Notebook: Hoosiers have ‘work cut out’ against Wichita State

  • 03/16/2015 1:14 pm in

Just a couple hours after the Hoosiers found out they would be facing Wichita State in their 2015 NCAA tournament opener, several players had the chance to react to the draw.

One player who took particular interest in the match-up was junior Nick Zeisloft. Just last season as a sophomore at Illinois State, Zeisloft played the Shockers twice during their undefeated regular season.

And he has made sure his teammates know Friday’s game will not be an easy one.

“They’re a great team,” Zeisloft said. “Well-coached, very tough, physically and mentally. I mean, I think coach (Tom Crean) has told us they’re one of the winningest programs in the past three years from a winning percentage wise, and they went to the Final Four a few years ago, and I’ve played them several times. They’re very good.

“We have our work cut out for us, but we’re very excited we have them, as well.”

The Hoosiers were made well-aware of Wichita State’s success over the past three years. During the 2012-13 season, the Shockers made it to the Final Four and lost to the eventual national champion, Louisville. Just last season, they finished the regular season undefeated and lost to eventual NCAA tournament runner-up Kentucky in the second round.

And this season, several significant contributors from those previous teams have made another big impact. The Shockers are 28-4 heading into Friday’s second-round game in Omaha.

“They’ve got a couple of bona fide stars in (Ron) Baker and (Fred) Van Vleet,” Crean said. “And the bottom line is they’ve got a bunch of other guys that really know how to play and that make each other better constantly.”

While they did not yet go into a full examination of Wichita State on Sunday night, the Hoosiers were already aware of the challenges the Shockers pose. They said the Shockers are physical. They will fight on the glass. They can play inside and outside.

But that’s exactly what the Hoosiers expect. It’s the NCAA tournament, after all.

“I mean, it’s the NCAA tournament, so it’s probably going to be a crazy game,” Yogi Ferrell said. “I expect it to be hard-nosed, going against one another, grinding out. I’m just excited to play.”

Crean: “We’re not going to win on the experience game”

Just two years ago, Crean sat in the Georgia Dome and watched Wichita State nearly defeat Louisville in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament.

On Sunday, he reminisced on just how good that team was — one that beat Pitt, Gonzaga and Ohio State in March. And then he compared that team to this year’s Shockers squad, which has three leftover significant contributors from that team in Baker, Van Vleet and Tekele Cotton.

“It’s funny watching those guys now; they’re just a little bit bigger, but they have the same type of game, and their game was pretty good then,” Crean said. “We’re not going to win on the experience game. We’ve got to win on making sure we play as mistake free as possible and yet play to our strengths.”

Because the Shockers are so experienced, Crean said, he has noticed that they don’t make many on-court mistakes. They don’t turn the ball over — their 15.2 percent turnover rate ranks No. 8 in the nation — several players have high assist-turnover rates — and they rank in the top 60 in the nation in both offensive and defensive rebound percentage.

What that means for the Hoosiers is that the margin of error will be even smaller than usual on Friday, Crean said.

“We don’t want free and loose to turn into sloppy and inconsistent because sometimes that can have — the biggest thing you’ve got to watch for this time of year is getting out of character,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s young or old. It’s a lot easier to do it when you’re young, but sometimes it happens when you’re older.

“You cannot go into this tournament with anything less than playing the most simple brand of basketball that works for you.”

Hoosiers “on a belief” Mosquera-Perea will play on Friday

Indiana forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea continues to rehabilitate a re-aggravated knee injury suffered during Thursday’s win over Northwestern, but Crean said on Sunday he expects the 6-foot-9 starter to be available for Friday’s game against Wichita State.

“We’re definitely on a belief that he’s going to be back,” Crean said. “So certainly Friday helps a great deal. Would Tuesday have helped? That to me, I don’t know. We don’t have to worry about that now. But hopefully later in the week he’s definitely going to keep making the progress that he’s making.”

Initially, the Hoosiers feared Mosquera-Perea’s injury to be much worse than it was. The Colombia native screamed in pain on the floor after 7-foot Alex Olah fell into his right knee, and he had a heavy limp after sustaining injury.

