The Minute After: Wisconsin

  • 02/03/2015 9:34 pm in

Thoughts on a 92-78 loss to the Badgers:

As if Indiana wasn’t up against a big enough challenge on Tuesday night in Madison, where it hasn’t won since 1998, word trickled out just before tipoff that the Hoosiers would be without James Blackmon Jr.

Blackmon Jr., who tweaked his ankle in the second half of IU’s win over Rutgers on Sunday afternoon but continued to play, sat on the bench in candy stripes and watched an offensive buzzsaw completely demolish his Hoosier teammates.

The Hoosiers, who have now dropped three of their last four contests, kept this one close for a half thanks to hot shooting from the perimeter. Indiana hit eight of its 11 attempts from behind the 3-point line in the first 20 minutes for 1.24 points per possession. This despite trailing 9-0 to begin the game as Tom Crean had to burn an early timeout.

But it’s typically a bad sign when you shoot that well and still trail by eight and that’s exactly where Indiana was as it entered the locker room at the Kohl Center.

The eight-point deficit was a direct result of Wisconsin’s elite offense (1.52 points per possession, eFG% of 76) and an Indiana defense that put up little resistance.

The start of the second half, however, would quickly bring separation for the Badgers. It was a start that radio play-by-play man Don Fischer described as “atrocious.” By the time Indiana scored its first point after the intermission, Wisconsin had already scored 13 of its own and its lead had ballooned to 21. It would continue to grow – all the way to 32 points – before a late IU rally closed the final margin to just 14.

This was a balanced scoring effort from Wisconsin, which ranked first in adjusted offensive efficiency coming into the game, as five players finished in double figures. National player of the year candidate Frank Kaminsky set the pace with 23 points and six rebounds. With the size discrepancy, the 7-foot Kaminsky (smartly) didn’t take any 3-pointers and made nine 2s and five free throws for his final tally.

The Badgers also took 20 more free throws than the Hoosiers and scored 19 more points from the line, a number that a road team simply can’t overcome especially against the No. 5 team in the country.

From the IU perspective, it was a very good offensive performance as the Hoosiers scored 1.2 points per possession and posted an effective field goal percentage of 60.5. Nick Zeisloft, who stepped in to start for Blackmon Jr., finished with a team-high 17 points to lead five players in double figures. Indiana hit 13 of its 24 attempts from distance, a good enough performance to keep things interesting had the defense put up a bit more resistance.

But alas, it did not and this was a performance on that end to forget as Wisconsin ended the night with 1.42 points per trip and effective field goal percentage clip of 66.7.

“We’ve got to have more guys play with a better spirit, a better fight,” Crean would tell Fischer in his postgame remarks. “On the road, especially, for longer periods of time.”

The loss drops Indiana out of a tie for second place in the Big Ten standings, but the Hoosiers must quickly regroup and move on as Michigan arrives on Sunday in Bloomington for a matinee on CBS.

(Photo: AP Photo/Andy Manis)

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  • MrNobody

    No offense but I have been waiting to find out if it was ok with you if I wanted to be and IU fan:)

  • Realityvill-an

    oh and Coach Crean if you’re reading this – why don’t you man up for once and take some responsibility for losses instead of throwing your players under the bus. you ever think the problem could be YOU?
    little to no respect for this clown…and i’d bet ya that a few of the players feel the same

  • b_side

    You honestly didn’t expect our defensive efficiency numbers to get worse after playing the best offensive team (in 13 years no less) in their gym?

  • eville87

    He would get a lot more out of them as well. They would be like motion offenses? Back screen? Defense? Oh no we dont do that aau I mean iu.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    very well thought out post, lots to to consider when trying to figure out where you stand with CTC. i take a simpler, more black and white approach by considering the answers to a few questions…

    is the program where it should be after 7 years of rebuilding?
    is the program going in the right direction?
    is this team going to be significantly better next year?
    would this program be in significantly better shape if someone like izzo, self, few, stevens, etc… took the job 7 years ago?

    my answers…no, no, no, very likely

  • eville87

    Amen

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i don’t think iu should be a place for a coach to cut his teeth. if he is still learning, he should be doing it at a school with a direction in its name.

  • MillaRed

    I don’t care if they played The Magic Johnson led Los Angeles Lakers. Layup drills are layup drills. 2nd highest scoring game of the season for Bucky that has scored 70 or below 10 times.

    Who switches their guards on post players regularly in a match up zone? Not worth debating. I never see it.

