Notebook: Hoosiers still learning mental toughness after Michigan State loss

  • 01/09/2015 5:18 pm in

As Indiana coach Tom Crean watched film from Monday’s 70-50 loss at Michigan State, he couldn’t help but realize the Hoosiers actually had numerous chances to get back into the game against the Spartans.

A stop here, a basket there, one more pass and one less dribble, he thought, and the Hoosiers were right where they wanted to be.

But that wasn’t the case. Crean found that his team played nowhere near the level he had expected them to. He felt the team didn’t play with a purpose on offense. That his players got their heads down early and never recovered.

And after a 20-point loss, Crean realized he still has plenty of work to do with his team.

“It’s never out of your mind, you work with that into your psyche as you go through it and you prepare for Ohio State,” Crean said. “And we’ve got to get tougher, there’s no doubt about it. We’ve got to get tougher, we’ve got to get mentally tougher.”

As the Spartans built their lead on Monday, taking advantage of rushed Hoosiers shots and capitalizing on transition baskets, Crean never felt like the game was completely out of reach. After all, his team has a top 15 offense, nationally, and a top 20 offense in effective field goal percentage.

All the Hoosiers needed was that one spark, for someone to take momentum into their own hands, Crean said. He felt like the game wasn’t out of their reach. Of course, however, a comeback never occurred.

It turned into a teaching moment afterward, instead.

“You can’t get quiet when it’s not going well for you,” Crean said. “Somebody’s got to be the momentum-getter. There were numerous times momentum was up for grabs; first half, second half. And as good as they were playing, momentum was still up for grabs. And they kept it, we didn’t grab it. And so that becomes you never know who is going to grab momentum. Is it youth, is it an older guy, is it a big guy, is it a guard?

“You never know, you’ve just got to be prepared when it’s there.”

In showing the tape of the Michigan State game to his team, junior Yogi Ferrell said the team can “definitely learn” from the loss. Freshman Robert Johnson said his biggest takeaway was that the Hoosiers have to come into every game with the same intensity and “100 percent effort.” But talk is talk.

Crean said he is most looking forward to seeing whether his team has the right mindset to compete against Ohio State (13-3, 2-1) in Saturday’s noon game in Assembly Hall. That his team understands, especially with its shooting ability, that the game is longer than they think.

And Ferrell said the Hoosiers are ready to make a statement.

“It always hurts to lose by 20,” Ferrell said. “But you definitely learn from that. Next day we got practice and got in film and watched the game. It just gives us an extra edge to try and come out, especially on our home court, and try to make a statement from the last game.”

Ohio State’s Scott concerned with Yogi Ferrell

Heading into Saturday’s game, the Buckeyes have their eyes on stopping Ferrell, “one of the toughest players to guard in the country,” according to Ohio State senior guard Shannon Scott.

In Ferrell’s three games against the Buckeyes in his career, the Indianapolis native has scored 48 points along with nine assists, and this season the 6-foot guard is the Hoosiers’ second-leading scorer with 16.3 points per game.

“Just the way he plays, he can get past anybody and shoot the 3-ball,” Scott said. “He’s a hard player to guard. But it’s not just on me, as a whole team defense we have to worry about how to stop players like that.

“You know Yogi is going to score, he’s a great player. but our main thing is to make him shoot hard shots. No easy looks, just have our hands in his face at all times.”

Crean still undecided on potential benching of Hanner Mosquera-Perea

Crean said on Friday he still is unsure whether he will take junior Hanner Mosquera-Perea out of the starting lineup after his zero point, one rebound performance against Michigan State.

After the game against the Spartans, Crean said Perea is now in “a dogfight” for a starting role against freshman Emmitt Holt, and throughout the week Crean said he has not been hesitant to switch things up in practice.

“I think he’s responded well,” Crean said. “He’s had a good week. He knows he didn’t play well. I’ve thought about a lot of things. So I may make a switch there, like I said the other night. I don’t know.”

