1. Wow! What a concept…2 post entry passes for buckets to Z!!!

    Wow! 8 pts scored on Hulls out of 12…

  2. How cool would it be if Oladipo was Player of the Year? Honestly at this point, is there a better all around player in the country on both sides of the ball?

  3. Good God! What a 1st half. Clearly the best half of basketball I’ve seen all year, and I watch a lot, and from our HOOSIERS no less. Let’s hope for a better 2nd half than PSU. Coach even made much better substitutions than I’ve seen, it was a better, more fluid pattern.

    This team is unbeatable when…
    …they feed the post off of pick & rolls
    …Z demands the ball
    …Oladipo is his normal self
    …CWat rebounds, hits open 3s
    …Hulls hits 50% of his 3s, let alone 3 of 5 or so he hit in the 1st half
    …plays THIS kind of post Defense…I counted 3 interceptions with MN trying to go over the top
    ….& Yogi penetrates & dishes off of them


  4. No surprise on result of this game except for the big lead. Refs letting them play is a big advantage for us when on home court and most calls/non-calls in Hoosier’s favor. What’s up with the slippery court today?

  5. Granted MN, & Hollins in particular, was unconscious in the 2nd half from the 3 pt. line, it showcases a couple of key issues.

    1. 2nd chance points, especially dunks off of misses. Sheehey lost his man at least 4 times.
    2. Missed foul shots.
    3. Poor plan and handling of pressure.
    4. 54 pts given up in 2nd half.

  6. To piggyback on AZ’s comments, here are my three key takeaways from the second half:

    1. Free throws
    2. Free throws
    3. Free throws

  7. First half was phenomenal. Again, we were sluggish and sloppy to start the second. Overall I think it was more a matter of MN playing exceptionally well in the 2nd rather than IU playing poorly. But not handling the press, crucial TOs, fouling the 3-point shooter, and MISSING FREE THROWS did not help my blood pressure. Hats off to MN. They didn’t give up. If Cody doesn’t make one of the plays of the year on that free throw miss, weight be talking about a different outcome.

  8. I would like to find some positives from losing such a huge lead in the first half, but I can’t find very many. It is a good thing IU has some excellent ball players to cover up the coaching or should I say lack of coaching by Crean. When your team has trouble breaking the press and all the coach does is sat and watch without showing the team how to break it, well you see what you get. Some day people are going to accept the fact that Crean is not a very good coach in clutch situations. I’m sure we will see this again when IU makes it to the Big Dance.

  9. Pros: 1 We beat a top ten team and will move up at least a couple spots in the rankings. 2 With limited touches, Zeller dominated in the paint. 3 Yogi played smart and aggressive with 7 assists in the first half.

    Cons: 1 Will was a no show today. Played poorly and threw up bricks and showed how important Mo Creek’s outside shooting is to this team. 2 Yogi stopped playing at half time. 3 Got out hustled in the second half by Minnesota. Just like PSU’s second half.

    If you told me before the game we’d win by 7 I’d be happy, but watching what how good we’re capable of playing in the first half and seeing the garbage we put out in the second half I’m not. This team can either take on the personality of Watford and try to get by with just enough or can take on Vic’s and play balls out 24/7. I hope this is a wake up call for the team and coaches.

  10. I won’t duplicate the other comments already posted, accept to say that the first half gave us a glimpse of how good this IU team can be. I was really worried at half time, because I thought that IU had no place to go but down from the high of the first half, and momentum is a strange beast. And that’s what happened.

    My big take away was that, in relative terms, IU’s bench played poorly today. Sheehey had a bad game (did he even score a point?), Hollowell looked lost out there, and Abel did very little. Combining that with Hulls’ foul trouble and poor free throw shooting allowed this to become a close game.

    Tubby gets his kids to play tough. They are a mentally tough team.

  11. Well, overall I can’t complain about the officials, because we certainly got some calls, but I am about 95% sure that Dipo didnt foul a 3-pt shooter all day, and yet was called for 3 of em. The last one was hilarious… Jump backwards with your hands out and behind your own body… Referees stopped giving that call to the offense 2 years ago, but yet Hollins dives forward, face first, into Dipo’s exposed chest and gets the call. Guy should lose his patch for that one.

