Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Fort Wayne

  • 12/19/2017 8:40 am in

Indiana was crushed on its home floor for the second time this season on Monday night as the Hoosiers fell to Fort Wayne, 92-72, at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The loss, Indiana’s second straight to the Mastodons, dropped the Hoosiers to 6-6 with two non-conferences games remaining.

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

· It happened … again: In the aftermath of Indiana’s season opening loss to Indiana State, both Robert Johnson and De’Ron Davis talked about things like defensive breakdowns, not playing hard enough and regrouping quickly to get their issues corrected.

A little more than a month later, IU players were responding to another dud performance that looked eerily similar to the loss to the Sycamores.

Like the Indiana State loss, this was no fluke.

Indiana was throughly beaten on its home floor in a game where it was a double digit favorite. The Hoosiers were lucky to lead at halftime. In the second half, they had no answer for Fort Wayne’s barrage of 3-pointers. The Mastodons hit 10-of-17 from behind the 3-point line after intermission and with each make, their confidence grew. Indiana lacked the on court leadership to stop the run as the lead ballooned to 22 points.

For a team that’s beaten Iowa and Notre Dame and hung in against Duke and Louisville, it was a head scratching performance. In the aftermath of this loss, Collin Hartman said Indiana was “not prepared” mentally to play. Twelve games into the season, that’s an issue that raises serious questions about the leadership on this team.

“I think it starts with the older guys, making sure guys are ready to play,” Johnson said. “We’ve been through it the most, so at the end of the day I think, if anybody, it will be up to us.”

· (Unforced) turnovers continue to be a problem: When you examine the first half boxscore, you quickly realize that Indiana was fortunate to lead by one at halftime.

The Hoosiers had 12 first half turnovers that led to 16 Fort Wayne points. The mistakes in the second half, however, were far more costly.

Indiana had six second half turnovers, a manageable number, but Fort Wayne turned those miscues into 13 points. For the game, Fort Wayne outscored Indiana 29-7 in points off of turnovers. And many of the mistakes weren’t even forced.

“They weren’t even turnovers that were, like, forced,” Archie Miller said. “That’s the thing that frustrates you. It’s out-letting the ball to the other team on a rebound, dribbling the ball way too much, dribbling into defense, they can steal it off you. 13 steals is a lot of steals, especially for a team that doesn’t even press, when you think about it.”

· Fort Wayne controlled the pace: Indiana entered Monday’s game ranked in the bottom third of Division I teams in terms of adjusted tempo, according to Ken Pomeroy.

Fort Wayne entered in the top 50 in adjusted tempo. The Mastodons dictated pace and it appeared to make Indiana uncomfortable offensively. In a 40 possession first half, Indiana committed 12 turnovers.

“We personally didn’t have a whole lot of pace the whole game on offense,” Miller explained. “I thought those guys, that’s how they play. They play fast. They play downhill. They got a spread floor most of the time where they have some guys that can really shoot the ball.

“I thought in the first half, our defense wasn’t really the problem. Our offense was the problem in the first half. I think we had 12 turnovers, if I’m not mistaken. If you look at points off turnovers, 29.”

· Upperclassmen must lead consistently: Hartman and Johnson have been through a lot in their IU careers. They’ve won big and they’ve lost games they shouldn’t have. In other words, both know what it takes to compete and win at the highest level of college basketball.

Their leadership of this team, to this point, has been too inconsistent. It must be a constant for Indiana to be successful and continue to improve.

Miller, as is his responsibility, shouldered plenty of the blame for the loss in the postgame press conference. But it isn’t all on him. Indiana had more talent, had the advantage of playing at home, but still looked like it was going through the motions in the second half. Coming off of Saturday’s come from behind win over Notre Dame, it was a stunning step backward for the Hoosiers.

· Fort Wayne deserves credit for winning: Fort Wayne probably won’t play in the NCAA tournament or even the NIT unless it wins its league, but this is a win that many of its players will remember forever.

Bryson Scott, who started his career at Purdue and will finish it at Fort Wayne, is 5-0 in his career against the Hoosiers. John Konchar, one of the heroes in Fort Wayne’s win over IU last season, was terrific again.

And Kason Harrell, who had been struggling this season entering Monday’s game, torched IU for 28 points, including 6-of-11 from behind the 3-point line.

