The Minute After: Northwestern

  • 02/22/2014 10:17 pm in

Thoughts on a 61-56 win over the Wildcats:

EVANSTON, Ill. —  After all the tumult over the last week-plus, just what Indiana team was going to show up inside Welsh-Ryan Arena tonight was anybody’s guess.

As it turns out, the Good Hoosiers made an appearance for much of this one. And so they avoided the second half breakdown, one that has plagued them on the road in conference play, hanging on for an important victory on the road and perhaps even gaining some confidence for the home stretch in the process.

The Wildcats, after zoning Indiana up for much of their win in Bloomington, decided to go man on Indiana in the first half. The Hoosiers, with more space and seams, went to work on the drive and on the offensive boards (42.1 percent offensive rebounding percentage). More than half (18) of their 32 first half points came in the paint. 10 of their 32 points came on second-chance opportunities,  as Troy Williams (two) and Noah Vonleh (one) had tip-in slams. The offense scored 1.13 per possession.

But Indiana’s defense wasn’t exactly sound, as their option to go zone allowed Northwestern some looks from beyond the 3-point arc (4-of-10, 40 percent). Alex Olah, on two bum ankles, played well (5-of-8 for 12 first half points) and the Hoosiers entered half up only two points (32-30).

Indiana was able to extend the lead all the way up to 12 coming out of halftime on the back of a 12-2 run. Northwestern went cold, Drew Crawford missed a few shots at the rim, and Indiana kept going to work against Northwestern’s man-to-man defense. But Chris Collins finally decided to go zone against the Hoosiers as the game seemed to be getting away from his Wildcats. During a stretch of five minutes and 45 seconds between a Will Sheehey lay-in at 14:28 and a 3-pointer from Yogi Ferrell at the 8:43 mark, the Hoosiers failed to score a field goal, though they got into the bonus during this timeframe and hit some free throws.

But Indiana would begin to find some success against the zone with good ball reversal and working the middle. Will Sheehey hit two buckets in the middle of the zone in the paint. Vonleh, who can often have trouble establishing himself against a packed-in zone, scored on a lay-up. A Tre Demps lay-up with 2:21 cut Indiana’s lead to four, but that was as close as Northwestern would get.

Williams — who finished the game with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting  — streaked in out of the left corner and Vonleh found him off the perimeter for a lay-in a few possessions later.

“He played fast but he didn’t play in a hurry,” Tom Crean said of Williams’ zero turnover performance.

Will Sheehey splashed a 3-pointer on Indiana’s next possession to extend the lead back out to eight. After falling apart on the road the last couple tries out, Indiana finally made things happen when it mattered.

“Those were big plays at crucial times,” Crean said.

Indiana turned the ball over just seven times for a turnover percentage of 12.6, both season lows.  A few more silly turnovers like we’ve seen over and over again this season, and this one might have turned out differently. But Indiana made smart decisions with extra passes in both halves and it led to possessions with points on the end of them instead of the ball in Northwestern’s hands. It was also a balanced offensive performance. Instead of Ferrell having to do so much work, four Hoosiers (Vonleh, Sheehey, Ferrell and Williams) scored 12 points a piece.

“They never flinched and I think that’s the most important thing,” Crean said of his team having to deal with the postponement of the Iowa game and switching gears to prepare for the Wildcats.

A rough week of Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio State awaits Indiana on the other side of this one. The less flinching, the better.

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  • Shaggy_C

    I’m not sure beating 4 ranked teams at home would be enough to overcome our poor record away and on neutral courts. Agree with the other responses – I think we not only have to win the majority of our last 5 (3-2, or better 4-1), but we would have to win at least 2 in the Big Ten Tourney to be considered “on the bubble”. That would put us at 20 or 21 wins on the year, which in a year with as many bad losses (and as few marquee wins) as we’ve had would put us in the conversation but would by no means be a guarantee. At this point it would take a miracle run by the Hoosiers coupled with the complete collapse of several other bubble teams for us to make it in.

    We’re #94 based on RPI right now…that’s borderline for even the NIT if you assume they are taking the “next 32” after the big tourney.

