Indiana escapes late charge from Michigan

Cheating a little here. My game story for tomorrow follows.

The reason Tom Crean says he doesn’t want his team to ever feel like it can take a breath and exhale is games like this one.

No. 12 Indiana led No. 16 Michigan by as many as 15 points in the first half of Thursday night’s game and by double digits at points throughout the second half. But the Hoosiers learned that even at home they are not invincible against forces like 3-pointers. They never trailed, but they never got to exhale until Michigan senior swingman Zack Novak’s desperation heave bounced off the right side of the backboard on the South goal.

Still, the Hoosiers claimed their third victory over a ranked opponent in their revival season, downing the Wolverines 73-71 in front of 16,020 at Assembly Hall on Thursday night thanks to dominant performances by forwards Christian Watford and Cody Zeller and an icy, last-minute, late-in-the-shot-clock jumper by senior guard Verdell Jones that was enough to hold the Wolverines off.

It’s the first time since the 2005-06 season that the Hoosiers have defeated at least three ranked opponents in one season, and it’s the first time since the 2007-08 campaign that they’ve started the season 14-1.

“This is a big time win for us,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “This is a big-time win over a big-time team and we gritted it out.”

Said Jones: “I just think it’s a testament to our off-season work. Being able to fight through stuff when it gets tough. I think that’s what we did today. They made a lot of runs, but we just kept fighting tooth and nail to get back in it. I thought they made some big plays at the end, but we stayed focused and stayed hungry.”

Michigan had four scorers in double-figures and hit 10 of its 24 3-pointers while the Hoosiers had just two scorers in double figures for the first time all season. However, Watford’s 25 points and Zeller’s 18 were enough to carry them and Watford was especially dominant. He was 8-for-11 from the field, 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, and also had seven and tied his career-high with four assists.

“I got to the free throw line tonight,” Watford said. “That helped me a lot in the second half. In the first half, i just got a couple of layups, got a couple early shots to fall. They don’t have a lot of length and stuff like that, so I got some good looks.”

The Hoosiers took control of the game in the first half thanks in large part to the defense of Jones, sophomore guard Victor Olaidpo and the others who held star Michigan guards Burke and Tim Hardaway jr. to eight points and a combined 3-for-15 shooting in the first half. Indiana opened the game on a 17-6 run and took advantage as big as 33-18.

Jones was particularly effective on Burke, widely regarded to be Zeller’s top competition for Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors. Jones stayed on his hip and harassed him to a 4-for-15 performance.

“It’s different being taller and guarding a quick guy like that,” Jones said. “I watched a lot of film on him. When they put length on him, he struggles a little bit, and my teammates put great help-side defense on him.”

However, Michigan came back using the method teams coached by John Beilein usually do — the 3-pointer. The Wolverines hit three of them in a span of 1:16 at the end of the first half to cut Indiana’s lead to five points. The Hoosiers went into the break with a 39-32 advantage, but the Hoosiers outscored them 14-6 in the last 5:08.

Novak hit a 3-pointer to start the second half and that kept the lane open for the early part of the first half, and the Wolverines were able to attack a spread-out Indiana defense which was hurt by foul trouble to Oladipo. They opened the half on a 14-7 run to tie the game at 46 with 14:57 left.

“Any time a team can shoot like that, they always have a chance to be in it or win the game,” Jones said. “The 3-ball is a special weapon. They hit a lot of good shots.”

The Hoosiers started hitting some of their own midway through the second half, going on 12-4 run that gave them a 65-55 advantage on a high-flying dunk by Oladipo. Just as quickly, however, Michigan answered with a 13-3 run to tie it at 68 with 3:02 to go on a dunk by Hardaway.

But Indiana took the lead on two free throws by Jones, then made three straight critical stops as Michigan finally went cold from the 3-point arc. The Hoosiers got the ball with 1:01 left in the game and needed to milk clock, but also needed to hit a shot to put it away, and that was where Jones came in.

the Hoosiers called timeout with 39 seconds to go and Oladipo tried to make a play but couldn’t find any space. Jones got the ball with about six seconds to go on the shot clock needing to make something happen fast. The mid-range ace and 1,000-point scorer took two dribbles to his left and nailed one from about 17 feet to make it 72-68.

“Oh, my goodness that was huge,” Crean said. “… To knock that down, like that, that’s him. Going left, pull-up jumper. It was basically broken at that point. It was make a play.”

That didn’t put it away quite yet. Novak turned the ball over on the other end, but Jones missed the front end of a one-and-one that would’ve sealed it. Michigan made one more play with four seconds to go when senior guard Stu Douglass drilled a 3-pointer to make it 72-71 with four seconds left to maintain the drama.

Watford was fouled on the inbound and made just one of two free throws to make it 73-71, giving Michigan a shot at a miracle, but Novak missed and allowed IU to breathe and escape.

“This team gritted it out again,” Crean said. “They toughed it out again.”

AUDIO: Verdell Jones, Christian Watford, Cody Zeller

AUDIO: Tom Crean

 

118 comments

  1. hmmm, should I keep it short? okay, yes I only have two things to say:

    1. Verdell Jones sucks. I don’t give a crap about his last second shot, he was the only reason Michigan was even in the damn game at the end.

    2. Dan Dakich either has cancer or a horrid cocaine habit. Did anyone else notice the green face and red eyes? It wasn’t my TV, the other guy Dave O’Brien looked fine.

  2. If Jones would just stop forcing everything he would be a nice player. I don’t understand Crean giving him that kind of freedom. Wattford should have taken those late shots if anything. And Chet please explain to me why Jones and Hulls dont even look for Zeller off the p&r? It’s amazing to me. They just have to lob it up and I swear to god they don’t even look for him!!!! Am I the only one who sees this every game? That’s another 10 to 14 points points Zeller could have every game not to mention the foul trouble he could get someone into.

  3. yeah, there are several issues to resolve in getting Cody the ball…

    1. you mentioned on the pick & roll – Jordy hasn’t been able to do anything in that situation. I think most of it has to do with his inability to split any of the double-teams or see over/around the big man showing. Jones actually had a nice pass tonight to Cody, but that is basically one-for-one-hundred on the season. I don’t know how Crean addresses this problem since it’s personnel and not necessarily execution.

    2. Post up – this is a real issue every game, and most of it seems to be spacing. It is so obvious watching on TV that IU does a terrible job of giving Zeller an opportunity to post on the weak side. Almost every time they look in from the wing there is a player either cutting down the lane, along the baseline, and most frequently a player in the corner. There is almost always a help defender crowding the passing lane into the post. It’s frustrating as hell because its so correctable. When the ball gets swung DON’T RUN ANOTHER GUY INTO THAT SIDE OF THE COURT UNTIL CODY HAS HAD A CHANCE TO GET A TOUCH!!!! Once he does get a touch then they can get a cut from the top or the opp wing. He’s a good passer so it would create real issues for the defense.

    3. Transition – Cody does the best job of any big I have seen at any school in recent memory of sprinting the middle of the floor. He not only gets out in front of the defense, but then, despite his freshman status, he does the unthinkably brilliant and seals his man at the FT line area just waiting for a lead pass for a lay-up… he should be getting 4-8 points a game doing this, but right now he is getting zero. As a PG this drives me absolutely batsh*t! Why Hulls isn’t comfortable making that pass is so bizarre. It’s not that difficult a pass, especially for someone of his skill. It’s not like Cody isn’t looking for it – HE’S CREATING THE OPPORTUNITY!

    So yeah, the P&R is just one area they are failing to get him the ball with an excellent opportunity to score or create offense.

