Hoosiers flail in 84-63 loss to Gophers

MINNEAPOLIS — It wasn’t just a total system failure.

For Indiana, it felt like a new low.

Toothless offense? Check.

Defensive breakdowns? You bet.

Questionable effort? That was the most concerning part of Saturday’s 84-63 loss at Minnesota.

For an IU team that has now dropped 10 of its last 11 games, there was seldom any fight and hardly an urgency to stop the skid that has wrecked its season. The Hoosiers (13-12, 4-10) looked more fragile and listless than they have at any point inside of this disappointing campaign, unraveling at the earliest signs of trouble while appearing further broken in truly unfixable ways.

“This one, this is sort of a deal breaker,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “We have to make some real, in my opinion, drastic changes to the way we’re doing things right now. We’ve got to get some guys’ attention, and we need to get some guys to play better. If you do that, you give yourself a chance to be in more games. But for us right now, we’re not playing at an urgent enough pace on either end.”

Indeed, changes are needed. Changes have been needed for more than a month, but there’s only so much an altered approach can salvage at this point.

Indiana doesn’t play hard. It doesn’t play smart or with purpose. The Hoosiers also sorely lack chemistry, and have appeared too willing to stack setbacks as if there’s no recourse.

Conversations have taken place, and pllayers have been approached about stepping up, coming together and addressing weaknesses.

But for whatever reason, nothing has resonated. Nothing has worked.

“People have to play with a better sense of urgency,” senior forward Juwan Morgan said. “I think coming out of the gates, it’s just too lethargic. People (on Indiana’s roster) just think teams aren’t going to attack us. I think they’re thinking ‘woe is me,’ instead of ‘we’ve got to fight out of this rut’. Nobody else is going to do it for us.”

Indiana’s body language looked poor from the moment it took the court for warmups. It continued to look poor throughout the game.

Minnesota’s ability to drain a flurry of 3-pointers only compounded problems for Indiana, which finished 2-for-17 from beyond the arc and found itself incapable of providing a response.

The Golden Gophers, who entered play ranked 314th nationally in 3-point percentage, sank a season-high 12 3-pointers, making each of their first four perimeter shots to start the game. Two of them were banked off the glass, while another came courtesy of forward Daneil Oturu, who had not attempted a single 3 prior to Saturday.

Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy finished with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Gabe Kalscheur sank six 3-pointers and posted 20 points.

As the shots fell, the Hoosiers’ confidence quickly sagged. So, too, did their effort.

“It wasn’t good at all,” Morgan said. “Grade-wise, D? F? It just wasn’t good. I think there were runs in there where we were really fighting and we got it down to five. I think we were together the whole time, but when you see all the banked 3s go in and they just keep hitting 3s even when your hand is there, it just takes a toll on guys. It’s like you can’t get a stop or anything. But at the same time, it’s those times when you have to rally the troops and really buckle down.”

Late in the first half, it seemed that IU was on course to do exactly that, using a 9-2 run to cut Minnesota’s lead to 30-25 with 4:45 remaining in the period. But Murphy answered with five straight points to extend the Gophers’ advantage back to 10.

Indiana, which trailed by as many as 30 points with five minutes left in regulation, never got back within single digits.

Things were so disjointed, Miller needed to call a timeout merely 1:19 into the second half after his team allowed yet another 3 to Kalscheur.

“They didn’t play with the urgency, the toughness, the fight that you need on the road this time of year,” Miller said. “… Just coming out here and the way that this game felt, the amount of loose balls, 50(/50) rebounds, and-one baskets that come off broken plays — there’s just not enough scrap and fight right now to be able to dig in. Today, we got overwhelmed.”

Now, Miller is promising changes.

His first alteration came prior to Saturday’s tip, inserting junior forward De’Ron Davis and junior guard Devonte Green in place of struggling sophomore Justin Smith and freshman Rob Phinisee, who spent the week battling an upper respiratory infection.

The result of the lineup change? Fittingly, only mixed results.

