The Minute After: St. John’s

  • 11/24/2015 5:45 pm in

Thoughts on an 83-73 win over St. John’s:

LAHAINA, Hawaii — On an overcast morning in the land of the cruel sun, Indiana’s fatigue from a never-ending Monday showed up in its win against St. John’s.

The disappointing, unexpected loss to Wake Forest was tough for this squad to stomach.

“We had some hurt feelings,” Tom Crean said of his team.

On Monday after the loss, Crean said Indiana spent longer than expected with their film session of the game. This led to missed scheduled evening gym time. They ended up having to do their walkthrough in their hotel ballroom instead.

“I gave us too much credit for having 16 good minutes (against Wake Forest),” Crean said. “We didn’t.”

Couple the long Monday in with a five hour time zone difference and a 9 a.m. start against a below average squad in a similar time-frazzled condition, and the quality of the performance starts to make some sense.

This is not to excuse all the listless play from Indiana. But context is important before we dive into the details.

Those details were tough to swallow. The Hoosiers have certainly showed stretches — or even full games — of the type of defense they need to play to be taken seriously this season. But that was not on display this morning. The Red Storm entered the contest with the 243rd most efficient offense per KenPom. Indiana allowed them to score 1.07 points per possession, just a touch less than the 1.11 it allowed to Wake Forest on Monday.

It was the same old story: Too much easy stuff off the perimeter to the basket.

Indiana played slower today and had six less possessions than in its loss to Wake Forest. But the turnovers still persisted. The Hoosiers turned it over on nearly a quarter of their possessions (23.5 percent) and the Red Storm scored 25 points of those miscues. A lot of them were of the mental variety. The Hoosiers made passes to areas of the court their teammates had vacated or simply never were. When Collin Hartman is making mental errors and turning the ball over (three turnovers), you know something is a little off.

“We were a little ruffled today,” Crean admitted after the game.

Indiana was never able to blow the Red Storm out of the gym as some had hoped the Hoosiers would. There were never quite in danger of letting the scales tip in St. John’s favor, either. It was a survival this morning more than anything.

The Hoosiers got Thomas Bryant the ball early and often and he had a nice bounce back game after a lot of defensive issues against Wake Forest. Bryant went to work in the post against the Red Storm and was an efficient 7-of-9 from the floor and 5-of-7 from the line for 19 points.

Crean sat James Blackmon Jr. and Troy Williams at the start of both halves today, sending a bit of a message about their play against Wake Forest yesterday. Blackmon Jr. still had four turnovers in just 17 minutes of play.

The Hoosiers have one last shot to string together more consistent play on both sides of the ball tomorrow and end on a positive note before they head back to the mainland.

But whether they’ll be able to shake the cobwebs out and put it all together is anyone’s guess after so much up and down play through five games this season.

Filed to:

  • inLinE6

    Hopefully, at least we play UNLV tomorrow.

  • PBzeer

    Unfortunately, the only thing elite about our team is the coach’s salary.

  • IU_fan_in_Lafayette

    JBJ will not be back next year. He is to lazy and to arrogant. He will either transfer or try to go pro. Just my opinion.

  • straight no chaser

    Maybe he will transform. If not, I hope you’re right.

  • Speed

    I expected more from a seasoned bunch of players but good for Crean who did not start Blackmon or Williams, neither who played any defense yesterday. This is college basketball, not the NBA. One has to hope that this team is a work in progress and that they will improve as the season goes on.

  • Arch Puddington

    “Couple the long Monday in with a five hour time zone difference and a 9 a.m. start against a below average squad in a similar time-frazzled condition, and the quality of the performance starts to make some sense.”

    Please. Cause and context are great, and I applaud those who remind us to look on the bright side (cue Monty Python). But this is frankly ridiculous. St. John’s and Wake Forest are both further away from Hawaii than Bloomington. And while I don’t buy for a second the excuse that our performance against Wake Forest was due even in part to their mediocrity, let’s say for the sake of argument it was. Why, then, did we also look so shaky against St. John’s? At what point do we just accept that our performances reflect who we are as a team and not the time of year or the opponent we are facing?

    The simple, dismaying reality is that we have a team full of players who don’t defend well being coached by a man who doesn’t teach defense well. It is unlikely to get meaningfully better as the year goes on, because in the end people are who they are. That, plus the fact that other teams will ruthlessly exploit the weaknesses that have been exposed since at least the middle of last season. I don’t agree with those who blame the players heart or character, nor do I buy the “it’s November” excuses. This coach and players are doing their best. It just isn’t very good, and it is difficult to see this season going any better than the last two.

  • 11th and Done (Dunn)

    Why even put this on here? His family may read this.

  • eville87

    On point thank you.

  • SCHoosier

    I find him neither lazy nor arrogant. I prefer to think of him having more expectations for success than his talent (and defensive ability) sometimes allow.He’s a player who does some weird things. Late in the game today..comes in off the bench (cold) and immediately throws up a three which clanged. Stuff like that. His TO’s today were not worthy of his talent level. Be clear..if this team is going to achieve anything we are proud of..James is going to have to play an important role.

