Three-pointers help Hoosiers get by Penn State, 88-82

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Indiana made twice as many 3-pointers as shots inside the arc on Sunday afternoon, and needed just about every one of them.

Junior guard Jordan Hulls hit seven of his nine 3-pointers for a career-high 28 points while senior guard Matt Roth had 22 to lead Indiana to an 88-82 win over a scrappy Penn State team that refused to go away in front of 8,250 at the Bryce Jordan Center.

It was the Hoosiers’ third road win of the season but their first in a conference game since Jan. 21, 2010, snapping a 16-game Big Ten road losing streak. The victim in the Hoosiers last Big Ten road victory —the only other Big Ten road win in Tom Crean’s tenure — was also Penn State.

“It’s always hard to win on the road in the Big Ten,” Hulls said. “Great conference that we’re in. It’s definitely a big accomplishment for us, but we’ve gotta keep it going and get better every day with that.”

Fans might have expected the No. 12 Hoosiers to win handily over a Penn State team in its first year under new coach Pat Chambers and coming off the graduation of star guard Talor Battle among other major contributors to last year’s NCAA Tournament squad. The Lions hae had their struggles, sufferent losses to St. Joseph’s, Lafayette, Duquesne and Northwestern among others. The Nittany Lions (9-8) were coming off a win over Purdue, however, and Indiana coach Tom Crean said the Hoosiers were expecting the fight that they got.

“If you don’t practice hard and you don’t practice with toughness, you’re not gonna beat Penn State,” Crean said. “They’re gonna beat teams. There’s no question about it. The other night, that didn’t look like a fluke to me. They play extremely hard. They battle. They go after it.”

They did, even though it appeared the Hoosiers were going to shoot Penn State out of its own gym.

The Nittany Lions mixed 2-3 and 3-2 zones to pack the lane and keep Indiana forwards Cody Zeller and Christian Watford from doing much inside. Zeller and Watford both managed 10 points, but Watford did it on 2-for-10 shooting — with both of his field goals coming from beyond the arc —, and only 10 of Indiana’s 88 points came in the paint.

But the Hoosiers were still able to work from inside-out even if they didn’t score in the paint. Indiana got Penn State’s defense to collapse on drive and kicks and post touches. They finished with 17 assists and shot 16-for-24 from beyond the arc. The 16 3-pointers are one short of a team record for a game, as the Hoosiers made 17 against Illinois in 2002 and Penn State in 2007.

“I was just finding the open spots and my teammates were finding me,” Hulls said. “I was able to knock them down. Matt was able to knock them down. It was just a good shooting night for us. We gotta just attack. Get it inside. Get that inside presence established and kick it back out. That’s what worked out. … I was hitting in the first half and Matt came in and hit some big ones in the second half. That’s just on our part getting in the lane, kicking it out and finding the open man.”

Still, Penn State rallied behind the play of guards Tim Frazier and Jermaine Marshall, who knifed into the lane for 21 points and 20 points respectively, and refused to give in even when the Hoosiers built an 11-point lead in the first half, or even when the held a 10-point lead with 3:09 to go. Penn State went on an 11-3 run thanks in large part to two costly turnovers by Hulls to cut Indiana’s lead to 80-78 with 35 seconds to go, then to 84-82 with 21 seconds left.

The Hoosiers held them off however, because Roth and Hulls converted their 3-point success to the free throw line. The typically automatic Hulls, who recently broke a string of 58 straight made free throws, missed his first two, but then made his next seven, including six in the last 1:22. Roth hit four in that stretch to help Indiana hold the Lions off.

Indiana sophomore guard Will Sheehey warmed up with the team and dressed, but was not available to play. He has missed five games since suffering a left ankle injury on Dec. 21.

“He’s close,” Crean said. “But he’s not there yet.”

AUDIO: Tim Frazier and Jermaine Marshall

AUDIO: Tom Crean

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls and Matt Roth

AUDIO: Pat Chambers

68 comments

  1. It will get ugly for this team at some point if they don’t learn to close out games when they lead by double digits.

  2. Never seen a 10 point lead so irrelevant as in this game…seems like every time we hit a “dagger” 3 pointer to give us a 10 or 11 point lead, it was back to 3 points within 60 seconds…a tough fight, but you take the road wins as they come.

    Great, I repeat GREAT clutch free throw shooting from Hulls and Roth in the final minutes. Talk about icewater in the veins…

  3. GREAT WIN….Probably too many missed free throws. Can not have that happen in close games, but Hulls and Roth got them when we needed them most. Penn State was still fired up after smoking Purdue, plus introducing there new football coach. How many times over the years has something like that happened just about the time IU comes to town.Hopefully we can Sheehey back in time for the Ohio State game. One game the two big guys get the job done, this time guards get it down, talk about balance.Just think how good we could be if everyone had there A game at once…GO HOOSIERS. TOM CREAN COACH OF YEAR

  4. We need will back immediately so VJ will no longer play. VJIII is terrible! Elstons shot selection is insane as well

  5. Mike – Elston’s a clunker, no doubt about it. All this VJ-bashing has overshadowed the fact. He reminds me of Lance Stemler in his senior year…seemed to get worse with experience.

