B1G. Losing at ILL and to MSU aren’t bad loses. We need to start winning games like that eventually, but we should get a W in our next game, and hopefully springboard from there.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Okay, I’ve had a night to calm down and watch the Colts pull off a patented, historic comeback, so I’m ready to post my thoughts after yesterday’s game:

    1) It’s time for StanRob to be inserted into the starting lineup in place of JHoll. Maybe JHoll’s intensity will be that of the Evansville game when he was forced to come off the bench.
    2) The loss of Luke Fischer showed yesterday as we got to watch, not once but twice, lineups where the tallest players were JHoll and Troy against MSU lineups with Payne and Costello. I think this contributed to the loss on the boards after such a good start.
    3) CTC needs to flat out TELL Will Sheehey that he is the best option to put up points if a team keys on Yogi and takes his offense away! Will is a streaky shooter but needs to shoot because, as a former streaky shooter myself, I know that you shoot until you get hot and shoot until you cool off and then shoot until you get hot again (if you’re open)!!!
    4) Noah isn’t ready for the NBA. Similar to Cody he needs another year to add some strength.
    5) We are thin in the frontcourt, not the backcourt, so would someone please explain to me why Johnny Marlin needs to get minutes? I wouldn’t argue if Jeff Howard got minutes because we’re thin up front, but the other just doesn’t make sense to me?
    6) The dribble drive offense only works if you have players who are adept at getting to the rim. Yogi is decent at this, but struggles because he’s so small. StanRob dribbles the ball low and quickly and seems to be a natural at getting to the rim and even dropped a couple sweet dimes yesterday. Nobody else on this team has that ability and JHoll telegraphs everything (shots, passes, dribble drives) and is a turnover machine! Hence, this offense probably isn’t going to work with this personnel so what’s the harm in running some sets and screens and trying to at least mix things up a bit? I’m not saying change your whole philosophy of coaching CTC, but where’s the harm in expanding a bit?
    7) The # of stupid mistakes, especially right in the middle of IU runs, is monumental. This is just not a turnover issue, it’s a “here, go ahead and have a wide open layup or dunk on me” issue. Terrible outlet passes, not meeting the ball while receiving passes, putting your head down and getting stripped, throwing stupid passes at the top of the key . . . all of these things are basic fundamentals taught to many of us as NO-NO’s when we were picking up basketballs as 1st through 3rd graders! This has to be something that can be coached out of these kids and if not, there’s a serious issue with either our coaching staff or the players willingness to learn and mature!

    I think I’m done.

  • John

    I know Jeremy got the ball stolen away from him twice in the first couple minutes of the game. After one of the steals he basically put his head down as if to say, “whatever”.
    There was another play later in the first half where someone through the ball to Noah and it hit him in the back because he was running through the lane. I guess they thought he had eyes in the back of his head. I literally said that when it happened.

  • MillaRed

    No doubt about it. Fed Noah low post when a cutter goes baseline, his defender rips Noah. That’s high school stuff. Needs to go away.

  • MillaRed

    Yogi in transition but under control. Back it out when needed.

    Can we run Yogi off a screen for a three? Please?

    Noah touching the ball in multiple locations. Right now he is our 2nd or 3rd best jump shooter.

    Will Sheehey being a senior for 40 minutes. Not 20.

    Putting Evan Gordon in a position to score would be another if we did it.

  • Simondogood

    I have said it before and I will say it again. When your point guard has more turnovers (5) than assists (2) and is your top scorer you will NOT win many games. Just look at the photo in the Indianapolis Star of Yogi lowering his shoulder when driving to the basket. He was not gong to pass the only thing on his mind was drawing a foul.

    We need to get Noah more involved in the game. It is not about him demanding the ball it is about movement on the offense. I was at the game and Mich St. was constantly moving without the ball setting screen and picks. Offense by standing around and having the shortest person on the court driving into the trees is not a offense.

    Why Johnny Marlin was put in is beside me. You have two other bigs on the bench (AE and CH) who not only were recruited as three point shooters but also played against Gary Harris in HS. Someone on the team or on the bench needs to step and say “I want to be the man” and unselfishly lead this team.

  • HoosierPat

    I agree 100% with everything you said!

  • PBzeer

    ” It’s winnable, but if the Hoosiers keep making things hard, it isn’t going to come easy.”