    Really what it all comes down to is we missed 13 FT’s and went 1-8 on 3’s in the 2nd half, and most of those were wide open looks. If we hit FT’s we coast… If we hit open 3’s we coast… We did neither, so we struggled to a win.

    Wow did they hit some really tough clutch shots. That team will make their opponents nervous come tourney time because they play so damn hard.

    Really fun game to watch, especially after witnessing that PSU junk.

  12. response to Good Time: I agree with you and I feel like we are the few that are not drinking the Crean cool-aid. Don’t get me wrong, Crean is a great recruiter and motivator. I’m extremely happy with how well their defense is playing this year, esp. compared to last year’s squad. However, I have been questioning coaching and especially his halfcourt offense. It drives me nuts! Ok, I know it’s more like an NBA spread offense but come on… no plays to generate back door cuts? Only screens I see is at the top of the key. Lack of coaching is really showing when it comes to X’s and O’s. Indiana struggled against a zone in Iowa and Butler games. Now today they shot lights out from the 3 but I feel like that’s their “only” zone-buster play. Here’s another one to watch (if you taped the game), why did Indiana send 2 guards running down the court when MN full court pressed the inbound. I saw it 2 presses in a row! 1 other guard comes down to get the ball and they struggle to get the ball in. Go figure. I’m really losing any confidence with Crean’s style of basketball. Here’s one more to ponder… think of the coming years w/o dipo and zeller. how good are these recruits coming in? Brad Stevens available? 🙂

  13. Illinois is getting crushed in Madison and Duke got beat by #20 NCS. Arizona is on the road today. The rankings should be interesting come Monday.

    One last comment about today’s IU game. Zeller and Yogi were outstanding today. Both were MVPs. VO did a lot of great things, but he committed some really bone-headed fouls in the second half. He got schooled there a little bit by Dre. These guys are still learning and still refining their killer instincts.

  14. The first half was a thing of beauty. Showed we can play with anybody and probably beat them.

    The second half. Whatever our current half-time routine is, it needs to be changed ….now.

  15. Po – I’d like to amend your statement about Remy… Abell did plenty out there today, and all of it was terrible. He only ended up with 2 TO’s in the box score, but he tried to turn it over every time he touched it. 2 of his 3 shots were terrible decisions. Unfortunately, Crean’s hand got forced in the 2nd half because of Hulls’ foul trouble. Remy was so bad in the 2nd half that Crean went to Hollowell for a stretch instead of putting him back in the game.

    For the most part I like Remy… I’m not cuckoo for cocoa puffs like Harvard… But Remy is generally a net positive. Today was his worst day as a Hoosier though.

    I’m sure next game hell bounce back. He’s proven to be a generally tough-minded kid.

  16. Jeremy’s growth totally lost momentum with the games he sat out. You can tell he’s nervous from the airball and needs major minutes against our weaker opponents to build up his confidence.

    Hanner seems to have confidence and swagger he just needs consistent minutes to build up some experience. Hanner and Noah next year by January will be incredible to watch.

  17. Tom Crean is not missing free throws. Tom Crean is not missing open 3-point shots. Tom Crean is not fouling a great jump-shooter behind the 3-point line. Tom Crean is not making bad in-bounds passes. Tom Crean did not cause Hulls to get in foul trouble. It’s easy to criticize Crean for the way IU played in the last five minutes, but you also have to give him credit for the way his team played in the first 20 minutes. And let’s remember that two of his veteran players were out with injuries.

    I’ve come to realize that until Crean wins a national title, some people will never be satisfied with Tom Crean’s coaching.

  18. There’s a first time for everything, but I think Dipo was trying to do a little too much. At least one of those 3-point fouls could’ve just as easily been a non-call, but when a dude launches from 38 feet it and looks like it might be a foul, that’s going to be called almost every time. All you have to do is get a hand is his face, then box out. Period.

    And to add to Geoff’s point in #14, the biggest difference in the 2nd was shooting. MN hit a crazy amount of threes to close the gap, but not only did we have all those missed FTs and 3s, but we missed a lot of point blank stuff, too– Layups and open looks that usually go in. We just couldn’t hit much, and at happens at times. But we have to take advantage of the freebies and not turn it over at the end. There are a lot of quality opponents in this league who will make you pay if you let up. Welcome to the Big Ten, fellas.