  6. Hopefully Coach Crean and staff will see in film what we as fans see.VJIII just doesn’t have it.He has played well in a few games but he almost by himself cost us this game today.Roth has sit and never complained that I have ever heard of..Will is nearly ready to be back..Abdell is getting better…start Jordan at point…Roth at shooting guard…CZ..CW…VO..then bring VJII and Remy in off the bench.Roth is the kind of kid every body is pulling for..let him shine now and let him play and start.Coach Crean is doing a great job..if this team would have won 15-17 games this year and go to the NIT..he should be National Coach of The Year.I think we will pass that mark easily and NCAA is almost a given.And remember…this was just suppose to be the year showed some improvement and next year we made the move…I think we win 23-25 games this year a win or two in the tournament then next year 26-30 wins and a Elite 8 or Final Four.

  7. Chet, no I did not think we got the benefit of the refereeing today… And I think that we can’t count on it ever. That’s that point.

    We had to have an historic shooting night just to pull this game out. Hey I’ll take every win. I am happy we won. Sorry if I am spoiling the fun for some others, but I don’t think we can count on having 2 guys go 12-15 from 3 every game on the road. Just doesn’t seem reasonable.

    I liked the minute distribution a lot better tonight and agree that Roth should get more of Jones minutes, its a no brainier if hes hitting, but he also does some other things when he isnt, like keep a helpside defender occupied, and doesn’t make stupid turnovers, and of course he hits his FT’s.

    I will be more than happy later this week to do a break down of VJ3’s crunch time statistics. I’ll break down the last 5 minutes of all the games within 15 points and see how he’s doing. Should be revealing.

    So, more fun-sucking(?) for a minute – today is precisely my point about our chances going forward. Does anyone here think that PSU is a NCAA tourney team? Me neither. On the road, we didn’t get the calls, and we barely escape with a win against an inferior team because we shot absolutely lights out. If Hulls and Roth “only” hit 50% of their 3’s we would have lost by close to 10 points.

    We still need to improve our interior offense. We still need to be concerned with Jones almost losing games by himself down the stretch. Today was just another example.

  8. Gymnast, do you think Crean or any of the players on the team would be satisfied with winning 50% of the games from here on out and getting bounced in the first round of the tourney? I believe I am taking a similar perspective to what their expectations might be going forward…

    Think about that for a second before you try to say how negative I am.

  9. While ‘they’ frittered away a lead they, once again, sealed the deal. A lesser team would have collapsed under the miscues and missed free throws down the stretch. It got tight but they did what they had to to win. I think a timely foul called on the Hoosiers, and the resultant personnel change, stopped the hemorrhaging.
    There certainly is no recipe to stop the Hoosiers. Every game has a different hero. Hurry back Will. Maybe that 18 minutes can be trimmed a bit more.

  10. i can’t wait for those final five minutes of the game stats on VJ3. i have defended him all season but can no longer do so. it looks like during the final five minutes of a game he panics.

  11. Geoff- I appreciate your basketball observations – and I think you have a lot of good to say – but you are in your own world, buddy.

    Penn St. beat Purdue, a 13-4 team and preseason pick to finish in the upper echelon of the Big 10, by 20 points. Need I repeat? 20 points !!!! This is a Purdue team in its own right that beat the equally-hyped 14-3 Illini by 15 points!!! We should consider ourselves quite lucky to escape Happy Valley with a W.

    You can go along pointing out weaknesses and deficiencies with the Hoosiers; most of us agree with those deficiencies. But the larger point is, being a fan of a sports team means riding the wave and hoping the team overcomes said deficiencies, not sitting around biting your fingernails and obsessing like a little worry-wart!!!

    Ryan wrote a nice piece a week or so ago about now being the time to temper – not increase- expectations. I think he was right on. We can’t just pretend that because of a hot start we are suddenly back to 2002 and we should expect a Final Four.

    I can only imagine if you were a Buffalo Bills fan. You’d be setting your sights for the Super Bowl after this year’s 5-1 start and victory of the Patriots, and demanding nothing less.

  12. Not only is VJ’s shot selection and ball handling terrible…he KILLS us from the line…the FREE throw line…might as well add another turnover to him. Roth is the kind of kid who wont have an off day…he might miss a couple but if he keeps shooting, hes TOO pure or a 3 point shooter to keep missing. He was a liability on D in previous years, but hes doing a better job. With Will back, I dont think Roth starts, but hes needs to be in the rotation MUCH more. I know Crean doesnt read this board, but Im telling him, if he doesnt fix VJ or sit him down, VJIII WILL get booed by the IU fans. I would hate to see this, but i know the fans in the Hall are just as pissed as I am watching thousands of miles away.

  13. Although ugly at times, this was a critical win because it allowed the players to believe they can win on the road in the Big Ten. As Purdue discovered Thursday night, winning away games in the Big Ten is very difficult.

    I’m thinking VJIII is bothered by his hip injury and is fatigued. He’s tired and he needs some rest in the next two or three games. I’m not saying benching him, just reducing his minutes. Time to let some of his teammates pick up the slack so he can recover physically and mentally.

  14. HEY! Indiana University men’s Basketball team is 15 – 1. 15 and 1!

    Did anyone believe IU would be 15 – 1? I certainly did not believe, even in my most optimistic scenarios, that IU would achieve a record of 15 – 1 with about half the season completed.

    I think we’ll now be ranked in the top 10 on Monday. What a great achievement for this group of young men. And I think we’ll be 18 – 2 going into Madison. If we can beat Wisc in Madison, then I think this team has something extremely special going on.

    Tom Crean, I salute you. You persevered and worked your butt off and have brought IU BB back from three years of despair. I congratulate you on your fortitude and your talent in getting this group of young men to play together so well. They have mental toughness, they believe in each other, and they find ways to win. This IU team is very exciting to watch.