  • Doug

    so are we as IU fans supposed to accept that under Crean, the Hoosiers will never be able to play decent defense? I support IU with possibly blind faith, but I find that hard to swallow

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    Talk about winning ugly, huh? Got a lot of work to do

  • CreamandCrimson

    UNLV is a pretty good test (in my opinion) for this current group. I’m anxious to see how the team responds. I thought we were awful against Wake and slightly better today. Clean up the free throw shooting, cut down on the indecision on offense and keep feeding Bryant and maybe we can keep taking small steps to be kind of team many of us are hoping for. It’s not likely but it is possible and I’m hopeful…go Hoosiers.

  • Joe

    Compare yogi’s shot this year vs last year. Something’s off. Am I the only one that notices this?

  • SilentBob

    I’m not a big fan of these back to back to back tournament games, but at some point Crean has to realize we’re not a two deep team and never will be. We’re barely a one deep team. As the season progresses the only reason Hartman or Bryant should be sitting is to catch their breath. And we have to continue to find Thomas all fourty minutes, not just one half. Keep the big man happy. Also I’m just flabbergasted that we continue to look for perimeter shots when we have a good lead in the closing minutes. Get something, anything going to the rim. And don’t wait to the last 10 seconds to do so.

  • Arch Puddington

    At least with this particular group, I don’t see what other conclusion can be reached. They started poorly last year and got worse as the season went on — at least as judged by Kenpom, whose rankings showed us sliding defensively as we went 5-10 down the stretch — and if anything, we look worse now. CTC has had defenses finish in the top 50 a couple of times, so with the right players he can produce at least competent defense. But most of his other teams have been outside the top 100, and last year was the worst of all (somewhere in the 225 range). He just isn’t a defensive guru, as is clear both statistically and aesthetically, and does not seem able to elevate a team defensively the way he can offensively.

    So in as much as this year’s team is the same team but for a freshman center and a graduate forward essentially cut by Michigan (another defensively challenged team that surely would have held on to a good post defender), and in as much as our opponents now have more than a year of film to watch how others have gotten to the rim at will, it seems pretty close to inevitable that we have already seen what there is to see. Even my friend Tom Jameson, as upbeat an ITH guy as there is, acknowledged that the Maui trip would go a long way towards telling the story. Sadly, the story is what we feared it would be.

  • straight no chaser

    LOL, where is Tom? Maybe he has taken a vow of silence and went on a spiritual quest to India or something!

  • Arch Puddington

    I hope your hopefulness pays off! I am so dismayed right now that I hardly know what to do. After nearly 20 years of our program being in the wilderness, I had two seasons to remind me of how great it is when IU basketball is good. But in the two years since then, plus the first few games of this season, the wilderness seems to get closer and closer all the time. Tom Crean is a good man, and I dread what happens if he is let go. But I dread the twilight we are in right now just as much.

  • MikeinNC

    I think all we need to do is talk more about the importance of defensive intensity. Play 40 hard minutes a game. Hold each other accountable. And wait for a leader to emerge. And clap. A lot.

    It will all turn out great, and if not, there’s a really impressive class of new recruits coming next year that will really help us turn the corner on this thing!

  • Arch Puddington

    He is a great guy and true fan. I am sure he is as horrified as anyone.

  • MikeinNC

    You are spot on.

  • straight no chaser

    I know, I’m just provoking him into showing his face.

  • Arch Puddington

    Criticizing the play on the court is fair; personal insults are not. You have no idea if he is lazy or arrogant, and there is no call for saying such things.

  • BruceA

    Thought there was some good analysis on our team from the post game show. It was said, and I agree, that good teams must have at least one lock-down defender (presumbly that shut down the other teams best player…or at least the one that is having a great game). They said IU does not have that player (like a Victor Oladipo) and I agree. And I can’t think of anyone on the current roster that can move into that role. I really like this team on a lot of levels, but I just don’t think we have defensive mentality/ability/scheme (coaches) to produce the kind of season we hope…I hope I’m wrong, but at this point I just don’t see it.

  • Arch Puddington


  • whomikewho

    Why are we #13? s it our stellar defense that sets us apart? Or our offense that compares to the Golden State Warriors?

    Didn’t #19 Vanderbilt just beat St. John’s by 37 yesterday?

    Your #1 Frustrated Fan

  • Arch Puddington

    I have never quite understood Yogi, but I will say this: he is the senior PG on a team determined to have someone other than the PG play PG. CTC’s quest to get Troy and JBJ to the pros by showing off their playmaking skills comes directly at Yogi’s expense. He is still our most prominent player, but I wonder if what you are seeing is the result of his being asked to play something other than his natural position.

    Not at all sure, just thinking out loud.

  • VanBurenBoys

    It’s strange. His shooting form from the field and the free throw line is completely different this year.

  • cooper

    Blackmon is Bracey Wright reincarnated in both the good and bad ways.

    Concerned whether Ferrell, Blackmon and Williams coexist this year and get the ball to Bryant. They are three guys fighting to go from fringe NBA talents to 1st round picks which is the most selfish type of player. They are going to spend their energy on offense not defense. They have to be unselfish enough to figure out who is hot and get him the ball. Then concentrate on at least attempting to play serviceable defense.

