Five takeaways from Indiana’s loss to Rutgers

  • 03/02/2018 9:50 am in

Indiana’s trip to New York City for the 2018 Big Ten tournament was brief as the Hoosiers fell 76-69 to Rutgers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The loss dropped Indiana to 16-15 and likely ended the season for the Hoosiers.

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

· Strong start quickly fades away: Indiana came out of the gate strong on Thursday night. The Hoosiers had a commanding 24-8 lead and Rutgers appeared to have no answer for the Hoosiers.

But the momentum didn’t last long.

By halftime, Rutgers had taken a one-point lead. And the Scarlet Knights opened up an eight-point cushion multiple times in the second half before closing out the Hoosiers in the most shocking result so far in this year’s Big Ten tournament.

So what happened to Indiana? Rutgers deserves credit for playing well, but the Hoosiers simply lacked the confidence, execution and focus to win on the big stage.

” I think we didn’t do a good enough job of keeping our foot on the gas once we had them down in that type of situation,” Robert Johnson said postgame. “They responded and we never did.”

· A disappointing end to the season: After beating Iowa 84-82 on Feb. 17, Indiana looked it might make be on its way to an NIT appearance.

But with losses to Nebraska and Ohio State to end the regular season and the loss to Rutgers, the 2017-18 campaign appears to be over.

Archie Miller acknowledged that he would be “surprised” if the Hoosiers had a postseason appearance on the horizon and also shot down any chance that the program would participate in any tournament other than the NIT.

Despite a mid-February four-game winning streak and signs of improvement for a majority of the season, Indiana finished with a 4-7 record over its final 11 games.

· Rutgers shreds Indiana defense: The Scarlet Knights had the Big Ten’s worst offense in conference play, but you’d never know it based on their performance on Thursday.

Rutgers scored 1.12 points per possession, their second best mark against a Big Ten opponent this season. The Scarlet Knights also had an effective field goal percentage of 62, their best mark of the season so far against a Division I opponent.

Indiana’s defense, which was ranked as the Big Ten’s best at one point late in the season, gave up 1.09 or more points per possession in three of its final four games.

Juwan Morgan said postgame Indiana’s defense was definitely to blame in the loss.

“I think it just comes down to us not getting enough stops, not so much shooting,” Morgan explained. “Because if we were getting stops we would have got out and our offense would have been flourishing, but we didn’t get those.”

· A tough ending for IU’s senior guards: This was not the ending that Josh Newkirk and Robert Johnson envisioned for their IU careers.

Johnson went just 4-of-16 from the field in the loss and Newkirk was 1-of-7.

The career of Johnson has been underappreciated by some fans, but the senior from Richmond (Va.) deserves a nod for all of his contributions over the last four years.

A top 50 recruit out of high school, Johnson was never the focal point of IU’s offense, but was always a steady and reliable contributor on both ends of the floor. Most importantly, he always conducted himself as a class act both on and off the court and was a great representative for the program.

· Rutgers limits Morgan’s effectiveness by denying him the ball: Juwan Morgan had another strong overall performance with 15 points and nine rebounds, but the Hoosiers had a tough time getting him the ball in key spots.

As a result, Morgan only attempted nine shots and when he did managed to get the ball, he was often hounded at the rim by Scarlet Knight defenders.

“I thought they did a great job of establishing that they weren’t going to let Juwan catch the ball,” Miller said. “And usually we can play through him. This team really relies on being able to play through him.

“And if you look at how difficult they made him catch the ball, how hard it was for him to play in space, it just became a lot harder for our team to not be able to play through him.”

Filed to:

  • Missing Moye

    Isn’t there a pill for that? 😉

  • Missing Moye

    It could have have been phrased much more politely, for sure. But the truth is that McRoberts is a walk-on and McSwain is a JUCO transfer that hasn’t been playing basketball for very long. On a team like Michigan State, for instance, I’m not sure either of them see the floor.

    Both are great kids and hustled and played extremely well at times this season. But the gist of the post was correct – for them to both be starting does speak volumes about the talent level on the roster.