  • eville87

    I love coach when he does a press conference. We’re young it’s not an excuse it’s a fact……. well sir so are most teams. Then come the jargon that fischer (don) loves to hear. Awareness, tougher, high level, grit, activity, deflections. I really look forward to the post game cause all you can do is laugh. Instead of saying you know what guys it’s on me. We didn’t defend the post well. Or the entry pass. We came out flat after halftime. Having yogi swith numerous times on frank was a bad idea. I didn’t expect to win this one but we actually could have. Im STILL PISSED ABOUT THE PURDUE GAME.

  • Realityvill-an

    “Did you honestly think we were going to win at Wisconsin?”
    No. which is the problem. we lost to UW one time from I believe 80′-96′ ; u know the last time frame when we were relevant. now we expect to get beat. to all of you who think this is ok…do you think any team that is actually good expects to get beat in any game? we are the team and fans (some of the fans) that expect and accept failure

  • Max

    Yep, Crean needs to look internally as to why we lost to the #5 team in the country on the road.

  • KmanCRK

    you forgot to ask a very important additional question:

    Would Izzo, Self, Few, Stevens, etc even taken this job 7 yrs ago? The answer to this one is a big fat NO, of course not. We got turned down by a few guys that we wanted before CTC. Look no further than the guy

  • AssemblyBall

    I intentionally took my 7 year old to the Butler game last night just to avoid watching that calamity last night. ( and I am an IU fball and bball season ticket holder). You are correct… Butler will go further in the tournament because they are doing what well coached teams are supposed to do – IMPROVE as the season goes on. Kills me to say this but they are so much more enjoyable to watch than IU and their coach came from GardnerFrigginWebb. I want somebody to honestly tell me in seven years have we EVER had a team that was better in March than it was in December. Let me help you – NO. And don’t even bring up the injury to JBJ – right now he can’t guard a parking meter.

  • David Gaines

    Crean treats Stan like a evil step child.

  • MrNobody

    I come from a career (as most) that if you think you know everything and have nothing to learn you are sadly mistaken and will probably be proven wrong sooner than later.

  • b_side

    2nd highest scoring game means little to me when the key driver is the tempo we play. Quicker shots = more possessions for both teams – hence the near season high for UW.

    Also, the fact that Bo couldn’t put in the bench for very long due to the comeback at the end meant that all five starters played an average of 33 minutes. Compare that to some of their blowouts.

    We have a pretty horrific defense, don’t get me wrong. But I’m not up in arms about our defensive efficiency numbers dipping after last night.

  • MrNobody

    When you are down 30, getting hammered in the post, and never even TRY to get some size off the bench then yes. Never blame somebody for trying and saying well that did not work. Who knows maybe JA steps up to the challenge at hand. We will never know, CTC will never know, and JA and TP will never see the court obviously. So yes he should look internally and wonder what if? We have seen he was wrong against EW when we did not give EH and chance because he supposedly we not ready.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    trust me, i’ve been proven wrong more often than not. however, i’m not getting paid millions of dollars to be the head coach of one the top basketball programs in the country. it’s not a matter of knowing everything, it’s a matter of being qualified to do the job you’ve been hired for. when you began your career, i doubt you were immediately promoted to manager and paid as such. and by the way, not everybody’s cut out to be a manager at a fortune 500 company. some may be better suited to manage the local hardware store instead. wow, i’m taking this way too far. haha

  • MrNobody

    I respect your views completely 2.0. And agree with a lot of your beliefs. I am not saying CTC is the second coming of Coach K. I am just as frustrated by the things he does and screams at him thru the tv as much as you do I am sure. But he is what we have. I just wish he was not so obviously stubborn to trying things. JA may not be the solution. But he may be and option at some point.

  • Mack

    Thank you. I am very aware of the outside world. And like you it definitely balances my silly emotional outrages at 19 year-old young men not playing with perfection for me on dull mid-winter nights.

  • MrNobody

    I too cannot get the taste of PU out of my mouth. BAD!!!!

  • Jeff

    Based on the stats the team shot well but failed once again on defense & in the paint. The primary issues this team faces night in & night out falls on the poor recruiting by CTC and his staff of big men. You won’t compete at the top level with just shooters. We must be able to recruit and keep top in the paint talent or we will be no better than a #30 +|- team. With a couple talented big men & the shooters we have we could easily be pushing 20 positions higher in the ratings than we are today. CTC go find some BIGs that are talented enough to start as freshmen.