  19. Regardless of the hype, and let’s all agree that there was enormous hype associated with “the solution,” very few freshman are physically and mentally prepared to make major contributions in Big Ten competition. That’s what made Cody Zeller so special last year. That’s what makes Yogi so special this year. These are rare talents, and we should not expect every freshman, no matter how good they were in High School, to be able to come in and hold their own against veteran Big Ten competitors. JH is simply not physically strong enough (yet) to match up with Big Ten forwards.

    Let’s keep in mind that they are freshman. But no excuse for Sheehey. He was bad today.

  20. Aruss – that makes sense…

    Po – I agree. Although I do question the way we handle the press and why we go to the zone so often, and those things are on Crean. I can’t figure out why Watford is the inbounder for the life of me. Passing is not one of his strengths, but FT shooting is. That time he had Hulls open for 3 seconds and 25 feet, but then proceeded to pass it to him really late and throw it directly out of bounds… Wow.

  21. Aruss, totally agree with you on #19. Parea and Hollowell will be dynamite, but I doubt they’re going to get enough PT this year to do much besides show flashes of what they will be in coming years.

    I think we can all agree that one of our biggest strengths this year was going to be our depth. But when the subs don’t have it on a day like today, it’s good to know that just our starting five is good enough to hang with (or dominate) anyone.

  22. For everyone giving Crean a free pass with “he doesn’t miss the free throws or 3’s”, he is responsible for making the players mentally tough.

    And they are missing all those wide open shots because they are not mentally tough.


    On the chat, someone said in the second half we were “playing not to lose.”

    That is always a recipe for disaster. And that strategy/mindset falls on Crean.

    Do I want him fired? No.

    What happened to Yogi in the second half? He was amazing the first half.

    And that drive by Cody was gorgeous.

  23. MN did play very well in the 2nd half, hit an unbelievable set of 3s, and played their hearts out.

    I mirror Geoff’s comments about CWat Inbounding the ball. I would’ve gone to Zeller. He’s a great passer, can look over anyone guarding him, and can sprint full court after he gets it in. That to me is the best option. But the inbounds play is woeful. Run the guards around the high screens and run to the corners? Are you kidding me?!?!?

    Tubby is a great coach. He had his team put it to us in the 2nd half with a dose of our own medicine. He pressed the pressing team, which any middle school coach knows to do.

    The good side of things is we won against a tough team, and Z came to play. I’d say it was his top performance of the year for sure. He was tough, rebounded, hit his FTs, kept many RB alive, demanded the ball, and held more than his own inside.

    We look like an average Big Ten team without Oladipo and Hulls on the floor. I thought that really killed us under the 10 min. mark when both were sitting. Two pretty good ball handlers and shooters. That hurt us a lot with them both in foul trouble.

    Also, I have to think this weak 2nd half gets us up for Wisconsin on Tues. They will be very physical and they’ve owned us in the last 5 years. I’d be more worried had we blown out MN & cruised to a big victory or kept up the impeccable play in the 2nd half. This keeps the kids heads in it for a few more days. Expect Sheehey to bounce back, I’d think.

  24. AZ – yeah, my dad and I both looked at each other when Hulls picked up his 4th and Dipo went out at essentially the same time and said “uh-oh”…

    Great to watch he game with him. Can’t even count the number of high fives we gave each other in the first half… Can’t tell you how frustrated he was watching them miss FT’s in the 2nd half. Had flashbacks of the last time he came over for a game… UK game and jumping up on the coffee table after the Watford shot.

  25. 1 more thing & I’ll shut it this week….

    Q: Who is our point guard?

    I think Yogi proved in the 1H that he should have the ball & be directing things. Why he isn’t bringing the ball up every trip and operating from the top of the key to the bucket is beyond me. Most of the time, Yogi was on the wing at the 3 pt line in the 2H. Another coaching mystery. He’s very dangerous running over picks and driving the basketball, and therefore should be doing that for 40 min., not 20.

