Live chat transcript: IU women struggle, Emmitt Holt, Ohio State

QUESTION: MODERATOR: Good morning and welcome to today’s IU sports chat. Hope everyone is staying warm out there and ready to talk sports.

How are you today? Ready to get started?

JEREMY: Got the furnace fixed just in time earlier this week, so staying warm enough. Let’s dive into the chat.

MIKE: Good morning, everybody. It’s awful outside and my car won’t start, but at least I’m no longer sick. Boy, that trip to East Lansing on Monday/Tuesday had a couple rough patches, and I’m not even talking about the basketball performance. Anyway, enough about that. Let’s chat.

ANDY: Ready, willing, hopefully able.

QUESTION: if you were making a guess, does Crean make a statement to HP and the team and start Holt instead on Saturday. I think he has earned the start based on game performance, but of course none of us see practice. Past history does not show Crean as one to make change often

Charles, indianapolis

JEREMY: Charles,

Strictly a guess, as you say, but I think Crean sticks with Perea at least one more game.

You are correct that Crean doesn’t often make changes, and after calling out Perea so clearly on Monday night, I bet Perea gets a chance to respond. Now, if Perea is in early foul trouble again or just doesn’t play well, I would fully expect Holt to start against Penn State Tuesday.

Anyway, we’ll see what happens. I don’t know that playing time changes much regardless.

MIKE: Hey Charles,

We get to meet with Tom Crean this afternoon, so we’ll definitely be checking in on this. Personally, and given Perea’s poor start in each of the last two games, I think it’s worth trying. Holt has been consistent in his role off the bench, doesn’t commit dumb fouls and generally seems to have a more natural feel of the game even as a freshman. If you start Holt, you can take advantage of his ability to stay in position and fight on the boards then bring Perea off the bench around the first media timeout. Perea can still play his normal 20+ minutes, but he can take the first few possessions off, come into the game and make sure his mind is right. I think it’s worth a try. We’ll see if Crean agrees.

ANDY: Charles:

It’ll be intriguing. The challenge issued to Mosquera-Perea was pretty overt. But I would expect the entire team was challenged, if not as publicly. The intervening practices would have told the tale. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Holt start just for message-reinforcement purposes, but I think CTC is looking for effort-level and focus, team-wide. I imagine he’ll get it, which may or may not be good enough to win this weekend. This is a pretty good IU team that generally will need to (and can) shoot well to beat good foes, and Ohio State qualifies as good. Beyond the Hanner-Holt question, Indiana needs guys such as Blackmon and Zeisloft to find their (considerable) shooting strokes again. MSU was coming off a disappointing home-opening loss and responded. CTC is looking for all the Hoosiers to respond, not just Hanner.

QUESTION: 1. I have only been following a little bit but it appears the women’s team is really struggling in Big 10 play. Is the problem the regime change or is it to early to say or something else? I said all along and this may sound cruel but right now all we will know is if Moren can’t coach, but won’t find out for a few years if she can because Miller left great talent (same is true with Tracy Smith to Chris Lemonis).

2. Turning to basketball next 3 games I feel are key. First of all while IU played awful, the fact that MSU went to Iowa City and blew out the Hawkeyes makes our loss look less bad. I feel in the next 3 games are key though against OSU, PSU and Illinois and IU needs to take 2 out of those 3 to be 3-2 heading into a much hyped Maryland match up to keep season on the right note. Also how many games does Wisconsin win Big Ten by? I am going to say at least 4 and maybe 5 meaning I think the Badgers are 16-2 and 2nd place team is 12-6 or even 11-7. Has their ever been such a talent gap between 1st and 2nd place in conference?

Darren, Martinsville

JEREMY: Darren,

1. I think regime change is a little bit of it, but only a little. I’ve said all along this team was likely due to take a step back this year regardless of who was coaching. Last year the Hoosiers pretty much maximized their talents, and they had more post depth and athleticism with Gerardot, Deloach, Taufa, Chaplin and Anderson. So combine the deficiencies in the post with an adjustment to a new coach, and sprinkle in what has been some cold shooting from 3 compared to last year, you get some struggles (beating Michigan State was the exception). Key game coming Sunday against Wisconsin, essentially the first Big Ten game where Indiana might be expected to win.

2. Well, I would agree that winning two out of three in this stretch is important for IU. Throw in that Maryland game, and I think anything 3-3 or better through the first six is a success, as we all knew that the start of the Big Ten season was going to be difficult.

