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.

Filed to:

  • calbert40

    The 2H may have been the best 20 minutes of ball we’ve played in a long time. The team played with a lot of energy, they played as a cohesive unit, they played hard defensively, they were physical, etc.

    I know a lot of you don’t love Dakich, but I thought he was spot on regarding Crean’s defensive adjustment in the 2H – going to high pressure, in your jock defense – was the turning point in this game. It stands to reason that when you are playing a team that scores a lot of points, has a lot of offensive weapons, but is a much better team going to the rim than they are outside shooting, that you would play off of them. We tried that in 1H, and they scored 52 points. We switched up the D, and outside of the first four minutes of the 2H, we dominated them on that side of the floor for the last 16 minutes of the game.

    Total team win tonight. Let’s get the next three, a couple in the B1G, and see what happens!!

  • Nick Claghorn

    I think Sheehey really loves putting it to the Hawkeyes. Remember his emphatic slam a couple years ago? One of the best I’ve seen.

  • b_side

    It depends on the context of their “disagreement.” You do it constructively (which I fully appreciate), but not everyone on ITH does. I know you’re not a fan of the phrase “haters”, but to some fans out there, Crean is “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

  • MillaRed

    The crazy thing about the B1G is we could actually pull off the tourney. We have proven we can beat anyone in the conference. Talk about our backs being against a wall. Unless we run out the rest of the season “and” win a few in the B1G tourney we are out. I think that kind of a run is unlikely.

    It will be very interesting to see how this desperate Hoosier squad performs in the B1G tourney. A “nothing to lose and everything to gain” attitude may be exactly what it needs to shine.

    It’s totally achievable in this crazy season.

  • calbert40

    I thought he played very well in his limited action. Speaking of Dakich, I think he is right about Davis – he will be a very good player at IU before he graduates. Not all freshmen come in and make significant contributions immediately. Tom Coverdale comes immediately to mind as a great example of that point. I think he played about as much as Jurkin his first season!

  • IUJeff

    It was a really good win but with having 17 TOs and giving up 86 points in the game, I can’t say this one was the best.
    I think the game where we busted Wisky in the mouth was the best one.

  • MillaRed

    If we suggest playing 13 kids in a single half in a close Big Ten game isn’t ideal we “hate Tom Crean?” That’s just dumb.

  • MillaRed

    I’m seeing a lot of CTC love on the board today. This topic just goes on and on in here. It is totally acceptable to be critical of our coach and loyal to the program at the same time. The guy does things a different way. And it’s been analyzed.

    However, in the last few weeks our subbing patterns, shortened bench and timeout usage look more typical to me. And it seems to be resulting in more wins. Is it a coincidence? Not sure. But I sure have less to criticize under the circumstances.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Good points all…you’ve said it before and I’ll support your thought on this, people don’t have to agree with everything the coach does to love and support the program. I, for one, am tired of every win/loss turning into a larger referendum on whether or not CTC is the right guy for the job. He’s the coach for now and probably for the foreseeable future.

    Are the changes that have seemingly been made and the past few games results a coincidence? No idea, we just have to hope it’s progress not just from the team but from the coaching staff!

  • CreamandCrimson

    Our RPI is in the 80s right now (83 last I checked) so it’s going to take an incredibly strong push to get it into the 40s.

  • Gregory Spera

    Sorry, but this “Crean hater” went to bed before this thread was posted. You may find this hard to believe, but I’m NOT disappointed when Indiana wins. Most enjoyable game all year. As offensively challenged as this team is, this game showed, like with Yogi against Michigan, all we need is for one player to explode on offense to make this a fun team to watch. Just one. If we had consistent offensive production from anyone, then we would be a very dangerous team. If say, Stanford Robinson ever develops a jump shot, watch out, because he’s got everything else!

  • IUMIKE1

    I know you and I, along with some others, have been pretty critical about Crean’s time out usage, but I thought this game was one of his best when it came to how and when he used them. What do you think ?

  • deebo

    Ohio st losing to penn st twice might hurt

  • deebo

    Agree with that statement totally.

  • Gregory Spera

    At this point I would be very happy with an NIT tournament run to New York for this team. Any tournament experience is better than none.

