The Minute After: Illinois

  • 01/25/2018 12:10 am in

Thoughts on a 73-71 loss to the Illini:

Coming into this one, the narrative went like this: Illinois fouls more than almost any team in the country, but Indiana has the worst free throw percentage in the Big Ten.

If this played to form, with the Illini’s pressure defense racking up fouls on the Hoosiers, Indiana was going to need to make its free throws against an Illinois team desperate for its first conference win of the season.

It didn’t happen.

Indiana’s free throw shooting was abysmal this evening, as the Hoosiers shot just 16-of-29 (55.2 percent) from the line.

“It seems to become something for our team that’s a little bit contagious,” Archie Miller said after the game.

Juwan Morgan, for as great as he was otherwise, hit 3-of-8. Collin Hartman made 1-of-4. Had Indiana just shot its season average — 66.7 percent, which ranked 305th in the country coming into the contest — it would have been another three to four points and a likely victory for the Hoosiers.

Instead it was a frustrating performance and loss.

After a first half the Hoosiers controlled, Illinois started the second half on a 6-0 run, hitting shots and turning up its defense to make things harder for the Hoosiers. Indiana had some costly turnovers in the second half — none more so than Devonte Green’s bad pass to Morgan with three seconds to go. Morgan was open under the hoop and had a chance to tie the game at 73-all. Green had some great passes at other times in this game, but his shot selection remains questionable and when Indiana needed it from him late he threw it off Morgan’s ankle.

For the game, the Hoosiers turned the ball over on 25 percent of their possessions, and the Illini turned those 18 turnovers into 22 points. You can’t expect to win on the road turning the ball over on a quarter of your possessions and hitting just 55.2 percent from the line.

And yet, Indiana remained in the hunt in this one all the way to the very end. Both teams went on seriously long scoring droughts in the second half and the Illini shot just 4-of-15 from distance for the contest. It allowed the Hoosiers to hang around despite their troubles. But in the end, Illinois finally got over the hump for a conference win after some close tries and the Hoosiers finally lost a close one of their own.

Beyond another great performance from Morgan and his 28 points, nine rebounds, three assists and one steal, Zach McRoberts scored an Indiana career-high with 10 points. McRoberts hit two 3-point attempts in the first half. In fact, all of his 10 points came in the first 20 minutes of the contest.

Tonight’s loss drops the Hoosiers to 5-4 in conference. Barring a big upset over its next three contests — Purdue, at Ohio State, Michigan State — they’re likely to drop under .500 in conference play.

While this team has made strides on defense, has a star in Morgan and is playing with more precision, tonight’s loss is a reminder the Hoosiers has some serious shooting weaknesses that can’t always be covered up.

Filed to:

  • cbags05

    We need to brace for a season without JM next year. He’ll be a pro.

  • Andrew Gephart

    Not even close to true! What draft boards have you seen him on? Lol

  • Banned on the Run

    Loved Devonte in this game. Five assists and two TOs, on the road with a short turnaround, for where he’s at in his adjustment to the system, and in his career as a whole? I’ll take it. And if the team could hit their damn free throws, we wouldn’t be talking about his pass at the end of the game.

    They were denying RoJo the ball pretty hard. That was smart.

    It bums me out that we fought back and had a chance to tie or win at the end and couldn’t get over the hump. THAT would have been an awesome thing for this team.

    Free throws. Jeez…

  • Guyton25

    He’d probably have to go the route JBJ went (even though he’s better than him) and I think he loves playing here too much to cut his tenure short for a small chance of playing in the NBA. He’ll need more continued success on the big stages and maybe some more muscle for the NBA to really want him next year.

    I think every year will be better and better for us for the next several years.

  • Sal Amadeo

    Jmo isn’t going anywhere.

  • RonG

    Did you notice he was 1 of 5 (20%) from the floor and also missed 3 ft’s to go with his crucial 2 turnovers. I do like the way he plays at times but It’s 50%NYC street ball rather than team(only my opinion) ball. Tries to do too much rather than take the easy way out. For a guy who shoots .322FG % and .269 3PT% I think he needs to realize he is not the #1 option in the offence. In addition 38 to’s (3rd highest on team) for someone only averages 20 minutes a game
    seems a tad high. Again, I like his style but I would like to see someone
    reign him in. STATS don’t LIE!!!!

  • PalmettoHoosier

    He was 1-5 from the field missing at least two “bunnies” that I can remember. He’s only impressive when comparing him to our stable of PGs. I’m sure this trend of frantic guard play will not be an on going theme in the CAM era.

