Indiana finally wins in The Barn, pounds Minnesota 69-50

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Indiana exorcised a number of demons at once at Minnesota on Sunday. With the Hoosiers’ 69-50 win over the Golden Gophers in front of 11,421 at Williams Arena, they got revenge for their only loss at Assembly Hall this season. They also won at the facility affectionately known as The Barn for the first time since 2008 and just the fourth time since 1993, claiming a win in their last true road game after a season that’s been difficult for the Hoosiers outside of Indiana.

The win improves the Hoosiers to 22-7 overall and 9-7 in the Big Ten, clinching at least a .500 season in conference play. It also gives them a 5-6 road record for the year.

“It’s big for us,” junior forward Christian Watford said. “It solidifies that we can get a road win. That’s something that people have been talking about that we really needed. We came out here and got that tonight.”

That win came in large part because of a great defensive effort. Minnesota was at a disadvantage with point guard Julian Welch playing just 11 minutes because of a hip pointer, and the Hoosiers’ lockdown man-to-man made it even more difficult. With sophomores Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey providing most of the resistance, they held swingman Rodney Williams, the team’s leading scorer on the season, to just three points on 1-for-2 shooting. Meanwhile, Watford and freshman center Cody Zeller held Minnesota center Ralph Sampson III to a 1-for-11 showing, and the Golden Gophers finished 18-for-58 (31.0 percent) from the field. Purdue (29.6 percent) is the only Big Ten opponent to shoot worse against the hoosiers this season. Howard (30.6 percent) and Chattanooga (27.0 percent) were the only non-conference teams to shoot worse.

“It’s one of the best (defensive performances we’ve had),” junior guard Jordan Hulls said. “I don’t know what the percentage was, but I feel like we got a lot of stops in a row and were able to rebound the ball, push it and run our offense the way we wanted to.”

It wasn’t their best offensive performances, but it was an encouraging one for the Hoosiers in a number of ways. They had four scorers in double figures, and none of them was Cody Zeller. The freshman forward scored seven points in just 18 minutes because of foul trouble, and fell short of 10 points for just the fourth times this season and the first time since the Wisconsin game on Jan. 26. Hulls and Watford broke out of scoring slumps with 12 points each, however, and Oladipo also had 12. Senior guard Verdell Jones added 11 points and three assists.

“We did a great job of sharing the basketball,” Watford said.

After Minnesota opened the game with back-to-back 3-pointers, the Hoosiers answered with a 9-0 run and never trailed again. They led 37-26 by halftime and opened the second half with a 9-2 spurt to make it 46-28. Minnesota was never again closer than 16 points and trailed by as many as 24. The victory matched the Hoosiers’ biggest margin of victory in a road conference game since Feb. 11, 2004, when they won 75-56 at  Penn State.

AUDIO: Tom Crean

AUDIO: Christian Watford

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls

 

33 comments

  1. Excellent job, Hoosiers. 22-7, over .500 in conference play. Getting the job done, and moving on. I look for a big game against Michigan State and think we win our final two games.

  2. Boomer, I hope you’re right. I think the pu game is another trap game. Being senior night and purdue makes it hard to overlook. MSU is in for an amped up crowd tues. Go Hoosiers!

  3. Michigan State is getting everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them on Tuesday, topped off by a deafening crowd that will be as revved up as ever. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes by any stretch. MSU pulled off a huge road win at OSU recently, and you don’t often get two of those in the span of only a few weeks.

    I sense Crean’s first win vs. his old master.

  4. Both games range on a scale between really hard and nearly impossible but I think the Hoosiers will win them both. It doesn’t cost any more to hope for that, so that’s what I’m going with. Go Hoosiers!

  5. California ahead of us in the BPI? Bahahaha that is ridiculous. They have not beat anyone all year and got crushed by Mizzou/UNLV, two good non-con opponents.

