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)

Filed to:

  • David Macer

    Few declined.

  • KmanCRK

    IU: 31% Off Rebounding Rate (9 off 29 misses)
    84% Def Rebounding Rate (16 on 19 misses)

    Wisky: 16% Off Rebounding Rate (3 on 19 misses)
    65% Def Rebounding Rate. (19 on 29 misses)

    Regardless of them hitting more shots, we most certainly did do a fantastic job rebounding the ball against a very large Wisky team.

  • David Macer

    Lets see what happens to Butler in a couple years when he has recruited his players.

  • KmanCRK

    He just wasn’t a kid who was going to fit in with bad characters and contempt between players. I think 2 kids leavings helped morale, and a few guys seem to have improved in the character department as of late. Plus bringing in a few more solid character kids has gone a long way to improve the overall dynamic.

  • KmanCRK

    I think as hot as we was on offense, his defense early was a problem. I can’t blame Hartman, he had a brutal matchup. I think CTC was trying to see if there was rotation that would do a better job on defense where were getting creamed at the time. Hartman also had a turnover at that time if I’m remembering correctly.

  • KmanCRK

    This team is so very similar to our team 3 yrs ago. We’d win some big games with Cody as a freshman, but we gave a ton of points throughout the year with very poor D. We had some great 3pt shooters, and could really score the basketball. But defense (outside of VO) was pretty bad). I recall us giving up 80-90 pts regularly. And that was with CZ.

  • Chappy Dan

    Your comment has no basis in reality. Pure conjecture. How do you explain that he now plays extremely close to home? Just a coincidence?

  • Realityvill-an

    ha how so? the al mighty alex is gonna delete is comments..oh darn. pissst..everybody don’t make alex mad bc he might delete your comments

  • KmanCRK

    exactly. As did Bennett who was at Wash St. at the time. That tells you all you need to know right there.

  • Realityvill-an

    news flash. this has been happening for awhile now. just b/c you’re ok with it doesn’t mean everybody else should be. weird to you maybe but the coach tends to play a role in a team’s success..or in iu’s case lack thereof

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    The sky isn’t falling. Wisconsin is just much better then us, period. Big game at vs Michigan on Sunday. A loss would put us squarely back on the bubble. Hope JBJ is ready to go.

  • Realityvill-an

    when you’re a fan of iu you do have to put bball in perspective…otherwise you may go crazy. pretty much reinstates the fact of where this program lies.

  • Chappy Dan

    How do you know it was asinine? I’m going to trust a coach with many years of D1 coaching experience over an “armchair assistant” any day!

  • Realityvill-an

    ha another excuse. ya and if we would hit another 5 3’s we would of been in better shape..and if wiscy missed another 10 shots..and if the refs woulda been better. excuses. excuses.

  • AssemblyBall

    I can answer your question right now: The same thing that happened when Collier left, when Matta left, when Lickliter left, when Stevens left, when Miller left.

  • IU Coop

    Not Crean’s fault? Ummm…he is the head coach. If we don’t have any ‘bigs’ whose fault is it then? Amazing the way people will defend this mediocrity. I’m so tired of hearing that the team that this guy assembles, the things the kids do, the way they play and the losses they rack up aren’t the coach’s fault. Time for him to go. Tired of being embarrassed on national television, tired of playing without a number next to ‘Indiana’ and tired of seeing the schools in the state to the south rack up national championships. When will it be enough?

  • brebos77

    This team has fight and I love it. The defense wasn’t there, but they were overmatched by an incredibly good team at home. That tenacity and ‘never quit’ attitude is awesome to watch. All of them have it, and it’s that spirit that’ll win them some big games down the stretch. That was lacking last year. Size is clearly an issue and it will be all year. Hanner coming back will definitely help, but they’ll still be undersized. Because of their toughness though, this doesn’t always mean a loss when matched up against bigger teams. They’ve proved that a few times this year. Go Hoosiers!

  • Yes, you’re right, I feel adequately chastised. I should come on forums like this and expel nothing but vitriol and bile, because of course doing so is going to force a coaching change–and if I’m a true fan, this is what should concern me _right now_. I had forgotten that being an IU fan means attacking the program mercilessly, during the season, until I get what I want–and indeed, if I were close enough to Bloomington to attend the games, I should do so and express the same negativity at the top of my lungs. Because doing all of this this will contribute to forcing a few more losses (really, that’s all I can hope to do), which will put more pressure on replacing CTC. And really, should anything be more important to me as a true IU fan?