  15. Great quote on the IDS site, “But even the elite teams don’t worry about style points when it comes to winning conference games on the road.”

    True.

  16. Podunker…”And I think we’ll be 18 – 2 going into Madison. If we can beat Wisc in Madison, then I think this team has something extremely special going on.”

    Podunker,,, don’t ever…ever…stop writing!

  17. I haven’t read all the comments yet, but VJ almost costing us this game? Hulls made two very ugly turnovers in the final minutes. Jordy had no problem labeling his own mistakes as inexcusable.

    Penn State is a better team than billed. They’ll knock off some upper tier Big 10 teams on their floor.

    Hulls did a nice job this game getting into the lane and kicking the ball back out to the perimeter. He also shot the ball decently..I’d say it was funsuckerlicious fo’ sho. Rather stupid a desperation heave from 40 feet off of a Hulls’ steal to end the first half goes in the books as a missed 3-point attempt. Hulls was basically 7 of 8 from the field and Roth was 5 of 6.

    There is no recipe for winning. There is only winning based on the ingredients that are offered ..Their is a given talent of the chef, but creativity with different sets of ingredients shines in each situation uniquely based on changing scenarios and ongoing outcomes in each kitchen..Each game is like a “Chopped” challenge on Food Network. Tonight we weren’t so hot in the dessert round, but the main course was a delight. There’s not a damn thing wrong with winning the way the Hoosiers did today. Case in point: After the Duke game in the regional semi of 2002(more of a chess match and inside battle), the Hoosiers came right back two nights later and put on an aerial assault from 3-point land against Kent State in the regional final.

    I’m not going to research it, but until today, it would be my guess the game against Kent State in 2002 was also a previous holder of a top spot in the record books for 3-pointers made by a Hoosier team.

    And for those of you that assume I’ve never coached the game of basketball like Geoff Funzucker.

  18. Did anyone notice that awesome feed from Zeller at the top of the key to Watford down low? Maybe Zeller should be our point guard, or at least give them some lessons on how to feed a big man…

    I’d like to think that if Hulls and Roth were not shooting lights out, that we would have adjusted our game plan and found a different way to win. Perhaps if PSU guarded them more tightly and shut them down, that would have left our big guys open underneath and they would have had a better game.

    15-1. I thought I was being bold when I predicted 18 wins this season…

  19. Chet & Steve in Ottawa-

    Excellent assessments from both of you. What I think I like the most about this team is the fact they don’t take any team for granted. I don’t give a damn if the wins against Kentucky and OSU were at home. A true testament to the character and coaching of this team is that they have not lost sight of being humble(e.g. Jordy’s comments about his nasty turnovers and his bit of misstep on his usual free throw expertise) in victory and have yet to totally let their guards down or let heads swell. I think that’s pretty amazing they’ve stayed grounded considering the disappointments from the last three years. Give VJ a damn break! The kid has more balls than a billiard table.

    This team stays hungry and looks unsatisfied. There is no cockiness or “in your face” attitude on flashy plays. You didn’t see Roth and Hulls searching for cameras and giving that typical “I’m unstoppable” look on their faces after each draining of a three. It’s all business from start to finish. The beauty of all this pleasant success is that they seem to instinctively understand what Geoff thinks the rest of us don’t. Dose that make any sense?

  20. Does that make any sense?

    Almost forgot..

    Steve in Ottawa- Thank you for the “dead-on” comment on the other thread. Hope Remy continues to play a role in this great ride.

  21. What was Valvano’s famous quote? “Survive and advance.” Penn State isn’t all that good (though Purdue might dispute that) but at home any Big Ten Team can beat another and this was a ‘Good’ win for IU. Indiana survived this road game and now is going to look toward moving on (advancing). The expression, “One game at a time” is really annoying for fans but players and coaches who are successful live that annoying expression. These guys have done really well so far and the only game they have to worry about is the next one.

  22. Harvard-

    Well-stated. More balls than a billiard table? First time I’ve heard that one. A bowling alley would also work with the metaphor.

    John- yeah that was some Zeller pass. For me, another shining moment was the fast break where the passing was so perfect that it looked like a practice drill. Ball didn’t touch the ground; Zeller fed Watford down low from the wing, then Wat back to Zeller for the bucket. A pretty thing.

  23. OH me,Oh my,Oh Verdell
    You fouled but all was well.
    You took one for the team
    To the dismay of Coach Crean
    But seeing your ass on the bench was sure swell!

  24. Frankly, I’m damn tired of people bashing any of our team. These young men bust their butts day in and day out for the team, our school, and each other. Who the hell are we to sit back in our living rooms and criticise these kids because they made some mistakes on the court. Can any of you tell me who, if any, 18-22 year old kids doesn’t make dumb mistakes on accasion? I know I made a few myself at that age. To further this diatribe, what do you complainers think a recruit would think reading this forum? I suggest he would not be so inclined to pick IU over another school knowing how we treat our team who some have stuck by us through some really bad times. I only pray that the team members as well as recruits know that the folks on here who are complaining are a very small group out of the hundreds of thousands of fans. And that they will know that the ones complaining on here would be at every game giving the chance. Some people just can’t be satisfied. I for one support our team no matter what the record shows…..each amd every one of them.

  25. We can sit on here and dissect every game, but I promise you the players and coaches aren’t doing that. You win, then your focus is the next game and what you can do better. This morning Jordy gets up and thinks about what he has to do to beat Minn. not about the missed free throws or the turnovers. That is what I like about this team and I think as a fan base we need to do the same thing. Enjoy the win whether it be a classic Indiana win(whatever that is) or a close game that was ugly. A win is a win. Move on and prepare to fight another day. My kids play sports and we have a 30 minute rule after games whether they win or lose. We talk about the game for 30 minutes after the game and then it is done and we move on. Sometimes it is shorter than that during AAU tournaments because you get done with one game sometimes you are playing again in 15-20 minutes.