    Winning starts with the head. With a desire and passion that let’s you walk off the floor, no matter what the outcome, with nothing left to give. In the few games I’ve had a chance to watch, I’m not seeing that. Maybe it doesn’t come across on tape or tv, but what I see is just what the picture to start this article shows.

  • Dan

    I consider myself critical of the program, but it was a sweeter pill to swallow yesterday seeing the effort of the players, they fought and played hard all of the way and considering how much beeter Michigan State is, that is fine with me. The list of things we can get better at is extensive and whether or not we improve will remain to be seen. That said, our effort and stamina is there and so long as thses kids continue to give it there all, everything is possible. I do think that one day this season the light bulb will turn on in our young players and once they “get it” how to play situational basketball at this level, then we’ll be fine. We have the talent and athleticism, someone needs to turn the light on and I am confident he/they will. Go Hoosiers, keep playing as hard and smart as you can, and we’ll keep cheering through the good times and during the developmental times.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I agree with you. Based on what has transpired over pretty much 3 decades we are an under achieving has been basketball program to all outsiders. That rips me to the core of my soul.

  • 3AM Burrito

    From the opening video at the game not working to the end this was just a bad performance from everyone. MSU had a lot to do with it and their defense will make many offenses look bad but the mental mistakes on defense were maddening. Players went under screens every time, allowing open 3’s. People leaving Harris to help on drives. Bad transiton defense. Fouling jump shooters. In second half MSU looked like they were running their offense against a practice team, easy layups and open jumpers everywhere. The play that kind of summed up the game was in 2nd half, IU made a mini run, set up a press and Crean implores crowd to get into it, MSU breaks press in 2 passes and dunk. In a home game that was pretty critical and on national TV, pretty disheartening that pretty much everyone involved with the game laid an egg.

  • Rantool


    ? I posted this prior to the game Saturday! Hate to say I told you so, but I told you so! Until Crean addresses some of these turnover issues, and starts sitting guys it won’t change! And I for one don’t think he will do it? Vonleh does not take a shot the second half, and spent a good deal of the second half on the bench? Now that is just plain dumb coaching, your best player on the bench! Then Coach says Noah has to demand the ball more? Hard to demand it sitting on the bench? Hello? I say bring Peter Jurkin in and let him play, how can he be worse than Hollowell was Saturday? I see a long year, and have come to the conclusion that Coach Crean is not going to get it done! Nice guy, great recruiter, but I see a lot of coaches that would be getting more out of this group! I mean the Illinois Coach flat out coached him the other day! I know a lot of people will bash me for this post, but I think we are worse now than we were the first game of the year! My opinion, and I pray I am wrong?

    + • 2 days ago

    I have seen nothing from the turnover plagued Hoosiers that would lead me to believe we have even a remote chance in this game, and if we run, gun, and turn it over, it could get ugly quick! Jeremy this would be a great game to wake up and do something, but as far as I am concerned he needs to sit till he starts bringing some fire into the game with him. And that goes for any one of these guys with the sloppy turnovers. Make a stupid turnover, sit em ! Accountability is just what is needed, but I don’t know if Coach Crean knows anything about it? The bench can be a great motivator, Coach? You sit Hollowell once and he returned next game with an 18 point performance, learn from it Coach! Also you may want to learn to work the refs a little now and then, Izzo is one of the best at it, again watch and learn! I say Michigan State by 15!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Go back and watch IU vs UK in 2011. These kids were sitting behind the bench wearing t shirts with their moniker “The Movement” branded across the front. Really?? Really? REALLLLLLY?!? Who does that? What kind of delusional showing off is that anyway?? I probably would be agitated if I was Will. Here they were busting their butts to get IU over the hump and all the while you have kids behind the bench proclaiming their unproven greatness. I would be hot if I was Will too. The sad part is they still are not producing. Aside from Yogi they still haven’t done jack and JH is leading that kind of “Movement”. Jeremy Hollowell can’t buy a graze off the rim. He literally is just trying to make contact with the rim. It is obvious he is not embracing the complete aspect of being an Indiana Hoosier. It doesn’t even look fun, enjoyable, or exciting to him by (forget facial expressions and body language) most importantly his play on the court. And that is a massive shame. I am not trying to bury these kids because they do work hard but I think they are not earning their keep. Luke Fischer transferred and he had his reasons. I think generally most people are disappointed he did. At this point could Or would we say the same for a few members of the Movement purely based on their own on court production so far in their career? Our loyalty to Indiana makes us loyal to these players and we genuinely want them to succeed for the team and also for them to personally succeed. I am just not seeing it, and if people want to ignore it and make excuses it is just youth then you do not understand that something is truly going on with these players beyond immaturity. It is unfair to label them as busts now but the reality is that these kids will be busts unless they get it together. You can’t just throw your playing days away. Ask Landon about that scenario.

