Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss at Michigan State

  • 01/06/2015 8:26 am in

Indiana fell to 1-1 in the Big Ten and 11-4 overall with a 70-50 loss at Michigan State on Monday at the Breslin Center. Here’s a look at five takeaways from the loss to the Spartans:

· The Hoosiers never found their footing: After handling the road atmosphere at Nebraska so well last Wednesday, the Hoosiers struggled from the get-go in East Lansing on Monday. From the time junior big man Hanner Mosquera-Perea left the game just 1:24 in due to foul trouble, the Hoosiers were never really able to find their rhythm against the Spartans.

They were unable to establish their inside-out game and found themselves dribbling instead of passing, ultimately starting the game just 2-for-16 from the field. By then, the Spartans were ahead 19-4 and were well on their way to a blowout of the Hoosiers.

Indiana finished just 17-of-60 from the field and with 0.82 points per possession — its worst marks of the season — and 20 points below its previous lowest points output this season. Not a great follow-up performance after Wednesday’s win in Lincoln.

“I was concerned about how we were going to score in this game and how we were going to stop them,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said after the game. “Because when you don’t attack them with screens and move the ball at a pace, we just didn’t do any of that. So we have got to get better in a hurry. This league is obviously very unforgiving.”

· Indiana did little to defend the paint: With Mosquera-Perea’s foul trouble and nearly nonexistent games from Troy Williams (zero points, one rebound in 17 minutes) and Emmitt Holt (four points, two rebounds in 22 minutes), the Hoosiers offered little resistance to the Spartans in the paint.

Unsurprisingly, the opportunistic Spartans capitalized on the size advantage and rebounded 50 percent of their misses en route to 17 second-chance points and 30 points in the paint. And the advantage in the paint translated to the Spartans’ defense, as well. With Indiana’s offense floundering, the Spartans produced seven blocks, rebounded 75 percent of the Hoosiers’ misses and forced them into a 33.3 percent 2-point shooting rate.

But with this result, it’s becoming apparent that a pattern is starting to emerge: When Indiana allows its opponents to rebound more than 40 percent of its misses this season, the Hoosiers are just 1-3. And they will see plenty more caliber rebounding teams this season.

· Perea’s starting job might be in danger: After Mosquera-Perea left early due to foul trouble, the 6-foot-9 forward would see only eight more minutes of game time on the evening. He finished with no points, one rebound, one block and two fouls.

The 6-foot-7 freshman Holt was his replacement, and though he was by no means successful against the Spartans, Holt came up with positive numbers on the stat sheet.

Following the game, Crean blasted Mosquera-Perea, as well, noting his starting job is now in danger.

“He was certainly not ready to play tonight and now he will be in for a dogfight at that position because Emmitt Holt was,” Crean said. “He didn’t play well but he was a little more ready to play.”

· Michigan State had a bigger sense of urgency: Before Monday’s game, Tom Izzo said he told his team that energy and effort are going to be the two things that would win this game for the Spartans.

After a league-opening loss to Maryland and several missed opportunities during the non-conference season, the Spartans opened the matchup against the Hoosiers with “probably one of the best halves of basketball that we’ve played,” Izzo said. It was a 36-17 game by halftime.

Crean, meanwhile, felt like the Hoosiers’ leadership was “left somewhere back in Bloomington,” and noted his disappointment in how his team never gave the Spartans much trouble, especially on the defensive end of things.

The result: Michigan State left with a win, “one we really needed,” Izzo said, while the Hoosiers now face internal questions.

“We just have to get our urgency revisited, quickly,” Crean said.

· Blackmon’s offensive slump continues: Freshman guard James Blackmon Jr. struggled once again on Monday, finishing the game just 1-for-14 from the field and 0-for-5 from behind the arc.

After starting the season’s first eight games 26-of-48 (54.2 percent) on 3-pointers, Blackmon Jr. has gone 11-of-41 (26.8 percent) since then. And on 2s, Blackmon Jr. is shooting more than 27 percentage points worse in his past six games than he did in his first nine.

