The Minute After: Nebraska

  • 01/02/2016 7:03 pm in

Thoughts on a 79-69 win over the Cornhuskers:

Indiana continued to be careless with the ball in the first half (23 TO%). The Cornhuskers made them pay. Nearly a third of Nebraska’s first half points came off Indiana’s miscues (12 of 39) and here we stood again: The Hoosiers fumbling the ball away in Big Ten play and failing to lead at half in a game it was favored.

But they re-grouped at halftime. There would be far less silliness in the second half. Indiana took much better care of the ball. Got great offensive performances from key pieces. And most impressive: The Hoosiers D’ed up, allowing just .83 points per possession after the break.

Save for too many missed free throws down the stretch, Indiana put together arguably its best half of the season, covered the seven-point spread and moved to 2-0 in the Big Ten.

After a forgettable performance against Rutgers he spent mostly on the bench, Thomas Bryant dominated the Cornhuskers. It was clear from the onset they had no answer for his size and skill and Indiana continued to find the freshman enough to make him a big factor (19 points on 8-of-10 shooting). He’s so efficient around the rim there’s no reason he shouldn’t be getting the ball a lot on offense. Shots from distance count for one more point, sure. But a guy shooting nearly 80 percent at the cup deserves touches. He got his this afternoon.

Yogi Ferrell was part of the turnover problem in the first half. But he was a big reason Indiana got over the hump in the second. Fifteen of his game-high 24 points came in the final 20 minutes. Ferrell hit some tough shots. A long 2 with the shot clock winding down from the right corner. Later, he created separation for himself on the right wing and knocked down the trey. Ferrell’s numbers have been good this season, but he isn’t always passing the eye test with his play and leadership. So the second half was an encouraging sign.

Indiana’s other freshmen continue to get better and were both factors in this one. OG Anunoby had 11 points (4-of-4, 1-1 from distance). He also had a steal and breakaway score in the second half. He’s earned his minutes in the rotation and then some. Juwan Morgan had just two points, but competed on defense and had a brilliant pass to Nick Zeisloft out of the post for a 3-pointer.

On defense, the Hoosiers were much better contesting at the rim. Guys were there jumping and contesting shots. Bryant had three blocks. Collin Hartman had one as well. The Hoosiers also slid into position and took charges. Shavon Shields (3-of-13) was held in check. Simply put: Nebraska didn’t get a lot of easy buckets. The Cornhuskers had to earn what they got — especially in the second half. Indiana has now held both Rutgers and Nebraska to under a point per possession to start Big Ten play without James Blackmon Jr. in the lineup.

Indiana’s been up and down in their first two Big Ten games, but it’s taken care of business with two road wins. Wisconsin looms Tuesday in what should be Indiana’s toughest test to date in conference play. But the Hoosiers will be back in Bloomington for a shot at 3-0.

(Photo credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)

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  • nmstan

    Al McGuire used to say, I think, “addition by subtraction”.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I’ve watched both Iowa games and they are for real. I wonder why they were so under-rated considering they start 4 seniors and have maybe the best player in the conference in Uthoff. Gesell is a good point guard, Clemmons is a lockdown defender and good 3 point shooter, Jok is a tall guard who can run the floor and shoot the 3. Woodbury is much improved and the only guy in conference whose size rivals PeeYoo. This Uhl fella off the bench reminds me of our guy OG except a little bigger and more experienced and BAER!!!! This guy is a walk-on and he was a huge part in both bigten W’s. Iowa is the total package. Their press destroyed Peeyoo. I kept thinking…could we learn to press like that cuz it sure was the recipe for beating Peeyoo and negating their bigs. I see a lot in Iowa that I wish we could be, but we are getting better and CTC is finally starting to get thru to them. Go Hoosiers!!

  • BL

    The sad fact is TW just doesn’t play the game the right way. Guessing early on in his development he was overly praised for flashy, athletic plays (offensively and defensively) vs. what it takes to win. He hasn’t learned otherwise in his time at IU. With OG/JM, TC now has, probably for the first time, athletic, long 3’s he can go to in lieu of TW. Hoping more available bench time for TW will finally allow TC to reinforce his expectations and we’ll see an improvement in his play. I would continue to start TW (dampening his enthusiasm wouldn’t be the best for team chemistry) with more liberal use of bench time to demand proper performance.

  • BL

    Well said.

    The reality is TC booted three experienced bigs off the team. If we had those players we would be undefeated (or maybe one loss to Duke – maybe). Not having all the facts, It’s impossible to know if you or I would have done the same thing. Notwithstanding, I give TC credit for his willingness to take the heat (he knew he was sabotaging this season to some degree). Hopefully, he has a plan for getting the player personal issues behind us (beginning with recruiting).

    TC has proven he wins with talent – and please stop with the “final 4 talent”; four starters from last year that couldn’t win at a high clip and a young freshman center. For starters, compare the current roster to the ’76 starting 5 that will be honored Tuesday night. How do you think this team would fare against Buckner, Wilkerson, May, Benson and Abernathy?