Davis gave IU more of the toughness it has come to expect from him in the low post. Green, meanwhile, picked up two very early fouls and was subbed out at the 18:14 mark of the first half.

“I didn’t see the change coming,” Davis said. “Me and D Green started today (and) I didn’t know I was starting until the time before the game. I guess he’s just trying to change things up and see who’s really trying to compete and work hard.”

But Indiana once again looked stagnant and confused on offense, recording only a single assist through the first 20 minutes.

Smith finished as a minus-26 in 16 minutes off the bench, while Romeo Langford attempted only six shots and ended the day minus-28.

“We have to recreate ourselves here a little bit,” Miller said. “As you try to recreate yourself at times, you’re living and dying with the same mistakes. Eventually, you have to stop living with those mistakes and find out if somebody else can help you at times. We’re searching, and the next two days are gonna be big, as we prepare for Tuesday.”

No. 12 Purdue awaits on Tuesday, with a 7 p.m. tipoff on deck at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

There are still six more regular season games remaining inside of this baffling season for Indiana. But right now, the Hoosiers look like they’d rather be doing anything else.

“Everybody is human,” Morgan said. “Losses take their toll on everybody, but at the same time this is what guys signed up for. We have to be ready to play night in and night out.”

42 comments

  1. You can ascribe our play on players, coaches, refs or anything else you want. Regardless, it’s easier to just say the second half of the season is presently a train wreck heading to complete failure.

  2. Here’s a stat…if Green would’ve hit another one of his stupid shots we would’ve had 5 players in double figures. On 8 total assists. It hard to do that!

  3. Romeo and Morgan will be gone. I don’t know about Hunter’s ability, but there is not a single player on this team that I am excited about seeing next year. I would venture to say that IU could be the worst team in the Big 10 next year. Talk about new lows!

  4. What’s the problem? All of a sudden you think you are going to get an overnight magical difference in IU basketball? It keeps not spiraling but gliding down hill. It will continue. There is no end in sight.
    Undersized and To many Mac level recruits trying to play in not that great but decent big ten conference.
    This season is not the biggest problem.
    The biggest problem IU has only maybe a couple high level/very good recruits coming in next year. For IU big time recruits should be kicking the door down to go to IU or at least very interested (Duke, Mich, Kansas, Ky, MSU, Louisville) types. Not out recruiting Pitt, Nebraska, Penn State, etc. to score a good high school player. However, IU basketball is insignificant. IU basketball is going to stay insignificant until they get some of the best bigs, wings, shooters, scorers, rebounders, ball handlers, passers, and physical players that care.
    IU players have nothing to look forward to at the level they are trying to compete at. They are beaten down.

  5. Yes, I know AM recruited Langford. That is one big time. Four or five more needed with the rest higher level than what is there except for a couple players.
    JW and AM need at least 2 star player level 6’9”+ players to go with them. JW at 6’8” as your best physical big man has been beaten up long a time ago. It has taken its toll.
    No star player that can shoot, pass, and handle ball playing along side of Langford takes pretty much care of his effectiveness.

  6. t, I think there will 4 new recruits next year, I believe some players will be told to transfer, don’t know how the additional two recruits will rank in your evaluation,but some drastic changes are needed.

  7. Coach, stating drastic changes need to be made is not something you can deliver by Tuesday. Because your problem gets much worse Tuesday night if AH doesn’t see a very positive change. And it begs the question why only now!!!

  8. IU South. IU has signed 2 recruits for 2019. A5 star at 90 and a 4 star at 80. Yes, a couple others are being pursued.
    Duke signs 3rd best prospect in country to go along with what else that is already there.
    National ranking for IU = 41. Does that sound familiar (IU football). EXPECT MORE OF THE SAME!

  9. TO ME …..it appears some players are frustrated by the play of their fellow teammates..which feeds into the effortless play. IM sorry but Langford has to take some responsibility for his mediocre play. At start of season he was being hailed by all who saw him as a GREAT Talent; but as coaches realized he was a driver and primarily from R side ..they backed off to make him work to get His shots. As Bilas and Dakich pointed out, he stands and waits to receive the ball before making any moves. He doesn’t move across the lane to receive passes ..he drifts out to the perimeter and becomes a spectater.The College Game has highlighted the weaknesses in his game. Dakich also sounded as if he knew more about Hunter’s condition having alluded to him NOT being physically able to play BBall again.