  26. Don’t worry Druid; I think that coaches probably tell their players pretty really on to NEVER read anonymous forum postings.

  27. Druid, I would completely agree…if this were youth league and not a billion dollar enterprise. The universities, TV networks, and advertisers count on this sort of passion. They need our money to survive.

    While the players may seem to be at the bottom of the totem pole, they are getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in education at a great school. I’ve put three kids through college. It costs a fortune.

    After school the players will be privy to a network we could only dream of. Some of them may even become wealthy professional athletes. Either was, barring miscues, they can all be set for life. Don’t feel too sorry for them. They are are on top of the world. I’m pretty confident they are all savvy enough to know it.

    These forums aren’t harsh. SEC football, that’s harsh. Those guys burn down houses.

    We ALL love these guys. If we were at Nick’s and VJ walked in we’d fight over who would buy him dinner. He’s been around this stuff since he was five. This is just a bunch of guys talking about basketball. Don’t make it more than it is.

  28. Ha! “A bunch of guys talking basketball”? More often this site is like “Oprah” for men. On a typical day, when Tsao, Chet, Husky,, Jpat, Harvard, Podunker and Clarion are on their games, you will see applause, jubilance, anger, disbelief, soliloquies, diatribes, resolution, healing, and much more which bears an uncanny resemblance to the daytime TV circuit.

    Who ever said that males were simple creatures?

  29. 7Th! IU IS RANKED 7th! This is just too much fun. that ranking exceeded my expectations. I thought it would be ninth.

    I know it does not mean anything and that a team is only as good as it’s last effort, but it’s got to be rewarding for these young men that have worked so hard to return IU BB to prominence. I’m especially happy for the seniors, given what they faced during their first their first three seasons at IU.

    I hope they stay healthy, stay focused, and stay together.

  30. well said druid. i fell in that trap of complaining yesterday and i will not do it again. there is TOO much complaining about a team that is 15-1.

  31. OldSchoolHoosier “Hopefully Coach Crean and staff will see in film what we as fans see.VJIII just doesn’t have it.”

    I’m pretty certain CTC has had enough film opportunities to see VJ play over the past 4 years. And I am certain he’s more qualified than posters on the msg board here to pass judgement. I think VJones & Pritchard were the only two players that stayed when everyone else jumped the ship. I think there’s a sense of “owing” it to these two players for their commitment back then, rightfully so. I don’t think you get as far as this team has this year with poor overall coaching decisions and one player that starts and is so failure prone as some arm chair QB’s here put it.

    The team is just fine 7th & 8th in the polls, rising from uhhhh something like maybe 100th in preseason?????

    Even the “76” 32-0 team had close games, several squeakers!!!

  32. can never understand the substitionprocess, do know this Moore and Elston should never be on the floor at the same time that,s dumb. subs when we get a nice lead and then the way it goes.

  33. Larry I agree that Jones and Pritchard stayed at IU when they didn’t have to and also agree that some gratitude is owed them.But not at the expense of losing a game.If Jones had not fouled out..not sure we win that game.Penn State would have fouled Jones and he probably would have kept missing.Not saying Jones should not play…just not as much.Roth and Remy have earned the right I feel to play more minutes that Jones.With the play of Roth and Remy and Will coming back…I think those three players will help IU win more than Jones will.

  34. Steve – I am probably in a different world when it comes to basketball than you.

    You are misreading my desire for improvement as worrying a pond nail-biting. It is not. I am enjoying this, for the most part, the big picture part, but when I start to see trends it is hard for me to just say “aw shucks, I hope we can get away with that I the future.”

    There are 2 trends that are overwhelming (in a basketball sense) to me that need improvement. I have simply tried to break those two things down. To me that’s what this, and other similar sites are for. For you they are to come on here read a couple articles, peruse the comments, and then compliment your team. Fine and dandy. I like to dig a little deeper.

    I am more than aware of how hard it is to win on the road. I know that PSU beat Purdue by 20 – and Purdue beat someone, and then Illinois beat somebody… Anything can happen in one game. And since anything can happen in one game, I as a player and coach, like to see improvement in the areas of deficiency, in hopes that they don’t come back to bite us… WHEN IT REALLY IS “SURVIVE AND ADVANCE”

    That saying has nothing to do with the regular season. The regular season is for improving your team, positioning your team within your conference, and trying to improve your seed for the NCAA tournament.

    Some of you think it’s sad that some of us come on here and point out areas of weakness, thinking we should just be happy that IU is relevant and winning again. Well I think it’s sad that some IU fans are so satisfied with regular season wins that they seem to not care if certain trends, if not properly addressed, lead to an exit premature to this teams potential. I think like a Duke fan – “How can we make a run at this thing this year…?”. It seems that you’re thinking like a PSU fan this year – “Wow, that win against Purdue sure was nice. I hope we make the tournament this year.”

    By the way… I am a Pats fan. Not a Bills fan. All year we have been bitching about the defense because we think it may cost us a Super Bowl this year, despite the 13-3 record. Because we want TITLES… You Colts fans are too used to losing and maybe it’s showing through here. (that ought a get a response…). I would hate to see that happen to IU this year – maybe that will make sense to some of you.