  26. Laffy – Terrible logic. I think it’s ok to ask why Crean’s teams have had “closing” trouble this year. But saying the team isn’t mentally tough because of missed free throws is a legendary Skip Bayless-esque cliche. Where is Mark Cuban to set you straight?

    Hulls is a terrific free-throw shooter. He didn’t miss 3 in a row because Crean didn’t feed him a toughness pill that day or forget to yell at him hard enough. He missed because basketball is hard, and even the best clench up under pressure once in a while.

  27. Goof–

    They did more than just “miss free throws.”

    And this is teh second game in a row they’ve completely collapsed the second half.

  28. Po, it won’t matter. Crean could win 10 straight titles and the Debbies of the world would put it all down to recruiting and bad coaching. I promise you this, if we win the title this year those dunces will give zero credit to CTC.

    We beat a top ten team by 7 (and we’re 4-2 in out last 6 games against top ten teams) and people are bitter because we built a big lead early.

    Give me a break.

  29. Geoff, I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it (in a friendly, kidding way). I enjoy your analytical take on games I think contrasting your very serious analysis with your ‘the refs wacked us’ that precedes it. I learned a long, long time ago ‘the refs don’t exist-just play the damn game’. Especially in the B1G, they’re good. Oh yeah, they’ll miss some but they’ll miss them both ways.

    Having said that. On Dipo’s last(?) foul, (I believe it was his last)- on the three pointer. Watch the play. You can see the three point line about a foot in front of the shooter. Dipo goes straight up about 3-6 inches INSIDE the 3-point line and comes down clearly INSIDE the line- could not possibly have jumped ‘into’ the Minny shooter. Ref was not watching the feet. His brain was ‘anticipating’ what his eyes didn’t see. It happens.

  30. We have a tendency to get ‘sloppy’-hurried when we get comfortable (miss shots on good looks and free throws).

  31. Aruss, my compliments. You really seem to think about the game (of basketball) with a lot of detail and make very intelligent observations. Enjoy reading them.

  32. Yeah (or no, I am agreeing with you it was not a foul. Saying the referee should have been able to see/judge it was physically impossible for Dipo to jump into the shooter and come down inside the 3pt line).

    Sometimes the eyes ‘see’ what the brain anticipates. (Happens in tennis a lot. The brain anticipates the ball and the eyes (miss direct), causing a bad hit on the racket). But, I’m also saying it is not an ‘intentional’ bad read. In every sport, the most repeated phrase is ‘follow the ball into your…(racket, bar, foot, chest, hand, glove)’. Don’t just trust your eyes, because the brain anticipates what you see. And, thus the most ignored and seemingly unnecessary yet critical of teaching/coaching observations.

    The same would be true of training refs to ‘take awareness’ of what they ‘think’ they are seeing. Just a thought that came to mind when I saw the same Dipo play the 3rd and 4th time. Awareness that it was a physical impossibility for the players to have contact to make it a foul, given the feet and lines.

  33. Tsao and Geoff: As I replay the second half in my mind, my first instinct is to say you’re right–There should never have been a foul called on Dipo on that last three. But that shouldn’t matter. The game was called evenly, and to say otherwise is to suggest we were victims. We weren’t victims. We got outplayed and outshot for too much of the second half, and the credit should go to the Gophers. But we also dominated the first half, which doesn’t seem to ease many fingers on the panic button.

    It’s amazing how many people– on the Hoosier squad, on this post, and in the national media– are treating this like a loss.

    I’m not at all suggesting that there aren’t some issues we clearly need to work on. But we beat a high quality, top ten opponent when all of our reserves had an off night. Take a breath, everyone, and just enjoy the victory for a while.

  34. Tubby is a great coach in the Gophers loss, Tom Crean is a piss poor coach in the Hoosiers win? Brilliant!

  35. OK, so, by my amateur analysis we have lost one game, to a good team, in overtime and we are in first place in the toughest conference in the country with two roads wins already under our belt.

    That means we ‘have trouble closing out games.’

    Had we hit one more free throw against Butler and were still in first place nationally (which we may be on Monday, anyway) would we still be having ‘trouble closing out games’?

  36. I laugh at the “toughest conference in the country” comment.

    Those same media people who said that crowned Zeller as the runaway PLAYER OF THE YEAR and he’s hardly in the running for it anymore.

