The Minute After: Alcorn State

  • 11/30/2015 9:40 pm in

Thoughts on a 112-70 win over Alcorn State:

The James Blackmon Jr. offensive assault impressed. The Troy Williams highlight alley-oop did, too. But as the Hoosiers entered half time tonight, all those lingering doubts remained.

Despite scoring 1.51 points per possession and sporting an effective field goal percentage of 88.5, the turnovers and defense continued to plague this talented squad. An entry pass to Thomas Bryant resulted in a turnover. Trying to go for the home runs instead of the singles to close out the half — a Williams alley-oop pass to Yogi Ferrell comes to mind — resulted in a few more. The Hoosiers entered the locker room turning it over on 22.8 percent of their possessions. It was just a touch better than their season average of 23.9 percent, which ranked 338th in the country coming into the contest.

Indiana’s defense also left much to be desired. It failed to to control the boards, as Alcorn State rebounded 52.2 percent of its misses for 12 second-chance points. The Braves scored off weak Indiana transition defense and the uncontested drives off the perimeter to the rim happened, too. At half, Indiana allowed .97 points per possession to a weak offensive team averaging .91 points on the season.

But the Hoosiers cleaned things up in the second half and cruised to an expected 42-point victory.

Now, to be clear: The defense wasn’t really any better. Indiana allowed .99 points per possession for the game against a team entering the contest with the 342nd most efficient offense in Division I. So it was actually a little worse after the break.

But as I wrote in my final TMA from Maui, if you can shore up the silly turnovers, it can go a long way to covering up the defense and lead to Ws. It gives this high-powered offense more opportunities to put the ball in the hole. An ideal Indiana team takes care of the ball and plays better defensively. But for a night, at least it cleaned up the turnovers. Its turnover percentage of 17.0 was its best of the season and IU turned it over just four times in the second half. It helped them outscore the Braves by 23 points (59-36) in the second frame despite some ho-hum defense.

Blackmon Jr. was unstoppable tonight. He had 24 points at the break. By game’s end, Blackmon Jr. finished with 33 points, both a career-high and the most points scored by an IU player in the Tom Crean era. It was a balanced attack for Blackmon Jr. He hit 6-of-9 from distance and 5-of-6 from 2-point range. The sophomore also shot a perfect 5-of-5 from the line. He added four steals and just one turnover.

Indiana also did a nice job of reversing the rebounding course in the second half. The Braves only snagged three offensive rebounds after half, dropping their offensive rebounding percentage to 37.5 percent for the game compared to Indiana’s 52.2 percent.

It wasn’t a wire-to-wire performance. And the defense is still a concern. But for a night Indiana took much better care of the ball and it led to an expected winning margin — more than could be said for its two losses in Maui.

Duke looms Wednesday. We’ll soon see what Indiana’s stiffest test of the season will bring.

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  • showjo

    Agreed. I don’t expect a win, but would be satisfied with a solid performance. One positive last night was that we seemed to get our shooting stroke back and ran out the jet lag.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Juwan Morgan has an ankle injury that was sustained in the second half of the UNLV game. He was wearing a boot last night and will be out for “a little while”.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Blackmon was 11 for 15 in 28 minutes of game time. He also came up with four steals and at least appeared to put in a bit of effort on the defensive end. It wasn’t perfect but I don’t understand how he could be criticized for his performance last night. That’s just my opinion though and I seem to be one of very few that aren’t fed up with him so maybe I’m vastly overrating his game last night.

  • hardly

    I too like JBJ’s silky smooth stroke, but he’s nowhere near as athletic as Curry. He’s having trouble getting his shot off versus superior competition in college, and since he’s not a PG it is pretty difficult to get those shots off vs. a 6’6″ 2 guard in the NBA. If he’s smart he’ll get Crean to change him to PG when Yogi is gone, but I still have trouble seeing him stay in front of an NBA caliber PG on defense(hopefully he sees that too and makes the change over the next couple years.)

  • Ole Man

    Put some of that back on coach for having him up top where our All American PG should be.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Very well said. Earlier in this thread, someone commented, Morgan didn’t play…”WTH Crean!”. The guy had no information, didn’t know Morgan was injured (which is fine) and immediately jumped to the conclusion and ripped Tom Crean because surely this is his fault. Arch’s reasoned critiques are great and valuable, just coming on here and saying “what an embarrassment, WTH Crean!” isn’t constructive. To each his own though.