(Photo credit: MSU Athletic Communications)

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  • HannerTime Hoosier

    CTC: Well I just did not have them prepare for the game. I got out-coached!
    Never gonna head these words come out of his mouth. I just can NOT COACH DEFENSE! LOL

  • calbert40

    True on both counts. My main point is that people are becoming apocalyptic about this loss. Things aren’t as bad as they seem.

    I posted earlier this week on the B1G rankings thread that I didn’t think we were the #3 team in the league…and MSU certainly wasn’t 9th. That opinion was challenged, and I said that I hope people don’t get crazy if the #3 team loses on the road to the #9 team. Unfortunately, my incredibly insightful opinion was lost on many! 🙂

  • Realityvill-an

    we’re average with an average coach. if you’re ok with that fine. i’m not nor am I in the minority.
    Sweet 16 appearances;
    Kansas – 2007-2013
    Duke – 2009-2011, 2013
    Elite 8;
    Kansas – 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012
    Duke – 2010, 2013
    we all know about Kentucky..shall I go on? you should know facts before you spout off

  • Realityvill-an

    exactly..excuses excuses. most elite programs are fairly young and deal with the same issues.. you deal with and adapt OR you get left behind like us

  • calbert40

    Fair enough. Actually, we execute pretty well out of TOs normally despite what many on here would assert. Monday night was just one of those games where nothing went right for us.

    I can’t stand Belichick, but I heard that when he had just started with NE that they got steamrolled by some team. He took the team out to one of their practice facilities with the game tape. He dug a hole and buried it. He told everyone that the game was over and that wasn’t the team that they were. He told them not to speak of it anymore.

    I think that might be a good tactic for this game.

  • NC Hoosier

    I couldn’t agree more that we aren’t the #3 team in the league. I feel we are middle of the pack at best. It seems a lot of people on here are overly optimistic every year.

  • MillaRed

    Is there a chance after last year’s “chemistry issues” Coach’s “motivating” tactics are a concern? I am hoping he isn’t running Hanner out of town.

  • MillaRed

    He’s got a handful of guards and one center(ish) player. He knows he needs a lot out of him. It just isn’t there on a game to game basis.

  • calbert40

    I hear you, Forever. I said before the B1G season started that I’d be tickled pink if we started 1-1. So, maybe my expectations were met…though they were lower than others’?

    Here’s what I posted on this past week’s B1G rankings thread. I think you and I are on similar pages.

    “Right now, yes, we are playing better than MSU.
    However, there is a reason why KenPom has us as a heavy underdog tonight. Winning at Breslin would be a HUGE victory for this team despite the fact we are playing better than them currently.

    Rankingsare fun, but they are merely snapshots in time that really don’t matter going forward. Some seem to get too wrapped up in them. I just thought I’d be a punk and throw cold water on everyone’s optimism…you know…just in case the #9 team in the B1G holds homecourt over the #3 team tonight! :)”

  • Realityvill-an

    its not panic..its seeing the writing on the wall of another average year with an average team that may not even make the dance…for the 5th time out of 7 tries. give him a break on the first 3 and we still may be at 50/50 for making the tourney

  • MillaRed

    Calbert for me this isn’t isolated. We just went through a terrible off season. Kids are leaving. Two more are gone already by the simple math. So when I see Crean publicly humiliate a starter I get nervous. And let’s face it, CTC himself is not all-worldly with X’s and O’s either. So it’s kinda hard to watch.

  • calbert40

    Agreed. Swanigan is a good player, but he is a plodder. He reminds me of Nix of MSU from a couple years ago…just not as big. I’d be pleased if he came to IU, but I don’t think he’s a must get for us by any means. I think he dominates a lot of teams simply due to his size (girth). That won’t happen at the high D1 level. I expect a learning curve for him next year.

  • MillaRed

    Crean deflecting blame is atypical? I guess I’m watching different pressers. This has been an issue with him from Day one.

