Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Penn State

  • 02/07/2016 12:17 pm in

Indiana suffered its most disappointing loss of the season so far on Saturday night as the Hoosiers fell 68-63 to Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center. It was just the third Big Ten win this season for Penn State and dropped IU to 19-5 overall and 9-2 in the Big Ten.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the loss to the Nittany Lions:

· Indiana’s best player struggled, so the Hoosiers struggled: Indiana has one great player on its roster: Yogi Ferrell. There are other good players, guys who are potential pros and other role players who can make an impact on a given night.

But Ferrell is the engine that makes Indiana go. And when he struggles, as he did against Penn State in shooting 3-of-12 and committing five turnovers, Indiana is very beatable. As the chart below shows, Ferrell is scoring 2.1 points less per game in losses and his shooting percentages as well as assists take a dip. This isn’t a revelation, nor is it surprising, but it’s reality for a team that is highly dependent on its best player to perform in order to win.


· Thomas Bryant didn’t impact the game nearly enough and the blame lies in many places: One of the things Indiana will learn when it watches a replay of Saturday’s loss is that it didn’t do nearly enough to get the ball to its freshman big man.

Bryant never got into the flow of the game early because fouls sent him to the bench. That’s on Bryant.

The McDonald’s All-American sat for a large stretch of the first half only to return and pick up a third foul just before halftime. With the game close and clearly still within reach, perhaps keeping Bryant on the bench to make sure he didn’t pick up a third would have been the better play. But Bryant picked up the third and was on the bench to start the second half.

When he was on the floor for 24 minutes, Bryant took just four shots and hit 4-of-5 free throws, but looked frustrated at the lack of post touches as teammates continued to brick perimeter shots. As we wrote a couple of weeks ago, Indiana had been doing a great job of finding Bryant and playing inside-out, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday.

· Early turnovers are killing Indiana’s starts: This isn’t news to anyone who watches the Hoosiers with regularity, but turnovers early in the game continue to be a major problem.

Indiana’s turnover percentage in the first eight minutes at Michigan was over 31 percent. At Penn State, it was nearly 50 percent. The Hoosiers have an elite offense, but those numbers are not sustainable.

The problem for Tom Crean, however, is that the turnovers in conference play aren’t just a one-player problem. There isn’t one or two players that can be benched and solve the issue. As the numbers below show, it’s essentially a roster wide issue. Here’s IU’s turnover percentage by player in Big Ten games:

– Robert Johnson: 27.4
– Thomas Bryant: 25.8
– Troy Williams: 24.3
– Collin Hartman: 23
– Yogi Ferrell: 19.7
– Juwan Morgan: 18.8
– OG Anunoby: 16.7
– Max Bielfeldt: 15.8
– Nick Zeisloft: 6.7

· Indiana’s chances to win the Big Ten diminished significantly with the loss: The Hoosiers were squarely in the Big Ten race coming into Saturday and still technically are, but Iowa is now in the driver’s seat.

The Hawkeyes have five Big Ten road games remaining – Illinois, Indiana, Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan. Considering they’ve already beaten Michigan State and Purdue on the road, that’s a favorable road to getting to 15 wins, which should win the league outright.

Indiana still has a say in the race with games remaining against Iowa (twice) and Maryland, the two primary contenders, but the loss to Penn State leaves no margin for error.

· This was a resume damaging loss: Indiana had two bad losses on its resume coming into Saturday night – Wake Forest and UNLV – but losing to Penn State is more damaging to the NCAA tournament resume than both of those setbacks.

At 19-5 overall and with home games against elite competition still to come, Indiana is still in solid position for March. But losing to a team outside the RPI top 100 could potentially hurt seeding and makes it even more important for Indiana to collect wins in the games coming up against the top half of the conference.

(Photo credit: Matthew O’Haren/USA Today Sports Images)

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  • Just read this right after I wrote my post. Interesting. Stupid, but interesting. What if it’s a player who comes in and is lighting you up for 30? No risk of that Saturday night, but…

  • Jim Miller

    While I agree its kinda dumb, it is infintely better and classier than the entire student section shouting “IU sucks” while getting beat by 20 by someone other than IU.

