The Minute After: Illinois

  • 03/13/2014 2:07 pm in

INDIANAPOLIS — Thoughts on a 64-54 loss to the Illini:

Less than four minutes into Indiana’s opening round meeting with Illinois on Thursday afternoon in the Big Ten tournament, it appeared as though the Hoosiers would offer up little resistance to a Fighting Illini club that had come in with wins in four of its last five games.

Just before Illinois took a 9-0 lead with 16:23 to play in the first half, Tom Crean turned to his bench and uttered one sentence that said it all: “There’s no attack to the game right now.”

Crean was right.

Illinois was the aggressor out of the gate and how Indiana would respond over the next 16 minutes would tell us plenty about how the afternoon would transpire.

The Hoosiers answered out of the timeout with an 8-0 run, thanks to five points from Will Sheehey, who finished the opening 20 minutes with 11 points. Yogi Ferrell, ever the reliable contributor all season for these Hoosiers, would step up as well, pouring in 10 points before intermission.

When halftime hit, the Hoosiers would enter the locker room trailing by just two at 30-28, thanks in large part to a 6-of-10 performance from behind the 3-point arc and despite a turnover percentage of 30.4.

The opening of the second half was a different story as the Hoosiers reversed a trend of starting slow after intermission. IU scored ten of the first 13 points after halftime to grab a 38-33 lead.

It was a major change from the game’s opening minutes as IU got into the lane, racked up fouls on the Illini and got to the free throw line. As the Hoosiers mounted their advantage, the question would quickly shift to whether they could sustain it.

The answer, which has pretty much defined IU’s season, was no.

After Illinois roared back with an 11-0 run, the Hoosiers would never regain the lead the rest of the way. That Illini run, which included 4:14 of scoreless play by IU, was the ultimate difference as the Hoosiers were the first team bounced from the Big Ten tournament.

Indiana would pull within one at 53-52 with just under three minutes to play, but Tracy Abrams, who finished with a season-high 25 points, answered with a huge 3-pointer to give Illinois a four-point cushion and seal the victory for the Illini.

The Hoosiers failed to hit a 3-pointer in the second half, turned it over on 25 percent of their possessions and a season after winning the Big Ten outright and claiming a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, will await word on their NIT fate come Sunday night.

Filed to:

  • INUnivHoosier

    I think that is without merit considering he offered Cheaney an assistant coach position after Seltzer left.

  • KmanCRK

    He struggled against double teams all year. No secret he is very turnover prone when the double comes. Surprising coaches went away from it more recently, but Groce had a smart game plan.

  • IUmrm

    Very sound and I would agree on minimizing. But I would be willing to bet that 75% of the total TOs this year were in the 1/2 court and in almost all cases because of a lack of focus and concentration. A leader and especially a point guard responsible for running the offense, steps up right away and points this out, even with an occasional hard slap on the backside. As a point guard in my younger days (many years ago), I knew what was required and expected of me from my coaches. If someone was not in the game mentally or doing what they were suppose to be doing, they heard it from me before they even heard it from the coach.

  • INUnivHoosier

    I believe it was Confucius.

  • Alford Bailey

    That’s the 3 million dollar question!

  • Snookafly

    We aren’t finishing in the Top 3 next year.

  • KmanCRK

    I wouldn’t say we ran much different of an offense to last year, just that the drive and kick was somewhat worthless with the shooters we had. They either were afraid to shoot or they were building houses. Last year Hulls and Watford were sharp shooters off of the driving. Crean will always want to drive and force the whistle.

  • CreanFaithful

    You heard it here folks!

  • CreanFaithful

    I with you on the accountability note, not only for oneself but those around them. I just hear so many players regurgitating coach speak in these things and I could totally see CTC saying “don’t focus on turnovers they are part of the game.” Because the last thing you want is someone in the game thinking “don’t F up, concentrate.” Over thinking can be just as much of an issue. Also, dwelling on a turnover can be a problem to.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Happens to good coaches, too. See 1976-77 (prior to the McD’s All-American). Kent Benson and Mike Woodson were pretty good. Bob Knight just came off a championship. Hoosiers go 14-13.

    Tom Crean is no Bob Knight, but good coaches have bad seasons with good players. It just is what it is. If he has a bad season next year with these guys plus what we have coming in, he’s got no excuses in my book. I’ll spot him one down year.

  • IUmrm

    Put Hartman in the rotation and CTC has a seven man rotation. I know the more games these young kids play gives them more experience, but heck they have had 32 games or so to show they received and understand the message. So send the message in the NIT game, no playing time for you star athletes who have not or are not willing to get the message. If some leave during the off season so be it. It shows their true character. Its ME not the TEAM!