  4. Geoff, you are not the only one. I wish I could see the career turnover stats for VJ3. I bet it is the most in the history of IU basketball. I do not understand why Crean does not know or see this. I think this is one of the things keeping him from being a GREAT coach. I mean, game after game – force…turnover…force…turnover…oops I forced again, but got foulded this time as I fell to the floor and travelled…miss a free throw…turnover…force again…miss another free throw. Come on Crean, let some freshman play, who might develop. VJ3 still looks like a freshman from 4 years ago. Hate to say it, but Pritchard has developed more than him. Look at the MSU game. VJ3 could not guard that transfer from Valpo. Roth came in and shut him dowm for 8 minutes. What has to happen? Graduate I guess…

  5. This is a lot of griping for fans whose team is 14-1, ranked and has possibly the two best wins in college hoops so far this season.

    Jones does make some bad turnovers, but he did feed the post pretty well last night and hit some tough shots. Zeller did have quite a game, so the team wasn’t completely ineffective at getting him the ball.

    Christian Watford has developed as much as any player Crean has had at IU. Given another year, Victor might surpass him, but for now, the difference between Watford the last 2 years and this year is striking.

    I know the good ol’ days are here again at IU when I hear/read/see such strident discontent after a big conference win against a tough, talented conference opponent we love to beat.

    Anybody else think Beilein is one of the best tactical coaches around? I just think he’s terrific, going back to his WVU days and now at UM.

    Go Hoosiers!!!!!

  6. I agree.Turnovers are killing us everytime we have nice lead.sooner or later it will cost us a game.Cream needs to call timeout an pull a bob knight on VJ3 ass an give him slap in his head

  7. I Believe were a finalfour team,just get turnover problem fixed.Turnovers beat us at MSU or Hoosiers would b 3/0

  8. Beilein coached a good game. He interrupted our flow several times when it seemed we would put the game out of reach. He’s gonna be a pain in the a$$ for a long time.

  9. No one can discredit Crean’s development of this team over the last 4 years. But this issue of VJ3 does concern me. Clearly, VJ3 was a part of the plan this year. He’s a senior. He’s been here through the bad times and now the good. Crean clearly has a lot of respect for him. However, his play has been terrible despite our win-loss record. In my opinion, he is the worst player on the team. He is more talented than guys like Pritchard, but the difference is that Pritchard knows his limits. VJ3 thinks he can lead this team. He can’t. What ultimately concerns me is that Crean MUST recognize this problem, but isn’t doing anything about it. He’s riding the confidence in VJ3 he took into the season, back when no one could have predicted how well things would be going. I see VJ3 costing us games this year. He’s come close. He came close against Michigan. I’m starting to think Crean doesn’t have the backbone to make the hard decision to bench a kid.

    That being said, I couldn’t be more thrilled with IU this season. GO HOOSIERS!! (and go VJ3!! for that matter…)

  10. What was that…like 3 or 4 TOs by Jones in the last 3 min? And then Crean puts him back in to bring the ball up on the last play!? If Jones could come in, play defense, take a few jumpers, he’d be fine. But no. He wants to be the go to guy and I think he actually sees himself as such. Scary!

    That was one of worse games played that we have won. But you get those at home and this team has the “it” factor.

    We need Sheehy and last night really showed why.

  11. Stats list VJ3 as having 4 TOs. But what counts as a turnover specifically? That number seems small. It seems he makes decisions that lead to non-attributed TOs.

  12. cream got out coached again and I LIKE HULLS BUT HE IS STILL TOO SLOW AND CAN,T DEFEND AGAINST GOOD GUARDS . ONE GOOD GAME DOESN,T MAKE HIM ALL BIG TEN SORRY.

  13. I’m guessing Jordy was sick. He got pulled to the bench at the drop of a hat. He had some nice defensive stops in the first half (I didn’t see the ones Verdell got credit for).

    Yeah, about those stats…Verdell’s turnovers never seem to make it to the sheet, do they?

    Great win over a very good team. Good to have that behind us.

  14. I agree with most of you. IU’s post season success will be contingent upon their ability to consistently get Zeller the ball. Watching the IU vs OSU game was annoying for that reason. OSU had no problems getting Sullinger the ball. Why can’t this group of guards do that? You would think a good coach would have this corrected at this point in the season. Thankfully, they are tough to beat at home. I want to see this win on the road. All in all though, the program definitely looks to be on the upswing. It is my hope that the program gets restored to elite status and we can compete with UNC and Duke for supremacy.

  15. Keith: If you (or anybody in general) want to start attributing other sorts of “turnovers” to VJ3, that goes for all of the other players as well. I love VO as a player, but he too “makes decisions that lead to non-attributed TO’s.”

    To all IU fans: Sometimes I’m staggered (not in a good way) by our fanbase. We just completed one of the worst 3-year stretches in the history of the program, have “arrived” at least one year early, beaten #1, #1 and #13/16 and yet almost the only thing I’ve read today on numerous forums is negative harping on VJ3 and Crean. Obviously everybody has a right to his/her opinion, but I’m pretty d***** proud of this team and the unbelievable turnaround from the Sampson-led trip to squalor. That pride goes to the coaching staff and ALL of the players (especially those that have been around for several years).

  16. …to add one more thing…to all these backhanded compliments like “if he’s a good coach then he’ll…”

    That’s been confirmed. He didn’t corral a room of 5 star players and turn them loose. He got a bunch of players that a lot of IU fans didn’t want to see play here, with a notable exception, and turned them into an excellent team that has one of the best killer instincts I’ve ever seen. They go out there and put away the teams loaded with the 5 star players. Disagree all you want about certain decisions, I do, but if you’re still questioning whether or not CTC is a good coach there is simply no hope for you.

  17. After 15 games, VJ w/ 44 TO’s leading the team,

    IU w/ 196 TO’s

    Opponents w/ 256 TO’s

    Cutting down TO’s = cutting VJ’s minutes

  18. I think if Remy would have developed a little faster than he has, VJ3 would have seen his minutes shrink but Remy is still learning. Also, having Sheehey out hurts too. When he comes back, I can see VJ3’s minutes get cut more and as Remy develops those minutes will get cut. Remy is looking better, but I expected a little bit more at this point in the season. Am I crazy for those expectations or just impatient?

  19. IIRC VJ played 34 minutes last night. With WS back from injury I would like to see RA get 8-10 of those min. and Will play 20+.

  20. HC, to add to your stats, VJ has the second worst shooting percentage on the team (nearly tied with Abell). This is due to the fact that he takes terrible shots. A missed shot is virtually a turnover. That’s ALOT of times down the court where VJ gives the ball away.

    In his defense, he is about tied with Hulls with most assists, and does occasionally make a key shot or key assist which changes the game. I don’t think anyone would propose making him primarily a bench player, but I pray that his minutes go down. Sheehey, we need you! Abell and Elston, please start making more shots.

    And to address the hater haters, I love the Hoosiers this year, all of them including VJ! I don’t recall a season where waiting for each game was like waiting for Christmas.

  21. Chet- “Icy” indeed. I had to do a double take- was that really Remy, or the ghost of Robert Vaden?

    Getting tired of the use of ‘beast’, though. It’s become such a cliche term. I’ve heard the word used to describe everyone from Arian Foster to Blake Griffin to Marshawn Lynch to Cody Zeller to Serena Williams to Pujols to Tiger Woods to Mario Balotelli and now Remy Abell and I even faintly remember a figure skater being called one.

    Time to diversify our descriptive adjectives.

  22. Yep, I am happy we won, but it’s not like I was satisfied with the way we played… I am not a Crean hater, in fact since I have been posting here I have been possibly his most vocal supporter, but does that mean I can’t now point out a deficiency in the offense or say he got out coached for a night?

    I thought he out coached Matta, making great adjustments to the way the game was being reffed that needed up winning IU the game. Last night I thought he got out coached however. To me UM is clearly not as good a team as IU. We had the 2 best offensive players on the floor in Zeller and Watford, and by a WIDE margin the best defensive player on the floor in Dipo. We are solid everywhere else and have experience and athleticism coming off the bench. We were at home. We got off to a great start. That should have been a double-digit victory.