    Chet – excellent again in post #29

  35. Geoff- I see what you are saying, and I am not against pointing out a team’s weakness.

    However I am not buying your argument that your basketball background compels you to worry about things that the average, happy-go-lucky Hoosier fan blissfully ignores or fails to see.

    I GUARANTEE you that there are legions of people in Hoosier Nation right now with a lot more experience than you who are NOT wasting time nitpicking deficiencies because it’s “championship or bust”. Id bet money that Keith Smart, Isaiah, Alford, you name it, any other alum, aren’t sitting around fretting over our imperfections.

    Most people realize that there is a middle ground you must climb through on your way to the top. Hoosier Nation- from the brains to the simpletons like myself- is ecstatic right now.

  36. First, I am NOT going to imply that watching your kids play ball is ANYTHING like watching these world class players compete. What I am going to say is that it is very easy to get emotionally invested, particularly if you know, and love, the game.
    Full disclosure, the first house I built had an 80′ by 50′ lighted basketball court with full sized steel basketball goals. I have watched my kids compete in NCAA championships. None of them in basketball.
    Don’t fault Geoff for knowing the game. I live in an area where most folks think they know basketball. Virtually none of them actually do. College basketball is awesome down here. Below that, not so much.
    When my kids played, all the parents thought their kids would play at Duke or Chapel Hill because they were great against other kids that were average. My kids went to Bobby Knight’s, Dean Smith’s and Coach K’s camps. My God, that will put you straight. I saw 10-year-olds that could play D2 point guard. My kids were all HS All Americans. But not in basketball.
    Geoff, I am sure, knows the game far better than I do. I think I know the game pretty darned well.
    Maybe I’m lucky that I can be more of a fan and less of an analyst. Right now, it’s a wonderful ride.

  37. Good points by Chet and Tyler; not much more to add other than this, for Geoff: the Patriots STILL might win the Super Bowl with their bad defense, just as the Colts did with theirs. That’s the crazy thing about sports: good teams can adjust in crunch time to address deficiencies. Not much sense, from a fans standpoint, to “kill yourself twice” anticipating a loss.

  38. Tyler – I am not nitpicking deficiencies, nor is my delight in this season based solely on a championship. Furthermore, I don’t think that the “common” Hoosier fan doesn’t see these things. To the contrary, actually, I am simply trying to quantify and expound what quite a large group of the fans on this site are saying.

    If you want me to nitpick I certainly can. I am only getting into the weeds on the two obvious areas of improvement – getting the ball to Cody and VJ3’s performance, especially at he end of games.

    My guess is that Alford is looking at areas of improvement for The Lobos, Smart is trying to get a better grip on things that will help the Kings, and Thomas is hitting on unsuspecting coeds somewhere in sunny FL. So yeah they probably aren’t fretting a lot about IU.

    So like all those legions of fans that understand there is middle ground to climb through, I am enjoying this season immensely. I am simply pointing out the areas that move us through the middle-ground into the sustained-success-ground.

    Any time you want to send one of the legions of more experienced to discuss things with me I’ll be happy to converse with them. I love talking with knowledgeable basketball fans, even when we disagree. You know right where to send them.

    Until then I hope you are able to enjoy the season as much as I am…

  39. @ iuhoosier1992 – do you really think the coaches at IU aren’t dissecting game film??? If so, they are the only coaching staff in the last 30 of college basketball (at any level) to employ that strategy… Christ, most Division III women’s programs disect game film.

    We always had a film session the day after a game when I played. We also had a basketball coaching class that everyone on the team took for credits (usually as sophs) where our game film was used as material.

    Of course there are always some guys on the team that only pay attention when the coach is talking directly at them, but the team leaders, in my experience, and almost always the PGs are always paying attention and taking it all in. It’s just part of being that extension of the coach on the floor.

    As a coach I/we always expected a little more from our PGs, so if you don’t think Hulls is obsessing over some of this stuff I think you’re naive. And if he truly isn’t then he has absolutely no shot at playing at the next level (sorry Harvard).

  40. I am simply pointing out the areas that move us through the middle-ground into the sustained-success-ground.

    Yes, Geoff, agreed; we seem to be close to on the same page. The only difference, then, seems to be a matter of timelines: While you, due to our unexpected success, suddenly seem to think we are an underachieving Final Four team, I still see this team as an overachieving bunch of scrappers, role players, and young still-maturing talent.

  41. @ Steve – I think it’s possible that NE wins another Super Bowl this year, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if we lost to Denver next week. That’s frustrating because we are supposed to have a defensive genius coaching us, but we have had some reall issues on that side of the ball the last couple years… and trust me it gets talked about up here constantly, whether we’re winning or not.

    As far as Colts fans go, isn’t it a little frustrating that they set the record for consecutive 12+ win seasons in NFL history, while having one of the 5 best QBs ever to play, surrounded by great offensive talent, and only have one title to show for it?

    I am frustrated that the Pats don’t have more over these last 12 years, and we have 3 times that many.

    I don’t hold IU to that standard right now, but I hope to hell they get back to the point where that isn’t just lip-service. I believe we can get back there very soon.

  42. geoff, where did you play and where have you coached? i am not being smart. i really would like to know. also while i do think you make good points, i do not think you know more about basketball or more about HIS team than tom crean. nobody knows about his or her team more than the coach.

  43. Nope… I agree that this team has over-achieved to this point. Wildly over-achieved. That is my concern. I think we actually have the talent, with a certain rotation of guys, to make a solid run in the tourney. However, I don’t think that will happen unless a couple things change.