  • Outoftheloop

    IU is 5-8 in the B1G. IF we can win the next 5 games and go 10-8 in the B1G, then Indiana IS IN the NCAA tourney! The B1G gets 6 teams in: MSU, MI, IA, OSU and WI are IN, that leaves 1 spot open. A record of 10-8 wins the prize. Is it easy…NO! Can IU do it? It is possible but not likely. The real question is “will they do it”? In sports if you want to be great you find a way to “do it”! Does this Indiana team want greatness, we will see. Just win Baby!

  • Outoftheloop

    Give those minutes to Devin.

  • Outoftheloop

    Troy and Stan are really good freshmen. Noah is off the charts good. Losing Luke was a real blow to next year. 4 out of 5 is great recruiting, and the jury is still out on Collin, in 1-2 years he may be a player. Will anyone give Coach Crean some credit for this?

  • Outoftheloop

    Troy is 1-12 on 3’s! He is .518 on total FG’s (29-56). So if Troy just shot fakes with the ball, does not travel, and dribbles closer for a 17-7′ jump shot (hopefully off of the glass), he hits 63.6% on those 12 shots, that is 15 more points! He would average 7.0 pts/game over his current 5.8 pts/game now. Troy needs to learn about major college basketball and increase his BB IQ! He can become great. Then in the off-season he can acquire the 3-point skill to make a giant leap as a sophomore.

  • Alford Bailey

    I think it was Dustin on the Live Discussion last night said Troy hit 3-4 in row in warm ups from the exact same spot he took that three vs NW. I think his shooting is improving. He has been pretty active around the rim lately which I like.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Did you see that charge call against CJ Fair? I don’t really care for Syracuse but that was questionable. It should’ve been a no call if anything. Even the Pac 12 guys are complaining this year. Its awful across the board. I think the refs are either confused or angry over the new rules.

  • Alford Bailey

    I haven’t seen too many complaints on recruiting.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I think they have to win at least 4 more. If they don’t, then they’ve got to win the conference tourney.

  • Ole Man

    Hope you’re right! Go Hoosiers!

  • 323SGrant

    Only 7 TO’s vs. NU is huge. Hope CTC can show them ways to continue to minimize TO’s.

  • Hoosier Hall

    That’s awesome!

  • ForeverIU

    And Boeheim was ejected, did you see that? LOL, the second time in his entire career. The other one was in an exhibition game.

  • CTHoosiers

    Welcome to the ACC Jim, Duke gets block/charge calls at Cameroon.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Yeah, he’s usually pretty subdued. His ejection says a lot.

  • Alford Bailey

    Makes me wonder who the “some” are.

  • ForeverIU

    Ha, I wondered about that too! Maybe he’s sending a message. You can’t ask players to stay, but you would certainly like them to do it on their own initiative. I know if I had the opportunity to play for IU, I’d be eating, drinking and sleeping basketball.

  • ForeverIU

    On a side note, if you wake up at night screaming “down-vote” you know you’re spending too much time on ITH, and maybe taking yourself a tad too seriously. Please keep winning, Hoosiers! I’ll sleep better at night.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Alford, Guyton, Ratliff, Recker, Wilkerson, Coverdale, Gordon, Creek, Roth and Hulls didn’t need 1-2 years to become good shooters…AE and CH were supposedly recruited because each could score from distance. CH doesn’t play andAE won’t take the shots when open. Not much firepower here…

  • SCHoosier

    Great defense the first 6 minutes of the second half permitted the Hoosiers to get a 10 point lead which gave them some breathing room to win the game .It’s amazing what having only 7 TO’s allows you to do: shoot 22% from 3 and 50% from the FT line and still win the game .NW had personnel issues…but fact is they missed shots they hit in B-town and never got into a “hot strike” . On the positive side..IU did reduce the TO’s, actually scored after a time out to end the first half..then later scored on an inbounds play under their own bucket!! TC’s sub decisions were rationale, switched between the zone and man effectively and used his time outs well. Sheehey bounced back from 3 TO’s in the first half to finish strong. IU has a ball buster schedule left in conference play..hopefully we can sneak in a win or two at home.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Not many responses on the game ….Maybe people did what I did ..didn’t watch this game at all and haven’t seen the highlights… Happy for the win…sounds like the team toughed out a competitive game … #aSeasonOnTheDrink

  • Ole Man


  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I think 3 of 5 and win 1 or 2 in the tournament and we’ll still get consideration because that means 3 of those wins would be against other teams who are tournament bound or in Nebraska’s case, battling to get in the NCAA tournament.

