IU take-aways: Rutgers 59, Indiana 50

IU’s shooting woes remain a quandary.

Just like Indiana coach Archie Miller said postgame, winning on the road requires shotmaking.

Otherwise, as the Hoosiers experienced, it becomes all the more difficult to blunt the home team’s momentum, which just builds and builds as the players and their home fans feed off of one another.

The Hoosiers, at just under 32 percent from the field, weren’t able to find their big shot.

“You are going to have to find a way to stick a couple of shots on the road to deflate the run, to create some space, whatever it may be,” Miller said. “You are gonna have to find a couple of shots that go down on the road, or a guy just has to have one of those days once in a while where he makes 4-of-5 and that really helps.”

IU (39.2 percent) is now one of four Big Ten teams shooting below 40 percent in conference play, including Illinois (39), Purdue (37.1), and Maryland (37). That’s a significant drop from the Hoosiers’ percentage overall, which stands at 45.2.

The level of difficulty has, of course, cranked up from the non-conference. More athletic, more intense defensive squads have been able to break IU’s rhythm. The symptoms have been less ball movement at times, as well as some rushed shots. The cure isn’t obvious.

At some point, the Hoosiers just have to hit what’s available to them.

IU’s guards have been particularly inefficient in Big Ten play. Junior Al Durham is hitting 32.5 percent. Even after a 5-of-8 outing versus Ohio State, senior Devonte Green is at 34.8 percent. Rob Phinisee is the best of the bunch at 39.5, and freshman Armaan Franklin is really struggling at 21.7.

Sophomore Damezi Anderson, after missing the OSU game with an illness, was given a chance to fire some shots from deep range at Rutgers, but he was 0-of-4 and he’s now 1-of-12 in conference.
After the Hoosiers’ offensive struggles at Maryland, Miller insisted he had players on the roster that can hit shots. They just had to do a better job of finding each other, he said.

Likewise, Durham, who broke the Hoosiers’ 3-less drought with 5:18 left in the game, believes his teammates are better than their 2-of-19 outing at Rutgers.

“Good looks, we have to be able to knock them down, and I think we’ll knock them down in the future,” Durham said. “We just have to keep shooting them and keep taking them and keep having trust in each other, and I promise we’ll knock them down.”

TJD is still adjusting to conference play.

In the Hoosiers’ three conference wins, all at home, freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis is a combined 17-of-26 from the floor (65.4 percent).

In the Hoosiers’ three losses, all on the road, the 6-foot-9 forward is 8-of-20 (40 percent).

Without the outside shooting to threaten opposing defenses, the freshman has certainly gotten a lot of attention down low. The physicality of the Big Ten has just upped the ante for the Center Grove product.

“It’s time to get back to work,” junior Justin Smith said. “You are going to have bad games. It’s just going to happen. In these next couple of practices, we’ll get him back going. He just has to stick with it.”

Rutgers center Myles Johnson, a redshirt sophomore, seemed to have his way with Jackson-Davis at times, holding the Hoosiers’ leading scorer to 2-of-6 shooting. Johnson was a team-high plus-12 in his minutes for the Scarlet Knights. Jackson-Davis was a team-worst minus-15.

It was inevitable that Jackson-Davis would have some dry spells in conference play, just considering everything he’s dealing with. Even in the Hoosiers’ win over OSU, TJD was 1-of-3 from the field, not quite able to dominate as he did versus Northwestern and Nebraska (16-of-23).

But the Hoosiers have faith in Jackson-Davis’ ability to turn things around.

“We know how good Trayce is, you know, so I feel like we just keep his head and keep talking to him and keep leading him and he’ll be fine,” Durham said. “He’s a great kid, his work ethic is unmatched, so he’ll be fine.”

This wasn’t a full-out meltdown.

This may be searching for a silver lining, but road losses at Wisconsin, Maryland, and Rutgers were each different in quality.

IU was poor from start to finish at Wisconsin. At Maryland, the Hoosiers were in the game into the second half but completely fell apart. This most recent defeat included a bad start to both the first and second halves, but IU fought back in both instances and ultimately wasn’t blown out.

That doesn’t change the result, and concerns about the Hoosiers’ ability to score remain. But eliminate some costly turnovers that led to Rutgers run-outs, and the Scarlet Knights’ shooting percentage (46.9 percent) isn’t nearly as high. IU was able to get stops and eat into an initial 12-0 deficit, as well as a 17-point gap in the second half.

Better transition offense is fixable, too.

“We weren’t able to capitalize on our work,” Miller said. “We had some tough turnovers with numbers and we just didn’t finish around the basket a few times, which you have to do when you have numbers in transition.”