  • calbert40

    The system we run is utilized by a large percentage of high major programs currently. The system isn’t going to keep us from winning. In fact, just two seasons ago, we won the B1G outright using that system. Seemingly, many forget that or act as though it is ancient history.

  • MillaRed

    I know many kids here up here in Luke’s class (we live 45 minutes form the kid and my son is in his graduating class) that have talked to people in Fisher’s camp and this was just as much chemistry as anything. What is the kid supposed to do? Put himself in a difficult position to transfer out? Crean roomed him with Troy Williams! Think about that for a minute. The kid that got popped twice for drug usage. And I can GUARANTEE you drug use is not part of Luke’s routine. The kid is very intelligent and is a gym rat.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    embarrassing loss. as awful as the offense was (and it was friggin awful), the defense was even worse. terrible effort. seriously, how many times did TW get posterized? half a dozen?

  • ForeverIU

    It was a mistake to have him room with Troy Williams. I like both guys, but rooming with someone of your own lifestyle is difficult enough. He always seemed like the “intellectual” in the post-games, and probably a teeny bit snobbish because of it (lol, in a good way, I don’t blame him). For me it was never a question of either homesickness or not. Homesickness simply means you are yearning for home, whatever that may be, and a million things can factor into that feeling. Oh, and maybe your son can pour some Hoosier Love potion into his coffee, lol.

  • ForeverIU

    I understand, but HMP was also put in extraordinary circumstances. He was supposed to be option #3 behind Noah and Luke, and he was treated that way until Noah left. I can see that resorting to these player call-out antics are used in professional sports, and I know some do it in college, but let’s not forget that these kids are students seeking a 4-year degree before anything else.

  • whomikewho

    She had some choice words about Crean that were said by Luke. Once he got to Bloomington his relationship changed with Crean. Tom swept his family off their feet in the recruiting process then turned into a turd (a more kind word than what was said). Secondly, the team last year was very clicky and he did not enjoy the division of the locker room. The actions by players last year off the court was a big reason too. He did not fit in with our personel at all.

    Can’t really blame him. He did not like anything while he was here. Can’t change our players, although we could have created a better team atmosphere. Can’t change Crean’s personality or way of coaching. He was not “homesick”.

    I saw him in person and said something about leaving IU…he just smiled and went about his business.

    His younger brother is big too..look out

  • ForeverIU

    I’m sure it’s genuine emotion from Crean, but insecurity and impulsiveness are often genuine emotions too. I wonder if Crean counts these player call-outs as deflections, lol. I never bought Crean’s negativity about Hanner, but I guess I have to. What choice do I have? It’s not like we get to hear the Hanner version.

    Isn’t it interesting how Georgetown managed although Josh Smith got two fouls early. Maybe we could have learned from that.

  • PDXHoosier

    Remember that game in the 90s at Minny when we lost by like 40 points? Few losses can top that one

  • ForeverIU

    I see what you are saying, and I generally like TC and promised myself not to watch his pressers. I’ve come to find his pressers annoying, in all honesty. All I care about now is winning. I don’t need to watch a soap opera about who’s “dog-fighting” for a position on the team. I don’t think our problem was just a bad shooting night. I think we saw a MSU help defense that we thought only extra-terrestrials would be capable of, and while coaching cannot be totally blamed, it has to be part of it.

  • MillaRed

    If you think about it, aren’t they all homesick? We are talking Bloomington versus the Milwaukee suburbs. He didn’t land in Saudi Arabia. If a kid gets popped twice for dope, he probably doped more than twice. So you are Luke and you’re not abusing. Imagine what is going through this kids head. So he bolts and we have a tumultuous off season with major turnover? There is some math there IMO. The homesick thing is way too easy based on what transpired after the season.

  • ForeverIU

    Come on, old gymnast. What does RMK have to do with this? My answer about anything RMK is this: RMK is the smartest most lovable a$$_ole the world has known, lol. So there you have it, and yes I enjoyed his media sarcasm occasionally, and not because he was winning championships but because of my low regard for most mainstream journalism (and the phenomenon of the “instant” expert).

