Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss at Michigan

  • 01/27/2017 8:34 am in

Indiana didn’t come out ready to play and was blown out by Michigan, 90-60, on Thursday night at the Crisler Center. The loss dropped the Hoosiers to 14-7 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten.

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

· Indiana has the worst defense in the Big Ten: Whether you want to look at adjusted defensive efficiency for the entire season or just look at numbers for conference play only, Indiana’s defense is the worst in the conference.

Thursday’s performance dropped Indiana all the way down to 153rd nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to Ken Pomeroy’s stats. Only two Hoosier teams under Tom Crean have been worse: The 2008-2009 team that only won six games and the 2015 team that squeaked into the NCAA tournament as a No. 10 seed.

So, what’s the answer to fixing the issues?

There doesn’t appear to be one. It’s late January. The conference schedule is nearly at the midway point and the Hoosiers have given up more than 1.14 points per possession in six of their eight games. Indiana playing adequate defense this season is the exception, not the rule.

· The Hoosiers showed no fight: A narrow loss on the road, like the one Indiana took earlier in the month in College Park, is nothing to be ashamed of.

What happened Thursday night is a different story. This performance should sound off the alarms. Indiana was on its heels from the opening tip and stayed there all night. This was a complete 40-minute beatdown.

Coming off three straight wins, Indiana had built some positive momentum. It only took about three minutes for the Wolverines to wash it all away. Michigan opened a 16-4 lead early and never relented. The Wolverines hit 3s, scored at the rim, converted second chance points and scored off of Indiana’s turnovers.

And unlike other losses where Indiana started out slow and battled back, Indiana never made this game competitive. There was no fight. The result was the third worst Big Ten loss in Tom Crean’s nine year tenure in Bloomington.

· Open 3s are (readily) available against the Hoosiers: How are teams scoring so easily against Indiana? It starts on the perimeter.

Coming into league play, Indiana had one of the better 3-point percentage defenses in the country. It turns out those numbers were inflated by playing inferior competition.

In four Big Ten losses, opponents are shooting 48 percent (37-of-77) from deep against Indiana. That isn’t just teams getting hot and making tough shots. It’s a lack of purpose in defending the perimeter.

There have been nights where Indiana’s offense has been good enough to overcome its shortcomings defensively. But when Indiana isn’t scoring at an elite level, it has little to fall back on.

· Blackmon Jr. disappears after brilliance against Michigan State: James Blackmon Jr. carried Indiana in Saturday’s 82-75 win over Michigan State.

On Thursday in Ann Arbor, it was hard to tell Blackmon Jr. was even on the floor. For the first time in his Hoosier career, he didn’t attempt a 3-point shot.

Blackmon Jr. has been one of the best guards in the Big Ten all season, but didn’t play like it in the loss. The junior from Marion finished with just four points and committed four turnovers in 33 minutes.

· Indiana is in serious danger of missing the NCAA tournament: As of today, Indiana is still included in nearly every NCAA tournament projection.

But with just four conference wins with 10 to play, it’s fair to start asking where the wins are going to come from to keep Indiana in the field when the bracket comes out on March 12.

Indiana still has six road games remaining and included its four home games left are Penn State, Purdue, Michigan and Northwestern. The Hoosiers are now 1-3 in road games and 2-5 in total away from Assembly Hall. Is Indiana going to be able to win more than another game away from Bloomington?

With home losses to Nebraska and Wisconsin already on the books, Indiana can’t afford another misstep in Bloomington.

The Hoosiers still control their own destiny and will probably get into the field if they can win at least nine conference games. Anything less than that could put Indiana on the outside looking in for the second time in four seasons.

Filed to:

  • Larry Brown

    In reality, you should be watching and rooting for Butler, not IU …. Butler is the new IU.

  • Larry Brown

    You’re agreeing with something I’ve said for years: CTC does not generally recruit SMART players like Butler was. If you appreciated IU bball of bygone years, then you need to just watch Butler.
    Always amazes me how CTC says he admires Knight, yet his style of play is the absolute opposite of what Knight used to do.

  • iugradmark

    First, Coach is not committed to excellent defense. His beliefs are that he can outscore opponents and that his defense only needs to be middle of the road. These kids could play better defense but most of the time they don’t even get into proper stances. This is an emphasis thing and it just isn’t that important to Coach’s philosophy. His style works in preseason but in league play, there is too much film and preparation to overcome turnovers and poor defense. It takes really special players to make this work and we don’t have Cody or Yogi any more. I feel bad for the kids because they are being asked to play in a way that makes them look bad. Expecting these guys to break down their man all the time or have our bigs hang out at the NBA line just makes us appear like our kids aren’t trying. Another year of hoping we get into the tourney with an early exit is what we have to look forward to.