  • Sure, all of my talk about “negativity” and such is my own characterization, hence how it affects my own happiness. Of course, everybody else is free to do and be and feel however they want–that’s as it should be.

    I think the team that played to what I see as it’s potential in the three 25+ point blowouts and that whooped up on UM on the road shouldn’t lose at home. To anyone. I’ll give them one atrocious loss (Saturday night) for the B1G, and I won’t consider a loss at MSU or Iowa to be terribly bad, but losing at home even once from here on out would be disappointing. It’s maybe silly to keep trying to define this “meltdown” thing. Just need to wait until the season is over to evaluate it in its entirety.

    I tried to say that nobody other than JM and NZ played at all decently. That included CH, of course. It also included RJ, and that wasn’t correct–RJ played decently as well. I still submit that TW has more of a negative impact on the team when he’s playing at his worst, while have a much greater positive impact than anyone but Yogi when he’s playing at his best. I don’t know if CH can take over a game and win it almost single-handedly as TW did at ND, for example, nor can he lose a game all by himself (which TW has _not_ done, so the analogy isn’t perfect). Agree to disagree on this one, maybe, but it’s not a huge point anyways.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    awful performance all around. they looked sloppy, unfocused, and unprepared. then again, i saw this coming even before the season began. win some tough ones, lose some easy ones. i still haven’t lost all hope, certainly hope this team responds positively to the loss and stays locked in for the remaining stretch.

    and i hope ctc figures out how to better utilize his players, because i see some of the same crap happening game after game after game. don’t want to get into specifics because i’ve already said it a billion times.

  • BL

    You know I’m with you on OG starting. To make any kind of noise in the Tourney, we need him playing like a super experienced freshman (e.g. TB). Only way to make that happen is giving him starter minutes. Best way to go about it, baptism by fire against the best as we close the BIG schedule. Hell, if nothing else, he’ll be better for it next year.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    We didn’t play well but we also got “outtoughed” by Penn State. They were much more physical going for the ball and pushed us around. We better get back our previous mindset pretty soon with Iowa and Michigan State on the horizon. We need to get at least 60% of loose balls in order to have a chance to win those 2 games. The good news is that I truly doubt that Yogi will have another game like he did against PSU. It was not a good matchup for OG as he does not yet have the body to go against a strong smart senior. OG for the first time was overmatched and CTC probably should have switched him to someone else.

    We still hold our own destiny; if we win out, we win the B1G. Realistically, if someone asked me if I would be happy to be in that position at the beginning of season, I would have said yes a thousand times! We are good and talented enough to beat every team on our remaining schedule (yes Iowa twice) and we potentially could lose 5 of our remaining games, but as an avid IU fan and knowing how good we can be, if we cut down the turnovers and get the hustle balls we can win them all! Go Hoosiers!


    Not everyone has, I haven’t, that’s for sure. Now, having said that, if JBJ is used in the correct way I think he DOES make us a better team, but use him in the way that he was being used before he sustained his injury and he doesn’t. No one can say how TC would have used him going forward had he not been injured, but I tend to think that it would have either taken him longer than it should have to utilize him in a much different way, or that he would have, for the most part, continued to use him in the same manner that he was. JMHO


    CH seems to have regressed somewhat over the last few games, plus I don’t know that I would have given him the good defender label at any point. IMHO when his overall body of defensive work is examined I give it the average label with an asterisk for capable of having the occasional game of slightly above average. It’s not that I think he doesn’t try and play hard, but rather I think it’s more of a case of his natural abilities limiting him. When it comes to TW I think a lot of it is that people can see that CH’s ceiling is so much lower than TW’s. Fans have seen what a good game from CH looks like compared to what a good game from TW looks like and it doesn’t take a basketball savant to see how much of a difference there is each player’s “good” games and how much of a difference each player’s good game helps the team’s overall performance when said player gives that kind of performance.