“Give Fort Wayne a lot of credit,” Miller said. “Executed their game plan on both ends of the floor really well. Wasn’t close in terms of the approach coming out of halftime. It wasn’t close.”

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  • Koko

    I agree with you…..players didn’t execute. I referred you to the presser because I thought it might answer your questions.

  • Apoc

    In reference to the turnovers and poor defense, these are remnants of the previous regimes principles. If you take the time to listen to the pressers, you will learn that Archie has been emphasizing both valuing the ball and improving defensive awareness. These have been evident in many games this season if you look at the collective work and not just an outlier.

    Lack of adjustments..this is just a vague statement that means naught. But, I’ll still play along. What adjustment would you make? Did he not extend the defense? Did he not play small? Did IPFW not make shots over the top of defenders and from deeper anyways? Once again, this roster has shown in the past it’s unwillingness to work on the defensive end, and it takes a mindset that you want to work. This cannot always be coached. Given his emphasis on defense (as he states numerous times), it’s evident that the players are still not there, and that’s not on coach…it’s just a fact. His defense is sound and makes perfect sense for the current roster in that it hypothetically should protect the bigs from foul trouble, which is a good thing considering the lack of depth at the position.

    Poor offensive game plan? It was obvious the game plan was to pound the ball inside and drive against a smaller opponent. That’s what they did and it was effective, assuming the players can finish a layup. If a college player can’t finish a layup, that’s on the player…not the coach. If you struggle shooting, you put in the hours putting up shots.

    That last statement is so weak. Talk about something that has nothing to do with the player vs coach blame game. Irrational attempt to turn a conversation from the rational to emotional. Nothing like the instant gratification argument…we have to win every game now!

    All the numbers back my statements…improved defensive efficiency…a huge dip in offensive which is expected losing James, Thomas and OG. Right now, it’s up to the players to keep learning the system, staying the course to implement a system that will reap rewards in the future.

  • CAK76

    I don’t look at this as a talent issue. We have plenty of talent to not lose by 20 points to ISU or FW.

    We weren’t mentally prepared for this game. It looked like we hoped FW would be intimidated after the first 5 min of the game and they showed us throughout the first half they weren’t going anywhere. We got flustered, we were sloppy, and we were uncomfortable.

    We don’t appear to have enough leadership that sets the expectations of mental toughness needed from each player for every darn second of the game. Whether we play The Little Sisters of the Poor or we play Duke, our most realistic chance to win will be close, hard fought, scrappy games.

    Our best offensive this year will always be tough sledding and a grind. We must have ball control and great team communication on defense. We don’t (yet) appreciate the mental commitment that is required for this reality this year.

    Last night was a frustrating set back but I believe in Coach and I believe our players will learn and improve.

    Go Hoosiers! Kick some butt on Thursday!

  • 3AM Burrito

    Your hot take that the players suck and Archie is infallible is noted thanks.

  • Piker

    Soundly? OT at Wayne. No comparison. Players sick hurt etc. Bad comparison. If Archie cannot defend the 3 he will continue to lose. What is out adjusted D vs the 3.

  • Piker

    I am with you 3 am Burrito. TC had something right, the 3 is very valuable even BK said it would change the way the game is played. Wonder what our adjusted D vs the 3 and on the other side what is our adjusted O on the 3. Has to be terrible, but then I see things that are not always real

  • Apoc

    With two draft lottery picks and a D-league caliber player on the roster…the loss at Wayne was much worse. Soundly, yes. IU was never in a position to really win the game…maybe only had 1-2 leads the entire game. IPFW controlled the entire game. It was bad.

  • IdahoHoosier

    That isn’t how I heard it. He was nice about it and didn’t throw players under the bus, but it was pretty clear he was frustrated by lack of execution and not playing like they practiced.

  • Piker

    Look at minutes

  • Apoc

    I did and all played. If you are referring to Anunoby’s sickness, he still played 15 mins and Juwan played many of his minutes. The rest played almost the entire game? What’s the point?

  • Piker

    Your calling lottery picks was the first thing please tell me when they were picked and we’re they are now. And yes 13 minutes like 1 point how sick OG was and it came down to OT at FW not getting blown out by 20 at home. What is your point besides one I don’t agree with so why ask. Get use to this site

  • Apoc

    I say projected lottery picks because at that time, they both were projected lottery picks..Anunoby would have been if not for his injury. Thomas went 42 but it was part of a trade so actually 28th (traded Tony for Bryant). They are on the Raptors/LA Lakers respectively.