  • HoosierBuddy

    Your forgetting that we fought back to 12 points down with like 3 mins to go. from being down 32. There is a reason Crean does not play those guys. If he put them in we may have been blown out by 50 points. You can have all the size in the world, it wouldnt have affected kaminsky who is a National Player of the year. If anything else we would have put them in the bonus sooner. It was hard to swallow. But I loved the fight and grit this team showed to keep fighting while being blown out. That all being said. I still feel the same as you do on the defensive end. Things will tighten up a bit when HMP is back in the lineup. It’s not the end of the world. WE ALL HAD THIS AS A LOSS. So far this season has been all that we predicted and a lil more. Just hang on for the long up and down ride. My season projections are right on track to win that competition lol.

  • MillaRed

    They have been dipping for weeks bro. Weeks.

  • MillaRed

    This is an issue we have discussed in here for years. For as much Crean struggles with on the sideline, having this set of assistants means….

    A) He wants assistants that aren’t going to challenge him. Like the 20th time in two years we cannot inbound the ball from the baseline or he takes out our hottest players.

    B) He is too stubborn to take good advice, assuming they are actually offering it.

    C) All of the above.

    With the struggles we are having. And the continued struggles we have in certain areas since Crean arrived, I cannot say I am enamored with our assistants. Just being honest.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I really don’t like that this site turns into a “State of the Program” after every loss. Every post-loss (or closer than expected win) comments section is now a referendum on what the future of the program is, why we need to fire Crean OR why Crean needs more time is actually pretty good. I’m not taking sides but sometimes a loss is just a loss and it has no grand meaning and I wish that we could save big picture evaluation stuff until after the season. But, that’s just my opinion and I’ve learned that it’s easier to just not post and move on.

    That being said, the two examples you cited don’t seem like “hate spewing”…they just seem like opinions that may or may not be different from your own.

  • MrNobody

    I also was very happy when we fought back with the starters. But sometimes players given a specific task come off the bench with nothing to loose and surprise with there performance even if just for a short time. I personally was used as a stopper off the bench a couple times in my younger days. Never know unless you try. Someone may just be up the challenge with something to prove. I know sitting on the bench all the time is doing nothing for his effort in practice. A little shot in that situation could have energized JA and surprised everyone.

  • MrNobody

    Agree Milla. Have been reading your posts for years and always seem to agree with you. Yeah I am the new guy sucking up to the vet! LOL

  • That might explain Hartmann being pulled, but not everyone else. Even Dakitch went on a mini-tirade about it…

  • Eljay

    …and not a senior on the floor for us! I love the fearlessness & fight these guys showed. Overmatched last night—but undeterred. Looking forward to watching these guys continue to mature.

  • b_side

    When isolated on their own, the paraphrasing I included doesn’t seem so bad. But read the full context of one post:

    “IU is NOT relevant anymore! Learn it, love it, live it! CTC will never get us back to relevant status again. Oh, and please do not bring up CZeller times, Syracuse smoked us cuz we were their reefer, not a well-coached team! It will never change until he is gone!!!!!! Our reality sux!”

    I define that as spewing hate.

    PS Totally agree about the cliff jumpers after every loss. It’s a tiresome narrative.

  • Seemed to me like SR was pulled when he drove into the trees and was unceremoniously blocked. But I won’t give him a hard time about it, because last night that was the entire team’s MO for the stretch when the lead popped up to 32. Once they started passing out of drives instead of getting blocked, they got the lead down to 12. And SR was on the bench during that stretch.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Okay, gotcha…that’s over the top and thanks for posting it, I saw the original comment but didn’t read the whole thing (I already knew what it was going to say).

  • IUBizmark

    I see. Thanks for the explanation. I still think it’s a poor strategy. Crean is brilliant in some areas, but I disagree here.
    As for there being no way to beat Wisconsin, people probably said that last year too.

  • IUchrome

    Without having read the previous 178 comments on here, I have the following thoughts. (1) Our defense is bad. Not to state the obvious, but every team generally speaking has their ‘best’ offense night against us, specifically the last 7 games or so. (2) Does anyone have an opinion as to why we don’t try pressing more? We have the depth and athletic ability and we are not good in the half court, nor good at blocking shots or forcing TO’s. It would seem in the extremely short sample size that we’ve used it, its been effective.
    (3) Still have a positive vibe about this team. They don’t play on the road well, having lost every game they probably should have lost, sometimes badly. But they have been OK on Neutral sites and that bodes well heading into the tournament. Hopefully they will continue to improve in the next 2 weeks and head into the end of the season with Momentum! GO HOOSIERS!