I’d say Wisconsin wins by three, maybe four games. Every team hits a lull, especially in the dog days of late January and early February, so I don’t expect them to go 17-1 or 18-0. Even 16-2 won’t be easy. I’m thinking more like 15-3 with second place around 12-6. We’ll see. Long ways to go.

MIKE: Hey Darren,

Tough for me to really diagnose the problem since I haven’t seen them play since late November, but I fully expected them to struggle in the conference. The women’s team is still another year away from really competing in the Big Ten. They’re still too small and still too young, with a terribly weak non-conference schedule that doesn’t prepare them well for their league. I thought — and still think — they’ll be right around where they were last year with five Big Ten wins. Then again, their schedule is a bit tougher this year with home and road games against both Maryland and Rutgers — two virtually automatic losses. If they can get four or five more conference wins, that will put them somewhere close to 16-13. They were 18-11 at the end of the regular season last year. That could be enough to get them into the WNIT and, basketball aside, the school actually stepped up and seemed to do a good job hosting those games last year, so that could help this March when it comes time to secure a bid from the WNIT committee. Still early, though, and still plenty of time to see what this team is made of.

I see what you’re saying about the MSU-Iowa game, but to me, nothing makes that game look or feel less bad. It’s definitely doable to win two of the next three — maybe even all three if IU gets started on the right foot tomorrow afternoon. Pencil in Penn State as a win. Indiana should be able to handle Illinois, so long as it shows up. Maryland didn’t the other night and it got beat in Champaign. Otherwise, yeah. Looking at Maryland’s schedule, I think they get something like 12 or 13 league wins. It’s a pretty favorable schedule for them, really. I only wonder how they’ll handle playing at Ohio State, at Iowa and at Assembly Hall. Wisconsin runs away with it, but Maryland is probably not too far behind.

ANDY: Darren:

1. Coach Miller left some excellent talent, yes, but not many big frontliners. And the B1G tends to expose size shortcomings. I didn’t see the Ohio State game and will acknowledge the score has to be a bit disconcerting for IU fans. But it’s too early to make many judgments about Moren’s coaching or the overall direction of the program. Coach Moren has already tried to address some of the size issues in her recruiting of next year’s incoming class. I think there are usually going to be some issues inherent in a coaching transition, with players responding to coaches who didn’t initially recruit them to the school. Overall, so far, the players seem to have responded well. But the B1G is pretty unforgiving of any team’s flaws.

2. Agree that this is a pretty crucial stretch. As always, winning the home games really matters. Combine that with splitting on the road, and you have a successful B1G season. Easier said than done, of course. As for the Badgers, I think a lot of folks have noted that Wisconsin seems a cut above its conference brethren so far this season, and that below the Badgers it’s pretty much a free-for-all. I think your estimates aren’t unrealistic. As to big gaps of the past, yeah, there have been a few. The 1975 and 76 Hoosiers both went 18-0 in league play. Michigan was second both years at 12-6 and 14-4. The 1993 Hoosiers went 17-1 (Michigan’s Fab Five went 15-3, but then had games vacated due to, well, you know … )

QUESTION: Good morning guys, I hope all is well. As always, thanks for your great coverage and for your continued hard work. I appreciate it. Like everyone else, I was disappointed with the performance and “no-show effort” from IU on Monday night. That being said, I watched Michigan State torch Iowa in Iowa City last night and perhaps the Spartans are much better than we want to give them credit for and maybe they had a little something to do with IU’s struggles. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Hoosiers bounce back (or don’t) in a very important game on Saturday. Their response will tell me a lot more about this team and this season than Monday night did.

1. After a flurry of activity, football recruiting has settled into a quiet time. I think this class has come along very, very nicely and I’m excited to see how the staff closes it out before Signing Day. What players/positions do you think Kevin Wilson and his staff are focusing on bringing in with the final 6 (I think) spots?

2. There’s no point in going into any level of detail on that horror show in East Lansing so, I’ll ask about tomorrow’s contest with the Buckeyes. I think Ohio State is a good, not great, team. They have a very explosive scorer in Russell that IU will have to somewhat contain. They also, somewhat surprisingly, mostly rely on a zone that IU “should” be able to get good looks from deep against. I have no clue what to expect from an outcome standpoint but I’d be quite surprised and disappointed if IU doesn’t play pretty well tomorrow. What do you think happens against OSU and have your expectations of IU’s spot in the B1G changed after seeing most teams play 3 conference games?