    I too have said over and over that CTC is growing and that we haven’t seen the best of him yet. Maybe next year.

  • ForeverIU

    Well if this is what it has to come to, I frankly don’t think it’s going to work, and might even backfire. If he gets better, we’ll never know why. Aren’t we mysterious that way?

  • KmanCRK

    I hear ya, but can’t help wonder if we would need as much out of him if our guards weren’t giving up dribble drives all game. Hanner does a pretty solid job on him man most games this year. Its been his help that is lacking. But if the guards could keep someone in front of them, there would be a lot less pressure on the kid.

  • Michael

    Kinda funny how his tournament teams played pretty good defense. But you’re memory is too short to remember all that. Experience and awareness are huge on defense.

  • Michael

    This makes me laugh every time.

  • Michael

    Man you need to stop exaggerating and analyzing every emotion or word crean speaks. I’ve never seen crean call out a player in a way he did of hanner and I’ve watched every press con. since he got to IU. Then you say he’s giving coach speak to take responsibility? He also took responsibility during the suspensions earlier this season. Remember when he had gym rats that worked hard and didn’t screw up?

    Now I see where your irrational optimism comes from for this team.

  • ForeverIU

    Okay thanks for the free psychoanalysis, lol. I’d rather be an irrational optimist than an uncritical loyalist. Always good to see you Michael. I knew I’d eventually catch one of your darts.

  • Michael

    I like to deal with facts. Please show me where transfers have been a yearly thing for Crean’s teams? And that also doesn’t even account for the fact that sometimes better players can transfer in or bad ones out.

    Then tell me when he has had issues with players off the court besides last year and the unfortunate incident this season. Were you ever a kid? I sure as hell made mistakes even though I had amazing influences. I don’t care who’s coaching, when an off night comes, young kids can do things out of character.

    Then let’s talk about the only real fact people care about: wins.

    If you’re too lazy to look at his win % after those first two seasons then I don’t have anything left to say. They also didn’t get enough credit for the defense during those successful years for the players they had.

    A lot of people bring up Fischer and for good reason. It changed the plans for the coaching staff. Is it the coaching staffs fault a kid is homesick or doesn’t fit in well with his team members?

    Great quote by someone I forget: “you can control people, you have to inspire them to change themselves.” These kids seem like good kids but no coach is going to go through their career with no mishaps even from kids with character.

  • BC2

    Larry Bird. didn’t fit in. Felt homesick. Knight didn’t even try to talk to him

  • calbert40

    I’m not trying to defend Crean here, but I guess I don’t see the issue here.

    I played for a coach who is in the IHSAA HOF (baseball). He was a great coach…and absolutely awful to play for. I could never please him. I was all-conference, all-state, MVP of the team, but he was constantly on my case.

    It motivated me to work even harder. I wanted him to see that I was always working. During the season, off-season, over the summer, it didn’t matter. I was always working. He never really let me know that he noticed…until I graduated. He publicly stated how much I meant to the program through my hard work, dedication and leadership. He then told me privately that he was so hard on me, because he knew if he was tough on the team MVP that if I stepped up to his challenge that all of the other players would too. It didn’t happen during my time (unfortunately), but shortly afterward my time there, we won the State title.

    HMP has two choices: work harder to try to please his coach, or pout about it and prove coach right. Hopefully for all involved, he takes the first option.

  • MillaRed

    I agree with all of that. All I’m saying is we have kids that left. And I am a firm believer a few of them were not asked to leave. So when jumping on one of two bigs on the roster, I am a little cautious. Not making a big deal out of it. Just cautious.

  • JacksonCounty

    I always find it fascinating when the coach calls out individual players at his press conferences.


    Well put, as usual.


    I believe it would have actually been 3 home losses in a row and two straight home losses to start conference play. If memory serves me right it was put out there that Izzo has never started conference play with his first two home games in conference play both being losses, and that fact is not that hard for me to believe.

