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:

  • calbert40

    Crean seemed to “out coach” a lot of guys when we were winning lots of games. I don’t mean this disrespectfully or to direct it towards you specifically, but I think the “out coached” idea is the easy way out.

    I think you notice the coach’s ability most during three times in the game: before the first media timeout to start the game, immediately after half, and in the very end of the game. (side note – I don’t think out of a TO is as important, because it is more about execution than scheme)

    We jumped out to a 14-2 lead. That shows me that Crean had the team prepared for EWU. Most coaches script the beginning of the game more before letting the team settle into the flow of a game. They started the 2H with a 13-7 run. When the team executed Crean’s plan, they succeeded.

    Personally, I think they let off the gas mentally. That’s the mark of a young team. They’ll get better. Hopefully they now know they can’t do that anymore.

  • Brad

    I don’t blame Crean for every loss. I’ve placed blame on the assistant coaches as well. (See past posts) This isn’t just one loss in November. This is a loss against the Big Sky conference at home. There is always a chance that a coaching change could cause disruption. But why keep the status quo year after year? Complacency is worse. The only discussion at the end of the year will be how many more years we have to wait until the buy out is reasonable.

  • David Macer

    With regard to the three you mentioned, I thought all played pretty good D when they switched and were guarding the post, particularly Hartman. But that was all in the first half. The second half was a different story.

  • Zach

    If Chuck Martin pulls Thomas Bryant out of New York, then he has done what he is supposed to do. He is there to recruit the New York area, I think its a little to soon to judge him.

  • calbert40

    Precisely. We lost. It sucks. But it is just one game. What matters is what the team does with the lesson they received last night. That is a better way to judge this team and the coaching job the staff is doing, IMO.

  • IUMIKE1

    Excellent comment ! The comparison that you use is perfect for the situation at hand. IMHO you have made several good comments in the past (and not just because I agree with most of them), but this is one is one of your best, if not “the” best. REALLY big upvote given.

  • Zach

    We didnt have a big in the game. I think the thought was, if were going to have Troy Williams guard the post player, how big of a difference does it make if rob gets switched on him. Both are going to be outmatched, might as well switch it and not give up the three.

  • FinEndNow

    When we had Zeller and Co. a couple years ago, Crean was still getting out coached. Most famously by Brad Stevens. The fact Jordy Hulls was on the floor was just dumb coaching. We all love Jordy but he shouldn’t have been on the floor in such a big defensive moment. Stevens had his team get the ball to whoever had Jordy on them. It worked.

  • Zach

    What if Fischer stayed, What if Vonleh stayed, What if Lyles stayed, What if Davis was healthy. You say CTC is one Zeller away from being a bust, you could just as easily say CTC is one of these “What Ifs” to having us in the Top 25, and all but the last one we would be a top ten team in the country. Weve had some bad breaks, and now were due for a good one soon.

    What if James stays and we get Thomas Bryant next year…What if..?

  • You don’t really think Brad would leave the NBA.. to return as Head Coach at IU.. That’s delusional… As a Crean supporter forever practically, I’m fast coming to the conclusion we really do need a change, but this Brad Stevens talk is ludicrous.. It happens after every loss and it will never happen, believe me,

  • Brad

    Bryant isn’t gonna walk in to this cluster. He wants to go somewhere where they can develop him.

  • I’m thinking you’re right.. Unless HTH has an old WWII plane he wants to fly into a ship somewhere. Guessin’ he wasn’t an History major…

  • Brad

    What if money grew on trees.

  • IUMIKE1

    IMHO, the Canada trip was the first place to expose our defensive inadequacies by letting all, but maybe one, score way more points than they should have. The bad part about the one that I’ve excepted is that they had one of their top players out for that game and if memory serves me right he was their top scorer as well. When I mentioned it then I was given the, they’re still learning to play together, they’ve got plenty of time to get better on D, HMP wasn’t on the trip and that would have made a big difference, they were playing with a much shorter shot clock which made for more possessions, type of cover stories. While all of those are true to a certain extent it still was bad enough, IMHO, to be concerned enough to do whatever it took to make it better than it has been up to this point. It shouldn’t take a direct shot into the command post to realize that something very important needs to be fixed in a big way, a close shot directly across one’s bow should be enough to do it and our D on the Canada trip was the shot across the bow.

  • ForeverIU

    I have tremendous respect for you IUMIKE, so this compliment from you means a lot to me. I like many people on here, but there are a very few that I imagine as my “conversants” here (it’s hard for me to give an opinion in a social void, lol). You are at the top of my list. I often find myself thinking: What would IUMIKE think of this or that idea and, more importantly, how can I make my point in the classiest way possible, as IUMIKE would? Of course, I’m not always successful, lol. Let’s hope for better basketball days ahead!

  • SeeingRed

    And Crean defended it in the presser. Basically saying “extending the game” with 10 seconds left, down 3 points, was the only logical play and he would do it again. This with an alarmingly good group of potential 3 point shooters. My goodness, folks. This is the captain of the ship.