  • DLH

    Bingo, Yogi should be playing point unless he is out and then Rob is best option. It does not help the team by having these others play in this role. Developing those skills is best left to individuals working extra on their own. To be the best, this team needs to focus on what each piece does best and fine tune it until nearly flawless. Defense is another story, they all need focus there. These frustrations may never change because Crean takes so much pride in getting players to the next level almost it almost seems to interfere with progress of the team itself. I read ITH all the time but never post, got a wild hair I guess.

  • BMusic

    Rankings are based on people’s opinions. The W/L record is the real indication of how good you are and, like the team itself, it is a work in progress, with the result not being apparent for many weeks.

  • BMusic

    Williams made some good feeds today in instances where, yesterday, he would have gone for the SportsCenter Top Play. So that’s progress.

  • BMusic

    Honestly, I think I’d use Troy in that role. A year ago, I wouldn’t have imagined myself saying that, but he doesn’t seem to get beat very often, and he appears athletic enough to recover when someone edges by him. I seem to recall Watford(?) guarding the point at times, a couple years ago. Some big guy. I say, moving forward, if some guard is beating us time and again, we try putting Troy on him.

  • BruceA

    If anyone it probably would be Troy…would agree.

  • IU_fan_in_Lafayette

    My opinion….

  • StevieV610

    Trick-or-Treat Troy.

  • BMusic

    I like to think he vacillates between miraculous and miraclueless.

  • straight no chaser

    I don’t agree with you on Max. You would convince me if you offered an analysis of his game at IU, not if you cast him as the Michigan reject. Players sometimes reinvent themselves. He seems to be doing well for a player who was meant to be in a supporting role.

  • Hoosier4life67

    Same old same old. St. John of all teams beats us in the 2nd half. I’m sorry but giving up 73 points to them is horrible defense. Its going to be a long season.

  • sam

    Go! IUBB!
    Don’t listen to the noise. They can’t care more than you…

  • IUfanforever

    Why do you think we should accept the Hoosiers to not play decent defense when Crean doesn’t. That is exactly why Williams and JBJ didn’t start today. Hopefully both will listen and try to improve their games from what CTC is trying to show them.

  • Joe

    I agree with everything you said, but I’m just focusing on his shot. There’s a hitch in there that wasn’t there. Seems to be flatter as well. Maybe it’s just me because I haven’t seen him shoot for 8 months.

  • Brett Robinson

    You’re out of your mind man!

  • b_side

    Sitting behind a computer screen. Would you say it to his dad’s face though?

  • LennyFassbender

    Let’s be honest. We have a poor to mediocre in-game coach. We seem to continue to have a group of players that run the complete spectrum along the axes of talent, effort, basketball IQ, and character. But, we don’t have much consistency along those axes. Which is a recipe for mediocrity. Character should be a given…only recruit high character guys. Talent should have some variability. But, basketball IQ and effort need to be off the charts. Which, obviously, would mean a few guys would not be on this team. However, in the long run, that’s how you get a winning team. Consistently. No need to name names – I think you know who would be replaced.

    Which then brings us back to coaching. You MUST have an elite coach to even be able to land the right guys. But, then you’ve got to be able to deliver it day after day. Do we have the right coach? Well… Think about the number of guys that meet the conditions of character, IQ, and talent, and then ask yourself how CTC has done with them.

    There’s your answer.

  • IU_fan_in_Lafayette

    I’d say it to yours. It’s funny you mentioned his dad. I remember his dad playing ball in high school, nowhere near the player his dad was. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. I’m sure he’s a great kid with good parents. It’s just the vibe I get by watching him play.

  • Larry Brown

    IU now gets excited if they sign the #38 player in the high school ranks. Meanwhile, Kentucky and Duke sign all the guys in the top 10.
    IU struggles to make the tourney and when it gets there, loses by the Sweet 16.
    They hold press conferences to announce a guy won’t go pro — a guy whose defense is so bad and offense s inconsistent , he’d hardly play for a Developmental League team.
    Every year it seems IU is ranked among the top 10 recruiting classes, but they never finish a season in the top 10 of the polls …. heck, right now they shouldn’t even be in the top 50. Used to compete for NCAA championships year in, year out, now competing just to make the tourney.
    Does Fred Glass even notice any of this? Does he care?

  • BoxingGlobe

    Go pro ? He won’t get picked up by any team and I’m willing to bet anything on that. He can’t defend and is pretty much just a shooter

  • IU_fan_in_Lafayette

    Be careful what you type, you have some people get butt sore!

  • b_side

    You didn’t hurt my feelings. Unwarranted, anonymous personal attacks about a 19-20 year old from behind a computer just make the fan base look bad.

  • BoxingGlobe

    Lazy isn’t the right opinion to have because you don’t kno how hard he works in practice. He can’t guard anybody, they just go right around him. I think he has a bad knee, and won’t ever be quick as he should. He is a four year player, and won’t play in the NBA. He can play overseas.