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.

Filed to:

  • enickman

    Brad Stevens anyone?

  • enickman

    If you believe!

  • KmanCRK

    When he drove, 3 defenders collapsed leaving either JBJ or NZ wide open on the wing. That was the missed opportunity in my opinion. Point Guards are supposed to understand the moment and always see the court. Down 3 with 10 seconds and an open sharp shooter waiting to tie the game…

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    I’m all for giving Jeremiah, Emmitt and Tim a chance…before a severe case of “homesickness” sets in like what happened last year. Oops, did I just say that?

  • bsmitty

    JBJ didn’t leave the cape in the locker room, he used it on court as his matador cape, and the other guard borrowed it as well.

  • IU diehard from CT

    cmon man. do you even know how hard it is to recruit that late(once he knew fisher was leaving?) try not to speak in what if’s because IU is one match up away from a final four if they hadn’t had to play syracuse in the 2012 s16. we could what if all day long. noah vonleh was good enough to go 7th in a horrible draft, had he stayed…..what if? this is a bad loss, real bad. its not the players, crean has the talent. its the coaching, and ctc’s refusal to not switch defenses and let his team continue to get torched in man. if I’m playing you one on one, and all you do is hit shots from 3, most likely i would adjust and make you drive or put the ball on the floor. crean never adjusted, never chose to take anything away from EW. its bad coaching, it is not exceptable

  • IU diehard from CT

    lol

  • Max

    Count me among those extremely frustrated about keeping Holt and April on the bench. You don’t know what you have until you give it a chance. Given the lack of size among the rotation players, how can you afford to keep them on the bench? The only thing I can think of is that they’ve been terrible in practice or they’re hurt. Still, Holt had some good minutes against Lamar and April saw some action in exhibition (?). Bottom line, the micro ball we saw last night was atrocious.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    Players leave programs every year, but the truly “elite” ones always seem to recover, reload, rebuild and retain their respective prominence in the hierarchy of D1 ball. TC had Victor, Cody and Noah leave early. Not unique among any of the better schools. When they left, I got to read a lot of posts which gave TC mega-kudos for “recruiting and developing players”, but then in the same breath want to lament those departures as the reason why THIS YEAR’s team isn’t quite what the Hoosier faithful would like to see. Guys, you cannot have it both ways. If the $3 million man is such a recruiting/player development wizard, it’s not readily apparent to a fair percentage of us fans. Those who may disagree w/me are invited to go back and read or re-read some of the previous posts.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    Priceless comment!

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    It is not uncommon to find a boat load of knowledgeable coaches and fundamentally sound players at mid-major schools or the lower ranks of the D1 colleges. The team we played last night and that outfit which plays games in Hinkle Fieldhouse come to mind as good examples…you do not need 10 Mickey D’s on a roster to win games. Sometimes too much talent gets in the way of them becoming and playing as a team.

  • ty_smitty21

    Hey, look on the bright side: Blackmon can’t guard anybody…. So NBA teams won’t want him yet. He’ll stay multiple years! Woohoo!

  • Brad

    There has been a lot of criticism towards Crean lately and some of it is justified. But I think we are missing the big picture. What about these assistant coaches?!?!? McClain, what the heck does he do? He just sits there with his slicked back hair like a parrot on Crean’s shoulder. Chuck Martin? He’s just a Kelvin Sampson look a like with a better wardrobe. Buckley, don’t even get me started on this clown. Jackson, all he does is tell kids to lift more weights. We need a whole staff upgrade.

  • Blair McKee

    You’re dreaming if you think CTC has a master plan. He has no plan. Never has. Unless you count recruiting as a plan.

  • ty_smitty21

    IU is tied for the most wins over a ranked opponent since 2011. They went to 2 straight sweet 16’s for the first time in 20 years. They won the conference for the first time in 20 years. They’re getting much more interest from Indiana kids and top recruits.

    With all this said, Tom Crean needs this team to make the NCAA tournament this year. One down year after losing everybody is understandable. 2 down years will not fly with fans. This was only 1 game, but it exposed their flaws.

    Fans need to stop overreacting. Talk about how great we are after every big win, then do nothing but bash Crean in every loss.