    Why the hell is that you can sum it up so well in just a few lines and I think I have to write a novel length comment to make the same points. lol I’ll chalk it up to old coaching habits like feeling I haven’t done enough if I haven’t delved into every little detail and nuance of a given situation. I would just add that at season’s end, when our defensive numbers from our games with the remaining upper echelon teams are factored into the season wide defensive stats (team defensive stats) we will see that their team defense ranking was masked by the teams that we had played up to that point.


    I actually think we stand just as good, if not better, chance of beating Iowa than MSU or PeeU simply because Iowa tends to play more of the kind of game that our best games have come from. Even with that being that way it will still take a complete 40 minute game from us.

  • Chappy Dan

    WTF Clyde?!?! Never EVER forget the groovy libations!

  • ForeverIU

    I agree with you and IUMIKE. Just an additional thought, however. If CH was put in a position to take risks like TW does, his bad game might also turn out to be just as bad as TW’s. In other words (and I’m not excusing TW’s “bad” performances), but he is also expected to put himself in high-risk situations, more so that other players. I think we ought to thank him for the courage to put himself in such situations, and not have the possibility of failure demoralize him. It’s a balance.

  • BL

    You’re being to kind. Reality is I was getting ready to respond to Mark by writing my umpteenth rant about the same topic – starting OG. Thankfully, a little voice in my head said: JUST STOP IT!

    Agree regarding your defensive comment although we are somewhat better than we were early on.

    Anyway, let’s start OG 🙂

  • Joshua Haltom

    I went to the game and sat pretty close to the floor. They were booing RJ because they thought he flopped on the intentional foul. Then from that point out the boo birds showed up when he touched the ball.

  • I agree that the way he’s being used is part of the problem, and that’s on CTC. He shouldn’t ever be acting as point guard, or intiating the offense. And when he’s played at his best, he hasn’t done that–he’s cutting and taking the pass and scoring, or rebounding and scoring. I also have a pet theory that I can’t validate because I don’t have all the games recorded: maybe he plays “hero” ball primarily when he thinks the offense is stagnant and it’s up to him to fix it. I seem to remember him being more in control and playing to his strengths during the better games than the worse games, and cause/effect then becomes a question. Are the games better/worse because TW is more/less in control, or is TW more/less in control because the team is playing better/worse? Dunno.

    For the record, I like TW a lot as an IU player. I think he’s a great kid that plays hard and means incredibly well, and I’d hate for my frustration at his out-of-control play to imply otherwise.

  • ForeverIU

    It’s gonna be sunny and in the mid to high 60s in Sarasota on Thurs/Fri. How I wish I had that fallback option. LOL.

  • Yes, but right now, I wouldn’t bet anything on our ability to beat the Hawkeyes… I think we’re pretty much toast Thursday night. I’m usually very positive, but they really showed me a weak spot last Saturday.. We aren’t shooting the ball. I can’t believe we were not able to do anything against PSU.. Do you realize we shot the ball the poorest that we’ve shot since our loss to Maryland in the b1G Tournament last March.. You could call it abysmal… and it would be a pretty accurate assessment.

  • Kevin


  • Missing Moye

    Agreed absolutely. It’s not that JBJ being on the roster inherently makes them a worse team, it’s how he is used and how frequently he was used that caused some issues.

    If I may speculate, I do think that CTC tries to be loyal to the players and tries to honor his promises during recruiting, possibly to the detriment of the team on the floor. If he benches a McDonald’s All-American for the majority of the minutes, I think it reflects poorly on him and doesn’t bode well for future recruiting. In the regard, I think CTC is in a really tough spot.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    I spent the first 30 years of my life in Indiana, so I understand how awful February can be. I hate to admit that for native Sarasotians, this is coat weather!

  • bleeding crimson

    I’ve worked many weekends and I can remember that when the game came on we would stop and watch the game….regardless where we were at…if we were losing we would leave and find another place to watch the game. So I totally understand your superstition. I’m not as bad as I use to be but If you don’t wear you IU HAT THE REST OF THE SEASON I KNOW WHO TO BLAME!!!!!

  • bleeding crimson

    Are you ever excited about IU BB?

  • Ryan Miller

    the hat will give us a sixth banner

  • It won’t happen again.