The Minute After: Austin Peay

  • 11/16/2015 9:52 pm in

Thoughts on a 102-76 win against the Governors: 

The Hoosiers played a near perfect offensive second half. Fifteen straight made shots, 18 for their last 20, a barrage of 3-pointers, ridiculous highlight reel plays from Troy Williams.

They finished the contest with an insane effective field goal percentage of 80, 16-of-27 (59.2 percent) from distance and scored 1.30 points per possession.

There’s perhaps no other team in America that can do what these guys do on offense. It’s a marvel. It’s a joy. But it’s old hat now. We know they can pump in points like no one else.

What Indiana needs to do is complement its high-powered offense with a respectable defense. (Or gasp, even a good to great defense.) Against Eastern Illinois it was there. The Hoosiers allowed just .716 points per possession to the Panthers, its best mark since November of 2013. But from the onset in this one, the defense was an after thought. Austin Peay scored 41 total points against Vanderbilt in their opener on Friday night. The Governors had 38 against Indiana at half and ended the contest with 76 points.

Indiana gave up nearly a point per possession (.97) and a 54 effective field goal percentage to one of the worst shooting teams in the country last season.

The frantic, fast, sloppy play of the first half seemed to play into Indiana’s defensive issues tonight. When both teams are all over the court, making mistakes and getting shots up quick, it can throw focus off. It’s hard to lock into chaos.

The Governors got a lot of uncontested looks at the rim from drives off the perimeter and hoisted a fair amount of uncontested 3-pointers — both reminiscent of looks last year’s squad gave up to opponents.

“We got caught in some over helps tonight, we didn’t fight through screens,” Tom Crean said on the Big Ten Network after the game. “We didn’t get our shoulder dropped and really come across on the screen. Our ball pressure could be better.”

Crean even started Robert Johnson and Collin Hartman in favor of James Blackmon Jr. and Troy Williams in the second half. It didn’t do much, as Johnson got beat on a back door to start the half.

The Hoosiers turned the ball over too much tonight and that’s been a bit of an issue so far this year. A quarter of Indiana’s possessions ended in a turnover tonight. Against Eastern Illinois it was nearly the same (23.5 percent).

As we saw last season against Maryland at Assembly Hall, a ridiculous shooting night from this team (79.3 effective field goal percentage, 1.39 PPP in that one) can stomp even the best teams. But they know and we know they must also defend and take care of the ball better if they want to be truly elite.

Anyway: Nice to see Nick Zeisloft light it up from distance tonight (5-of-7), despite his injured finger. Yogi Ferrell (4-of-5) and James Blackmon Jr. (4-of-6) were also on fire from 3-point range. When you have three dudes shooting this well from distance, it’s pretty unfair. Max Bielfeldt (1-of-2) even got into the mix. Had Thomas Bryant made his early look in the first half, the Hoosiers would have had a trey from all five positions on the court.

And that Williams reverse slam in transition? Good golly.

Some good, some bad tonight. Creighton comes to town Thursday and the Hoosiers have ample opportunity to correct their mistakes in short order.

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  • TomJameson

    I actually is a point of emphasis by the coaches. Did you not listen to CTC in the post-game presser? He said how the over-help was a problem in that game.

  • pcantidote

    Tom I am commenting on what I am seeing, not what I am hearing. If it is being emphasized, it is not being emphasized effectively. Way too any uncontested layups.

  • TomJameson

    Arch, you say that like it happens almost every time “reach for steals and jump at shot fakes, then scramble to recover” I would say that there is some of that, but mostly they don’t reach for steals and that they mostly don’t jump at shot fakes. I would turn your sentence around and say that there are moments where IU regresses back to last year, but far more times we see a better defense.

    I think they will get better as they actually play games and not just practice against each other. In fact, I think their defense is getting better game-by-game already.

  • TomJameson

    I’m telling you, there was a lot of crud thrown up by AP that wouldn’t normally go in. LOL Several times the AP player was surrounded by IU, the guy threw it toward the basket and it went in.

    Lot of sloppy play on both ends, probably because AP tried to run with IU.

  • BC Hoosier

    Im pretty sure CTC did just that with Williams and JBJ to start the second half.

  • Arch Puddington

    Well, I did say “There are moments when we look better…”

    Tom, I think the reaching and lunging takes place on almost every possession. It doesn’t always lead to problems, but as last night showed pretty conclusively, it does so quite often. I’m not going to count possessions or provide advanced analytics, I’m just going to tell you that I see it now, and have seen it for years. Crean himself acknowledges that we “overhelp,” which is just one example of the kind of thing that gets us off balance or out of position. There are many other kinds of examples, and we are guilty of them far too often.

    If that changes, I will gladly say so. As of last night, it hasn’t changed.

  • hoosier

    Dave i agree 100%

  • hoosier

    if they would just play fundamentally sound defense they would be a top 5 team

  • hoosier

    just as on offense trying to make plays that are not there i have seen this for years

  • IUBizmark

    Terrible defense is better than no defense.

  • TomJameson

    “Way too many” is pretty vague. If you go back and count the uncontested layups, you’ll discover that it’s not as many as you think.

    All people remember the bad plays more, and longer, than the good ones. I was at the game with great, close-up seats. I watched the recording of it twice since then. Yes, there was everything there that people are gripping about. But not to the degree that is being brought to bear, vague or not.

    This team is tremendously better on defense than what it was last year, and getting better. NO, IT IS NOT AN ELITE DEFENSE … but tons of improvement, and working on heading toward that goal.

    The Creighton game will give us a better barometer of how this team is doing.


    I know that game, and most that I’ve watched so far this year, have been called very tight, but that’s not a factor when a player is on defense and is all of a sudden able to see the rim AND the name on the back of the jersey of the player they were guarding, which is what happened more than once with JBJ & NZ. I’m not saying that they have not improved at all defensively, that they shouldn’t be playing or that their minutes should be drastically reduced, but rather that their defense is still less than stellar and that the improvement is not to the point that it will make a noticeable difference over what it did last year. Gonna have to have both on the floor for more than a few minutes this year to win though.

  • TomJameson

    Oh, I agree with the not stellar part, but I also want folks to remember that they are better and (I hope) will continue to do so. I really think if they ALL just made it a point to NEVER leave their feet, the defense and fouling would be much better.