Snapshot: IU serves up stale offense

In a season where the defense has so often been the letdown, it was the offense that hurt the Hoosiers as much as anything against Iowa. The problem was the Hoosiers were stagnant and stale, eventually reaping a harvest of boos for their efforts. Let’s look at a few examples.

(1) As illustrated, the thing to watch in this possession is that the ball just barely gets under the free-throw line once and never into the lane as Indiana sets up against the Iowa zone.

James Blackmon drives the ball on the right wing just below the free-throw line extended, but he has few options. Robert Johnson is running baseline, Emmitt Holt — no shooting threat is up top — and both Troy Williams and Nick Zeisloft are on the weak side.

The ball is now reversed around the top of the key to Zeisloft, and instead of overloading the left side with Zeisloft, Johnson and either Williams on the baseline or Holt flashing in the lane, the ball stays on the perimeter.

Zeisloft dribbles back to the top of the key and passes to Blackmon on the right wing, so that Blackmon can dribble around the top of the key himself as the shot clock moves to 10 and under, while Williams is waiting on the baseline for someone to drive and set him up.

Eventually, Blackmon kicks the ball to the left wing for a Robert Johnson 3-point attempt that is off-target without the defense ever having to do more than shift around the 3-point arc.


(2) More zone defense from Iowa, more stagnancy for Indiana. Yogi Ferrell is on the right wing, and Hanner Mosquera-Perea offers a ballscreen, then slips it, while the other three Hoosiers are in no position to help Ferrell out.

After holding the ball for more than six seconds, Ferrell decides to dribble the ball back around the top of the key with the shot clock at 15.

The ball swings to Robert Johnson on the left wing with 11 on the shot clock, still nearly 35 feet from the basket.

Johnson eventually sends the ball back to Ferrell, who has to attack with time running out.

On this occasion, the Hoosiers are bailed out when Ferrell draws a blocking foul on the baseline despite putting any pressure on the defense for the first 30 seconds of the shot clock.


(3) The first possession of the second half might as well have been the last possession of a half the way Indiana killed the clock before initiaing the offense. It starts out promisingly enough with multiple players in movement.

Then James Blackmon brings the ball back out to reset 40 feet from the basket.

After killing off another 13 seconds, Yogi Ferrell takes control, still far from being anywhere that puts pressure on the defense.

Ferrell drives to the baseline and is double-teamed, but he doesn’t have too many options from his teammates with the shot clock again winding down.

But again, Indiana is bailed out only by a foul when Robert Johnson is pushed from behind trying to catch Ferrell’s pass at the top of the key with six seconds on the shot clock.


(4) This is where IU fans reach their boiling point with the offense, as Robert Johnson pulls the ball out to set things up for the Hoosiers.

Setting up the offense takes longer than necessary, as James Blackmon is in the wrong place, with Johnson and Emmitt Holt both pointing him in the right direction, drawing boos from the crowd.

Finally the set starts taking shape, centering as is often the case around having the ball in Yogi Ferrell’s hands at the top of the key, but with just 11 seconds left on the shot clock. Ferrell drives right, as Troy Williams circles around to take the pass moving to his left.

Williams has an opening to the lane, but there are also three Iowa defenders he has to try and navigate to get to the rim and winds up missing a twisting layup attempt.


  1. I think thisis where it really hurts not having Hartman… He can shoot and he does all the fundimental things that keep the team going… blocking out, setting solid picks, rebounding…. the only thing he doesnt have is size. What is wrong with him? Anyway this team is young and I think we will see a different team on Saturday… Go Hoosiers!!!

  2. jeremy,

    your analysis proves you know as much about zone offense as crean, which is absolutely nothing. i have never in my life seen such a misguided attempt to beat the zone. it is laughable and embarrassing for us fans.

    with all of our good shooters we should just destroy zones. opposing teams should be terrified to play zone against us. instead, opponents probably will play mostly zone against us as long as crean is “coach”.

  3. I don’t want my sports journalists to be qualified(or pretend to be qualified) to coach college basketball….I get so sick of everyone being an X;s and O’s expert sitting at sports desks…or on sports chat sites for that matter…What the hell ever happened to storytelling….? Whatever happened to artful interviewing and listening to coaches displaying their passion and interest? Why must every novice in the world put on the basketball lab coat and treat sports absent of any mystery…? Everything must be a conquerable quest to simplify and deconstruct…..But where are the stories…Where is the art of a great interview or tales of where a passion for something is born…?

