The Minute After: Iowa

  • 02/28/2014 12:25 am in

Thoughts on a 93-86 victory over the Hawkeyes:

This one was like none other.

After the Big Ten season had slowed the Indiana transition attack, the Hawkeyes presented themselves as a willing partner in a fast-paced dance. Up and down the court these teams went in the first half, trading quick bucket after quick bucket. It was called an AAU game, a track meet, a defensive-averse first 20 minutes. It was also something else: fun. It would end as the contest with the most possessions of the Big Ten season to date.

Tom Crean wasn’t afraid to push the pace and keep running it back at Fran McCaffery. There were possessions after Iowa makes where Crean implored his team, two hands sweeping in circles, to not slow down, to keep it going fast despite a made basket from the other team. A total of 101 points had been poured in by halftime.

Indiana won this one because it was able to slow down Iowa just enough in the second half, stringing together some nice defensive possessions. The Hoosiers pushed the Hawkeyes into a higher turnover percentage than average (21.7 percent) and shut down Roy Devyn Marble (14 points in the first half, just six in the second).

And then there was Will Sheehey. Simply put: It’s been a bit of a rocky, up-and-down year for No. 0. But with his big trey against Northwestern to seal it late, his strong start against Wisconsin and his career performance this evening, you wonder if he’s cresting just when the Hoosiers need him, salvaging a season that looked bleak just over a week ago.

Will’s 3-point shot is still a little rough (2-of-7), but he sprinted down the court ahead of everyone like he was like Cody Zeller for buckets at the cup, including an emphatic dunk late that (just about) sealed the victory. Sheehey hit jumper after jumper and made cuts off the ball as well en route to a career-high 30 points. He was hunting for shots at times tonight — something he’s not known to do — but you know what? It worked. Hats off to the senior.

Stanford Robinson has been benched from the starting five in favor of Austin Etherington over the last couple games, but after a strong first half, Robinson was back in the starting lineup to start the second half. He was magnificent going to the hole and drawing fouls and even hit 7-of-10 from the line after shooting around 50 percent on the season heading into the game. Robinson ended the night with a career-high 17 points and Crean’s concerns about production out of the 2-guard spot, for a night, were put to rest.

For a stretch in the first half, Jeremy Hollowell probably put together his best chunk of time this season. He was active and engaged on both ends of the floor. He scored seven points tonight and it was clear he gave a damn. Evan Gordon had some bad turnovers in the first half, but he also was aggressive on the attack, hitting on some big drives and banking in a trey in the second half. He had 12 tonight, scoring in double-digits for the first time since the overtime loss to Illinois on New Year’s Eve, when he had 10.

Yogi Ferrell (eight points, just two in the second half on late free throws with 39.9 to go) and Noah Vonleh (four points) took a back seat tonight. Not the worst thing in the world. These two have carried much of the offensive load this season and are getting a lot of defensive attention game after game, including tonight.

And really, If IU is to keep going from here to pick up a couple late wins in the Big Ten season and flirt with a .500 conference mark, it’s going to need the rest of the crew to step up like they did in tonight’s wild one against Iowa.

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  • David Macer

    I’m seeing way too many comments about post season…NCAA vs NIT. We still have three reg season games left plus the conference tournament. With the way this team plays, we have no idea whether “good Indiana” or “bad Indiana” will show up. Lets hope more of the good Indiana shows up.
    IMHO, the only way IU makes the big dance is to win the remaining regular season games AND reach the tournament finals. That gives them 22 wins and means they had to beat at least 3 more ranked B1G schools. Then and only then, will we make the dance.
    To earn an NIT bid, we need to hold home court and win at least one game in the tournament. That gives us a 3-2 run in the last five games and an overall record of 19-14. Anything less than this puts us in trouble for the NIT as there are a lot of good teams this year. BTW, the B1G only had one team in the NIT last year…Iowa. They lost to Baylor in the finals….just sayin’

  • Ole Man

    And to some he walks on water. There are extremes at both ends.

  • Ole Man

    It’s not hating.
    But I doubt I can explain that to you.
    I’ll try…it’s frustration; it’s passion; it’s desire; it’s living through the team; it’s emotion.
    And those same exact things are going on in EVERYONE.

    Just as there are those who take their talk to an extreme against Crean, there are those who think that he can do no wrong, which is the other extreme.

    I don’t see how attacking or defending him does any good for anyone; not even the poster.
    It simply divides Hoosier nation.

    And what you said with your last statement is “they were wrong, so I’m copying them.” Huh? Does that make sense.
    And no need to exclaim so “loudly”.

  • sometimes i comment

    i thought he looked like he was limping a little towards the end of the game. not when running but when walking — hope maybe it was that his shoe had come loose

  • msquaredb

    Really speaks to how much the fan base here has nothing but the best intentions and hopes for all of our players.

  • msquaredb

    “Im tellin ya…the ball knows!” -Dakich whenever a FT is missed after a questionable foul

  • msquaredb

    Dakich seemed really disgusted with our non-conference SOS. I was surprised at the strong language and tone he was using. In my opinion, that was the only time he was out of line last night.