  • Lou Rawls’ Ego

    Good 1st half, good passing on O.
    2nd half? Yogi dribbled and dribbled and dribbled and dribbled. Farcical.

  • Guest

    We all know this is a good defensive team…pressing would only see more opponent blow by’s to the rim…gotta live with good IUBB and Bad IUBB at this point…. #DancingOrBust

  • brntn

    I dunno about the defense. When you put everything together, our defense is the worst in the league by far. The next-closest is Iowa, and from there there’s a big gap before you even hit Northwestern.

    We have a pattern of winning against mediocre teams by a small margin and getting blown out by good teams. A lot of those blowouts have come since we lost HMP and have been since the league figured out how to defend against us, but the pattern is still there.

    I would not be shocked if we lose to Michigan on Sunday. Aside from their blowout loss at OSU they’ve handled the better B1G teams far better than we have.

  • calbert40

    I agree that the early Hartman substitution is difficult to defend. However, Hartman played 33 minutes last night. The bench was really shallow last night as only EH, Stan and Max played and they combined for just 37 minutes. Partially, that is due to injuries to JBJ and HMP, of course.

    Still, Hartman played at a very high level for about 7 minutes then was subbed. Not ideal, but he can’t be expected to play all 40.

  • David Macer

    Callin’ out Alex does you no good my friend.

  • David Macer

    Not to be a Debbie Downer, but Zeisloft doesn’t get 17 if JBJ is playing. So they really offset one and other.

  • Ole Man

    Didn’t see those….
    But I just ignore them, anyhow.
    You should too.
    So you covered?

  • David Macer

    I agree Kman !! Last year’s team chemistry was a mess. We need people to stay longer. i would rather be a team like Wisconsin or UVA where kids stay, play and learn. Not sure CTC sees it the same way.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    Part of me thinks that the passing problem is partially due to players not moving away from the ball well enough. Granted, I don’t know how Crean teaches spacing, so I don’t know if they think they shouldn’t go places because it’ll clog the offense, or if they think they won’t get open, or if they’re just being lazy, but I think there’s something to away-from-the-ball movement leading to better passing.

    Let’s keep in mind, too, that Bo Ryan’s specific style does stifle opponent’s movement on offense. That had to be part of it last night at least.

    I too still have an overall positive vibe, despite chewing my liver over last night. They didn’t overcome that tremendously huge lead, but they did halve it. And cutting an insane lead down to something that’s just half-insane doesn’t make a loss a good one, so I’m not about to go all Pollyanna about this game: They executed poorly, and while even a doubling of good effort would’ve probably still resulted in a loss, it’s still a bad loss because of how they played.

    But: That lead. They *did* fight back. They did refuse to roll over at the end. And they did so without two really important players, one of whom ended up missing at the last minute. And did so to an opponent who seems to be able to take IU out of it’s game every time. The loss sucks, but if they’ve got enough spirit to start throwing those (figurative) punches at the end like they did, there may be something there mentally that can be built on. And at the right time, too. I’d like to see that attitude coming out of halftime in an important game, and with the tournaments coming up, important games are on the way. Could you imagine if IU hit the throttle at the start of the second half instead of languishing like they did? It might’ve still been a loss, but at the same time might have been an entirely different narrative.

  • David Macer

    Starters played all but 36 miinutes, which is 82% of the game. That is pretty close to the same amount for IU. Our starters played all but 37 minutes.

  • David Macer

    Part of the reason we beat them on the boards is they didn’t miss many shots and we got a few extra attempts at the basket (11 more shots and 6 more OR’s).

  • INUnivHoosier

    Is there a form I need to fill out to make sure I’m allowed to be a fan?

  • INUnivHoosier

    Fair point.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    No kidding. That same team with that same coach still cut that lead in half in a pretty short amount of time. Now, that doesn’t magically turn last night into a good game, but it does show a presence of team spirit. That doesn’t happen without the coaching and players having something in sync.

    I’m mad too, but my God, some of the reactions on the internet… makes me wonder how some people function as human beings amongst other fallible humans.

  • David Macer

    The answer to your last question is really unknown rather than very likely. If I hadn’t moved to NC, would I have still met my wife. One never really knows what will happen. All you are doing is making an assumption. An I’m sure you know what happens when you do that !!