Notebook: Blowout win over SEMO overshadows larger issues

  • 12/04/2016 8:13 pm in

Indiana finished up a stretch of four games in eight days with an 83-55 thrashing of Southeast Missouri State.

The 7-1 Hoosiers led wire-to-wire in a less than capacity Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. With students finishing up semester-long projects and prepping for finals, the Hoosiers were unable to feed off the crowd like they were able to against UNC.

Indiana showed the same flaws that have been apparent throughout the season, particularly when it comes to turning the ball over.

Indiana has committed at least 15 turnovers in all but one game this season, and tonight was no exception. The Hoosiers gave SEMO 18 free possessions, with six different players ending the day with at least two.

“We forced a couple passes,” junior Robert Johnson said. “I think making a simple play is something we’ve got to continue to get better at, making passes one dribble sooner and not waiting. I think the more we just play together, the more connected we’ll get.”

On the season the Hoosiers have turned the ball over on 23 percent of possessions, ranking 324th in the country, per KenPom.

But there were plenty of positives to take away, even after considering the low quality of opponent.

For the fourth consecutive game, Indiana blocked at least six shots and held the opposition to under 40 percent shooting from the field.

The most impressive defensive stretch was at the start of the game, where Indiana held SEMO to two points over the first eight minutes.

“The guys are really talking and active, especially in the one stretch in the first half,” Johnson said. “I think we set the tone early with how we wanted to handle certain guys and take away tendencies.”

Two nights after holding SIU Edwardsville to just seven assists, Southeast Missouri State couldn’t do any better, finishing the game with season-lows in assists (7) and points (55).

Juwan Morgan, Thomas Bryant, and De’Ron Davis continued their recent stretches of solid play, with Davis reaching double-figures scoring for a second straight contest. The Hoosiers made a concerted effort to get the ball into Davis down low, and Crean says he’ll expect more from the freshman as the season progresses, especially when it comes to using his passing abilities when he’s in the post.

“It’s something we know we’re going to need,” Crean said. “We don’t do it a lot in practice just yet. We’ll have more time to do it this week.”

Morgan had another perfect night from the field, hitting all four of his shots to go along with a block, a steal and an assist. Morgan has not missed a field goal since the 7:30 mark of the second half against UNC on Wednesday.

Bryant, meanwhile, took only two shots on the day but contributed in a variety of ways, becoming the second player in Division I this season to post a line of seven points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and four blocks.

After making a hustle play late in the first half, he enthusiastically gave Crean a chest bump.

“Sometimes we have too much self-inflicted pressure because the frustration kicks in. And they’ve had a very long week,” Crean said of the chest bump. “(Bryant) just needed a reminder that it’s okay to have some fun.”

Cleveland drops the hammer

6-foot-6 Antonius Cleveland was one of the lone bright spots for the Redhawks, scoring 13 points and completing a number of highlight plays.

Three of Cleveland’s six made field goals were slam dunks, with the most notable coming at the expense of Zach McRoberts.

Anunoby progressing

OG Anunoby missed his second consecutive game with what Crean has labeled as a “high-ankle sprain,” with the assumption being that his recovery time would be measured in weeks.

“He’s got the boot on. He’s off the crutches. It’s a day-to-day thing, I imagine now,” Crean said. “He couldn’t have played today, but he’s definitely making progress.”

With nearly a week before Indiana next takes the court, Anunoby could well be back in the rotation when the Hoosiers face Houston Baptist next Saturday.

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  • kennygeorge

    I don’t disagree with what Rob says, Last year, defense kicked in during the 2nd half of the ND game. Some things on defense are already encouraging and tho I hate turnovers as much as anyone, I have faith in the team to slowly curtail it even more as it becomes the hot potato issue. I’m still waiting for TB to really have a gigantic game, figure he’s saving it for that team just north of us. lol….Go HOOSIERS!!!!!!

  • TomJameson

    I think the defense is coming along just fine. If they can keep the effort up on a more consistent basis, it would be one of the best defenses in the country. They just seem to let up on the gas for a period of time. They shouldn’t be getting tired with all the subbing going on. Maybe the problem is the playing down to the competition thing. To me, that’s a focus issue.

    But the turnovers need to stop. For this fast-running team, they need to get down around the 12 (or below) level. They get everything under control, they will be almost unstoppable.