  • hardly

    I’m not trying to be a wet blanket, but what was so promising late in the season? They beat the teams they should have, but didn’t win a single game they shouldn’t have. They beat a depleted Minn, and they beat Iowa, but lost to Illinois. I don’t get where winning a few winnable games in a row leads to such optimism.

    Over the season Juwan became a beast, and 15 and 9 became a bad night for him. But IMO this goes back to lack of consistent guard play. Even if RJ’s shot isn’t going he has the capability to break down defenses and create shots for others – but he didn’t do that consistently and in this last game I don’t remember him doing it once, but he was more than willing to keep jacking up shots. Except for a couple other bright moments, everyone else was just role players after DD’s injury.

    With all that said, I do believe Coach has a structure around which a team can be built and the future looks much brighter.

  • Missing Moye

    You’re right and I’m wrong. Have a good night.

  • bpw97214

    Kinda like Purdue….

  • Koko

    Thank you for answering my question. If you would have done that when I first asked you would not have had to put up with this stupid and ignorant IU fan.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    You’re welcome

  • Ole Man


  • Ole Man

    Big Man On Campus

  • Koko

    Oh please…..RMK is 76 and Archie in his 40’s… is not condescending for an older person to call a younger person
    kid. Or for a coach to call one of his players kid. Stop trying to covertly push your agenda.

  • cbags05


  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Bball!!! They and NE should be fine.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83


  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Bball, all parents will tell you about how fast your kids grow up. Enjoy your time with them. My twins are seniors and a junior in high school. It really goes by fast.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Gus Johnson can make everything exciting. He is an amazing talented announcer.

  • AndyCapp

    You continue to miss the point by placing ALL the blame on Coach alone. Ole Man summed it up in one sentence, “The players have to execute”. The PLAYERS have to execute. Even the players after the game admitted that they did not execute good D (what they were instructed, de facto by Coach, to do). You are laying all the blame on Coach, which shows you carry an agenda that is not illuminating at all.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Agreed. The Big Ten is much better than the media stated during the selection process.

  • cbags05

    They ran out of gas. Valiant effort.

  • Guyton25

    I’m not talking about individual game results, I’m talking about how the team played. Watching and studying every game gives you an extensive view. Our defense became a full cohesive unit, RJ got his shot back finally, Morgan actually seemed to never stop getting better, or turnovers got much better, and our rebounding margin really got better from the first half of the season.

    This was a season where we finally didn’t lose conference games we weren’t supposed to other than that Illinois game, even though it was on the road. But yeah, we didn’t win any games we weren’t supposed to either, and that’s why we’re packing up early. A lot of improvements, and a lot of hope for the future with how Archie coaches, but they didn’t come into effect until a bit too late this season.

  • marcusgresham

    Freddie’s already going to get a shot to be a pro. His jersey number will either be in the 80s or the 40s, but he’ll get a look.


    It is idealistic to charge the IU fanbase with patience. Its never been there, and it is not going to suddenly appear.
    Abraham Lincoln said ““The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Based on what is being created, the future is a long, long way off.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Happy for P. Chambers and PSU. Class act coach.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    They might. Everything good with you and your family?

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Everything is good. My wife and kids with their boyfriends and girlfriend are at the Bulls game. Yuck!! I’m here at home enjoying the BTT. I win. Two daughters and William. I hope my wife doesn’t have a boyfriend there!!!

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt


  • HoosierOne

    I disagree. I don’t see that happening.

  • Neil

    You have lots of problems as I see it.

  • Neil

    Amen brotha! I see this and totally agree. There are some really dumb people in here that act like know it alls when they know nothing. If they had the background and knowledge I would have no problem it they acted like a know it all but they have nothing but insults and nonsensical arguments that make zero sense. I’m surprised there are people this dumb out there. Big waste of time trying to use your expertise to help those understand what is really going on.

  • Neil

    Yes he does. He can shoot lights out. The is valuable in the NBA. Look at Kyle Korver is he a good defender? No!

  • Neil

    You are spot on. Others can’t face reality.

  • Neil

    I’ve been trying to understand this same viewpoint I have had for two days now. You say anything negative about Archie even if the facts back it up and these crazies call you names then try to argue nonsensical remarks that make zero sense. Or they just tell you to go away! I’m amazed these people exist in this world and I am embarrassed they are fans of IU. I thought our fan base was better.

