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:

  • Ole Man

    I wouldn’t mind so much; but I never see you dumping on CTC.
    Why is that?

  • Banner6

    Since we’re talking about money I’d say Final Four appearances and National Championships bring in more money. As far as impressing recruits… winning impresses recruits more than selling out to Adidas. Look at Alabama’s football program as an example.

  • Ole Man

    Straight answer. Just not one you understand.

  • IUBizmark

    I should clarify my expectations are if Vonleh stays. I don’t care as much about the conference finish as I do about the post season step forward.

  • Ole Man

    If you couldn’t see it, you need to start rooting for another sport. Maybe croquet?

  • Ole Man


  • William Hagenmaier

    after this mess this year croguet would be more enjoyable that seeing the same junk every game from this team

  • VAHoosier

    Yeah, what happened to the grape-smugglers?

  • If we were 17-15 coming off a 32-0 national championship, yes, I could see where your coming from.

  • Mr. Mitchell

    You mean to tell me a new coach wouldn’t improve us. Wow. If that coach is a great coach

  • But….the fact is we are 17-15…we have had no success without Cody Zeller in an Indiana uniform. We are going into next year with what we hope will be a class of good shooters, but loose our front court to the nba. We all should know how a team fairs in big ten play without a front court (pre-Zeller). Next year I think we will have two mcdonalds all Americans (yogi and jbj) and similar results as this year. Now in 1976-1977 we were 16-11 not 14-13…we were 11-7 in big ten play and finished 5th. We were 21-8 the following year and finished 2nd.

  • IUBizmark

    I believe Crean did something to precipitate Creek leaving. You don’t trash talk your former employer, Creek knows that so he takes the high road.

  • VAHoosier

    Just… wow. Over a 15-season coaching career, his teams average 14 turnovers a game, with only 13 assists?!? Thanks for that link; IU’s problems just came into clearer focus for me.

  • SilverAtlanta

    Really? Must be why they have 12 players? Too bad none of the other 11 showed up in the first 10 minutes or so. That would be a great move, take the only player scoring, out of the game, are you Tom Crean under an alias?
    “They may score ALSO”

  • CreanFaithful

    “You think.” That is a convincing line of reasoning…

  • CreanFaithful

    Actually, we weren’t talking about money. We were talking about uniforms. Money and recruiting appeal are an extra incentive for wearing them. All the teams ahead of IU in National Titles (in basketball) do it, as well as all the others that have won titles in the the last 20 years and it looks good.

  • Hoosier Hall

    We scored a total of 191 points in last year’s tournament. In 1989, Glen Rice scored 184 by himself.

  • ForeverIU

    Thank you C&C I’ve always appreciated you. You’re one of the reasons I do like and will always be a part of ITH.

  • JetpackJunky

    Whoa man, I’m not the one who thinks that you magically don’t get any points and get pounded harder if one player isn’t there. It’s impossible to predict how whomever would have started in his place would have fared and how that would affect the rest of the game. Note I didn’t say take him out while he’s scoring, but was working with your statement “without Will” which implied he wasn’t there during the first 10 minutes, not that he had started and was pulled.

  • gman

    Okay… You are talking about a NIT game… Now that may be true but I would say why not support the TEAM. Not necessarily the coach…

  • gman


  • Rie

    Those may still be high. Rather than give an exact ranking for success, I just want to see a highly competitive team that shows constant improvement. They must absolutely make the NCAA Tournament and compete at a high level in it. How far they go, well that just depends on how good our squad actually is, which we will not know until about a year from now.

  • calbert40

    Thanks for the reply, smilin. I won’t respond to each on individually, because I think it is starting to get a little tedious to read everything that each of us is writing.

    Nearly every response on here that is critical of Crean suggests that he is the problem for just about everything. Everything from sloppy passing to how timeouts are called is laid completely at his feet and the players get a pass for the most part.

    If you read my responses, as well as many others who believe similarly, we acknowledge when we believe Crean has done a poor job, but we also don’t act like everything the man does is a bad decision.

    Comparing the two responses, which one seems to be more likely to be a rational and reasonable outlook on the situation: the option that suggests everything is the fault of one man, or the option that seeks out objective analysis prior to assessing blame?

  • calbert40

    The NCAA tournament is the most difficult championship to win, IMO, because you must beat at least 5 (if not 6) quality opponents on a neutral site in order to do it. Just one off night, and you are going home.

    IU had an off night against a really good team that presented a matchup problem for them in the first place.

    In the tourney, every play is magnified, but the truth is that we lost one game, and I don’t believe that one lousy effort should taint an entire season’s worth of success.

  • calbert40

    I’d have to look at our results over the past few years to see if that in fact is happening or not. But I am slightly skeptical, because we usually do have 3 or 4 days to prepare for a game, so I’m unsure how we’d measure the difference. A Tuesday or Wednesday game is usually followed by a Saturday game. A Thursday game is typically followed by a Sunday game. Three or four days to prepare every time.