    I am not saying that as of right now I think IU should be expertly getting Cody the ball. I just think that if we don’t improve in that area we don’t have a real shot at sustained success this year. I don’t see how we continue to shoot the 3 the way we have to this point. It is bordering on the best perimeter shooting team of all time… I mean come on. Has there ever been a team in NCAA history whose 3 most prolific shooters all shot over 50% from 3-pt range?

    As I’ve stated before, I think we can sustain this level of success if we play the rest of our games at home, continue to get the benefit of the refereeing against the best teams, and continue to shoot at the rate we have been. Just don’t think those things will happen, so in order to continue to feel the elation we are right now we’ll need to improve in other more controllable areas – namely rotation minutes and getting Zeller more opportunities.

  44. I have never stated that I know more than Crean. I don’t believe that one bit. I love the job Crean is doing and have been a huge supporter of his on this site. I think Crean sees the same things we are talking about here. I think we have identified some of the issues surrounding some of his rotation decisions – injury, experience, loyalty…

    Beyond that, I believe that they are most definitely working on getting Cody more involved in the offense. The team just isn’t to the point yet where they are executing that part of the game.

    I am negative about Jones, but I’m certainly not alone there (and i think he has a role and can have a positive impact on this team). Beyond that I don’t think I’ve been negative at all. I think I have simply been progressing the dialogue on this blog beyond “hey that was awesome, what another great win!” or “isn’t Hulls shooting impressive and isn’t Cody a great player?” or (from some morons) “Crean is holding this program back. We’ll never be good until hey hire Alford.”

    I am not here to be on display for my playing or coaching career. This is a Hoosier blog, not an investigation of my personal history blog. You can choose whether to believe the credentials or not, and you can judge me based on the quality (or lack thereof) of my posts. I don’t put a lot of my personal philosophy into my content. I try to keep it to numbers and facts – and I stand by everything I’ve posted to this point.

  45. Druid,if you want to be a blind follower,be my guest.if you think Verdud should be playing,that’s your opinion.but if you think he should play because he stuck with the program?Sorry that’s too lame for me.what’s the definition of insanity?Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.If you think Verdud will play well down the stretch of these games,you just havn’t been watching.He makes unforced turnovers.takes bad shots,and gets beat and swats at people as they go by him.Other’s deserve his minutes .Think about it objectively not emotionally.I think all or most agree.

  46. Crean is trying to buy time for Shehey to heal,it couldn’t be anything else! It’s just a matter of time before VJ3 costs us a game,and when that happens the honeymoon is over!Jones will be ripped apart by the fans.VJ3 continues to be in denial and has his own agenda.He is not a team player he would rather drive head on into three defensive players than pass to the open man!Jones doesn’t know Cody is on the team !If you notice during a game when he makes a mistake the first thing he does is yell at a teammate blaming them!He needs to take lessons from Matt Roth work like hell to become a better player and teammate and good things will happen!VJ3 wants to see his name inprint and it is and its all negative!Getting booed at Assembly Hall is worst ever thing to happen!Whats going on with Etherington?

  47. TJAUBURN, I think your last sentence is a good question. We have not seen enough of AE to know what kind of college player he is. But I think our not seeing much of him means he is not strong enough or seasoned enough as a Frosh to earn much time over the older players. If he were to take a veterans minutes it would be Roth’s and even though AE a a tremendous shooter he still most likely looses in games of horse to MR. I’d almost pay to see that shootout.

  48. ok, as promised here is my breakdown of VJ3 for those that are interested…

    I took a look at “The 8” games that IU has played where the score was within 15 points in the last 5 minutes – Butler, NC ST, UK, ND, MSU, OSU, UM, and PSU. I am comparing his overall stats in those games to his season stats, and finally breaking down his stats over the last 5 minutes of those games.

    Season stats – 26.5 min, 40% fg, 35% 3-pt, 74% ft, 3 reb, 3.6 assists, .9 steals, 2.9 TO, 8.7 points

    Stats vs The 8 – 28 min, 38% fg (19-50), 0% 3-pt (0-4), 75% ft (21-28), 3.3 reb (26), 2.9 assists (23), 1.1 steals (9), 3.5 TO (28), 7.4 points (59)

    Not that this is an uncommon phenomenon, but VJ3’s stats suffer when he plays A) better teams; and/or B) in close games. He shoots worse, assists less, scores less, and turns it over more. In comparison, Hulls’ and Watford’s stats are far better this year in those games. I didn’t take a close look, but the eye test tells me that Dipo has played better in those games, plus a lot of what he does well doesn’t show up on his stat sheet. I like how Zeller has played, but I wouldn’t even bother analyzing his stats because he can’t pass himself the ball – I do know that he is shooting a tremendous against these teams.

    Now for the last 5 minutes – “clutch time” – of these games… Jones is:

    3-5 from the field = 60% fg, so that’s good

    0-0 from 3 pt range, glad he isn’t forcing that shot

    5-10 from the ft line… and that isn’t the “real” story – he has also missed 3 front ends in the last 3 minutes of games, so he is really 5-13 = 38%, that is awful.

    his positive plays equal his negative ones – 5 reb, 2 assists and 1 steal vs 4 TO and 4 fouls.

    He has scored 11 total points in the last 5 minutes of those games = 1.4 points

    To me there are 4 things that stand out so far for VJ3 in the end-game scenarios:

    1) he is associated with “the shot” because he shuffled the ball to Watford. To me it’s a little flukey since he was basically trying to force it into the D, and when he began to fall down (again) he kicked the ball back. I don’t think it was a savvy, planned, well-executed play by VJ3.

