The Minute After: Minnesota

  • 01/30/2016 5:22 pm in

Thoughts on a 74-68 survival against the Golden Gophers: 

After falling in the hole 7-0 out the gate, Indiana crawled out of it and led by 12 at half (39-27). The Hoosiers have been brilliant at home so far in conference play, embarrassing their last three opponents in Assembly Hall on the strength of strong 3-point shooting.

So to be up by double digits after shooting just 1-of-10 from beyond the arc seemed to be a good sign. If the Hoosiers trended more towards makes than the misses in the second half, they figured to comfortably put this one away with plenty of time remaining in the game. As it stood, their zone had completely shut down Minnesota in the first half (.74 points per possession). Simply keep up the solid defense, hit some 3-pointers and cruise to victory.

But it didn’t go that way. Far from it. The Hoosiers lost their double-digit lead and even trailed by one with under four minutes to play. But in the end, Indiana found a way to survive late and escape with their eighth conference victory despite a scare of epic proportions.

Start here: Indiana’s defense completely reversed course in the second half. Tom Crean moved the Hoosiers out of a zone into man and Minnesota broke them down. It felt like November all over again. The Golden Gophers scored 30 of their 41 second half points in the paint as Nate Mason (21 points) and Kevin Dorsey (21 points) used their quickness against IU’s spread out defense to drive and score almost at will. Beyond the half court breakdowns, Indiana also did a poor job in transition in the second half, as the Hoosiers gave up 16 points to Minnesota on the fast break.

While for the game Indiana still held Minnesota to under a point per possession (.97) making it the eighth time in nine conference games it’s done that, this performance deserves a bit of an asterisk due to the second half defensive issues.

On offense, Indiana was not itself. After that 1-of-10 performance in the first half from distance, the second half wasn’t any kinder (1-of-8). Add it up and the Hoosiers hit just 2-of-18 from beyond the arc (12.5 percent). It’s possible this may be their worst performance of the season in that regard.

So with the defense floundering, the 3-pointers not falling and Yogi Ferrell having an off game to boot (2-of-9), Indiana found salvation at the free throw line and in freshman Thomas Bryant. After Wisconsin bested the Hoosiers at the charity stripe by a large margin on Tuesday night, they got to the line more this afternoon. It simply hasn’t been a strength of this team, as they currently are 10th in free throw rate (FTA/FGA) in conference at 30 percent. But they bested that number (45.6) today and hit 20-of-26 by drawing fouls.

Despite his rough shooting day, Ferrell hit all eight of his attempts. Williams went 5-of-7. Nick Zeisloft rarely finds himself there, but made both his attempts. OG Anunoby hit 4-of-6. Bryant hit just 1-of-3, but more than made up for it with his career-high 23 points. Bryant went to work early and had 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the first half.

Bryant went to the bench with 5:49 to play and Indiana nursing a five-point lead (66-61). When he came back in with 3:11 to go, Indiana found itself down one (68-67). He went right to work again. He snagged an offensive board on a Ferrell miss. Anunoby missed later in the possession. On the other end, Bryant blocked Minnesota and picked up the defensive board. He then got in great position for an offensive rebound on a Williams missed lay-up, scored and was fouled. He missed the free throw, but Indiana was back up for good.

On Minnesota’s next possession, Bryant got the defensive board. After an Anunoby turnover trying to to get him the ball, Bryant made his presence felt again. As Minnesota’s defense fell asleep on the break when Indiana got the ball back after a Mason missed 3-pointer, Bryant ran the floor and Ferrell found him for a dunk. Four late free throws from Ferrell sealed the deal.

Crisis averted.

This was a lackluster performance from the Hoosiers. But give them credit for the W. Other versions of this team from the last couple years may have blown it completely. But Indiana remains atop the conference standings at 8-1.

But the honeymoon is over in terms of the favorable schedule. And Indiana simply can’t play like this if it’s to have any chance in Ann Arbor on Tuesday.

Filed to:

  • Ole Man

    I feel sorry for Tim Priller.
    IU’s guards were totally outplayed this game and really let him down.