    1. TJ,
      He doesn’t know anything more. It’s entirely possible Hunter never plays again. It’s entirely possible Hunter’s ready to play the first game next year. Nobody really knows how it will turn out.

  10. Well I guest when both of your revenue sports program are wrestling for the bottom of the Big Ten, then the only thing you can do is look into the future recruits and hope change (upswing) is coming. But this upswing depends on the ability of the coaching staff to develop this talent. An at the present time this Indiana University basketball staff does not look like it is capable of developing talent. This present Indiana basketball team has not improved at all since last year. At the present time the Indiana basketball team is looking at a 5 win Big Ten season. What previous Indiana coach or coaching staff could get away with only a 5 win Big Ten seasons and survive. With Fred Glass calling this a rebuilding year, he is hoping that Archie Miller can turn this around in two – three years. While the public/fans wait patiently.

  11. I think it is interesting. I am watching Tenn vs Uk and they were talking about UTs strength and conditioning program and how important it is for certain metrics to be met based. To me, both of these teams are playing at such a different level and so active without the ball. I think both our basketball and football should put so much more focus on this aspect of building up the program. Plus, maybe would have less injuries to deal with.

    1. The IU strength and conditioning program has been the subject of quite a bit of press coverage. It is supposedly first rate. It has been a widely discussed topic here.

  12. I like your comment IU79. Glass is definitely hoping we fall for the complete rebuild. I say to Glass—-look at what Mack has done at UL and even Holtmann at OSU. They were in the same boat as us or even worse. It was funny seeing Glass in the stands. He had the same look on his face in Creans last game against GT in NIT.

  13. Excuse for this change of subject….Recently a local company in Martinsville purchased an adjacent business. In a storage building they found what turned out to be the original IU basketball flooring used from 1928 through 1960. First in Wildermuth Fieldhouse and than Assembly Hall. Eight stacks of 12×4 pieces, each stack 10′ high. These were donated back to IU.

    Now back to the depressing conversations.

  14. Some kid playing Indiana High School bb has set a record of hitting 95 straight free throws. Another kid who I believe is a High School Junior on track to set new Indiana HS scoring record. Uh, maybe they could give a demo to IU..? How insulting would that be..

  15. take time to consider this: Archie’s First Full recruiting class 5 freshmen and 1 5th yr senior. Hunter down for year with leg problem and possible not playing again. Thompson concussion syndrome that lasted 3 months, Phinisee hampered by injury, Mc Roberts essentially done for the year since a month ago. D Davis slow to recover from Achilles repair and ankle injuries. it was hoped Anderson could give something and Forrester was going to be a Year process. Moore offers nothing, Justin Smith cant offer anything past a dunk;Big10 Forwards and centers move him out like a cardboard obstruction when rebounding. 5th year senior is a complete bust..terrible disappointment for a 5th year senior. And now we come to Romeo , who scored the 4th most points ina high school career will driving around and thru high school defenses. I think Romeo regrets coming to IU because he cant DRIVE because Morgan clogs the Middle , College coaches and defenses have figured out his game and there is NO ONE ON THIS TEAM THAT CAN SHOOT THE BASKETBALL from further than 10 ft away. Defenses walk away from some players JUST to collapse into lane daring IU players to go THRU 5 defenders. Archie cant shoot the ball for them, Archie cant move thru the lane or use screens or SET screens for them..too many selfish actors on the floor Devonte will probably transfer..Romeo is playing for the Draft ..I think Moore and Forrester will be gone and 5th years senir (whose name I forget because his playing is forgettable) and McRoberts will be gone. Drastic Changes are coming but its gonna be between the players who want to listen and Play and those going thru the motion for sake of scholarship.