  6. I think most people would agree that IU has been an above average offensive team this year, certainly our position in the NCAA ranks (22nd in scoring, 7th in FG%, 3rd in 3-pt%) show that to be true. Basically we know where our bread is buttered…

    So I decided to do a little defensive analysis of our beloved Hoosiers. There has been some – not a lot, but some – complaining on this site about Crean’s teaching of the fundamentals of defense and boxing out. I have put it out there that I disagree with that view, but wanted to do a little research and see what the stats say… So here goes. I broke it up into 3 categories of performance – good, average, and bad – and looked at 7 statistical categories that impact defensive performance – scoring, FG%, 3-pt %, FT Attempts, Off. Rebs, Total Rebs, and TO’s.

    I admit that this is SOMEWHAT subjective as to what is “good”, “average”, or “bad”, but I tried to take some of that subjectivity out by basing it around NCAA overall averages of those statistical categories. I also established the ranges before researching the IU data so as not to fit the performances into convenient slots. Here is what I came up with:

    Bad:

    Opp. Score > 69 pts – 11 times
    Opp. FG% > 46% – 8 times
    Opp. 3-pt% > 36% – 9 times
    Opp. FT attempts > 24 – 4 times
    Opp. Total Reb > +5 Margin – 1 time (and we beat OSU!)
    Opp. Offensive Reb > 12 – 7 times
    Opp. Turnovers < 10 – 7 times

    Average:
    Score 60-69 pts – 7 times
    FG% 41-46% – 8 times
    3-pt% 31-36% – 6 times
    FT Attempts 18-24 – 14 times
    Total Reb -4 to +4 margin – 15 times
    Off Reb 8-12 – 12 times
    TO's 10-14 – 6 times

    Good:

    Score < 60 – 11 times
    FG% < 41 – 13 times
    3-pt% < 31 – 14 times
    FT Att < 18 – 11 times
    Total Reb < -4 margin – 13 times
    Off Reb 14 – 16 times

    When I combine all the opportunities to perform in these areas this is what the data shows me – of a possible 203 opportnunity areas (29 games x 7 categories) IU is a slightly above average defensive team:

    Bad = 47
    Average = 68
    Good = 88

    The only area where we trend towards possibly being below average is scoring defense, which obviously is the most important category, but there are a couple things to note here… 1) because IU is a much higher than average scoring team they can get away with allowing more points; and 2) IU has equally many good defensive performances where they allow fewer than 60 points, so those 2 squash eachother.

    For those who say that IU is a fundamentally poor rebounding team, the numbers certainly say otherwise. IU has a + margin both overall and in B1G play this year. We have had margins of +5 rebounds 13 times to only once when we were severely out-rebounded… and we beat Ohio State in that game. To further the point, IU is often both smaller and/or less athletic than the teams it plays. All this adds up to IU being an above-average rebounding team.

    Thoughts, comments, disagreements, flaws?

  7. When doing stats like that, I think only Big 10 games should be counted as some teams have a cream-puff pre-Big Ten schedule compared to others.

    And even then, since everyone doesn’t play the same round-robin in the Big Ten any more, it still isn’t a completely fair comparison as some teams really get a break who/where they play.

  8. I have at times this season expressed criticism of VJIII’s play. Recently, I suggested that IU was better off with him on the bench. To be fair, I must say I thought VJIII played very well yesterday. He made good decisions (for the most part), was effective scoring both inside and out and did not make many turnovers or stupid passes. I also thought he did a reasonable job on defense.

    Give credit where credit is due. VJIII played like a senior yesterday.

  9. It’s a fair statement, but you play the games on the schedule and have to perform no matter what. IU’s non-conference schedule includes wins against:

    UK (28-1) – #1 in country, #1 in SEC
    ND (20-9) – #19 in country, #3 in Big East
    NC ST (18-11) – #5 in ACC
    Stony Brook (20-9) – #1 in America East Conf
    Savannah St (19-10) – #1 in MEAC
    Butler (18-13) – back-to-back National Runner-up
    Evansville (15-14) – tied #3 in Missouri Valley Conf.