Filed to:

  • Hoosier Hall

    I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to guard Yogi one on one. Wouldn’t be much fun. Defenses have been keying up on him or double teaming him all season. I only hope that our shooters start hitting and the others do their part to help Yogi win tomorrow.

  • Ole Man

    If CTC benches HMP, huge mistake.
    Holt’s not ready.
    HMP’s confidence will dissolve like snowflakes in sunshine.

  • ForeverIU

    I’m so disgusted by this circus. It has turned into a cheap thriller.

  • SilentBob

    Maybe it would send a message like Izzo did to Trice against us. Don’t start, bring him in after 5 minutes and maybe he goes on to have a big game for us. Hopefully we wouldn’t dig ourselves a huge hole in those 5 minutes. Whether he starts or doesn’t I’d still expect him to get the majority of the minutes.

  • ForeverIU

    CTC is the best post-game video analyst, ever!

  • RU4IU2

    Shannon Scott will likely draw the assignment, and he’s much better than average at both ends of the court. Yogi may not get shut down, but Scott is quite capable of handling him w/I the framework of the Buckeyes’ defensive scheme.

  • RU4IU2

    I’m not as worried about when or for how long HMP will play as I am about who is going to try to contain Marc Loving, Sam Thompson and try to put the glove on D’Angelo Russell. Williams is going to have his hands full tomorrow. Maybe we’ll see HMP & Holt on the floor together tomorrow; the Buckeyes present some serious match-up problems for us when they have the rock..

  • Not sure why you’d feel that way about it. Izzo has benched guys when they weren’t meeting expectations.. Personally I’d rather not see that happen, but maybe it’d be a ‘wake up call’ for Hanner. Remember the fights Knight used to have with Landon Turner. I mean he told him he might as well transfer, because he was never going to play him again.. But eventually Turner worked his way out of Knight’s doghouse. and guess what, They won the title that year… So don’t come down on Crean just because he gets a little tough with these guys… Just don’t see your viewpoint.. I mean “circus”, that’s a pretty bad choice of words…

  • RU4IU2

    Ray Tolbert, Isiah Thomas and Jim Crews had a lot to do with the light being turned on inside Landon’s head. In his own words, he reflected that when he found out that both of them were likely going into the NBA (which was also one of his childhood dreams), he decided that it was time to get his act together and start playing at the level he was capable of & the rest is history.
    No problem here w/benching players who ain’t making it.

  • Mark Hinton

    I’m a little upset.Coach said he waited for someone to grab momentum. Well Yogi was grabbing it the whole game. Nobody followed. Give Yogi his dues.

  • eville87

    Pray he plays them both

  • ForeverIU

    It’s not the benching that bothers me. In fact, I encourage it. But does the world have to know about it through the pressers?

  • Michael

    I never realized how sensitive you were until this.

    If this had happened multiple times then I would agree with you.

    Crean has gone out of his way to not actually bring negative light on individual players in the past. He typically says “we”

  • marcusgresham

    Have you ever heard a Rick Pitino press conference? Crean doesn’t rip guys nearly as often as Pitino.

  • ForeverIU

    Folks, I want to apologize about being negative about CTC. But I feel we have fundamental issues that go beyond one player’s performance. Two 20-point losses are troubling to me. I’m having a hard time understanding abstractions such as “mental toughness” and “momentum up for grabs” and “intensity” etc. etc. when we are lacking in other fundamental areas. The thing I’m worried about most is how we are going to play against stronger defenses, such as the ones we saw with Louisville and MSU and, to a lesser extent, what we are going to see against OSU tomorrow. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think we can will our way to victory (not that attitude doesn’t count), but confidence comes from having mastered the fundamentals, and I see gaping holes in our fundamentals, including on offense.

  • ForeverIU

    It’s the overall state of our team and program that magnifies certain other issues.

  • Snookafly

    “The Hoosiers had numerous chances to get back in the game…” Uh no, no they didn’t.