  • kaponya44

    I have saw games like this go the wrong way all too often for Indiana..It is not easy to get up for the co last place team in the B1G at home between two fairly significant mid season road contests…The performance was both concerning and encouraging in each their own right.We can ride Bryant to a win when we hit almost nothing at all from 3…On the other hand,we are most likely toast if poor shooting and defense overlap for that long in the same game again this season, as the article suggested.

  • And One

    Sometimes I have to go to The Minute After just to figure out whatt he hell I just saw. Ah, thank you.

  • I would like to know why CTC switched from zone to man-to-man, and why he didn’t switch back after a few Minnesota drives. To me, that’s the biggest takeaway of the game.

  • inLinE6

    Two positives from the game were Bryant’s performance, and the win. Pretty much everything else was just negative. I’m about to put it behind and move on.

  • BL

    I posted the following BIG shooting stats for NZ in the At the Buzzer discussion: Rutgers 1/6; Nebraska 2/6; Wisc 2/7; OS 0/8; Minn 5/8; ILL 3/9; NW 2/4; Wisc 0/4; Minn 0/4. That’s 15/56 in BIG play; 26.8%. Let’s face it, when you consider his defensive limitations, IU could have won many games more comfortably with other players taking his minutes. Likely we’d still be undefeated in BIG play. We’ve all seen NZ have good shooting nights but seriously, with the depth we now have, is it a percentage play to continue giving him serious minutes?

  • Bill Graham

    We can’t just play 2 guards though. So where is Yogi and Rob’s relief going to come from. Niego?

  • Bill Graham

    I made a post about this awhile back. The main point was, “How are we going to respond when adversity strikes?” Yogi had an off night, we shot terrible and won ugly against a lesser opponent. The question still remains though, “How are we going to respond to adversity against a quality opponent?”

  • BL

    Worth a try. Or teach TW, OG, CH to play some 2. Frankly, NZ typically just floats on the perimeter on offense; it’s not like he’s a typical 2 guard with penetrating skills. On defense, If we played extra long (1 guard), we could become really good playing a zone like Syracuse, especially in situations where we’re worried about penetration. Anyway, we better find some options.

  • Outoftheloop

    It is a W, so I am not jumping out of the window! But I was in excruciating pain for the final 10 minutes. No one played well except for Thomas, bless his soul! Come on Hoosiers get it together!

  • Outoftheloop

    If IU played Thomas in the paint and 4 matching up on the perimeter, switching every ball screen and helping “dig down” on anyone who penetrates the paint, it would fit our personnel.

  • John

    Agree. Again won a game they were suppose to win. When the next two road games then I believe. If not same crap different year. Still hoping

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I’m with Bill. I don’t see the alternative. I’ve got no interest in seeing more one guard looks. And while you use his floating game as a negative because its one dimensional, he also never forces anything or adds to our turnover total. In my opinion, you’re barking up the wrong tree to criticize our third guard.

  • ForeverIU

    Why are most people in a frenzy? I love our players, but we were never a proven great team. This game basically marked the end of an extended preseason, with a few blowouts at home against B1G cupcakes and a nail-biter loss to a Wisconsin team that we should have easily put away if we were anything that our #1 B1G ranking suggests. I stand by my prediction that we will likely drop 5-6 games in the second half of the season. Be ready or else you are in for a lot of heartache that will turn into hate and bitterness.

  • Kiddo2050

    Games like this sometimes happen. I really believe this was just a couple of key 3’s away from a blow out. Those are usually IU daggers into the opponent. They didn’t fall today and the Gophers fed off of it. At no time, even then they fell behind did I think they were going to lose. Could they have lost? yes, but it just didn’t feel like they would.

  • Kiddo2050

    Maybe, but this is a game recent IU teams would have lost. And recent IU teams would have been blow out at Wisconsin. I do think this team tries harder to win.

  • BL

    Exactly.

  • BL

    Also, we all know we’ve benefited from JBJ’s absence but I’d sure like to have him back now.

  • ForeverIU

    So we were a step above bad, what a great comparison to make.

  • Kiddo2050

    Haha I wasn’t even disagreeing with you but you turn it negative. Ya ok move on.

  • BL

    Good post game pressers. Given the demeanor, guessing post game locker room was interesting. YF is truly carrying himself like a senior. Good to see.