    Jeremy is no different….Just sucked into the trends of the day. Hand these “coaches” your job, Jeremy…They’ll look like frightened tree bark just attempting to do a ScoopTalk… But you bite for the trends and let them command your world when they are truly absent your unique gifts that made you a journalist….You can’t be everything…nor can they. And now they even know what’s happening on the “inside” of Hoosier Sports than you….They have the “scoop” more than you….Do you get this feeling they want to be you? Who in the hell would want that…? It seems like quite the unappreciated profession these days….. and there’s always going to be some snidely dip behind a screen that knows more than you and can do it better. Wasn’t it nice when it was just a newspaper delivered to a doorstep?

  4. Shortened version:

    Misfits can hide behind the camera ….and the computer screen…and the every critique.. We can be damn ugly in so many ways.. We could have three eyeballs and sit in our chairs while fungus grows off our musty butt cracks….Somehow, by rights of such pristine invisibility and invincibility,, we have deemed ourselves worthy judges of everything you do. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lobster fisherman in Maine….or a Bloomington “insider” that is in charge of cleaning player uniforms…or a “coach” that sits behind a screen in his teenage mutant ninja costume he wears to bed….or a wannabee Hemingway that considers a tapping of the “tab” key is home in Key West…..Just doesn’t matter, Jeremy. We are the experts…and you best get used to it.

  5. So Jeremy, ever want to just throw in the towel? Was it a coin toss? You lost and now have the Scoop duty?
    Ever dream you would be allowed to respond and not be all pc with it? Lot to scoop up here (thinking of visit to the dog park).

  6. Jeremy is the same as everyone here that’s goes on and on about how Crean or Glass should do their jobs. Does anyone here think they are qualified to recruit and coach college basketball? Harvard? Coachv? I doubt anyone here that spews their “so called basketball knowledge” would last a week let alone a season in the big time college game. Jeremy didn’t get sucked into a trend, he got sucked into to deep dark black hole of the scoop! The place where IU is suppose to win 25 every year, make the sweet sixteen, and make a final four every other year. That time is gone folks, that dream died with RMK. RMK killed it because while others built perennial programs, his slash and burn style was never meant to create something that might continue without his presence.
    If Crean is fired what then? My guess is more 19 win seasons with Jeremy analyzing man to man principles and the scoop know it all’s wishing we had a guy that could recruit like Crean.

  7. I guess it went over everybody’s head……

    Speaking of throwing in the Tsaowels….or throwing lots of scoop at HT journalists, I wonder where Tsao has been?

    Geoff- could you email J Pat and see if he has any inside information on the whereabouts of Tsao’s tonsils…?

  8. Unless Fred Glass was the worst high powered attorney in Indianapolis then there is a way out of CTC’s contract without crippling the athletic department.

    It’s just hard to imagine a good attorney selling IU, his employer, a poison pill. It doesn’t make any sense.

  9. i don’t know what harvard is going on about. i’m just pointing out that everything jeremy thinks he see’s that’s right is wrong. he’s going on and on about this and that movement and he has no idea. those of you who are sympathizing with him also have no idea. and yes, bart, i could absolutely coach this program better than crean.

    now that syracuse forfeits all those wins does crean get credit for iu getting to the elite 8 when we had that talented, yet wasted, team?

  10. The team that lost to Syracuse was overrated….A lot of hype because of Cody and the first real Hoosier team in years to have promise…It was good for college ball TV ratings both locally and nationally….The wars against UK helped those ratings as well…But the truth was in the limitations within the entire roster…Two relatively legit NBA players in Cody and Dipo… Yogi (as a freshman)and Hulls was not a premier backcourt….It’s not like we had a Garry Harris or a Trey Burke…Watford was a wonderful spot-up deep threat, but frequently labored in the paint with a lack of explosiveness/quickness in his predictable movement. Sheehey forever struggled with consistency and making good decisions with the ball..

    If there is such a thing as a path of least resistance to an NCAA Final Four, they may have had a shot at the banner…Syracuse’s athleticism and length did not permit such a path. ..Probably a few other teams with speed and length that would have stymied us as well…..our backcourt being the primary Achilles heal.