  • Larry Brown

    Butler has half the talent of IU and whipped them. How many top-100 recruits do they have? Plus they play such good smart fundamental bball. I love watching them. I get sick watching IU with all their elementary-school mistakes

  • The Hound

    Fred Glass is the Athletic Director, not the Basketball Director. Saying he needs to go – on what grounds. Look at the success, revenue and profile of IU sports over last 5 -7 years. Women’s basketball dramatic improvement, baseball on the map, football (2 bowl games) improving, soccer still a powerhouse. And, the last Olympics seemed like a 3 week promo for IU and IU athletics. Also, look at the facilities – both new and improved- over last 5 years. Fred Glass is not the problem here.

  • The Hound

    Please, you really wanted Lane Kiffin?? How about we give Tom Allen a chance before saying Purdue and MN made better hires.

  • The Hound

    Roy Williams certainly does all he can to maintain student athlete status. Why, he will even knowingly let his players trade advantage of a sham of an entire academic department to keep them eligible. If you are proposing the UNC student athlete model for IU – no thanks.

  • Shaggy_C

    We don’t have a true PG coming in though; so, best case, you’re looking at a backcourt that is worse on paper with the almost-guaranteed departure of JBJ. I like the idea of DG taking those duties, but he has a long way to go to prove himself as the PG of the future. Same goes for the front court; departures of OG, CH, and TB will definitely be big blows when our incoming recruiting class has no one who plays the 5.

    I think this is where the frustration comes from; in what has become a “boom/bust” cycle for the program, this was supposed to be a “boom” year. Instead, it is looking to be a middling season and next year is going to be the start of another rebuild.

  • Rich Marchione

    Bobby would have yanked them all.

  • Dave Carnes

    OG was a big loss but we are fortunate to have JM to replace him.We also have Mcswain and Davis who can play more minutes.Without OG we still have as much talent as anybody.We just have a coach who can’t win without a great point guard

  • Dave Carnes

    If Crean didn’t have such an ego he would get help with xx and oo’s

  • MK

    I see transfer speculation on here already. Classic IU fans

  • SidelineSportsNetwork

    Yes, I would have taken Lane Kiffin. Someone whose only HC experience isn’t a HS team. Purdue and Minnesota both hired guys that have won has HC’s.

  • Dyerhoosier

    I’m not happy with how inconsistent we are. But I do believe we will make the tournament. Let’s be positive and hope this last game will be a turning point in the season for us. Too much negativity

  • BC

    Isn’t that what happens to this program every other year? Then TC can use the excuse of his teams being young and inexperienced!

  • The Hound

    Winning as Head Coach is the only qualifier for a good hire? Hmmm. Clemson and Dabo Swinney might think otherwise. Never a HC never a coordinator. I bet they are happy with their hire!

  • IdahoHoosier

    I like your optimism, but like it or not this team is not as deep as you think. Losing CH hurt; solid defender and scoring option. Losing OG; best defender, capable scoring option, greatest athlete. No one is adequately replacing those 2, which means teams can focus on TB and JBJ. If those guys don’t pour in the points you really think this team is as talented as anybody? Sorry but I’m not seeing anyone on the bench able to fill the hoop enough to save this season.

  • Art.

    Take JBJ out of the game. Stop calling him “one of the best guards in the big ten.” He’s one of the best shooters in the big ten, but he is a net negative. It is mindboggling how Alex emphasizes Indiana’s horrific defense so plainly in this column, and then immediately says JBJ had been “one of the best guards in the Big Ten” immediately thereafter. Then, he goes on to highlight how easy it is to get open 3’s against Indiana. Wake up! Plain and simple, Blackmon hurts the team when he’s on the floor. Any offensive value he adds is absolutely swamped by his defensive liability.

  • SidelineSportsNetwork

    Good job. You were able to find one example.

  • Missing Moye

    In all fairness, CTC has signed 3 and is pursuing 2 more still – so potentially 5 scholarships are needed and we have zero currently on paper. Something has to give.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Yup. Even without JBJ and OG, it wouldn’t surprise me if we played great today and won by 10. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if we played like trash and lost by 10 either.