    What really had me screaming at the end of the game was Verdell (so yeah, I’m gonna pile on)! He was an absolute turnover machine, and they were all bad turnovers. The time he spun in the lane and got baled out by the foul call he promptly missed the front end of a 1&1 – so that might as well count as a TO. Then he missed the next front end he took.. So his stats say he was 2-4 from the line with 4 TO’s, but in reality he was 2-6 with 6 TO’s and it all was crunched into crunch time! When you need your senior “leader” to step up and make good decisions and clutch FT’s he is at his LEAST consistent!

    The part to me that is Crean’s fault is 2-fold: 1) he left him in the game – I thought he’d finally had enough at the 1-minute mark when he benched him, but nope he put him right back in. And 2) for some bizarre friggin reason Crean ran a set that was forcing the ball into verdell’s hand for the last couple minutes. Verdell would bring up the ball, give it up and loop through the lane ending up on the left wing, where he would then essentially post up his man and demand the ball. Watford who had 25 points was then making a somewhat risky pass to a guy who was trying single-handedly to lose the game last night. It was mind-boggling and frustrating as hell. I love Crean, but that was inexcusable.

  23. VJ has hit his ceiling, WS’s is much higher, as I believe is Abell’s, leaving Jones as a role player from the bench.

  24. Many don’t understand why VJIII gets the playing time he does. Wasn’t he the one that was jumping ship with another player when Crean arrived? The last player besides Tom Pritchard that had any bb experience whatsover? I feel that since VJ stayed & he was THE PLAYER at least that first year that Crean feels he owes VJ, rightfully so. Just my perception.

  25. Geoff, I could not agree more. He is a mess when it counts. I think it appears Crean was out coached only because scUM had to make more adjustments to IU than IU to them. How many different defenders tried CW on for size? They had to open up the book of options. We primarily had to contain their guards. That is the book for defeating them.

  26. That’s the thing, it’s his mindset. He seems to think he is THE PLAYER when, in fact, he is a step slow and makes bad decisions. Confidence is a good thing, overconfidence is not. His brain needs to drop in on his ego a let him know that he is about the fifth best ball handler and seventh or eighth best scorer on this team. He could be VERY valuable if he could accept his limitations.

  27. @ Eric – in post #7 you said that “Cody had a good game, so they weren’t completely ineffective at getting him the ball”

    Ok, I agree “completely ineffective” would be taking it too far. However, look into the numbers a little bit deeper. He got his 18 points on 10 shots and 2 FT’s… The 2 FT’s were and-1’s… So that means he took exactly 10 shots all night. He also had zero assists. Know why? Because he wasn’t getting any post touches. UM was starting their back-up post defender whose 3 inches shorter than Zeller, and didn’t have any size coming off the bench, yet we cant feature him in the offense?!

    By my count IU had 73 offensive possessions – 49 shots, 9 trips to the FT line, and 15 TO’s. Cody had 10 shots, 0 assists, and 3 TO’s. I can remember distinctly that 2 of his turnovers were on the perimeter, the other may have been when he fumbled a baseline bounce pass out of bounds off a drive by Verdell. I can’t remember a single time he got a post touch and kicked it back out. So I may be off by 1 or 2 here, but I believe Zeller got the ball 12 times in a position to creat offense -the 10 shots and 2 of the TO’s (the other was on the weave where he fumbled Dipo’s pass as he headed toward the paint). He scored on 8 of those which is 66% efficiency! He scored 18 points on 10 shots – shooting 80% from the floor and 100% from the line… Why did we only get him 12 scoring touches?!

    73 offensive possessions, is 1.825 possessions per minute, cody played 32 minutes, so lets assume that they had 58 possesions while he was in the game. 12 opportunities for Zeller in his 32 minutes = 20% of the time he got a touch with an opportunity to creat offense…

    That is NOT GOOD! They should be running the offense through him every opportunity they get. At a bare minimum he should be touching it 40-50% of their offensive possessions! He is their most efficient offensive player. He is a good decision maker and passer. He is a good FT shooter. He hustles and gets into position. He battles for offensive boards.

    He should be rewarded for his efforts, but mostly the team will be at their best when they are able to run the offense through him more often. I hope this happens by tourney time because I think we have enough talent and grit to make a good run.

  28. A great win !But I agree with everyone else!VJ3 has to comeoff the bench I could not believe Crean was willing to risk loseing the game by putting him back in!The guy is a train wreck!It was totally his fault the game was close going down the stretch!Crean needs to watch some game film to see the junior high turn overs again and again.Most of the errors unforced,he thinks he has to be the star,I hate to tell him but that ship has sailed!His turnover number for last year was 94 I believe!Dakaich needs quit talking about himself and call the game we do not care if he is personnal friends with the Zeller family nor does anyone else in the big ten ! We need Shehey back and quick with going on the road.jan. 20 is the target.We also need some help for Jordy!

  29. To my eye, last night was a bit of a aberration for Jordy. I think he tries to feed the post. Something was wrong last night. Verdell is unaware that Cody has joined the team. CWat had a couple of sick feeds to the post.

  30. i thought chris webber jr., er, tim hardaway jr. was going to lead the wolverines back. i’m sorry but hardaway jr. looks nothing like hardaway sr. webber was on the same golden state team. my guess is after a wild night partying a woman knocked on timmy’s door a couple of months later, instead of webbers. tim sr. should have gotten a paternity test. no way that’s his boy.

  31. I’d be happy to Chet… I assume his email is on theo athletics website…?

    Maybe I’ll get a role in the Moneyball remake based on the statistical rebuilding of the Hoosier bball program, coming out in 2020!

  32. I was pleased and really excited by last night’s victory. I would say they “held on” for the victory and “gritted” one out in spite of themselves.

    VJIII had a bad game. Turnovers (as usual), missing the front end of 1 & 1 free throws at the end, and some huge mental errors in crunch time. He played 34 minutes, and given his effort to shut down Michigan’s freshman superstar, and his hip injury, I think he was exhausted in the last five minutes of the game. But no excuses, he’s a senior and he should have played better. Crean has to develop a viable back-up for VJIII, if for no other reason than to give him some rest. I think maybe he played about four minutes too much last night.

    Honestly, IU benefitted from some “home cooking” last night. Several of the refs’ calls were bad, but went in IU’s favor. In the end, I think those things equal out for all teams. Goodness knows that IU was on the wrong end of most of those bad calls over the last three years.

    In my opinion, Michigan has a more talented roster right now. They are obviously well coached. So it was impressive that IU won that game. Credit the best college BB fans in the world that once again created an atmosphere that is very difficult for opposing teams while giving the Hoosiers a powerful emotional boost when they needed it.

    Hey, we’re 14-1! Who could have guessed we’d have that level of success at this point in the season? I certainly didn’t.

  33. Podunket – can you tell me why you think UM’s roster is more talented right now? I will let you know in advance that I disagree, but I am about to eat out the door for a long VT weekend. I will give my thoughts tonight…

  34. Geoff; the key to that part of my previous post was “right now.” With WS out and one of our big men in a mask, I think Michigan had a more talented roster last night. I also give the edge to Michigan’s guards. No doubt Michigan is a very talented team.

    Let’s put it this way. I think the margin of victory will be more than two points when IU plays Michigan in Ann Arbor. And I would not put my money on IU to win that game.

    While they may not have been as talented, I give great credit for IU’s grit and determination last night. Those guys just find a way to win the close games and they have displayed great mental toughness. To me, those intangibles are more important than athletic talent.

    In many of Bob Knight’s most successful years coaching IU, his teams were not comprised of the most athletically talented or physically gifted BB players, but they played better as a team and found ways to win. I think that was the scenario against Kentucky, OSU and again last night against Michigan. And that is very special to behold.

    With the freshman joining the team next year, I believe IU will significantly upgrade their level of athletic and BB talent. They will be a much deeper team. If they can learn to play together and have the same grit and determination that this team possesses, they will be extremely difficult to beat, regardless of where they play.