  • Brad

    Keep using those tired and worn out arguments to defend Crean. He’s had ample time to get it done. It’s one excuse after another. Recruits, transfers, injuries, awareness, zone defense, and the list goes on. He needs to get canned. The sooner we move on, the sooner we can get our program where it needs to be.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    Those who think the $3 million man is without flaws are going to get angry enough to crush a grape when they read your comments.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    Not even close to being accurate about highly rated bigs rarely being an immediately dominating force. Do the names Greg Oden, Kosta Koufos, Demarcus Cousins, Luol Deng, Zach Randolph, Chris Bosh, Nerlens Noel, Anthony Davis, Jahlil Okafor, Cliff Alexander, Aaron Gordon ring a bell?

  • Max

    Despite all the success UK has had, I’m still glad IU passed on Calipari (if that is what in fact happened). I think that two vacated Final Four runs certainly signals the wrong type of leader, especially after the Sampson years. Winning is not everything. So far, he seems clean, but we shall see how it turns out years down the road.

  • David Macer

    You could be correct. But we have only seen Emmitt for 5 minutes. And he would be a boy going up against a man in Yorkys

  • David Macer

    The reason was to keep pressure on their outside shooters. By eliminating that split second, they weren’t able to get the shot up. If you re-watch the first half, it was working pretty well. IU held EWU to 40% shooting in that half.

    The second half was a different story. EWU shot 61% and that was a direct result of poor on ball defense by everyone combined with some contested 3’s made by EWU.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    So says one of TC’s biggest advocates…sometimes the truth hurts. Hey, in the final analysis, it’s just a game…

  • IUMIKE1

    There are a lot of things to not like about IU bball right now that we, as fans, have no direct control over, so please don’t bring something that we do have control over, like inserting the RMK comparison, into the discussion.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    Believe you may have been thinking of hari kari…???

  • INUnivHoosier

    I don’t care if you think Crean walks on water or stinks like dookie. Calling him “clappy” is old and worn out. It’s not original.

  • KmanCRK

    This game did not expose our flaws. The games against Indianapolis, SMU and Lamar did. And that fact that Indy & Lamar can expose flaws of my beloved Hoosiers is a tragedy.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    Feel for you guys! Try living in the center of the Big Blue Nation…all I heard was “We’re #1 and IU Sucks” for 25 yrs.

  • KmanCRK

    only one way to find out. And with HMP on the bench, is Collin, Stan, Rob an better option to be defending the post than an actual post player? I’m willing to see any and all options after the last 3 games.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Honestly, with as poorly as they played against Lamar, they should have lost that one, too.

    How many of those ranked opponents that they beat are swimming in the gutter for the second year? The worst part is, we shouldn’t be swimming in the gutter right now.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Is this satirical?

    Isn’t Jackson’s job to have them lift more weights?

  • KmanCRK

    Those do appear to be the 4 Pillars of Crean’s demise. When I hear Yogi saying they didn’t game plan to stop the dribble drive, I think since when do you game plan for that? Isn’t that just part of being a guard in the game of basketball?

  • ty_smitty21

    There’s a good chance firing Crean would once again set the program back to full rebuild mode. He’s done more for the program than anybody else for 20 years. I know as fans we want more.. But I’m just not sure you can justify firing him for what he’s done. Again, if this season ends up being like last year, it’s worth a discussion to look at things. But not after one loss in November. And the blame Crean for every loss thing gets really dang old.

  • ty_smitty21

    Extremely young team that is learning how to play. The defense/rebounding was inexcusable last night and needs to be fixed. But there’s a long way to go this season before deciding our programs fate after one rough loss.

  • KmanCRK

    Kind of?

  • calbert40

    After a loss, I always wait until the next morning to look at ITH and the comments. It keeps me from reacting with emotion over reason. Respectfully, I think some should adopt the same prohibition the night of a loss.

    That said, no sugar coating this…it was bad. Specifically, defensively. When an opposing player says that your D was nonexistent, that is as low as it gets. Of course, EWU is not a cupcake, and we’ve all clamored for a better pre-B1G slate of games, but we should not ever lose to a team like that at home.

    We had a chance to bury them twice. Teams with veteran leadership bury a team when they have the chance. We let off the gas. We need to remember that we have some major contributors who just played in their 5th game. This should serve as a lesson: no matter who the opponent is, if you let off the gas, they can come back and get you.

    In August, we all said that this team would win some games they shouldn’t and lose some head scratchers as well. Within a week’s span, we’ve seen both. I expected 4-1 after 5 games, but not the manner in which we got there.