    1. I doubt that Romeo regrets coming to IU especially since his second choice makes the Hoosiers look like Golden State. Vandy is terrible even by the lofty standards of the two team SEC.

      The rest of your post is spot on. Cook Hall must have been built on an ancient burial ground. I don’t know how good this team could have been with all the parts but Archie has been trying to build an airliner with Lincoln Logs this season.

      We simply don’t have the players after Juwan and Romeo and that is not a secret. Some of those guys are just hazards to navigation.

  16. Nine years of the last nincompoop coach? Baby diapers have more “drastic changes” than IU Basketball.

    We were supposed to be drastically better with a drastically better coach after nine seasons of substandard tournament results relative to the hyped talent/draft picks.

    There is nothing different with IU Basketball. We mocked Crean for the injury excuses(there were plenty) and we should do the same now. Archie seems to exhibit very little ability at instilling purpose and fire into his team. This is far more about ‘how’ we are playing than ‘who’ is playing.
    The entire team(along with the coaches bench) appears to have replaced steroids and PED’s with a new sports drink marketed by Xanax.

  17. Spot on summary, TJ in Tex. There just seems to be no answers. As a former collegiate athlete, I just can’t fathom how players don’t show up for games. Regardless of the analysis of this team, no shooters, etc., how can young D1 athletes have zero competitive fire? How did the bottom completely fall out? This group has no floor leaders, no one who leads by example by playing his butt off and tough whether or not his shot is falling. It’s beyond A Season on the Brink. Just shaking my head. The coaching staff must be going nuts. What can they do? These guys have no heart, no pride in wearing the Indiana uniform. Ugghh…..

    1. You are correct sir. There is 0 will to win by anyone on this team. Morgan can jabber all he wants about how his teammates don’t get it, but what is HE doing about it? I don’t see him pulling guys together and getting animated with them at all. Where is the news of a players only closed door meeting?

      Durham seems to be the only regular with any spunk. He looks like he’s the only one who’s truly tired of losing. ALL others just play each possession with the same lack of urgency. Doesn’t matter if they’re up 10 or down 10. Same soft attitude. There is ZERO mental toughness.

      Go down the list, but please tell me who could actually lead…
      Phinisee…nobody will listen to a freshman & he’s not assertive anyway. Still learning the system himself.
      Romeo….not in his DNA, plus he’s 1 & done. I bet the uncertainty of his commitment to the team is also a point of contention behind the scenes in the locker room.
      Green….who’s going to listen to an upper classman who got suspended?
      Durham….he seems to care but he isn’t a leader.
      Morgan…not in his DNA. Nice kid, good player, no fire other than we he scores on someone and flexes. Which tells me that is the only thing he really cares about.
      Davis….impossible leader when he only plays 10-15 min per game.
      Smith….clueless unless he’s in the paint.

      At this juncture, as I’ve said before, what is the harm in clearing the bench? I’m starting to get sick of Archie’s commentary without action. If he were really upset by the lack of effort, he should’ve & could’ve benched the starting 5 to send the message weeks ago. Instead he started them again in the 2nd half. Put kids on the floor that really care. That’s probably Thompson, Forrester, Durham, Morgan, Davis and one of the guard walk ones. And when McRoberts is ready again, he’s the 7th man. I guess Romeo falls in there somewhere but I too am at a loss in envisioning a solution.

      It is impossible to win without a Quinn Buckner or Yogi Ferrell or Damon Bailey types on the team.

  18. McCracken and Knight did not always have the most gifted athletes. What they did have were the respect of those recruited, kids that played hard fundamental basketball and were willing and able to take instruction. There are great coaches out there winning with 2 and 3* kids. Until this premise is reestablished this will only get worse. Finally and unfortunately, AM is not the answer. This version of the Hoosiers is far worse than what Lou Watson put on the floor if that puts things in perspective. Honestly, knowing these telecasts are shown around the country is an embarrassment.

    1. I can’t speak to McCracken but the myth that RMK was winning titles with second tier players he simply coached up has been dispelled time and again.

