Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Wichita State

  • 03/20/2015 8:48 pm in

OMAHA, Neb. – Indiana’s season ended in the NCAA tournament round of 64 on Friday afternoon as the Hoosiers fell to Wichita State, 81-76, in the CenturyLink Center.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the loss to the Shockers:

· Shockers win it at the foul line: For the second straight game, Indiana was outscored by a significant margin at the free throw line. In last Friday’s loss to Maryland in the Big Ten tournament, the Terrapins took 33 free throws. Wichita State got there 34 times against the Hoosiers and outscored them by 12 from the stripe.

Indiana allowed a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of higher than 50 percent on five occasions this season and it lost all five times. While there were calls on both ends that could have gone either way, Wichita State was ultimately rewarded for its aggressive play, particularly in the second half when the Shockers attempted just five 3-pointers.

The Hoosiers simply couldn’t keep Wichita State’s bevy of drivers out of the lane and it scored 16 points after halftime from the foul line. Ron Baker didn’t shoot it well but hit nine of his 10 free throw attempts. And when Fred VanVleet wasn’t shooting layups, he was getting to the line where he, too, made nine of 10 attempts.

· Lack of size doesn’t stop Wichita State from scoring in the paint: The Shockers appeared to be a favorable matchup on paper for Indiana because of the size similarities between the two teams, but that didn’t stop Wichita State from imposing its will in the paint.

The Shockers outscored Indiana 42-22 in the paint for the game and 26-8 in the second half, when they made 10 layups.

“Unfortunately for us the biggest difference was the points they were able to score inside of the paint,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “When we have been able to keep that under control this year, we have been better and when we haven’t, that’s when we have struggled.”

Indiana’s defense has been a weakness all season and it was no different in this game as the Hoosiers failed to stop dribble penetration and Wichita State took major advantage.

· Second half turnovers prove costly: Indiana was winning the game and the turnover battle at halftime, but that changed in the final 20 minutes as Wichita State committed just two turnovers and Indiana had nine after the intermission.

Much of Wichita State’s success has been built on taking care of the ball and playing in lower possession games where it can grind out wins down the stretch with a lead in hand.

This game was a perfect example of that as once Wichita State grabbed an eight-point lead with just under eight minutes to play, the Shockers were able to finish the game by taking care of the ball, getting to the line and capitalizing off of IU’s unforced turnovers.

· VanVleet-Ferrell matchup lives up to its billing: Two of the nation’s best point guards, Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet and Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell, both downplayed talk of a head-to-head battle in the lead-up to Friday’s game. But both players put together high-level performances.

VanVleet matched a career-high with 27 points in 37 minutes while Ferrell countered with 24 points in 34 minutes. After Tekele Cotton had difficulty stopping Ferrell, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall used VanVleet to attempt to slow him down, and that strategy proved effective at times.

“Yogi was having his way and Fred I thought did a wonderful job,” Marshall explained postgame. “Besides scoring all of the points he did, he defended beautifully.”

Indiana had no answer defensively for VanVleet as he exploded for 19 points in the first half and then scored eight and dished out four assists in the second half.

“He got some confidence, got to the rim, got some open shots,” Indiana sophomore Stanford Robinson said. “We just helped him when we were failing in our (pick-and-roll) coverages. That’s what got him going and he got some confidence and started hitting shots.”

· IU players say they’re looking forward to future, but offer no guarantees: The message across the IU locker room in the immediate aftermath of the loss was universal: This group isn’t satisfied with just making the NCAA tournament and it has hopes of accomplishing more next season.

On paper, Indiana was the least-experienced team in this year’s field and if everyone comes back, the potential is there to build on a season that included its fair share of highs and lows.

Most pivotal on the list of guys who may have decisions to make on their futures are Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams. I asked Ferrell specifically if he’d be back and he said he’s just living in the present for now and Williams was asked a similar question and said that he hasn’t thought much about it yet.

With a pair of recruits already inked and a potential addition of Thomas Bryant, who will decide next month at some point, Indiana could easily be a top 25 team (or higher) in the preseason next season if everyone returns. Whether that happens, however, will have to play out over the next month as Bryant’s decision is made and decisions on whether to pursue professional careers are made as well.