    Aren’t a couple teams, like Illinois, far worse than what the “experts” thought they’d be?

    And didn’t 2 Top 10 Big Ten 10 teams lose a week or so ago to unranked teams?

    And last I checked, most people say the ACC sucks…..yet we tied them in The Challenge.

    I think only 3 Big Ten teams will do well at the Dance….Michigan, Minnesoata and us. And it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if we don’t make the Sweet 16.

  37. We were lucky to win the game and Minn. was lucky they were within 30 points at the end of the game.

    Few games back I think the concern was why it took the first half before we began to play.

    Last game I believe Yogi lost the ball in-bounding two times which may be why CWat took over that duty for awhile.

    Pretty sure we will see the full court pressure more and more this this year. Pretty sure Crean and the team will come up with an effective solution. Practice will be full court pressure and free throws.

    Hate to see a team get up by 20 points in the first half. Nearly always melts away during the second.

    For a team with a deep bench and to get not-much out of it hurt. Injuries and suspension hurt and will improve over the yr.

    It’s almost hard to grasp the change from first and second half. Maybe around the Michigan game time it’ll all come together.

  38. Oladipo is probably the best defender in the Big 10. He works his butt off in denying points, entry passes, and penetrations…He’s kept hundreds of potential points off the scoreboard and on our opponents floor with his crazy effort on every possession.

    He made some bad decisions…He got a little over-committed. When a team is roaring back, players get tight defensively as well as offensively. The tightness causes anxiousness…Guys loose their normal discipline..The mistakes becoming more glaring because they were on the perimeter.

    I’ll certainly take what I know we won’t see from Oladipo again than lose the irreplaceable effort, the points kept off the scoreboard with his uncompromising defense, the points put into our scoring column with his immense athletic ability, the crowd-electrifying plays, and the heart he exudes to will the entire team forward, to give him one free pass, for one afternoon he’s a bit out of sync.

  39. I think the fact that the Big 10 is the premier basketball conference could account for teams not always having the best of success in the tournament.

    A lot of programs have tough pre-conference schedules and then proceed into ‘cupcake seasons’ in conferences less deep in overall talent.
    They go into March Madness having an adequate share of top competition by the few elite teams in their conference, but they are not totally beat up(mentally and physically) from test after test after test.

    I often wonder if Big 10 teams are almost burned out from the fierce, season-long, physical play of a conference with rarely a team to take a night off against. It can be demoralizing losing in the Big 10 tournament, on the eve of March Madness, to a team six or seven places down in the conference standings.

    The perception going into the tournament that you lost to a thoroughly under-matched team is just not true. I despise that Big 10 tournament.

  40. I am not sure if any of you noticed, but I thought Perea had some meaningful minutes against Minny. He did not have a scoring effect or grab ten boards. He did have, I feel, is a physical presence which altered Minnesota’s play. He was active and showed what he has under the hood, and it’s waiting to come out. May he continue to learn and gain confidence.
    In the thought of the young players learning, and acclimating to the D1 level, Yogi is just now starting to establish himself. I believe Ferrell was the highest rated recruit of the bunch, yet he still makes mistakes. Here is to all of thier continued improvement. This team is still learning, may they never lose thier hunger and will to improve.

  41. “It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if we don’t make the Sweet 16.”

    Grow some stones and make the call now. Do we, or don’t we make the Sweet 16?

    I believe we make the Sweet 16.

    Of course, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if 1/2 the current list of the top 16 teams in the nation don’t make it to the Sweet 16…Big friggin’ deal! That’s why it’s March Madness!!

  42. Without Yogi we’d me major screwed. We get to the next level in the tournament because of Ferrell. You don’t go deep without a dynamic point guard. I believe Yogi is light years ahead a typical freshman point guard. Extremely poised and it’s easy to tell he relishes the stage and big games. He’ll be the difference.

    It’s amazing he’s been so overlooked by the national press. Those drives going to the basket while using off-hand were amazing. He has major, major skills.

  43. Well ****.

    I agree with you M4H. The only reason (I can see) for the B1G Tourney is $$$$….? If you are a team looking for Sweet Sixteen and better, it may be a better goal to win one game of the tourney and than collect yourself for the big push.