Thanks for this chat and for your hard work covering the Hoosiers. Have a great week, God bless and go Hoosiers!

TJ, Noblesville

JEREMY: TJ,

I think Michigan State still has a high ceiling for this year, and there’s no doubt they deserve credit for Monday night, but they’re not Kentucky or Duke, and that was still a very poor Indiana effort.

1. Football dudes …

2. I agree that the Buckeyes are merely a good team. They also played a largely soft non-conference schedule outside of Louisville and North Carolina, both losses. Russell has been very good, and frankly more consistent than what I might have expected.

Ohio State has spent much of the year playing zone, but recently rediscovered that it’s a pretty good man-to-man team. I think you’ll see some of both against Indiana. More important though will be what Indiana does defensively in terms of keeping Russell, Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson out of the paint. OSU isn’t a particularly good shooting team outside of Russell and Marc Loving, so forcing them to shoot jump shots is a must, as is rebounding obviously.

I don’t know if my expectations have changed based on what I’ve seen, but I see a higher potential ceiling for Indiana. That said, games like Monday at Michigan State reveal the floor is also pretty low.

MIKE: Hey TJ,

I think one position they’d like to address — and certainly would be smart in doing so — would be corner. They’re still waiting on word from Kareem Orr, a 3-star, 6-foot corner from Tennessee, as well as 3-star athlete Keith Washington, who’s listed as a QB/CB prospect. He’s not a corner, but 6-foot-2, 3-star safety Raekwon Jones is another target to keep an eye on in this class.

Indiana really, really has to do a good job on D’Angelo Russell. I saw a great stat on Inside The Hall this morning that Russell is averaging almost 20 points per game in Ohio State’s 13 wins and a little over 13 in its three losses. But beyond him and Marc Loving, I’m not sure that the Buckeyes are that good of a shooting team. I’ll also be curious to see what kind of an effect a loud Assembly Hall has on Ohio State. Students are filtering back, so it should be a good atmosphere.

I don’t think my expectations for the season have changed a whole lot and I’m pretty willing to throw away Indiana’s lousy effort on Monday. I still think this team finishes anywhere around Nos. 5-8.

ANDY: Greetings, TJ:

Didn’t see the MSU-at-Iowa fracas, but agree that the score would seem to perhaps absolve of few of IU’s perceived sins from the other evening. And I agree that Saturday should be revelatory to a degree. Don’t count on OSU making it easy. When the Buckeyes finally abandoned their zone and went man the other day, their defensive engagement was much better. And they’ve got, shall way say, rather abundant physical ability and stature.

1. It certainly would be interesting to see how well CTC and staff recruit after a winning season. Seriously. Given how well they’ve already recruited, by historical Indiana football standards, one would have to think they could really make some hay if the Hoosiers have a breakthrough season on the field. As for rounding out the current class, I think they need to get at least one or two interior defensive lineman. If there is still a JUCO quarterback out there they think is worth bringing in, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that. And methinks this particular program can never have enough cornerback prospects.

2. I’ve thought Russell was pretty much the bees knees since I first saw him play AAU ball. He’ll have his freshman moments, like anybody, but is a real talent. The Buckeyes are really big, across the board, so that might prove a challenge for an admittedly undersized IU squad. And OSU might not play as much zone moving forward, given how much better it played when it went man the other day. I think the Hoosiers will come out really focused, which generally helps shooting, and my sense hasn’t changed in that this particular IU team really does need to shoot well to win, even more than most teams do. Having said that, my expectations remain that the season will have some up and down swings, depending upon how the Hoosiers are shooting. The physicality of the league and IU’s dependence on production from key freshmen will make for some rough patches, probably, but the Hoosiers will still probably win a few folks might not expect and lose a few folks don’t expect, due to how the shooting goes.

QUESTION: I PROMISE this isn’t a reactionary inquiry based on the results of the women’s game vs. OSU last night. I truly was going to ask this question before that debacle, but that display probably only adds to my concern and also brought out some other issues.

I feel like what Teri Moren is trying to do with the WBB team is akin to if Kevin Wilson were hired to coach Navy’s football team and he went in and instead of playing to the team’s strengths, making major changes that really hurt the program in the short term and potentially the long term as well.