    So your rationale for this is because IU lost at Wayne in OT, it’s better. Neglect the fact that IU had far superior talent on that roster as compared to this year, that IPFW was much less experienced, that the majority of IU’s team played major minutes (including when they had Juwan), and it was a de facto home game as it was in Indiana and had a massive IU crowd.

    It’s your right to say you don’t agree. If this is the way the site is (it’s not like I wouldn’t know being I’ve been on here for maybe 7 years), then there’s no reason to get so bent out of shape about differing opinions or a forum in which to express them.

  • Piker

    Bent out of shape, really because I disagree? Please tell me. I think AM needs to defend the 3 and a home loss by 20 is much worse then a loss at FW with no OG and a gimpe ankle JM. It’s your words like ‘bent out of shape’ that I don’t understand. So I will just quit

  • Jeremy

    Obviously , I am no coach. However, if I was I would be building toward next year. That is, I would be playing my freshman and getting them some experience. That would not be fair to say Zach but it is what it is. I think CM needs some playing time. Is he really that out of it he cannot contribute. I am a coach with a new group and I have a pass on the first few years. Fair or not why is he playing a non scholarship player while a 6 ft 10 in freshman gets no playing time in a lost season.

  • twarrior87

    Him to Vandy would be b/c of Garland. KU b/c, well…

  • twarrior87

    I’m still holding hope. Lots of frustration from me seeing IU get beat at home (by A LOT) by yet another inferior program.

  • Rick Pearson

    I thought he was being Red Shirited ?

  • Rick Pearson

    Play your Team Of The Future Sit Newkirk, Johnson, Play Your Freshmen, Heck play Tim Priller

  • Ivan Renko

    Archie’s goal is to win games, not give everyone a participation trophy.

    Live game action experience is very important, but lack of it certainly isn’t going to stunt any player’s long term growth. Kids like CM put in dozens of hours every week in the gym with practice and specialized drills. It dwarfs the 15 or 20 min he could conceivably play in a live game.

    CM will play when Archie thinks he’s ready to contribute. At this point, CM is likely to get completely put to shame by most opponents

  • Ivan Renko

    RJ tends to drift left on his shots recently. Maybe he knows this and is closing out accordingly haha

  • Ivan Renko

    My mind was blown when I realized McFly and Rob Gronkowski are just about the same size. McFly is a little lighter…but nothing that a year in the weight room and lean proteins can’t fix

  • Lynn

    Race is being red-shirted, not CM.

  • Andy Curts

    Let’s be patient and let Coach Miller rebuild the program. We gave Cream a couple of years before we expected results. Next year he will have 5 to 6 new players recruited by his staff. That’s almost half the team. Add in this year’s freshmen and we’re up to 8 or 9 new players. Future’s bright, be patient grasshopper.

  • VAHoosier

    Sorry, I didn’t mean my post to be an indictment toward you–was more a general vent to all the Crean/Miller comparisons I’m seeing. I suppose they are natural and inevitable.

    Your criticism of Archie is fair; it was a terrible loss on many levels, and ultimately the coach has to take responsibility.

    But I’ll add this: I’m seeing a brand of basketball in stretches of games this year–and I think as the season goes along I’ll see more and more–that is refreshing and really hearkens back to IU’s glory days. I still have very high faith that Archie is on the right path.

  • Arch Puddington

    Great post.

  • VAHoosier

    Midrange are the lowest efficiency because, generally speaking, a long 2-point shot (15′-19′) is not hit with very much greater frequency than a 3-point shot. So shooting 10-20 on 2-point shots (50%) results in 1.00 ppp, while shooting 8-20 on 3-point shots (40%) results in 1.20 ppp. Ergo, 3-point shots generally result in greater offensive efficiency than long 2-point shots. Again, Alex has broken this down many times on this site.

    Now, your point is well-taken in one regard: we are so clearly poor at shooting 3’s that perhaps we ought to diminish our number of attempts. I think Archie has tried to do this and has gotten onto some players for “settling” for 3’s instead of playing inside out. But the other point to bear in mind is that a team that is poor at shooting 3’s is not likely to be much better, if at all, at shooting midrange shots. Which sort of circles back to my first point, above.

