The Minute After: Minnesota

  • 02/08/2014 11:15 pm in

Thoughts on 66-60 loss to Minnesota:

The record skips once more on the road in the second half, and with it came another loss in a game Indiana controlled.

This was a near repeat of the Nebraska game. A ┬ástrong offensive first half from Indiana and a lead at the break, followed by a meltdown over the final 20 minutes that leaves you shaking your head. The Hoosiers had Troy Williams go to work right away on Joey King. He scored Indiana’s first nine points. Whether zone or man-to-man, Indiana didn’t have much issue with Minnesota’s defense and scored 1.09 points per possession in the first 20. Jeremy Hollowell was active and engaged.

They cleaned up the glass on the offensive end and got second-chance points. Yogi Ferrell pumped in 10 of his own. The Hoosiers withstood two 7-0 runs from Minnesota and limited time from Noah Vonleh, who sat the last 9:21 of the half with two fouls, to take a 36-30 lead into halftime. They turned the ball over just five times. The Barn rarely sprung to life.

But in the second half, the script flipped. Troy Williams turned the ball over on Indiana’s first possession — after he turned the ball over late in the first half — and that would set the tone. Eleven turnovers in the second half saw Indiana’s turnover percentage balloon to 25.2 percent for the contest, as it wasted possession after possession. Stanford Robinson (three turnovers, zero points) fumbled the ball away in the lane on a few occasions. Noah Vonleh (three turnovers) had issues passing the ball out of the post.

Minnesota’s defense got into the Hoosiers much more in the second half, got a bit more handsy, a bit more physical and Indiana just couldn’t counter. Minnesota got some good looks on pick and rolls down the middle of the lane, got some luck (banked 3-pointer) and DeAndre Mathieu’s (16 points, five assists) speed gave Indiana some issues.

The Hoosiers were often a mess on offense, letting the shot clock sputter towards zero with little idea of what to do. The temperature got hot, the Barn got loud and the road remained a rough place for these young Hoosiers. They tried working it to Vonleh more and he was able to get some late buckets, including a pretty face-up score and a steal and score to cut the a four-point lead to 62-60 with 36 seconds to go.

Indiana made the decision not to foul Minnesota and let things play out, but Mathieu was able to shake free of Evan Gordon and get around Vonleh’s at the rim to score with just under 12 ticks left. Ferrell pushed the ball up and drew the defense on the right wing, which left Gordon open on the left. He overshot a 3-pointer, his only attempt from distance all game. That about sealed it.

This one was talked about as a must-win because Indiana needs some road wins to reach 9-9 in conference play, the seeming magic number for a spot in the NCAA tournament. It was there to be had tonight and they let it slip away. Decent chances remain against Purdue and Northwestern away from Assembly Hall, but that’s going to take a full 40 out of Indiana.

Can they do it? We’ll learn in due time.

Filed to:

  • Raynger

    You’re correct. There is some bad chemistry between the coaches and players in that if Crean has some ingenious game plan but the players aren’t getting it — then who is to blame? I suspect the game plan is not competent to win in the big 10 rather than the incompetent players. We get out-coached in the second half after opposing coaches make half-time adjustments. Gordon’s play yesterday should have kept him off the floor and to give him the final shot but quite the move and you are right it had little chance.

  • Arch_Puddington

    Of course we don’t lack heart. That is a moral judgment heaped on young players by sanctimonious fans. It is fair to point out that Troy Williams needs to improve his shooting or that Stan Robinson needs to improve his handle — even they wouldn’t disagree — but those who question them personally have nothing on which to base such claims other than that we have lost some close games. Like you, I see a lot of heart. Rebounding, as the cliche goes, is ALL about heart and toughness and all those other things fans like to beat their chest about, and we are really good at it. What we aren’t good at is taking care of the ball or shooting, both of which are harder late in close road games. Especially for freshmen and even sophomores. I am nervous about how things will go for us next year if NV leaves, but other than that I am glad to predict this team and all the players on it will look better next year than this year. And those who stay around for a third or fourth year will look better yet. Let’s see how much “heart” we have when we are hitting 40+% of our 3FGs and turning the ball over less than 12 times per game.

  • MillaRed

    Yes and I’ve also spoken to you 50 times in a productive dialog. What exactly are you trying to accomplish by ripping the very people that make this site possible? I don’t get it.

  • Snookafly

    There is a difference if the discussion is about what it means to be a “blue blood” program again. Both UK and UNC missed recent trips to the dance, but only after winning it all. We can’t claim to be on that level yet.

