The Minute After: Fort Wayne

  • 11/23/2016 12:18 am in

Thoughts on a 71-68 loss to the Mastodons:

Indiana’s trip to the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne read as a road game on the schedule. But from all the pre-game chatter detailing the large swath of Hoosier fans in attendance, it was billed as a pro-IU crowd.

It didn’t matter.

The Mastodons came ready to play from the opening tip and knocked Indiana on its heels. They grabbed early offensive rebounds for putbacks. A year ago in Maui, the Hoosiers had serious trouble containing the drive. It reared its ugly head again early tonight, as the Mastodons consistently got into the lane in both the half court and on the break for easy buckets. Indiana’s defense failed in other ways, too. Its communication and effort was poor.

Fort Wayne may not play in the Big Ten. The Mastodons ain’t Kansas and they ain’t ranked No. 3 in the country. But there’s talent on this team. They were the aggressor. It was enough to pull out the victory on a night Indiana look lost for large stretches on both ends of the floor. John Konchar’s athleticism gave Indiana’s defense serious problems. He had 15 points and played an incredible 45 minutes. Former Purdue player Bryson Scott was great in this one, shooting 50 percent from the field (18 points) and adding some key defense against James Blackmon Jr.

It looked like the Hoosiers might have finally figured this one out after a Thomas Bryant and-1 gave the Hoosiers a 43-42 lead with 16:12 to go. But Konchar beat Juwan Morgan off the dribble on the Mastodons next possession and threw it home with authority at the rim.

Indiana never led again.

Because Indiana couldn’t stay in front of anybody, Tom Crean had his players sink back into a 2-3 zone for much of the back half of the second frame and it helped the Hoosiers crawl back into the game. It shut off the drive and Fort Wayne struggled to get much of anything going. The Hoosiers racked up a shot clock violation and forced the Mastodons into a bunch of long, late looks. They only mustered up three points over the final 9:29 of regulation.

Indiana had ample opportunity in regulation to win this game due to the zone, but its offense really sputtered down the stretch when it only needed a bucket to escape with the W. Josh Newkirk and James Blackmon Jr. were both iffy with the ball and with decisions. Thomas Bryant needed more touches and didn’t get them. No one was really grabbing possessions by the neck and making things happen. Drives were thwarted by the Mastodons at the rim or didn’t happen at all. Ball movement felt sluggish and purposeless. Yogi Ferrell was missed tonight and the playmaker-by-committee Hoosiers were exposed, as they only mustered .93 points per possession.

“I’m gonna take full responsibility for that, that we didn’t move the ball the way we needed to,” Tom Crean said after the game. “And I’m gonna get it fixed.”

Other culprits in the loss: OG Anunoby’s illness,  an uncharacteristic 7-of-24 mark from distance, an 11-of-19 performance at the free throw line, including some key misses late.

Plenty to be concerned about on both ends of the floor tonight, but this is but one game in a long season. Would you rather Indiana have played an upper 200s KenPom team in Bloomington tonight and won by 20-plus or gotten a wake up call that nothing is promised no matter what a No. 3 ranking would seemingly suggest?

Indiana will study the film, get back to work and prepare for Sunday’s game against Mississippi Valley State with UNC looming on Wednesday.

It’s about all the Hoosiers can do after tonight’s shocking upset.

Filed to:

  • Ole Man

    Best post I’ve read about the game.

  • Ole Man

    Well, thank you for that exaggerated nonsense. The guards are out of control and they, not Bryant, cost IU the game.

  • #1-4 are all things to work on for sure, although our zone is the only thing that let us get back into the game. But #5 is why we lost the game. They can go back and watch film and improve everything you outline in #1-4, but #5 will come down to every player refusing to ever play that way again.

  • Ole Man

    This must have been the first IU game you’ve ever watched that Bryant played in.

  • Agreed, of course. I wouldn’t say there’s a “benefit,” but there are lessons to be learned. If they learn these lessons, then they’ll be a better team, but they could have been a better team by learning the lessons in the first half and then executing them in the second.

  • Ole Man

    Refs didn’t cost IU this game.

  • Ole Man

    Haters? Idiots? You, sir, blather.

  • Ole Man

    Amen! And the answer is: because he can’t coach D.

  • Ole Man

    That’s not an answer.

  • I simply wish these people who come on to vent after losses are there to celebrate after wins. Sometimes I get the impression they’re _disappointed_ when we win and then are actually celebrating when we lose–with vitriol. At the very least, they could be here to criticize after wins as well, but after every loss here come 10-20 people who you NEVER see posting after wins. Worst thing about a forum like this.

  • Come on now. That’s not fair or true.