    It would only put the Hoosiers at 8-10 in the B1G but they’d have some big wins against great competition.

  • HoosierFan76

    At minimum, that it’s a lot better time for the mods after a Hoosier win… 🙂

  • David Macer

    Devin needs to look for his shot. Notch of an offensive threat.

  • ForeverIU

    LOL, I was thinking that today. I hope you won’t have to resume normal duties Tuesday night!

  • CreamandCrimson

    We would have some big wins but we can’t ignore the other sides of the resume…the bad losses (at Illinois, at Purdue, vs. Penn State, vs. Northwestern) and the total lack of any wins of merit outside of conference. If we go 8-10 in the conference after doing nothing outside of conference, it’ll be very difficult to get an invite. We’ll see though, the first step is just winning some games.

  • BKLock

    What’s wrong with this picture, 90 comments after a road win or 300+ comments after a loss? The last couple of losses have been very discouraging but come on people where are you when things go right for the team? Seems that some aren’t happy unless they can rant.

    Any way, this was a much needed win and hopefully a confidence boost for the Hoosiers.

    Now we have to sit back and see how they respond this week. With short turnaround between games, mental preparation and keeping the turnovers in check will be key to their success this week and next.

    Go Hoosiers!!

  • HoosierFan76

    Me too.

  • Outoftheloop

    Actually his 1/1 FG in this game came on a very nice move, about 8′ off the glass.

  • Outoftheloop

    Which Wilkerson? Bobby needed 3 years to become an average shooter. Wilmont needed 2; Hulls was good; Recker was never a great shooter, but a good scorer (he did shoot well against IU!); Coverdale was never a great shooter (3’s), yr 1 3/5, yr 2 .356, yr 3 .370, yr 4 .349; Hornsby was much better .346, .426, .447, .380, and Fife was the best in improvement, yr 2 .227, yr 3 .306, yr 4 .478. AE was recruited when he was a HS sophomore and IU needed some Indiana kids to commit; CH was a HS sophomore and IU still needed Indiana kids to commit. So Max Hoetzel will be the real test of a kid recruited to shoot the 3 as a HS senior.

  • Outoftheloop

    How can you call 1/12 improving? Of course his practice 3-point shooting is improving, but he should only take the 3 in a game if the shot clock is 3 seconds or under.

  • David Macer

    Out, sorry I must have missed that particular play. But DD needs to be more aggressive with the ball. He has the skills. The times that he is on the perimeter, I seldom see him in triple threat position.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Glad to see Williams have a good game. I feel like he’s going to make a great improvement over the summer and be a key piece of the team next year.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Also have to consider the recency effect. If we pull it together at the end of the year with a young team, I think they look more favorably upon that than with an older team. We were expected to have growing pains (maybe not as many as we did.) Winning a lot of good games at the end of the year and finishing with a decent record could get us in.

  • INUnivHoosier

    True, but he is more of an offensive threat than Howard.

  • HoosierFan76

    It’s really not a bad gig, which is why I volunteered for it – I’m not complaining. 🙂

    Anyway, back to your original question – I would suppose that after a win, most fans are happy and content to go do other things and enjoy their evening. After a tough loss, they come here to vent their frustrations and see if others share their opinions on the game and the current state of IUBB.

    That’s why there are so many comments after a bad loss – everybody wants to have their say. For the most part, there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as nobody is taking potshots at other posters or extending comments beyond the bounds of common courtesy and decency.

  • bojak

    I won’t go that far as to say the substitution’s were great.