The Minute After: Rutgers

  • 02/05/2018 9:50 pm in

Thoughts on a 65-43 win over the Scarlet Knights:

So often this season, Indiana has clanged shots from distance. But a hot start from beyond the arc lifted the Hoosiers to a double-digit lead early in this one and it was a lead they’d never relinquish.

There were a few rough patches sprinkled throughout — most notably a nearly six-minute scoring drought towards the end of the first half and another woeful performance from the free throw line (8-of-18). And Rutgers certainly didn’t look like the team that took Purdue to the wire this weekend. Some credit is due to Indiana’s defense for that. Yes, Rutgers is offensively challenged. But the Hoosiers stopped the Scarlet Knights from getting any sort of flow or rhythm for much of the contest, keeping them out of the paint and forcing them into less-than-ideal looks.

Devonte Green, who started in place of Josh Newkirk this evening on the back of some recent strong performances, deserves a mention for the job he did on Corey Sanders. Sanders finished the contest just 1-of-11. Overall, the Hoosiers held Rutgers to .67 points per possession, the lowest mark its held a team to all season. Rutgers shot just 13-54 (24.1 percent) from the floor. Its 42 points are the lowest a conference opponent has scored against Indiana since Iowa had just 43 on Jan. 23, 2008.

Robert Johnson was the main catalyst for the Hoosiers’ hot start from 3-point range, as he hit two in the first 3-plus minutes of the first half. As has been noted by several at this point in the year, as Johnson goes, so too often go the Hoosiers. So it’s no surprise on a night he scored 19 points (7-of-13) including 3-of-6 from distance, the Hoosiers picked up the victory. Indiana knocked down 9-of-20 on 3s tonight, which means they had a better percentage from beyond the arc (45 percent) than from the free throw line (44.4 percent). Green continues to be a steady presence for the Hoosiers, as he put up a solid line (nine points, three rebounds, four assists, two turnovers) to go along with his strong defense in 30 minutes of action.

While a game like tonight can make you forgot, Rutgers came into the contest with a top-20 defense in the country. So Indiana’s 1.01 points per possession tonight will do.

With IU’s tough one-day conference turnarounds now in the books, the Hoosiers get a little more breathing room to try and stay afloat and tread water at .500 in conference. They’re favored in their next two contests — home games against Minnesota and Illinois. Wins in those contests would put them at 8-7 with road games against Iowa and Nebraska and a home bout against Ohio State to close out the Big Ten season. If they hold serve at home against the Golden Gophers and Fighting Illini, they’d need just one win in those final three to close out conference play at 9-9.

Tonight wasn’t the prettiest affair, but Indiana came to play and made quick work of Rutgers. And the Hoosiers will finally get a little refuge from their recent brutal Big Ten schedule as they head towards the home stretch.

(Photo credit: IU basketball on Twitter)

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  • inCMitrust

    If you look at the remaining schedule of all the Big10 teams we actually have a decent chance of finishing 6th in the league.

  • Steve Shoda

    Archie may have found his PG Green for the remainder of the season.

  • Colt

    Nice bounce back win. Sanders looked like he needed a hug. Great job DG.

  • David

    One of his two turnovers was off of a bad McSwain pass he tried to save.

  • Great point, and it was a great effort in trying to make the save as well.

  • Play with that kind of defense and intensity and I think it’s entirely possible.

  • Arch Puddington

    Our defense is now 76th according to Kenpom. After bottoming out in the 180s mid-December, we have risen like a rocket. I don’t have enough information to say with certainty, but it seems possible to me that no team has ever risen more than 100 spots defensively AFTER the start of conference play. And we have done it despite losing our lone big man during that stretch, and despite a particularly brutal run of short-turnarounds and top 10 teams. It has to be one of the truly amazing turnarounds of its type in the Kenpom era. WOW does it portend good things for the future of the program.

  • coachv

    or for the following 2 seasons. look forward to phinesee but i don’t think he has the handles or passing ability of green. green has a shot at the nba i think

  • INUnivHoosier2

    Thought this one would be closer, but they looked pretty good for a short turnaround.

    Kudos to McFly for hitting his free throws.

  • TomJameson

    Early in the season I said that would happen. I can’t remember who it was, really I can’t, but somebody told me it was impossible to raise that much in one season. And we’re not done yet!

    That defense is really giving this team a chance. If they can continue this offensive production (without losing that defensive intensity), they have a real chance at the NIT.

    Still too early for me to call this new offensive production consistent. One game in a row doesn’t cut it. But man, I sure do hope it’s the start of a long run.

  • Nimbi63

    Then what happens if they do turn around and win the Big Ten tourney? Ok, just a little humor here.

  • Agreed, of course, and exciting stuff. Keep it up, and Romeo’s choice will become obvious.

  • I’m actually settling into being confident that this kind of defense is now the norm. And the offense has lately generally been very good at the one thing an offense is supposed to do: generate good shots. Unfortunately, we just haven’t been able to hit them.

  • VOXAC30

    The only way DG will be a better PG then RP is because he will be a JR. RP has excelent handles, excelent vision, passing, and floor command. If you haven’t watched RP work I highly recommend. I agree DG is a special kid that can do it all. He gets a little wild but he should start a point.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    They could do it. Doubtful but they could.

  • Dan McCauley

    (Obvious) insight – last few years, Indiana under Tom Crean, was an offensive juggernaut because that is what he focused on in the practices. At least that is what has been posted in these forums. And our defense was atrocious. Fast forward to the latter part of Archie Miller’s 1st season, where this coach focuses on defense, and now that the team “gets it”, IU’s defense has risen 100 spots. However, our offense is now 300+ in the ratings. I’m greedy, but this is Indiana, can’t we have both (a high level offense and defense).

    Maybe, now that Archie’s team is figuring out the defense, he will shift some of the infacious to the offense end of the floor (for next season and moving forward)!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    And the other was a pass to McSwain that wasn’t a good pass but was catchable. JM would’ve caught it.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Bold, crimson colored crystal ball prediction:

    Hoosiers win their next 5 finishing 11-7. They win two games in the B1G tournament and lose to PUke in the round of 4. The NCAA goons (who gave us a lousy seed a couple years ago so they could match us up with pUKe) shock the basketball world giving the Hoosiers a #9 seed in the NCAA tournament opposite little brother, PUke, and IU plays spoilers to the Boilers and ends their season in the round of 32!

    One can dream . . . one can dream!

  • Adam 01

    I actually think our offense is pretty good. We’re definitely not ranked as low as you say. I think we’re still hovering in the low 100s on Kenpom. We get lots of open shots and good looks at the rim, we just don’t have the shooters or finishers to capitalize.

  • Adam 01

    Ok, “pretty good” is probably a stretch. Maybe I should have said, “not too bad.”

  • Brad Snapp

    Keep working hard and good things will happen.

  • Florida Girl

    I was thinking the same thing. They have been so pitiful in the tournament in the past, hoping they’ll surprise us all this year.

  • calbert40

    TBH, outside of PU, MSU and OSU, I think IU can beat any of them on a neutral floor…provided that they play well.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Look at Virginia and West Virginia, arguable the cream of the crop defensively. They still put up points and shoot efficiently. WVU has long quick guys who can shoot 3, their big man can hit midrange jumpers and FTs. It is possible to have it all with great recruiting! IU is on it’s way.

  • Koko

    I think you had too much to dream last night.

  • Koko

    Sanders got a defensive hug from DG.

  • Rick Pearson

    Nice Game Last Night Let’s Keep It Rolling Hoosier’s !!!