Notebook: Turnovers, slow start doom IU in 65-60 loss at Wisconsin

  • 02/05/2017 6:27 pm in

MADISON, Wis. – Four days after needing three overtimes to scrape past Penn State, Indiana failed to capitalize on a poor offensive afternoon from Wisconsin. The result? A 65-60 loss, the 16th straight for the program in Madison.

The Badgers (20-3, 9-1 Big Ten) uncharacteristically shot 4-of-17 from three, turned the ball over 11 times and only dished out nine assists.

“They were pressuring the passers a little more since our last meeting. But other than that, they were still bringing the double, sometimes in different areas whenever Nigel or I got the ball.” Wisconsin sophomore Ethan Happ said. “But they were basically doing the same stuff. We just didn’t hit as many 3s this game.”

The Hoosiers (15-9, 5-6) failed to take advantage of the opportunity, largely because they have failed to fix the issues that have plagued them all season – poor starts, turnovers and communication.

Much like the last time IU faced Wisconsin, the Hoosiers found themselves playing from behind. Less than 12 minutes into the game, the Badgers had a 12-point lead.

During that opening stretch, Indiana looked lost offensively, committing six turnovers and scoring just 10 points. A lack of off-ball movement and poor decision-making stuck Indiana in a rut it couldn’t get out of.

The Hoosiers tied the game shortly before the half, but the 11-2 Badger run that followed all but put the game away.

“Offensively, we just have to continue to try to make the simple play,” Robert Johnson said.


To their credit, the Hoosiers, down three starters, battled back. A renewed defensive intensity, along with spurts of hot shooting, helped cut the Wisconsin lead to a single possession in the final 30 seconds.

But the veteran Badgers did what they needed to, knocking down free throws in clutch moments to stave off the Hoosiers.

“Thank goodness there’s two sides of basketball,” Wisconsin senior Nigel Hayes said. “We were able to make up some things on defense. To hold them to 60 points was a really good deal for us. It’s the only reason why we won.”

Newkirk’s improved shot

Josh Newkirk struggled for most of the first half of the Big Ten schedule, but the Pittsburgh transfer has stepped up his game of late, especially on the offensive end.

Prior to his 27-point outburst against Penn State on Wednesday, Newkirk had yet to score more than 13 points in a single contest as a Hoosier.

Newkirk continued his hot shooting Sunday, nailing four of six 3s and scoring 22 points.

“It’s footwork and follow through, that’s really what it is,” Crean said. “And it’s mindset. When he’s on the attack offensively or defensively, you’re in the flow of the game, you’re really not thinking about shooting. Things become a lot clearer.”

Blackmon progressing

Indiana’s offense continued to sputter without James Blackmon Jr., who hasn’t played since suffering a lower leg injury in the Jan. 26 loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor.

In two of the three games since losing their leading scorer, the Hoosiers have failed to eclipse 1.0 PPP.

Blackmon hasn’t participated in a practice since the injury, but dressed on Sunday and participated in pre-game and halftime warm-ups.

Asked to provide an update on Blackmon after the game, Crean said there wasn’t one.

(Photo credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports)

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  • TomJameson

    At Wisconsin …
    Couldn’t get past the turnovers …
    Couldn’t get past the slow start …
    Couldn’t get past the lack of communication …
    Couldn’t get past the officiating (they had almost 3 times the attempts we had) …

    Three things IU can control, and if they did they would have won this one handedly. Just can’t do anything at all about the pi$$-poor officiating. Wisconsin must pay them awfully well. Hahaha

    If I were a very rich man, I’d think seriously about hiring a few private investigators. Really, just to satisfy my own curiosity if nothing else. Follow the money! LOL

  • Ole Man

    I would offer an opinion that some of the reason for Wisc poor offense was the IU defense. Best D effort of the year, probably.

  • Agreed. Bordered on really good defense, in fact, except for a few breakdowns here and there.

  • TomJameson

    Agree … which is why I didn’t list defense above.

    Maybe a turning point?

  • Sandra Wilson

    The thing that’s really bothersome about this is that if they can play decent defense in one game, why aren’t they playing it in all games?…..Our help was better, we pressured the ball many times when we did help, and it actually seemed like we had a plan that the players understood…..Where has that been all season?

  • cbags05

    I am clealy in the minority i guess. I just did not find myself screaming at the officials. Only the things we suck at.

  • pcantidote

    It could be worse….we could be Falcons fans.

  • eville87

    They didn’t fold like at Michigan. This game would’ve been huge to get in the tournament. I’m telling you guys there going to probably have to win the B1G Tourney to get in. The schedule is brutal the rest of the way.

  • SCHoosier

    Mindset, TO’s aggressiveness..communication…gee all these are new aren’t they? WIS crappy shooting from 3 kept us in the game.

  • TomJameson

    I wasn’t “screaming” at the officials, nor at anything in the game, you just seemed to add that part for some reason. My point is that one thing that is out of our direct control, contributed to the loss.

    My other point is that “home court” rules aside, when officiating is that bad, can it really be pure negligence, or maybe they’ve been “incentivized”? If the officials really are just that bad, shouldn’t that be reflected in their performance reviews? Oh yeah, they don’t have performance reviews. 🙁 . I’m an old guy that’s seen a lot of the world. Anybody who doesn’t think there’s some under-the-table money going on, is just maybe a little naïve.

    I really think there should be some major changes in how CBB officiating works, and it should include feedback from coaching.

  • Shaggy_C

    Given how bad IU is in the league standings we may end up playing some really good teams really early in the B1G Tourney. Win those and it could erase some of the bad vibes from earlier in the season. Maybe a bad regular season could be a blessing in disguise?

  • Ole Man

    They slowed the game down.

  • IdahoHoosier

    I just keep coming back to one question: Is it that the coaches finally got a plan together and got through to the players, or was it the players are finally listening and implementing the coaches’ strategy? People are still going to pile all the blame on the coaches (maybe they deserve it), but I think these kids deserve credit for how they play, good or bad. They go out and execute and that is on them good (playing improved defense) and bad (throwing the ball away, shot-clock violations, etc.).

  • Lance76

    Judging from comments, I am in the minority in saying that the “players are listening and implementing the coaches strategy” One of our players has problems with pick and roll defense, leaving for a wide open shot under basket. Their defensive rotation was better in this game and effort was there.

  • IUBizmark

    “It’s footwork and follow through, that’s really what it is,” Crean said. “And it’s mindset. When he’s on the attack offensively or defensively, you’re in the flow of the game, you’re really not thinking about shooting. Things become a lot clearer.”
    I’d say 99% footwork and follow through, Tom. Being “on the attack offensively and defensively don’t necessarily put you “in the flow” of the game, whatever that means.
    Sorry to rant. I’m tired the mystical “reasoning” for success or lack of success by Coach Crean. It comes down to talent, which we have, and strategy, which we don’t have.

  • cbags05

    Yeah sorry I kinda projected the “screaming” part based on other posts and I wasn’t necessarily replying to just you. I agree on the reffing but think it’s a separate issue.

  • TomJameson

    No problems, we’re good.

    Officiating is separate in that it isn’t anything that the team can prepare for, other than not fouling. But even that doesn’t seem enough. Phantom calls, no-calls when there should have been, etc….

    I’m just wondering why some teams get the extreme home-cooking at their places … and even carry it with them on the road. Things just aren’t right, and IU seems to be in the dog-house with most officials. Maybe some are right, and CTC needs to scream at them and get a technical here-and-there.

    But really, yes you’re right, a separate issue.

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