  • Alford Bailey


  • Alford Bailey

    If and its a big if IU manages to play their way onto the bubble all we will here about is how weak our non con was. Replacing the Kennesaw st’s with some average mid majors would help a bunch. I agree with HoosierInChapelHill’s reply below.

  • calbert40

    I think if we grabbed ten random ITH users, at least half of them would do a better job than Bardo in their first game. He is pretty bad. I don’t dislike Dakich either. He says some really insightful things, but also can follow them up with some really boneheaded ideas too.

  • b_side

    Jeremy has a little bit of Watford in him when it comes to explosiveness – in other words, he doesn’t have a heckuva lot. Some guys have it, some don’t. But Jeremy was sure quick to the ball last night, whether it was a loose ball or a rebound. Noah/Will both get blocked as well, frequently I might add so I don’t think it’s worth singling out JH.

  • dwdkc

    Don’t think it will be as hard as you say. Sweep the regular season and it’s a done deal. As hard as some of these games have been to watch, look at the other bubble teams. Of course, there have been no signs that they have the consistency to win 4 in a row, but I’ll take two 3 game winning streaks with losses at Michigan and the conference final and see you at the dance.

  • MillaRed

    Agreed. It’s getting better.

  • MillaRed

    Baby steps buddy. Baby steps. It’s nothing like it was 6 weeks ago. But I get your point.

  • David Macer

    I hope you are right. I’m just not that sure. Just want them to play more than the next 3 plus a tournament game.

  • Alford Bailey

    I agree on Noah possibly becoming a #1 but McGary? Don’t know about that one.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    I really can’t argue with your logic.
    In the past you would be right, but this is another day.
    I didn’t want to be satisfied with the NIT, but the season has broken down, so we look to next year, and as I stated, a deep NIT run could kick start next year.
    It’s been known to happen.

  • kaponya44

    While I totally see where you are coming from the only people who would be hurt by contemplating tournaments are the IU players themselves.We on the other hand are just having fun so why not ?

    I think it is the NIT that will have a strong field but no question IU makes it in there at this point.There is an unofficial practice with the NIT that when a “blue blood” program is .500 or better overall it is all but a given.The NIT wants famous arenas(Lol maybe not the Hall after the metal fell) to host and also understand the effect hosting Indiana would have at most opposing venues.Win-win having IU in so NIT is a lock & this final stretch and the BTT IS all about The Big Dance and what needs to be done . I guarantee you that while IU coaches and players should not be and likely are not talking about the NCAA’s there is no question it is still the goal of every person in that locker room..

    Most everyone else may have written these guys off,but the other night I saw the look in our players’ eyes and effort level fitting of a group that knows there is much left to play for and how close they are(it is mostly mental mistakes) to being legit .Besides IU teams with losing B10 records (8-10) have made it into the NCAA’s before albeit in the pre-automatic bid era… 9-9 in conference with one BTT win is a solid bet for an at large berth and with 2 BTT wins is a single digit seed ..8-10 with a run to the BTT final game might do it ,but much more shaky unless the run includes a couple of ranked teams.Probably a few other crazy ways involving other bubble teams losing out ..Go to one of the sites where all conference standings are posted and look at the records .There are not a lot of Mid and low major teams not in 1st place that would look stronger than IU even with a slightly better record which makes most 1 bid conferences and Indiana handled it’s business against every foe of either level in OOC. There are also several high major bubble teams with better records considered “in” before IU but they ALSO have to play each and win conference tourney games which will trim that (# of better records should IU keep winning) down…

    Back to the main thing – I hope the team’s focus tomorrow is front and center on Ohio State ,then the same goes for Nebraska , then Michigan, etc and the chips shall fall where they fall.

  • kaponya44

    Someone I know works out in Iowa in sports media and every time we play them I wonder how much crap she’s catching from people.Lol

  • kaponya44

    I hate to be sour grapes ,but this year and next would have likely made for some damn good IU vs pUKe games had they not chickened out of the series .. Kinda disappointing .. With so many people moving in and out of each school and the roster turnover, looking a year ahead is like predicting weather.I guess it should be hard to be too disappointed since the rosters change so fast.Lol

  • kaponya44

    He needs to be developed but to specify an offensive ceiling for someone with his versatility and limited experience is getting quite ahead of things .Not to mention him being reclassified one year..Noah is literally still growing into his body and although he is a D-1 pro prospect now he is also a growing young man & one of the youngest at his current level of competition.However he is a large guy for his age and he just looks like a clumsy 18 year old to me,but not a limited offensive player.Noah is a steady 10-15 point per game scorer in what many people feel is a very strong B1G.When Noah fouls early and often he doesn’t score much .It is a repeated theme.

    In high school Noah did not need to be a big scorer.Going early might slow him but I can’t imagine him on anyone’s bench in 4 -5 years no matter where he is playing.I think time (growing to be more coordinated ) ,coaching ,and hard work over the next 3-4 off seasons and he is too valuable to be a role player even if he never goes for 20-30 per game.I see no worse than Noah being a 15/15 guy in the NBA since he can hit 3’s score the post and rebound .Nothing less in my opinion.Would he really need a mid range game to make it no ?

  • gman

    That’s fair…