  • SCHoosier

    Would agree that had an NBA scout who had never seen NV play before..showed up at the game last night..that scout probably would have wondered what the fuss is all about. (or am I just hoping that to keep NV another year?)

  • SCHoosier

    When the Hawks are bad from 3pt..they struggle… shot 22% last night (I think).

  • Mr. Mitchell

    Proud of you Hoosier. Another weird game.

  • SCHoosier

    Correct on both counts..re: Marlin. Yogi was getting frustrated . All Marlin has to do is not hurt the team and he earns his keep and a few minutes.

  • Hoosier gal in Iowa

    I was crazy happy not to have to call in sick for work today…. 🙂 Nice win Hoosiers!!

  • iuoiu

    I’m proud to say I’m a big Kentucky hater.

  • AtariHero

    If IU had played a challenging pre-season schedule and had a few quality wins in the preseason as a result, we’d still be on the bubble for the tournament. Scheduling guaranteed wins against the bottom of the NCAA is not helpful.

  • OhioHoosier

    I was at the game…how was Dakich overall last night?

  • HoosierFanaticFromUSI

    I think if we win the next 3 we would get in. Obviously winning a game or 2 in the BTT would be ideal so we’re not shaking on selection Sunday. If we win the home games and lose at Michigan, I think we would have to win a couple in the conference tournament. Take a look at the teams in Lunardi’s “Last 4 in.” Currently, he has Tennessee in. They are 17-11 (8-7 in a weak SEC). They have one really good win over Virginia and a couple of decent wins over Xavier and Arkansas. They have bad losses to UTEP, Vanderbilt, and Texas A&M twice.

    If the Hoosiers win out, that would give them wins over Wisconsin, Michigan (twice), Iowa, and Ohio State. I realize we have some bad losses but I don’t think any other bubble team could match us with those quality wins.

    I realize it’s a tall task, and I’m not getting my hopes up yet, but I’m also not giving up just yet!

  • calbert40

    He really doesn’t bother me overall, so I thought he was fine. I try not to get too worked up when he says dumb stuff anyway!

  • VAHoosier

    Well, sure, if you get in you earned it, sort of by definition. But with losses against every team in the bottom of the conference, no quality non-conference wins, home losses to PSU and NW, and a blow-out loss to Purdue, you have to feel a little lucky to get in. And by sneaking I meant that we’ve been off the NCAA radar for the latter part of the season, so to get in by making a run at the end would catch folks off-guard.

    But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We have a long way to go.

  • Walton

    Seeing is believing for me at this point. Going to be a downer here, but we went on losing streaks after good performances against Wisconsin and Michigan. I have used the “we got the talent to beat anybody” mentality in the past and was disappointed soon after. I am not sold on this team right now, but hopefully that changes.

  • Gregory Spera

    I know I’m in the minority here, but I actually like Dakich. Sure he gets upset (maybe too upset) when IU doesn’t move on offense or help on defense, but he does seem to like our players a lot and has much more incisive commentary than a dullard like Bardo.

  • VAHoosier

    Good point. Frankly, at this moment, our resume looks better than Tenn, no matter what the computer rankings say. The SEC is very weak.

    Our non-conference schedule is one of the main things holding us back. Our resume is almost identical to Minny’s (who is also in Lunardi’s last-4 in): both won 3 games against the top-5 teams in the conference, neither won any games against top non-con teams, both have a couple of bad home losses (NW and IL for Minn, and NW and PSU for us). There’s really only two big differences: (1) they beat us head-to head (and are therefore one loss in front of us in the conference standings), and (2) they played a slightly better non-con schedule, which gives them a much better RPI than us.

    For better or worse, these computer rankings have become one of the main factors for selection. IU needs to move it’s RPI up into the 50’s to get in. Reality is that they need better wins in the conference than Minnesota, b/c Minnesota had slightly better wins in the non-con.

  • Rie

    Your skepticism at this point is more reasonable than my optimism. I am also not sold on these guys, but acknowledge that they do have a lot of potential. Not necessarily in terms of this season, but as a foundational piece for Crean to continue building on. Hopefully, we are wrong, but it would take something short of a miracle to even get consideration for participating in the NCAA Tournament this year.