  • Raynger

    It may not simply be this group of players. Last year we lost at Minnesota. We had a sizable lead and then came the mass substitutions and we lost the lead. The commentator said that it was an unusual move. We should have won that game last year. Like so many others I do see improvement in substitutions but there are still fundamental problems with the game plan and making adjustments during the game.

  • Alford Bailey

    Your rant leaves out the fact pUKe lost their best player to a blown out knee. BIG DIFFERENCE.

  • Arch_Puddington

    Who is claiming we are? If you look above, that claim typically comes from those who want to run Crean down, not those who defend him. I don’t know about you personally, but Crean’s sharpest critics here are those who believe that failing to win the national championship last year, or failing to get to the NCAA this year, represent massive failures. That could only be asserted if you believe we are, in fact, on par with Kentucky, Duke, etc. Historically, yes, but currently, no. Those who place this team in context and aren’t quite so critical are those who recognize that it has been 27 years since we last won a championship, that just three years ago we were at the bottom following a nearly unprecedented implosion, and that it may well be several more years before we have fully put the past behind us and can claim to be a great power again. At the moment we are just one of a number of top programs trying to put it all together, and there are going to be ups and downs.

  • MillaRed

    Kid has no pride. The flop of epic proportions. Good for you buddy.

  • ForeverIU

    I’ll never forget your ole saying: “Yogi giveth and Yogi taketh” or something like that. LOL! Let it out Ole Man, it’s okay.

  • Snookafly

    “Who is claiming we are?” Umm, how about the 10,000 t-shirts sold that say: “We’re Back,” and those shirts were pro-Crean. Using UK as an example of why missing the tourney is acceptable is also usually said as a way to defend Crean. I like CTC, but we should still be making the tourney every year.

  • Arch_Puddington

    The T-shirts have nothing to do with the comments in this forum. I am referring to those who come here to post one negative or even hostile comment after another following each loss. In this discussion, for example, more than one person has said we are “doomed to mediocrity”, and others have questioned our players’ “heart” or “toughness”. Some have made multiple negative comments, literally going up and down the comments to repeat their initial complaints and add more. My point is that only those who see us as “back” could possibly have this level of animosity. Those who have any perspective get it that while we have come a long way over the last 3 years, there is still a long way to go before we can act like those programs that were not completely dead just 3 years ago.

  • hoosier1158

    Maybe the coaching staff should have recruited more outside shooters?

  • Outoftheloop

    Next year your ranking will be justified if Noah stays. This year IU is a top 50-ish team.

  • Outoftheloop

    The NIT can be a growing and bonding experience for a good young team, IF you play in the Championship Game!

  • Outoftheloop

    Hanner has not struggled at all! He just doesn’t get on the floor enough, and never with Noah and the starters!

  • Outoftheloop

    Agreed!

  • HoosierFan76

    Not sure I’d call college basketball rigged – I save my best conspiracy theories for the pros.

    I do think you have a point about confidence and momentum coming from getting a couple calls here and there, though.

    And, I’m not trying to get the refs off the hook for anything, but if IU had taken better care of the ball at the end of the first half and played with more discipline and focus to begin the second half, they might’ve still been able to pull out the win.

  • HoosierFan76

    Not that I know of. Everybody’s posts take a while to be posted – that’s just how this system works.

  • Outoftheloop

    Good points!

  • Outoftheloop

    We actually have two, we just never play them together!

  • Outoftheloop

    Will can not consistently defend 6’10!

  • Outoftheloop

    You are correct! A two Big zone in the paint with Noah and Hanner, sometimes parallel and sometimes vertical, with the other 3 matching up on the perimeter shooters, switching when necessary, would be hard to beat!

  • Outoftheloop

    Troy was good on offense and rebounding but bad on defense and TO’s.

  • Outoftheloop

    The NIT is good college basketball for “not there yet” teams!

  • Outoftheloop

    I re-watched the game tape. Not one off-ball screen to free up Noah in this game!

  • Outoftheloop

    Does IU ever execute a “jump-stop” with a pull-up jumper, preferably using the glass?

  • Arch_Puddington

    Kentucky stunk even before Noel went down. They were a middle of the pack team in a conference that had only 1 ranked team and only 3 NCAA teams, including a 9 and a 12 seed. If they had played in the B1G, they would have been lucky to be .500 even with Noel. And even without Noel, they had more talent than the Hoosiers do this year, By Cal’s own estimation there were 5 other future NBA players on that team. So I guess in the end I agree with you — what happened to Kentucky last year is not in the same ball park as what has happened to IU this year. It was was much, much worse.

  • Outoftheloop

    It is not that hard to measure. You watch them play every game. You carefully note when they play well, how they are playing when they do play well. You compare this “high standard” to their play in the next full game. “Not playing up to their potential” seems like an objective conclusion!