What’s next?

Nebraska, 7 p.m. Saturday, in Lincoln, Neb.

The Hoosiers take their 0-3 Big Ten road record right back on the road, facing a Cornhuskers squad that gave them fits in Bloomington in mid-December.

Nebraska has lost consecutive contests to Northwestern and No. 21 Ohio State, though both of those came on the road. Before that, the Cornhuskers beat Iowa at home, 76-70.

27 comments

  1. Catching Rutgers after they were coming off a loss (@ Illinois)…and now Nebraska after they’ve had two losses (@ Northwestern; @ OSU) isn’t exactly optimal. You’d like to catch teams a bit more content ….It’s not like the road in the BigTen isn’t already tough as hell.

    You still need to win on the road against rather mid-tier conference teams…but we sure can’t seem to catch a break in terms of opponents hungry to get back into the win column.

    I have a hunch that we are going to have one of our better outings of the season tomorrow night….Just a mild prediction of sorts. I also believe Brunk will continue to prove his value inside. His game is beginning to catch up to his efforts in conditioning and transforming his abilities to play with more pace. He’s taken amazing strides in a very short span of time…

  2. Here’s a plug for a great website with awesome, detailed stats;
    https://www.teamrankings.com/ncaa-basketball/stat/three-point-pct

    I perused the 3pt shooting details & they have home & away stats. Here are the top Big Ten teams in order of total 3pt. %;
    Team Overall Home Away
    OSU 38% 42% 32%
    MI 36% 38% 34%
    Iowa 35% 36% 34%
    NB 34% 32% 35%
    MSU 34% 35% 32%
    PU 33% 38% 27%
    WI 33% 39% 27%
    ….
    IU 30% 33% 22%

    Every team, except Nebraska, shoots worse on the road. WI, PU, OSU and MI are lethal at home. We’re just average at home & may as well stop shooting them on the road. Overall average is about 33% for all of college basketball.

    Clearly our strengths are rebounding and FTs attempted. On the road, as many have reasoned on this site, FT attempts go down due to home-cooked officiating. I don’t know why that happens but it does. I’ll dig into that & see if I can find those stats. But I think it is clear around the game that home teams shoot more FTs on ticky-tack foul calls and it takes a limb to come off to get a call on the road. So, on the road, we are much more prone to getting run out of the gym because we don’t shoot as many FTs and our 3 pt. % sucks.

  3. Interesting stats…and thanks for the link.

    Sadly, I think it will be the undoing of Archie if these shooting struggles continue. Gus Johnson sort of summed it up in a recent broadcast (paraphrasing)….”If there is one belief you hold as unwavering with a team from Indiana…is that they’ll be terrific shooters.”

    And the criticism didn’t begin this season…The much heralded superstar from New Albany was a big letdown with his perimeter stroke (27.2 %).

    The Crean years were Turnover Madness.
    The Archie years will not be around long if it stays Bricklayer Madness.

    We are a state known for some of the most prolific and ‘automatic’ shooters in the game of basketball. It’s very painful to watch the bricks when we remember guys like The Big O, Bird, Skiles, Alford, Cheaney, Edwards, Hayward, Hulls…and just about every kid to play for Butler.
    Not only is Indiana synonymous with great shooters for percentages, but also great clutch moment Woosh-tershire sauce deliverers.

    I like Archie a ton…I like to see team exerting a ton of effort on individual and team defense again. I’m elated to see ‘weaves to nowhere’…and ‘inbound plays to nowhere’ finally gone. But all that being said, you have to deliver on the Hoosier identity. Indiana has forever been known for obtaining a doctorate in Net Splash. Toddlers are introduced to orange cylinders before potty training. Everyday on a playground is spent dreaming of being the next net scorcher to have his name scorched into high school record books. Three point lines become no less a charity than free throws for those who quest the Indiana standard. Shooting form is a religion taught, studied, retaught, handed down, fathers to sons, farm to inner city, worshiped, recognized, praised and coveted … as much as the new leather basketball embraced as a first child.
    ‘Thou Shall NOT Brick’ is the first commandment.

    I love some of the things you’re bringing back to McCracken, Arch. But if these guys don’t start finding nets, you’re toast. You’ll become a barn dartboard long ago lost in favor of a basketball rim.

    1. One thing you need to remember H4H,
      Hopefully the next recruiting class will start turning the tide. Leal is coming from the same HS and coach which produced Hulls. Galloway was doing very will until the wrist injury in early December. These guys are both shooters. Are they as good as those of the past? No way to know until they get here. I’m with you, I like what CAM is trying to do, but I fear he may run out of time before he gets there. Sadly, as with all big time college athletics, there is a what have you done for me lately attitude.