Teri wants to focus on defense. I understand that and defense is important. But she’s taken one of the better shooting rosters in the country and turned them into a pretty mediocre team that barely even plays to their strength any longer. My sources suggest Moren wasn’t the top choice (or maybe even in the top 2-3), so maybe it’s just something we have to deal with based on the terrible timing Miller left us with….but right now they’re BAD. And honestly, what I saw last night was even more worrisome because after the first timeout, I don’t think anyone other than Jess Walter looked like they wanted to be there.

There’s body language going on that doesn’t look so good now. There are certainly players who were recruited to one system who don’t fit Moren’s system and that’s not helping that body language at all. And while Tyra Buss is easily an above average freshman guard, I’m really surprised that she’s not a better shooter than she’s shown this year. I guess most of her points in HS must have been scored based on her wild drives to the basket, throwing up prayers, getting fouled or just stealing the ball from not very good guards and going uncontested on fast breaks. I’m not even sure she’s our best freshman on the squad right now. And her body language was as bad as anyone’s last night.

So if I have to turn this all into a question….what do you see for the remainder of this season for this team and do you think the future looks as bright now as it did this time last year? I’ll hang up and listen.

Snarky Hoosier, Bloomington

JEREMY: Snarky,

First, I wasn’t at the game last night, so I can’t speak to the body language.

Second, I haven’t seen more than a few minutes of recent games, so I’m not sure about how IU is running the offense. I know that offense was clicking earlier this season and I know it was clicking pretty good in that beatdown of Michigan State last week, but overall the Hoosiers just haven’t shot the ball as well this year. And when defenses lock down on Jenn Anderson inside, it seems the whole offense struggles.

I saw Tyra Buss play multiple times in high school, and while she was really good on the drive and scoring on steals, she was also deadly as a 3-point shooter with range well beyond the line. That’s the part of her game that is missing this year, whether it’s because of Moren’s offensive design or just struggles with her shot.

Lastly, I’d still say the future looks quite bright, because there is talent and depth at the guard positions that will return next year, and with the addition of transfer Liz Stratman � the Big East Defensive Player of the Year last year � and recruits Kym Royster and Danielle Williams, the interior will look much more like a Big Ten frontcourt.

MIKE: Hey Snarky,

Teri Moren wasn’t Indiana’s first or second choice, but it’s too soon to judge her. I will admit that I also really questioned how Moren’s philosophy would mesh with a team constructed like this, but from what I saw in the non-con season, it didn’t seem to be too big of an issue. I think even with Curt Miller, this team finishes right around where it does a year ago. Still too small and too inexperienced. But to answer your question, I think this team goes something like 16-13 and maybe finds a way to creep into the WNIT. The future is still bright with former Big East Defensive Player of the Year Liz Stratman eligible next season, as well as a couple of decent frontcourt recruits entering the mix. I would caution all IU women’s fans to recognize that this team was going to struggle in the Big Ten this season. Next year should be a better barometer of what’s working and what isn’t.

ANDY: SH:

Not sure how qualified I am to comment on all this, since I don’t cover the IU women and only see them play periodically. (Where is Jon Blau when you really need him?) But I’ll give it a whirl.

This season always figured to be quite the challenge for Coach Moren and her players. She’s dealing with a roster of kids she didn’t recruit, who were recruited for a somewhat different approach to play. The players are playing for coaches who didn’t recruit them. And that sort of thing is almost always a factor whenever there is a coaching transition. This is nobody’s fault (unless you want to blame certain coaches for essentially getting themselves canned, because scuttlebutt says that’s basically what happened here.) As to the emphasis on defense, well, I can’t complain. Defense wins, in the long run. Emphasizing it might cause some fraying, short-term, but it’s hard to argue it isn’t a sound long-term approach. If this team chafes a bit under that sort of regimen, so be it. The offensive approach is another question. I haven’t seen the team play enough to offer up analysis of that, other than to say there should be no reason why even this youngish and shortish team can’t shoot and score reasonably well, given its firepower on paper. But if the transition is proving difficult in other areas, that obviously can affect the offense (and the body language, as you note.) While the future obviously looked very bright under Miller, it’s too early to say whether or not the future is bright for Moren. What should be expected are some rough spells, as with almost any transition, and those might go on for a while until she shapes the personnel and personality of the team more to her preferences.

QUESTION: Noah Vonleh: What can you say about his situation, transfer to Ft. Wayne? Is he just rehabilitating, or is this the way for the Charlottes to develop a player not ready for the NBA? Was he poorly advised to go in to the draft? (Wishful thinking: imagine a roster w/ Vonleh and Zeller–what becomes of IU then?)

