Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Michigan State

  • 01/06/2014 7:37 am in

Indiana dropped its first home game of the season and its second straight to start Big Ten play on Saturday in a 73-56 loss to No. 5 Michigan State.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from IU’s loss to the Spartans:

· Robinson’s rise continues: While freshmen Devin Davis and Troy Williams have stagnated in terms of their production in recent weeks, their classmate Stanford Robinson continues to make a strong case for more minutes. Against Michigan State, Robinson scored 11 points and added four rebounds and two assists in 26 minutes. He was Indiana’s most effective player attacking off the dribble and looks to be moving toward a more prominent role, perhaps as a starter, as his confidence builds.

“He’s got a personality. He’s got a toughness about him,” Tom Crean said of Robinson. “And he’s building his skill level. You’re always working and building your skills but you’re developing your mindset. And it comes … your skills get better, well that helps the confidence.”

· Ferrell’s 17 points overshadowed by turnovers: Yogi Ferrell is off to a fantastic start offensively in his sophomore season, but through two Big Ten games, IU’s point guard and floor leader has 11 turnovers. And while his turnover percentage is down from a season ago, his usage is up significantly which makes the mistakes he’s making more problematic.

There’s no doubt that he is the key cog that makes IU go offensively, but if the Hoosiers are to reverse course on the turnover problem that is a roster wide issue, it has to start with Ferrell cutting down on the careless giveaways.

· Vonleh missing from IU’s offense: In 55 minutes of floor time through two conference games, freshman Noah Vonleh has taken just 10 shot attempts and has just four offensive rebounds. Vonleh did take 12 free throws against Illinois, but Michigan State basically neutralized him in the second half on Saturday as Vonleh failed to score and finished with just five points.

Whether this is Indiana not doing a good enough job getting the ball into the post or Vonleh not demanding the ball enough, it’s clearly an area where the Hoosiers need to show improvement moving forward.

“He’s got to be a demanding presence and become downright a little selfish,” Crean said. “And I hate using that term, but I have no better term than to use for him with that, because that’s what he’s got to be around the paint.”

“They were fighting him for his catches, making every catch tough for him,” Will Sheehey added. “He’s got to find a way to get more touches, easier touches. He’s got to work harder to get open. And we’ve got to work harder to get him open.”

· Besides Robinson, IU’s bench comes up empty: Indiana had hoped it would be a deeper team this season, but against Michigan State, the Hoosiers didn’t get much from bench players not named Stanford Robinson.

Evan Gordon played 14 minutes, only attempted one shot and did not score. Devin Davis had two points and six rebounds in 13 minutes. Hanner Mosquera-Perea logged just seven minutes and was a non-factor. Crean was asked specifically in his postgame press conference about what he needs to see in terms of improvement from Jeremy Hollowell and said improvement needs to come across the board.

“We need to see more out of everybody. I wouldn’t distinguish,” he said. “When you lose a game, there’s not one class that doesn’t need to get better. But we’ve got the spotlight on the sophomores right now, if we’re going to break it down to class. They’ve got to improve.”

· Harris was the difference in the game: Indiana fans are very familiar with Gary Harris as he won the state’s Mr. Basketball award and was a major recruiting target before choosing Michigan State.

After struggling with his shooting to begin the season, Harris finally broke out on Saturday as he torched Indiana for a career-high 26 points on 8-of-18 shooting which included 5-of-10 from behind the 3-point arc. Indiana had no answer for Harris, who looks to be on course for a run at Big Ten player of the year.

“Gary was an assassin today,” Crean said. “Never hunted, always in spacing, always in movement. Very improved as a player.”

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  • HoosierGrampy

    Bring out the old tapes of the Bracey Wright Show…transpose Yogi for Bracey and BOOM…the 2013-14 Hoosiers. Even Will has had moments when he became a spectator…
    In fairness to Noah Vonleh, several times he flashed to the paint leaving Payne behind and gets NADA for his effort but a nod.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Conventional wisdom would cause me to consider that a very inexperienced team playing in a hostile arena just might need a little help/guidance/coaching instead of choosing to let ’em play.

