Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss at Iowa

  • 02/22/2017 9:23 am in

IOWA CITY, Iowa – In a game it led nearly throughout, Indiana couldn’t come up with a play when it mattered the most down the stretch on Tuesday night. As a result, the Hoosiers dropped their fifth straight game, falling 96-90 in overtime to Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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

· Indiana has the second worst opponent free throw rate of any power five conference team: Indiana has had trouble keeping opponents off the free throw line all season, but the issue reached new heights on Tuesday night.

Iowa outscored Indiana by 23 at the line and posted a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 83.9 percent. Indiana’s opponent free throw rate in conference play is now 46.3 percent, the second highest of any power five team in league play. Only West Virginia, which plays a full court pressure defense with the objective of creating turnovers, has allowed a higher opponent free throw rate in conference play.

Postgame, Tom Crean didn’t want to discuss the officiating, but it’s clear Indiana’s inability to keep opponents off the line has played a significant factor in Indiana’s collapse. In 10 Big Ten losses, Indiana has been outscored by 76 points at the free throw line.

· The turnover problem continues: As Indiana built a 17-4 lead in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa looked like the rattled team. The Hawkeyes were turning it over and Indiana was capitalizing early on.

But as the contest moved along, a familiar script returned: Indiana couldn’t take care of the ball. The Hoosiers turned it over 22 times for a turnover percentage of 26.6. It was Indiana’s second worst turnover game from a percentage standpoint in conference play. It’s late February and Indiana’s turnover problem isn’t going away.

The 22 turnovers turned into 25 points for Iowa. In Big Ten losses, Indiana is being outscored by 94 in points off of turnovers. That’s a number too high to overcome, particularly in close games.

· No answer for Peter Jok: Iowa senior guard Peter Jok was benched, along with the rest of the Hawkeye starting lineup, just over two minutes into the game as Indiana sprinted out to a 9-0 lead.

But once Jok returned, Indiana couldn’t keep him off the foul line. Jok finished with a game-high 35 points and hit 22 of his 23 free throw attempts. The 22 made free throws broke an Iowa record set by Don Nelson against Indiana in 1962. And the 23 free throw attempts were a Carver-Hawkeye Arena record.

“He was really good, he was really strong,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “He mixed it up. He posted a little bit. He came up top. He was on the wing. He gave it up a few times. He was really, really special tonight.”

· Indiana’s slim at-large NCAA tournament hopes are now gone: Tuesday’s loss clinched Indiana’s second sub .500 record in Big Ten play in the last four seasons.

It also all but guaranteed that the Hoosiers won’t receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament for the second time in four seasons. Indiana’s chances to make the tournament now rest on winning the Big Ten tournament next month in Washington, D.C.

As a likely bottom four seed in the conference tournament, Indiana is likely to play on Wednesday of the event for the first time since the conference expanded to 14 teams.

· Indiana appears to be out of answers: The Hoosiers are now in a downward spiral and with seven losses in its last eight games, this season is beginning to look like Crean’s first three years in Bloomington when the team couldn’t win down the stretch.

Indiana is now 1-5 in February with two games remaining against a likely NCAA tournament team in Northwestern and a definite NCAA tournament team in Purdue. After that, the regular season wraps up in early March with a road game at Ohio State. The Hoosiers have won at Ohio State just once under Crean and that came during the 2012-2013 season.

The frustration on the face of Crean and the IU players in the postgame was evident. The same topics are coming after each game – turnovers, defense and free throws attempts by the opponent. Right now, Indiana has no answer for any of its issues.

(Photo credit: Iowa Hawkeyes)

Filed to:

  • I’m just happy I chose this year to begin working on my masters. It’s nice to be distracted.

  • “A loss of a single player shouldn’t mean the world is ending.”

    If you read my entire comments, then you’ll see that I agree with you.

  • Fifty-fifty ball

    MC, I think your SPOT on.

  • jozink

    Yes sorry. I wasn’t necessarily responding directly to your comment there, but more to the general sentiment of those who are in the camp of saying injuries are a reasonable excuse for this year’s performance.

  • jozink

    Please…Crean of course hoped he would be good and saw potential and did a great job finding a guy like OG. I applaud him for that. But it would be hard to say that he really expected OG to be the reason we make a championship if he plays well or the reason we don’t make the tournament if he gets injured…That would be a stretch to assume he would know that. Very few players can have that kind of impact. FYI, Crean also recruited Shaggy McPriller and a litany of other recruits who ended up causing off court issues for us over the last few years, so it’s hard to know at all what he “thought.”

  • AndyCapp

    I’m not sure that we have to rebuild EVERYTHING to make IUBB great again, we don’t have to burn everything to the ground. I do feel that this coach NEEDS to leave, and that the AD needs to be held DIRECTLY accountable for the sorry state that this program is in.