  • ForeverIU

    I’m not stuck anywhere in order to move on. This obsession with believing we are a great basketball program is just incredible and delusional. There is simply no rational evidence for it.

  • Kiddo2050

    It’s not one I hold. I hope we’re great some day. I hope we do well now. That’s all.

  • BL

    No doubt you could be correct but I sure hope that doesn’t happen. All begins Tuesday night. Personally, I think Michigan is about at the same competitive level as Wisconsin. Difference is, like us in most home games, they can go off from three. Hope they don’t and we steal one.

  • marcusgresham

    Anunoby wasn’t a negative. If he wouldn’t have been there I’m not sure there would have been a victory.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I don’t think we will drop 5-6 games in the second half. In other words you’ve got us going 3-6 or 4-5 over the last nine games? We lose 4 tops. That’s my prediction.

  • ForeverIU

    I was listening to the game on radio while driving. It was Dorsey after Dorsey drive with no answer. And the surrealism of Don Fischer having a climactic moment when Thomas put us up again by one. LOL.

  • Kiddo2050

    I was at the game. It never felt to me like we’d lose.

  • ForeverIU

    We lose @Michigan
    We lose one or two of @Penn, vs Purdue, @Illinois, vs Maryland
    We lose both Iowa games
    We lose at MSU

  • BL

    No doubt. OG played 22 minutes. I’d like to see more minutes for him going forward. We may see the offense take a small step back until he becomes more aggressive. Personally, I’m totally willing to risk it because the payoff will be huge. It’s cool to hear every broadcaster swoon over OG. How could they not?

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Fair enough. But I’ll take that bet that we don’t lose five more. Meet me in the minute after and we will discuss. I say we go 5-4 from here at a minimum.

  • ForeverIU

    Tell me where you think my prediction is unrealistic. Michigan is ranked #29 in kenpom.

  • BL

    I think we’ll beat Iowa at our place. We actually match up with them well.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    It took me a moment

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    I think we will lose @Iowa and @MSU. And there are some tough games in there that could go either way, But I’m not getting to get any more specific than that. I think we win at least 5 more games in the B1G. You’ve made your prediction. I’ve made mine. I’ll keep coming back to the minute after to track where we are at. I didn’t say you were unrealistic. It might be close. Might even go your way. But I don’t expect it. Fair enough?

  • ForeverIU

    Fair enough.

  • ForeverIU

    Maybe, but that would be the very unrealistic prediction. Iowa is the #2 team in the nation on kenpom, and they have played a very tough schedule so far.

  • MikeinNC

    This had to have been a game Priller had red-circled for the season.

  • BL

    Highly doubtful we’ll be favored but rankings don’t take into account match ups. I think we our wings can slow down Uthoff and Jok. Bryant will outplay Woodbury. Counting on YF to seriously outplay Gesell.

  • pcantidote

    Oh come on. IU’s track record of beating higher ranked teams at home goes for decades…

  • pcantidote

    Recent IU teams would have lost…like the 2014 team at home vs. Penn State? That’s what this game was starting to remind me of.

  • ForeverIU

    What is our unique ability to “match up” with Iowa? That we have wings? A 5-star center? A point guard? LOL.

  • ForeverIU

    LOL.

  • Bruce Clark

    LOVE how this team is figuring out the many ways to win. We have seen many ‘versions’ of this team: we have seen Yogi, Troy, Bryant and even Beifeldt carry this team for a game or two. This is a team that is winning – and that’s not always something a team figures out.

    We are #1 in the Big Ten conference standings. Look at Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, Virginia, Louisville and many other blue chip programs: they would kill to be in our position right now.

  • BL

    Nice.

  • PBzeer

    And we were tied for first in the B1G last January as well. It’s having to “figure out” a way to beat the last place team on our home court that worries me.

  • BL

    Minn lost by 5 at Michigan. They’re in last place but I’m relieved we’re done with that group. We were 5-3 last year at this time. 8-1 ain’t bad.

  • I have to admit that I was a little worried at 68-67 Minnesota, until TB took over.

  • From what I’ve seen of Niego, I’d say, yes. He seems to handle the ball well, is a better defender than NZ, and can shoot.

  • Damn, I hadn’t added it up like that.