  • Ole Man

    Totally agree with your opinion. And I haven’t been JBJ’s biggest fan.
    Marcus, he had one layup blocked last night.

  • Ole Man

    Wow! Have to humbly disagree with your assessment. Having played sports, very often the games were the reward. Once you practice until it’s second nature, the only thing to “learn” is carrying that over to the game. True that experience in different game situations is necessary; but beyond that games are not a learning situation.

    As to the arts, again I fall back on a degree and 20 plus years—first doing and then later teaching. The performance was the reward, the thrill, the pinnacle.

    Crean can be faulted for several things, but not what you describe.

  • Ole Man

    Crean isn’t at fault in every situation.
    Wasn’t any need to blame him in your post.

  • straight no chaser

    Hoosiers a bit on edge now, LOL.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Not really much to take away from this game except that Priller should have been in the game about 5 minutes sooner.

  • INUnivHoosier

    I’ll have to humbly disagree. I spent my entire life doing and never practicing, and look at me now!

    -Posted from Indiana State Penitentiary

  • SeeingRed

    But all that stuff in your last bullet point has been happening for years. It just took this long to finally get to you, apparently.

  • Shaggy_C

    I couldn’t watch the game but I believe the score was 100-55 at one point, when I assume we cleared our bench and they scored some garbage time points.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Probably true, I have given him some slack but really jarring to see how much this team underperforms for long stretches of games. No way they should be this had defensively with all the athleticism this team has.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Big problem with JBJ is his entire game, effort and attitdue is fueled by if his shots are falling.

  • MikeinNC

    Relax and try not to overreact people.

    I’m sure Coach will do some more good hard talking to the team about what’s necessary to get on track. You know – play with more energy, have the upperclassman exhibit poise and leadership, holding each other accountable to play hard for 40 minutes.

    And most important – really getting downright Serious about improving our defensive effectiveness. I mean it guys, this time we are getting Serious about defense (see how I spelled it with a capital S to show how much we mean it?).

    CTC will talk a lot to the guys about all these things, and so much more. Really emphasize their importance. I’m sure it will all sink in and we will be fine.

  • David Macer

    If we only had purple font for this !!

  • David Macer

    Still way too many negative nellies. I will eat these words if IU plays bad at Duke, but this team scored 112 points against a D1 team. Game was well in hand with 15 mins left in 2nd half. Good to see OG out there and unafraid to put up a 3.

    I am hoping they put Hartman on Allen. CH is by far IU’s highest IQ player and perhaps he can give Mr. Allen fits by taking away the drive.

  • I’m not missing the point.. I am making the point that if you’re wishing for something.. don’t wish away the offense.. You can wish for better defense, i.e., 55 points instead of 70 points.. but if you wish away or are willing to accept less from the offense, then you’re just creating another problem.. Why don’t you see the point?

  • Serious seriousness right there

  • Yes they did get some garbage points.. but 112 to 70 or whatever is a margin of 42 points.. 100 to 55 = margin of 45 points.. So our garbage guys just about played them even…

  • I think Yogi should have a crack at him, as he did against Stauskus up north…shut him down. Somebody’s got to do it. Hartman will get burned too often. Maybe OG here and there?

  • MK


  • MikeinNC

    I agree with you. That’s what is so supremely maddening about the Crean era. They probably will go into Cameron and give Duke fits. They might even pull off the upset and go on a nice run for a few games. But inevitably, they will revert to the inconsistency of effort and focus that seem to be hallmarks of the Crean program. He has great talent because he is an excellent recruiter, but either he cannot effectively teach, he cannot build cohesive teams, or the team tunes him out because the teams do not ever consistently seem to reach their potential. They will be prone to flashes of brilliance that provide fresh hope, but they will inevitably flame outs for underperform over the course of a long, tough season. That’s just what Crean teams do (at this level, maybe it would be different at s mid-major). But after 7 years, the body of work speaks for itself. When we hired Crean I had an old friend who is a Marquette alum and longtime season ticket holder. I called him to tease him about stealing their coach. He said “you can have him, his act has worn thin up here”. He then went on to describe all the things that have bedeviled the program here the last few years. At the time I thought it was just sour grapes, but every year he calls me and asks whether we’ve “had enough yet”.