    I’m not ready to give up on this team yet. Crean sounded like he wasn’t ready to give up yet. The players sound like they aren’t ready to give up either. I think we fans need to not give up yet also.

  • IUMIKE1

    Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to had Sean Miller as the coach, or some of the others that passed, but for the record, he stated publicly that he was not interested in the job at the time.

  • INUnivHoosier

    An extremely young team learning how to play should show a little bit of growth and adjustment.

  • ty_smitty21

    it’s….. November……

  • FinEndNow

    Someone asked me if “Crean was back on the hot seat.” I answered “he was never off it.” And he needs to be on a hot seat. He needs to be told that he’s on a hot seat. IMO I don’t care if Jeremiah April or Emmit Holt aren’t ready. They’ll never be ready if they never play. That is the problem with Hanner. He hasn’t played the last two years and you can tell(especially on the defensive end). Crean needs to go all out this year. I honestly think he should give April a legit chance. Heck play him and Hanner at the same time. What would it seriously hurt? If he doesn’t think he’s on the seat, then he should be going all out like there is nothing to lose. Giving those two playing time could be a win-win.

  • IUMIKE1

    This kind of comment, by a bandwagon fan, begs for the downvote to be reinstalled. A lot of people are really pissed right now, and justifiably so, but are not saying that no longer support the Hoosiers. If that is truly the way you feel then don’t let the Assembly Hall doors hit you in the a$$ when you leave.

  • FinEndNow

    Give up on the team. No. But after 6 seasons… well.. the only person Crean can “out coach” is John Beilein. But that is just the business. I can bet you that a school like Kentucky, Duke, Kansas or UCLA wouldn’t deal with it.

  • David Macer

    I waited until this morning to read ITH knowing that it would not be good. I knew posters would call for Crean’s head or comment about Hanner or even Yogi.

    I stated in the Premium Forum that this was going to be a trap game. 4th game in 7 days. Do any of you know what it takes to recover from playing 30-35 minutes of basketball ?? I don’t but can imagine its not easy even though we are talking about 18-22 year olds.

    ITHer’s we are 5 games into the season and the freaking sky is falling already, Crean can’t coach and the players are all bad. I’m not saying we should not be upset with this loss. We should. The players and coaches should. But Chicken Little is a fictional character.

    Many of us recall IU in the 70’s and 80’s and even the 90’s. The game has changed and the players (all of them) are smarter and more athletic than ever before. We all want IU to be like the IU of that era.

    One final thing to point out. The majority of the players (that played) for EWU were 21 or 22 with D1 or even JC experience. Our time is coming !!!

  • OhioHoosier

    I think UCLA would love to have the success John Beilein has had as of late.

  • IUMIKE1

    There is some truth in what you say, but you have to also remember that Crean was aware that TL was not walking through those doors for more than one recruiting cycle. I had pretty much bought into the homesick thing being true, and if I had to bet be one way or the other, I’d still pick that that is what happened, but I also have to admit that I’m not nearly as sure now that, “being homesick”, was 100% what caused him to leave like he did.

  • Zach

    Our big men were on the bench because our big men are a joke. What options does he have when Hanners defense is that bad? He isnt rebounding and he isnt playing defense and we know how bad he is on offense, you have to sit him. My only question is why not Holt? Seemed to be solid in limited action, but the reason why he wasnt playing hanner was clear. Then this forces you to play 2-3 because you cant have troy guard their center, he isnt big enough to defend in the post one on one. The zone didnt hurt us last night, the rebounding did, which was a problem in a man as well.

  • FinEndNow

    I’m talking about dealing with Crean.

  • Zach

    They only had a day in between games, hard to improve on every aspect of defense in a week. Should improve with what should be a very difficult week of practice. This team does show potential to defend very well in short spurts. Now its just a matter of locking in for an entire game instead of 4 minutes here and 4 minutes there.

  • David Macer

    Were you unhappy with IU’s first half performance ?? IU held EWU to 40% shooting. If it wasn’t for Yogi’s stupid foul, IU would have been up 9.
    Crean’s defensive strategy of switching at the top was working and kept EWU’s shooters at bay. The kids just did not execute it the same way in the second half.

  • David Macer

    Well stated Zach !!

  • ForeverIU

    What time is coming David? We’re already over-signed by two and therefore two of our current players are going to be transferred (or go to the NBA, or both), and we haven’t even signed a big man yet. How is this transience going to help us.