The Minute After: Rutgers

  • 01/15/2020 10:00 pm in

Thoughts on a 59-50 loss to the Scarlet Knights:

Now three road games into the Big Ten season, the Hoosiers have been downright abysmal away from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Wisconsin dusted them up bad. The Hoosiers trailed by as many as 31 points in the second half before losing by 20. Maryland ushered in a similar result. The Terrapins got up by 30 in the second half before settling for a comfortable 16-point victory.

Tonight’s game wasn’t quite as lopsided — Rutgers got up by 17 in the second half and the Hoosiers lost by single digits (nine) — but the story was still depressingly similar. As we’ve seen in the Archie Miller era, Indiana’s shooting was atrocious. The Hoosiers hit just 2-of-19 from 3-point range. The team missed its first 15 (!) attempts from distance before Al Durham finally clanged one down with 5:18 to go in the contest. Indiana is now making just 29.7 percent from 3-point range, which sits the Hoosiers at 301st in the country. Any hope this team was going to get it together from distance this season is quickly evaporating. The sample size continues to grow and the results aren’t pretty.

Of Indiana’s 50 points, 34 came in the paint and 10 came at the line. Which means the two 3s the Hoosiers hit were the only points they scored outside the paint for the entire contest. Indiana was just 4-of-36 on field goal attempts that weren’t layups. This is some seriously bad offense, as IU scored a season low .734 points per possession.

It was a familiar script. Rutgers keyed in on stopping the Hoosiers from getting the ball into the paint. The Scarlet Knights mucked things up and took away Indiana’s first option, the Hoosiers finding little offensive success otherwise. As the 3s continued to clang, the Hoosiers sometimes had that slight bit of hesitation before taking the next one, looks that didn’t always come in rhythm in the offense. Instead, they were ones the Rutgers defense dared Indiana to make. For the most part, it didn’t.

The Hoosiers also struggled to take care of the ball in this one, turning it over on 23.5 percent of their possessions. That’s their worst mark in Big Ten play and third worst of the season. While Rutgers’ defense certainly caused problems, the Hoosiers also lost the ball on their own accord on a number of occasions. The Scarlet Knights scored 18 points off Indiana’s miscues, which meant 30.5 percent of their points tonight came via Indiana’s mistakes.

Shoot this horrible and turn the ball over this much on the road in a hostile environment and you’re bound to get trounced. But that didn’t quite happen in this one. Why? Because Rutgers wasn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut in this one either. The Scarlet Knights scored just .866 points per possession. They shot only 26.7 percent from 3-point range (4-of-15) and had a rough night at the line, making just 9-of-18 (50 percent). Rutgers also wasn’t great with the ball, turning it over on 19.1 percent of their possessions, allowing the Hoosiers 13 points off turnovers.

Was this a pathetic performance from Indiana? Yes. Is it a sign all is lost? Probably a bit too far to say that. We know Indiana can’t shoot and hasn’t played well in conference play on the road. Tonight was no different. But Indiana’s shooting woes, reminiscent of last season, are a tough pill to swallow. And the fear is it’s something that might ultimately be the Hoosiers’ undoing once again on Selection Sunday.

Photo credit: Rutgers Athletics

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