      He had every bit as much blue chip talent as any other coach in the country. No doubt he made them better but he wasn’t coaching leftovers.

      1. Though he never played, Larry Bird would was part of the 1974 recruting class that comprised part of the ’76 champion squad. Another member of that recruiting class was Mark Haymore who transferred to UMASS where he was the leading scorer and rebounder and was drafted by the 76ers.

        There were plenty of blue chippers who had to leave Bloomington to find playing time on many of those Hoosier squads.

        Getting top players to Bloomington was never an issue for RMK.

  19. Another thing RMK had going…he had BBallers that could SHOOT so he could play the inside -outside game. You all will have to help me with the names .,,but he had Laskowski and Green; he had Alford and Smart , he had Kitchell and Wittman, he had Cheaney and the 5 star guard from Jeffersonville. Knight surrounded his SHOOTERS who played roles on the inside. Archie has no such Luxury.

  20. Brad, the last word of your last post sums up my feelings precisely. I was embarrassed watching yesterday’s game. Early in the season, although not a good team, I celebrated the fight these players demonstrated. They’ve lost that fight. They’ve quit. Yesterday’s effort and performance was embarrassing.

    t, in one of your posts above you wrote, “For IU, big time recruits should be kicking the door down to go to IU or at least very interested (Duke, Mich, Kansas, Ky, MSU, Louisville) types.” I generally agree with yo, but not this time. WHY would any big time recruit choose IU over those other elite schools? Because of something IU accomplished 20, 30 or 40 years ago? Because of Assembly Hall’s atmosphere or the posh new locker room? Today’s HS Seniors were not born the last time IU Basketball was even remembered as a once elite program! A series of horrifically bad decisions made by a series of incompetent IU Administrations, combined with the “one-and-done” rule has stripped IU Basketball of its once elite status. The only people who believe IU should be a top destination for the best Basketball talent in the country are older IU fans who witnessed the good old days when IU Basketball was synonymous with elite. Otherwise, IU basketball is what it’s record over the last 20 or 30 years says it is, which is mediocre and currently very weak. And until you see the coaches at those elite basketball schools retire, IU is not going to out-recruit any of them. Oh, we may get a Langford once in a while (like Crean did on occasion), but to become elite, a school needs to sign three or four young men with that talent every year. It’s not going to happen as long as the coaches at today’s elite programs remain on the job!

    What we’re witnessing with IU Basketball today is the result of all the decisions those incompetent IU administrators made since well before ESPN aired the video tape of Bob Knight “choking” Neil Reed. Yes, IU made it to the finals after Knight was fired, but that was the result of the last group of players Knight recruited rallying around each other and their overwhelmed coach to make a monumental effort to fulfill the expectations created when they signed with IU. Since then, as you wrote above, IU Basketball has been “gliding down hill.” And right now, a growing number of Hoosier fans are questioning whether Archie Miller has what it takes to reverse the decline and get it ascending again. We all hope he does, but yesterday’s game raises serious and ominous doubts.

    Lastly, does anyone really believe Fred Glass has the skills, vision and leadership ability to solve the obvious problems that plague IU Basketball? Does anyone else suspect Fred Glass may be a big part of the problem? And again, it may not be just Fred Glass, but he is the face of IU Athletics and should be the first person held accountable for the performance of IU’s two main revenue-producing (and visible) sports during his watch (going on 12 years now)? Fred Glass is what his record says he is.

    1. Lastly, does anyone really believe Fred Glass has the skills, vision and leadership ability to solve the obvious problems that plague IU Basketball? Does anyone else suspect Fred Glass may be a big part of the problem? And again, it may not be just Fred Glass, but he is the face of IU Athletics and should be the first person held accountable for the performance of IU’s two main revenue-producing (and visible) sports during his watch (going on 12 years now)? Fred Glass is what his record says he is.

      I’ve only been saying that forever….and since the day Joey Glass(Fred’s son) recommended Tom Crean (joey’s letter to the editor in the ‘Marquette Wire’)…and Tom Crean subsequently hand selected Fred as his own AD in a committee room(a.k.a. ‘caddyshack committee).

