Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Nebraska

  • 02/18/2016 10:16 am in

Indiana improved to 21-6 and 11-3 in the Big Ten on Wednesday night with an 80-64 win over Nebraska at Assembly Hall. The victory moved the Hoosiers back into a tie for first place in the conference with Iowa.

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

· An improved defensive effort: After giving up more than a point per possession in three straight games, Indiana was much better defensively against Nebraska.

For the tenth time in 14 tries, Indiana held a Big Ten opponent under a point per possession as the Huskers managed just .995 points per trip on Branch McCracken Court. For perspective on how much IU’s defense has improved, the Hoosiers held just four teams under a point per possession last season in league play.

“I think we did a better job of making in-game adjustments, and like Troy (Williams) said, collectively we had a better mindset coming out in this game,” Robert Johnson said. “And when they made a little run, we came together and made sure that we got a stop right there and didn’t let that small run turn into a big run. I think that was one of the keys.”

· Good Troy outshines Bad Troy: It was a shaky start in terms of taking care of the ball for junior wing Troy Williams, who committed two turnovers in the game’s first five minutes.

But even as he was turning it over, it was clear that Williams was far more engaged than what we saw on Sunday in East Lansing. After going scoreless in 17 minutes against Michigan State, Williams was aggressive against Nebraska and simply couldn’t be stopped at the rim.

Five of his eight made field goals were at the rim and two others were in the paint as he finished with 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field.

“After Michigan State, I didn’t come out aggressive,” Williams explained. “And I watched — we watched it, and we just — me and Coach Crean had talked and we decided it’s time to put on an aggressive mindset. Playing like that, I see the results it gets me.”

· Improved shot selection: Indiana’s shot selection in East Lansing wasn’t the greatest and the numbers bear it out. As UMHoops pointed out earlier in the season, the Hoosiers take the largest percentage of 3s and layups/dunks in the Big Ten.

At Michigan State, Indiana took nine 2-point attempts outside of the paint, which is too many. Things were cleaned things up against Nebraska as Indiana attempted just three 2-point field goals outside of the paint.

chartnebraska

· Career night for Morgan: Thomas Bryant was the prize of IU’s 2015 recruiting class and OG Anunoby has turned heads with his play in conference games.

But on Wednesday night, it was Juwan Morgan’s time in the spotlight. He didn’t play huge minutes (11), but made the most of his time on the floor by finishing with 12 points, five rebounds and a steal. The 6-foot-7 forward was 3-of-5 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

“It was just teammates setting me up putting me in a position to get easy baskets,” Morgan said. “I remember the most recent one, Troy drove to the lane hard, like we said, with that attacking mindset, and all I did was move out of the way and he found me.”

· Johnson’s steady improvement: It’s no secret that Robert Johnson struggled the first half of the Big Ten season, but the sophomore guard is making it a back half to remember so far.

While Johnson’s assist and rebounding numbers are down slightly over the last five games compared to the first nine, his numbers elsewhere are up considerably:

robjbig

The turnover improvement is notable, but the increased scoring and efficiency from both inside and outside the arc are as important going forward. Wednesday was another tough shooting night for Yogi Ferrell, but Johnson was 4-of-9 from the field and finished with 13 points, which was second highest on the team.

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  • Corey Schroyer

    Not sure what the rebounding numbers looked like last night, but it certainly looked like we were very active on both ends and when we have that urgency it certainly makes winning look a lot easier. Proud of Troy, he certainly looked like his mindset was different and I’ve got to in part credit Crean because I have a feeling there’s been some conversations on the aspect of what he should be doing. As you all know it’s about consistency though and if this is a turning point I certainly won’t be mad because we need Troy from here through tournament time if we are going to be succesful. As much as he may have negatively affected games at times we don’t have a better second or third player who can replace him at his highest level of performance.

  • Ole Man

    AN excellent point was made last night by Crean.
    You have to accept the poorly named “bad Troy” if you want to see the “good Troy.” In this case, I go along with Crean.
    No need to post a comment on every mistake that Troy makes.

  • Agreed, no need to post a comment on every mistake that TW makes. Don’t know of anyone who does that, but agreed. And agreed in general about TW. My only reason for continuing to comment about the kid is the wide disparity between his best and worst moments–it’s far wider than most players I’ve seen. And if he could narrow it, he could be so much better (and have a better career long-term as well).

  • Ole Man

    Troy scores 18 and his play wins the game last night for IU.
    Yet, you still want OG to start over him?
    Crean says that IU absolutely needs Troy to start.
    Yet you still want OG to start over him?
    I just don’t get it.