  35. I love IU Bball.Any win is a good win,but I agree with most,but the VJ3 played that say last 5 min reminded me louisville when denny crum towards end of career lost control of team,u know players going 1 on 1? tom needs to step in an remind certain players TEAM PLAYRS win more games.GO BIG RED!!!

  36. i am just guessing but i think vj3 gets his minutes based on his defense. i thought his defense was really good last night. his turnovers are driving me crazy. he plays out of control on offense. he needs to calm down. that said, are we all, including me complaing too much? last year we would have lost these close games. this team has great mental toughness. also vj3 is not the only one who can’t pass to cody. victor isn’t good at it either. it will come. finally, tom crean can coach and to say that he can’t is really stupid.

  37. t.burns.SO true my friend,crean is not stupid.just need to work harder on passing an getting zeller that ball more.we should go far in tournament

  38. Do we win at penn st?hope they shut down penn 3 point shooting,seen what they did to purdue!!!!!!

  39. If Michigan would have been hitting on their outside shots, we may have lost by 20.

    I don’t think you take VJ out of that game going down the stretch. I don’t think you do that to a kid’s confidence. The kid can shoot the ball..Roth and Hulls are more deadly but they seem to feat taking the ball into the paint. Oladipo has flashes of brilliance and his athleticism is jaw-dropping, but he often can’t back that respected ability with draining easier shots.

    Without Sheehey, the options for Crean were more limited. For all the bashing Jones receives(and some of it has to filter down and end up at his door)the kid still delivers on shots we need to fall. He mads some ugly turnovers, but where is any other attempts from other guards on our team that take the risks. You guys talk as if risk is a bad thing in a game of basketball? The defense rarely forces VJ into a turnover when he’s bringing the ball up. Individual pressure doesn’t effect him the way it does a Hulls, Remy, and Roth.. VJ forces his own turnovers by attempting to create where others are unwilling. Would you prefer the ball to just be moved back-and-forth on the perimeter? I saw some very good passes from Jones last night and I saw him go left on one of Michigan’s best players and drain a key shot.

    Sheehey is a guy that helps minimize the extra risk VJ must take in his absence.

    It wasn’t very long ago the many experts on here were ready to e-mail Tom Crean and tell him to send Watford off to a mid-major where he belongs…something about a ship that has sailed and he “ain’t got a ticket.”

    After the OSU game, Geoff found himself mesmerized by Dan Dakich’s brilliant basketball mind. I have to agree. Dakich’s knowledge of the game is unequaled. I even heard Dan use Podunker’s “home cooking” phrase. And who could disagree with the numerous times the guy that shut down MJ could not tell the viewing audience enough times that Christian Watford is a certified “pro.” After only three games into the Big 10 season and proving the best teams in the land can’t throw anything at him to slow him down and limit his versatile game, he’s gone from guy that belonged left ashore on’ The Island of Misfit Mid-Major Forwards’ to deserving a spot on an NBA roster.

    I’m mean, who else do we have to cut to shreds? We can’t tear apart Hulls..In 20 years he’s just another member of Geoff’s Vermont Yacht Club to one day grow into a slow, white, wannabee expert on hoops..Hulls will be sending an e-mail to Steve Alford’s son how to coach our bunch of clods. We know best..just like every other fabulous 8th grade baller that came out of the Indiana sticks and attended Pee-Wee Herman High School.

  40. Bleed red50-

    This site is very clicky. Don’t take it personally. It’s kind of like that one table in High School where all the cool guys sat. It takes a while to crack their circle. Some of us will forever be on the outside.

    For what it’s worth, I think we win a close one at Penn St. I see the game as comparable to the NC State game but easier. The Purdue result certainly was an eye-opener, though.

  41. Some proofreading…

    Roth and Hulls are more deadly(from the outside), but they seem to fear taking the ball into the paint.

    Additionally, I’m unfortunately falling more into Geoff’s camp in realizing Hulls has difficulty against size/athleticism. It’s truly making him risk averse..It’s getting into his head and he’s making his own share of forced dangerous weak passes on the perimeter. Those passes are often near-turnovers and result in eating shot clock and bringing stagnancy to the offense. He was getting abused on the defensive end last night. Got to tell it like it is. I hate myself for doing it and I still have faith in Jordy’s ability to do everything he can to fix the deficiencies and the safe mode playing of the game far too conservatively. When you become to risk averse, a coach has no choice but to make you watch.

  42. too risk averse.

    Final Thoughts:

    Crean knows his roster is still not the ideal portfolio. He does have some true performers(Cody and Watford)…a couple high growth potential(Victor and Sheehey)…and some he has no choice but to demand consistent returns(Hulls, Elston)…and some volatile assets(high risk with potentially high return) that the more conservative investor would easily avoid or turnover(pun intended) with more options to thoroughly diversify(Verdell).

    Take it to floor…Crean is the new Charles Schwab of the Big 10.

  43. bleedred50, I’m not sure what you want. Welcome aboard. I probably don’t recognize the names of half the people posting on this thread but that has nothing to do with whether or not I respond to them. I reread your posts and I didn’t really see anything needing a response. Nothing wrong with them, just nothing new. Keep posting. The more the merrier.

  44. HforH, I can’t disagree with most of that but some of Verdell’s ‘risks’, a good example is his patented blind spin move that invariably drops him into two waiting defenders who promptly steal the ball, he pulls every game with the same result. He brings a LOT to the table but he keeps making the SAME mistakes every game and it is seemingly always at crunch time. Think about that “key” pass to CWat to beat UK. He was falling down. If CW gets held up for a split second it’s a travel.
    I’ve also noticed that he ‘waves off’ his teammates a lot. What’s the deal with that? I’m sure he’s not the only player to do it but he seems to do it it a lot. He’ll wave off a teammate popping out for the ball and then try to take his man one on one off the dribble. It’s hard for me to believe that that’s something they do in practice. I’ve mentioned before that sometimes it seems like four guys on the floor have one plan and Verdell has a different one. It just seems to bring the offense to a stop.
    When he gets on the same page I think he’ll look like a much better player.

  45. The defenses are just shutting down Jordy too much…Maybe Hulls was under the weather last night, but he was also non-existent at MSU. Where does the offense come from? Where does penetration come from? Usually Verdell is better from the line. None of the Hoosiers were stellar from the charity stripe. There is no diminishing what Watford did in the game, but he also missed a free throw that could have resulted in the game ending in a nightmare triple by that lights-out kid from Carmel. Hulls missed on a similar charity stripe moment against OSU.

    I hate the ugly turnovers and foolish spin moves, but the kid finds the bottom of the well in pressure moments and still takes risk when other guards on our team have no choice but to give up the ball. The lack of speed in the guard positions are the Achilles’ heel on this team(especially with Sheehey sidelined)..Remy is coming along, but I don’t think he’s ready to assume a leadership position when Hulls is on the bench due to health, fouls, or struggles against bigger and quicker defenders. You won’t survive by just putting shooters on the floor. The risk of a VJ mishap is the price to pay for the current understaffing in the backcourt. Next year the portfolio gets a bounce.

    When Sheehey gets back into the lineup, Crean will adjust his strategy…Even if not by necessity of fewer minutes, more help on the floor will make Jones more risk-averse.

    Disclaimer: These are only my opinions…I make no claims of them being worthy an e-mail to Coach K when Duke meets us in the Sweet 16.

  46. Well, that’s probably what CTC is thinking as well.

    There was a comment earlier about Michigan not finding the range from outside. I believe I saw or heard that they were 10/24 from three point land. While it’s not the crazy numbers our guys sometimes put up, it’s a pretty solid percentage.

  47. Giving up the ball(usually due to picking up the dribble as a result of being hogtied by a stronger defender) isn’t a hell of a lot different than a turnover. It will result in in a weak pass often putting the recipient in a turnover prone position or give the opponent extra opportunity in locking down and stymieing a possession.

    Guards that create have to take risk.

