The Minute After: Eastern Washington

  • 11/24/2014 10:36 pm in

Thoughts on an 88-86 loss to the Eagles:

This is what happens when your only rotational big man can’t defend the post. Indiana become helpless against the size of Venky Jois. He goes off for 20 points and 14 boards. Indiana’s lack of size allows Eastern Washington to gobble up 41 percent of its misses for 20 second-chance points and 48 points in the paint.

This is what happens when your guards can’t defend dribble penetration: Tyler Harvey and Drew Brandon combine for 52 points on 19-of-36 shooting and the Eagles score 1.18 points per possession.

This is what happens when James Blackmon Jr. leaves the Superman cape in the locker room, the Hoosiers shoot under 40 percent from 3-point range and Yogi Ferrell goes hero ball down the stretch: A 12-point second half lead disappears, and Big Sky comes to Big Ten country to take Indiana out.

The Eastern Washington Eagles aren’t a bad team. But they’re not a great team, either. However, they laid the path on how to expose Indiana: If you have a competent big man, feed him, feed him and feed him again. Indiana just doesn’t have anyone capable of defending him at an acceptable level at present. Tom Crean has so little faith in Hanner Mosquera-Perea right now that he sat him for large stretches as a host of smaller Hoosiers did what they could against Jois, which wasn’t much. Emmitt Holt doesn’t appear ready to be part of the solution right now. He didn’t even see the court. Heck: Just a few months ago, he thought he’d still be in high school. Jeremiah April and Tim Priller likely aren’t going to get it done against competent competition, either.

If you have a kid or two that can dribble-drive into the paint, let him go to work time and again as well. Indiana hasn’t proved capable of stopping that either. Add up this game and the Lamar win and it’s 96 points in the paint the Hoosiers have allowed over their last two contests. Blackmon Jr. has been a tremendous scorer, but he’s letting guys go by him with ease.

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Indiana’s loss spoils a fun night for Troy Williams. He did his usual sneaky baseline work for a number of scores and a couple highlight reel dunks. Williams finished the night with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Ferrell scored 14 of his 27 points down the final stretch and at least kept Indiana in this one with a puncher’s chance of coming back after Eastern Washington made some big plays on their end.

But this team wasn’t supposed to have to rely on him this much this year for this long of a stretch. This team has too many other guys with talent, too many other playmakers.

“We’ve got to get better at defending the paint. And we will,” Crean said in his post-game press conference. “You have to stop that first line of attack much better.”

It’s early and Indiana has time to learn, grow and get better on the defensive side of the ball. But December brings Pittsburgh, Louisville and Georgetown. Big Ten season starts on New Year’s Eve. Time is limited for this young group before the competition ramps up a notch, and all the 3-point shooting in the world isn’t going to make up for a non-existent defense.

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  • ty_smitty21

    You mean when we had the 325th most experienced team in the nation? Yeah… home wins over ranked opponents is still a big deal.

    How about the fact that IU is 6-2 against Top 5 teams in the last 3 years? Is that possible with a terrible coach?

  • enickman

    OK! How does “Speedy” sound?


    He remembers a time when EWU was a cupcake, well, this isn’t that time and there is more parity in college bball right now than in any of the big three college sports, maybe in all of college sports. That fact doesn’t excuse the pitiful excuse of an example of D that we put out there in this game, but it is a fact none the less. There is a reason that the college bball National Championship tournament is as successful as it is, it’s because on a given night any of the top 50 or 60 teams can beat anyone else in that category. IMHO EWU will be in the top 50 or 60 teams in college bball. Again, not saying that it makes it ok that we lost to them, but rather (and not saying you need it) just putting some perspective out there.

