Indiana trying to shake-off Nebraska loss to face Big Ten leaders

When he watched film of Thursday’s loss to Nebraska, Tom Crean saw in even sharper relief the degree to which Indiana got out of its game plan in the second half. The Hoosiers blew a 13-point halftime lead in the game to fall 60-55.

“We were just not nearly as good moving without the ball on offense, moving defensively as we needed to be,” Crean said. “I think we moved.I think what happened is what weren’t as active. I think our deflections really showed up in the second half. We had 25 first half, 19 second-half and we weren’t nearly as aggressive with our hands. That’s one of the things that we really pointed out with the team, and I think we gave them some angles. We made a couple of mistakes of overhelping in the middle. It wasn’t as much — I said that during the press conference — it wasn’t as much watching the film as I thought but it was enough to get them back in the game. But as we continued to show the team, there were numerous chances to win the game at the end of the game. I mean numerous chances. We made too many mistakes. We didn’t trust the plays that we were trying to run at the end. They were giving us those opportunities by going 1-for-2 at the foul line. We just didn’t take advantage of them.” 

The players at least noticed that as well, and at least said they’ve taken that information and applied it in preparation for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game against No. 10 Michigan. 

“We knew that the second half wasn’t our best basketball,” sophomore forward Austin Etherington said. “… You can tell on defense we were not as aggressive, we had our hands down and weren’t doing the things offensively that we did in the first half, weren’t driving the ball, weren’t hitting the open guy when they were open. There’s some things that we learned from it, just hitting the extra guy, extra dribble driving to the lane, hitting open shots, just hitting the open guy that we saw we weren’t doing in the first half. That obviously contributed to the loss.”

Etherington said he believed the Hoosiers showed the right mindset to fix those problems and recover from the loss, but of course, just fixing the problem doesn’t give them much of a better chance to take down a Michigan team that is the Big Ten’s lone unbeaten in conference play. The Wolverines (16-4 overall, 8-0 in the Big Ten) have won 10 straight coming into the game with their last loss being a 72-70 defeat at the hands of No. 1 Arizona on Dec. 14.

The Wolverines are the third leading scoring team in the Big Ten and they lead the conference in field goal percentage (.490). They also rank first in the conference and third nationally in offensive efficiency, averaging 122.4 points per 100 possessions.

“Their spacing is tremendous,” Crean said. “They move the ball extremely well. (Centers Jordan) Morgan and (Jon) Horford are doing a phenomenal job getting people open, rolling to the rim, posting strong. Their sprint game and their rolls is incredible. And everybody else that they put on the floor can shoot threes or get all the way to the rim. That’s what makes them so good. They get a lot of recognition for how well they shoot the ball and rightfully so, but they do a great job of also getting to the basket.”

That’s especially true for sophomore guard Nik Stauskas, who is making a push for Big Ten Player of the Year honors. The 6-foot-6 Canadian was known mostly as a spot-up shooter last season, but showed glimpses of his abilities to shoot off the dribble and also drive to the rim. He’s doing all of that with more frequency and efficiency now, leading the Big Ten in scoring with 18.4 points per game. He’s shooting 50 percent from the field and making a Big Ten best 45.9 percent of his 3-point shots.

“He was really a good driver by Big Ten season last year,” Crean said. “I remember when we played him a year ago, we were very conscious of his driving. I think he’s added the pull-up. I’m not sure what he had, didn’t have before that, but he can score at the rim, he can score in the mid-range, he can score from three. He can score from three off the catch-and-shoot, the drive-and-kick, he can shoot it off the dribble. He’s just a tremendous offensive player.”

AUDIO: Tom Crean

AUDIO: Austin Etherington and Hanner Mosquera-Perea

7 comments

  1. Top Ten Things We Are Yet to Hear from Chris Collins

    10. You wrecked our program!

     9. They are a veteran team.

     8. Our team is too young.

     7. It’s a bridge year.

     6. I have been thinking about you a lot since last weekend.

     5. I think our deflections really showed up in the second half.

     4. These things tend to work themselves out — so keep your options open!

     3. I loved our practice tempo and energy today.

     2. Take a look at John 17 today. Very powerful words with great perspective. The breakdown in the Jeremiah Study Bible is very helpful.

     1. It’s Northwestern!

  2. Pretty funny, Dustinkle.

    I see Collins is the new Brad Stevens– if only we had Chris Collins at the helm!!! Can’t wait to hear your top ten list after Minnesota blows us out and Richard Pitino is the new look-how-much-better-their-young-coach-is guy to set up a Tom Crean punch line. I’m sure something about bridging after14 years of Trevor Mbakwe will be in there somewhere.

    I think we have a bounce back game and pull the upset today. That’s all the expert analysis I can provide. I don’t expect it to kick start the run of about 5 or 6 wins that we’ll probably need to get back into the tournament discussion, but that’s okay. It will at least allow the Hoosier faithful to step back from the ledge for another game or two.

  3. I’m sorry that Harvard can’t watch his hero today. I can only imagine how it must feel to have a date circled on the calendar back August, and then have it be meaningless when it actually arrives, but yet that big red circle just stabs at you all month long, a constant reminder of what could have been.

  4. been reading alot of comments;made some of my own.The negative comments about Coach Crean,Ive also made; but I lived in Illinois,thanks to military,and I read an article about their Coach. Illinois facing the same scrutiny as Indiana.Their coach was depressed after losing to Iowa yesterdayby 7. Upset not because of the loss,but because the fans were booing and making negative comments to their Home Illini.I watched some of the Ohio State-Wisconsin game andplay-by-play person said same things that have been said all along..”they cant find their offense” (meaning OSU)-all they did was pass the ball around the perimeter…maybe with so much of the same things being said about all the young teams perhaps the” catch word” is patience

  5. Way off topic, Geoff, but I’m curious to hear your take on Manning not being unanimous MVP. Apparently it was Jim Miller, former Bears QB, who was the only one of 50 AP voters to give Brady the nod over Peyton. While I give Brady a ton of respect for accomplishing so much with so little for most of the year– particularly in head-to-head wins over Peyton and Drew Brees in the regular season– the prevailing justification I keep reading is that Brady led his team of overachieving misfits to the AFC title game with practically no help. Not entirely true. Your Pats got a first rd bye thanks in large part to a weak AFC East and some improbable comebacks after doing his best Tim Tebow impression through 3 1/2 quarters (and some questionable PI calls on some of those clinching drives…) Then, it was predominantly Blount, Ridley, and the defense that got them past my Colts to the AFC title game. Brady’s performance was pedestrian, albeit not needed, that day.

    I’m glad it was an “impartial” Miller instead of some voter from the Boston area, but what say you? Was Brady’s performance this year worthy of more praise than what most are calling the best season ever by a QB?

  6. Not near the same amount of “star power” in the B1G this year, TJ, but a lot of good teams. MSU’s loss to G-town yesterday hurt us, perception-wise, but top to bottom I think we’re still the toughest conference in the country. There are a lot of fan-bases who are grumbling about the same things we are, as other than the Michigan schools nobody can pull away from the rest of the pack. Patience is the key for everyone, not just IU.

  7. I think 1 first place vote is appropriate. Manning was clearly the MVP, but Tom deserves 1 for pulling off miracles on 4 occassions and leading his team to a 12-4 regular season when then went the majority of the season without Gronk, Hernandez, Vereen, or Amendola on offense and even more depressingly Mayo, Talib, Wilfork, and Kelly on Defense.

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