  • 3AM Burrito

    1) If you watched any games, you would have seen from the out of conference when it was basically whoever gets the rebound go down and try to dunk to the B1G conference there was a MUCH more deliberate pace to try to address turnovers. Not till the Iowa game did they really play fast. 2) the scheme where it is basically 5 out or 4 and 1 in dribble drive absolutely has guys who stay out on the perimeter for someone to kick to 3) this is pretty much all college basketball right now if you watch it – very few teams run a lot of off ball screen action – maybe Creighton? – it is all about spacing, driving, and ball screens. Towards the end of the year, they did run some flex which is based on off ball screens. Regarding your last comment on overall coaching, he did all those things. Remember back when when Hollowell was a starter? Benched. Vonleh, Ferrell, Sheehey, Williams, Stan, Gordon, Perea – all benched at times during the year. Its just that when he benches those guys, when Marlin or Jeff Howard come in, people just complain about something else.

  • IUBizmark

    A poorly constructed team is also on the coach. Our team has admittedly poor shooting. If Crean wanted to, he could’ve kept Creek and it PROBABLY would’ve helped. He’s shooting 41% from 3 this season and averaging 15 points. Leadership would’ve helped as well.

  • 3AM Burrito

    That Syracuse game last year is a litmus test I have to see if you really just hate Crean to hate Crean or somewhat know what you are talking about. That Syrcause game was not getting out coached, Syracuse was the perfect match for IU. It was like the Broncos vs Seahawks Super Bowl, Broncos could score at will on most teams but Seahawks had perfect D to stop them. Our guards were too small and Oladipo got outplayed by MCW and Zeller did not show up. Watch the game, first few possessions IU gets ball to middle, ball to baseline, 2 fouls first 2 plays and Vic only hits 1 out of 4 FT’s. Cody repeatedly gets ball in middle and not once shoots the FT jumper and goes up weak – maybe could maybe not – but goes up weak. Syracuse rose to the occasion and unfortunately IU did not.

  • MillaRed

    Ya know Jet, these guys want to come after me as the main guy scrutinizing Crean then so be it. I have broad shoulders. The reality is his supporters are in the minority. Just read the posts and the likes. It’s simple math.

    He certainly has cast a spell on the ones that are behind him. Because they are behind him 100%. I used to support him too. But I certainly am not opposing him with the same vigor. He’s not going anywhere right now. So I suppose I would feel good about that if I was a Crean fan.

  • IUBizmark

    I happen to agree on the “one season pass/rebuilding year” statement. My question now becomes, what will suffice next year? 2nd place in the Big Ten or better and an Elite 8 at minimum?

  • 3AM Burrito

    i didn’t say he was going to, i was just saying all these people who don’t like Crean but front and say ‘if he gets us to Elite 8 next year i’ll be happy…’ will really not be happy unless we win it all, and even if he wins it all, they will say “yeah, well he should have won 3 by now”

  • CreanFaithful

    Creek chose to leave, his own words when asked by Dakich. Give the force out a rest…

  • 3AM Burrito

    Me too, i am not sure why he left but I was really bummed when he did.

  • Fifty-fifty ball

    Losing season by my estimation. If we don’t play cupcake schedule we are below .500 for the 4th time in 6 years Players starting to react to losing like the coach, got nothing or gotta go find some blame to pass out. Only 1 player said my bad. NV. I want some fundamentals and accountability!
    Go look at what CTC did at Marquette and its very similar to the ride we are on. He went to the Final Four in his 4th yr Marquette thanks to a player he recruited (Wade) but one that worked his tail off. In his fifth year at Indiana we reach our recent pinnacle of Sweet 16. All the talk started to give way in Marquette to the mediocrity that was saw on the floor. His days were numbered after 5 more years of being a 20 win team with a weak preseason and a team that never finished better than 4th in the conference. The Indiana job gave him an opportunity to start the rhetoric again to those who hadn’t heard. Oladipo and Zeller are his most recent Wade and Deiner.
    I love CTC as a recruiter, role model, and person but he just can’t coach X’s and O’s or improve a team. Who can we say besides VO has improved? Maybe Hulls. How about an out of bounds play, anyone? I’m just very frustrated and not ready for a long summer before next year. Since he is getting $3.16M a year I have higher expectations. Hopefully the team and CTC can improve this off season and get us back to what we expect. Go Hoosiers 2014-2015!!!!

  • IUBizmark

    I know this is dangerous, but I always try to read into what Crean does. When he plays a ton of guys, I assume it’s because he is concerned others aren’t developing or won’t be around next year, so he needs to get more people playing time.
    When he brought back HMP, I thought it was because Hanner also missed a large chunk of last year, so he felt he needed to get as many minutes as he could this year. But then to NOT play him was befuddling. What gives, Coach?