  48. Here is something to laugh at. I was cleaning guns and watching the Hoosiers last night.(fun to do, by the way) The president of a board I am on, calls, and wants to discuss some things. I do not remember what he said, what happened in the second half, or if my pistolas were cleaned properly. The only thing that sticks out, in my mind was VJ’s momentum/flow killing antics. And of course my Illini buddy texting me that CWat was hitting big boy shots. I guess I can’t do more than one thing at a time. My wife is right…..

  49. Novak was a bit shutdown due to fouls…That helped us significantly on the offensive end. Michigan got the deep ball going more in the second half. Their stars had a horrible shooting night. We were fortunate to hold them off..Watford was unconscious. Take ’em anyway you can get ’em.

    A lot of people say this team needs to prove they can win on the road. That will be very difficult task for any Big 10 team to prove on a consistent basis..Much more important to hold serve at home(just as this team is doing with stellar results against fierce opponents)and steal one or two on the road(maybe Jordy will ‘Hulls them to sleep’ and have a big night)to get us where we need to go.

  50. I didn’t say never give up the ball, Chet. Slower guards are forced to give up the ball under disadvantage and bad positions on the floor. Pick your poison. Do you take getting the ball near the rim with an out of control drive and a kid like Cody in the middle, or do you watch defenders blanket guys 30 feet from the basket and play an entire possession of pinball between Roth and Hulls on the perimeter?

    More Remy worked into the lineup and a returning Sheehey will help the flow and negate much of the stagnancy.

  51. More than any team that comes to mind, you just don’t know where the offensive production is gonna come from with these guys. Would anybody be shocked if Matt Roth was the high scorer next game? I wouldn’t. Will was the MVP of that kinda sorta tourney. There are six of seven guys that can put up big totals on any given night.

  52. I’m not sure you got what I was referring to. Guys were rotating into the back court in what was obviously the normal motion of the offense and Verdell waves them off, frequently followed by trying to take his man off the dribble (let’s face it, most of the guys guarding Verdell are faster than he is). The moment he waves them off you can see the motion of the offense stop because that pass was SUPPOSED to be made as part of the offensive flow.

  53. Harvard, Chet, you guys are both getting to the core there. Nice observations. You too, Geoff.

  54. He’s Verdell ‘Sleepy Floyd’ Jones..He has a sorta deceptive quickness and the ability to get a first step.

    Do you honestly think it was Jones’ inability to find Hulls, or wave him off, that forced Crean into putting Jordy on the bench?

    I’m not here to defend his mental mistakes…He shoots the ball and get a first step on guys that Hulls has no answer of late…Sometimes you have to take the added risk and what looks to a fan as being selfish behavior(I don’t know enough about what Crean is wanting out of each possession to make that assessment) when your roster is depleted of speed, size, and depth due to the injury an important cog in the wheel.

    Did you listen to the radio broadcast of Fischer’s interview with Crean after the game? Crean could find enough compliments for Verdell. Make of that as you will.

    I agree with your comments that it can be any player putting this team over the top on any given night. Why concentrate so heavily on the flaws of one kid? As I said earlier, it wasn’t very long ago many of you were ready to send Watford to play JC ball in Idaho.

    Did you not notice the preemptive strike of sarcasm for Geoff as to not let him give Dakich too much credit for what I was saying months ago about Watford’s invaluable skills and the wonderful versatility he brings to our team? Maybe we should focus a bit more on all the positives instead of always wanting to throw Hoosiers under buses.

    I have the wife breathing down my neck to go out for pizza..I’ll let you guys tear my opinions apart for awhile.

  55. To make it easier, if you could combine Hulls and Jones talents, you would have a great player. If you could combine Jordy and Vic, you would almost have MJ. Unfortunately we can’t do that, but that is what we need. You need multiple threat guards, especially with Creans style. But, we have what we have, that is why it is important to keep playing Remy, and getting Sheehey back.
    We need our depth, our athleticism, and most importantly, our focus and smart play. This is probably why VJ, with his silly mistakes, stand out so much.

  56. CTC can never find enough words of praise for Verdell. It’s pretty obvious that he is trying to get out in front of any criticism of Verdell. Harvard is probably correct in his assessment. Verdell’s game has lots of warts but he adds a necessary facet to the offensive flow.

    That, and he just likes him. I think that the coach standing by a senior is a good thing.

    None of it is really important. All that matters is that the team is MUCH better than any of us ever imagined (Actually, I’m pretty sure I predicted we’d be 14-1. Somebody go check that). If we had struggled in games but we were 10-5 with a single win over a top 25 team we’d probably still be giddy.

  57. Harvard, I was on Watford a few times. But I think somewhat deserving. He seemed lost on D, stood and watched, when he should have been dropping down or rotating over and getting his hands up. I must say, Watford has probably learned to play better with Zeller as much as anyone on the team. He has taken advantage, and is scoring well. Cwat has more focus, he rebounds and defends much better than earlier in the year. Especially rebounding. He’s obviously knocking down big shots.
    At least these conversation are better than discussing witch baseball player, or team manager is going to be getting more minutes.

  58. So much of coaching goes on behind the curtain. I think CTC deserves a lot of credit for Christian bringing his game to another level. He has been quite the chess master with this bunch.

  59. So many things to address…

    1) jones does make unforced, unrisky turnovers… How bout the time he was dribbling the ball into the front court on right sideline and his defender juked at him and he promptly dribbled it off his leg out of bounds, or that gorgeous cross court overhead pass he threw from the left wing that was intercepted at the elbow and turned into a fast break. Both were ugly turnovers that had nothing to do with him trying to create offense.

    2) jones is shooting UNDER 40% from the field. That is gross. Don’t tell me about what good shooter he is.

    3) I never said I was astounded by Dakich’s basketball knowledge. I said I thought he was doing a service to IU by giving insider knowledge that didn’t come across as biased or homerish. I am sure if I sat with him for a while though I would be astounded by his bball acumen.

    4) I still don’t think that Watford is a pro. He does have nice length and is very comfortable right now on offense, but I don’t think he is quick enough or athletic enough to succeed at the NBA level. Last night he was guarded by smaller, less athletic players, and he even talked about how easy it was to shoot over them because of the lack of length.

    5) I never saw anything that really needed to be addressed or discussed from Bleedred50 either. Sorry man…

    6) I don’t think Verdell is selfish. I think he is, as Chet has put it, “over-confident”

    7) I still disagree that Um is more talented. I think they have the talent edge at guard, but we had the talent edge at the 3, 4, and 5 spots. I also think that we are as least as good coming off the bench. Roth can shoot it at least as good as the Carmel kid, Abel and Pritch and Elston were all more effective than the 2 other guys that came off the bench for a couple minutes. I’d like to give a more thorough break down but we just had a wonderful meal at the resort and its now off to the local theatre…

    Peace!

  60. The problem with VJIII is that Crean never really had the opportunity to do what was necessary to break him of his bad habits (that I’m sure he learned as a youngster). During the last three years, Crean could not afford to demoralize VJIII or risk losing him to transfer. And let’s be honest, there really was not enough talent on the team in those years to challenge VJIII for playing time. As a result, the discipline (i.e., benching and other coaching tactics) that would typically be required to break a player of his bad habits probably could not have been applied to the full degree. VJIII was a more important part of the roster over the last three years than he is now. He has improved and he still makes a significant contribution, but he was never “conditioned” to break the bad habits (turnovers) that so many of us find so painful to watch. His stupid passes (turnovers) drive me crazy.

    Can you imagine what Bob Knight would have done with VJIII in two or three years of coaching. He’d have stopped the bad habits or he’d have transferred. Not that VJIII has the same level of athletic ability, but does anyone remember Landon Turner’s first two years? By the second half of LT’s Junior year, he was probably the most dominant power forward in college BB. I don’t think so many of us would be criticizing VJII this much if he had the opportunity to join a competitive team under normal circumstances and receive the “coaching” necessary to break his bad habits.

    To a lessor degree, you can say the same thing about IU’s back-up center. He’s still a foul machine and slow to anticipate on defense.