  • Ole Man

    That’s because a lot of posters don’t understand what Crean does. The most effective (for IU) Troy is the one on the edge. That will give some TOs, but it will lead to more nights like last night, no matter who IU is playing.

  • BL

    Did I? Probably would have if asked?

  • Ole Man

    A wide disparity!!!

  • BL

    Your right but I’ll stick with my prediction and willingly accept blame if I’m wrong 🙂

  • inLinE6

    I was mocking… Let’s hope they beat Illinois at Illinois. Take care of Purdue first!

  • mckillio

    Right? I think he might have skipped halftime in the locker room and was just jawing the refs the entire break.

  • pcantidote

    I don’t really care who OG starts over, I just think he is an obvious matchup against Swanigan, who would abuse Troy or CH in the post.

    And let’s not overreact. One game doesn’t a good Troy make.

  • BT

    It’s maddening, I know. It’s crazy how there are games when he gets a nice layup or putback, and then on the next possession, he gets the ball and just puts his head down and drives and ends up with a charge or losing the ball off his knee. I have no idea how many minutes he should be getting or how he should be coached, I just know that if he can deliver a line like 5/9 from the field with 5-6 rebounds and 2-3 TOs we probably win.

  • BL

    If you listen to Crean’s presser he wants the best of both worlds; Troy being aggressive but at the same time making good reads. That in a nutshell is the conundrum.

  • Tim Cody

    From a purely eye test standpoint, our defensive preformance seems much better when the shots are falling. Makes it so things can get teally ugly when we start bricking, but god is it pretty when things are going well.

  • Fivelefts

    I don’t want him to be so demonstrative in his objections, to warrant a technical.. But maybe a little, hands behind the back, spittle flying protest.. wouldn’t be so bad, every once in a while..

  • vicbert caladipo

    It would be best if he works them just like his mentor, like the call you just made is like the doctor telling me, I’m dying. Izzo looks like the ref has harmed his family…..it’s hard to look at him because it looks like he’s going to explode. Of course TC hasn’t built that sort of reputation with the refs, so if he emulated Izzo they’d T him up and call him a stretcher.

  • TomJameson

    Well, when considering the opponent consider that they have the 4th best offense in the B1G. Like Alex said, they averaged 1.11 PPP, and IU held them to .995. ANY way you look at it, IU defense did the job.

    And if you want real perspective, compare IU defense this year to IU defense last year. I’ll take this defensive squad any time. LOL

  • TomJameson

    I think the 4 TOs are acceptable from Troy (or any player), if they have the game TW had. Not just the 18 points, but the hustle at every level … diving for balls, picking up the defense, etc…

  • I hope so too, but I kind of doubt it. He’s done this before. He’ll have a great game, say all of the right things about controlling when he chooses to be aggressive and not try to drive into the middle of a pack of defenders.. but then he goes out in the next game or two and it’s the same ol’, same ol’ Troy that shows up as bad Troy.. or else he just goes to sleep like he did at MSU. I hope I’m wrong, but I really do not anticipate him changing much.. he just got in a good game.. not something we’ve been able to count on consistently. Just think if he would play like that lll of the time, we could be a very, very good team.. Maybe even a Final Four candidate.. But I don’t see it happening. I hope I’m wrong.

  • I’ll try to help: his shots were falling. Many of his shots, perhaps half of them, were still wild-ish runners, which he had been missing lately. He couldn’t miss last night, which is why everyone thinks he had a great game. I do think he had a good game and was a key player in the team’s win. But I’d also like to see better movement from him without the ball and better rebounding (from Troy). Especially for the next game, because if he tries to simply replicate last night, it won’t turn out so rosy.

    His contributions will be critical if the team is going to win every game that remains this season, including tournament time.

  • BL

    I agree. Points, FG% and Rebounds are key but I also like to look at a stat I call Additional Contribution: Assists + Blocks + Steals – TO’s. Pre Nebraska, TW had a -3 Additional Contribution in BIG play. By comparison, YF had a +51; OG had a +27. Last night, TW’s additional contribution was +1. With the way he scored and rebounded, that’s acceptable. Additional Contribution doesn’t account for all intangibles but it helps analyze performance.

  • Koko

    Cool……keep sending ’em….it’s working.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    I was at that game UK vs IU In L-ville. That was a crappie place to watch the game we were under the scoreboard just above nose bleeds.

    It was a really good game I think Bracey Write was mugged going to the rim with 6 or 7 seconds left no foul. MD runs out on the floor and gets T’ed end of game.

  • “…I wake up screaming “Woodbury” and open my two precious eyes wide to make sure I can still see.”

    slow. clap.

