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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  • IULore

    UNC seemed to be able to play up temp and win….

  • mdtreat

    He was at the game last night. After he was walking towards MSUs locker room, but two younger kids he was with (maybe younger brothers) were both wearing IU sweatshirts. I yelled at him and said if he were playing for IU the game would have been drastically different.

  • marcusgresham

    He was still homesick. His mother talked him into going to Indiana State because it was a smaller school.

  • Carolina Hoosier

    I guess that’s the point. I don’t want IU basketball lumped in with every other B1G program. We used to be consistently at or near the top. I don’t understand why our fan base would be satisfied with less (much less) than that.

  • marcusgresham

    Yeah, but if those wild shots WERE turnovers instead you’d hear a cascade of complaints about how “we still turn the ball over.”

  • Bk39

    Right on target, let him foul out and realize the earth won’t stop revolving. Playing cautious for Hanner will not work.

  • marcusgresham

    He’s the best defender on the team. Your comment is absurd.

  • SeeingRed

    A few years of complacency in the later years of a legendary coach is understandable. Holding on for, say, five more years in mediocre mode with this coach would be impossible to understand.

  • Eastwood88_2

    I enjoy the back and forth with hoosier nation after a terrible showing. IU basketball is like a marriage. The key to happiness is LOWERED EXPECTATIONS! Took me a long time to get here, but during last year I made it. Several great points on the fact CTC is not good enough. I can say I disagree. The sick part is, I believe this year is his best year of coaching IU. Until boosters, trustees, alumni decide they want to pay him off, he is here to stay. So my feeling is make the tourney please! I want March to be fun this year. Make a sweet sixteen so I get two weeks of it.

  • marcusgresham

    The best shooter in the country also couldn’t lift his arm above his head in the final game because he’d dislocated his shoulder the previous one.

  • b_side

    Hasn’t happened at Syracuse or Duke.

    There is no way you can prove to me that RMK would’ve taken Jared Jeffries and company to the Final Four.

    If we make the tournament this season, we’re performing at RMK’s latter levels – actually better as he hadn’t even won a B1G title since ’93 and hadn’t sniffed the Sweet Sixteen over his final 6 seasons. Granted he made the tournament, but we also had two NIT years in the 80s.

  • Hoosier1158

    Yep and they have some good inside players, which that is something IU is lacking.

  • IULore

    And Big Ten championships

  • IUMIKE1

    It’s comments like this that justify having the down vote option reactivated.

  • John

    I don’t like seeing IU lose anymore than anyone else but losses are a little more acceptable when they play to their maximum ability and lose like they did against a team like Louisville.
    When they play like they did against Michigan State who is no where as good as Louisville, that is a little hard to swallow.
    I didn’t watch the MSU game but from what I have read, it appears that only Yogi came to play.
    Winning and losing are a team effort, not an individual effort.

  • calbert40

    The average responses on “The Minute After” the past two games:

    After Nebraska win: “IU is great. Crean is getting the most out of this team. He is doing a great job developing HMP. Our offense looks like the best in the B1G. We are the #3 team in the B1G. We are going to do big things this year. I knew it all along.”

    After MSU loss: “IU is awful. Crean should be fired. He can’t coach big men. Our offense is not any good, because we don’t run any sets. We will be lucky to finish above 8th in the B1G. It’s another year in the gutter. I knew it all along.”

    I think it is safe to say that we weren’t as good as many thought we were after the win at Nebraska. Equally, I think it is safe to say that we aren’t as bad as we appeared to be after the loss to MSU.

  • calbert40

    Good thing RMK never did that, right? 🙂

    I actually think it’s good for a player to see his coach get so fed up with his play that he goes public with it. Either it will work and he will play better, or it won’t and he continues to play spotty ball and he loses his job. Either way, it helps the team.

  • calbert40

    9. Everyone overreacts to wins and losses. All of the positives of a player/team are over emphasized after wins. Vice versa with the negatives after a poor performance.

  • calbert40

    Depends on the player. I believe that a player needs to shoot himself out of a slump, but I don’t think it has to be in one game. That’s what practice is for. JBJ is struggling with his shot, but he also happens to be our #1 or #2 scoring option.