    No coach is perfect and no coach wins an NCAA title without serious talent (e.g. RMK won three titles in 29 years). Personally, I love Tom’s enthusiasm, high character and his INTENDED style of play (defend, rebound and run). Can we nit pick his tactics/schemes? Certainly, but let’s keep it real. Like any other coach, he’ll knock it out of the park if he can land the talent. BTW, if TB stays and we pull in one good late season backcourt signing, I’m already looking forward to next year. God forbid we sign TM.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I’m not familiar with the rules and regulations of this forum. I have a comment “pending” one of which I’m not sure why? What does this mean? I have seen a few comments that were deleted and the poster turns into a “guest”. I’m not looking for any trouble. Do these peoples accounts get deleted? Will mine? I tried to erase it but it still shows up. Sorry!

  • vicbert caladipo

    I respect your opinion but disagree. It’s possible we’d be worse with the booted 3, but definitely not better. No one is even sure how Davis would be playing after the horrific injury. Perea had a million chances and if folks complain about TW they’d be livid about Hanner and Holt is no better than OG. IMO worse talentwise. OG will be a star….Emmitt a role player. If we had those 3 we probably wouldn’t know what we have in OG cuz he wouldn’t be playing.

  • BL

    Good points. Obviously happy OG is getting minutes. That said, we would have won in Maui with more size up front that TC would have been willing to play. Remember, OG wasn’t getting minutes at that time. Notwithstanding debate over this year’s record, primary point is you win big with superior talent. Unlike others, I did not believe we had “final 4” talent coming in to this year.

  • CreanFaithful

    Did you include a link? Any comment including a link automatically gets flagged for review… Probably to eliminate spammers.

  • vicbert caladipo

    No. I just wish I could erase it and clear my name.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I think people were so excited to finally have a heralded big man to go along with all our shooters they got a little blinded. Not to mention the media made us #14 preseason. I agree that we need much more than TB. More importantly we needed our established players to get better. I’m not sure those guys got much better……..yet. Maybe Yogi, but TW, JBJ, RJ, CH, even NZ aren’t really playing better than last year. I do believe we can be more than the TB addition. That’s why CTC has to keep giving OG and JM more minutes. We need the depth down low that you speak of that we didn’t have in Maui.

  • kaponya44

    Good thought and I agree..Plus ,when his own scoring does not keep up with the points he allows, it is even worse..

  • BL


    Every BIG game is going to be a war including Tuesday night. Hoping we can win enough to get in the dance. If we do, betting we’ll make some noise ’cause I’m confident the young guys will be major contributors by then.

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    I suppose you can always “Edit” a comment after it appears?

  • dwdkc

    I wouldn’t worry about it. your posts are not even close to a problem and I think the mods are very reasonable. I had a comment put on hold and probably never allowed through, and I think it was because it was a link–in my case to the Monmouth bench antics. Not sure if or why it wasn’t allowed.

  • dwdkc

    Yes I think RJ looks so bad at the line that you have to take him out with a small lead late in games. Until he proves he can start hitting them consistently. One area where we really miss JBJ; guy is about as automatic as it gets.

  • dwdkc

    I think we all have seen things that have led us to feel the team wasn’t well coached, but I have to say this game was a major step in the right direction. I said in another thread that I think Maui and Duke lowered our expectations, and if there wasn’t a dramatic but unexpected turnaround we expect IU will be looking for a new coach, but having lowered those expectations we are just enjoying what progress we see this year while realizing this isn’t where we want IU basketball to be long term. Also while Rutgers was ugly, getting the road wins is good and just about any program should feel pretty good about getting them in conference.

  • dwdkc

    Disagree, I think Max is a better match for us on the floor than Hanner would have been–while not the length and physical gifts, much smarter and less erratic, and let’s face it we need those qualities more than another talented enigma/turnover machine. And we wouldn’t have gotten Max if Hanner was still here. Emmitt–he was the one I really felt we’d regret, but OG and JM are showing more than I thought such that I’m not sure Emmitt–even if he really showed improvement as I’d expect–would make that much difference. Maybe a little.

  • twarrior87

    Yes, he booted 3 bigs off the team, but let’s not forget this is the same guy that had two top 5 NBA picks, a team that was ranked #1 for most of the season, and still couldn’t get past Syracuse in the Sweet 16. Which was one of the most horribly coached games I’ve ever seen. No adjustments were made at all to combat a simple zone defense.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Thank you. Just here to talk IU hoops. Not ruffle any feathers.

  • BL

    Good points. Still feel we would have been better off in Maui with more athletic bigs. Like Max but need to see him shine against a team with good size up front.

  • BL

    Syracuse was more a matchup problem than poor coaching. Their length on the perimeter was a nightmare for our best zone breaker (Hulls), Oladepo didn’t shoot well and had problems finishing at the rim, and Cody’s limited post-up abilities were exposed (which have carried over to the NBA). Also, Syracuse was peaking; they did make the final four.