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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  • SouthernbornHoosierbred

    Then how come Will Sheehey; who in his own words can “sprint longer than anyone else in America”, played 30/40 minutes when he was one of only two that even came within the realm of playing well. Especially when he sat for a fairly long time in the first half while MSU went on a run (he only had one foul).

  • Gregory Spera

    Even I cut Crean some slack here. If he could find just seven or eight effective, consistent players out of this group, then he would probably have a more set rotation. The players aren’t making it easy for him to chose. Hell, the poor guy has even tried Jeff Howard and Jonny Marlin looking for a spark.

  • SouthernbornHoosierbred

    Thank you. The lack of effort is what has got me livid three days after the game. Based on what we see on the court, this program has absolutely no discipline.

  • MarkDIU10

    Unfortunately, or fortunately however you look at it, I was unable to watch the game and was listening to Fisch & Dakich on the radio. Something that was said a few times during the game, and has been mentioned during other games brings me to the conclusion that communication is not good on this team. This tells me that too many guys don’t know their roles. When there is bad communication, that means players don’t have an understanding of team goals and objectives. This must fall on the coaching staff.

  • JohnFromBeyond

    Bo may have our number, but who won the Big 10 title last year? That won’t be forgotten. Bo won the battle, Crean won the war.

  • David Macer

    Man, I hope all the posters here take a deep breath and back away from the ledge. The sky is not falling and no one was killed, shot or stabbed. Guys (and gals) it’s IU basketball. Love the Hoosiers when they win and love them when they lose.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Agree that Yogi is the most difficult choice, given the lack of options, but hey, Creen played Marlin. If Creen is serious about limiting Yogi’s minutes, then perhaps limit them after a turnover?

  • John

    I watched the game live and started watching a replay of it yesterday.
    There were several instances in the first half alone that players from IU literally walked around in the lane. They also ran around the perimeter on more than one occasion and made no attempt to get in the lane. That is purely a lack of effort and inexcusable.

  • kbb247

    I was at the game, so I didn’t listen to Dakich, but the communication or lack there of was probably more related switching on defense. There were several times where we didn’t communicate well, and left guys open. IMO this might be one of the hardest team to coach in cbb.Troy, Will, Evan Stan HMP, and even NV (mainly because of fouls) have been all over the place. Great in a game or two and flat awful the next 2. It is hard to have a defined role, when the kids are so inconsistent. As someone pointed out earlier, we have what i would consider one pure scorer, and Yogi is 5 foot 11inches. For this team to be successful they have to play lights out defense, rebound, and cut the turnovers WAY down. They take to long to get into their sets/offense, and then they do not execute well. This team is a bunch of inexperienced athletes playing basketball, not basketball player who are athletic. We have to remember that this is probably the first time in their basketball careers that they aren’t the first or 2nd best athlete on the floor.

  • Gwade8888

    I’m saying we barely even got to the sweet 16 in 2012 (2 point win in round 2) and same thing in 2013 (4 point nailbiter/miracle in round 2). Both followed by games we were never really in.

    Listen, like all of you, I wish we were great. Unfortunately, we are low-middle of the pack. Absolutely nobody is afraid to play us. We have a team with two legitimate starters and the rest are guys that would only see the floor occasionally on any legit Top 20 teams. Somehow, we have several guys on our roster that have no business being on this team (HMP/PJ/JM/JH). It’s embarrassing

  • steve

    The old the sky is not falling post. The most predictable post known to man. Love them when they win or lose? Boy if kentucky of kansas fans had that attitude they would never win a national title. It is amazing how the expectations for IU basketball have fallen over the last 20 years.

    We are in year six of this and could finish in the bottom third of the big ten but the sky is not falling!!!! Lol.

  • steve

    Bo ryan is an incredible coach who just owns crean. I dont see crean ever beating him because he will always get outcoached.

  • kbb247

    Yes, I would agree that there are times that they didn’t cut, move hard, and with a purpose. I do not chalk this up to a lack of effort. I think it has more to do with, most of these guys have been successful not having to do the little things consistently. It is easy to teach guys the movements in an offense. The hard part is teaching them to do it effective, and making the right read when the defense takes something away. That is not something they are used to. Example: I am willing to bet that in high school Troy could lazily cut through the lane, catch the ball on the perimeter, turn and hold onto the ball, blow past his man and either dunk it or shoot a layup.

  • SCHoosier

    With IU’s turnover numbers they would blow out the substitution horn in Crean tried that.):

  • kbb247

    Kansas hasn’t exactly set the world on fire this year, and they just lost at home albeit to a ranked team. My point is, they are struggling a little bit as well, with a young and inexperienced team. And they have Wiggins who was projected number 1 in the draft(not sure if he still is) and many thought would be/is the best player in the country.

  • SCHoosier

    Evan was looking Sat….the shots weren’t there.. In the post game..Izzo pointed out what a great job they had done in defending Gordon..who got nothing. As coach put “..I wanted our toes on his toes.” other words..they gave him no room and played in your face D against Gordon (who might have enjoyed a screen had such a thing existed in our offense.