    That’s not exactly cream-puff… every team schedules mid-majors and small schools. It’s just part of the gig. If you take out the 13 losses that IU has given it’s non-conf opponents, their overall record is 187-160, with 8 of the 13 teams above .500

    Also, the B1G is everybody’s #1 conference in America this year, so only comparing what they’ve done against their own conference isn’t fair in comparison to what other teams around the country are facing.

  10. Also, I am not saying they are an above-average defensive team by IU standards or by B1G standards… I am showing that they are an above-average defensive team by national standards. In B1G play they certainly trend down in some categories, but still perform very well in others. Maybe I’ll do a B1G only breakdown later when I get some more time.

  11. I agree, and have said elsewhere, that those who critcize our rebounding are just plain wrong. Looking at our conference-only statistics, we are 4th in offensive rebounding, 3rd in defensive rebounding, and 3rd in rebounding margin. Given the conference we play in, that qualifies as a genuine strength.

    Not sure I agree with the conclusion about the defense. For one thing, your figures include a number of pretty weak non-conference opponents. I would be more interested in the breakdown against opponents in the top 75 or 100.

    More to the point , looking at our conference-only statistics, we rank in the bottom half of most (not all) defensive categories, particularly those relating to perimeter defense: steals (11th), turnovers (11th), 3p fg% (8th).

    This matches up with what I see during live play (no film analysis..). We actually have a few competent perimeter defenders, but our switches and rotations are not great. We struggle with screens, particularly at the top of the key (although we seem to have improved at that over the course of the season), and we give up far too many uncontested perimeter shots (thus the not so great defensive percentage). Until we can lock down better on the perimeter and improve some of these measures, I will continue to think of us as a mediocre defensive team.

  12. “Also, the B1G is everybody’s #1 conference in America this year”

    Well, “everybody” is often wrong.

    Let’s see what happens in The Dance.

  13. Geoff-

    Very impressive work. I’m not sure if any of it matters now. Once in the Big Dance, it’s all about match-ups and momentum….and, maybe most importantly, Zeller staying out of foul trouble. Hopefully the Hoosiers can continue on what appears to be an overall trend toward a hungrier and more tenacious team. Oladipo seems to be the real driving energy force that gets everyone else going.

    Zeller didn’t have a big scoring night against Minnesota, but I thought he had some of his most impressive plays of the year( showing great speed and energy getting down the floor after Minnesota misses and finishing a couple fast break with thunderous dunks; (2) a particular play I remember when he was bringing the ball up court at an unbelievable guard-like pace and (3) a beautifully swishing baseline turnaround jumper from about 10 ft. out).

    Better defense does seem to equate to more synergy on the floor(especially in our offensive flow) and guys individually digging out of their slumps. Hope we keep it rolling against a very tough MSU team tomorrow night.

  14. Laffy – fine, but anything can happen in one-game scenarios… The entire regular season says that the B1G is by far the best conference…

    http://statsheet.com/mcb/conferences

    some highlights of this:
    our lowest ranked RPI team is 14 places higher than the next lowest conferences RPI team, and 50 places higher than #2 conference Big East.

    The average RPI of B1G teams is 58, the next closest is Big East at 70.

    The B1G has the highest non-conf winning % at 81% (124-29)

    Obviously none of this means anything when we get to the dance, but it does mean that for 95% of the basketball season games we have been the best conference.

  15. Geoff-

    Just curious..Who do you like winning it all? Of course, outside my greatest hope of IU shocking the world, I see Syracuse as the most probable choice for hoisting the next NCAA Championship banner. Every highlight I watch of that team, they just appear to be in a league of their own.

    Final Four?

    Syracuse
    Kentucky
    Duke
    Cinderella?…IU?