  • Arch Puddington

    This is where I am. I’ve seen this team play with a coherence I have not seen in a generation, but they can’t sustain it yet. Too new to the system, too little and too misaligned skills on the roster. I’ve said it a bunch: 2-3 years to rebuild the foundation, another 2-3 to attract enough talent to be a consistently competitive program on a national level. This is a reclamation project, not a transition.

  • VAHoosier

    Thank you. The pack-line, when well executed, is not vulnerable to 3’s. However, when poorly executed, that is the most likely vulnerability. Anyone who watches much UVA (the current gold-standard in pack-line execution) can see how tough it can be even on perimeter oriented teams.

  • South Pacific at TBD Rentals

    I cannot begin to explain my disappointment over this last game, after the intesity with which we played the Notre Dame game.

  • South Pacific at TBD Rentals

    I over estimated the heart of our players. We have talent. Truly disappointing in so many ways. I went to the Indiana State game and this was no different. No desire, no defense. ISU without the Indiana win, would be ranked as one of the worst RPI’s in division one. FW had lost 5 games already as well.

  • South Pacific at TBD Rentals

    Good points. My optimism has turned into fear. I had an ISU nightmare our first game of the season, and I convinced myself after the last couple of games that ISU really did not happen, then I just had the same recurring nightmare last night. To make matters worst, these are to little sisters of the poor in state schools. Please tell me this did not just happen again. How is this the same team that beat Notre Dame, and was beating Duke with just over 4 min left?

  • BigBayTie

    Bench is a great motivator. The players that want to play will separate themselves. I, for one, am tired of waiting for the program to regain credibility. Have watched and supported since 1971. I’m having a few questions about this coaching staff also. Pretty depressing..

  • BigBayTie

    If it was a choice between Durham and Smith, I would be playing Smith. We are not deep in the post. Moore needs playing time to shore up post depth.

  • beppecolo

    I didn’t see the game, but, to not be prepared to guard the 3-pt line against a team that has been averaging 28 threes per game is poor preparation or just laziness and lack of pride. Preparation goes to coaching, so if that was the issue, I agree with your comment. If the seniors aren’t going to give the effort, then get the underclassmen out there and build for next season. The Summit League is just one step above Division II, so this loss is very discouraging.

  • beppecolo

    To paraphrase Bum Phillips, then coach of Houston I think, on the Great Don Shula, “He can take his players and beat you, or he can take your players and beat you”. Coaching is about working with the players you have and by that measure, AM may not be getting the job done. Hope I’m wrong.

  • 3AM Burrito

    Good post and good insights, I think when players are not locked in, focused on what they should do, they revert to old habits. I also get the point about waiting till Archie gets his players, but to me that is for getting over against Duke, at Louisville, not for competing at home against smaller schools. Losing by 20 at home to IPFW just shouldn’t happen at this point in season.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I watched the game until about the 7 min mark. The issue was clearly lack of effort and carelessnes. For example on offense. DD gets a rebound and lazily flips the pass underhanded with 1 hand in the direction of a guard. It’s immediately stolen. DD is between the player and the goal and gives up an uncontested layup. Aside from ZM, that was the effort level of the entire team.

  • Arch Puddington

    ANY defense is effective when played well, but they all have a vulnerability. Trapping defenses force offenses to play faster than they want and create turnovers, but are vulnerable to breakaway baskets. Zones protect the basket, but are vulnerable to passes into the seams. The pack line clogs driving and passing lanes, but is vulnerable to the three point shot. The right players taught by the right coach can account for those vulnerabilities, but the vulnerabilities are there nonetheless. And while I am hopeful, I would point out that only a handful of coaches use a true pack line defense. If it were as simple as “do what Virginia does”, everyone would do it. I just suspect that Tony Bennett is a virtuoso defensive coach, and makes the pack line work with really great teaching.

    Here is the good news, though. Archie has said that it takes multiple years to really get the pack line right, and here is the evidence: in his 6 years at Dayton, his defenses were ranked, in order, 160, 145, 72, 30, 43, and 15. We are currently ranked 184, so I suspect it will take at least a couple of seasons before we see consistently good defense. In the meantime, we are likely to see a lot of threes thrown up against us.