  • HoosierGrampy

    A better question might start with WHY…

  • Go Creek,Abell,Fisher

    Don, this is an ELITE program, five banners hanging from the rafters, we have certain expectations here. These are his recruits, his players, this so called great recruiter is playing Walk-ons instead of scholarship players. I understand, if a Walk on out works a player at practice, but every game, then that says something about the person in CHARGE of the practice. If you can’t get the best out of the players, we need to replace you with somebody who can. End of game situations? Sloppy play, no timeouts EVER taken, and if for some reason he actually did call a timeout, watch the crap play that was drawn up,lol. It’s awfull, This man does not earn his 2.2 million dollars a year plus bonuses and 2 free cars. Wow. Go fisher and Abel

  • Creek,Abell,Fisher

    Totally agree, where in the world can a man make 2 million a year and totally fail at every aspect of the job? iu Haha Davis takes us to a national championship, and we fired him. What does crean have to do to lose his job, choke a player, or take us to the national championship game? Wow

  • Creek,Abell,Fisher

    And it will, or bill self will be sending resumes to Indiana, they won’t put up with it for 6 years, that’s for sure. Iowa fires the basketball coach after 4 years if they don’t win, and basketball is like the 3 rd biggest sport at Iowa. This is indiana basketball folks, since when is it ok to be mediorcre?

  • Creek,Abell,Fisher

    Winners don’t make excuses, and that’s all I see y’all doing here. The facts are the facts and opinions are opinions. This coach has not ran an off the ball screen in all the six years he has been there. Isolation style offense without an isolation kind of player.(oladipo was that guy), and he never used him correctly, or there would be six banners hanging right now. Never forces the ball down low to our bigs, never develops the bigs. Prichard, copibianco,jerkin,hanner, never got any better while there, wasted scholarships, Hartman,etherington, never play, 2 more wasted scholarships, hollowell has been playing back up point guard, haha. Wow. Poor guy hasn’t even been able to excell at his strenghs. Totally takes hollowell out of his game. Only got one guy who can run the point, this is big ten basketball, one point guard? That’s why Michigan state blew it last year, trice wasn’t a good enough back up point guard. Every team has at least two point guards, we have yogi, and he tries to do way to much. Only people yelling at a timeout is she hey and a Walk on Jeff Howard. Why don’t we just split toms salary between will and Jeff, probably would have more wins too.

  • Creek,Abell,Fisher

    That’s the problem Dave, we have loved losing for six years now, out of that six, we had HOPE, only once. Last year, 2 top five nba draft picks and we lost in the sweet sixteen? Come on man, We all want to be doctors and lawyers when weare little, but then reallity sets in, not everybody became what they wanted too. Well, reallity has definately set in in Bloomington, Tom Crean can’t coach. Get rid of him, and we can all come in from the ledge we are on Dave, and get back to cheering on these Hoosiers we all care so much about.

  • Creek,Abell,Fisher

    That’s great. Lol

  • Creek,Abell,Fisher

    Sorry candy striped kid, but all the evidence is against you, are they preparing to lose, cause that’s what has been happening. We have six guys 6’8″ or better, and we don’t post up anybody? Have only one guy who can handle the ball, only run isolation ball screens, offense just stands and watches yogi dribble around? Yep, that’s preparation done by the best, lol. What excactly was the plan for the end of the Illinois game, they look really prepared for that. Had a whole week off before the Syracuse game, Crean prolly had no idea they were going to run a 2-3 zone against us? Lol. Looked really prepared for that game too, he’ll of a job Buckley and McClain, what would we do without you guys. Wow

  • David Macer

    You do realize how difficult it is to win the NCAA. All it takes is a poor shooting night, a couple untimely TO’s or even a great game by another opponent. I guess many people only grade a coach or team when they win.

    Sorry, but IU basketball is far more important than that. Crean will be here until his contract runs out. If at that time, the administration decides not to renew it then he leaves. Get used to it.

    BTW, why do guest posters hide behind their avatar ?? At least I post using my FB login.