    Go IU!!!

  • We will never be relevant until Crean leaves. We can’t play defense and that is his fault. And by the way, we should have gone much further with Zeller & Co. had it not been for a certain coach who didn’t know how to effectively play his bigs. I’d be all for taking up a fundraiser to pay Crean’s contract and get rid of him!

  • Ole Man

    When my 9 year-old God-daughter, who watches basketball once-in-a-blue-moon, looks up and says, “Why is #30 leaving?” I explained that the Coach was taking him out. She said, “That’s really stupid.”
    I rest my case.
    Even she knew enough to know not to take him out.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    great point, unfortunately. and it also begs the question, who could we get now? who’s available? i have no idea

  • kaponya44

    We were a complete mess at the time,but salaries have always been the big drawback to IU jobs.From what I recall employee salaries are among the lowest in the B1G.Correct me I am mistaken please.

    .Ill go no further in coaching job talk in the thick of the season but it is what it is…and always has been in my lifetime.IU is interesting in this regard since it basically hit the jackpot on RMK and has only had 3(4 if u count DDs brief time) coaches in 45 years.It is harder to draw a conclusion than with a place which has had 9 or 10 coaches during the same span.I feel our situation is more a matter of do we make it worth a coaches while on the pay.We could hire pretty much anyone if we paid them enough.Just wanted to address that.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    just stating my opinion based on some pretty solid evidence. do i know that an asteroid won’t crash into the earth tomorrow? no, but i have pretty solid evidence that it won’t (sure hope i’m right on this one).

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    never heard about that one way or the other as far as how iu stacks up paying their head coaches, but you’re absolutely right. money talks, baby!

  • calbert40

    Yes, our D is awful, but UW’s offense is historically efficient. I don’t know
    if you saw Alex’s tweet last night, but this UW team has the highest
    offense efficiency rating of any team ever recorded by KenPom, and
    KenPom goes back to 2002.

    Again, I don’t disagree with your
    overall point. I’m just suggesting that this game – 1) Wisconsin, 2) in
    Madison, 3) whose best player is 7’0″, 4) when we have no interior
    defensive presence, 5) we are missing two starters, and 6) they are
    having a historic offensive season – may not be the best barometer of our team defense. But on the whole, agree that we must get better…at least respectable in this department.

  • calbert40

    Pace does matter, but it was pretty evenly spaced between each team. I think we sped them up a touch, but not as fast as we’d like to play (more than 70 possessions).

    The reason they scored so many points last night was not just their efficiency, but their ability to get to the line…and hit them. We always get jobbed at UW, so I wasn’t surprised, but KK could get breathed on and they’d blow the whistle. Yogi would get clubbed in the head and they’d swallow it. I’m not suggesting we lost because of the refs, but they certainly didn’t help us at all.

  • calbert40

    I felt like they played as hard as they could have last night. When they got down 30+, they outplayed UW the rest of the way, and they never gave up. That has to count for something. We can question this team’s defensive ability, but I don’t think we can ever question their work ethic. I like this team, because of that…in spite of some of their deficiencies.

    UW in Madison is a tough match-up for anyone, but when you look at their team strengths combined with our team weaknesses, winning last night would have been a HUGE upset.

  • calbert40

    Facts aren’t excuses even if they don’t fit into your previously held bias.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i’m right there with you milla.

    honest opinion, do you see this team being much better next year? specifically, do you see our front court being that much improved? and do you see CTC turning in to norman dale in the offseason (you pretty much answered this one already)?

    personally, i don’t see HMP or JA making great strides. the only thing we know about DD for sure is, if he does come back healthy like we’re all hoping, he’ll have missed an entire season and didn’t play all that much the season before. also, it looks like we’re going to miss out on recruiting anybody over 6’8″ (and i wouldn’t be surprised if our incoming frosh don’t see much action at all next year). hope i’m wrong, but i just don’t see this team looking much different.

  • Khoosier3

    We cut the lead in half because Wisconsin took their foot off the pedal, and subbed their starters out. It had potential to be a 40pt loss…

  • Hoosier89

    Do I? I was making more of an argument against us being smoked than anything. There are still adjustments that could have been made to win that game, but it was not some epic beat down as many people like to frame it.