  • 3AM Burrito

    probably was an unfair speculation but my point is still i would like to see an upgrade in assistants and preferably have one be a former player. would be awesome if will or jordy or someone from the recent teams decides not to play pro and comes to coach.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Right – some good points there, but amazing how many times these harsh critiques are accompanied with a “i didn’t see the game…’ But on your points
    -On Noah – he got the ball in very good spots today and didn’t finish, they ran a lot of stuff for him early and often. In general though, he had trouble really finishing around the rim in B1G play, the game he got the most shots in we scored less than 50 points and lost. I agree on the 3’s, he needed more of those but his best scoring was really rebond put backs and driving. At this point in his career, he is just not a natural scorer like say a Jabari Parker.
    -they put that 1-2-2 or 2-2-1 press in quite a bit, and they played a lot of zone to try to do a quasi Syracuse look to take advantage of their length, so they did do that, the press didn’t really create turnovers though. And given how hard this team had grasping switching and fundamental defense, not sure how feasible it was to throw extensive press in there.
    -YES! I totally agree with this, no idea – especially with some of the other lineups they tried – they never even tried this once. I know Crean said transition defense but at least try it, if we can play Marlin, Gordon and AE at same time we can certainly try Hanner and Noah with Troy out there.
    -the sub thing is an opinion, i can see merit in either but don’t disagree with you there, i prefer to leave the hot guy out there until he is exhausted and then try to get 5 more minutes out of him.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Right, nothing says IU fan like 500 posts on an article when we lose, and 90 posts on an article when we win!

  • Jeff

    Hoosier fans everywhere are happy we have rebounded from the depths, but many do not feel we reached our potential last year. With two first round NBA draft picks going home at the sweet sixteen level didn’t satisfy. The talent was there but what was lacking if not coaching?

  • Mr. Mitchell

    What A Season

  • IUmrm

    In the game of basketball when you are focused and concentrating (knowing what you can and cannot do given the situation) the game is as natural as walking. That is my definition of BB IQ. When I see bone head mistakes that one was taught from the time you begin playing basketball, especially organized basketball not to do there is no over thinking involved there. There is no thinking or learning at all. When you know what you can and cannot do given a certain situation its already so instilled within your mindset that its like second nature and one looking on from the outside believes oh man he is just playing without thinking. The thinking is done in the preparation. The action and reaction during the flow of the game is the execution of the preparation and mental focus on executing the preparation

  • Brian Goodman

    I think the frustration from this season overall is still from the early exit in the NCAA tourney last year. It’s much more acceptable to have a rebuilding year after a national title or even a final four run. But this year after a sweet sixteen is what has us all so restless. Don’t know if I will ever be able to get over last year

  • Sam R

    Your name Sampsonfaithful before? just wondering. Lol

  • IUBizmark

    What would you deem a success for next year? Suppose Noah leaves, then what does success look like? Top 4 in the Big Ten and another Sweet 16? Next season will basically be Crean’s 4th season at IU. Why was Crean hired? I say, to win Championships. National Championships. Crean has to give IU something to believe he can do so. Other than winning an outright Big Ten title last year (no small feat), he has yet to show much.

  • MillaRed

    Keep talking you are my new favorite thing.

  • Jeff

    In all fairness IU should have had back to back National Titles the prior two years back then & the number of teams that made the Big Dance were less than half the number of today. A considerable difference to our sweet sixteen out last year & not making an expanded field this year. I’m sure CTC is a nice man but he is responsible for looking ahead, recruiting a balanced group of recruits, & consider who might leave early.

  • IUmrm

    Although disappointed from last year’s finish, I let it go. This year though is frustration. Frustration festers, where disappointment wanes. Although trying to replace 70%+ of the scoring from last year was going to be a difficult task, my expectations for this year were not as high as others and I knew it would be a roller coaster ride of a season. To say the least, it was. Instead of being disappointed with this year, I find myself being frustrated with this team and the lack of chemistry. I saw no real team chemistry develop through the year and I do not foresee it heading into next year (am I alone here in my perception?).

  • ForeverIU

    Long day, ITH. I had some harsh words to say today, and they were deleted, and that’s fine. I wouldn’t want to be an ITH moderator; tough job herding cats. I was also called a stalker, a creep, and a guy with a tattoo of Crean on his butt, and most of those comments have not been deleted, and that’s fine too. Who am I compared to an IU losing season? I believe things happen for a reason, never doubt the wisdom in anything. Those who have taken the time to read my comments in the past know that I am not a zealot, and that I consider myself a nuanced and independent thinker. I have never been a fan of posses and their self-appointed leaders. I suppose I just have to wear those labels as a badge, and move on. Good night, and good luck.

  • ForeverIU

    Well said. There is nothing more cowardly than a down-vote. I would support a down-vote that identified the down-voter.