  4. Yes, college athletics is a “what have you done for me lately” world, especially when your contemporaries, hired the same week you were, turn their respective programs around in two or three seasons. Not only does Archie have to worry about the Hoosier Nation and IU’s big donors losing faith in him, but he has to be aware that his contemporaries, who inherited less-than-ideal rosters and other problems at the same time Archie was hired at IU, are getting it done faster than he is. It is certainly fair to compare IU BB to programs like Louisville, OSU, Dayton, etc. with coaches that started at the same time Archie started at IU.

    1. You’ve got to be kidding me Po!!!
      “. . .but he has to be aware that his contemporaries, who inherited ‘less-than-ideal rosters’ and other problems at the same time Archie was hired at IU.” Holt inherited a B1G POY, and also Andre Wesson among others. Despite all the ncaa problems, Mack still inherited from Pitino a much stronger roster than was left to CAM. Remember Mack’s predecessor didn’t get fired because the program wasn’t performing like CAM’s predecessor, it was performing a little too good, hence the ncaa problems.

  5. John Beilein didn’t turn Michigan around in two or three seasons….It wasn’t until his 5th season before posting an above .500 conference record.

    I think the condition Indiana was left in for Archie is very similar to what was left for a very similar ‘old school,’ blue collar coach at Michigan. The next five years under Beilein consisted of a Sweet 16, Elite 8 and two Final Four runner-up appearances on the biggest Monday night in college basketball. The banner escaped him (as it has for all BigTen teams making it to Final Fours over the last 10 years), but it’s a pretty damn solid body of work.
    Good thing Michigan didn’t throw Beilein under the bus in his 3rd season.

    Beilein’s trajectory was one that needed to rebuild the culture of effort and fundamentally strong basketball (why he found kids like Novak and McGary). Lightning in a bottle was not the model. And when we were bragging of “We’re Back” without actually achieving anything in March, Tom Crean’s contemporary, Beilein, was actually getting Michigan back to Final Fours….after six seasons at the helm.

    Beilein left Michigan with the program being relevant with a runner-up only 2 seasons in the rear view mirror. Crean left cue cards in the rear view mirror along with players on his roster who were, evidently, needing to be coached by alphabet blocks.

    1. ^^^ EXACTLY! Beilein left for the riches of the NBA but left the cupboard full, being the class act that he is. Or maybe he just wanted to be on safer airplanes.

      Matta underachieved & Holtman certainly got a good base. Painter….the Purdue faithful want him out & judge him as an underachiever. (Thankfully he is!)

      All of this banter about calling for Archie’s head is simply impatience and frustration. All of the naysayers are projecting Crean’s lack of success and ability into Archie’s tenure, which is only 30 months old. All amplified by the prior 17 yrs. of destruction of a once impenetrable fortress built by a king. But even the walls were crumbling then as the “new age” of NBA-style “me first” generation emerged. The “everybody gets a trophy” generation. Or the “every girl who tries out makes the cheerleading team” generation. What the hell, let’s give ‘em all free college & forgive their student loans while we’re at it! And free healthcare!

      I watched the final 3 min. of the Mavs / Trailblazers game last night & just about threw up before bed. I cannot fathom why college basketball continues to adopt rules, policies and ideas from the NBA. Both would be better off if the trend would’ve been the opposite. As soon as teams start getting the ball at their own hash mark after a timeout in the last minute in college, I’m done.

  6. And why in the hell does Purdue keep Matt Painter….? Fifteen seasons and just one Elite 8. Makes me wonder why we only gave Crean nine years? Well, what’s done is done….Might as well give 5 years to get a conference record above .500(Beilein) and another ten to get to an Elite 8 (Painter).

    Sorry we pulled the trigger on you too fast, Tom. Maybe if you wouldn’t have gone to FedEx Office for those darn cue cards….? I’ll always have a soft spot for cue cards…..Did they just bury Chuck Martin with his stack? I’ve heard nothing of that poor soul. Where is Chuck? Anyone have any idea?

    I would have been just fine with naming Chuck the next head coach. He deserved it after being put through so much humiliation.

    Oh, he’s with Frank Martin…Good for him. Now he’s probably holding a baseball bat.

  7. Let me be clear; I am NOT calling for Archie’s head. I do not believe he should be fired after this season. Archie should get a fourth season to demonstrate that his program is improving. As to a fifth season, that should depend on how many wins IU produces in Archie’s fourth season and how his 2021 recruiting class is evaluated.