  • Bill Graham

    We’re just immature. We play to the level of our competition we can’t make free throws and our guards don’t always handle pressure well. This is why I’m excited about rob phinisee and Justin smith and race – in a couple years those guys will bring poise and maturity. Free throws will be made, the offense will be started at the top of they key and we won’t wait until late in the shot clock to run a set. It’s my opinion that time is the best method to teach maturity…but at the same time this free throw thing has been plaguing us all season…it obviously needs to be fixed somehow

  • zenthias


  • David

    How we lost the game was missed free throws. Why we lost the game was the refs completely took over the second half. Of they had called the second half the same as they had in the first half, I believe we would have won easily. On a side note we can’t go long stretches without JM getting an offensive touch. Also, why was McSwain on the floor late in that game instead of Smith?

  • iubase

    what is going on with Colin?

  • Q46

    I agree, this was Green’s best game of the year. For the most part he played within himself and handled their pressure very well, something JN couldn’t do. He took a couple of wild shots but he took care of the ball and was able to get into the lane to set people up.

    He frustrates me a lot of the time but I was pleased with him that despite that last play.

  • beppecolo

    As good as he is inside, he doesn’t have the size to depend on that style in the NBA. If he can develop at least a good mid-range offense, even better a solid 3-pt game, and demonstrate that he can play perimeter defense, then he has a shot. In fact, he could be a star. Oh yeah, he’s gotta get better at the free throw line.

  • N71

    Tend to agree, can’t help but feel Justin Smith will need to fill Juwan’s role next year and then get support from Race and Jake. DeRon if healthy could help as well but Justin is headed for stardom I hope.

  • Q46

    I agree he’s normally reckless with the ball but last night he played pretty well. He only had two turnovers (one very crucial one) against a high pressure defense where he was the main ball handler for 27 minutes. JN had 4 turnovers in 12 minutes. Green also had five assists and was the only person that was able to penetrate into the lane. He could have been better, yes, but that was the first game where I trusted him with the ball.

  • mharv2631

    I have to vent…. Does anyone else find it annoying when a player misses a free throw and everyone steps in and slaps hands? If I miss a free throw, I don’t want to slap hands because I’m mad I missed. My miss might rub off on the next guy. And by the same token, I don’t want to slap your hand and congratulate you for missing a free throw. Ok I’m done.

  • mharv2631

    Coach needs to work on that free throw release. It has side spin and he pushes it instead of following through with the girl wrist.

  • Jethro Jones

    I wonder if it has to do with the shoulder injury. I didnt see him wearing the brace last night and i thought he was going to wear that the rest of the season? could be wrong.

  • Hoosier Hall

    This loss is 100% on the mind boggling-ly horrendous free throw shooting. Those of you blasting Green need to get a clue. Yeah, he made a mistake at the end to cost us a chance but he was by far our best point guard last night. Juwan Morgan continues to dominate. I see him as a Draymond Green type player in the NBA, without all the trash talking nonsense. I still love this team and other than the shooting, I see tremendous improvement.

  • Arch Puddington

    We may be immature, as you say, but part of where I depart from many of those who post here is on just how good this team actually is. Outside of Juwan, who is playing at all-conference levels, and Rob, who does a number of things well, we just don’t have any other top B1G players. I mean, when a walk-on is your third best player — and arguably second best, at least at times — there is a story there. As has been noted on multiple occasions, this is a less-talented bunch than the one that finished 7-11 last in the conference last year and got bounced in the first round of the NIT. We don’t have great size or quickness, we do not have a B1G caliber PG, and this is among the worst shooting teams IU has ever had. So do we “play down” to the competition when we struggle, or do we “play up” when the competition is good? The assumption from many fans seems to be that we are a legitimate B1G team that doesn’t play up to its potential. I don’t see it that way. I see us as an undersized, poor shooting, depleted team with a new coach. That we already have almost as many wins in conference play as we did all of last year with two future NBA players on the roster should be cause for more celebration than seems to be the case.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    1. Everyone has been saying the FT shooting would cost us and it did.
    2. This team is still playing better than the sum of its parts and I think that’s Archie’s coaching style, philosophy, and methods. I’m becoming a believer.
    3. I wish Freddie McSwain could capitalize on his athletic ability but he’s a mess out there most the time.
    4. This is a game the Hoosiers needed Josh Newkirk to play well and he didn’t.
    5. Green can be frustrating but shows flashes of what he could be if he ever puts it all together.
    6. Is Juwan Morgan really this good? At this point I would say yes, but man is he consistent and efficient.
    7. BAD loss! For as good as the Maryland win was this was just as bad a loss. Sucks but it’s not easy to win on the road.
    8. I thought the officiating was pathetic and they took all tempo and flow out of the game, but IU does play physical just like Illinois and cost themselves with poor FT shooting.
    9. This team is starting to resemble (in the style it plays) one of the good Butler teams of the past decade or so: Very physical and I like that. I think once Archie gets some of his guys (if he can recruit well) then we’ll all be very pleased.

  • Brklynhoosier

    Yep, yep, yep, and yep. Arch, you need to come back to the forum — you talk too much sense to just sprinkle it out willy-nilly on the main site.