  • 3AM Burrito

    This is an interesting point as well and one I am holding out on until more of ‘Archies Players’ come in, but the offensive scheme seems like it is going backwards in basketball time, could be personnel. The offense so far seems like a grinding, shot clock milking, difficult endeavor that results mainly in a contested mid range jumper and if you turn the ball over more than eight times you will lose type system. Rarely any easy or quick buckets. More pace, spacing, and uptempo and threes is what nearly every analytic and every highly successful program does. So jury is still out on what that eventually will be but thus far, outside of maybe the Duke game, the offense has been difficult to watch.

  • dennis powell

    I agree with you. After the last 4 or 5 games I was really getting excited again and then this game comes along. Really don’t know how to process it. I think most people feel the same way only they are reacting in the most basic way and that is with anger. After the intensity of Duke and ND I would have thought the players would have been as hyped as the rest of us with how they played. From the get go they were not in the game at all. It is just so disappointing.

  • HoosierEconomist

    I personally hold virtually none of this against Coach Miller. I appreciate him shouldering the blame but I put this squarely on our lack of leadership on the floor. You think they would have taken something from Yogi’s 4 years at Indiana. Very disheartening.

  • dennis powell

    Extremely disappointing. I can’t imagine a coach not preparing his team to play but I can’t imagine players on a 6-5 team not knowing that they needed to play hard every game. This was a cluster f..k from the get go. This team is not very talented. To many guys with bad hands (DD JN RJ) or are incompetent dribblers. It explains DD not being able to finish moves in traffic and RJ losing the ball into the crowd on a drive through the lane. AD is basically one handed and isn’t a really good shooter. If you look at the stats our guards commit almost as many TO’s as they do assists. I mean CH isn’t shooting that great. So maybe my expectations were to high. I turned the game off at the 10 minute mark of the second half. Just couldn’t watch anymore. Couldn’t believe what I was seeing after what I had seen two days prior. I guess every coach gets a chance and the fact that these are all TC’s recruits tells me that I got to excited by our play on Saturday and that I need to take a chill pill. I was really hoping to see great basketball again and maybe I still will but Mondays game was a real bummer!

  • HoosierHopeful

    I wish I knew what Miller was saying during those 2nd half timeouts. He must have been telling them what they were doing wrong, because I didn’t see him adjust his approach. After it became clear FW could screen and roll out to the corner for an open 3, I thought he might start switching rather than hedging. I’m open for input, but during the game I was hoping for an adjustment that didn’t happen. I can only assume that he wanted to see better execution rather than accommodate the sloppiness.

  • Jethro Jones

    just spit ballin here, but i wonder if they’re missing someone like Thomas bryant that they can feed off their intensity

  • twarrior87

    Rebuild the program? The program wasn’t in a state to be rebuilt. Its not like Crean left it in shambles.

    We gave Crean a few years b/c he literally had to rebuild the program. There was no team when Crean took over. He built it from nothing.

    There is no reason this team should be getting beat by 20+ at home by Indiana St and Fort Wayne. I just can’t come up with an excuse.

  • Parker Gabhart

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I keep finding myself with this reappearing attitude. When Archie was hired, after we lost first round of the NIT (with three NBA caliber players) I watched film from his Dayton games. I told myself “Man, in 2-3 years I will be really excited where the program will be.” I knew the first year would probably be a struggle due to talent leaving and lack of it coming in, also a whole new system being implemented. Yet as we struggle this year I find myself getting disappointed and even angry, even though I tried to prepare myself for it. Maybe it’s the fan in me but I just have to remember to give the new coach time, no way this team would be any more successful under Crean (and I personally was a fan of crean but did agree it was time for change).

  • Kyl470

    It’s a focus things for players. It’s easy to get motivated to play top 25 teams and teams in your conference. Getting motivated to play an average mid major school is tough. This team isn’t talented enough to take anyone lightly and when they do we see the results and they are ugly.

  • Kyl470

    True, but the problem is this roster wouldn’t do well in the system CTC ran. CTC loved to push the pace and have a high possession game and take lots of open 3’s. The problem is this team isn’t a good shooting team so taking lots of 3’s isn’t playing to our strengths. The offense we run now creates lots of open 3 point looks we just miss them.

  • RonMlarkey

    Good to see that im not the only one that has noticed RJ is a terrible dribbler, 50% of the time he puts the ball on the floor he loses it control of it one way or another absolutely bewildering to watch a point guard that can barely control a dribble.

  • RonMlarkey

    Does Archie incorporate any shooting drills in practice? No player practicing as frequently as college basketball players do should be such poor shooters.