  • SilentBob

    Eh problem is we have shown solid fundamentals in flashes. Even on defense, but things happen like we work Nebraska into hoisting up a heave to beat the shot clock but somehow Walter hits it and suddendly we’re sloppy again. We miss a wide open shot, don’t get back, now that’s a minus four to six and now we’re not cuttin’ because we’re mentally fatigued. We were in the picture most of the Louisville game and simply put we won’t see another defense like that. Butler is a very quality defensive team and we did fine against em. Only two defenses in the big ten ranked a head of them, and only 3 defenses ranked in front of Nebraska. 42-20 and 42-7. Know what those are? Scores from Colts games this year that ended bad for Andrew Luck and company. The Colts are the best offensive team in the NFL and they’re also two games away from playing in the Superbowl. So honestly I think you are blowing it a little out of proportion. I also constantly see fundamental issues with Colts players both on offense and defense

  • KmanCRK

    Goes to show that the team, its players, its chemistry, their drive, etc all go into to being a great team. We had that a few years ago and I think we are starting to get a few guys on the team that fit that mold. We just don’t have enough of the leaders playing those roles.

  • ForeverIU

    My friend “solid fundamentals” by definition do not happen in “flashes”. Consistency is a part of a fundamental.

  • KmanCRK

    I was thinking the same thing. Denial, delusional, absolutely crazy talk.

  • Ole Man

    That will just not happen. . . HMP & Holt together, I mean. He’s using them to play the same position.
    I doubt he’s even tried it in practice.

  • ‘Nuff_Said

    And what makes you think HMP has ever had any confidence? He’s been overrated from the start and I’m tired of hearing he’s a work in progress, blah, blah, blah. If VonLeh and/or Fischer had stuck around just how much playing time do you think he would actually see? He was our our 3rd option! I’d much rather see us throw EH into the fray and roll the dice with him than keep thinking HMP is ever going to be a consistent performer.

  • ‘Nuff_Said

    Playing HMP and EH at the same time ain’t ever gonna happen. It’s Crean’s 11th commandment.

  • SCHoosier

    Have to agree with you Snook..first two shots of second half JB hit only the backboard and Rob had an air-ball… end of story. Then again..MSU was at one time down 12 at Iowa..second half..defense got turned up..Valentine and Trice got hot from three…Iowa got TO’ed and they had a 25 point turnaround. That all began with defense. I’m hoping one day..the Hoosiers have that kind of capability on defense. They don’t now. But I guess a head coach can’t say “Given where this team was mentally and pysically..we should have showered at half time and headed home.”

  • SCHoosier

    Agree…you can’t say what you know you can’t back up or make happen. At this point not sure what is gained by not having Hanner in from the tip-off. If he loafs again..get him out..but no sense helping OSU to a lead.

  • SCHoosier

    I know some people want that…but EH and HMP on the floor at the same time takes a potential scorer out of IU’s lineup. With the points our defense gives up….not sure this team can afford that.

  • SCHoosier

    Izzo said Trice was ill before the game with the flu..that he (Izzo) was not punishing him. I agree though that sending a message with the pine is sometimes a good idea.

  • And if he didn’t tell you what he was doing about it, you’d be on here asking for his head, because he wasn’t doing anything.. Either you want to know, or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways. Do ya think back when Knight benched guys for disciplinary reasons, we did not know about it? And today with social media being what it is, there are no secrets? If he does do it, you think we wouldn’t wonder why he wasn’t starting next game? Do you think we’d not wonder what moves Crean is making or contemplating making and then when it happened, you be saying.. Gosh Crean doesn’t tell the fans anything. Truth is, you’re just upset and you find solace in lashing out against Crean. I still stick by my statement, you called it a ‘circus”‘, how you think that kind rhetoric would be taken by the team, if they read it? You say you’re a fan, yet you are willing to bash the team, the players and the coaches when they have one game wherein they just didn’t show up.. Do you really think that is in line with being a good fan and supporter of IU basketball? Did you see where the Bulls lost the other night, by twenty against a team that they were supposed to beat handily.. then they lost again last night, against, admittedly a much better team that the first, but in both games they looked like crap. Rose was something like 1 for 10 Jimmy Butler was 1 for 13 or some terrible number, so one could buy a basket, in that first game (I really don’t remember whom it was that they were playing). Then again last night they looked awful against the Wizards. Hey these things happen.. it happens frequently in basketball. I don’t like it, and you don’t like it.. none of us do. But it happens. Forget it and just hope they get it together today against OSU.