  • MattRyan

    I can’t decide about Crean. I am curious what others think about him. If we were to move on for him, who do we think would be a good cantidate for the position?

  • INUnivHoosier

    Their defense has been lacking since day 1, and at the very least since November 10th. That is two weeks.

  • INUnivHoosier

    If only a game was one half long.

  • ty_smitty21

    It was a big loss. But still 1 loss in November no matter how you slice it. IU hasn’t been status quo except for last year. This year is still TBD.

  • IUMIKE1

    Exactly, another good one. I know the popular thing to say is that the numbers thing always works itself out, well, this should be a very interesting episode of “working itself out”…….if Crean is still the coach.

  • Brad

    Brad Stevens, Archie Miller, Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny, anyone but Crean.

  • IU diehard from CT

    well spoken, thank you

  • IU diehard from CT

    bro, unless you are there, you have no clue. you have no idea what they do, so don’t speculate.

  • INUnivHoosier

    And soon it will be December…

  • calbert40

    Completely, wholeheartedly, 100 percent disagree with this. We lost to Butler. That doesn’t mean Crean was outcoached. If you recall, that was a pretty darn good Butler team, on a neutral court, and that game went to the wire, in OT. If memory serves, we missed a shot to win it.

    My point is that winning doesn’t mean your coach outcoached the losing coach. There are SOO many more things that go into winning and losing than that. Suggesting otherwise is the lazy way out, IMO.

  • FinEndNow

    Archie Miller is an interesting one. His brother is doing wonders at Arizona. Bringing in big time talent. Wonder if Archie could pull off the same. Getting Brad Stevens would be like get Jim Harbaugh or Pete Carroll to coach the football team.

  • calbert40

    If I may offer an alternate opinion here, all the while mainly agreeing that last night was a bad loss…I disagree with the notion that this game proved any “incompetence.” Also, exhibition games don’t count otherwise our record would be 10-2 not 4-1.

    Last night proved our young team doesn’t know how to bury an opponent when they have the opportunity. They could have twice and failed both times. Yes, the D was atrocious. That MUST be fixed, and I believe that it can be, but that must be job #1 over the next few (all) practices.

    I don’t want to link to another IUBB website, but I will advise anyone who can to read Justin Albers’ column about last night’s game (free). He has a really intelligent and reasonable take on it. I happen to agree wholeheartedly with him.

  • FinEndNow

    And if you don’t recall… We had Cody Zeller(Top 10 player in IU history and #4 pick) and Victor Oladipo(#2 pick). A walk on beat us. Brad Stevens out coached Crean. The talent between the two teams wasn’t even close. It came down to Crean making a dumb decision and keeping Hulls on the floor. Stevens made sure that his players knew who Hulls was guarding and got that guy the ball. It was a walk on. Just that one play summed up the game in the coaching battle. Brad Stevens is a much much much better coach than Crean. I don’t know how you could disagree with that.

  • calbert40

    I feel as though I’ve made my point pretty clear why I disagree with your statement, and since this happened a long time ago, I fail to see how arguing about it is worth the time and effort. Stevens is a very good coach. No one disputes that.

    However, I’ll ask you this question: if losing a game is easily the #1 way to tell if your coach was outcoached, then equally, it should tell you the opposite too, right? If that is true, then Crean has outcoached a lot of pretty amazing coaches during his time at IU, right?

    Or…could it be that there is a lot more to winning and losing a game than being outcoached by your counterpart on the other end of the floor?

  • Carolina Hoosier

    I remeber when a teams like EWU were cupcakes for IU. That they are not now just shows how far down the program has fallen.

  • FinEndNow

    I don’t hate Crean. He has brought us out of the abyss. But he isn’t the man to take us back to the top and keep us there. He belongs more at a school in the Big East, AAC or Mountain West. Where the expectations are Top 25 team and get to the tourney and make some noise. I don’t he belongs at a place like Indiana where the expectations are a Top 10 team and national championship contender. I think it is just too big of a job for him now.

  • calbert40

    They aren’t a cupcake, though. That is a good team. Yes, we should beat them 10 out of 10 times on our floor, but you’re confusing the name on their jersey with their talent. They may be from a small conference, but that is a better team than SMU, IMO. I won’t be a bit surprised to see them in the NCAAs this year. It was a bad loss, but it won’t look so terrible by the end of the year due to their relative strength.

  • ty_smitty21

    Two WHOLE weeks? My goodness… They should be in March form by now…

    I agree the defense has looked bad, especially the last few games. But not every loss shows how a team will play all year.. Same goes for wins.

  • Carolina Hoosier

    Only one day between games but both at home. EWU had to travel to SMU and then to IU, both long trips. It didn’t seem to effect them. Please stop with the weak excuses. It’s not like people are freaking out over one bad loss. It’s the trend and the trend looks bad.