    One other point, I think running a motion offense is the most difficult to teach and learn. There are no set plays in a motion offense. It is all about reading the defense, and the man with the ball and the screener must simultaneously be on the same page. It is a great offense when it works properly, but it takes a lot of effort and practice to do it right. I don’t think that is something we could easily implement during the season. We’d need to start working on that over the summer.

  • 3AM Burrito

    That offense also worked in many games and is the offense that is pretty much run in most college programs now, so I can see if you don’t like it but you probably don’t like much college basketball as it is almost exclusively a game where you space, drive, dish and then ball screen at the end. The difference between IU running it this year and the successful programs are the successful ones have shooters who the driver can dish to and they have half as many turnovers as IU.

  • INUnivHoosier

    That’s not what you said. You said 17-15 with two McDonald’s All-Americans.

    We just came off an outright B1G championship and a Sweet 16 run with different players. Just as that 32-0 season was with different players.

    My real point is that proven quality coaches (like Bob Knight) even had down years with good players. It really doesn’t matter that he had two almost perfect seasons in a row. If anything that further proves my point that an excellent coach, that can lose one game in two years could have a bad season with a team that has some high-quality young players. The next season, they got some McD’s All-Americans, had their returning guys, and went 21-8.

  • SilverAtlanta

    You are projecting an outcome based on something that didn’t occur, unique perspective, a lot of non-sense, but unique. Unless you have severe comprehension issues, I’d say your post was a matter of you feeling the need to post for the sake of posting. When they re-run the game, perhaps you should watch the first half, then get back to me on who it is that would have scored those points, would love to hear about it!

  • INUnivHoosier

    The uniforms looked turrible in my and Charles Barkley’s opinions.

  • Kyl470

    Completely agree. The loses would be much easier to take if it didn’t appear that the team was beating themselves. 2 years ago when IU lost to UK in the Sweet Sixteen 102-90 it was tough to take especially from UK. But the team played well it was just that UK was a better team and we simply couldn’t stop them from scoring. So many of the games this year were lost by unforced turnovers, a lot of standing around on offense and watching Yogi dribble the air out of the ball, and guys looking lost on defense.

  • Kyl470

    IMO I don’t think Crean is a good coach and I don’t think he will ever get IU a Final Four appearance. That being said I think he earned himself a get out of jail free card (Monopoly reference for the younger crowd) and he is cashing that in after this year. Next year especially if Noah comes back if this team doesn’t finish in the top 3 of the Big 10 and make a NCAA tournament run I think he should go.

  • calbert40

    I’d love to see those numbers, actually, and if I have a moment today, I may do some digging of my own. Obviously, we are going to dip somewhat due to the competition, because I’d posit that every major program would dip once they get into conference play. Not only does the competition ratchet up, but you play many of these teams, and more importantly their coaches, twice a year every year. Familiarity may breed contempt in relationships, but in basketball, I think it breeds better competition.

    As for your other point, I just can’t agree with that. Any coach taking over a program under normal circumstances is given 2-3 years leeway. Under the nearly unheard of circumstances surrounding our program when Crean was hired, you believe it is reasonable to give him no more rope than Rick Pitino at Minny? I can’t agree to that at all.

    In fact, if you go way back on this site, in Year 4 of the Crean era, many of us were pining for any tourney berth. Many of us would say things like “wouldn’t it be great to get into the NIT this year?” Instead of that, we made the Sweet 16. Crean turned around the program a year early…not a year late.

    I am not happy with this season. I am not pleased any time we miss The Dance. The question I think we need to ask is whether this was just “one of those years,” or is it a harbinger of what the rest of the Crean era will be? I don’t believe any of us can answer that question with any certainty now. Two really strong years followed by one really bad one. Which is the most likely outcome in the future? We shall see next year.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Ok, looking at IU B-ball history, 75-76 NCAA champions, next year no post season. 77-78 ncaa sweet 16, next year NIT champions. 83-84 elite 8, next year NIT finals, 86-87 NCAA champions, next year, lost in NCAA first round. IU was very young and played this year largely on talent as they suffered from lack of coaching. Young teams have a difficult time sustaining effort for 40 minutes. This year team is exhibit A.

    Anyway, lets root the Hoosiers on in the NIT and get back to the Dance next year. Noah probably not coming back but we have enough tools to keep developing and improving. We don’t play through the post anyway so Hanner, DD, Jeremy and maybe even Peter J. can hopefully rebound and play defense.

  • CreanFaithful

    Can’t argue with 2 fashion aficionados 😉

  • I guess you are referring to an excellent coach….but we are talking about Tom Crean.

  • Outoftheloop

    But he only plays PG for Orlando 50% of the time. And Orlando is now “reducing” his minutes to “save him” and to worsen their record for the draft “sweepstakes”.

  • And recruiting 2 mcdonalds all Americans doesn’t make one a great recruiter either. A great recruiter is someone who can mesh several players together and have them function as a unit.