  • MeniscusDiscus

    2 Crean Takeaways:

    a) Loved the 10-count, hands-behind-the-back Crean staredown after that player “interchange” during the Nebraska game! If he can’t coach, at least he’s learning entertaining stances from his Harbaugh-in-law John.
    ii) That beet-faced scream-fest at Perea at MSU was inspirational. I know it’s what fired up all our players for that big win…wait…no, that didn’t quite…

  • dwdkc

    Keeping either one would have been huge, but even Devin would make a huge difference. In the first game in Canada he got 16 rebounds, and ITH was raving about his development after the trip. That kind of toughness would have gone a long way on this team. Looks like we won’t see him this year, but if we do, might be interesting.

  • dwdkc

    I was 12 when I watched IU almost upset Bill Walton and UCLA in the Final 4. From that time through 1994 was a golden age of IU basketball. That is what we all recall and want to be again, although it’s tougher now than then. However since then–21 years–we’ve only really been F4 competitive 3 times and 2002 was kind of a fluke, the best of those 3 teams (also counting the Eric Gordon team that self-immolated) was Crean’s from 2 years ago. So to put it in perspective, he’s closer to the Knight golden years than maybe even Knight was his last 5 years. Last year was unique in that some key players had graduated, combined with 2 going pro, so we were shorthanded. This year his recruiting would have left us loaded across the board if not for some bad luck–NV going pro, LF getting homesick, DD jumping in front of a car. You figure on maybe 1 of those 3 in a year but not all 3, and not all inside guys. So I think there is some reason for optimism, even if I don’t get some of the ingame coaching either.

  • dwdkc

    Those programs surpassed us when Knight was still here. There was nothing average about winning the Big 10 outright for the first time in 20 years, in a year the conference was at its all time strongest. I think we can get back to that based on the recruiting that has been done. This year’s lack of inside presence was a fluke due to 3 things going wrong with big men, none of which were Crean’s fault. I don’t expect those flukes to continue, but I do expect to see continued good recruiting that will produce consistent contention.

  • dwdkc

    Hard for us to judge that kind of thing as we don’t have a pulse on the players and their mindset. Many of us last year were frustrated that dumb play wasn’t held accountable, but this year I honestly think he seems to have a better handle on these guys. If Hanner comes roaring back in B’town against OSU, then maybe we’ll have our answer that he was pushing the right buttons.

  • KmanCRK

    I’ll take my chances with a big man Mr. Basketball every time. Just too bad the poor culture inside the program drove the kid away.

  • Gecko

    Crean knows he is in over his head! He now sees his dribble, dribble offense does work again strong competition. It works on the play ground but not with good teams. Our guards are to small to get and open shot without picks and screens. He needs to swallow his pride and change horses in the middle of the stream (season). Does Duke have any asst coaches ready for the big time. Two have left for the big time. Wait and see how our offense does against good rookie coaches. It is going to be a L O N G season.

  • Hoosier1158

    This system is not going to work unless we get some inside players.

  • eville87

    It is usually a dribble handoff with a cut. It is riveting ro watch.

  • Jeff Johnston

    MSU is rolling. Watch what they did to Iowa this evening…AT IOWA. They are a really good team and we caught them at a very bad time. I expect a better result against OSU from us.

  • calbert40

    You’re right…at least so far as the suggestion that on our currently assembled roster inside play is our weakness, and that weakness costs us in games against teams, i.e. MSU, that are solid on the glass.

    However, I believe it would be foolish to change the entire system that we run, because of one deficiency in one season. We’ve had excellent post players each of the last three seasons. This year, due to a decommit from AA Lyles and a transfer by Luke, we have an unexpected hole at the position. I fully expect that hole to be plugged on the roster next year, so we may as well get the perimeter players accustomed to running the system they will always run instead of changing it.

    And it isn’t as though our offense is the problem. We struggled against MSU, but it was because our typically high percentage shooting perimeter players couldn’t draw water from an ocean liner.

  • Wilford Hetzel

    Without Yogi we would have lost by 40. He can break down the defense. Even Troy could not break down Michigan State’s defense.