  • Arch_Puddington

    No amount of screening will ever account for a defense that can regularly collapse three or even four players in the middle. I suppose we could turn Noah into a SG and let him play on the perimeter, but short of that we are stuck with packed-in defenses and hard-to-make entry passes for the rest of the season.

  • Outoftheloop

    Just like KY last season! So are they “blue=bloods”?

  • HoosierFan76

    It’s OK – I don’t take any offense from what you say, and I don’t hold grudges. I honestly don’t have a problem with someone posting something that I don’t agree with, or taking issue with something I say, as long as common decency and respect is maintained in all discussions.

    The comments that get deleted are the ones that are profane, cross the line of common respect and/or decency, or are unnecessarily negative without any form of substantiation. I think it’s the last one that is the toughest both for me to judge and for others to understand. I’ll try to provide three example posts here, though (and these aren’t statements that I agree with, btw):

    1. “CTC is a terrible coach and needs to get fired.” – if that’s all you write, I’m deleting it. If that’s how you feel, support it with something. Keep your supporting statements within the realm of decency and respect, and it’ll stay there.

    2. “CTC is a terrible coach because he throws darts at a board to determine sub patterns, and he makes sure that he takes the best players out of the game as soon as they succeed.” – that’s a tough one. It’s not like he actually DOES throw darts at a board to determine substitutions (I presume), although I can understand the frustration. I’d most likely be inclined to take that one down because of the unnecessary invective.

    3. “I just don’t understand CTC’s coaching methods. His substitution patterns appear to be erratic at best, guys can never seem to build anything positive when they’re in the game, and there’s no coherence, flow or continuity within the offense.” – that one stays – it expresses the frustration, gives supporting statements and builds the premise of the post.

    I’m writing this to help everyone understand the guidelines we’d all like to hold to in the comments, but I’d also like to ask everybody to be patient with me. I’m still learning what should and shouldn’t fly here. Trying to read every comment and determining what stays and what doesn’t isn’t as easy or cut-and-dry as you might think it would be. I’m glad to help, though, and as time goes by I’m sure it’ll better.

    Furthermore, I was asked, along with a few others, to help clean up this place because it was getting so negative that players’ parents were compelled to come on here to try to defend their kids. Let’s not turn on our own, people. We all get frustrated at times, myself included, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to express our frustration. Heck, sometimes I even delete some of my own comments because I get frustrated and write things I shouldn’t. It happens. We’re all human.

    Nobody’s getting “banned/zapped” for one bad comment – but if that kind of stuff is all you ever write, and you’re deliberately belittling/slandering/provoking others, don’t expect to hang around here a long time.

    Thanks for reading this to the end, and I hope we can all get along and enjoy our mutual Hoosier fandom. Go Hoosiers!

  • Arch_Puddington

    Too true. It’s not only not our website, it’s not our business enterprise. We aren’t privileged guests, we are patrons of a private business whose owner is entitled to run it as he sees fit. Coming here day after day and complaining about the way Alex does things is a little like going to the same restaurant every day and complaining about the food. There are other restaurants — really! Those who don’t like the moderation could start their own blog this very day and carry on any way they would like.

  • Outoftheloop

    Not really! For 2012-13 the returners were: Hood, Polson, Harrow, Malone and Wiltjer; the freshmen were Nolens, Goodwin, Cauley-Stein, and Poythress. Nolens was the 5th pick in the NBA while Goodwin was a first round pick. Compare that with this year’s IU team: returners are: Yogi, Jeremy, Hanner, Will and injureds Peter and Austin; freshmen: Noah, Troy, Stan, Devin and Collin. Noah is a projected top 10 NBA pick, but no one else will be drafted this year. Very comparable!

  • Arch_Puddington

    Thanks, HF76. Keep the streets clean, bro.

  • Outoftheloop

    With Coach Cal you don’t know if they really WON the NCAA title until after a 10 year “stripping” period!

  • Outoftheloop

    Wrong! Every game these players play hard and battle to the end. They just don’t know how to WIN!

  • Darkside9861

    Even last year with the talented squad they would go thru 5-7 min stretches with no FG. That has nothing to do with talent on last year’s team or this year’s team. Common core is not being able to run an offense. Can’t spend the time with 4 guys just standing outside the 3 pt line until 5 sec are left on clock.

  • HoosierFan76

    It was a tale of two games for Troy. He started off great, but after he sat for a long time he couldn’t seem to get that initial spark going at the same level. His game was somewhat a microcosm of IU’s season in general – flashes of brilliance and athleticism when playing with discipline and control, but head-scratching turnovers and inconsistency coming back to undermine the good things. I wouldn’t call it boneheaded play, just trying to do too much and getting caught in a bad situation.