  • JetpackJunky

    I try to be optimistic but it’s tough to argue with you about that. The follow-up to both of our last big wins was to drop easy, winnable, essential games. NW after Wisco and the Minnesota, PSU, PU trio.

    Maybe that the next games aren’t easy at all is going to help.

  • b_side

    I’ve noticed more passive-aggressive comments toward Crean recently. It’s unprofessional in my opinion.

  • Earl Scheib

    Congrats to Will for having an epic night. Very happy for him!

  • VAHoosier

    And our conference losses have been very close, with only a couple of exceptions (Purdue and MSU). I think we have a shot. A long shot, but a shot nonetheless.

  • Rie

    Sorry, I could not think of a better category name than “Crean Supporter”, which is wrong. I am a Crean supporter, but I meant the people that believe he is exempt from any criticism whatsoever and get belligerent/accusatory when you say anything to the contrary.

  • Outoftheloop

    Great game Will Sheehey! We love you and will miss you next season. Thanks for becoming a great Hoosier!

  • Outoftheloop

    Are the Basketball Hoosiers as tough as the Soccer Hoosiers were in winning the B1G Tourny to make the NCAA’s? Stay tuned.

  • David Macer

    While I certainly share your unbridled optimism, I think IU has too many bad losses…Illinios, Northwestern and Penn State come to mind. Our second half collapses against Nebraska and Wisconsin also hurt.
    I just want them to play some post season games. If they go to the NIT, thats just fine with me. If they make the dance, that’s icing on the cake.

  • David Macer

    Me too !!! Big confidence boost for the kid. He played well. Even AE took the ball to teh rim tonight !!

  • David Macer

    GS – I like listening to DD too !!! He brings a player’s and a coach’s insight. I think he tries so hard not to be a homer and it shows sometimes. Also, I would love to hear Coach Knight on the color for a B1G game instead of an SEC game.

  • Outoftheloop

    Timing is everything in the NBA draft. Zeller stayed after his first year of college when all of those KY kids came out after their great run to the Championship (he was ramked #10-12). Then Cody did go Pro the next year in a weak draft class and McGary did not come out. Cody surprised everyone going 4th. This year’s draft class is totally awesome. It would be smart for Noah to wait one more year. Next year he and McGary will likely fight it out for #1 and 2. At #1-2 next year versus #8-10 this year, I think Noah makes a lot more money, and IU in 2014-15 is a Final Four quality team!

  • David Macer

    All of can point to the pUKe team for 12-13. After winning the 2012 NCAA’s the only earn an NIT bid and are summarily sent home after the first game. It happens to all programs.

  • Outoftheloop

    All three are tough to swallow: NW, NE, and PSU. Indiana would be 9-6 in the B1G and a national suprise story!

  • David Macer

    He’s gonna head to law school possibly after this year. Perhaps he will play 2-3 years overseas first. Who can say !!! Might know more after Senior night against Nebraska.

  • David Macer

    Not sure who Aaron is ?? But if its a Gordon, he’s just a HS sophomore. I think you meant Evan.

  • Outoftheloop

    He is still playing too weakly! He is 6’8 plus. We have excellent weight and conditioning training. Compare his physique to Noah, Devin, Stan, Hanner, Yogi, Will, even Austin. He was easily blocked from behind from 5′ out, his driving lay-up was a weak one-handed effort with no chance for a 3-point play. He needs to explode from the floor and two-handed throw it down. That was a “smolder” not a “fire”!

  • David Macer

    Marlin got sent in because Yogi made a mistake. Even Dan Dakich thought it was a good substitution at the time. JM might surprise some people in a couple years when he is a senior.

  • David Macer

    And 2-3 home games to help the athletic department coffers.

  • David Macer

    I disagree on the scoring comparison to Jeff Howard. This kid can shoot lights out. But right now that is not his role. He reminds me a little bit of Steve Reid for Purdue.

  • Outoftheloop

    No! They said that he was “fighting (against) Coach Crean’s (instructions). And that this made life “hard for everyone: teammates, coaches, high school coach, family, friends…everyone.” This has been obvious all year long. They also pointed out when Jeremy was running, hustling, being aggressive, etc.