  • You really can’t defend a statement like that either. “Overall state of our team and program”?? Are you kidding me? We have had and continue to have more academic all Americans and consistently score the highest possible rankings academically. We have a team that has a great start to the season, not withstanding the loss at MSU.. They players and team seem to have responded to a couple of unfortunate pre-season issues.. and you’re still dragging out a complaint about the state of the program? I truly didn’t think either, as the above poster stated, you were this fragile as a fan.. I mean, come in off of the ledge. On another note, did you see that Oregon’s best wide receiver, Darren Carrington will not play in the National Championship game? Yep, failed a drug test for marijuana.. Hey SH** happens, even in some of the most successful programs in the country.

  • The reason for not doing that has been discussed and re-discussed on here previously. Neither player is adept at the 4 position.. IU is not built for a ‘two post’ player offense. All that would do is clog the middle.. It’s not like they’re two seven foot guys. Holt is only 6′ 6″ .. Yes he has long arms, but what is that going to buy us, if he is in the four, and likewise with Hanner. neither has a good enough outside game to make it worthwhile even as an experiment. If they were both seven foot tall, and either of them had a good enough outside game, like a Uwe Blab or maybe even a Cody Zeller… where they could be a threat from the corner, or driving the baseline.. maybe. But even then, what do you do when they both get in foul trouble early? Actually it’s really not that good of an idea to waste time discussing on here. ..or ‘praying’ for. Don’t know about you, but I really rarely waste a prayer on a basketball game.

  • Mental toughness isn’t the ability to ‘will’ you way to victory. It is however, being strong enough in your convictions about how hard you want to play, including banging it out physically, against older, more mature players and having the toughness to stay the course even when you just happen to lose a player due to foul trouble, or happen to miss a few shots you normally would make.. or when you just happen to find yourself down by 15 or 20 points… I think first you FIU, have to understand what Crean means by mental toughness.. Not what you want it to mean.

  • INUnivHoosier

    It’s time to be the change you want to see. Do some shooting, passing, dribbling, and defensive drills in the driveway. Find a kid in OSU clothes and block his shots into the hedges. Positive mental attitude. Be the best you. Something like that.

  • eville87

    Ken,
    thanks for the break down loved the Uwe Blab reference. I know better than to think Tom would play them both together. I was just talking about in the game period. we couldn’t do that anyways that would take up minutes in his patented substantial algorithms. Ken you seem like an older respectable Hoosier. You were not praying in march 1987? If I want to pray for my team I will. They need all the help they can get.

  • ForeverIU

    Okay Ken, you make good points. There was a time when I would have said the same things you said. I’m sorry if the word “circus” bothered you, but that’s the image that came to my mind. A circus is a great place to be, but you enjoy it best in its scattered pieces. There is a certain prevalent discourse (a “regime of truth” in Foucauldian terms) that’s been created around IU basketball that I think is a part of a bloated and inefficient system. We need some old-school simplicity and frugality in both word and deed.

  • ForeverIU

    I don’t play basketball, but that would be good advice to CTC, lol.

  • ForeverIU

    It’s one thing to define and identify it, and something else to teach and practice it. You teach mental toughness without even mentioning the word. How mental toughness translates into a set of teachable units is part of the art of being a good coach. It’s an art, and it’s elusive.