    2) His shot versus Michigan was a real dagger. A very nice feather in his cap.

    3) His terrible FT%, especially in comparison to the first 35 minutes of the game, including missing crucial front ends of 1&1’s.

    4) His 2 assists to 4 TO’s… in blowouts he has an acceptable TO ratio (35a to 19to), although usually you look for at least a 2:1 for your primary ball handlers. In these 8 games he is negative (23/28), and that worsens in the last 5 minutes (2/4).

    What I see is a guy who instead of showing senior leadership in these situations either doesn’t contribute, or wilts under the pressure. He has a couple highlights mixed in, but overall it isn’t pretty.

    Comments…?

    (I am sure some of you will just attack me – whatever, its a little boring – I am much more interested in a positive argument in VJ3’s favor, or an opinion on why this analysis isn’t relevant. You know… basketball stuff)

  49. I don’t think there is any thing unusual about AE’s playing time. We just aren’t used to freshmen seeing limited action.

  50. It just puts numbers to what my eyeballs have been telling me. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it were worse.

  51. I might ad, there are things that don’t show up on the stat sheet for VJ as well. Turnovers when we could go up by four, eight or ten points. Or, killing mometum after we’ve came back. Watching guys run an offense, cutting or rolling and being ignored. I do not hate VJ, and people make turnovers, someone has to make the most. It is just the untimely, unforced errors. To me it is more of a focus, awareness problem(mental mistakes.)
    VJ has improved with strength and quickness, and in fairness, as someone said, a victim of his early environment at IU. As a senior, his problems are not good. Do they warrant being kicked off the team, and run out of town, no. Just less pt. I do believe there is time to work on defeciencies and get healthy.

  52. Could you run Jeremiah Rivers stats in crunch time from his final season? I think he was Captain Crunch. Where was the bitching about sending him off to Siberia when we thought we still had an outside shot of landing his brother? Too bad for VJ he doesn’t have a 5-star brother that’s a senior in high school. Maybe a kid named Gunner Jones that goes to a private school somewhere in ?

    Could you run Mo Creek’s? I remember quite a few on here that were claiming how much he sucked after he blew out his kneecap..I remember claim his big game against Kentucky was a total fluke. I bet his numbers would look pretty.

    I’m not sure if any our starters won’t have some ugly warts in crunch time. Hulls has been feeling a little pressure from the line until enough trips finally got him back into his rhythm.

    But who really cares? Do you honestly feel that with Sheehey unavailable there was really far better options for Crean? This is all new for these guys. How many games in the last three years were they stepping up to the stripe in the final minute when games were on the line? I think it’s incredible how these young men that were mentally abused as losers and bottom-dwellers have put their god-awful, butt-shellackings, from the past out of their thoughts and delivered the type of poise and teamwork and sharing of the rock we’ve seen against top opponents. With the exception of some fool that saw this team for its true talent and level of improvement possible, most of you stat-drinkers, coaches, fathers of coaches, mothers of coaches, sons of coaches, brothers of coaches, ex-college ballers, ex-roommates to college ballers, jockstrap assembly line workers, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry that pretends they spend their lives doing nothing but basketball and their wives, thought you were going to see nothing..absolutely nothing approaching the success of this team. Most of you thought an NIT berth would be more satisfying than theatre in Vermont on a Saturday evening.

    Please, go ahead and find all the stats in the world to explain just where in the hell your expertise was then.

    Jones is not going anywhere. He’s matured. He’s looking for his teammates more. He’ll sit right next to Crean anxious to get into the action as soon as some other target our affections screws up. Do you honestly like the thought of how much he’ll help when he comes into game s rusty and with less confidence? Do you think he’ll be Danny Moore and only get a couple minutes each game once Sheehey is back?

    He is adored by his coach-another fact you won’t find in a stat sheet. Are we all ready to become 4guards and claim is a crap coach because he sees something in this kid he still believes valuable in the floor in relation to his options on the roster at this time..at this point in the season? The season is still relatively young. We’ve barely wet our toes into the Big 10 season. Settle down…VJ has plenty of time to bump his numbers up. Harvard believes in the kid. Hell, one of the best guards coming out of high school playing for Duke is shooting a much uglier percentage from the stripe and only 3% better from the field.

  53. Oops..that last paragraph was typed like an overanxious and inexperienced Trey Burke wanting to go ‘showtime” all-over our Hoosiers…or maybe Geoff’s “VJ sucks!” premature stat-jaculation only four games into the whoopee of the true love-fest a Big 10 basketball season.

    He is adored by his coach-another fact you won’t find in a stat sheet. Are we all ready to become 4guards and claim Tom Crean is a crap coach because he sees something in Jones he still believes valuable on the floor in relation to his options from his roster at this time…at this point in the season?

  54. Harvard, i loved man… You funny.

    First of all, none of the past three years needs to be broken down that thoroughly. It’s not relevant because IU wasn’t relevant. Rivers was irrelevant, but by the way he did get a ton of criticism and he saw his playing time diminish because of inconsistent play.

    Yes, just like VJ3 has his rare positive moments, other players have their warts. Its just in inverse proportion.

    I don’t remember anyone suggesting he be sent off to Siberia, once again just a gross exaggeration from you. I believe what has been stated over and over is that we’d like to see his time decrease and other players time increase – namely Sheehey (when he was healthy), Abel, and Certainly now Roth. Instead of 28 minutes a game I’d like to see him around 18-20, and not at all at the end of close games.