  • Bradford

    If I remember right, kenpom had us at around 90% for chance of victory. So maybe 9 times out of ten? As a comparison, kenpom gives Wisconsin about a 90% chance at #203 Milwaukee (away). I’m with you that it’s a bad loss and definitely counts against us. But good teams lose to bad teams on a regular basis because so many random effects go into these games to determine who wins (and people pointed out a number of factors going against us on this one before the game, e.g. tired legs, students on break). Losing a game we had a 1/10 chance of losing should lower our expectations marginally, not completely alter the way we see this season. I’m not sure if it was clear, but I think I’m agreeing with your points throughout this conversation. 🙂

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    yes, i agree with you (eh looks like he’s 16). but so did hmp. i’m not fully ready to write this season off as an opportunity for developing our young players, i just think there’s very little drop-off (if any) going from HMP to EH, so why not plan ahead?

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    yeah, but every team deals with transfers and early entries to the nba!

    i could just as easily ask, what if gary harris hadn’t gone pro? he did (and they lost payne, not to mention), yet MSU’s in the top 25 again this year. you could make the same argument for scUM, they’re also in the top 25. you could make the same argument for Dook, pUKe, and jerKS almost every year.

    i’m just really tired of excuses.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    ask yourself this…is the iu job prestigious enough to draw top level coaches? if so, ask yourself where would this program be today if, 7 years ago, they instead hired izzo, or bo cryin, or stevens. where would the program be today? being brutally honest, i think any one of those guys (and any number of other coaches) would have the program leaps and bounds better than what we witnessed last night.

  • Arch Puddington

    Perspective is always good, and no, one game does not “prove” anything. But:

    It is not just one game. The exhibition games most certainly count; if they didn’t why play them? They add to our experience and provide valuable opportunities for growth. We even got 10 extra practices in over the summer thanks to the games in Canada. That they aren’t on our record is beside the point.

    Andy yet we have the 114th ranked defense in the country after 5 games that add up to the 330th ranked SOS according to Kenpom. I’m not saying there is no hope, but what we have seen thus far is not promising.

  • eville87

    CalBert your right on some points. But what about Illinois, Wisconsin, Syracuse, Northwestern, Penn State and Nebraska? I think most of the blame goes to the coach when our team calls a timeout and everybody cringes about the upcoming play.

  • Outoftheloop

    Carolina Hoosier on playing the freshman Bigs.

  • Erik Holm

    To add to Izzo (MSU) & Ryan (Wisky) & Stevens (Butler days) … **ALL** the other major (BCS level) programs in states that border Indiana like Louisville, Kentucky, UMich & OSU ALL have more successful coaches. [Not Illinois & NU though.] When I look at it this way, IU deserves better.

    If CTC gets some top tier Freshman bigs and/or 5th year transfers, I think we’ll be top 10 next year. If not, i think Crean’s future is in jeopardy. I like this team and hope they get the needed additions for. Until then, I’ll root for this team.

  • Kenneth234

    If Fischer was still here, Hanner would be in the same role that April is in right now, and we would still be playing 4 guards, and getting destroyed inside!

  • SCHoosier

    How a 6-8 dude with a beard..and no vertical can dominate IU in the paint like #55 did is beyond me. He’s right “”They( IU) didn’t do anything.” (on defense) Credit the war eagles head coach. He talked about their 3 ball prowess coming i n. The TV guys said IU spent all morning Monday practicing their perimeter defense. Then the Eastern coach has his guys attack the paint because he knew IU didn’t have the defensive talent to stop them. There was play after play when the Eastern dribbler got around the IU defender and the next Hoosier defender simply backed off and got out of the way rather than contesting what was an easy layup. I don’t know who’s coaching these kids on how to play defense.. but they are not listening.listening and certainly don’t know how to execute. As good as James and Nick area on offense…neither could guard a fence post if it could dribble. Good lord!

  • Boston expects excellence. Brad has not delivered. He may not want to depart the NBA willingly, but that may not be his choice to make.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    Back in the late 80’s, UK had a local player named James Lee. Joe B. Hall would put him in to fire up the crowd and alter momentum: Lee would usually foul out in less than 10 minutes, but along the way, he’d throw down a couple dunks and commit at least 3-4 “hard” fouls while guarding their best player. The plan often worked because whomever Lee had guarded spent the rest of the game more or less subconsciously “looking over his shoulder” to avoid another collision. More than one opponent could be heard giving a sigh of relief that his night was over. We need someone like that…STAT!