  • My friend solid fundamentals are only as good as you stick to them and continue to apply them even when things aren’t going right for you. What Bob is saying is…We were fine fundamentally against Butler and Nebraska, two very good defensive teams. You think we all at once lost that ability against MSU? Or did we ‘cave in’ and not try quite as hard when things weren’t going especially well for us. You know the difference in college basketball is not as black and white, or as dramatic, as you might believe. One little steal here, or deflection there, followed up buy a score, then another and the tide can get turned. It’s that little bit of reaching back for something extra (like Oladipo so often did). and making the play that turns the tide.. that can be the difference between success and failure in any game. Sometimes players don’t even know they aren’t putting out quite as hard as they might be, at other times. Nearly everyone at this level, is capable of flashes of great play at times, it’s the ones that bring their ‘A’ game at a higher percentage of the time that win the most games. It’s not that all at once the guys on this team have a dearth of fundamental skills. Some have better defensive skills, some have better offensive skills.. The trick is to have them willing to gut it out even when things are not going well.. You make it sound like all at once we’re a ‘crap’ team fundamentally.. that is just not true.

  • Believe what you want.. There were many chance in the second half.. But we’d come out of a time out and loft up some ‘prayer’ shot, instead of making that extra pass.. oh whatever.. I’m through trying to let you guys see anything but what you want to see..

  • ForeverIU

    Whoa, Ken, did you like take ginseng this morning? I think my response may be buried somewhere in my other comments. I don’t think I have CTC’s verbal stamina at this moment, so you win, LOL. I think we do agree though that we want to win today, and that we deserve it. Go Hoosiers!

  • ForeverIU

    Listen I’m not saying our program is a failure, just that our program is different, let’s say, from Louisville’s, and that coach-speak is part of a program’s larger culture, so we can’t just put two coachs’ pressers next to each other and compare without context.

  • Michael

    Listen, this isn’t checkers in your living room. This is a high speed, fluid game.

    I guess no team is fundamentally sound considering every team has turnovers. That shouldn’t occur in your book should it?

    Lol my mind has never been more blown on this site or any sports fan I’ve heard

  • ForeverIU

    Yes, even fundamental minds get blown, you are right, LOL.

  • Jordan

    Funny because I can almost recall you being one of the posters accusing CTC of being to lenient on his benching in regards to Hanners Dui. Obviously the situation is different, but the outcome is the same, sitting him to get his mind right. This is coming from a 17 year old who still currently plays sports, being sat only makes you hungrier. To anyone feeding the whole confidence killer thing, you clearly haven’t played sports In a long while… being sat one game doesn’t completely kill your confidence, and from the look on Hanners face during tv timeout views, I’d go out on a limb and say it just pisses him off and he needs that.

  • MillaRed

    Ok you’re not making sense to them, but you’re making sense to me. Our team was blown up in the offseason. In no way am I going to say a handful of kids were the problem and Coach is perfect. So when I see these “chemistry” issues that are less than 8 months old, I am not thrilled to hear Coach once again talk about our lack of leadership and benching our only experienced post player. Hanner is already fragile and this comes down to simple math. If he demoralizes Hanner we are screwed. Because our bigs bolted and he didn’t get much else to help on the recruiting trail.

    Two years running with our “leadership” issues and Crean is the common denominator. “Circus” offends people. I would call it more of a soap opera. And I don’t watch soap operas.

  • david r

    Someone better guard Russell. That dude is good. RJ should be a big factor at both ends today.

  • MillaRed

    But maybe we can rebound better? The real problem here is there isn’t a 3rd big on the roster. So unless he goes with a walk on we are seeing that 4 guard/Troy deal that terrifies me.

  • MillaRed

    Ken is deciding what is a waste of time for us now. Thanks Ken!

    Kidding brother. But you are a bit nippy in here today ha ha.

  • MillaRed

    No kidding ha ha. I sat in my living room for two hours thinking we never had a chance in this game. If anything MSU slowed down in the 2nd half or it would have been 30+ deficit.

  • MillaRed

    And Ken versus the universe continues. You are not yourself today buddy.

    When the other team dunks every other possession and we are chucking air balls the game is over. I saw nothing to suggest we were in this game from the tip off. Mentally or physically.

    Clearly you are drinking enough alcohol this weekend. I’m hungover as usual.