The Minute After: Michigan State

  • 01/21/2014 10:10 pm in

Thoughts on a 71-66 loss to the Spartans:

This time, it was Indiana’s turn to put the heat on the better squad at home.

The Hoosiers frustrated Michigan State for much of this one. Without an injured Will Sheehey, they attacked the paint and drew fouls. Without an injured Adreian Payne, Noah Vonleh had his way on the interior when he got the ball in space, posting a double-double (13 points, 13 boards) for the second straight game.

Indiana’s mix of man-to-man to matchup zone also gave Michigan State trouble.  Tom Izzo seethed. Branden Dawson lacked energy. Keith Appling hobbled. Gary Harris was kept in check. Indiana entered halftime with a 28-27 advantage. Harris would start to heat up in the second half — as did Dawson — but Indiana didn’t let it knock them out. It led 46-41 with just over 10 minutes to play and Michigan State was out of sorts, the Breslin Center crowd frustrated.

But the Spartans broke through in a big way over the next stretch. After a Stanford Robinson score gave Indiana a 48-46 advantage with 10:10 to play, the Hoosiers didn’t register another field goal for seven minutes of game time until a Yogi Ferrell 3-pointer. (Ferrell hit four free throws for Indiana’s only points in-between, but he’s now just 16-of-51 over his last three Big Ten contests.) The five-point lead had been erased for a 10-point deficit with 3:00 left to play, and it was simply too much to overcome.

Indiana missed too many layups in the second half. (At one count on the broadcast it was up to nine.) Vonleh was also neutralized, as some of his catches were coming too far out of the basket area in the left corner. The turnover bug came back to bite Indiana in this one as well. After getting it under control the last three games, its turnover percentage ballooned up to 26.1 on the road against MSU. Devin Davis got more run than he has over the last couple games and he had a few costly ones in 10 minutes of play. Austin Etherington had four in 19 minutes.

Give away a quarter of your possessions and fail to score for seven minutes of game clock in the second half? That’s a tough road to climb to victory against the No. 3 team in the country on the road.

That said, Indiana certainly rebounded from its effort against Northwestern. Troy Williams had his best game of the Big Ten season and played with confidence. (Perhaps too much at times, as he picked up a taunting technical in the first half. He also shot a jumper in the second half that was less than fundamentally sound, but it dropped.) Williams scored nine points and added six rebounds. Most importantly, he put the ball on the floor a good amount tonight and recorded zero turnovers.

Jeremy Hollowell returned to action in this one. He looked a little slow to start. But he would join in on the gameplan of getting to the foul line (4-of-4) and finished the contest with eight points. He may not start against Illinois on Sunday, but a spot back in rotation could be his again — especially if Sheehey continues to be sidelined with an ankle injury.

It’s a loss. And the Hoosiers need wins right now if they want to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive. Still, this was a performance to build on, one leading into a winnable contest against the Illini on Sunday at home.

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  • Bruce

    Please Greg, no logic allowed

  • InTheMtns

    Calbert40, you can watch the replay at

  • Hoosier Hall

    That’s not a very intelligent response. The stats don’t always tell how a player affects a game. Howard made some excellent defensive plays last night especially when they went for the lob and he read and deflected while facing his man.

  • calbert40

    Thanks for looking that up for me, though I doubt I spend the emotional capital on a close loss. Actually, when the DVR froze, I initially thought that must be a good sign, because if I miss a game, good things usually happen.

    I took my wife on a date (yes, she’s out of my league, so I gotta keep her on the leash) the day of “The Shot.” My father-in-law was watching my kids, and he shut off my DVR, so I missed that game. Ugh!

  • I think this game would have gotten out of hand had Payne played and GH not sat most of the first half. I’ve watched a lot of CBB this year and I can honestly say our Hoosiers are the worst I’ve seen at shooting the basketball. People seem to be convinced that we are 1 year away but I disagree. I think we are 2 years away. Noah Vonleh is being considered a “guaranteed top 10 pick.”-ESPN Insider Chad Ford. If we lose Vonleh after this year, we are in big trouble w/ the departure of Fischer. Major trouble actually. We are hanging our hat on freshman to come in and make us elite? Not gonna happen that fast. Crean needs to find a suitable replacement for Vonleh in the 2015 class but I’m not seeing any bigs on our radar that can come in and give us close to what Vonleh gives us. Lyles would have been a huge get for us. Even at PF. We better pray that Vonleh stays. Say he leaves after this year and we miss on an instant impact big in 2015. Now how long is it before we are final four contenders? More than 2 years….. These are the things I think about in my free time. I’d love for someone to make a case for why we are going to be elite any sooner. I’m looking for the bright light; I just cant find it.

  • calbert40

    If Payne had played and Harris hadn’t gotten in foul trouble, the game would have probably gone differently. Also, if we had hit three of the nine layups we missed, we leave with a huge W. “If Ifs, Ands and Buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas,” right? Teams play through injuries and foul trouble all the time. It’s part of the game.