  • Brian Goodman

    Although the lack of progress at times was frustrating, this overall type of roller coaster season would be much more acceptable after the tourney run. A title or final four warrants a rebuilding year.

  • John

    Thanks for your insight.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Those are really lofty expectations (but it’s your opinion and that’s okay)….for me, I would be content with a top 4 Big Ten finish and getting to the Sweet 16. More importantly, I want the team to look organized, competent and perform better late in games. I want to see that the players and coaches learned from this nightmarish season. For me, that would be a sufficient step forward.

  • CreamandCrimson

    A motion offense is a lot of things….simple isn’t one of them.

    It might be fairly simple to run through once or twice but executing a motion offense against a living and breathing defense is far from simple.

  • chuck

    I’ve been watching iU ball for 40 plus years, WTF with the uniform change. Who said that was ok and why mess with tradition. They should’ve been preparing for a game instead they show up just as they’ve done all year half-arse and wearing ridiculous uniform. Good job Cream Puff

  • CreamandCrimson

    “I used to support him too”….forgive me but I think that implies you no longer support him.

    A bit earlier in the thread you wrote, “I am not giving up on the guy. I will support him while he is on that sideline”. I’m confused. Forgive me if I’m inferring incorrectly or assuming too much here but I think there is an important distinction to be made.

    I think this is how you are feeling…you no longer feel like Tom Crean should be the coach. However, you recognize he is the coach for now and you are going to support him (that doesn’t mean agreeing with everything or thinking he is a good coach) because he is the leader of the program. If next season shows marked improvement and changes then you are open to changing your mind.

    I think it’s very possible for people to support the program and be great IU fans next season while also believing Tom Crean is probably not the man for the job. I am going to continue cheering and rooting for IU no matter who the coach is and I imagine 99% of us are the same…I just don’t want next season to turn even more toxic than this season was because of “two camps” going back and forth over the same issues over and over.

  • CreamandCrimson

    That’s more than fair. My expectation for next year (barring major unforeseen defections or injuries) would be top 4 in the Big Ten and a trip to the Sweet 16. But as you say, the way we play, the way we finish games, the basketball intelligence of the team…if next year’s team is somewhat close to as “frustrating” (to put it kindly) as this year’s, I think the time will be right to move on. Now, if we do move on, the administration will need to be extremely confident they have found an upgrade that will accept the job because firing a coach within a definite upgrade to replace him is a probable step backwards, something none of us want to see.

  • CreamandCrimson

    This sounds strangely close to describing a cult of some kind…”posses and their self-appointed leaders” and then zealots and independent/nuanced thinkers. 99% of us (you included) are IU fans. We might have different opinions about whether or not the coach is/isn’t entirely responsible or about whether or not CTC should be the coach moving forward or if next year is make or break but I think we can all agree that we are all looking forward to next season and hoping things are going to be better. If they’re not, we’ll do the same thing the next season. We won’t be abandoning ship just because things are a bit ugly at the moment.

    I read some of the exchanges and things got too heated but I think you’re always welcome at ITH, even if some of your comments end up being deleted.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    I don’t think the officials ripped us off.
    I just think they’re bad and let to much go.
    But I wont say they never affect the outcome of a game.

  • CreanFaithful

    Bring back the short shorts! Don’t mess with our tradition!

  • CreanFaithful

    I agree with you. But it is evident that a few of our players came in without that kind of basketball instinct ingrained. They are now trying to learn it. Which is why you see some of the “dumbest team I’ve ever seen” comments. It will take time, but I think these kids have the talent and capacity to overcome their deficiencies and watch out when they do!

  • millzy32

    At least we didn’t lose to Kentucky on a neutral site because we refuse to play them there (why have a game that would draw 40,000+ and be nationally televised?). Instead we get a bunch of cupcakes to pad the win total which still couldn’t produce that way too attainable 20 win season.

  • millzy32

    In his defense and anyone’s defense who didn’t watch yesterday’s game because they were at work all you have to do is watch one game. They were all the same. Lots of dribbling with little passing in half court and no real sense of purpose. If you get the rebound push push push it up the floor wildly and pray for a foul when you drive wildly to the hoop. If the drive gets stopped dribble around the perimeter until your big man has to come meet you out there since there is no attempt to feed the post. Then when the shot clock gets down to around 5 either force a shot or throw it to some other unsuspecting teammate so he can force a shot.
    The End. Saw it over and over and over.

  • Banner6

    Hey Glass…Next season let’s wear chrome uniforms like the football team. Silly marketing gimicks don’t win games!

  • CreanFaithful

    Who said they do? They do generate money for the program and stand out to impressionable recruits. The uniforms looked good IMO. I’m glad it’s not a permanent change, because I also like our traditional look. But I thought we were basketball fans, not fashion critics…