  • ForeverIU

    You mean we get away with it when we win.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    I had a similar experience. haha!

    We shot uncharacteristically poorly in all categories (40 percent total, under 30 from 3, and under 60 from FT line). We received basically nothing from a sick OG. We turned the ball over nearly twice as many times as we forced them to do the same (15-8).

    For me, that was a game that if we have Yogi still, we don’t lose. Our lack of a premier ball handler was evident down the stretch. Yet, we still had tons of opportunities to win the game. Just one of those nights.

  • Creanhater

    1. Brad Stevens
    2. Chris Holtmann
    3. Tony Bennett
    4. Buzz Williams
    5. Cuonzo Martin
    6. Bryce Drew
    7. Greg Marshall
    8. Jim Crews
    9. Calbert Cheaney
    10. Bobby Hurley
    That’s a start…but its the day before a Holiday and I’m having problems focusing!!!

  • deez33

    I also love TB, but I agree. He’s nowhere near ready to play on or near the perimeter in the NBA and he has zero post moves. The only time he scores in the post is when he catches it under the rim for an easy layup. No drop-step, no turn and face, no up and under moves. I don’t want to be too hard on him though, he is super young and has plenty of time to continue getting better. I even hope he stays for 3 years as a selfish IU fan.

  • Big Mike

    Maybe we would be ready to play games like this if we used games like Umass Lowell (defense gave up 78 points) and Liberty (26 turnovers) to focus on our weaknesses (defense, executing in the half court) instead of playing sloppy pickup-style hoops…

  • ForIndiana

    Blather is as blather does…makes me no better, but for a forum of supposed Indiana fans, there are a lot of anti-Indiana fans…its the whole program…can’t choose what parts of it you like, or be fair weather…its not what IU fans should be about. Make critiques, provide ideas, we don’t all agree, but to keep driving the coach must go bus it is just tired.

  • ForeverIU

    I can tell you now that we are not a Final Four team.

  • IULore

    No, you can’t.

  • ForeverIU

    Kenpom has not had us above #10, and now we are at #17.

  • ForIndiana

    No thanks to any of the above as they either have no reason to come or don’t represent a better choice…its okay I’m sure you have troubles focusing on more than your fire the coach mantra on all days.

  • ForeverIU

    People are saying last year we rose back from Maui. Last year we also put CTC on a skewer, LOL.

  • John Echelbarger

    Yep Agree Mark!

  • IULore

    Didn’t UNC have a an early bad loss last year?

  • IULore

    Finally a post with some perspective.

  • ForeverIU

    Maybe, but where did kenpom have them early in the preseason? We can win the B1G and still be #17 or #15.

  • IULore

    Lot’s of coaches do that.

  • ForeverIU

    There are some very educated people who love this program posting on this thread, and who are also offering constructive criticism of our team and coach. I agree calbert’s post is good, but it is not the only one.

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    Thanks Ole Man. This is a great site to vent some frustration; not a ton of college b ball fans in the great white north.

  • IULore

    I’m talking about the ‘sky is falling’ ‘no chance in march’ posts. Like, come on, it’s November. Last season started much worse and look how that turned out.

  • DonaldneedsAsafeSpace

    What a horrible game..OG apparently sick and absent..driving into mult defender. Crean uses his TO w. 3 seconds left, instead of the 5 chances we had to go ahead while the offense was struggling. unbelievable

  • Freemason

    Agree! I hope that this game makes him stick around another year. JBJ isn’t even close to being ready for the NBA. This game will be used as a blueprint to keep him in check.

  • ForeverIU

    Okay, I agree. There are teams you don’t expect to reach the Final Four that do. And as long as my team is still competing, I will have a championship as my goal, not just a Final Four. But I guess what I’m saying is that as of now I don’t see that we are Final Four material. I was skeptical even after we beat Kansas. If you had to bet right now, how far would you have us going?

  • 14thandWoodlawn

    Whom. Izzo, Coach K, Boeheim, Williams, Self etc do not

  • KYHoosier

    A few observations I noticed from this game and games this season that need to be fixed.

    1. Thomas Bryant needs to stay in the paint. I understand he can hit 3s sometimes and I don’t care if off a pick and roll he pops a few times, but there were numerous times last night and throughout the season so far that TB has had the ball in his hands with 5 seconds on the shot clock 3 steps out from the 3 point line. I get CTC likes “position-less players” but cmon TB is much better in the paint.

    2. On ball defense is atrocious. Not one IU player, except maybe Devonte Green, could stay in front of their man on the perimeter last night. Too much dribble penetration led to many easy buckets.

    3. Feed the post. Countless times, especially in OT, TB or De’ron Davis had their man posted up down low and we did not feed them. I understand we have great 3 point shooters, but TB is our best player. We need to feed him more down low.