But by the next day, Mosquera-Perea was walking without much of a limp at all. Since he was wearing a brace at the time of the injury, it ended up not being a significant one.

And although the Hoosiers did not practice him on Sunday, they expect him to be available for their NCAA tournament opener.

“It certainly could have been a lot worse, and the way it looked, it was a lot worse,” Crean said. “But it ended up not being that way, which is very fortunate for hi  to not have to go through another trek like that, and for us.”

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  • enickman

    pUKe is pretty young as well. No longer an excuse. The guys need to lace’em up and play with the intensity we know they can bring and when they do it usually is a recipe for success! Go Hoosiers!

  • enickman

    I’d hold out for Brad Stevens. As much as I am not a fan of CTC I can wait. Heck, I’ve waited for almost 3 decades I can wait a few more years!

  • cooper

    He coaches at Wichita. Crean is at IU. Crean’s access to top recruits, money and facilities is 100x what Marshall is working with. And if IU is now comparable to Wichita State then holy &[email protected]@# how far we have fallen

  • enickman

    Agree. You mentioned Bobby Knights pattern of winning every 6 to 7 years through putting the right team on the floor, developing them, and coaching fundamental basketball. A coach that can do that with the 3 and 4 star recruits who will be around for awhile is way more impressive and in keeping with the true intent of the student athlete. I have to admit though that winning is everything to me as long as it’s done the right way! LOL!

  • Including the caveat “as long as it’s done the right way,” I’m right there with you. 🙂

  • Michael

    i brought it up because few fans appreciated the season they had. Most fans I see commenting don’t appear to even be happy for the kids. It’s all about them underachieving or who is next for Crean’s job.

    It’s fine to be a little selfish as a fan, but ignoring what a group of very young men did is pathetic to me. I’m not thinking about crean, I’m thinking about how much better some of these guys are gonna get.

    So no I’m not coming up with excuses, I’m genuinely happy for this group and hopefully they can play a high level game Friday.

    Now, continue with the discussion about everything else except this good group of guys.

  • sarge

    Well said, Wisconsin comes to mind. They have a core group of players every year with upperclass leadership.

  • Cream&Crimson11

    I’m sorry, but it’s not even comparable. After Crean’s Final Four, he was in the NIT two straight years. Marshall went 35-0 before running into Kentucky, who was severely underseeded, and they’re 28-4 this year.

    Crean’s overall record (even minus the first three years at IU) does not scream consistent excellence. Marshall won 29 games at Winthrop and has won at least 27 games five years in a row at Wichita State. Not comparable.

  • Lance76

    In the Maryland game toward the end it showed a close up of JBJr and he obviously was discussed at himself for missing a shot. I could read his lips but will not repeat here. Remember Fife going through a similar lull in scoring. JBJr will come out of it. Would NEVER play him in “horse”.

  • Fergation

    Shaka Smart? You have got to be kidding me. I could never rout for a team like he puts together. In fact I always rout against his teams. They are nothing short of thugs that foul you every time they play defense. You can say goodbye to ever seeing a Indiana kid playing for the Hoosiers if they got Coach Smart.

  • Yep, I doubt neither his heart nor his skill. But I do think he’s tired, as freshmen get toward the end of their first season (and a summer’s worth of conditioning can make all the difference), and a bit streaky. He’ll be a monster next year, I have no doubt. I do wonder which version of him will show up against WSU, though, and that it’ll have a tremendous impact on the game.

    Same for Yogi, though, as well. His long ball needs to be hitting as well.

  • Vince

    That is correct I.U. is the youngest team in the tourney!

  • SeeingRed

    I don’t care who you are or where you’ve been — a .715 career winning percentage with a large sample size is pretty rare air. Rest assured, Gregg Marshall can coach. May have little or nothing to do with IU’s coaching situation, but there are most certainly more than two really good coaches out there.