Filed to:


    Ken, I never skip your comments (like I do some others) and agree with the majority of them. I’m all about people having their own opinions and being passionate about them, and I can count on less than one hand, since the birth of ITH, how many times I have commented in someone else’s defense. I probably shouldn’t be interjecting myself into this, but……..I think you’re being a little over the top with Mark Coppock. Sewage dump, anti-IU, join big blue nation and some of the other stuff you have thrown out there ? I just don’t see, IMHO, where he went to deserve those. I’m just as bitter about how a lot of things went, or maybe better put didn’t go, as anybody else and I too think saying the officiating could have been better is more than just an understatement, but……


    Knew it had to be something ! lol Must’ve been consuming a $hitpot full of it before going cold turkey.


    See my comment to Ken, above this one that I am replying to.


    Trust me I was screaming for that pass to be made all year, and thought after the success that we had during the Nebraska game that it would at least be tried off and on in most, if not all games. The screener rolling to the basket was open too many times to count throughout this season, and it didn’t matter which one it was, HMP, CH or EH were all open over and over all season with no pass being made. I think a lot of it has to do with Crean’s philosophy of wanting to utilize the guards and small forwards more than the bigs, which IMHO, directly results in under utilizing the bigs.


    We have to remember also that he was a player with his first year of playing any real and meaningful game time minutes and probably most importantly…..he was playing out of position, way out of position, the entire year. I feel like if he is able to play his natural spot he could be a shot blocker in the way that Jeff Newton was, that is, coming in as the second defender, with his very good vertical, and basically only worrying about trying to get the block. Makes it a whole lot easier to block the shot this way and with being the “second defender ” it automatically makes for the timing needed for blocking a shot and makes doing it without fouling more natural, e.g. he doesn’t necessarily have to worry about biting on the shot fake and can wait until the shot actually goes up. This also allows for the initial defender to be less likely to foul since he knows he has a good chance of HMP, or someone else, being there to clean things up. Of course this also is assuming that Crean will finally find his way to play more than one big at the same time and for more than just two or three minutes at a time and he hasn’t really shown a strong desire to do that. Time will tell.

  • Yeah, I guess I owe him an apology.. I just get too upset sometimes about some of these guys who get on here and
    either make upstuff or otherwise stretch

  • Thanks for that!

  • No problem. No harm, no foul, as they say in basketball. 🙂

  • Eljay

    Earl, I don’t believe I’ve indicated that. One more time: we have different expectations going forward—& that’s ok. I do not expect your opinions/expectations will come to fruition. You don’t mine. I think the glass is half full. You don’t. We’ll discover who is more accurate in 2015-2016.

  • Thanks Mark, but I honestly am sorry. I guess Im’jus t too ‘old school’. It’s very hard for me to see all of the negativity and Bashing that goes on here. Not saying that’s what you were doing at all. I just grew up loving IU basketball and it’s just really difficult to see some of this stuff happening. I tend to look too much t the situation with ‘rose colored’ glasses.. It’s just the way I’ve always been.
    Therefore, I usually look with skepticism at some of the stuff the ‘nay sayers’ put out. Again, I am not categorizing you as one of them.. I guess we just had a difference opinion about how that went down.

  • Thing is, I’m with you regarding the negativity and particularly the hostility. If you read my posts elsewhere, I hope you find me a supportive and generally level-headed fan. At least, that’s whay I try to be. The thing about the officiating at the WSU game is really just me trying to be that–level-headed–and not someone who puts blame for a loss on something else.

    But anyways, really, I get it. These are tough times for an IU fan. We just want to see the program succeed, and it’s even harder when people attack it.

  • I do appreciate your comments Mark.. I usually do not blame officiating either.. and I really don’t for that game. If our guys could have hit anything like they are capable of.. it would’ve been different.. notwithstanding we really do need to play better defense.. But we all get that.


    Pretty much totally agree, IMHO, handing him a contract extension,without enough time on the job to have accumulated a proven track record, allowed for a $12 million show of gratitude if we decided to go in another direction, and that’s not too shabby. I know people, I know it has the caveats that make it not as bad as it sounds monetarily, but all in all it’s quite a bit of gratitude if you ask me.


    Well done and done like the true IU fan that we all know you to be and for the record, anyone of us that have been true IU bball fans for a more than just a little bit, and are very passionate about IU bball, have at one time or another, done the exact same thing. Here’s to a successful offseason and Go Hoosiers !

  • Might want to delete that statement about Wichita State after the fart they laid against Notre Dame. They are who we thought they were, a good middle major team that can’t compete against the top tier talent. Puts the IU game in context, doesn’t it?

  • MattRyan

    Thanks for your unsolicited opinion.