    So far as IU’s future, all of those things may happen just like you suggest: Vonleh might leave, we miss out on an impact big for two seasons, our freshmen don’t contribute like we think they will, etc. Or…the opposite may be true. Vonleh stays, our current freshmen improve by leaps and bounds over the summer, our incoming class is crazy good, and we still add a big man. The truth is we don’t know what will happen, so it probably isn’t worth worrying about it.

  • It’d be interesting to know for sure.. like how the two would compare on a measured vertical jump. I am however, under the impression that Hollowell is a bit quicker with hiss feet and does have a better vertical. I don’t think though either are close to TW in their athletic ability, ti explode and have great ‘hops’. Thing is, CWat had a lot more confidence, at least by the time he was a senior, in his three point shot. I think Jeremy could get there, but he isn’t even close right now IMO. I like Jeremy’s upside though.. he could be a monster performer next year, if he can keep hi focus..

  • I really think that is impressive. I don’t care so much if the kid is a ‘walk-on’ or not.. that just means he was never highly recruited, and IU wasn’t in a position at the time to offer them a scholly. My point is, that the way Crean can seemingly put just about an entire second five in there, and the whole thing doesn’t have the wheels come off. When you think back through the years, by the time any coach would get down to the 8th, 9th 10th players on the roster, you’d see 10 point leads melt away like snow on a hot June day… Our team in that respect looked a whole lot better than MSU.. Most of the time when they had their lower bench players in there, it looked pretty ragged… I do think for the most part we are doing pretty well with the depth of out bench.

  • I agree with you on Tim Doyle.. But in general, IU never does, and for that matter, even the last two years, does not get any love from the BTN basketball or football crew.
    Seems they are so quick to jump on the Michigan bandwagon, MSU and OSU and even Iowa. Not sure why, but they just never have a lot of good to say about us, in any year. We haven’t given them much this year for sure, but even after the Wiscy win, they were pretty much chalking it up to Wiscy losing it, rather than us wining it.

  • HoosierPat

    I think it’s great that he got pumped up after making a big play. His reaction really bothered me though. He seemed to think it was no big deal. In a close B1G game, let alone a road game against a top-5 opponent, they can’t afford to just hand points to the other team.

  • You’re right. We have no idea what could happen. But these are legitimate concerns. What do we do if Vonleh leaves. At this point, its more likely than not. That leaves a hole in arguably the most important area of your team, which is the frontcourt. I’m just getting impatient.

  • David Macer

    He has made one each against MSU and PSU. Plus he made two old fashioned 3’s in the NW game.

  • David Macer

    Until our players learn NOT to bring the ball down where all the little people live, it’s going to happen.

  • MillaRed

    A few of the fouls and turnovers were pretty bad. Cost us points. Wasn’t terrible. But wasn’t stellar.

  • wesmont

    I’m just sick of hearing how well Howard and Marlin are playing.Howard can’t score from anywhere.When he is in,they defend 5 on 4.Does he occasionally make a defensive play?OK,I Guess,but his being on the floor hurts in a variety of ways.He is slow on D,can’t score , and is taking valuable time from Perea and Troy,players who need experience to get better.As for Marlin,he is on the floor to make a point,Crean is saying he will play people to motivate even if it costs us a win.You know,I know ,everyone knows he has no business on the floor.Now maybe if he could actually shoot…but he won’t even look at the basket.


    That might just be the only thing that we know for sure that would’ve happened. LOL That & the back & forth between commenter & moderator would have been……interesting.

  • InTheMtns

    Nope, not stellar. I agree with everything you said, but if “cost us points” is the criteria, then which Indiana player who played for more than a minute was this also not true for? None come to my mind but I could have forgotten someone.

    I think AE trying to play the 4 on the defensive end – especially against Dawson – is definitely stretching his abilities. I’m not trying to make excuses for him; just trying to look at the whole picture. Hopefully the picture will get brighter as we move along this season.

  • Scooter

    Very true

  • BlakeD1223

    I’ve seen nothing out of Jeremy this year. I just don’t see the upside. I hope I’m wrong. To be honest with you, I wasn’t a big fan of Watford except for when he hit the big shot. His vertical killed him in the lane, he got stuffed so many times. If he wasn’t hitting threes and rebounding then he wasn’t much good.

  • calbert40

    Sure, it’s a legitimate concern, but there is absolutely nothing to be done about it right now, so I don’t think it is worth worrying about until we know. There are plenty of teams that have a mediocre center, but I think you can’t win at a high level without a solid PG. Hopefully, Noah stays, but if he doesn’t, we have the entire summer to deal with the issue.

  • Have to agree with you on Watford.. He seemed to disappear a lot in big games when we really needed him. I guess about the best he’ll be remembered for is the ‘Wat-shot’.. that was great. I also agree with you, we’ve really not seen much from Jeremy yet. I do think he has the potential, but a lot of guys that have gone through the IU program have had, it’s just not all of them realize that potential. I’m hoping Jeremy will come around. I believe he has the tools, it’s just can he put it all together.

  • deebo

    I agree totally this is the same point I was trying to make above. You said it better.

  • William Hagenmaier

    we need johnny marlin

  • William Hagenmaier

    Please don’t sound like a kentucky fan

  • William Hagenmaier

    we want johnny we want johnny

  • William Hagenmaier

    we need to to play more division 3 schools in pre season