    But give those guys great credit. In spite of their deficiencies, they’ve worked very hard, provided leadership and hung in there through three years of misery. Lessor young men may not have stayed around. They deserve all the success this year’s squad can produce.

  61. I’m terribly impressed by Pritchard. He went from being ‘the man’ to seeing, year after year, more talented players come in. I don’t know that he hasn’t played up to his abilities without a complaint. Now, he is ‘fill time’ for a heralded freshman and, from my view, seems to enjoy being part of the turnaround. Character-wise, he is the poster boy.

    On top of that, his game seems to have improved. He gets big baskets with some regularity.

    CTC has brought a great bunch of people to IU to play basketball. Enjoy it. (yes, I know Pritch’s recruitment history).

  62. I promised not to bash Verdell until tomorrow,but this discussion has inspired me.Crean was very complimentary toward verdell,giving him credit for his defense.Several here have remarked that Gordy got some of those stops.Why does Crean do it?I have never heard him criticize Verdud.Is Crean resigned to the thought that jones is the best we can do?I might as well build him up?Or is he actually defending his choice of going with this stiff?Whatever jones should be pulled more often and might even have become an effective player if that had happened.Thank god for this site so Crean can benefit from our analysis,now will someone please tell him to read it?I think Crean should have played Sheehey and Oladipo more last year and often said so,he is making the same mistake with abell this year.anybody agree?

  63. Sheehey has not been available. How many times does it have to be repeated to explain Crean had no better option?

    Like I said, I’m not claiming every turnover Jones makes is forced. With limited options in guards that can get around taller defenders, or shoot over taller defenders, there just isn’t an ideal portfolio. I thought Verdell’s overall shooting % was higher. He has a nice looking stroke and maybe he’s not shooting the mid-range stuff as much as previous years. He has been to the line 44 more times than Jordan Hulls…He has almost as many attempts from the stripe as Zeller. He’s achieved those trips to the line with around 30% fewer attempts from the field than most guys seeing substantial minutes. I think that tells you which player is getting to the basket, or is at least getting in position to draw a foul. He’s hitting the second highest percentage from the line(.754).

    Hulls is a dynamite free throw shooter that rarely gains us much advantage because he doesn’t get into the defense enough to draw a foul. Our best shooter isn’t getting enough looks from the outside nor is he earning enough trips to the line. Answers?

    Where is the guard on this team that can get inside enough to draw attention but yet be respected from the outside? Put one 5-star guard next to Hulls and this team is nearly unstoppable.

    I’m confident that Hulls will seesaw back into another strong performance and seize future opportunities in games that pose better match-ups for him.

    I must get back to my Friday night strip poker game with the gals that work the Denny’s breakfast shift.

  64. Sounds enticing… I think you are to something there Harvard. There isn’t a good option for a penetrating guard. Jones is definitely not the answer. Hulls will never be that type of player. That’s why the emphasis should be put on the inside out game and transition.

    IU has exceeded my expectations, but now suddenly I expect more. Now I see the potential. Now they need to make the next leap in improvement, which is running the offense through Zeller. Once that is done I think it will make everyones life a lot easier. Attacking a seam off a kick out when a defender is recovering to you is a lot easier than trying to break a man down one-on-one.
    Because of Zeller’s efficiency he should demand double teams (or score at a high rate) and that will create opportunities for our slower or more turnover prone guards.

  65. I see a lot of people that are new here. I was a b-sport athlete at IU and I can say without reservation that you guys are the most negative, obnoxious people on the planet. I love Indiana and IU but you guys make me happy I don’t live there anymore. Verdell played a good game. Yeah, he made some mistakes at a critical time in the game, but he also brought it on D and at least 2 of his turnovers were the fault of the people on the other end of the pass – including one to Zeller that should have been a dunk. But it isn’t just that. There is only really one stat that matters – and the team was on the right side of that one. My guess is that you obnoxious jerks that complain constantly (Geoff for instance) have sad, small lives and you don’t do much that anyone would consider important. The reason I think this is that I know wildly successful people and am a moderately successful person myself. The wildly successful people I know don’t point a lot of fingers or complain a lot about the performance of others – they are universally positive and they make everyone around them better. You guys – frankly – don’t. And while I respect your right to have an opinion, my guess is there isn’t a single commenter on this site that has been at the pinnacle of any sport as an athlete or as a coach and as such, your opinions are to be taken at face value.

  66. Why not add 2 cents to this one.

    I can tell by looking at Mr. Jones that he is not a Coach Knight type player. What I mean is this: when he screws up and you yell at him, he sinks into a cave, resents the criticism, and does not improve.

    Coach Crean is not a negative consequence coach publicly and maybe hardly one privately. He knows what players need to hear and not hear. You tell VJ what he does wrong some other time, and with calm words, not in a game where his presence is necessary.

    As far as feeding the post, I think that VJ is about normal for someone not having a post threat in his first 3 years of school (minus the first 5-6 games to ‘the Pritch’). What does bother me about the team is the unnecessary collapsing or helping on defense. With just a touch more patience and discipline, we could be well on our way to playing good/great team D.

    And lastly, does anyone offer any rational explanation as to the zero confidence/no shots allowed for Tom Pritchard? He has been, and will remain my favorite player during these past years.

  67. I don’t know about the rest ya all, but he summed up me perfectly.

    It’s all in fun, OldIUGymnast…The world is a very serious place and if we have to take ourselves too seriously in every corner its harsh and empty Facebook reality, then what on earth is the damn point?

    Being positive and moderately successful seems to have done nothing for your wildly shallow and arrogant take on everyone here. What the hell happened? Did a set of unkind uneven bars knock your balls forever into the back of your skull?

  68. I hope to hear more of your thoughts Gymnast. You obviously don’t read enough posts. I have taken both the positive and critical side of things on this blog, and I’m pretty sure anyone who pays any attention to me will back that up.

    I am sure your understanding of basketball, as a former IU gymnast, is far superior to mine. Can’t wait for the ensuing lessons.

    My mother considers my life important. Not sure about my wife… I am pretty sure though. Also, my dog adores me. Thanks for the negativity, we seem to be wearing off on you.

  69. By the way, gymnast, people were having this big debate about a month ago whether Tebow was a good QB or not… Whether he was the future of the Broncos… Whether he was the reason they were winning games. Well were there issues even when the Broncos were winning 7 of 8 games… Yeah. They sucked on offense. Their defense and special teams were the main reason they won. Now Denver and Tebow are being exposed.

    Winning is great, but I want sustained success. I don’t think we can continue to win in this fashion. We have (for once!) received the benefit of some iffy refereeing. We have shot the ball from the perimeter at an amazing and record breaking rate. We have played every meaningful game that we have won at Assembly Hall.

    In my opinion we will will not continue to beat good teams playing the way we are right now. I was proud of the way we played a MSU, but we lost that game. I want to improve so we have a chance to beat good teams on the road and when we don’t get the calls. I want to make a deep run in the tourney THIS year. I think we have the talent and grit to do it! Is that negative? Oh, and by the way I love Crean. For every one criticism I said on this blog I have defended him ten times.

    The fact is that Verdell has been sucking on offense. Sorry if your gymnast eyes don’t see it. The fact is that Cody doesn’t get enough post touches. Sorry if that sounds negative.

    I apologize for wanting the team to improve in their areas of weakness.

    Please tutor me now… Tell me how I should just be a happy Denver Broncos fan. Hey we’re winning games! So what if there are some serious flaws… Just enjoy it Geoff, and pretend that everything is okay. Pretend that you didn’t play college basketball. Pretend you didn’t coach high schools and college for years. Pretend you haven’t studied the game all your life. Seriously Geoff, everything is okay. Can’t you see IU is going to the final four this year despite Verdell’s constant errors and IU’s inability to get Cody quality looks throughout the game. We are good right where we’re at Geoff. Nothing more to do than cheer.