  • puddingpudding

    Think it’s best to take this team for what it is – a top 10-15 team. I mean that with no disrespect (I’ve been a fan since before many of your were born). They clearly are capable of beating top teams. But have definite weaknesses that they will have to improve upon if they hope to make a run this spring.

  • Ole Man

    TOs are a focus issue as well.
    Some of them are just silly.
    Other teams run and don’t have the TO issue that IU has.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Bryant has been having an impact for sure but other than the Kansas game he hasn’t done a lot of scoring. Missed a ton of close ones that he made last season and has had several shots blocked. I think he’s due for some regression to the mean… Good thing is, he continues to play hard and rebound like a beast.

  • Hoosier Hall

    2 examples of turnovers and the results of those games:

    18 turnovers – Beat Kansas 103 to 99
    15 turnovers – Lost to IPFW 71 to 68

    The difference? Against Kansas we hit 15 three’s at 48%. Against IPFW? 7/24 from outside (29%).

  • millzy32

    This team will live and die by the 3 pointer by design. Turnovers don’t even matter at this point. Just expect a lot of them. This team will go as far as their 3 point accuracy will allow. I just hope they are shooting well for 6 games in March/April. That’s when it will matter.

  • HoosierStuckInKY

    At least 3-4 of those turnovers were just silly. There were a few where the ball was passed out of bounds, either because the receiver wasn’t on the same page or the pass was sloppy. Then there was the Rob Johnson carry call (I thought this was NBA?!?!)… I don’t have a problem with a TO here and there if the team is pushing the ball up the court. It happens. It’s the picked off lazy passes to the wings during the halfcourt offense and the bounce passes aimed at the backdoor cutter’s feet that grind my gears.

  • CreanFaithful

    Of course, it’s not that simple. The Kansas game went to overtime. IU acutally turned it over less/possession in the Kansas game (16.4%) vs Fort Wayne game (17.6%). IU also out-rebounded Kansas, where they split REB evenly with Fort Wayne. IU, amazingly was unable to get to the line at Fort Wayne (.177 FTA/FGA) vs .366 FTA/FGA in the Kansas game. There are many reasons we lost to Fort Wayne and certainly poor shooting was a big factor, but far from the only one. IU should be able to shoot poorly and beat Fort Wayne.

  • Ole Man

    That was JBJ on the carry call, but I agree with you. That one was ludicrous.

  • Ole Man

    You may be right, but this team should not “live or die” by the three with all the talent it has on the front line.
    If it does, the fire CTC talk will restart in earnest.

  • MK

    I guess i don’t understand why we will live or die by the three, when Crean keeps emphasizing playing through the paint in every interview he gives. Do you believe he isn’t actually giving the directive to the players?

  • IUBizmark

    “On the season the Hoosiers have turned the ball over on 23% of possessions, ranking 324th in the country, per KenPom.”
    Meanwhile, they have the 182nd fastest tempo. So, while we’ve slowed the game down a bit from previous seasons, we’re still committing the same percentage of turnovers. Fortunately we’ve tuned up the D. Now, imagine what we could do if we cut the turnovers to around 18% of possessions.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I already knew all those numbers you just posted. There are games from the last few seasons where this same thing is evident. Lots of turnovers but excellent 3pt shooting still results in a win. Lots of turnovers and poor 3pt shooting results in a loss. There a couple other factors that are helping this years team and its offensive rebounding and our 3pt defense. Funny thing, when I was looking at the IPFW game data we did actually out rebound them (not by much) and outscored them at the free throw line. They shot just as poorly as we did from inside and outside. Our 15 turnovers to their 8 was the big difference. Plus, they blocked 7 shots to our 4.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    the turnovers are gonna be there, just cut down on the silly ones. 4-5 every game that make me want scream but if we hit 3’s this team can and will beat anyone. lets beat wisky twice this season!!

  • As the season progresses, I think some percentage of turnovers are because we’re playing so many different combinations, and have players getting minutes who are still very much learning the system. I expect that as the season wears on, we’ll play fewer of those odd combinations and those newer players will become more acclimated. I just don’t see turnovers as a long-term problem, and they’re not losing us games so far.

