Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Minnesota

  • 01/31/2016 11:23 am in

Indiana picked up its eighth Big Ten win on Saturday afternoon at Assembly Hall, but it didn’t come nearly as easy as its last three victories in Bloomington. The Hoosiers beat Minnesota 74-68, but had to overcome a poor shooting effort and shaky second half defense to prevail.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Golden Gophers:

· Indiana can grow from this win: In a pretty drastic flip of the script from the last three games at Assembly Hall, Saturday’s outcome was in doubt in the final four minutes. In fact, after leading by 16 in the first half, Indiana allowed Minnesota to come all the way back and take a 67-66 lead with 3:54 remaining.

So what’s the positive to draw from what most are probably looking at as a major collapse?

Indiana had to figure out a way to win. Minnesota isn’t a good team, but the Gophers had confidence in the second half and the Hoosiers weren’t getting stops defensively. And when Minnesota took the lead, Indiana clearly had its back to the wall.

But in a game that IU teams of the last two seasons likely would have lost, this group made the plays necessary in the final two minutes to prevail. That can build confidence for a team as much as a blowout win can.

“We don’t always want to look back on last year,” Yogi Ferrell explained. “I feel like this is a new team. With this new team we have made many strides from the beginning of the season with how we want to win close games. The close games that we had early on in the season, and losing them, helped us turn those into wins now.”

· IU’s second half defense had major issues: The Hoosiers came out in a zone for the first 20 minutes and limited Minnesota to .74 points per possession.

The second half, however, featured mostly man-to-man and Kevin Dorsey and Nate Mason burned Indiana repeatedly. Without a post scoring presence, the Gophers scored 30 points in the paint in the second half. Many of the buckets were in transition and many were in simple breakdowns in the halfcourt where Dorsey and Mason went right to the basket and scored.

In the aftermath, Ferrell didn’t hold back when offering his assessment of how IU defended in the second half.

“Our transition defense was terrible,” Ferrell said. “We were not getting back at all, and we had bad matchups in transition.  Thomas (Bryant) was on the point guard and that is not what we want. We had terrible communication.”

· Bryant saves the day inside as outside shots fall short: Indiana couldn’t buy a bucket from the perimeter (2-of-18 on 3s) and still managed to eek out a win. The primary reason? Thomas Bryant.

The freshman center, who belongs in any discussion of the best freshman big man in the country, shot 11-of-13 from the field and 1-of-3 from the foul line to finish with 23 points. When Bryant catches the ball deep into the post, it’s typically a bucket. He is setting the pace nationally with a 2-point field goal percentage of 75.

“I’m always confident with or without the ball in my hands,” the freshman said postgame. “This team isn’t just around me. It’s an all around thing.”

· Hoosiers drop turnover rate after poor performance at Wisconsin: One positive of IU’s offensive profile on Saturday was an improved turnover rate. After turning it over on 25.3 percent of its possessions in Madison, the Hoosiers dropped the number to a far more manageable 15.7 percent against Minnesota.

At the halfway point of the Big Ten season, the numbers are still concerning.

Indiana is the best shooting team in the conference with an effective field goal percentage of 56.9, but is still in the cellar in terms of taking care of the ball. IU’s turnover rate of 21 percent is 2.7 percent higher than Purdue (18.3), which is ranked 13th in the league.

With the schedule toughening up significantly beginning Tuesday, Indiana needs to take care of the ball like it did on Saturday to remain a major player in the conference race.

· Shutting down Joey King was a major key defensively: Minnesota senior forward Joey King had earned a prominent spot on the scouting report entering Saturday’s contest.

In three previous contests against the Hoosiers, King was averaging 15.7 points. In what will likely be his final game against Indiana (unless the teams meet in the Big Ten tournament), King did not score in 25 minutes. He took four shots in 25 minutes.

On an afternoon when Dorsey and Mason combined for 42 points and were essentially unstoppable in the second half, Indiana shutting down King was a game changer.

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  • BL

    Understand your angst. It’s actually really easy; the person guarding the screener calls it as the screen is being set or you call it in the huddle and it stands until changed otherwise. If you play pure man to man, players get really good at it. Makes it harder for the opposing coach to game plan, especially in crunch time.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    not terribly worried about this one, considering the craziness that has been college bb this season. i’m fine with squeaking out an ugly win against lousy teams as long as we beat the good teams. being said, i’m more than a little worried about the remaining schedule. watched md and ia yesterday, it’s tough for me to imagine us matching up favorably with them. at least not defensively. my guess is they’ll score in the 90s against us.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Several coaches have said something like (believe Lou Holtz is prominently credited for this), “The team you have today is not the team you had yesterday and it’s not the team you’ll have tomorrow” and it’s so, so true in college or high school sports.

    As for the Michigan game, it’s a big chance for a very quality win. I’m surprised by the number of people saying we “need” to win that game. It’s incredibly tough to win at Michigan (they beat Maryland there) and our schedule, for good or for bad, is now going to offer us a whole lot of opportunities for quality wins. Anything is possible, here’s to a victory tomorrow night (and yes, it does get to be a “bummer” on here when things aren’t going swimmingly).

  • They seem to be on the mend and playing much better. They’re basically fighting for a tournament birth. Too bad we caught them a little too late. I wouldn’t be surprised if they win nearly all of the rest of their games.

  • OSU isn’t that bad. They’re looking better each week, as another really young team.

  • Koko

    Totally agree with your last sentence.

  • vicbert caladipo

    When I say bad, I mean they have zero chance of making the dance. We have to start beating NCAA worthy teams and it begins Tuesday. I believe UM is very under-rated and they get Caris Levert back.

  • Koko

    Yes the bummer effect….the only time I have been “bummed” was the Maui tourney and the Duke loss….those were bummers. So we go to Wisky and lose in OT….I think we all agree that is not an easy place to win for any team. Was I bummed about that loss?….only in that we had a couple opportunities to secure a win and didn’t. Aside from that it was a hard fought exciting game on their court and we came up short. Then to be bummed about a win because we had a lapse in D and didn’t win by 20+. Forget the fact that we shored up that D and held them to no baskets and one FT in the final 3-4 minutes to secure the win. Yes we blew a lead but in the end we made it go right and toughed it out. That to me is a plus point aside from picking out players, the coach and anything else that “caused” the lapse….we won the game. Hell even the ’75-’76 team went to OT a couple times OMG. A tough road ahead….we won’t win ’em all but pouring black strap molasses on those losses won’t change that loss in any way. If we lose more than we win then so be it….I for one have enjoyed the ride since the Duke game and will continue to do so.

  • wmsitz

    Yogi had it right the defense was terrible. I don’t think CC makes the right substitutions that make the defense work very well. When you are playing against quick guards like Minnesota has you can’t play slow guys like Zeisloft and Hartman against them. They simply leave guys like Z and H in the dust while driving to the basket. CC could have used the zone more effectively to shut down the lane and frustrate the opposition more. He does his usual of making substitutions which leaves very little offense on the floor. If he is going to use Zeisloft he needs to set some screens for him to let him get his feet set to enable him to hit his shot. Z really doesn’t lend anything to the defense in a fast pace game. He can be very effective if used correctly the same can be said for Hartman. Anunoby should be given an opportunity to start in front of Hartman.