    But I am saying that in the middle of his third season, Archie’s program is not showing any signs of improvement, and it appears it will finish this season with less than 20 wins. If you look at the stats for shooting, you can argue that his teams are getting worse. Next year’s recruiting class may include two players that are better shooters (how can they be any worse), but we’re talking about freshman. And the class, so far, does not include another center. While all Hoosier fans are hopeful that the three incoming freshman will make improve the team’s performance, their ratings coming out of HS do not suggest any of them will be “difference-makers” as freshman. I doubt any of them are as gifted as TJD, and in spite of his obvious skills and effort this season, his contributions are not likely to allow IU to win 20 games.

    So then we have the “addition by subtraction” theorists who hope that by graduating two more of Crean’s toxic recruits (Green and Davis), and allowing Hunter to fully recovery from a serious medical condition, the team’s performance will improve. Gosh, I really hope that turns out to be true. But next year’s roster will still be highly dependent on experienced guards whose performance this season leaves a lot to be desired and who are not good shooters. Phinisee, Franklin and Durham’s combined 3-point percentage is 30.2%. Ironically, Green is making 37.5% of his 3-point attempts this season. Our three returning guards have Assist to Turnover Ratios (A/TO) of 1.3, 1.4 and 1.3 respectively. Our returning big guys, Brunk, TJD, Smith, Hunter and Thompson have a combined A/TO of 0.62. By giving Green’s minutes to Phinisee and Durham next season, our FT% should improve a little, but Franklin is only making 64% of his FTs. Brunk is terrible at the line, making only 54.1% of his FT Attempts.

    I hope Leal’s back is strong, because a lot of IU fans are placing heavy expectations on his shoulders, and that’s a lot of weight for a freshman to carry.

    1. …not improving?…how bought the D?…I see good D compared to Creans mess…how bought actually scheming OOB plays that have good chances of scoring?…how bought creating tactical in game adjustments…how bought Holtman’s record this year with all that talented firepower to Coach Miller?…I see developing halfcourt offense regardless the missed shot vs. Crean’s dribble drive, run and gun street ball. Only 1 deficiency to improve and a couple of uniform wearers to get shed of.

    2. I know you are not calling for CAM’s dismissal Po,

      However, many of the arguments you are using are being used by those who are calling for his head. I didn’t even mention it earlier, but Mack also inherited a potential POY from Pitino. Louisville junior Jordan Nwora is this year’s pre-season pick for the ACC POY. No one in their right mind would say that CAM inherited anywhere near the amount of talent either Holtman did at OSU or Mack did at Louisville. There certainly was no one on the roster that CAM inherited of that caliber. Yet you cite OSU and Louisville’s programs as examples of what IUBB should be when both programs had POY caliber players already on the roster or signed. As for A10 teams, consider the level of competition.

  8. Clarion has succinctly nailed it….

    And what the hell are you even posting Franklin’s stats for…? The guy has not had enough sample sets of playing time to making much of anything out of his stats(shooting …or otherwise).

    And Brunk is improving his floor game tremendously. He has improved more in three months than Hanner Perea in three years. No “weaves to nowhere”…and no “weaves to the liquor store.”

    And you best slow down on OSU….They may not recover if they get too down from their current slide. Time to pull the fire alarm, Holtmann.

    We have plenty of athletic guards coming back…The reinforcements being brought in will add depth and should give a boost to perimeter shooting.

    Why even discuss year-5 when we’re only six games into an 18 game BigTen season? Maybe wait until the end of this season before making so many assumptions of how it’s all going to go from here on out?

    My goodness…. If I had a cue card for you, it would say “CHILL PILL.”

    Beilein took 5 years to get to a .500 conference record. And then came a couple Sweet 16s, an Elite Eight and 2 Final Fours. Chill, my Po-bro.

  9. Clarion “D” is improving..only time Crean ever thought about defense was in his dreams. One thing Beilein did that Crean couldn’t do consistently was recruit IN STATE. Tom Crean allowed too many GOOD Players go to other schools and then settled for Jeremiah April and Tom Priller. Kyle Guy went to WV. Bluiett went to Xavier. young man from Tech went to Kentucky after a falling out. Keon Brooks was never coming to IU . His transfer to La Lumiere should have been a message he was going 1 and done. Archie has missed on out of state recruiting targets . 1 thing Archie HAS DONE is shut the gate to the pathway to Michigan State and Tom Izzo. Give Archie and staff time to develop THEIR recruits; Mike Roberts might be a diamond in the rough for Archie as far as instate recruiting and Big Man teaching.