  • For the Stone thing, I think they handled it well, with the personal contacts and apologies and all. I’ll give them credit for doing the right thing to make amends.

    Also, Minnesota almost beat Iowa a few nights ago and is totally due for a big win, a la Penn St. Would be real nice for Hoosier fans. Real nice.

  • I think Morgan is about as good, defensively. He and OG on Swanigan are interchangeable, in my mind. I’d like to see him bang on their 7-footers a bit, too. Just out of curiosity.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    If those guys only knew what was said on these these forums.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    So true.. We were Number 1 in the nation 2 seconds in the game CZ loses his guy on an inbound play. Game over and we are stunned into silence.

  • Koko

    I wasn’t so much stunned with the loss. It was zero defense on the inbound play that stunned me.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    I know it was awful. Illinois can be a tough place… Road games are hard.

  • And there’s yet another perspective, equally valid. 🙂 See? That’s precisely why he’s such an enigma.

  • pcantidote

    Did you know that the only B1G games that ILL has won this year are against the two winless teams (Rutgers/Minn), and oh yeah, purdouche. LOL.

  • pcantidote

    True, although we won there last year and played pretty well. I think we match up very well with them. I’m with you though, never assume anything on the road. They will be fired up after we embarrassed them at the Hall.

  • IULore

    *side effects include unwanted penetration, and poor communication*

  • zoldirtybird

    IU continues to have trouble defending the pick and roll. It was on full display last night. It is unclear why IU’s bigs continue to hedge high, getting out of position in the process. If IU was playing the golden state warriors it might make sense to hedge and stop the ball. Otherwise it just gets the bigs too high on the floor creating more space for the dribble drive (watch the Minnesota game at assembly hall). It was interesting to hear Coach Crean’s comments after the game. He mentioned that Robert Johnson suggested the team go to their “55” defense where defenders switch on every screen. Coach Crean acted on Robert’s suggestion and it seemed to help the defense in the second half.

    IU can succeed with the “55” against teams like Nebraska that don’t present as many individual matchup problems. The switch keeps things simple and lets IU rely on superior personnel to win. The concern should be that more physical, traditional teams like MSU and Purdue will present problems if they can create an extremely lopsided matchup, i.e. Yogi guarding AJ Hammons. When that happens, IU becomes vulnerable to weak side athleticism/size because the bigs have to help so often.

    This Saturday will be a great test for the hoosier defense.

  • Hardwood83

    Shut your mouth- I’m pretending that never happened.

  • pcantidote

    Agree 100% on the hedging. It makes no sense to me why you would put so much emphasis on defending the ball 25 feet from the basket. I’ll take my chances with long threes over layups any day. Especially vs. Purdue.

  • Hardwood83

    Forget Crean, maybe we need to set up a persuasive ‘discussion’ with the refs. Hate to sound like a whiner/conspiracy theorist but IU has gotten screwed blue several games this year. I’m not un-biased, but more then a few games sure seemed to be 8 on 5.

  • IULore

    We were still no 1 the next week

  • mharv2631

    Don’t know who the tall bald ref is, but he is not very good. He has done two of our games.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Daryl Thomas said “Bucket!!!!!!”

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    Haha..

  • Kyl470

    I think something a lot of people (myself included) miss is that a lot of times when Troy gets his turnovers it’s because the offense gets stagnate and people stop moving and just stand around.

  • Kyl470

    Also I’ve mentioned before that since JBJ went out with his injury Troy is the only player on this roster besides Yogi who is capable of going on an offensive run and putting up a bunch of points in a hurry. You need that type of individual output to make runs in the tourney. I know people will say Bryant can, but he really can’t because we don’t run an offense that involves a lot of post plays.

  • VAHoosier

    I think that’s pretty much right. IMO, there’s not really a qualitative difference between so-called “good Troy” and “bad Troy.” Even when he is playing “well,” he is often a bit out of control and putting up low-percentage shots. Not saying he is not an asset; he is, and he will ultimately be very important if this team makes any postseason noise. But I don’t buy the Jekyl/Hyde narrative. My assessment is a more simple one (like yours): sometimes his whirling dirvish works, and sometimes it doesn’t. IMO, however, he is best when he is not initiating but rather lurking behind the defense for feeds.

  • IUowns

    You heard it first here again, Maryland is not leaving the barn with a win tonight.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    That would be great.

  • Shaggy_C

    So, what are your lotto picks this week? 20 seconds left and it appears to be in the bag for Minnesota.

  • Koko

    Good call.

  • ForeverIU

    Iowa loses. Maryland loses. We’re at the top of the B1G. I’m still not satisfied. A sign that I’m thinking like a champ. LOL.