    This is a mediocre team at best. People are talking about JMo as an NBA player (someone above comped him to Draymond Green!). JMo is developing to the point I could possibly see him on an NBA roster at some point. But he’s not even 1st team B1G at the moment.

    Arch is right: we have no PG, our shooting is woeful, and even before Deron went down, we were next to invisible in the paint. Once you accept that, you come to appreciate say, the first 15 minutes of the game, when this group of subpar players was playing its heart out and dominating. Yeah, we didn’t win. Ok. I figure we’re going to the NIT regardless. We might even win a game or two.

    Long story short: give it 2-3 years, we’ll be back (one if we land Romeo). But this ain’t our year.

  • Arch Puddington

    Hey, main-siters are people too!

  • Michael Bender

    No NCAA this year, NIT?

  • Jason

    There were 3 plays in a row in the first half that pretty much sums up our season. Freddie gets blocked on a dunk; Freddie misses a layup; Freddie gets fouled going for a dunk and makes 1 free throw. 1 point in 3 “0” foot shots…that’s IU this year.

  • IU_theoracle

    I agree with you that you cannot blame the game on one play so placing blame on Green is not accurate. One play should never determine the cause of a loss because you could pick any play in the game where IU had a missed shot, free throw or turnover that was just as costly in a two point loss.

  • IU_theoracle

    A game should never be determined by the final play, you can look back
    at a number of instances, turnovers, missed shots throughout the game
    that had just as much of an impact on the outcome, just happens that
    Green’s play was the final play. Having said that, the pass was
    horrendous and very dumb. I love the play to get the ball to Juwan in
    the post but the pass was horrible and we had Robert Johnson open on the
    wing. The lack of fundamentals cost us because that was an open gym style pass that won’t work at this level. This game was lost by one thing and that’s free throw shooting
    which was a team effort. If you look at the foul count and overall free
    throw attempts, Illinois only shot 3 more free throws than IU so it is
    very difficult for me to blame this loss on the refs. IU beat Illinois
    in every category except free throw’s made, free throw percentage and
    turnovers, as well as obviously the final score.

  • IU_theoracle

    I was wondering the same thing, he looked horrible last night. Not only is he missing open jumpers but he’s missing a lot of free throws, playing lazy and just doesn’t seem engaged.

  • RonG

    As I stated-like his style and aggressiveness. Just like to see more good Devonte not bad Devonte. OOPS my Troy!

  • IllinoisHoosier

    Well it had to eventually happen, Illinois finally won a big ten game. It just had to be us. And it makes sense considering our schizophrenic season. Big win followed by big let down. Free throws killed us and have hurts us all year. Archie needs to have those kids shooting 1000 freebies. Poor guard play is also killing us. 2 senior guards who cant run the floor, feed open players or create own shots. And green is too freestyle and sloppy. I had thought he showed signs of being good but that was early. Haven’t seen much I like since. Morgan great except free throws. Mcroberts coming along and has great intangible. Hartman a little disappointing. Freddie bad. If he’s gonna make stupid fouls, make them count. With that size make em afraid to come near you. Hope help is in the way.

  • Banned on the Run

    Right now he’s basically a shorter Robert Horry. He should take the off-season and develop perimeter skills. That’s his best shot at the NBA.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I think they would’ve had to pull it out last night, upset one of the next three opponents, and then finish the B1G 12-8 or 11-7 with a B1G Tournament win or two to get consideration for the Dance. As it stands I think they’ll be an NIT team this year barring a couple major upsets the rest of the way.

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I love what Archie is doing with this team.

  • Banned on the Run

    Hear, hear. I left the premium forum last year and haven’t gazed longingly across the velvet rope once.

  • Banned on the Run

    Yeah, you’re going to have bad shooting nights. But he handled the pressure better than anyone else, played solid D and made some stellar “how did he see THAT?” dishes. You go to war with the army you’ve got, and I’m enjoying watching him develop into a superior soldier.

  • Brad Antcliff

    Refs definitely weren’t biased but what a terrible way to officiate a game calling so many touch fouls. The second half was the worst half of basketball I have seen in years. Basically playing H-O-R-S-E from the stripe for the win.

  • MrNobody

    Can’t speak for everyone else (especially after some of the comments last night) but your last line sums it up for me. Better days ahead for years to come. And for those who disagree with the hire… that’s what all the people who knowledgeable said about the hire.. future is bright long term with Arch

  • cbags05

    Hope you’re right.

  • MrNobody

    Always thought it was motivation like hey we got you but might b in minority. Maybe I just missed too many free throws n it was aww bless his heart moment 🙂

  • MrNobody

    Think all the injuries and missed time might be adding up. Just shows not everyone can play major D1 basketball. Having said that him coming back this year was good on many levels

  • mharv2631

    I would be like ” STROKE THE DANG BALL! “