    Vic out of synch yesterday? No way. The guy was brilliant as usual. Well, maybe more so. Except for a couple of plays pushing himself.

  44. May the team also grasp and accept that beating a top ranked team is no longer an upset. IU does not need to play not to lose. They need to play with thier foot on the opping teams throat for the whole game. Why stop what was working really well in the first half(Minn. adjusted)? I think they still revert, at times, to seasons past, not having a winning culture.
    Accept your new role boys, you are now at the top of the food chain, eat and destroy!

  45. Yes, a little ‘out of sync’ in the discipline category.

    Much like a prize fighter so caught up in his own flurry to knock out an opponent on the ropes suddenly letting his guard slip down. The anxiousness of the kill creates the momentary loss of discipline.

  46. Laffy,

    There’s only one conference it there that can compete with the B1G in my mind and they won’t even be a conference next year. The Big East has lots of quality teams and you could make an argument the the group of:

    Lousiville, Syracuse, Georgetown, Cinci, UConn, Notre Dame, Marquette, and Pitt

    are every bit as, if not more, formidable than:

    Mich, IU, Minnesota, OSU, Illisnois, MSU, and Wisconsin

    There is top end power and depth in both conferences. I would say that OSU and MSU aren’t quite living up to expectations, but they’re close, and Illinois certainly exceeded expectations heading into B1G play. Iowa did as well, but now magically because they started conference play against IU, Mich, and MSU they are considered over-rated? Very few elite teams could survive that 3 game span, much less an up-and-coming Iowa.

    So if you forced me to bet every thing on black (BE) or red (B1G)… I guess I’d go red, simply because I believe that Michigan and IU are the 2 best teams in the country. (followed by Louisville and Kansas, then a group of Minnesota, Duke, Gonzaga, and Syracuse in no particular order… Arizona is a fraud, and 3 teams that could be as good as anyone at the end are Mizzou, UCLA, and UNLV as they gain health and/or experience).

  47. Went out for a cup of coffe yesterday. Guy next to me in IU shirt was popping nitro’s. He said he was at the game and started to have chest pains during the last 3 minutes.
    Probably gratuitously, I explained that due to his cardiac issues he would be better off not attending these games, and I would not hesitate to take his place at future games.

    He said he would rather go to a stronger dosage and if he were to have a fatal heart attack, Assembly Hall was OK with him.

  48. Harvard, I agree, Yogi is the difference maker on this team. He is just getting it going. Obviously Vic and Cody are good. Our season may very well ride on how high of a level Yogi can play and keep improving as the sesond half of the season plays out.

  49. Geoff. In March I think San Diego Stae and VCU will be added to the list. Would think MS will be more than competitive in March. I had to write off Georgetown.

  50. To no one in-particular (honestly):

    Three point defense is one area I struggle with when listening to the ‘fan base’… The complaints were loud last year, and maybe rightfully so. Certainly the percentages would indicate that. But this year it has been very good for the most part, also indicated by the stats – #1 overall FG defense and #4 3-pt FG % in the B1G (although they are literally one more miss away from being #2). Yet still you hear some spackling of complaints throughout the young season…

    Now when Dipo is out challenging 3’s after they have made some really tough ones to get back in the game I just know what one of the narratives is…

    “Damn that’s stupid… Where’s the discipline! Why can’t Crean teach his guys to not foul 3-pt shooters…”.

    Well, a) Dipo wasn’t fouling them, so therefore, b) it wasn’t undisciplined…

    Now if you want to say its stupid, and that you shouldn’t put yourself in a situation where the ref might anticipate, fall for the flail, and make the call… Ok, that’s a valid opinion. But then I don’t ever want to hear that same person complain about our lack of 3-pt defense ever again.

  51. Chet–

    If it “sure isn’t the ACC”, why did we split the Challenge with them? I’ve read numerous times how the ACC is “awful” and how the Big Ten is “way above everyone else” and yet, they tied us in the Challenge. Doesn’t make sense to me.