  • Bob knights team – Kirk haston

  • calbert40

    I don’t “trivialize” the Crean-critical comments that contain valid observations. I challenge them, if I disagree with them, and I believe there can be some substantive discourse. There is a HUGE difference.

    Most of the critical comments on this site, however, do not contain anything other than conjecture and subjective disagreements. Actually, I ignore the vast majority of those. The ones I do choose to respond to, I typically call them out for what they are.

    The comments on this site are devolving into nothing other than B&M-ing about Crean on all things, and any time any poster brings up any point that is anything less than 100 percent critical of Crean, that poster gets attacked by the Crean Haters Club. Well, I’m not going to stop calling out ridiculous comments when I read th, so you can continue to say I lack brainpower and discuss my points out of context…and the 25 unregistered ITHers can continue to vote you up all they want. I’m not changing for you.

  • calbert40

    Heads up, Sarasota. You made a reasonable argument using facts to support your assertions. They’re coming for you…..

  • MillaRed

    I support the coach that is on the sideline. But don’t want the guy there.

    Don’t get lost in semantics Calbert it seems to be a small problem of yours.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’m not Calbert but thanks for the tip. I was just trying to clarify how you were going to a season where you don’t believe in the guy leading the program because I respect your opinion and think you have very logical and well-thought out reasons for feeling the way you do….sorry for having a problem.

  • Jersey Hoosier

    My, my. Isn’t the sanctimonious one getting touchy? I guess my shining the spotlight on your goofy bad luck theory has gotten your knickers in a twist.
    Just because you offer up some arcane statistics which may or may not have an iota of relevance, your opinions are no more valuable than any others made on this forum. You may think so, but I seriously doubt than many others do.

  • calbert40

    Honestly, you may be completely right about his abilities, Kyl. I hope you aren’t, though…for all of our sakes! I agree that he has earned a little grace, and I completely agree that he must improve this team next season.

    I believe all of that is very reasonable.

  • calbert40

    Don’t flatter yourself, Jersey. I really don’t care that you disagree with me. In fact, I’d prefer it that way, based on your overall comment profile.

    I would post the link, but it would flag the comment, which would probably flag this whole conversation, but I suggest you google BABIP. You will get an education on how luck (good or bad) can have an effect on a player’s or team’s performance and how it is computed. It isn’t my theory. It is something many, many really smart people use to dive a little deeper into the stats. Like it or lump it, that is what it is. Don’t give me credit for it, though. I just posted what it was. I didn’t come up with it.

  • Jersey Hoosier

    You don’t get it, do you. Not that I post to get up votes (registered or otherwise), but I received those votes because a lot of people who participate in ITH view your comments as condescending and supercilious. I don’t give a rat’s behind about BaBIP, and my reference to brainpower in my earlier post was nothing more than a response to your deprecating use of that term in your post. Why do you get to disparage people without them having the ability to reply in kind?
    You’re giving me a headache. Respond with more arrogant babble if you will. I’m done.

  • calbert40

    One thing I will agree with you on, Jersey, is that my opinion is no more important than any other opinion. You can post all you want, and say whatever you want. I’ve never suggested otherwise. If I have come off that way, I’m sorry, because I don’t believe that at all.

    However, some opinions carry more weight, because the person making the assertion has taken the time to research, learn and understand before posting his/her thoughts.

    I try to do that. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with me, but when you suggest that I am “goofy” and using “arcane” stats (which they are new, not old, btw), it doesn’t reflect poorly on my opinion.

  • calbert40

    First off, I didn’t claim any specific person lacked brain power, but that the reaction “we lost because our coach sucks,” doesn’t take much of it. I stand by that. That doesn’t mean that if you believe Crean is a lousy coach that you are stupid, but I prefer to see people back up their assertions.

    I fail to see how that makes me supercilious. What I think is happening, Jersey, is that people don’t like it when I (or the others who have similar feelings) ask them to back up their points. That doesn’t mean I’m condescending or arrogant. It just means that I want a better discussion.

    You are the one who came out guns a’blazin’ towards me, not the other way around.

  • INUnivHoosier

    If you look up, you’ll see my point.

    You say that going 17-15 with two McDonald’s All-Americans is a wake up call, but it isn’t. It happens all the time. UNC went 20-17 (16-16 through their conference tournament) with 7 McDonald’s All-Americans. They were National Champions the year prior.

    I didn’t say Crean was an excellent coach. I said that it happens to good coaches, too. It is not proof of anything.

  • calbert40

    You bring up an interesting point, Hall. Last year’s team was talent-heavy, no doubt, and I’m certain they would have won a lot of games regardless of who was their coach. But you just mentioned how they had heart, intelligence and will. That they cared about wins and losses.

    The reason I think you bring that up is to showcase that this year’s team did not have those things, and I’d agree with you. I believe it is fair to say that the coach needs to drill some of those things into those players, but it is hard to make players care. Yes, he recruited them, but I think that was an obstacle for this team all season, which is really unfortunate.