  • 3AM Burrito

    I agree with this, especially facing up to basket. I thought they could exploit Payne more drawing him away and let Noah shoot mid range or drive. They dis it ince with Noah at top of key and he made a nice move and got fouled. It was tough for 19 year old Noah to bang with 22/23 year old Payne down low.

  • BMusic

    Just out of curiosity: how old are you?

  • 3AM Burrito

    Hanner is not a back to basket post guy, I don’t know why they have him do it. He is a great board crasher and effective pick and roll and could he good pick and fade jump shooter. But when he gets ball with back to basket 90% of time it is a disaster.

  • BMusic

    We looked good early on; just have to learn how to sustain it. Shades of early Pritchard/Jones.

    With each game, we have to ask: where is the progress? It may not come in the W/L column—at least, not right now. With a game like this, we have to point to Robinson’s emergence, and those of us who’ve been clamoring for more minutes for the kid must feel like we’re about to be rewarded for our patience.

    Overall, a loss like this is about par for the course. The conference season is early. We’re losing to evenly-matched teams on the road (barely) and losing by double-digits to championship-caliber squads at home.

    Can anyone say they’re surprised?

    Eventually, we’ll get a win to build on (like the Pitt game), and then one after another, they’ll build on each other (NC State, Kentucky) and we’ll grow in proficiency and confidence. And no, it’s not going to take three years this time.

  • John

    One of my all time favorite players is Brian Evans. The kid played with a dislocated shoulder but never gave up. He kept playing, even with a shoulder brace on.
    I know there was at least one game where his shoulder popped out, he got it put back in place and kept going.
    He is the epitamy of a true Hoosier.

  • Chappy Dan

    My suggestions on offense:

    When Yogi is out, Stan is the man. No one else should be the primary ball handler.
    Stan is the only one who can get to the rim. he needs to touch the ball often.
    Run plays for Vonleh to get the ball at the 3 point line. This will draw his big man out and open up the middle for cutters and rebounders if he takes a 3.
    Run Sheehey off of multiple screens so he can catch and shoot.

    My suggestions on defense:

    Stan guards the other team’s best guard right from the opening tip.
    Put Devin Davis on the 5 so Vonleh can provide weak side help and blocking.
    Put Yogi on their least dangerous guard. He needs to save his energy for offense.
    If you’re going to press the other team in their back court, don’t use Hollowell!! That guy has the quick-twitch muscles of a turtle and the turn radius of a Mack truck.

  • Bryce

    Try watching Wisconsin or Butler. Good bb and fun to watch

  • SouthernbornHoosierbred

    Physically, I am 20 years old.

  • Bruce

    Fischer May have stayed if tc played him esp with vonleh. I would be discouraged watching hollowell and Williams get so much playing time while being awful! Don’t blame him for leaving

  • Bryce

    Why overestimate his talent? Slow, drives with head down into traffic and no vertical. He can shoot fts. That’s it

  • craner

    stan should be pg and have him dish to sheehee or Ferrell…hollowell shoots 22% and Williams 12% from 3’s. no reason they should have the ball out there. Williams defense is horrid. have no idea y he or hollowell play so much.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I loved Brian Evans. Very productive, driven, and passionate about IU. Had a decent pro career too which says a lot because many former Knight players were not able to sustain success in the NBA for whatever reasons. I would like to get Pat Graham ‘ s take on some of these guys too.

  • Julie

    Hollowell drives me crazy, he is a turnover waiting to happen. Give his minutes to the freshmen.

  • Dick_Pepperfield

    Looks like his score is 31 up and only 6 down. Just sayin

  • Jerry N Franklin

    “Crean had little to do with this one” REALLY? Crean had everything to do with this one along with every game…..Get use to middle of the pack IU fans..I hate it but I know I’m not wrong on this, Crean is NOT the coach to take IU to a final 4…Just hope Glass gives in to probably what he knows too