    I think the “burned out” excuse is laughable. The Big East is no Cupcake Conference at all, yet U Conn won the Title after going thru those games. Heck, they had to win 5 TOUGH games in 5 days to win their tournment. Why, exactly, are we the “premier” league? Because The Establishment says so? LOL!! Talk about irony….

    And how is it “stones” to make that prediction now, Gilligan? Lots of games left. Plus, there could be injuries. And, it depends on who we get as The Dance is mostly about match-ups.

    I always love to hear when we lose in teh Dance, “So what? It’s a crap shoot. Doesn’t mean anything.” yet when we win, it’s “This proves we’re the best team in the country!!!” Can’t have it both ways.


    Yes, I’d say the Big East is better than the Big Ten.

  52. Ron,

    Ok… Interesting. I’d like to see SDST play a couple times. They have as good a backcourt as any in the country with Tapley and Franklin. Their only 2 losses are to Syracuse and Arizona (by 1). I kinda wonder if they are already playing at their potential though since all of their best players are healthy and experienced.

    I put VCU and Butler in a different tier – really well-coached, style-imposing, under-manned teams that are a threat to anyone, but not to everyone. Only because these teams are devoid of the next-level talent I think you need to make it past the Sweet 16. (Butler’s previous teams had multiple players with next-level talent).

    Not that anyone asked, but here is what I see in Mizzou, UNLV and UCLA:

    UCLA – Muhammed is really starting to dominate, and Howland has proven he can take talent to the Final Four. They have lots of size, scorers, and depth – they’re just catching their stride.

    Mizzou – the transfers (Bell, Brown, Oriakhi) are just starting to mesh with the team. Pressed and Bowers are a great duo, but Bowers is hurt for a bit. By tourney time they barring additional injuries they’ll be healthy and fully meshed, which means they should be peaking.

    UNLV – they have as talented a duo as any team in the country with Bennett and Moser, but Moser is still working back to health and Bennett is still gaining experience. Khem Birch is huge and was a McD’s all-American… They have been very good for a few years, but now they have a bona field star who will be coming into his own alongside Moser getting into a rhythm all at the right time. (admittedly this team is more of a long shot, but I like the ingredients)

  53. Every year before the season starts, I do a little “contest” with myself to predict who wins it all, makes the Final Four, Elite 8 and Sweet 16.

    I then also do it on Jan.1 and the end of the regular season before the Dance is announced and then, of course, do my bracket.

    I try to pick one dark horse to make the Final Four and before the season started, I picked UNLV.

    I also picked IU to win it all.

    Now, at mid-point, I have Louisville winning it all and IU making the Sweet 16.

  54. Mass Hoosier,Chet, Geoff, Ron, Punjab…others: I agree with you. I wondered at half time if we would ‘change’ our approach in any way attempting to ‘protect’ the lead. In soccer, as well, here’ a saying that a 2-0 lead is a bad one to get. Coaches begin playing the score not the game. They sit back and protect and s___ happens. A 10-20 point lead in a game between two comparably strong teams may be the same thing in basketball.

    I haven’t looked to compare the first and second halves of the Minn. game. But, I do know we Hoosiers are at our clear best when we ‘push the ball’ up the floor and base our game on an aggressive offense that forces the defense to defend their basket; not to defend us away from their basket (there is a difference). When we force them to defend their basket- focused on passing to open up a man, dribble-drive penetration to the basket (which opens up passing possibilities both in or out)- we make defending us almost impossible.

    When we allow their defense to focus and pressure our perimeter, we are also allowing them to focus their energy on our distributors and that takes us out of our game. I have a suspicion that this is what the difference may have been between halves, a subtle tactical change that comes from wanting to protect a lead.

    It also changes us defensively. When we play at our best, we attack with our defense. We jump the opponents ball movement, lanes, spaces and passing entries in front of us. AS if our defensive goal is to keep the opponent from completing a single entry pass. When we try to protect the lead we become too conscious of sitting back and defending our basket BEHIND US, taking pressure off the perimeter, find entry spaces and allow distributor/ball handlers a lot more choices and allow more time seeing their spaces and shots.

    Small, perhaps infinitesimal, differences in concept that may change the approach to a game like Saturday’s.