  • AndyCapp

    You see, I STRONGLY disagree with your brand comment. When you hear recruits talk as to why they are considering us or why they sign(ed) with us, regardless of if they are from our state or not, it’s usually because of our HISTORY as being a great program. That is the very DEFINITION of a relevant brand, where past product has such historical success that its’ reputation practically sells itself into the future.
    I think the recent downward trend of high quality recruits has more to say about CTC than IUBB. I’m sure our next coach won’t have ANY problem upselling the brand.

  • Larry Pope

    I don’t think that Crean should be fired for many reasons, one of which who are you going to replace him with? The only one that I see that might be a possibility is Steve Alford and I think it is unlikely that he would leave UCLA to come back home.

  • jozink

    What if you had a crystal ball and knew that IU’s season would be comparable next year in terms of performance to this year. Would you roll the dice and let him go knowing that it would be bad (relative to IU Fan’s traditional expectations) no matter what or keep him?

  • Larry Pope

    Great question, I think this year is an anomaly that won’t be repeated, that being said, if they retain him and we have a repeat then it is time for him to go.

  • Bud Jenkins

    “if you get fired for cheating you can get rehired, but if you get fired for losing it’s like you have leprosy. Young coaches need to bear that in mind. Cheating and not graduating players won’t get you in trouble, but that damn losing will,” Royce Waltman

  • jozink

    What if OG, JBJ, TB and Collin all leave at the end of this season, which is a total possibility. Would you still be confident we would do better next year with the remaining talent, combined with the incoming class and the same coaching scheme?

  • Larry Pope

    From my perspective when you hire a coach in college you are making a long term commitment because of the affects that terminating a coach has on recruitment, thus unless a coach displays an inability to coach, ( which isn’t simply defined by wins and loses) or commits a serious act, i.e. cheating and or violating NCAA rules, then they should be allowed to retain their role, it isn’t as if just over night Coach Crean forgot how to coach. If you look at the recent past history of IU basketball every time we experience adversity, there are so called IU fans crying for his dismissal. I am sure because of all of this even he is second guessing himself, but one thing for sure he is a very good coach who is always putting his players and the university foremost in his goals and plans. My prayers are with you Coach and also your family.

  • Larry Brown

    Crean is just soooo predictable. His subs are like NBA, no motivational aspect to them.

  • Larry Brown

    he used to say the same thing about Noah Vonleh, which likely is one reason why he left so quickly. Crean doesn’t play inside-out too much, loves to have guards dribbling all around. It’s a wonder he ever got TB

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Awesome quote and posting!!

  • Larry Brown

    Those are all fundamentals that need to be retaught as soon as they are found to be lacking. The fact that those kinds of mistakes keep happening game after game indicates a lack of coaching. If a coach truly teaches boxing out over and over, it will happen in games, and certainly on a game’s final play.

  • oldiugymnast

    Some time coincidences are coincidental.

  • oldiugymnast

    I didn’t realize you got to go to the closed practices, have a degree in sports medicine, kinesiology and are the leading expert in basketball injuries due to training programs. Thank you for sharing your profound wisdom.

  • oldiugymnast

    When you hear someone say “trust me” or “believe me” the best course of action is to put your hand on your wallet and prepare to be lied to.

  • oldiugymnast

    Not that I am qualified, but I wouldn’t coach at IU for $100m. I also wouldn’t play there. And I went there and love IU. Basketball know it all who constantly armchair coach, people that attack a 16 year old because they are mad at his dad, and the people that lose their mental control over a game that they think hasn’t changed since 1987…. well, not so much. Not saying CTC has done a fantastic job this year, but the vitriol hurts the program and I guarantee any great coach will think twice about volunteering to stand in front of the firing squad.

  • oldiugymnast

    You are, I would hope, aware that most kids that are blue chips are taught in AAU. And if you have watched or even played pick up (I am almost 50) with AAU kids, they don’t play D (almost 50 and can blow by them whenever I want – oh and I am only slightly taller than a jockey), are shocked when you play good D. Coach can only work with them 20 hours a week for 4.5 months. I don’t imagine it is easy getting a teen aged primadonna to work hard (which is what D is about) in a way that might make them tired when they are on O. This team – when bought in and working hard – has played some great D (Kansas, the first 12 of this last game, NC). The seem to flake out or lose focus. Not discounting that this could be coaching, but it looks more like a sports psychology issue to me. Given my elite coaching experience is a sport where you have to get kids to do things that they know could kill them – it ain’t an easy subject.

  • oldiugymnast

    Not to mention that we only had 2 healthy players in that game, and our best shooter couldn’t shoot due to injury in the Cuse game. Also – they were allowed to hammer Cody and Will almost fouled out on “fouls” where he was 10 inches from the player. But you know – whatever. Reality doesn’t matter in Indiana anymore anyway.

  • oldiugymnast

    UNC couldn’t miss and 3/5 starters had serious injuries (plus the next two off the bench). But I guess reality is an excuse.

  • oldiugymnast

    TW had a rolled ankle. TB had back spasms. We had exactly two heathy starters (OG and Yogi).