    Going to bed now.

  70. Well, I have an alphabet soup of letters after my name and I have a very rewarding job that allows me to work 2 days a week commuting from my cabin in the mountains.

    But your criticism has opened me up to the failure that I truly am.

    I’m sure I’ll thank you…when the hurting stops.

  71. The appropriate nickname for Jones is “Too Damn Confident”.

    OldIUbsportsGymnast, I’ll not waste much o2 on you other than say you had the balance for gymnastics but lack the vision for BB. You have made a profound impact to the viability to this discussion, totally verified by the overwhelming number of replies your post has generated.

  72. Ok hears the thing ,we have 5 players who can flat make plays.Oladipo,Hulls,Watford,Sheehey,and CommanderCody.We have 1 player who thinks he’s a can make plays and often proves the opposite,Jones.He should be relegated to a complimentary role.He should be told not to try and make solo plays himself,and pulled when he makes ANY silly turnovers.Now can we please stop attacking each other and and get back to trashing Verdud?

  73. Why are we complaining when we are 14/1?Well,last two years we saw many mistakes but had low expectations.So.no big deal.Now however,we see a team that could go far maybe just maybe even a final four team.We are vastly improved,and expectations go up.We see a team that needs to improve some mistakes or we will get beat down the road.It’s easy to imagine losing to Duke,etc when verdell blows 5 possessions for no good reason.we want this team to reach it’s potential.All you Verdell defenders,do you or do you not cringe when he has the ball in the last possessions of an even game?

  74. Who in their right mind could be impressed by Pritchard? The guy is a walking disaster. Every time I see him coming into the game, I get nervous. The team seems to not only lose the flow and momentum, but his play causes damage. He fouls, slows the game down, no threat offensively, allows the other team to help on others easily, etc…

  75. I think we should start bashing Cody.

    A. I’ve caught him on the bench smiling too much(it really bothers me when he does this during close games).

    B. Where’s the Benson hook shot?

    C. Shares the first name of Kathie Lee Gifford’s son.

    D. Didn’t decommit like Gunner though his name also contains two matching letter in the middle and ends in ‘e’ and ‘r.’

    E. He fails to realize he embarrasses Jordy with his quicker first step.

    F. Still no nickname that has stuck.

    G. Has not broken Verdell of his spin move.

  76. I can’t believe we wasted a scholarship on him. Bob’s Auto Repair and Sheet Metal rating service only gave him 2 ‘spot welds’. Alford never would have made THAT mistake.

  77. For the record – I don’t remember saying I was an expert BBall analyst or even a great player. I just come here everyday and it sucks reading through these posts by a bunch of people who I am guessing aren’t college basketball coaches or former players. You guys are totally dumping VJ and while I recognize that he makes mistakes and tries to do to much sometimes, he also does some things very well – and the stat that matters came out in IU’s favor. I don’t think everyone here is obnoxious – but do you think maybe you could figure out a way to point out someone’s mistakes without taking personal shots at someones character? And I am not against discipline and believe me, recognize the value of hard work. That said, nobody posting here is a coach at IU and I doubt IU’s athletic department would give any one of us a second look for even the towel boy job. Oh – and on another note – RMK isn’t and will never again be the coach of IU Basketball. Get over it. And this is coming from a big fan of Coach Knight. Coach Crean is not and will never be the same person as Coach Knight – which is going to have both positive and negative consequences. And as it turns out – everyone is in this boat. We are all different and it works for us and against us. All I ask is that we all try to be positive – which does not mean I think you shouldn’t talk about mistakes. It does mean you shouldn’t use adjectives like “garbage” and verbs like “sucks” to describe the young men that are busting their asses so we have something to do when basketball season comes around.

    I lost my temper with all the negative and more importantly personal negativity last night and I am sure you are all people I would like if I knew you in a different circumstance – and if we lived close enough to have a beer together – I would buy the first round for being a dick last night. That said – I do wish people would not be so overtly negative. I honestly believe that these guys will get enough of that from their coaches and themselves when they make big mistakes and that it doesn’t help to have a message board devoted to abusing VJIII. I actually do like the conversations about basketball and I learn a few things here and there – but the VJ sucks stuff is really, well, not my style and I personally think its obnoxious. Last night reading the posts I just imagined all the mouth breathing idiots I grew up with near Ft. Wayne and knowing that they are still occupying the same bar stools they were on when I moved away 20 years ago. That was unfair and I apologize.

    Congrats on the alphabet soup and the cabin in the mountains Chet – pretty much my gig too. In fact, looking down on the Monterey Bay from my humble place right this minute enjoying a rare clear and sunny day.

  78. Fair enough.
    Beautiful area. Got a buddy in Aptos, outside of Santa Cruz. My sister went to school in Monterey. I once heard Carlos Santana playing in a bar in Santa Cruz.

  79. I don’t think everyone here is obnoxious – but do you think maybe you could figure out a way to point out someone’s mistakes without taking personal shots at someones character?

    Am I missing something. Is that not what I was attempting to do throughout this thread? Wow..I need to really work on my communication skills. I’ve seen you over on Hoosier Hype, OldGymnast. You’ve done the same back up the dump truck trick over there. You’ve got a score to settle from some past. It has absolutely nothing to do with bleeding cream and crimson or naming yourself to VJ’s defense team.

    Please show me where I was attacking VJ with overly personal and negative words like “sucks” on this thread. You paint with a wide brush and see what you want to see. Blind is your accusations and in my humble opinion that is far worse than anything said about VJ on this or any other thread. That’s not fair enough. You best reread my comments on here because your desire to attack overwhelmed your perceptions.

  80. Harvard – that comment was not directed at you and yeah – I get it, I did the same thing that annoys me and that is pretty lame. Again, it wasn’t fair and I apologize. And yeah – I grew up with a lot of obnoxious people who believe that bad is as good as anything gets and I probably overreacted as a result. Like I said – I wasn’t being fair, I am sorry for that and I don’t know what else I can do. That said, in the first 10 posts on this page VJ was called a lot of names, including garbage and was accused of generally sucking. It isn’t needed and I don’t dig the negativity. And yeah, I was really negative about the negative people and pretty much got personal about it – so I get it, it was pretty ironic and lame. So hope you can forgive me and like I said – I get annoyed with negative people everywhere and I love Indiana and I think the only thing about the whole state that annoys me is that the negative people seem to outnumber the positive people and tend to get taken more seriously and it drags down the state. And that is too dang bad.

  81. I’ve had more than my share of ugly moments on this blog. I accept your apology along with your oversight in giving my name an exception. I certainly don’t pretend to be all-knowing nor free of numerous times when keeping my mouth shut would be a classier thing to do.

    Many years ago(likely almost 20) I drove along the winding cliffs of the Big Sur under the glow of a midnight moon reflecting upon the ocean waters….A beautiful area you live. Have you ever been to Capitola? I really fell in love with that town…I remember a wonderful bakery and the unpretentious nature the place..Unusual for a coastal California town. Probably a lot has changed.

    Sorry about the uneven bars comment. I don’t think guys even compete in the uneven bars. I’m not ashamed to say that I really get into watching gymnastic competitions during the Summer Olympic games..Swimming is the other favorite.

  82. OK, so as not to be abusive or negative about the character of any individual I will choose my words more politically correct. There is a player on the IU BB team that very often makes terrible decisions with the ball and attempts clutch time plays that turn into garbage. I will not tell you his name but will give you his initials. They are Verdell Jones III. It is tough satisfying the State of Entitlement on the left coast but that should suffice.

  83. I thought his initials were Christian Watford…?

    Can we all just go on a Hoosier cruise together?

