The Inside the Hall Mailbag: February 9

  • 02/09/2016 11:41 am in

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), via email, submitted on our premium forum and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

@connor_galyen writes: What’s IU’s identity? Are we the team that beat Michigan or the one that struggled against Minnesota and Penn State?

Is somewhere in the middle an option? I’m of the opinion that you should probably throw out these outlier type of performances when evaluating a team. Indiana probably isn’t as good as it played at Michigan and it certainly isn’t as bad as it played on Saturday on Penn State. The Minnesota game probably doesn’t even belong in the conversation because IU won that one and the Gophers have played some other Big Ten opponents close.

The problem, of course, is that a team that doesn’t perform consistently is going to have a tough time stringing together a long NCAA tournament run. Success for the Hoosiers is highly dependent on good shooting and taking care of the ball. Can the Hoosiers perform at a high level in both facets over the series of several games? It remains to be seen.

Your question should start to be answered very soon as Indiana’s 13-0 record at Assembly Hall is going to be tested severely over the last four games. The Hoosiers host, in order, Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue and Maryland in their final four home games.

In addition to that slate of home games, Indiana also has trips to Michigan State, Illinois and Iowa remaining. None of those games are ones you look at and assume a win, so the Hoosiers are going to have to earn it the rest of the way. They’ve certainly earned the 9-2 Big Ten start by beating the teams they were supposed to beat (outside of Penn State), but this group is going to be tested in all facets down the stretch. – Alex Bozich

RoscoD73 on the premium forum writes: What do you think of Troy’s playing time? Should he be playing less, more, or the same minutes? Do you think he will ever not start a game this season because of his performance?

Williams is third on Indiana in minutes played per game in Big Ten games behind Yogi Ferrell and Robert Johnson. The problem with Troy is that with the good comes the bad. And that doesn’t appear to something that is going to change.

So what’s the answer?

Indiana’s highest ceiling is probably with Williams on the floor and playing well. But that only happens in certain stretches and doesn’t happen nearly enough. We’ve already seen him benched in certain situations and I think that will continue if he continues to make the same mistakes. With OG Anunoby continuing to emerge, he’s not a bad backup plan to have. I still think Williams will continue to get the nod as a starter, but he doesn’t have the margin of error that he once had. His erratic play has really hurt Indiana at the start of games, so I definitely understand the questions about him as a starter. But I’m not sure I see that changing. – Alex Bozich

CampHoosier on the premium forum writes: Other than Yogi Ferrell struggling to score and turnovers being high, are there any other statistics that jump out in IU’s losses this season?

I’ll hit on a two individual numbers that stand out: First, in IU wins, Williams is averaging 6.9 rebounds, which is a team-high. In losses, that number drops to 4.2, which is fourth on the team. Tom Crean has often talked about IU being at its best when Williams is engaged and active on the glass and these numbers bear it out.

Second, in IU wins, Thomas Bryant is shooting over 75 percent from the field and averages close to 13 points per game. In losses, that number falls to 55.6 percent shooting and 9.4 points per game.

In terms of teams stats, IU is averaging 17.5 assists per game in wins and 13 in losses. There’s also a pretty significant difference in 2-point shooting percentage in wins versus losses. In wins, IU is shooting 59.4 percent on 2s. In losses, that number falls to 47.4 percent. – Alex Bozich

Coop_ThereItIs on the premium forum writes: At this point in the season, who is taking home the Big10 individual awards? (i.e. player of the year, coach, freshman, etc).

The awards seem to be pretty clear cut at this point. Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff is the frontrunner for Big Ten player of the year and his coach, Fran McCaffery, is the definite leader for the coach of the year award. Both are surprising based on preseason expectations, but both are very deserving right now.

In terms of freshman of the year, Maryland’s Diamond Stone is the current favorite for that award. Thomas Bryant is certainly in the discussion, but Stone has been the more impactful player as of today and the Terps are ranked in the top five nationally. – Alex Bozich

HoosierJake on the premium forum writes: What is the travel schedule like when the team plays in Ann Arbor at 9:00 on a Tuesday and then at 8:00 on a Saturday night? Seems like the travel and back-to-back late starts on the road would be pretty taxing and out of the ordinary. I don’t want to make excuses for Saturday night’s loss, but shouldn’t that at least be considered when lots of fans are suggesting “late season fatigue” because of being overworked?

I believe the travel would be fly up the day or night before and then fly back after the game. So yes, IU got back to Bloomington early Wednesday morning from Ann Arbor. Then it headed to State College on Friday for Saturday’s game and flew back after. At least that is how I understand it.

This type of travel isn’t at all uncommon for a Big Ten team and I definitely wouldn’t consider it much at all when analyzing the loss to Penn State. It was a bad performance and bad loss for IU, but travel would be near the bottom of the list of reasons it happened in my opinion. – Alex Bozich

Filed to:

  • He did? So we were behind, and he took the last shot and hit it and we won? Is that right? I guess my memory isn’t what it used to be.