  • dan

    Bench Hollowell…he is a complete waste of time…Even if he was like Pritch a few years ago…wasn’t very good but provides a spark off the bench I could justify his playing time but he doesn’t even do that! This year is turning into a wash anyway…play the Freshmen over him…they might be inexperienced but at least they want to be out there! Hollowell has such a good disappearing act he should go work for Penn and Teller!

  • Rie

    Thank you Steve. That, and the “If you are so smart why don’t you coach?” post are my two pet peeves. It is like, why are you on a site discussing Indiana Basketball if you cannot thoughtfully and intelligently respond to criticisms or deal with people being passionate? Some people need the reality check, some don’t. The question becomes, do you have what it takes to convince these people otherwise? The answer is almost always “no”.

    To summarize: Stop telling people to calm down. This team has the makings of some serious short-term and long-term problems which need to start trending upward, or else we are in for a bumpy ride. You may love IU win or lose, like me, but that does not make me content with the latter.

  • Ole Man

    They have to want it. Right now, some of them seem to want “individual glory” more than they want team play and the wins which might come with it.

  • Ole Man


  • kbb247

    I don’t know if, it has to do with individual glory, at least on a consistent basis. Personally, I think it has to do with inexperience, and some of them trying to hard, which ends up being a bad basketball play. I know that is vague, but that is all I’ve got. lol.

  • kbb247

    I think people post the “The sky isn’t falling” (which I have done) is, because after a loss everyone gets fired up, myself included. Is it right or wrong, hell I don’t know. I do agree with you that I do not like the post “If you are so smart why don’t u coach”. That seems more like a personal attack, and usually doesn’t lead to anything good when the response comes. I also agree that this team has a lot of short term problems. Mainly decision making, execution, ball handling, and outside shooting. I think long term most of this will get cleaned up. Shooters are coming next year, and I am assuming the other stuff will get better because of age, maturity, coaching, and been there and done that. The ride is already bumpy. lol. Lets just hope these guys put it together enough to get a few marquee wins and hold serve the rest of the way. Must admit that my confidence is going the wrong way as well.

  • Andrew

    Hard to say we were never really in the UK game when it was 50-47 at halftime. And a win is a win and a loss is a loss. Who cares that those 2nd round games were close? Any tourney win is great, and many are tight games b/c of all the parity in cbb. The 1987 title isn’t cheapened b/c Keith Smart hit a last-second shot.

    (By the same token I could say that since 3 of IU’s losses this year are close games, we’re really more like a 13-2 team than a 10-5 one. Would you agree w/ that? Right, I didn’t think so.)

    Lastly, can’t we wait a little while before we proclaim IU as low-middle of the pack? We have played exactly two B1G games, and at Illinois and home against MSU is kind of a tough start, especially for such a young team. We are better than PSU, but since the game is on the road we could easily lose. So let’s wait until Saturday about 2:00 to freak out if we have to.

  • Rie

    You are obviously not one of the people I am talking about. I think this was in response to Steve, who meant to reply to David Mercer.

    I agree with everything you said. Usually, when someone gets too out of hand that they are irrational, I skip that and move on. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I, like you, believe most can be cleaned up, but want to see it sooner than later.

  • Hoosiers__1

    I know; it’s pretty pathetic that IU barely has any jump shooters on this current team. At least in 2010-’11, we had Jordy, Roth, Creek, Watford, and others who could shoot. Now, Yogi is the only consistent jump shooter. We took a step backwards in that department. Even Remy and an injury-prone Creek would be an improvement for our FG% and 3PFG%

  • InTheMtns

    I agree with your thought that Yogi’s bench time had mostly to do with resting him while Appling was on the bench with fouls. Yogi played 43 minutes in the Illinois game and it was a very, very physical 43 minutes – especially on the defensive side when he had to get around and through screens, etc. I think Yogi has shown a propensity for making mistakes/poor decisions when he’s tired, so giving him some rest while Appling was out and saving him for later was a good coaching decision I thought.

  • Don

    Don from Bloomington. All; I realize a lot of think it is easy to coach young men, well it’s not! I coached AAU baseball for many years in Virginia, and it is tough – real tough. Parents complaining, kids complaining, kids not getting to play where they want, etc. Yes – coaches are perfect and make mistakes, but they always have the program and the young men on their chest. So listen, it is -40 degree wind chill factor here – get a grip people. Also – if you want to continue to complain, I will gladly take any of your tickets to any games off your hands. I can’t find a ticket!!

  • ForeverIU

    Several things that are important to build on from the MSU loss:

    1) We have to live with the reality that we cannot depend on Yogi to be scoring in the 20s every game. We can’t get spoiled that way, it is not sustainable.

    2) We actually did better on turnovers. Of the 15 turnovers, 5 were Yogi’s. Yogi has to score less and make less turnovers. Maybe our game slowed down because we were turnover-conscious, and maybe that’s good.

    3) We are slowly but surely getting better and more diverse with the three. Yogi, Will and Evan have become dependable 3-pt producers.