  • SeeingRed

    Yeah, he’s a terrible coach. That’s why his name comes up for every meaningful college job opening there is and why he is most likely Duke’s coach in waiting. Man, some of the stuff I read on this board is downright ridiculous. Shaka Smart is a high character guy. Super well respected. You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

  • hardly

    thugs? who has had more players arrested in the past 18 months, Indiana or VCU? I’m not advocating for him as IU’s next coach, but one has to admire the job Smart has done. They’ve made the tourney every year since their final 4 run, made the sweet 16 twice and went out last year in the 2nd round. This is with no nba talent since Sanders left early in Smarts 1st or 2nd year. In fact, this seems exactly what IU needs – with moderate talent he gets to 2nd-3rd round of the tournament and with good talent he gets deep into the tournament. He obviously doesn’t cater to prima donna high school players who want the world handed to them because he doesn’t have to do so to win – and I think we can all appreciate that. Maybe there are other reasons you wouldn’t root for a Shaka Smart coached team?

  • hardly

    yes i agree…plant the seeds now and when both contracts are coming to a close make the move.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Actually, they are 4th youngest in this tournament… Here are the top 5:

  • Hoosier Hall

    Probably Notre Dame… If we get that far.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Oubre reminds me of Troy but he plays a little more in control. Similar size and athleticism.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Gotta have at least one of RJ or JBJ have a big game along with Yogi and Troy. Usually when RJ and JBJ both play badly, we lose. On the flip side, when both of our star frosh are clicking we usually put a hurtin on somebody (Maryland, Minnesota).

  • Hoosier Hall

    The thing with JBJ is he is capable of impacting the game in other ways. Sometimes he gets frustrated when his first few shots don’t go down and then the rest of his game suffers. If he’s not hitting he needs to buckle down on defense, distribute the ball, rebound and bring energy. Against Maryland, he jacked up that ill-advised shot on a fast break with about 2 or 3 minutes left that missed and resulted in a missed opportunity.

  • Bruce Clark

    Ranksports. com has us upsetting Wichita State – and Kansas losing in the 2nd round!

    This is a great time for JB and RJ to find some consistency – the positive kind!

    Holt looked very good last game, Yogi playing well. TW has been inconsistent of late, but tourney time always produces some heroes: I’m hoping one of them is Troy.

  • iuoiu

    1) Not a fan of the “thugs” code word….

    2) You have no clue what a class act Coach Smart is. I’ve met the man and live in RVA and I can tell you there is not a more respected man in the state of VA – period.

  • beppecolo

    Hey, c’mon. Pass the ball into the post? Ain’t Crean’s style, even when he had Zeller and Vonleh, they practically had to get an O rebound to get the ball inside. Bigs are for rebounding and defense, dontcha know?

  • SeeingRed

    Can’t wait for this answer from Fergation. His post smacks of the kind of “Hoosier Nation” I definitely don’t want to be a part of.

  • Very true. When I say “hit a shot,” I don’t mean just threes. When he gets in a groove, he also drives well and can avoid blocks, as well as moving more energetically, defending better, etc. All the things you’re talking about.

    I’m not sure which comes first, though. Does he hit a few shots early and that energizes him for the rest of the game, or does he miss a few shots early and then shut down? Or, does he get energized early and then hit his shots and do all of the other things he’s capable of? Seems like the former more than the latter, but I’d have to go back and look more closely.

    As a freshman scorer/shooter, I’m guessing he’s heavily influenced psychologically by how his first few shots go. But I could be totally wrong.

  • KuDaMAN

    I’d like to see if JBJ will actually try to play some defense. Between him and TW, 40% of our players on the floor can’t guard anyone which puts the other players out of position and gets them in foul trouble. They are both athletic so it seems to merely be discipline and effort and that’s CTC fault.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    just finishing up eating my crow since i thought we were not in,Witchita St. is a very tough matchup, with that being said they don’t play the schedule we do so if this bunch is ready to play hard like the last 2 games i see us winning and moving on

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    No on shaka, i’m not impressed with him


    IF and WHEN that is topic that is for sure going to happen….I think a name that is going to be mentioned, if not at the end of this tournament, then after the next one or two, is Bobby Hurley at Buffalo. They played pUKe at Rape Arena and was ahead at half time and played them close till the end. First ever tournament appearance, first time for them to win their conference tournament, and a few other firsts that I don’t recall exactly.