    I like Troy, and I think he’ll be a great player for IU before he’s done. He’s just inconsistent right now, and sometimes tries to do too much. You could say that about just about anybody on the team, though. I do think that things are trending toward the good for both Troy and the team as a whole, but their success moving onward will depend on minimizing the inconsistent play and maximizing what they do well while playing with poise, control and discipline.

  • HoosierFan76

    I agree that the standing around and letting the clock run until it becomes more urgent and compelling to get a shot has been an issue, and it particularly seems to happen against the zone defense – or maybe it just stands out more to me when it’s against the zone after the Syracuse game last year.

    I get the impression that the guys know what they need to do to beat a zone, but they still have to think about it before they do it. That hesitation while thinking about it lets the defense anticipate the next move and results in problems. Once they get it down to the point that it’s second nature and they don’t have to take time to think about it, that’s when things will click and they’ll get things moving and start getting better passes, movement off the ball, and get better shots without having to run out the shot clock to the end.

  • HoosierFan76
  • Guyton25

    If Vonleh leaves we’re going to need a big man. Hopefully it’s not another 7′, 100lb guy, lol. Love those guys, but I’m ready for a baby Shaq down low.

  • Guyton25

    Right on. Well said, and well done.

  • HoosierFan76

    The fact that people are so upset over what may likely be an NIT season proves that IU is at least somewhat back – if they weren’t, people wouldn’t view this season’s results as disappointing.

    This team is somewhat like the 2011-12 team IMO – beats some really good teams at home, loses to some teams in games that leave you shaking your head. The key difference between the two teams is the outside shooting, or lack thereof. That will be addressed next season with the arrival of the freshman guards, along with more time for Yogi to improve his shot along with guys like Stan and Troy getting in the gym and putting up tons and tons of shots.

    Will next year’s team achieve like the 2012-13 team did? Hard to say – I’ll feel much better about it if Noah stays, but IU will still need to have more contributions from other bigs if Noah does stay. I think Hanner will continue to improve and surprise a lot of people next year.

    Is IU completely “back” to the level of success that we traditionally associate with Indiana basketball? No, not in my opinion. Yes, 56 wins in two seasons and an outright B1G championship last year show that IU had some very good teams, but what always distinguished IU from other good programs like Purdue and Illinois is success in the NCAA tournament. Once CTC gets IU to another Final Four and/or wins an NCAA title, that’s when I’ll feel like IU basketball is truly back to where we all hope IU basketball should be.

  • HoosierFan76

    You know that’s right! Thanks for the laugh.

  • HoosierFan76

    Stan was having a really bad game. To be fair, Evan was too. Stan’s FT shooting makes him a liability at the end of games, which is really unfortunate. Stan loves to have the ball in his hands in crunch time and has the heart of a champion, but other teams know that he’s a 50% FT shooter and that they can do well by fouling him at the end.

    So if Stan’s in there instead of EG, maybe he defends well and gets the ball back, but then gets fouled and misses the front-end of a 1-and-1. You never know. I think CTC likely had EG in the game because EG is a better foul shooter and he thought that EG, having more experience (albeit elsewhere), might be better able to close the game. It didn’t work out, and it’s frustrating, but I’m not sure that Stan would’ve done any better – but not from lack of wanting to. It just wasn’t his game last night.

  • HoosierFan76

    If college basketball truly were rigged, then nothing would ever change. All the great teams would stay great, and all the poor teams would stay poor. If it were rigged, IU wouldn’t lose to Northwestern at home. Ohio State wouldn’t lose to Penn State at home.

    I get what you’re saying in a broader sense (I still don’t agree with it), but your argument breaks down when you talk about specific games.

    It’s easy to think that refs “have it in” for a particular team, but I’m convinced that in at least 99% of the cases (if not a full 100%), that’s simply not the case. As far as refs being “homers” and calling a bunch of minor stuff against visiting teams, I would imagine that the pressure of having 15,000+ fans (in most B1G venues) “helping” you with the calls would make you more likely to make those calls. Refs are human.

    Again, I’m not saying that I think the officials are infallible or even that B1G officiating is great, or even good. I just don’t think that there is any deliberate agenda or rigging of games.

  • Ole Man

    I ripped no one. Don’t know what your rant is about.

  • Ole Man

    Thanks for the explanation.

  • Ole Man

    LOL! Thanks for that reminder.
    Tryin’ to be a better, less negative fan.
    Still get in trouble.
    May go away for a while.

  • MillaRed

    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you eh?