IU takes punch from Butler, but runs away with 75-59 win

Indiana withstood its most significant challenge yet on Sunday night, but thanks to 21 points from sophomore swingman Will Sheehey and arguably the Hoosiers’ most active defensive performance of the year, they held off a gritty Butler squad for a 75-59 victory in front of 17,265 at Assembly Hall.

Sheehey was named Tournament MVP of the Hoosier Invitational, a round-robin event that included IU, Butler, Savannah State, Chattanooga and Gardner Webb. Indiana was 4-0 in the event and was therefore awarded a trophy as champion.With the win, they improved to 6-0.

The Hoosiers struggled to shoot the ball early, making just eight of 25 field goal attempts in the first half (8-for-25) but defended well throughout the game, holding Butler to 38.2 percent shooting. Tom Crean uses the non-standardized statistic “deflections” to measure activity on defense. He said Indiana finished with 74, the most any team he’d ever coached had ever had in his time as an assistant or a head coach.

“I’m truly blown away by our defensive effort,” Crean said. “… We kept bringing it defensively, we kept getting to the 50-50s, and as I told the team, I think you got better in the game, but I know you got tougher in the game.”

Sheehey finished 5-for-8 from the field and 8-for-10 from the free throw line. He made a career high three 3-pointers on four attempts. He was just 2-for-7 from beyond the arc coming into the game and made just seven 3-pointers all of last year.

Freshman forward Cody Zeller had his worst shooting night (4-for-9) but still managed 16 points and eight rebounds. Junior guard Jordan Hulls had 14 points and three assists and sophomore guard Victor Oladipo had 10 points.

Butler sophomore guard Chrishawn Hopkins led Butler with 19 points, but he scored just six in the second half and didn’t attempt a field goal after making a layup with 18:54 to go in the game. Sophoore forward Khyle Marshall added 16 points in the loss.

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls, Will Sheehey, Cody Zeller

AUDIO: Tom Crean


  1. Good win for this team. I have heard a possible ranking if we won this game. Im skeptical of that. This is a very tough team like ctc said. What stuck out most to me was the physical play by both teams but IU really played with a chip on their shoulder. That’s something I have not seen in a while. Great defense by this bunch. Im sure there will be some people who question ctc coaching but after a three point lead at the half it will be hard to argue. He made some great adjustments. N.C state will be a tougher nut to crack but if they match the defensive intensity as tonight we will win alot of ball games! How is this spam protection? Im on here to talk hoops not do math. Reminds me of the uk player demarcus cousins when asked about his gpa. “I came to uk to play ball not win a spelling bee.” All I want for christmas is to beat uk!

  2. I wouldnt say we would be ranked after this game, Butler is just 3-3 now so this game meant more to us and the state of IU basketball than it will to many others around the country. If we could possibly go into NCSU weds and pull of a win in the challenge, then I think you possibly look at a ranking. Great gritty effort though, refs were horrendous, but we pulled one out with toughness, something we havent had in years!

  3. These refs called a horrible game both ways! Was that michael lewis on the butler bench? If so he has added a pound or two since he left bloomington! I dont think we will get ranked either I have been hearing wishful thinking im sure. I have’nt seen NC state play yet. A friend of mine who is a big acc guy said he has watched them and we should get them!

  4. Toughness. They couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean at times and seemed totally out of sync for a while so they just played harder. The defensive effort was absolutely smothering. Butler was able to stay in the game for a while by having some absolute prayers go in. That shot in the lane? I’m not convinced it was even a shot. As usual, Butler was well coached.
    How can you not be proud of the guys after that effort?

  5. After a long week in Bloomington, I am on my way home. Stopped in Columbus Ohio and threw up. lol. I saw the Urban Meyer news, these people are not even phased by possible sanctions or penalties. It’s like nothing happened.
    IU played like crap in the first half, similar to Savanah State. But adjustments were made and they learned and won. It’s good for a team to see different looks such as long and athletic SState, and a well coached system team like Butler. I like the toughness. The D was great. This win helps the confidence momentum. Keep it up Hoosiers.
    On a side note, I took my son to his first IU football game, he was wondering why people were not standing up and clapping to the fight song like he was. We did enjoy the game and experience. He got to see the Gardner Webb game also. So…, add another Hoosier fan to the fold. He’s hooked!

  6. Evidence once again that Jones and Watford are being passed by. The younger kids have just worked harder and they play harder. Jones and Watford will see their roles continue to shrink.

  7. Nice recruiting Mass. It now makes sense to say Coach Crean recognizes he now has the talent on the floor to make adjustments with. If the D remains that vigilant and aggressive .500+ W/L in conference play is more than a wish. Sure is easy to see the gap in talent between the younger players and Jones. I do not think Watford will ever figure it out.