  • Xavier

    Indiana’s recruiting won’t be impacted right because it isn’t that good. We don’t even have a Top 50 player signed for next year. No this season isn’t an anomaly. In fact it is the normal. When you look at 13-14. 14-15 and now. The recruiting is falling off to where we aren’t getting any top guys at all. He is a good assistant coach. He is a mediocre head coach. His strength is recruiting yet he hasn’t gotten a Top 40 recruit since Thomas Bryant and 2017 won’t deliver even a Top 50. Crean can’t win with the talent he has now. How can you expect him to win with less? This regime is over. If Fred Glass doesn’t make the right decision, it’ll be him on the chopping block.

  • IdahoHoosier

    I agree with you totally. I just find it hard to believe those areas aren’t being focused on in practice. But from the looks of it you seem to be right, it isn’t happening.

  • Koko

    A good coach would find the players on the team who do buy in and play them. What is the difference between blowing a lead and losing in OT than losing by 20? I for one get more upset at blowing a lead and losing. In fact at this point I would love to see Gelon, DW and Cujo play. How do you know we would lose by 20 if those guys played?….you don’t.

    The coaching deficiency?…..we had the lead, could have poured it on when Fran took out his starting five and didn’t.
    In fact there second team caught up to us….bad coaching.
    For how many games in a row have we had a lead and could have won and we didn’t?….you and your buddy Dakich say the players aren’t buying in…buying into what?…..I say bad coaching trying to make players do something they can’t…bad coaching….TC does not coach the team in front of him….he coaches like some MLB teams do with analytics. I would call it Creanalytics.

  • Outoftheloop

    AND about 200 other good coach prospects! Woodson, Whitman, Cheaney, the Dayton Coach, the Butler Coach, the Whitchita St Coach, the list goes on!

  • Outoftheloop

    Wrong! Not even a remote possibility! What NBA GM will want Thomas, OG, or James for NEXT year? I would draft Willis of KY before any of them for NEXT year!

  • Outoftheloop

    Yes I would always prefer to run my offense full speed, sharp cuts, crisp passes, inside-out, taking good shots! It is called “playing the game the right way”!

  • Outoftheloop

    Very weak response! Push the idea to an extreme point and then pounce. Did I ever say “after each poor play or decision”? Of course not! Watch Coach K, Izzo, and Cal! They do this routinely!

  • Outoftheloop

    “Might” and “might not” are identical phrases in your argument! Nothing makes IU look worse than a losing program! Each of your “time” issues argues against transfers and defections! Where will our 3 recruits go? Will our current roster players really want to sit out a year? Especially if IU hires a great coach and has great enthusiasm going forward! Every decision has risks AND rewards, including staying “pat”! Neither you nor I know the future!

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    I didn’t figure you’d like it. I’m not pushing the idea to an extreme. You did that already.

    I would sub any of them out…for specific poor plays on defense, blocking out, running the floor, stupid fouls, etc

    So, what are you suggesting, if I was wrong? A guy misses a block out, you’d sub him out for a time. Didn’t run the floor…sub. Reaching in…SUB! If I’m not representing your view properly, I’d suggest that you didn’t write it out as clearly as you think. I understand you don’t mean keep them on the bench indefinitely, but you still would sub them out. My contention is that no coach really operates like that.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    So, if there is a 10 second or less difference between shot clock and game clock, you believe it is “good coaching” to have your team ignore the game situation? THAT is playing “the game the right way?” I guess that most NCAA coaches don’t play the game “the right way,” then.

    It’s called situational basketball. You don’t play the same way all game long without paying attention to the situation. That is what they were doing. That is what every team does.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Why do all of your comments come across angry, Loop? Seriously, calm down. We can disagree and still be cool. I like your passion. We just see things a little differently.

    You love painting situations as only black and white, don’t you? Technically, we could do exactly what you suggest. We could let our incoming class come in and enroll in summer classes, and then fire Crean to save money, and then keep the kids at school or make them transfer. Completely legal within the rules. We would look A-W-F-U-L as a program, if we did it though.

    My contention is that particular course of action would be the worst one we could take. I’d rather just fire Crean and eat the $4M buyout OR let him coach next year’s team. Firing him midstream is just not a good option. JMO.


    When things as fundamental as blocking out aren’t done by ANY player at ANY time, it should result in some motivational pine time.


    I as well.


    Agree, I think that Glass has some reasons for making a coaching change, but has more” reasons ” for NOT making a coaching change….for one more season.

  • General Zod

    I don’t see how next season is going to see an improvement over this year. There is a pretty decent chance both og and tb will leave for the nba. Neither are ready but, of course that hasn’t deterred an nba gm drafting on “upside” before. If either get reliable info that they are 1st round picks, they are gone. The recruiting class coming in is underwhelming and while sometimes, guys get overlooked or develop into more than scouts originally saw, then there could be a surprise. Crean has been lucky before with oladipo and og but, neither guy was particularly dominant as freshmen. I think next year could be a repeat of this year or worse. Kent sterling wrote an article recently explaining that crean has burned bridges with indiana high school & summer coaches which means he isn’t going to get anymore elite in-state talent.
    It doesn’t look good to be honest.