    4) I see an Oladipo in Stan. He is going to be a great one. I hope he has the work ethic of Victor.

    I am against benching any of these three: Troy, Devin, and Jeremy. They need to come in and take ownership and produce points, even at the risk of losing games. Without their experience we will not stand a chance next year. If we don’t have a deep pool of players next year, we will experience the same cycle of attrition year after year.

  • InTheMtns

    Based on what CTC and many others have reported, they do routinely practice all of what you suggested. Coaches, managers and bench players shove, beat and hack players, as well as double and triple-team them to teach them to finish through contact.

  • HoosierPat

    I had a really good feeling about Stan ever since I saw him at Hoosier Hysteria. He is getting better each game and is developing into one of our better players. He makes some mistakes with the ball, but that’s to expect from a freshman guard. I love his energy on both sides of the court. Once he develops a consistent jump shot, he is going to be one the most dangerous players in the B1G.

  • InTheMtns

    Kansas’ last game is a good example and thanks for mentioning it. Here are some quotes from a Sports Illustrated article about the game:

    “The Jayhawks struggled and allowed San Diego State to dictate the tempo.”

    “The Jayhawks had just one field goal over the next 8-plus minutes.”

    “Kansas wound up shooting 20.7 percent (6 of 29) in the first half.”

    ”I think everybody, we all missed shots we usually make,” Wiggins said, ”and that’s going to happen from time to time with a young team.”

    All that sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it. The Jayhawks, who had won 112 of their last 114 games at Allen Fieldhouse, got beat at home. No one on the Kansas fan sites are saying Bill Self doesn’t understand Xs and Os and their fans aren’t comparing their team to other Blue-blood schools — they understand their team is young and will get better.

  • Ya, mon.

    It’s Crean. Spelled C R E A N.

  • b_side

    Crean is the same coach who defeated Izzo the prior three games with an experienced team similar to what Izzo currently has at the helm.

  • yimyames

    Kinda like Gene Keady being a better coach than Knight?

  • Raynger

    Did Buckley and McClain prepare the team and make a plan for the Syracuse game last year?

  • Raynger

    I think the turnovers are more a product of the offensive style the coach wants- the fast game which some have characterized with various adjectives but one can say it is on the verge of ‘out-of-control’ and that is why they often lose the ball.

  • JMAC

    Our coach likes to take you out after you do something good to give you a rest.. Yikes!

  • JMAC

    He creepy!

  • Ole Man

    Heck; that’s better than the “reach” I made. LOL.

  • Stan is the man. Finally getting the pt he deserves.

  • Gwade8888

    Face it. Indiana hasn’t been (for 20+ years), and is not now, an elite basketball program. There’s a list a mile long of schools who outperform us year after year. Two sweet 16’s and now we’re right back where we were three years ago. Believe me, I wish I was wrong and I could see a silver lining. But I only see it after 8-10 cocktails.

    Our team goes 6-10 mins without a field goal in every competitive game we play. That’s outlandish, embarrassing and unacceptable. And sad.

    When you take off the cream & crimson glasses and layoff the kook-aid for a day, you see that this team (and the writing was on the wall for awhile, but Vic & Co covered it up) and its coach are very flawed. You give this same group of guys to Bo, Boeheim, or Shaka and we’d probably see different results. On the other hand, all 3 of those coaches would probably get rid of half our roster.

  • Alford Bailey

    Yes the weather currently sucks. I think the thats the one thing all Hoosier fans can agree on.

  • Alford Bailey

    Seem to be fewer of those now compared to the last couple of years. Like I”ve said before everyone has to remove their head from the sand eventually.

  • WisconHoosier

    PS to my own post above:

    A thank you to the board for not bashing me for writing about Wisconsin. I’m an IU fan, win or lose. If UW is beating IU by 15, I’m still cheering for the Hoosiers. Every game, every year, no exceptions.

    And I don’t really like how UW plays. Watching them score 43 points is horrible. But wow, his players respect him. And I respect that.

    It’s also going to be 25 below zero here tonight (for real), not counting wind chill. Just keeping you all in the loop.

  • Andrew

    Right back where we were 3 years ago? What an exaggeration that is. You know that means 3-15, not 8-10, right? Something tells me we are in a better place than where we were 3 years ago. But, then again, maybe I’m just drinking the “kook-aid.”

  • Raynger

    I agree stan should start.

  • Dagwoodsdave

    How do you recruit a bunch of players who can’t shoot?

  • BT

    Praising a coach who gets ejected for completely losing his mind in a tight road game. What is this world coming to?

  • Cameron

    I think that the starting lineup should be Yogi at the point, Stanford Robinson at the two guard, Sheehey in the small forward position, Troy Williams at the power forward, and Vonleh as PF/C. I think Evan Gordon, JH, Hanner, and Devin Davis should all be in the second unit. To be honest I wouldn’t mind having Devin Davis start over Troy sometime soon. Maybe Williams could get his offensive game going.

  • HoosierGrampy

    It’s tough to score without the ball…