  8. YouWillNeverKnow is right about Watford and Jones. Someone needs to tell Christian that his wing move and in the lane spin are weak moves at best. He cannot do them consistently nor effectively. Also, I thought VJ3 was supposed to be stronger? IU should keep stats on how many times he gets knocked off his feet. He spends more time on his hands & knees than on his feet. Both of these guys helped IU in years past but the level of IUs play today has passed them by. I liked the energy, scappiness and adjustments IU made last night. Go Hoosiers!!

  9. I guess Butler’s D was nothing like we’ve seen this year… they held us to a season low 75 points. They obviously do a great job defending ball screens and cutting off driving lanes, but I thought that IU sped themselves up for the most part and had mostly UNFORCED turnovers… watford and Jones just kept driving into people for no real reason… Plenty of time on shot clock, hadnt got a post touch yet, think I’ll force it in this guys chest…. Gross to watch. I think Sheehey was so effective because the entire game was played at the frenetic pace he plays at all the time. He felt right at home. One thing I can’t stand about IU’s offense is their spacing in relation to CZ. They always seem to have him posting on the strong side when the help defender from the corner eliminates any chance they have to make an entry pass. It is really frustrating to see him get good position and not be rewarded. Hopefully that improves dramatically before Big Ten play.

    another good win though. I wonder what those yahoos from last week will be saying now…

  10. 6 – 0. Right on schedule, winning all the games they’re supposed to by significant margins. It was good to see them battle when the shots were not dropping. It was a good tune-up. Now come the big boys.

    While I’m pleased that they beat Butler, who are very well coached, three out of the next four games will be the real test. If they win three out of the next four games, then they will deserve to be ranked.

  11. Butler,purdue, and Louisville— they play defense by constantly fouling. The refs were mediocre last night, yet, we still shot a ton of free throws. Watford- needs to shot fake or pass, not drive. He can’t finish at the basket and doesn’t get shots in the flow of the offense. VJIII- old habits hard to break and missed Zeller wide open a few times, the weak link when on the floor. Oladipo and Sheehey– they just play and compete 100%. Amazing recruiting finds. Zeller and Hulls– they just know the game. Roth deserves more of Jones minutes. Elston- not a scoring game but effective.

  12. “watford and Jones just kept driving into people for no real reason”

    I couldn’t agree more. Although there have been some good moments, they tend to revert back to same-old same-old when the going gets tough. Combined they were 2 for 13, 6 TO, 2 assists. Without those two, the rest of the team shot a respectable 50% from the field.

    Guards need to learn the pick-and-roll with Zeller and give him a lob pass when he rolls.

    All in all a tough gritty effort, I love watching this team. I predicted 6-0 and also 6-1. I’m hoping I’m wrong, we have a chance to beat NC State but as a road game it will be the toughest test so far.

  13. Many more positives for the O would be apparent using CZ than just the pick n roll or a weak side pass to the post if Jones and CW spent more time on the bench. Sheehey is out scoring both with ease on a regular basis. He can’t be kept from starting for much longer. Somewhere between Butler and Howard could make the change necessary.

  14. While I’m all for giving Will more minutes and cutting back on CW’s and Verdell’s, there’s a lot to be said for coming off the bench. The sixth man isn’t always the sixth man because he’s not good enough to start. I think it also makes it more difficult to prepare for playing the Hoosiers. I like the depth of this team. We obviously need Cody on the floor and I think we’re a much steadier team with Jordy at the helm but we can substitute for just about anyone else pretty seamlessly. I’m pretty impressed with the improvement of Daniel Moore. He’s become a solid player off the bench.
    Every once in a while Verdell or CW will look like they are with the program and then they will fall back into bad habits. They CAN be effective. Time will tell.
    TP is beginning to find a roll, as well.

    It certainly looks like all the pieces are coming together…a year early.

  15. The Watford/Jones matchup in the KY game will be interesting… As will Hulls vs anyone. I can see the rest of the team matching up, but those two will probably struggle mightily.

  16. I’m generally pleased with being able to handily beat Butler on a night when we were often out of sync and couldn’t hit shots that normally we’d hit. And of course Watford’s continuing non-comprehension of defensive rotation and the inadvisability of driving into 3 defenders.

    But, does anyone have any idea why it took us until the middle of the second half to really try to get Zeller the ball in the post? He could have scored and/or drawn a foul just about every time, but for the most part IU didn’t try to get him the ball. He was visibly frustrated more than once. The play in the first half when Watford threw up a 3-ptr rather than pass to a frantically-waving, wide open Zeller under the basket justifies that frustration, among other plays.