    Not sure why you’re trying to compare VJ to Austin Rivers. One is a high-scoring, great-penetrating, strong-finishing freshman with about 15 college games under his belt, who is the primary focus of the other teams defense. A freshman who has a lot of potential, who has fewer TO’s in more minutes, and will likely improve as gets used to the speed of the game and nuances of the Coach K system… The other guy is a senior with over 100 games of college experience, who bumped his head on his ceiling a couple years ago causing it to collapse a couple feet. I guy who despite playing in the same system with a lot of the same players, and now with a more talented cast that should take pressure off him, is turning the ball over at the highest rate since his freshman year. A guys whose numbers have gone down dramatically despite playing essentially the same number of minutes per game as in previous years.

    Not a lot of similarities between the two except that they both play guard for Div 1 basketball teams.

  55. I don’t know how long you’ve been following along on this blog, but I didn’t need stats to know Remy Abel could be special a very, very, long time ago. Nor did I need stats to make me confident enough this team could get to the Big Dance and put somewhere in the neighborhood of 22 wins under their belt going into the tournament.

    You drink the stats Geoff. It’s not what I’m about. I like believing in kids rather than tearing them down. As much as I like Remy and believe he can be a hell of a contributor as his playing time increases and he gets a feel for the level of competition, he wasn’t ready to take a substantial amount of VJ’s minutes. He’s still a bit wild going to the hoop and not convinced he could bring the ball up under pressure a quick defender. Sheehey has his inconsistencies and makes me nervous when he goes into traffic…also a little anxious and hurried on shots.

    I think Crean has managed the rotation and time on the court of Jones, Sheehey, and Remy pretty adequately. As the season progresses, I’m sure there will come a time when roles will change and other guys will step up as VJ minutes are more shared. In all honesty, I’m just not interested in tearing kids down anymore. I think there are positives Jones has brought that outweigh the alternatives in certain situations. I don’t see giving a kid 20 minutes and then telling him you want him off the court at crunch time. I have never coached the game of basketball, but if I did, I would want every kid on my roster to know I believe in them.

  56. No, I watch the games and see what’s going on. I make assessments based on my experiences and feel for the game. The stats come I. After to quantify, add context, and give evidence to what can sometimes be subjective.

    I believe in kids that I perceive to play well. At this point the only regular, minute-grabbing player I don’t believe in is VJ. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think he can contribute. If his PT were to be decreased by 10 minutes a game it can be divvied up for different reasons. Need an athletic defender – Abel gets a couple extra minutes, need shooting, steady play, and better spacing – Roth gets a few extra minutes. Need length, energy, rebounding and scoring punch – Sheehey gets more floor time.

    Also, I am not saying that VJ hasn’t earned whatever minutes he has gotten to this point. The point is that going forward some things should change so we continue to improve. VJ’s biggest value to the team to this point is his understanding of the offensive schemes and defensive rotations, but as Abel becomes more comfortable and Sheehey gets healthy, Jones’s value starts to dwindle.

    Finally, it is not uncommon in basketball to have a certain starting team, and then a slightly different 5 that ends the game. In fact it’s probably more common than not. I think that should include IU and VJ.

  57. If you ‘divvy’ the minutes too excessively, make it too much of a revolving door, can you hurt the continuity and chemistry on the floor? Match-ups often dictate rotations as much as time period in the game.

    And I believe I have been stating all along that as guys get healthy, more experience is gained in our young talent, the roles will change and VJ’s minutes will likely be reduced and shared.

    I enjoyed your comments and analysis….Here’s to “Mountain Goat Hulls” leading us to the top!

  58. Amen brothah!

    My comment was too short, so I’ll add this… I may be a prisoner of the moment, but I honestly believe that Roth brings at least as much value to the floor as Jones. He is one of the elite shooters in college basketball, doesn’t turn it over, and hits FTs regardless of time and score. I think the spacing he creates on offense is valuable in the future succes of getting the ball to Cody or creating driving opportunities for Dipo, Sheehey, Watford, or Abel.

  59. I’m a little late to this and I hate piling on, but Geoff is being too gentle on VJ3. Aside from scoring occasionally, the kid is a real liability on ‘D’ and makes poor decisions and stupid mistakes on ‘O’. If he hadn’t fouled out of the PSU game, IU would not have won. He almost singlehandedly lost the game to Michigan. Did anyone notice how angry Jordy got when VJII held the ball and got fouled with 2.9 seconds left? IU was down by 18 at MSU in the first half and when VJ3 sat, IU goes on a run. Coincidence, I don’t think so. Look at the games IU won last year in the B10, VJ3 didn’t start any of them and only played a little in the win over Illinois because he was injured (and they would have won at MSU without him except for River’s mental collapse). The list goes on and on.

    VJ3’s biggest problem is his attitude. He considers himself a big star and always tries to make the “hero” play instead of being a smart team player. He would rather be a hero than a winner. He is best left on the bench when the game is on the line. Thank God, he is a senior and we won’t have to put up with his careless play after this year is over.

  60. I do seem to recall JR’s minutes dropping as the season progressed last year. He never pouted and stayed his classy self. Without privy to the Vulcan mind meld I’m just guessing but I believe Jeremiah had a better handle on his strengths and weaknesses. As others have assumed I, too, am left with the impression that he who shall not be named sees himself as an elite scorer and premier ball handler, reality be damned.

    One of the nice things about not making predictions is it frees you up to just enjoy the moment. It’s why I’d never gamble on sports (or much of anything else). I think it sucks the fun out of it.

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