    On a night where other players are hitting shots, then he should distribute more with the understanding that he isn’t shooting well. However, on a night when no one is shooting particularly well, someone has to shoot the ball. Might as well be the guy who leads the team in scoring. He will get back on track. I’m not worried about JBJ at all.

  • Kendall Bombard

    Though I agree with you in large part, I don’t believe anyone is content with losing. Just because I’m not all anti-crean like most of everyone doesn’t mean I’m content with mediocre, middle of the pack basketball. It just simply means I haven’t lost all hope for CTC. I believe he is still capable of of bringing in great classes, just needs to keep the kids in the state and keep them on the team once they are here.

  • Kendall Bombard

    Dead. On.

  • Dave Carnes

    He had issues with kent benson

  • calbert40

    Plenty of well coached teams have lost in ugly fashion. I remember a game at Ann Arbor against the Fab 5 that looked a lot like last night’s game. RMK basically sat in his chair the entire 2H with his hands behind his head like he didn’t care. Afterwards, he said the team didn’t care, so why should he? In other words, losing in spectacularly bad fashion doesn’t mean the team was unprepared and poorly coached. Sometimes crap happens. We live to play another day. If it becomes a defining characteristic, then you may be on to something.

  • SeeingRed

    Honestly, there are only a few programs in the Big Ten that every year realistically expect to contend for a league title, are a near lock to make the tournament, and have the potential to make a run. Either you think IU should be one of those few programs, or you don’t.

    If you don’t IU can get there in today’s game, by all means, keep the status quo and be happy with “not sucking.” IU will never be embarrassingly horrible again with Crean at the helm. If that’s become the target, you got your guy.

  • calbert40

    He called three TOs in the 1H. After one, they started to run a set piece, but someone turned it over and MSU went down and hit a 3, if I recall correctly. Seth Davis said on air that Crean is probably thinking that he wasted a TO, because the team executed whatever he said poorly.

  • Kendall Bombard

    Again, just because I’m not anti crean doesn’t mean that I’m satisfied with losing. If I were I’d be a damn Purdue fan. Just means that I still believe in him.

  • Dave Carnes

    jmb will get it he is still learning

  • calbert40

    So what should he do? This is my big issue with people on here after losses. Whatever Crean does, he’s wrong. It is completely his fault and the players skate on culpability.

    I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that the gameplan didn’t involve shooting under 30 percent for the night. We weren’t the only team on the floor last night. MSU looked really good. If blame must be placed, which I’m not convinced it must, I think we need to look at players who played poorly.

  • NC Hoosier

    I agree to a certain extent; however JBJ has been getting his shot blocked consistently all year (even in the recent wins) and NZ has been in a shooting slump at least the last three games.

  • And One

    Local “urban legend” had it that he decided against IU because he wouldn’t be allowed to have a car on campus. I have absolutely no idea if this is true, just irresponsibly perpetuating the rumor…

  • KmanCRK

    I agree, his defense is rarely a problem. I think he has a bad tendency of looking backwards looking for a screener when he’s guarding the ball, but his defense is far from a problem on this team.

  • Gregory Spera

    Yes, you were right. You told me to temper my enthusiasm after the Nebraska win, when I declared IU a better team than Michigan State. I was a fool. Hope you are right again when you say that we are not as bad as we looked last night. Because nobody wants to believe that we are really one of the worst teams in the freaking country.

  • KmanCRK

    I agree. I’ve ready too many posts on here the past few years wishing he would do more of this. Crean has very rarely called attention to a particular player, but you could tell by his comments that Hanner has been a headache for 3 years. I was shocked by his comments that Hanner didn’t work hard his first two years at IU. Crean has clearly put in a lot of time and effort trying to make Hanner the best he can be. I’m sure that’s where the frustration comes from.

  • INUnivHoosier

    It’s the nature of the beast, I suppose. I think this is still a good team, and I think the Nebraska win showed a little more about the team than the MSU loss. This team is going to have some more ups and some more downs. Hopefully the ups far exceed the downs (and hopefully the downs aren’t quite as low as this one.)