    It’s hard to be honest when we get so close to tasting a great team when it’s been so long a wait…But the team that lost to Syracuse was absent those key ingredients …There was no talent in the backcourt like an isiah..or a Bobby Wilkerson….or a Quinn Buckner….I’m not even sure if you can honestly say that Hulls was as dangerous as a guy like Alford or Damon Bailey….or a Ricky Calloway…or Earl Calloway..

    Doesn’t mean Crean is anything approaching a quality X’s and O’s coach…But we have to be honest…The hyped team that lost to Syracuse had weaknesses that could have been exposed even if Bobby Knight was at the helm. Bobby had some wonderful backcourt leaders that anchored his teams..

  11. After careful thought I want to revise my previous stated thoughts, Coachv could probably coach in the college ranks. The question would be who would he coach? College basketball is all about recruiting first and babysitting second and coaching third. Point being KU! Coachv would be coaching the Prillars of the world while Calipari is bringing in 7 McDonald’s all Americans every year. Coaching is overrated and the hacks that go on and on about zone defense or bench coaching are living in the past. People that rant about his bible thumping don’t understand that it’s not about the bible, instead it’s about a recruitment attic. Its an edge he uses in the living room of a kid, with grandma and mother sitting there. Its a ruse, Great college coaches are salesmen and the future is all about how you manage to recruit 3 or 4 great freshman every year. No loyalty will be shown to the Roth’s of the world, because the minute that happens you lose your recruiting edge.
    You want seniors with great grades? Plan on more 25 win seasons and no NCAA titles. Just ask Bo Ryan. I’m sure we can agree he is the best coach in the Big 10. But he will never win a title!

  12. Bart
    Tom Crean is the highest paid public employee in the state of Indiana. He makes more than the Governor for Christ sake and he is Presidential timber. You think expectations are to high? I don’t think so. If this is all we are going to get then the coach needs to give back at least half of his salary each year.

  13. People that rant about his bible thumping don’t understand that it’s not about the bible, instead it’s about a recruitment attic.

    A “recruitment attic” ..? Is this where only the lonely spider living in the cobwebs of Tom Crean’s tweets have been to the secret trunk that includes the attic photos of numerous Joyce Meyer’s heads cut and pasted to the catalog pages of a Victoria Secret catalog ..?. Where ” I think about you a lot” was born and where you’ll find the missing “How to Attack a Zone” pop-up basketball book that was accidentally placed in the trunk in a frantic moment in 2007.; a time when Jesus actually appeared in the attic, walked 6-inches above the pine floor boards never to leave a dusty sandal footprint, to tell Tom to stop “thumping” so loudly because Joani was home early from Tuesday night Zumba class at the church and had just pulled up the driveway… ? …

    If we have to get recruits from brain-dead families that require Tom’s “tactic(?)” of disingenuous.Bible oil slathered all over Grandma and Grandpa Luke Fischer, then our coach is finding something far more despicable than 19 F’s while bathing in Satan’s hot tub.

  14. I’m sure I can honestly say that Steve Alford, first team All American who played 4 seasons in the NBA, was a bit more dangerous as a player than Jordan Hulls.

    A recruitment attic is where the escapegoat sleeps.

    ‘Presidential timber’…maybe of an Elks Club..

  15. Chet , you have to talk to the powers that be in the Republican party about that.To them he is. He is part of the national landscape.

  16. jeremy

    “It starts out promisingly enough with multiple players in movement.” if you don’t know what is wrong with this statement, then you don’t understand the game and shouldn’t try to offer analysis

  17. Six points in six minutes…? Oh where, oh where, can our offense be….? The Lord took her away from me..

  18. I would prefer Crean use the Kentuck tactic, promise them they will all go to the NBA. Instead he promises eternal salvation with grandma raising her hand to witness. To think the CTC would be praising the virtues of the good book with tweets from a used car lot in Michigan is comical.
    If we want banners we need recruits like Kentucky, sell their souls with no promises of 1 and done, no classes, private million dollar dorms with private suites. Who cares about a 98% graduation rate and following the rules. This is Indiana and we deserve banners right? There is a choice we must make, be like Bo are be like Cal we can’t have both.

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