  • coachv

    i don’t think he is a lights out shooter. poor handles and bad passer. if he can shoot “lights out” why isn’t he playing in the nba?

  • Neil

    He is lights out and will play in the association. Mark my words.

  • Ole Man

    How would you like it if I said you were a troll from underneath a rock?
    Not saying that. Just asking.

  • MrNobody

    RJ made a comment postage that they talked pregame about letting him go right I believe. So coach can’t run out and do it during the game

  • marcusgresham

    My work computer doesn’t load this site very well (although we’re switching to Google Chrome soon, so hopefully that will fix it from an outdated Explorer,) so if I did get on I couldn’t post much.
    I also have just kind of taken this season as a “hope for the best but just get it over with,” season that made it hard to be excited, but I also wanted to avoid the “we still suck” crowd.
    I’ve been shouting at my TV all season, though, still exasperated with the same people who wore me out last season. lol
    Now it’s time to hope no one bolts during the off season and Langford sees how much he would mean to this offense.

  • MarkHoltzHoosier

    He’s actually still in his 30s! 39 until October.

  • Koko

    You know what I mean when I say agenda.

  • Koko

    I didn’t know that. I thought he was in his 40’s.
    Thanks for the info.

  • Ivan Renko

    success isn’t going to suddenly appear either, especially with a new coach undertaking a change in identity/culture.

    I would say the IU fanbase was extremely patient during TC’s first 3 seasons. TC also was able to give us some VERY memorable and proud moments during his tenure. i was/am a big TC fan for how he resurrected the program… unfortunately he hit a ceiling and the patience of the fanbase ran out.

    it hasn’t been easy being an IU fan for the past 20 years, but I think I speak for most when I say the program has found itself a coach for the long-term future. patience will assuredly pay off soon.

  • Ivan Renko

    i’d say Juwan was a great leader on the court.

  • Outoftheloop

    3: Rob; Jerome; and Damezi are each good to great shooters. Devonte needs to slow down and learn how to become a leader, consistent, balanced offense and defense, no TO’s, a totally reliable player every minute of every game. He has talent!

  • Outoftheloop

    1 and 2 are wrong: Juwan is both!

  • Outoftheloop

    Very doubtful!

  • “We got a big lead and tried some really bad basketball plays,” he said. “Our guys have to be more disciplined than that. We get a big lead and we just try stuff. That can’t happen.” Sound familiar? Quote from Dana Altman after Oregon beat Washington today, he still wasn’t happy, good for him. This was my take on what happen against Rutgers. Of course ,I agree with many here, I was surprised at Archie’s line-up change at the 24 to 8 run that just killed momentum just like the past coach use to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love having Archie as IU’s coach.

  • mark

    Something to keep in mind: there were at least four or five games that could have been won if only 75% of free throws had been made. Then, there were the two inexcusable (in my mind) losses to mediocre mid-major teams, namely Indiana State and Fort Wayne, at home no less. Hopefully we have seen the last of those kinds of losses. Now if we put together those two categories, this is a 20-win team and probably a tourney team, which is incredible considering IU lost its only somewhat reliable player over 6 foot 7 midway through the season (sorry but I have seen Juwan in the grocery store and I firmly believe that if he had his hair trimmed a little he would not be over 6 foot 7). Of course that’s still is not the national contender that all of us want, but we should feel good that the vertically challenged team we have now came so close to being a tourney team ….. Closer than it appears on paper, giving us a shot at sneaking up on people next year (although if we get Romeo, then it might be hard to sneak up on people)

  • Neil

    You shouldn’t talk about yourself so much.

  • Neil

    No explanation huh? Ok.

  • Neil

    It’s the job of the coaches to get the players to execute. If they don’t that will always fall in the coaches for any sport.

  • Koko

    I’m way too much of a free spirit myself. Lazy is my middle
    name. Let’s just leave it at calling someone kid is not condescending in my universe….and apparently it is in yours. Don’t forget that people say things with certain emotions attached that gives those things said a certain significance. Knight called Archie kid as a form of affinity for how Knight likes Archie’s coaching and letting IU fans know we have a good coach. I saw no condescension in how Knight used the word kid for Archie.