  • ForeverIU

    If a coach has to communicate with his players through the media, then we’re already in trouble.

  • Jrod

    SC where at just moved down to the Charleston area over a year ago.

  • Jrod

    I have noticed that also who wants to play for a coach like that.

  • cbags05

    Yeah. Neither is a good option. Let’s agree on that.

  • ForeverIU

    You’re right. My negativity comes out after a loss, and that happens to be CTC’s favorite time to throw players under the bus. For the record, here is what I said in the “What to Expect” thread:

    “I have no idea what will happen tomorrow. One thing I know is that Nebraska is a very mediocre team, and although the win was important symbolically, we will have to play a lot better at MSU to come back witha win. No foul trouble please. Go Hoosiers!”

  • Michael

    I’m not saying it’s what I want, I’m saying so many of you are stupid to expect it every year. Players get hurt, transfer (we aren’t the only ones), take time to develop, and more.
    Every championship is special and it’s so evident when multiple players leave. Half this team just got here, but yet crean is expected to have them ready to make a run in the tournament right this moment.

    Many of you need to get a grip.

  • Michael

    Being satisfied and being realistic are two different things. Anyone expecting this team to sniff a big10 championship this year is probably on a lovely prescription of something.

    For any of you who have played sports. When you weren’t successful (I’m talking team sports), did you look to your coach or did you have to ponder about what you didn’t do?

    All the coaches most of us would call “elite” talk about freedom in their offense. It’s also ironic how IU has constantly had a good offense for years, but the coach gets bashed after one game. Lol way to pick out the anomaly

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Let the panic birds chirp . . .
    It’s only one game, but it was a VERY BAD one!

  • Key94

    From the look on Crean’s face as he was tearing into Hanner, I am pretty sure that Hanner knows!

  • John D Murphy

    Anyone not expecting that IU should expect to be in the hunt for a B!G title every year (OSU, Wisc, MSU) has embraced mediocrity. I want no part of that.

  • John D Murphy

    You know IU will be “young team” next. Every announcer who says that needs to STFU. Which two or three or four players is CTC going to run off because he is a damn raccoon attracted to the next shiny object on the recruiting trail.

  • SeeingRed

    Pretty much everything in your argument goes to where the buck is supposed to stop. If there is poor recruiting balance, you’re left screwed in the paint because one kid takes his ball and goes home. If your team is undisciplined and the kids you opted to recruit don’t take you seriously, avoidable “mishaps” leave you down another guy. If they fail drug tests, they miss games and regress. If you swing and miss on too many recruits, you can’t hope for consistent excellence. If you are spending scholarships on guys who are unlikely to ever contribute meaningful minutes, you put the program straight into the realm of average.

    This isn’t even opening the box on CTC as a game coach.

    To suggest that none of this stuff reflects on Crean as the head coach and that some of us are stupid for expecting better — now that is stupid.

  • Jeff Johnston

    If you’re going to take a beating, take it on the road by a good team. MSU wasn’t going to take two consecutive losses at home.
    This wasn’t about coaching, this was about everything going wrong. The 3 pointers shot weren’t that contested. The guys had a bad game where they couldn’t throw the ball into the ocean.
    Crean should burn the tape. I don’t think anything can be learned by watching it.

  • Fergation

    It’s a young team. They just finished playing in New York, Nebraska and then Michigan. That is tough on young kids that aren’t used to the travel and playing games of this magnitude. JBJ, RJ and even Nick will get their wind back. All they need is to play in front of the home fans and get their feet underneath them again. No one really expected this team to not lose at least 5 to 6 games in the Big Ten. I still see a good season and making the tournament.
    I am sorry though. I will just never be a Tom Crean fan in the sense of seeing him as the best coach for the job. But with that being said I really am routing for this team. I just really really like the kids on this team.

  • Hoosier1158

    The best chance he will ever have of doing that was a couple of years ago and could not come up with a plan to beat a team that plays some goofy zone man to man D.

  • oldiugymnast

    Is there a chance that Coach knows his kids better than you do and has a better understanding at how to motivate them? Maybe we should see how this by all accounts very young team handles bouncing back at home v. OSU.