  55. Tsao, much like your soccer reference, it’s the same in football. Denver proved that last night in blowing another late lead. When you have an all-time great QB in Peyton Manning, why would you take it out of his hands and try to milk the clock? In all those years as a Colt, nothing aggravated me more than when he let his offense go conservative, and it was usually a sign of bad things to come. Conversely, the Patriots (probably my most despised team) never stop throwing until they’re up four TDs with under two minutes to go. I hate to watch them win, but I respect the way they go about it.

    As much as it pains me to say it, the Hoosiers could learn a lot by watching New England. I had to read your last post twice to get the point you were making, but I suspect you’re right. In both second halves of our last two games, we seemed to defend a little differently. I won’t speculate how much might have been a subtle shift in tactics vs defensive intensity, but I think both might have played a role.

    Some have claimed that the Penn State game was a second half collapse, but we never really lost the big lead. We just didnt push it out further. I wouldnt call that a collapse– just uninspired basketball on our part. Fortunately, PSU just didn’t have the scorers to make us pay; Minnesota did. And we almost paid the price because of it. There are too many good teams in this conference to afford any more second half letdowns or go away from whatever was working so well for us in the first place.

  56. Exactly Punjab. Someone else brought up the issue of our going into a zone and both Penn State and Minnesota shredding it. I’ll have to watch it again. It would also be interesting to know when and how much time we were in the zone and take a bit more consciousness of what happens to the score during that period.

    One other point. RMK rarely, rarely played zone. While at West Point he wrote a notebook on his. In his first section he discussed just that point. That zones tend to make players sit back and lose aggressiveness. And that price is paid not only on defense but on offense as well. He claimed you could noticeably see the loss of focus and energy.

    He resolved the issues of opponents beating their mark or the man on the ball by designing a ‘help side’ role based on keeping an eye on the ball, location on the court that used zone principles (i.e. the closer on ball side the player is to the ball, the tighter the guarding and overplay of the passing lane; the further from the ball, keeping focus on the ball (keeping your nose pointed to your man’s passing lane) but with an eye to jumping into the lane between the ball and the basket.

    I do agree with what several have noticed. Playing zone makes us passive.

  57. My first and only time on the blog this year Same old bloggers know nothing about basketball Crean is a fair recuriter but he knows very little about the x.s and o,s of the game. Just use an open mind and watch what they do. He subs on a whim changes defenses the same way. His class of 2012 has produced one player Yogi the rest are suspect. Aloha

  58. ^ More pressure. Fortunately Wisconsin comes to town to give the Great Architect of Nothing (aka Tom Crean) a chance to release some of this pressure via a benchmark loss. It’s what he does.

  59. 40 FT’s vs 15 FT, 25 fouls called on One team. Appears to me like Officials got the best of this game. For a game to be within 3 points at one time in 2nd half have to believe bad calls influenced the end result. Go figure Indiana brought the Bobby Knight officials to this game.

  60. Podonker says:

    Tom Crean is not missing free throws. Tom Crean is not missing open 3-point shots. Tom Crean is not fouling a great jump-shooter behind the 3-point line. Tom Crean is not making bad in-bounds passes. Tom Crean did not cause Hulls to get in foul trouble.

    Who recruited these players, Poop? Who?

    It’s easy to criticize Crean for the way IU played in the last five minutes, but you also have to give him credit for the way his team played in the first 20 minutes. And let’s remember that two of his veteran players were out with injuries.

    I’ve come to realize that until Crean wins a national title, some people will never be satisfied with Tom Crean’s coaching.

    Well he will never win a title, that’s for sure, his players will, if they do. But if he coaches them you can bet they won’t. You can put Dwyane Wade in an IU uniform and he won’t win a national title if coached by Crean. The best he’d do would be to lose by 30 in the final four.

    Meanwhile I said (about going up in the ranks):

    More pressure. Fortunately Wisconsin comes to town to give the Great Architect of Nothing (aka Tom Crean) a chance to release some of this pressure via a benchmark loss. It’s what he does.

    Fortunately we go to Northwestern now to get a close away win. It’s possible. The Great Architect of Nothing deserves more praise: Northwestern is 1-3 like #23 Illini and Iowa (strong team!). Win at the Wildcats and TC is once again the Messenger of Greatness. Cupcakes for all!

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