      You take a while to catch on….

  21. You people continue to steal credit from Mike Davis…and have yet to mention how successful Kelvin Sampson is becoming at Houston. See a pattern?

    And many of you have the nerve to talk of bigotry…and making statements like “don’t wish for something too much, you might just get it.” Doesn’t appear Houston is having any regrets.

    Yes, Davis had Knight recruits…He also made halftime adjustments against #1 Duke that look far and above anything I’ve seen coaching at McCracken since. He instilled defensive tenacity. It wasn’t just the fact they were Knight recruits….and Mike Davis did much of that recruiting for Knight.

  22. I think Glass is really good at fundraising/capital campaigns. He did a great job at that. Now he needs to exit stage left and let someone build the actual programs-mainly football and basketball. He needs to go. Does IU President care enough about sports to do the right thing?

  23. I’ll have to respectfully disagree on that view of Glass. I think IU football is positioned to have a good run of success on the IU scale and then some. Archie Miller was not a bad hire and pulled in good recruits. His 2nd best recruit was lost for this season. I believe he’ll right the ship next year with more quality recruits coming in and hopefully a healthy squad that isn’t victimized by one injury after another.

    Glass did okay with the Wilson hire in football and I think topped it with Tom Allen. He quite arguably gave Crean too long of a leash. But Crean did win two outright BigTen titles in 2013 and 2016, something that hadn’t been done in 20 years (the last previous IU outright regular league championship was 1993; a 3 way shared championship occurred in 2002).

  24. PO.
    To clarify my post…I was referring to how INSIGNIFICANT IU men’s basketball has become. I didn’t mean recruits should be kicking in the door or at least very interested in coming to IU in CURRENT SITUATION (21st century). I did mean and was referring to a bygone era of tradition and Indiana has always been a big basketball state and IU always had some very high level recruits kicking the door down or at least very interested to come to IU. I agree with you, P.O. not anymore but it should be.

  25. OkieHoosier. So you think Glass has had success? I could agree with you on non-revenue sports but not sure n football or basketball. Not even close.

  26. Glass has success in building or renovating and fund raising and renaming (don’t like B.B. assembly hall name) things to the extent others have in similar positions. A lot of universities continually upgrade.
    Student bill of rights, I am neutral on.
    However, basketball program has been poor/almost a disaster and football not good.
    Other sports including non revenue had success and even more success long before Fred Glass became athletic director. Examples: swimming, track, soccer. However, baseball has improved under Glass and maybe a few other what might be called minor sports (those involved they are major to them). Again, many other universities, athletic directors etc could make their own claims of success in non revenue sports. So, Glass is just a functioning (not really high) member of a bureaucracy or bureaucratic society called Indiana University. Since this blog mainly talks about basketball and football. How does Indiana University stack up?
    However, IU had success in some non revenue sports before Glass.

  27. Let’s all be honest. While we root for all of IU’s Sports and celebrate them when they’re successful, Football and Men’s basketball are the only two college sports that the vast majority of American sports fans care about, comment on, and spend/donate money for. Football and basketball are sports that can attract out-of-state students who want to maximize the fun and excitement of their college experience (see Alabama’s increase in out-of-state student applications). Fred Glass said it himself about two years ago; he’ll be judged and remembered for how successful Tom Allen and (but mostly) Archie Miller become while at IU.

    Fred Glass has done some things well and deserves credit for upgrading IU’s Athletic facilities. But otherwise, he has failed to build winning programs in the sports that matter most.

    My daughter played two years of D-1 varsity soccer. Obviously her mother and I watched her play as many games as possible and cherished every moment of that experience. Since she stopped playing, we haven’t watched a women’s soccer game unless the U.S. were playing for the World Cup or in the Olympics, and we certainly have never watched my daughter’s alma mater play women’s soccer since she ended her college career. But we watch her alma mater’s Men’s Basketball team and we watch the Football team with almost as much fervor as we watch IU.

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