  16. Diehard – can you define the “pretty weak” teams to me. I would say that is very subjective, but in my opinion it would be any mid-major or small school with a sub-.500 record. That seems fair to me. If you want to define it as teams outside the RPI top-100, I can live with that, but then we leave out Nebraska, Iowa, and PSU. I don’t really think any B1G game is a gimme… and the season has proved that out for every team this year.

  17. Geoff— If the Big Ten does great at The Dance, we’ll hear, “See? This is PROOF we have the BEST conference!!” and if the Big Ten does poorly, we’ll hear, “It’s just a crap shoot and all about match-ups and luck and blah, blah, blah!!!”

    HH didn’t ask me, but I’ll answer anyway. I think Kaintuck will win it all. I PRAY that I’m wrong, but they’re filled with studs.

    Besides them, I think Syracuse has the best chance, though it seems they are barely winning their games now.

    Not impressed with Duke, but they always seem to get the calls so it’s hard to go against them.

    I really like MSU too.

    Is someone on here going to organize a bracket contest? Most people tell me I “know nothing” about basketball and yet, I usually do well with my bracket, even winning a few years.

  18. Other than a mystical soothsayer that came on this blog in the infancy of the season and predicted 22 wins, a top 20 ranking by mid-December, and an NCAA berth, I’d say 90% of the national experts, local expert journalists, and all the following doubters on this very Scoop blog, would have called the Hoosiers a “weak” team. Nobody(other than the aforementioned soothsayer) was giving any indication of the marvels this squad was soon to perform.

    That’s exactly why this entire conversation obsessing over “cupcakes” and “deficiencies” should serve as a lesson in ridiculousness the glaring unacknowledged truth the “experts of the now” will never face up to. Talk about looking for excuses! Now they’re trying to excuse away our success when they never saw this team going anywhere(a .500 season and a NIT invite was on the high expectation list for most) now look to undercut their achievements by claiming many of the opponents were soft and we won despite our suck defense. Give me a break! Fake fan jerk-a$$es! What a bunch of God damn hypocrites with no ability to admit just how much their low expectations did not match the reality of the Hoosiers shocking turnaround and success.

  19. Harvard – I’ll probably be 100% wrong on this, but I don’t have Syracuse making the Final Four. I think they are super over-rated. Every time they play a good team they just barely squeak out a win. It’s nice to be able to get that experience and perform well under that pressure, but they have yet to beat a ranked team soundly. I just think that it’s going to catch up with them.

    My Final Four is:

    Kentucky
    Ohio St
    UNC
    Missouri

    I also like Florida or Marquette to maybe sneak in. And of course for your mid-major special I’d take either Wichita State or Murray State.

    Like I said I’ll probably be wrong about all those, but in the end I always like teams with 4+ options that can light it up, and really strong and experienced guard play.
    So that criteria eliminates teams like:

    MSU – not enough options
    Duke – not enough experienced guard play
    Kansas – not enough options
    Baylor – not enough experienced guard play

    That criteria doesn’t really eliminate Syracuse because they have almost endless options, and tons of experience at guard… but there’s just something fishy there for me. Something that says maybe they have too many indians and no chiefs. Who knows.

    For my eventual National Champion I guess I’ll choose UNC. They have a great lead guard in Marshall, multiple scoring threats in Barnes, Zeller, Henson, plus a couple guys off the bench that are capable of double digits in McAdoo and Hairston, good perimeter shooting with Barnes and Bullock, tons of size and length, shot-blocking and rebounding with Zeller, Henson, and McAdoo. Plus 5 of their top 7 shoot over 70% from the FT line. I just see them as a complete team that also has a clutch scorer and great ball-handler.

    Now would be a great time to take all your money and bet against UNC to make a deep run…

  20. Way to go Harv. Sock it to em.

    As for the Huskies, they’ll need some help to get into the tourney.