  • calbert40

    You may be right. I like Crean, and for whatever reason, I feel as though our fanbase gives him zero credit for wins and 100 percent blame for losses. While I don’t believe he is a “great” coach, or that he is blameless for the product currently on the floor, I find myself defending him a lot on ITH.

    He has shown the ability to build a program, to win a conference title. He has failed to show the ability to maintain the success we exhibited for two seasons. Is that because he is incapable of it? Is it because we were lucky with having two amazing, generational talents on the roster at the same time? I’m not sure what the answer is, honestly. However, I don’t believe we can make definitive statements based on one bad home loss like last night. Yes, you can point to many other games like last night, but I can point to many games where we have beaten teams we shouldn’t have beaten. I just think we need to be more balanced and fair in our assessment of Crean.

  • INUnivHoosier

    When you start at awful, there should be some noticeable improvement. What we saw in the last two games was not improvement.

    I hope we can chalk that up to them being exhausted. Time will tell; however, they got to practice over the summer, and defense was an issue then.

    It’s only February isn’t going to be a good excuse in a few short months.

  • CreamandCrimson

    They lost by nine to SMU and were down by nearly 20 at one point in that game. I generally agree with you, EWU is a solid team that has a very strong chance to win their conference and, in a vacuum, the loss isn’t awful.

    The bigger picture is more concerning but hypothetically, this could still be a successful non-conference (take care of everyone else, outside of Louisville and get to 10-2 before going to Nebraska) and if that happens, this loss isn’t going to be a death knell for NCAA hopes (it seems ridiculous to consider the Tournament right now but the season is young and I an optimist :)).

  • b_side

    Not defending last night’s debacle by any means, but I will squash that theory. The 2011-12 team overachieved. We were supposed to finish in the bottom half of the league, and we certainly weren’t ranked in the preseason. They were not even picked to make the Sweet 16, as many “experts” thought we were an upset candidate to both NM State and VCU.

    One could argue that as a result of vastly exceeding expectations is the reason we were preseason #1 since that team only lost VJ, but gained Yogi (which then led to falling short of fans’ expectations in the tournament).

  • FinEndNow

    It is hard to say with some things. We’ve had transfers and people leaving for the pros that have turned our roster over like crazy which hasn’t exactly helped but you have to do with it what you can. And the size is hardly an excuse. Michigan State is no bigger than us but I bet they’d out rebound us by 20 without trying. I’ve always felt like the players that Crean has coached have always been more finesse. When was the last time we had a big physical monster down low? Gotta go back to DJ White and that was a Mike Davis recruit. Idk. Just thinking of things I guess. I honestly think Crean needs to reinvent himself maybe? Change the philosophy. Get players to be physical. Slow down and protect the ball. Pick and choose when to run. If Bo Ryan can reinvent his philosophy then I think anyone in the world can.

  • Carolina Hoosier

    “If a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump his a** on the ground.” Robert Montgomery Knight
    (for those of you too young to remember he was our coach back when we knew how to play defense)

  • IUMIKE1

    Hefty praise indeed, when coming from a reader / commenter that I respect as much as I do you. Thank you for the classy compliment, but I’m sure there are others on here, including you, that would be better examples of where the classiness (did I just make up a new word ?) bar should be set, and saying that I set it, is a for sure way for a few on here to clamor, long and loudly, for the downvote to be reinstated. lol Once in a while someone types a comment and when you read it, you just say to yourself, WOW, that comment is very well penned and thought out. That comment fell in that category IMHO. On rare occasions there is even one that falls into that category, that I don’t necessarily agree with, but is laid out well and deserves that kind of recognition, unless it is by a pUKe fan, but those are so far and few in between that we need not worry about that happening, not to mention that it would call for cognitive thinking from a pUKe fan and we all know that isn’t ever gonna happen. I am kinda proud of myself in one way though…..I some how in a, “thanks for the compliment reply”, managed to work in a jab at pUKe ! lol

    OK, now, how long before the first, “bromance”, comment hits ? lol

  • ty_smitty21

    Correct. If this is a season long struggle, I will join the pity party. But right now, it’s November. It’s a very young team. And I won’t be surprised if they beat Pittsburgh and several highly ranked teams this year.

  • Carolina Hoosier

    I read your post. I even said ‘EWU is not a cupcake’ out loud 10 times. Why don’t I feel any better

  • IUMIKE1

    How soon some forget.

  • MattRyan

    With all due respect, when was the last time we had a “big” win? We beat some good teams at home in Big Ten play last year. SMU is not a big win.

  • NC Hoosier

    Ha! I have you beat. My wife moved to NC in high school from Kentucky. My in-laws are huge UK fans. My father-in-law is unbearable. He is the youngest of 9 children, all UK fans. What makes it worse is that his basketball knowledge is minimal, yet he gloats and gloats. Do you think I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving at his house?

  • enickman

    LMAO!

  • calbert40

    You struggle with comprehension and retention? 🙂

  • enickman

    Who needs Archie Miller when you have Archie Bunker?