    4. JBJ tries to play hero ball at the end of the game instead of making the right play.

    5. I thought this loss was more on the players than Crean. Crean made a great adjustment going to the 2-3 zone, but in OT two things that made me scratch my head was when Robert Johnson hit that three to start the overtime and Crean took him out and put in De’Ron Davis, and the full court football throw with 3 seconds. Full court passes never work, we had plenty of time to catch the ball free-throw line extended take 4 dribbles and shoot a reasonable 3.

    6. Newkirk has been a pleasant surprise this season. Cut down a few turnovers and I think he has played as well as anyone could have asked so far this season.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    To be fair, I didn’t have as much “perspective” at about 11 pm last night! I stay off of ITH during the games purposefully. 🙂

  • I’m in the same place I was before the season started, after a slight diversion given a win against KU that I didn’t expect. I anticipated this team would be rough at first given the injuries and late starts and then get much better as the B1G season arrived. I hoped our defense would be better because of all of the talent there, and so that’s the second biggest disappointment to me.

    So, that means I think this team could go all the way if it reaches its potential. That, though, depends on one thing (my biggest disappointment): that these players reach down and learn from this game and never, ever play with that level of effort again.

    I honestly expected TB to get in every single player’s face who wasn’t giving 100% effort. That didn’t happen, and so now I’m stuck wondering who’s going to lead this team. If nobody does, then maybe we don’t get further than the Sweet 16.

  • IULore

    I’d say Elite 8 if I had to bet, because I see this team as a 2 seed from the start of the season. Anything beyond isn’t really predictable. Would a final 4 surprise me? No, not really. I think the only thing this team needs is some glue. By the end of the season I think we will be better in that regard. I also think KU is the real deal and that win is bigger than this loss as long as we beat UNC or UofL.

  • IULore

    its called ‘showing’ on defense to defend ball screens. Common tactic.

  • Just hit me, so I’ll post it before I get my butt working so I don’t lose this gig…

    There was an IPFW kid, I think #45, who was so winded toward the end of the game that he could barely catch his breath. I remember watching our players and realizing that none of them, barring maybe McRoberts, even looked tired. That’s what has me most disappointed–if we’re really not that great a basketball team, then fine. But I don’t want to see another team leaving everything on the court and our players don’t.

  • Keith

    All last season Crean constantly said that IU was a better team with JBJ, but I didn’t think so then and I don’t think so today. His sets a negative tone in so many ways and it influences the whole team. When he’s hitting everything is golden, when he’s not, and good teams will know how to stop him, he’s not the grind it out-win it with defense type of player.

  • GERBILSAURUSREX

    Where did I say it was Thomas who cost us the game?

  • GERBILSAURUSREX

    You should know that’s not true. Go take some Metamucil, watch the price is right and calm down Ole Man.

  • Ole Man

    Really? That’s the best you can come up with?
    Now back to your lack of basketball IQ
    TB battled all night, racked up a double double, and basically with little help from his teammates kept IU in the game. Yet, you’re on here bashing him for fatigue, for fewer miscues than anyone else with major minutes, and for running an asinine offensive system which has him playing outside more than inside.

  • MarkHoltzHoosier

    Welcome to the comments section of the Interwebs?

  • GERBILSAURUSREX

    I never bashed TB at all, unless you consider pointing out things a player needs to work on as bashing. And if it’s the offense that is the reason TB isn’t getting post touches, why does De’Ron come in and immediately start getting the post touches that Thomas isn’t?

  • Oh, for sure.

  • MarkHoltzHoosier

    Utter nonsense.
    You would have said the same regarding the impossibility of at least one of these reaching the Final Four:

    2011 VCU with their “gimmick” defense
    2006 George Mason ($10 if you can name the coach without Googling it)
    2010-11Butler twice in a row? (sure great coach, but also a couple players who were able to peak at the right time)
    2013 Wichita State
    even Syracuse last year–if you saw them in November, you would not have been impressed–they weren’t even ranked

  • Ole Man

    Hmmm…..chemistry issues spreading from JBJ to the other guards? The way CTC uses TB as opposed to the way he uses DD?

  • GERBILSAURUSREX

    Persuasive argument. You’ve swung me. The reason the guards (who consistently look for TB on the fast break and on the perimeter) are passing TO De’Ron in the post but NOT to Thomas is because they hate Thomas. It has nothing at all to do with De’Ron getting better post position than Thomas. And obviously the reason De’Ron gets good post ups out the same sets that Thomas is running, is because Crean is tired of consistently having one of the most efficient offenses in the country and is sabotaging the effectiveness of his best big man. That all makes perfect sense.