  21. And how dare these same doubters calling themselves “experts” now make claims many these Hoosiers don’t have what it takes to play beyond the college level. They didn’t think they had the ability to play at this level for God’s sake! They already claimed most our Hoosiers were in a misplaced conference! Watford, Hulls, Oladipo, Sheehey, Roth, Elston….They were all pegged to be guys only worthy enough talent to serve them best at mid-majors or junior colleges.

    Now we’re pissing on them because they didn’t go undefeated and had two bad losses?..It’s utterly damn LAFFABLE!

  22. OSU and UNC are two of the softest teams in the softest teams in the country.

    I doubt Florida makes the Sweet 16.

    I see my stalker is still crying his eyes out about me. Dude needs some Xanax.

  23. Perhaps I’m the “soothsayer” Harvard, not sure, but waaaaaaayyyyy back in early Jan, I predicted/expected 23 Ws. 23-8, pre-Big 10 tourney. Every year I size up the preseason & go thru the Big 10 schedule & predict the outcomes. Admit last year we came up 4 Ws short of my list largely due to my nemesis VJ3. But I digress.

    Before the season I met with someone very, very close to the program in Sept. I had hoped for 16 or 17 Ws. He agreed. We met again over this weekend & we both agreed it was better than we had hoped, & that w/o VJ3 & CWat we’re going to be much better as a team. Again, I soundly admit we are better than I expected as well as this unnamed IU insider. Hint: said person is highly involved in making IU better.

    We have a chance to REALLY make a statement this week. But I have to admit I have to say I don’t know what to expect. I’m befuddled by this group. How many times, ever, have VJ3 & CWat had back-to-back good games, let alone 3 straight? Geoff…???

    If I were able to pick 1 of 2, I’ll pick a big, healthy blowout vs. purdue. I prefer 2Ws, but I’ll take purdue. I’d hate like hell to see a MSU W & a purdue letdown @ home. TRUE fans would agree so we’ll see who debates me to show their true colors.

    it’ll be a fun week….

  24. Every year the ACC gets half the league a 3 seed or higher and brags about their tournament record. But most of them lose their second round games. The ACC tournament success is a product of their seeds.

    Let’s see how we do as the dominant league.

  25. Pay no attention to the Hillbilly.

    I also predicted we’d make the Dance.

    And yet, the “real” fans claim that people like us “had too high of expectations” and that we’re “fake” fans for having faith they’d do well.

    And then, they make fun of us for being right.

    Talk about Bizarro World……..

    He’s an insecure child that HAS to claim he’s “right” no matter WHAT happens and call others “fake” fans so he can sleep at night because, deep down, he knows he’s a complete loser.

    It eats him up inside knowing I’m right and he’s a moron. That’s why he obsesses about me 24/7.

  26. January? Seriously? The soothsayer’s prediction was in early November. I challenge anyone that made predictions on Hoosier Scoop back in November of a 22 win season, a top 20 ranking by mid-December, a 4th or 5th place finish in the Big 10 Standings, and an invitation to the Big Dance, to retrieve it from the Scoop archives and cut & paste it now. I’m not talking about what you said to your barber, your granny at the grocery store, or your inflatable girl friend during a night of drunkenness. I’m talking about a post on a thread, a prediction made in writing on Hoosier Scoop, when the season was in its initial weeks. Show me the money.

  27. I’m pretty sure I predicted all that. Yeah, you’ll need to go back and check. It was July… or maybe May.

    You guys remember that… right?

  28. AWinAZ #2

    Looks like you had a discussion that was 1/2 “Glass” full or 1/2 “Glass” empty over a full Red Solo Cup.

    I would like to get Purdue, not over achieve in the Big Ten Tournament and save the peak performance for a 1st round win, maybe a second round win to make noise.

    Sure I want to win out, win the Big Ten Tournament and shock the world.

    Go Hoosiers!!
    Another hint at Close to the Program?
    Give me something else to guess at.

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