  • John D Murphy

    I’ve been a serious critic of TO’s since TC’s 2nd season (pass on everything that 1st season). There was zero excuse last with 4 year starter handling the ball as much as YF handled it. I have a different outlook this year. 1st. We don’t have a true point. A lot of guys are handling it without having a one guy who can calm the team down. I think they are doing a pretty good job. 2nd the TO’s aren’t leading to fast breaks the other way as they did in past years. 3rd many of the TO’s are things the guys are clearly working on: e.g. OG drives to the middle and spins. He hasn’t got another move yet and isn’t really comfortable when the help defender collapses. I haven’t been a fan of the TC super fast pace at all cost offense but I think this year is a little different. I’m really impressed with how fast these guys are learning and developing. I’m going to wait awhile and see what happens. We are ever going to be a low TO team, but I think it will improve. We are taking fewer bad shots (or at least shots where the team isn’t getting back). It’s really all about your offense not putting pressure on your defense.

  • Except, we aren’t living or dying by the three. The only loss was IPFW, which was ultimately due to OG getting sick _that day_ and the team having no time to prepare for his absence. With OG healthy, that’s a win. And, with better effort even without OG, it’s a win even if close. There isn’t a game where shooting 3s poorly threatened or caused a loss.

  • SCHoosier

    Am I the only one who noticed IU’s lack of aggressiveness in attacking the zone D that SMo used from time to time? I know they probably haven;t worked on that yet..but man there was a lot of ball moment around the perimeter to no specific purpose. At one time Crean just went nuts when they couldn’t get a decent shot against that zone. Work to do. No comment on the zone IU played from time to time when switching defenses during a possession.

  • IU Nines

    Two issues I’m seeing here: 1. TB’s infrequency and lack of aggressiveness in the low post (be it by design or capability) and 2. Guard inability to feed the post. Either way, it’s not being fulfilled. This is where a guy like DD can be a game-changer. Plays the post right: creates position and the pass angle, calls for the ball, makes excellent post moves, finishes…oh, and doesn’t lay on the floor for 10 seconds every time he falls down.

  • IU Nines

    Agreed. Would add that in blowout games the tendency to go for the ‘sweet feed’ are increased dramatically.

  • Outoftheloop

    Try to watch WI dismantle the Syracuse Zone in the B1G v ACC Challenge. You put a good, long player at the FT line and run lots of cuts, step-backs, picks, etc. he must be “strong” with the ball, no weak TO’s to the slaps, hacks, etc. which always come.

  • BL4IU

    “This team will go as far as their 3 point accuracy will allow” applies to every team in the top-10. Currently, our three’s represent 40% of total FG attempts. Have to confess, I’d much rather be nearer the norm of 36-37%. Oh well, better than Nova’s 48%.

  • Old_Time_Hoosier

    Mark, you are not incorrect, again. Three point attempts last year: 23.8 per game. Three point attempts per game this year: 23.9. Identical. Last years percentage: 41.6. This years: 38.3. That’s one less three pointer made every three games this year. Sounds pretty much the same doesn’t it?
    Quite simply, the reason we beat Kansas and NCU was our inside game. Or do these other posters really believe we could have beaten them with last year’s team?
    Not a chance!

  • MK

    So you’ve counted how long Thomas lies on the ground every time he falls down?

  • IU Nines

    Not me. It’s a statistical category

  • millzy32

    Nova got hot at the right time. Maybe we can too. Nova destroyed Oklahoma bombing away at will.

  • millzy32

    Name a Crean led team that played through the paint. I’ve got the answer. There isn’t one and there won’t be one. It’s a positionless system as coined by Crean. They’ll live and die by the 3 mostly but also the drives to the hoop. They place little emphasis on post up moves in the paint or even passing down low and looking to kick out if nothing is there.

  • millzy32

    It’s all about winning. I don’t necessarily like his system but he’s finally got the guys who can run it well. If they keep winning and keep performing like UNC and Kansas and not like IPFW then everything is smooth sailing for coach. This team just needs to be clicking on all cylinders in March. That’s what it all comes down to at this point. I’ve given up on expecting anything different and now I’m just going to sit back and watch the 3 pointers fly and hope they go in most of the time.

  • Joshua Beal

    Nova was definitely hot last March. But they were NOT just good for that stretch n the spring! They had a pretty remarkable season. Start to finish.