LJ, Unionville

JEREMY: LJ,

The stint in Fort Wayne was very temporary for Vonleh, who was called back to the Hornets within a couple of days. He actually played 10 minutes with two points and three rebounds in Charlotte’s win at Toronto last night.

It’s easy to say Vonleh made a mistake, but a mistake is declaring early, then slipping to the second round or out of the draft. He was still a lottery pick with a guaranteed contract and the accompanying financial security. Basketball-wise, would he have benefitted from another year in college? I definitely think so, but I think his lofty draft status combined with a not so ideal experience in that one year at IU made the decision easy. Forget about Zeller, just if Vonleh was with this team and its shooters, the outlook would be very different.

But Crean always talks about contingencies and being prepared, so it’s not like he didn’t see the departure as a possibility. It’s just the transfer of Luke Fischer, the injury to Devin Davis and the ineffective contingency plans of April and Priller, Holt not withstanding, have left IU to play the hand it was dealt.

MIKE: Hey LJ,

He was only in Ft. Wayne only briefly. He was called back to Charlotte within the last week or two and played 10 minutes last night. Without question, Vonleh could have used another year in Bloomington but it’s hard (and not necessarily unwise) to turn down a professional gig when you’re projected as a lottery pick. But yeah, forget a roster with Vonleh and Zeller. Can you imagine a roster with just Vonleh and the rest of Indiana’s shooting ability? That’s a good team right there.

ANDY: LJ:

Generally speaking, if one goes No. 9, overall, one made the right choice to go pro. He’s getting paid massive buckaroos. That’s no saying Noah couldn’t have profited from another year at IU, of course, in any number of ways. One would speculate being on campus in Bloomington would have many charms and benefits (not the least of which is a broadening education) not available to members of the Mad Ants.

As to your fantasizing, put Zeller and Vonleh on this team and, sure, it is a Top Five team. Yogi has shown maturation as a point guard, and this roster has shooters galore. Combine that with that sort of frontline presence (and you cynics out there would question whether CTC would deign to play Zeller and Vonleh together, but let’s not be silly) and the Hoosiers could take the court against a team even as stacked as the current UK bunch with no apologies.

QUESTION: Will the IU men’s basketball team have a senior night this year? No seniors are on the squad. Oh, yeah, we’ve got seniors in the pep band and the cheer squad, but I can’t imagine anyone hanging around for that.

Randall Bychkov, B-town

JEREMY: Randall,

I have no idea about Senior Night. I would guess some sort of acknowledgement, maybe at halftime, of those in support positions surrounding the team.

MIKE: Hey Randall,

Can’t imagine it will be anything like what we’re used to. I’m guessing they’ll salute senior managers and support folks, only without the speeches.

ANDY: Randall:

Good question. We’ve pondered it a bit amongst ourselves. But it isn’t a pressing question, per se. We’ll see when we get there. I seem to recall a time or two when IU had no seniors and there was no Senior Night, but that’s just going by memory. If IU opts not do conduct one, I don’t think it’s unprecedented.

QUESTION: MODERATOR: That’s all the time we have for today’s chat. Thanks for joining us and thanks to Mike, Jeremy and Andy for your time.

Be sure to follow IU sports on the Hoosier Scoop blog and app. Guys, what else should we know heading into the weekend?

JEREMY: Heading to Assembly Hall now to preview Saturday’s men’s game, when the Hoosiers-Buckeyes tip at noon. Also, IU women having Head to the Hall game Sunday at 2 against Wisconsin. Tickets just $1. Thanks for chatting!

MIKE: We’re headed over to Assembly Hall to meet with Tom Crean and others ahead of Saturday’s Ohio State game. We’ll have more for you online and on the Scoop later this afternoon. I’ll also be chatting with UAB transfers Jordan Howard and Marqui Hawkins tomorrow morning before the game, so keep your eyes peeled for that story on Sunday night/Monday morning. Also, if you’re in town, tonight is the big Bloomington North-South game at South’s gym. Should be a fun night. Andy and I will both be there. And of course, I wouldn’t be going anywhere if not for legendary H-T photojournalist Chris Howell, who came over to my house and gave me a jump during the middle of this chat. He’s a good dude. Thanks for checking in, everybody. See you next week.

ANDY: Saturday is a big game for the IU basketball men. They’re all big. Some are still bigger than others.