  84. My ‘official’ position. I believe that VJIII has a solid set of basketball skills and he is a strong contributor to the team. As has been mentioned, he gets into the lane, which is not our strong suit (though, talent-wise, VO is far more capable at penetrating). I also think that he frequently attempts to do too much and gets outside his talent envelope, which sometimes results in foolish turnovers. This seems to occur more frequently at ‘crunch time’. I would guess that it is because he feels that, as a senior, he should be the player to take over the game. Unfortunately, he does not have the physical skills to take over a game and games are best ‘taken over’ by team play, not individual actions, anyway. From what I see on my TV he seems to provide senior leadership. He has been a loyal soldier during a difficult time and he has never done anything to tarnish the reputation of the university. While he has come close to costing us a couple games I doubt that we would be 14-1 without his skill set.

    FWIW, I wasn’t offended by your comments. Quite frankly, while postings frequently amuse me and sometimes make me laugh out loud, I can’t really think of anything that someone I don’t know could possibly say that would bother me. Folks on the Scoop fall into two groups, as far as I’m concerned, those I like and those I ignore (OK, sometimes I poke fun). The ONLY reason I come on here is because it’s fun. I don’t have any axes to grind.

  85. I would guess that it is because he feels that, as a senior, he should be the player to take over the game.

    I agree…But I would also qualify that just a bit. I think Hulls needs to be less risk-averse. He needs to take the shot at smallest window of opportunity. Hulls is better than his passive tendencies of late. He’s got to find a way to get fouled..We have to find a way to put the ball in Hulls hands in the final moments of close games. It’s hard to completely criticize Jones for attempting to get to the hoop when his counterpart is struggling to do the same or the coach is not designing schemes to free our most accurate deep threats.

  86. Geoff- your psychology fascinates me. The team is 14-1 and vastly outperforming expectations; almost assured an NCAA berth. Yet you are suddenly “worried” and “concerned.” Three months ago, you would be beyond ecstatic if told of the team’s outcome thus far. I wonder how people enjoy life with this type of attitude which doesn’t allow for a deep breath and an appreciation of the moment. Enjoy the ride, man!

  87. Lesson 1 – don’t post at 3 am after a double scotch…

    I completely agree with Chet post #103, I will make that my “official position” as well

    I also completely agree with Clarion posts #90 & 101, so those will be my “unofficial positions”

    I am pretty sure Gymnast was pissed at me because line 1 of post #1 said that “Jones sucks”

    @Steve – I try to be as fascinating as possible… I have admitted that I would have been thrilled by a 14-1 record 2 months ago, but that was before I had any real expectations for this team. I didn’t see the meteoric jump from Sheehey and especially Dipo. I thought we’d be a middle of the pack B1G team that had an outside chance of making the tourney, but was more likely an NIT team. And I thought that was an acceptable amount of improvement on our way back to the big time…

    However, knowing what I know now and seeing what we’ve seen, I think it’s totally acceptable to change my/our expectations. I am “ecstatic” that we are 14-1, and that we have beaten the teams that we have. However, now that my expectations have been raised and I think that this team has a final four calibre rotation I have to take a forward look and not just bathe in the glory of our home victories. There are a couple obvious areas of improvement, and there are some mistakes that seem easily correctable. It must be the coach in me… I remember the losses more than the wins, and I dwell on the mistakes more than the things that are done correctly – at least in basketball. I am actually quite different than that in real life, but for whatever reason basketball is my passion…

  88. Steve and anyone else who wants to answer…

    How comfortable do you feel relying on the following?

    1) IU continues to get the benefit of the refereeing
    2) IU continues to shoot 50% as a team from 3-point range
    3) IU continues to play 80% of their games at Assembly Hall

    If you believe all of those will happen for the remainder of the season than I won’t worry or be concerned. I am pretty sure that under the above conditions, with this group remaining healthy, IU can continue to win 90+% of their games.

    I just would be amazed if the first 2 continue to happen, and obviously the 3rd will not. I also know for a fact that not a single NCAA tourney game is being played at Assembly Hall this year.

    Since I don’t believe 1, 2, or 3 I feel I must look at how this team can improve. I am a fascinating dude…

  89. “Comfortable”? I am comfortable that we are relevant again, both nationally and in the Big 10. I am comfortable that we have beat 3 top-25 teams for the first time in 5 years. I am comfortable that this is all happening during what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. I don’t care if we play .500 ball the rest of the way and lose in the first round of the tourney. This year has already become a herculean step forward.

    If you wish to constantly shift your expectations, then good luck to you. It’s a dangerous game. I hope you have plenty of Jameson in your liquor cabinet to drown your sorrows.

  90. So, you thought we were getting “the benefit of the refereeing” today?
    Hmmm.

    Fortunately they improved their 3-point shooting. We have a bunch of great 3-point shooters. What do you want?

    Look at North Carolina’s or Kentucky’s or Syracuse’s schedule. Even when the do play a road game it’s in Louisville (UK) or NYC (Syracuse). That’s what the big boys do.

  91. Geoff could suck the fun out of a fun house.

    “It’s all mirrors!…It’s all mirrors!…That’s not a scary face..That’s Jordan Hulls after being cut from the NBA development league…Don’t stare at the spiraling thing too long or you’ll think the floor is starting to move…This fun house still hasn’t proven it can be funny when it goes on the road into a more hostile carnival….I’m just a realist..I want this fun house to maintain its fun..I am having fun, but is it fun enough? I want to have as much fun as the next fun house participant, but what fun is worth having if it isn’t fun all the time? Can this fun house maintain its fun?…Time to go to the theatre..Were going to see a comedy…It should be a lot of fun..Damn it.”

    Go fun!

  92. Harvard – Love Capitola. Great place. My kid and I go rent a boat at the pier every couple of saturdays. For 20 bucks I can’t think of a better way to entertain and educate a 4 year old than taking a boat out among the dolphins, otters and sea birds. We even catch a couple of surf perch and kelp bass now and then. That said – I try to get to Big Sur whenever I have the time. That place is just special. If you ever find your way out here again, give me a heads up and I will get you a map to some hidden treasures. And whoever it was that called us left coasters entitled – thats pretty funny. Outside of the palm trees and mountains – people here are just like people in Indiana. Nobody wants to pay taxes and everybody expects the best advantages possible, and everybody talks a big game about how super cool they are and how not super cool those people over there are. I think if you spent a little time out here you would be surprised at how hard people work. I wish I didn’t – seriously – It was tough last week when it was 70 degrees outside and the big wave surfers were out doing crazy things to keep my head down at work!

    On today’s game – wow was that fun. And while I think there were some interesting calls and some mistakes on D, it was a fun one to watch and I am glad we came out on the winning end. Any road win in the B1G should be considered a happy outcome. And how about that Roth kids stroke with the big guy’s hand in his face!

  93. I’ll definitely take you up on the treasure map..I hope one day I can get out there again.

    And what a shooting clinic from the perimeter Roth and Hulls put on today…Wow.

  94. Yeah, it’s become obvious that basketball is a completely different thing for you than for me Gymnast.

    Just curious, if your kid were to go out his senior year and get all A’s the first semester, after getting all D’s for his last 3 years, would you then be satisfied with C’s the second semester? Or now that you saw something new in him would your expectations change and maybe you would expect he continue to grow and get great grades… Even though you knew that the second semester work was going to get more difficult…

    Just wondering. I’m telling you that the second half of the season is going to be more difficult. I think that the team is capable of continuing to get A’s, but not if they do what they did in the first half of the season. .. That just won’t fly anymore.

  95. Geoff, what do you do for fun? You seem to have a hard time enjoying this crazy, wildly successful season. The way you are reacting to wins makes me worry about how a loss might affect you.

    I mean, ‘he who shall not be named’ is still trying to lose games at the end and there were tons of things I didn’t like much, either, but this team is good enough to overcome those things. PSU is a quirky team. They crushed Purdue. We won and live to fight another day. Soak it in.

    Smell the roses, guy.

  96. Indiana will win BIGTEN an make finale four.its as sure as hulls an roth raining 3 pointers.Go Hoosiers

  97. “Geoff, what do you do for fun?”

    I bet Geoff plays slow music for Maine tourists while he hungers for Jordy’s 3-point touch.

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