  10. Yogi’s rough stats, based on my memory of what I looked up last night….
    Fr. 30% from 3, 1.4:1 Assist/TO
    So. 33% from 3, 1.6:1
    Jr. 40% from 3, 2:1
    Sr. 40% from 3, 2.4:1

    Here’s what I see…some improvement in Fr. guard shooting next year
    Arman shooting up
    Phinsee shooting up
    Demezi shooting up
    Smith shooting up
    Durham shooting up

    Next year I see > 35% 3 Pt shooting.

  11. Devonte green needs to sit rest of the year, 12 minutes in first half and green is responsible for 50% of Nebraska’s points at this time .with poor defense, bad shot selection and turnovers….Hero Ball at its absolute worst.

  12. think, I don’t think very many people are calling for Archie to be fired after this season. I’m sure there are a few, but they’re in a very small minority of Hoosier fans. It ain’t going to happen, no matter how many people start howling.

    HC, Archie is clearly a good defensive coach. But if you keep making turnovers and can’t score points, you’re not going to win many Big Ten games. And it’s not just bad FT and 3-point shooting, this IU team isn’t too efficient around the rim, either. As Archie has stated, his big guys miss a lot of “bunnies.” I think it’s clear that this IU team is one of the worst shooting teams in IU BB history.

    AWinAZ, if we’re to believe that Leal will improve IU’s 3-point shooting next season, the guards you listed above won’t be getting as many minutes and/or taking as many 3-point shots next season. No guard on this or next year’s roster will ever be as good as Yogi. I think Smith will improve, but I’ll settle for those guys improving their A/TO ratios and improving their FT shooting.

    Archie’s going to need another center real soon.

    1. How’s the Buckeyes and your favorite coach Holtman doing this year compared to IU and Coach Miller?

    1. Don’t put away your goosebumps yet…I think Knight will be far more receptive to the basketball teacher we have back at McCracken.

      But let’s get back to those “contemporaries” of Archie…..lol.
      And speaking of “what have you done for me lately”…? I like what Penn State has done for OSU lately.

      But the season is young. It’s young for everyone. Even MSU will hit some major bumps in this brutal and physical league. OSU will climb back up the standings. An enormous amount of basketball left, folks.

      I like our odds because of our front line and overall depth….and because of the kid named Trayce Jackson-Davis (already proving far more valuable with far less hype than Romeo Langford). Shots will start to drop more frequently for this team. I saw it coming before tonight…Little fixes. Mostly mental and the confidence that comes with growing up in this tough conference.

      1. I agree, our front court depth is better than most & Race is even improving. Hunter appears to be getting his legs under him. These guards will improve & they have their moments. But they all look like freshmen, unaware of the quickness at the D1 level. That’ll get better.

        One can look at this team and see its flaws. That’s easy. But I also see a team that could take down about anybody anywhere when & if the planets align. Put us as an #8 in the West in San Diego St.’s bracket. Then let’s see what all the media scuttle is about.

        1. AW, couldn’t agree more. The lights even though dimly are illuminating more often. That breeds confidence and drives you to work harder. Also it’s apparent “Fearless” Mike Roberts is rubbing off on the frontcourt inhabitants. A particularly good sign of the future.

  13. We won a road game in spite of 16 Turnovers, making only 60% of our FTs, and 30.8% of our 3-point shots. Thank goodness Nebraska can’t rebound worth a darn.

    Brunk needs a FT shooting coach, and then he needs to shoot 1,000 free throws a day, every day through the entire off-season.

    For about ten minutes in the second half, IU played as well as they have all season and built a 19-point lead. Then they hung on to get a true road win.

  14. Brunk: 7/8 fg. 16 pts (2nd leading scorer) in 28 minutes. 5 boards, 2 assists

    But let’s concentrate on one negative and the fact he made only 2 free throws out of 5 attempts ….He makes one more and he goes from 40% to 60%. He made some very big contributions on defense and handled some poor passes from Green and Phinisee that would have been turnovers without his high level of reaction, good hands and effort.

    TEAM: 6-16 (38%) 3-pt fg in first half. 18-34 (53%) fg in first half.

    The perimeter shooting will keep improving. Nice contributions from just about everyone. Nebraska got out of the gate quickly and we countered with timely shots, maturity and patience. Nice action for buckets between Brunk and Jackson-Davis finding each other as trailers down the lane.

    48 boards as we continue to be one of the best rebounding teams in the country. Our guards get to long boards very well too. Franklin had 5 rebounds. When we start getting those outside shooting numbers up, we’ll become lethal (as witnessed in a couple really strong stretches tonight).

    OSU 2-5 in conference play with a lot of teams above them. Pull the fire alarm, Chris. Good thing you don’t have a Podunker on your OSU sites…He’d be going from tucking you into bed to leading you to a guillotine for your head.

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