  17. Eric, see post #9, that’s a big part of the problem. Spacing isn’t correct, passing angles aren’t correct, and when they do make entry passes they aren’t executing them very well.

    I am a Crean defender, but it’s obvious that an adjustment needs to be made in when, and to where, the wings are cutting so that Zeller has fewer people around him and can receive a pass.

  18. I’m getting more comfortable with Jordy’s ‘limitations’. You can’t teach height but his added strength has obviously improved his first step. It’s cliche’ but he is really learning to play ‘within himself’. John Stockton overcame pretty similar physical challenges and developed a fair game. I think Jordy will do fine.

  19. I love Hulls. I think he’s a great leader with tremendous ball IQ, I just don’t think Teague (surrounded by all that talent) is a good matchup for him. I feel pretty comfortable with him against everyone else on the schedule, except Wisconsin. I’ glad he’s our PG. interesting comparison to Stockton… Since we are going so far out on this limb I think a closer comparison is Price. Stockton was such a ball savant and much more physically gifted than given credit for.

  20. I heard the past week how Stevens would out coach Crean in this game.I am not a hugh Crean fan as you all know..but I never once agreed with that.Stevens took over a pretty good team and with some luck and talent made it to 2 championship games.I think IU had a coach who made it to the same game in 2002 and faded very fast afterwards.I think Stevens is a decent coach but I think Butler’s Final Four run’s are over for many year’s to come.I doubt if they win 1 tournament game a year for the next 6-8 year’s.Given a choice I would take Crean over Stevens any day.Indiana played a good game Sunday..but Crean has to figure out why the slow starts.Had that been Kentucky we are down 25 at half and lose by 30.I was glad to see Crean pull Watford out of the game.The kid is totally lost along with Jones.Will..Jordan..Zeller..Victor..and Elston should start and Watford and Jones play 6-8 minutes a half.I am going to jump off the Alford wagon and jump on the Crean wagon…Alford had his chance to coach IU but his loyalty to Knight means more to him than what’s best for his family.New Mexico or Indiana…come on Steve…so from here on out..Chet please accept me into the Crean kingship..your backing would mean so much to me.You are a man of great wisdom and maybe some day I can learn to spell like you and make you proud of me.So from here on out it’s 100% support of Coach Crean and I’m turning my Lobo sweatshirt into a towel to dry my car with.Go Coach Crean and lead Indiana back.

  21. All I want for Xmas is for CW to start trying using a head fake. At this point it couldn’t hurt anything and the one or two times that he has used it since he got on campus it worked for him.

  22. Clarion, hoping for the best. But my gut tells me that Hulls as a Senior in HS vs Teague as a Sophomore is a little different development-wise than the comparison now. I think offensively Hulls will be able to do about what he does right now, but I see a real problem on defense.

    The real mismatch is Watford vs Jones… I don’t think Christian will have success on either end, unless I guess Jones just doesn’t feel like trying on D. Kinda doubt that in a rivalry game. I wonder if Elston will see more minutes that game.

  23. Did OldSchool really just say that…

    And Chet, what position do I hold in the Creandom? I was unaware you were king! Congratulations?

  24. Geoff, My gut was singing a different tune after I saw Teague play in person. Somehow JH hung with him defensively. In my opinion he just wanted it more. He will have to match up again against MT because I just do not see him eyeball to eyeball with Lamb. pUKe also offer 2 players at the G position, 1 at 6’7″ another at 6’8″. The overall size they could put on the court is enough to justify raising the hoops 16″. But I too hope for the best.

  25. That’s the beauty of basketball, though. Sometimes you can pair up the players and lose every matchup but still win the game.

  26. Watford can’t match up on Jones. Hulls just doesn’t have the size to gaurd their gaurds. The only way we stay with them is to get 50 50’s rebound out of our head and try to get Davis in foul trouble. Vic and Will can give them trouble other than that we just have to grind grind grind!

  27. I haven’t abandoned the Watford ship. I don’t think this team is nearly as strong without him. Many of you are selling him out way too early. The fact he can drain shots from the perimeter, and pull big men to the outside, makes Cody a far more difficult match-up than when the inside is clogged. Watford has inconsistent results in the paint…he’s a bit rough around the edges in the bump-and-grind of inside play, but I don’t think he lacks heart and effort. He’s also a huge plus at the stripe. His competence at the free throw line can pay huge dividends when the over-focus on Zeller will cause out of position defenders to foul as a result of getting back to their primary assignment late.

    Dustin- I hope there’s no way of keeping results on how often particular bloggers get the spam math question wrong on first attempt. Have it be known that I need glasses and often misread the numbers.

    Go Hoosiers!

  28. The Watford ship is sailing and he ain’t on it. If he were a Sophomore instead of a Junior he would not be in Bloominton next season.

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