  • JLH2310

    Save for the Syracuse game…

  • Candy Striped Kid

    I agree with your pessimism towards CTC’s offense. And I agree with you, I’d love to see an offense with more movements, etc. I think a big reason why a majority of blue blood programs run a pro style offense because it is easy to teach, easy to assimilate to, and easy to recruit to. For programs that reload frequently, like a majority of blue bloods, it is important to have to players get comfortable with their teammates in that offense. Mid-majors might not have the talent level of the Big Ten schools, but they run better offense with players that have been in the system for a couple years. For me, I understand this, so I’m not gonna get frustrated every time Indiana, Kentucky, MSU or any number of those programs run a static offense.

    I’m not going to argue with you about Syracuse or game planning. What I don’t understand is not getting credit where credit is due. Syracuse flat out outplayed IU. Give credit to the Cuse players and Jim Boeheim’s incredible ability to make and install in game adjustments.

    Here is a game planning positive, the soon to be ALL TIME LEADING 3 POINT SHOOTER EVER was limited to ZERO made 3 point baskets.

  • InTheMtns

    You are certainly correct about facts being facts and opinions being opinions. And you certainly expressed a lot of opinions in your response to me and your opinions are as valid as anyone else’s. You are welcome to see us’all as making excuses if you want. I wasn’t making excuses, though. I was just pointing out the reality of the situation. Thanks for sharing your opinions.

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    Thank you

  • Outoftheloop

    I said basically the same thing, except Devin starting now! And no minutes for anyone not in that group of 9 except Peter Jurkin, assuming Crean intends to see if Peter can ever play in the B1G. Peter and Noah are the ONLY players that IU has this season or next over 6’9! We all saw how limited a roster of only 1 Bigman is when trying to reach the Final Four with last year’s team.

  • Outoftheloop

    “Totally fail at every aspect of the job” is totally false, but is your opinion, for what that is worth, which approaches zero.

  • Outoftheloop

    Two straight Sweet Sixteens IS being a “winner”. Neither KY nor UNC did it.

  • Outoftheloop

    Iowa has never been a top 5, or even a top 10, program, even with Dr Davis in charge!

  • Outoftheloop

    I believe that Ky had two first round picks and lost in the first found of the NIT!

  • Outoftheloop

    WI does fine against the B1G (great home court advantage, favorable officiating calls, great scouting over the years of the B1G) Not much in the NCAA tourney!

  • Outoftheloop

    We have only 2 guys over 6’9, and one plays less than 2 minutes/game!

  • Outoftheloop

    They are called MacDonald’s All-Americans. Athletic super-stars trump great shooting every time. We will see this year with James Blackmon.

  • Outoftheloop

    So what do you call being B1G Champs, defeating Final Four participant MI 2 times, and being ranked #1 for much of last season? “Contending for national titles”, should include more than just reaching the Final Four else great teams like IU in 1975 and 1992 didn’t “contend”.

  • Outoftheloop

    WI can beat IU every game as long as IU wins the B1G and goes to the Sweet Sixteen and WI doesn’t!

  • Outoftheloop

    How many programs have been to the Sweet Sixteen since 2000 and how many times; IU has three times. That is “elite” status! The most mind blowing record in college coaching is Dean Smith making something like 22 straight Sweet Sixteen trips!

  • Bruce

    That’s not fair. Sine all teams don’t play each other home and away the conference winner has lost most of its luster and significance. Schedule can make a huge difference ie only playing a top team at home

  • Bruce

    If I wanted to watch losers I’d be a cubs fan

  • JohnFromBeyond

    Lost “most” of its luster? I don’t agree. The regular season title is less luck than a tournament run. 18 games, not just a handful of games until you lose (or win). I think it shows overall team talent better.

  • Hoosier in Texas

    I continue to be baffled by TC’s offensive strategies. Why is that all shots taken are 3 pointers or lay ups? Since, other than Yogi, we can’t make 3s; and since a number of our layups are blocked, why doesn’t TC incorporate more sits from 10 – 15 feet out? Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.