  • Outoftheloop

    This was an expected loss, even before James injury. IU is facing one more at MD. If we can win 5 at home and NW and Rutgers on the road that will be 13-5 and a GREAT B1G season, a 5th or better seed in the NCAA, and a very good feeling in B-town!

  • Outoftheloop

    I know that Coach Crean does not see it this way, but why not put Jeremiah in for 5-6 minutes to guard Kaminski, Emmitt to guard Hayes and Collin to guard Dekker when you are down 32 with 10 plus minutes to play. The excuse “Jeremiah is just not ready yet…that is not our best chance to win…etc., just does not hold up to inspection. Jeremiah could not have done any worse than the guys on the floor trying to guard Kaminski, and IU had NO chance of winning in the last 10 minutes! Then someone besides the coaches in the closed practices could see if Jeremiah can play a significant role nest year.

  • Apoc

    Last night, what did they have to lose? They were down 20+ … If he is so bad he can’t log minutes in a blowout, then why recruit and sign him?

  • IUMIKE1

    I think you have given a very apt description of where, more IU bball fans than a lot think, fall when it comes to the subject of Crean and his employment. When he was hired I was more than pleased with the hire, but have come to have some doubts, especially in certain areas. Needless to say I have turned this matter over and over in my head doing some thinking pretty much exactly along some of the same lines that you typed. I have made a few thousand comments and have read tens of thousands of comments and this is a very good comment, IMHO. If your future comments are anything like this one, I for one, look forward to reading them.

  • IUMIKE1

    Since he claims that different coaches take turns doing the scouting reports on upcoming opponents and also come up with the framework for the game plan I might change C to D and make C) Sometimes doesn’t change or challenge the pregame work done by the assistants or takes the same wrong approach as the assistant tasked with said duties.

  • IUMIKE1

    Totally agree. It’s not like a bunch of people are going to say, ” yea we found out that JA is capable of a lot more than we thought he would be in an actual game, but we would have lost by only 14 instead of 18 (or whatever number it was) if he hadn’t played JA”.

  • InTheMtns

    I’m pretty sure that Collin is still on a minute limit and that limit most likely has as much to do with a limit on consecutive minutes as it does with a total minute limit.

  • IUMIKE1

    After seeing all the close losses NW has had this year, and with as close as Rutgers played us at home, a loss at either place would not totally surprise me, but then again a win, even by a comfortable margin, wouldn’t surprise me, just depends what IU team shows up.

  • MillaRed

    Simply put no. I do not see an improvement that would make us dangerous in the tournament unless a talented big is added that can protect the paint.

  • MillaRed

    Nice to hear from you buddy.

  • MillaRed

    You hit the nail on the head. I mean, you know Alex right? This guy is mad, mad, mad like mad cow disease in full bloom.

    When you have your own website with 1000s of followers you can choose what to delete and what to keep. Hit me up on Twitter I might be interested in what you come up with.

  • eville87

    My twelve year old asked me if crean called the Seahawks play in the super bowl?

  • eville87

    How do you explain a top 50 recruit playing behind jeff Howard a walk on? He is actually having a good year up there close to home.

  • SCHoosier

    April’s situation is frustrating for everyone. Holt..on the other hand showed last night that he is not prepared to guard anybody on the open floor…not yet…especially against a player who can drive (Hayes and Deckker)

  • SCHoosier

    Go back and look at his percentage after the MD game. I love Yogi..just saying lately he’s either brilliant or off the mark. ONly guy on the team though that IU could not afford to lose..even for a game.

  • KmanCRK

    practice. And hopefully develop for the future. I think people continue to overlook the fact that we needed those last few guys for practice. Back in April, it looked like we would only have 8 guys for practice assuming Hartman wasn’t going to be around, and counting on DD.

  • Dunbar

    Exactly. Spot on, both you guys (b_side and Eljay).

  • Dunbar

    Uh…didn’t I say our defense is awful (that’s what putrid means). So we’re in agreement. But not about Michigan. We will handle them just fine. And look at their results and explain how they’ve handled the better B1G teams better than we have. They’ve feasted on bottom feeders to get to 6-4. They have haven’t beaten Md and O$U like we have, and those are two of the better B1G teams. Their road wins are at PSU and Rutgers; ours are at Neb and Ill. That’s in our favor and it isn’t close. Maybe you mean that we lost at Breslin by 20 and they lost by 10, but to me a loss is a loss is a loss.

  • IULore

    Do coaching doesn’t matter?