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    What’s the use of recruiting players if their only value is to keep a chair warm?

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    If we’re willing to roll the dice on Emmitt-Tim & Jeremiah to give them some solid in-game experience, Max ought to get additional chances to get acclimated to the pace of D1-level play. TC gets the hook out for Hanner, Collin and Max for 1 lapse…but lets Stan, Robert, Nick, Yogi and JBJ play through multiple lapses/errors. Oh wait, my bad. I forgot in a guard-oriented game plan, backcourt miscues have greater levels of tolerance than a frontcourt miscue. Silly me for forgetting…

  • dwdkc

    I think my point stands. Maybe one or two a year have a much bigger impact than say Noah did. But most of your top 10, especially when they aren’t a finished product like Noah, don’t really do more anywhere else than what Noah did. Cody with a different skillset made a bigger impact as a freshman. Nerlens Noel didn’t make that much impact on a bad UK team. I know a few of your examples did, I’d add Julius Randle from last year, and some others I’m not sure of. Jury is out on Alexander for sure. I don’t think their experience shows that Crean can’t coach bigs.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    My rebuttal wasn’t about whether or not TC can coach big men. I responded to your comment about bigs rarely being dominant in their 1st year of college. Every one of those whom I named were or are dominant bigs as Freshman. (Give Alexander the rest of the year & then decide whether he dominated.) Noel torn an ACL in Feb and sat the rest of the season. Post season accolades seem to point that lots of folks thought he was pretty darn good: #6 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. SEC Freshman Of The Year, SEC Defensive Player Of The Year, SEC First Team, SEC All Fresman Team, SEC Community Service Team and was also selected to the Sporting News Freshmen All-American team.
    Some seem to think Fischer was destined to become IU’s force in the paint after he got healthy and for however long he remained in B’town. No one knows with any degree of certainty that this would happen. He just as easily could have become the 2d coming of Richard Mandeville or Tom Pritchard..

  • hagster

    Well we need to quit playing 5 guards at same time. April should be getting playing time. And Holt looks good whenever Tom puts him in

  • hagster

    Don’t even mention paypal cal on this web site please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dave Carnes

    I woulldl settle for Joe B Hall

  • Dave Carnes

    No kidding the players change but our take is always the same our guys can’t keep a lead,the other team shot out of there mind,If we only had one more player. I’m calling BS there is one person who has been there or all of it and it is Crean.No discipline.Not only is Yogi still jumping out of bounds with the ball now other players doing it.No help Dfense JMB doing a Jay Edwards imitation on D

  • Dave Carnes

    Our football coach Loves offence, So much so that he made it so we get to watch offence all day.

  • Dave Carnes

    If there not better than HMP all the more reason to find another coach.

  • Dave Carnes

    Has any team other than us failed to make even the NIT with a lottery pick playing.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    I don’t believe anyone holds him in lower regard than I do for what occurred at UMass and Memphis on his watch. On the other hand, to those who think he still cheats, I will simply point out that there are so many levels of people between him and the UK players that the probability of the NCAA EVER CATCHING him is about as good as you being able to dance on the moon this New Year’s Eve. He has learned to work “the system of current rules” at least as good and arguably better than anyone else at the D1 level”. TC is light years behind and not likely capable of ever coming close in terms of being able to competitively and consistently recruit at the elite level. He didn’t do it at Marquette in the post-Wade era and he’s not doing significantly better here. jmo.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    Joe B could do less with more talent than any other coach in the SEC and perhaps in the nation. If it weren’t for the recruiting efforts of Leonard Hamilton, neither Hall nor UK would have won it all in ’78. BTW, anybody who thinks TC is great at building relationships w/recruits should look at what others think of Hamilton as a coach AND/OR recruiter. Past 9 yrs at Florida State, only Duke and UNC have more ACC wins than FSU. 247 Sports has FSU as 3D best recruiting class for 2015 behind Arizona and Louisville. Not bad for a “football” school…IU not even mentioned…TC & staff must be more focused on the development of our current players.