  • inLinE6

    I don’t remember he hit any buzzer beater. But he did hit some shots to tie the game.

  • VAHoosier

    Unfortunately, the selection committee doesn’t look at Kenpom; they use RPI (which is the worst ranking index of all).


    Done the right way and at the right time, I think keeping the refs, on edge as some have put it, can and does make a difference, it did for me, more with some, less with others. There is even a time and place for getting T’d up, but again right time, right place and scenario. When you asked for other’s opinions and didn’t except me out I have to imagine it’s you having a metal block of my numerous comments on this subject. lol A coach doesn’t have to get T’d up to be able to help his team’s cause when he works on the refs, sometimes he may have to do that to get his point across though. Just like a coach has to know how to push a player’s buttons to get the desired effect, he must also know how to push the ref’s buttons to get the desired effect. I would say that TC has been in the B1G long enough to know all of the refs and how much, or how little, it takes when pushing their buttons. Even if he didn’t he has been coaching long enough that he should be able to read one he isn’t familiar with, for the most part. What I also found was that, one ref isn’t going to come right out and say one of the other refs is missing something or has gotten some calls wrong, but you can usually get a feel for how most refs are receiving your arguments and one may say something to one or even both about certain aspects, of course all out of earshot of anyone else. Sit down and take the day watching college bball and I can pretty much guarantee you that you will see it making an obvious difference in one or even a few of the games. Having said all that a coach can’t complain and try to point out every single thing he thinks might have been missed, it’s like so many other things in life, pick your battles. All JMHO…….as well as a lot of other past and present coaches.

  • ForeverIU

    A T is the finale of working refs, so they go together.

    I’m not sure what da kitch’s motives are, but you do Crean a disservice imo if you elevate him to final 4 ranks at this point. I see lots of bad intent here. It will just make our final resume all the more disappointing. I just don’t see us winning four tough Tourney games.


    Only one I can remember at IU is at home against UW back in the, still trying to rise up out of the ashes days.

  • BL

    Like your summary of things we need to fix or do well. Would add, we need to cut back on shooting ill advised three’s.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I watch probably 7 or 8 games during the course of every week of the season and have been doing so for 10-15 years so I’ve certainly seen teams making runs after their coach gets a technical. I’ve also seen plenty of times where a coach gets a technical, the other team sinks the free throws and their is zero tangible difference in game flow or the deficit/margin on the scoreboard. I was just wondering if anyone had any data that could prove it was beneficial more often than not.

    I know that “working the refs” is important…I just don’t happen to think that Tom Crean not getting technical fouls somehow suggests that he is not confident or doesn’t look after his players (traits ForeverIU suggested that getting technicals is a symbol of). Anyway, thanks for taking the time to respond and for sharing your knowledge…I appreciate it and have a nice day.


    I don’t think just because TC doesn’t pile up technical fouls he isn’t confident or isn’t looking out for his players as well, but I also feel like there has been more than once or twice that he should have been, let’s just say, a whole lot more demonstrable, and yes getting T’d up at some point under the right circumstances. I don’t have any stats or data to prove or disprove the subject either way. All I have to go on is my own first hand dealings with the subject, being on the bench around long time coaches when they dealt with the subject and discussing it at length with other coaches. My conclusions are, done the right way, it does make a difference the vast majority of the time. To what degree it does is going to vary from one game to the next and from one ref to the next, but if only helps just a very small amount, a small amount is all it takes to make a big difference when regulation time ends and the score is still tied.

    Agree getting a T isn’t the end goal and shouldn’t be. If that happens it usually means there were some not normal things in play or that the coach didn’t handle the situation correctly, but sometimes the situation comes down to that being what is best for the situation. IMHO the approach that most often seems to get the best results is “engaging” the refs, rather than pushing it to the point where getting T’d up is the result. Being able to “read” the ref is a big part of this aspect of the game. Any coach can stand up and holler and complain until he is given the “ninety degree hand signal”. The skill is in, as I say, being able to read the ref and then being able to react to that the right way in accordance to how the game is unfolding. There are certain situations where you go full throttle and there are certain times where, even after an obvious blown call by the ref, you approach things completely different. Maybe, ” situational awareness “, is a better and quicker way of putting it. lol I’m not going to delve into the details of reading the ref, cause it isn’t something that a coach just walks onto the floor for the first time and automatically is proficient in, but can develop, or should I say, must develop, if he is going to give his team their best chance to win, especially in very close games. I was lucky enough to assist under a coach that was pretty damned masterful in reading, working and making a difference a whole lot of the time when it came to the refs. At first I would ask him why he didn’t rip on the officials after them clearly blowing a call, he would say watch and listen the rest of the game and then if you still don’t understand why I didn’t we’ll talk about why. Needless to say I usually got an ahh hhaa moment about the same time as he would look my way and wink. Just like so many other things in life it’s all about timing and circumstances.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    That’s also a good one. Or maybe say there are certain players who should not be shooting 3s at all unless wide open