    The youth excuse was no longer an excuse after last year, and the annual excuse of, ” an awful lot of inexperienced players ” has grown old as well. I can take that being partly to blame for a somewhat subpar season, but it being put out there as the ” excuse ” every year is a subpar reason.

  • enickman

    Totally agree Mike. It’s up to the staff to coach them and motivate them game in and game out. The best coaches do that consistently. Excuses lead to mediocrity IMO.


    Here’s kinda my take on the whole “youth” thing. I’m not saying that youth isn’t ever a factor cause it is, and maybe more so in IU’s case than some others. Having said that, the problem I have is that this is a team of players recruited by Crean with no restrictions in place. A coach can use whatever philosophy that they wish to, but they have to be ready to change that philosophy if it doesn’t work or is flawed. Crean’s bball philosophy is what has brought us to the team that we have now and so it is incumbent upon him to make his philosophy work or at least be able to offer rational reasons other than, ” the youth excuse “, almost every year. I can see a coach attributing his team’s troubles to a lack of experience but using it as the biggest single excuse almost every single year ? Nope, it’s on him after so long and Crean has worn that one out. If it is statistically correct that they are a very young team it is that way by his hand and he should be able to make that way work or change his ways.


    Maybe, maybe not, but then again the offensive rebounds and second chance points that the other team always gets would be a whole lot less too. And then there is those pesky uber high percentage shots the other team seems to always find several of each game, you know those shots called layups and dunks. Not saying it’s the miracle that would carry us to the national championship or even a single victory, but what we’re doing now is PROVEN not to work for us and it sure would be nice to see us at least give it a try for more than just a minute or two.

  • They lost in the round of 32 last year, Kentucky was an 8 seed and beat em. But yeah theyve been one of the more successful tourney teams in the last 4 years

  • marcusgresham

    IU plays more freshmen than Kentucky does.

  • Lots of moving parts here, I admit. I started writing a long post in response, but my brain is fried on this issue. I’m about at the point where I just want the season to end, the coaching decision finalized, and then see how everything plays out. After all, nothing I say is going to impact the program one way or another–it really is just a spectator sport as far as I’m concerned.

  • Joey Owens

    Age is just a number fellas! Ya think for example look at the Cats! And its been proven over the years and past history it don’t matter! Bottom line IU doesn’t have a couple bigs that can help the guards always been an issue at Indiana ugh and don’t know why its like they focus on guards and power forwards always lacking the big dominant guys! With that being said good luck IU because the lord knows they got they’re work cut out for them! So the next coach come on down !!!

  • Joey Owens

    Amen ole man!

  • Eric d

    Please quit dogging the coach. He is the leader of our team.

  • SilentBob

    Honestly I think under armour has really stepped up their design from a cosmetic perspective over the last year especially with basketball shoes. But at the end of the day it’s the performance that counts. I’ve owned running shoes from all the major companies and personally I think Addidas and Under Armour go toe to toe in terms of performance quality. I might even give the slight edge to Under Armor. From a buyers perspective you’re just paying for a name and a look with Nike

  • 5_Banners

    Yea, I don’t get why everyone is bringing up Kentucky…If you can’t see the difference with a team loaded with NBA talent at pretty much every position then I can’t help ya. Calipari replaces his NBA talent with top recruits every year. Its definitely the exception…not the rule.

    Now, I do think Calipari does a tremendous job molding his teams to play well every year. I think Crean could adjust some things to make it easier/better for his inexperienced teams to succeed every year, but sometimes teams just don’t gel as well (2013-2014) or like this year, they can lose steam late in the season. But sometimes, it doesn’t matter what the coach does, Calipari couldn’t do anything for the 2012-2013 team which lost in the first round of the NIT.

  • 5_Banners

    I’ve struggled with this, it’s definitely a fickle dance for sure…do you recruit top talent with the risk of them leaving after one or two years or do you recruit guys like Robert Johnson that are talented but will be around for 3-4 years?

    Cause we know Crean does a good job of developing players, so maybe this might be the best way of sustaining success year after year.