  • Ole Man


  • twarrior87

    Alcorn State is barely D1 and IU allowed them to score 70 points.

  • twarrior87

    If IU gives up 70 to Alcorn State think of how many they might give up to the MUCH better teams we’ll play throughout the season. Alcorn St might be IU’s weakest opponent of the year and they scored 70.


    Tom, this is exactly what I feared when, during the off season, you and I discussed team defense for the upcoming season, but so far this season the defense has been worse than even I was afraid it would be. I was really hoping to be badly wrong and be searching for something to rinse the taste of crow out of my mouth. This isn’t meant to be a, “see I told you so” thing and I hope it doesn’t come off sounding like that. You are right on the fan problem and how some of them act and comment. I like to think that I give credit where credit is deserved as well as giving criticism where it is deserved. And IMHO it sure seems like there is a lot of justified criticism that can handed out fan wise, player wise, and maybe most deservingly, coaching wise. I know it’s still early in the season and things can still change enough to make a lot of fans feel like we’ve gotten it turned around………but I just don’t see Tom Crean being able to get turned around to make the kind of difference that most feel like is necessary to justify calling this season a success. As the saying goes, if you don’t learn from history (TC and his persistent subpar defensive teachings) you are doomed to repeat it.


    Well put !


    Exactly, and then there’s the “little” fact that we let this very poor team rebound 52 % of their misses and allowed .97 points per possession when they came in only scoring .91 points per possession. Guess that makes us worse defensively than most if not all of their opponents before us. smh


    Exactly, I know TC is trying to accomplish certain things by doing it that way, but I don’t think it isn’t anything that couldn’t be accomplished doing things differently.

  • marcusgresham

    I couldn’t bear to participate. I was looking so forward to this fall/winter, only to see Romo break his collarbone twice and IU to come out of the gate showing no sign that it learned anything from last season.

  • marcusgresham

    Really? I’ll take your word for it because you probably went back and watched a second time but it felt like 2 or 3. I know he got burnt off the dribble a few times in the first half. Second was far better defense.

  • marcusgresham

    I think it’s the .97 per possession more than the 70. Shoot faster you’ll give up more possessions, and therefore more points, but it’s the points per possession that are the problem.

  • Ole Man

    Yep; really. I’ve been one of his harshest critics.
    And I do think he should look to pass the ball more on fast breaks.
    However, I’m pretty sure it was just once getting blocked last night.


    Exactly what I pointed out in a reply above, but the other stat that go to me was them rebounding 52 % of their misses, THAT, was somewhat deflating to say the least.

  • TomJameson

    Mike thanks, I appreciate yours and Arch’s posts. It’s funny, but I agree with you and Arch, about where the team is right now, and what needs to be done. But it is a matter of degree, or maybe a matter of hope, I don’t know anymore. lol

    As an example I’ll use the defense. It was unarguably horrible last year, but, as bad as it still is now, I think there has been some improvements, just not for 40 minutes on the court. CTC usually has “decent” defensive teams, not elite … just decent or average. Last year and this year are so far off his “normal” that it really can’t be explained by anyone not in the circle. We can all put our opinions out there, but we all are also lacking all the facts. We just know what we see but you know as well as I, that can’t be all there is to it. But what we see is the finished product so maybe it doesn’t matter what all the ingredients are.

    While I’m probably a little more optimistic about things in general it doesn’t mean I don’t see the problems either. My deep down feelings are that this is an important year for CTCs tenure at IU. There, I said it “out loud”. If he can’t get things turned around then I believe it will be time for an orderly search for a replacement.
    But that in itself is a huge order because any replacement would have to be able to start producing right away, and at a very high level. There will be another “production curve” for everyone to go through. The only “sure fire” coach I can think of won’t leave Boston, pretty sure about that since it’s a really good gig for him. So, more turmoil … that’s my fear.

    So I am trying to wade through all the fan negativity and just enjoy the games as they are.