Hoosiers fail to make a statement in 79-75 loss to Buckeyes

CHICAGO — The day started well enough.

De’Ron Davis woke up at 7:45 Thursday morning and met his teammates for a meal not long after. As the Hoosiers sat inside their downtown hotel and went through their final pregame preparations, Davis noticed something. The energy was high for an uncommon morning meeting. So, too, was the focus.

“Everybody was ready and eating breakfast,” Davis said.

But the good vibes didn’t translate to the United Center.

There, to Davis’ dismay, No. 9 seed Indiana came out flat and threw away a chance to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive with a 79-75 loss to No. 8 Ohio State in both teams’ Big Ten Tournament opener.

“It was disappointing to see how hard we worked, especially the last three weeks, and then be at this point right now,” Davis said.

This point, meaning on the outside looking in. Thursday’s game was, by most projections, a play-in game between a pair of NCAA Tournament bubble teams. Even after a stretch of 12 losses in 13 games during the middle of Big Ten season, Indiana (17-15) resuscitated its postseason hopes with a four-game winning streak to close the campaign. IU’s six Quadrant 1 wins still resonated, and the Hoosiers flew north recognizing the Big Ten Tournament for what it was — a chance to win a game or two, and put themselves on the right side of the bubble.

It didn’t happen.

Afterwards, inside a crestfallen Indiana locker room, the Hoosiers had few answers for what went wrong, or what the loss means to the season from here.

The truth is Indiana played like the team it most often appeared to be during Big Ten season — sloppy, slow and without direction. Now, if IU is to play another game inside of this disappointing an inexplicable season of basketball, it will likely be in the National Invitation Tournament.

“Our resumé at the end of the day if you put it up there with a blank sketch, I’m sure it compares favorably to some other teams,” Miller said, campaigning a final time for the NCAA Tournament. “We’ve played a ridiculous schedule. And obviously have beaten teams that obviously made the tournament. And I think the one thing in this stage when you’re comparing everybody — can you beat a team in the tournament? Can you win a game? And this team can win a game in the tournament because it’s played good ball here lately and has also played good ball early.”

But Miller’s endorsement rings hollow when you weigh Thursday’s performance as part of the equation.

It was a fair opportunity for Indiana to prove itself in a tournament setting, against a potential tournament team in Ohio State (19-13).

But the Hoosiers blew their shot.

The Hoosiers did themselves no favors, settling for perimeter jumpers and committing 10 first-half turnovers. After rediscovering a sense of identity during the last four wins, Indiana took too long to commit to its strengths against Ohio State. Of IU’s 30 first-half shots, half originated from beyond the arc. The Hoosiers made only four of them.

“Our energy level wasn’t there on either end of the floor,” Romeo Langford said.

How could that be, given the stakes at play? Langford had no answer.

Energy wasn’t a problem late in regulation, when Indiana sliced a 20-point deficit down to three with less then a minute remaining with a 26-9 run over a six-plus-minute span. The hot shooting of Evan Fitzner and Devonte Green, who finished with a career-high 26 points, were the primary reason for the comeback attempt.

But a layup by Ohio State’s Keyshawn Woods put the Buckeyes back in front by five, then an offensive foul call on Fitzner ultimately sealed Indiana’s loss.

While Green was exceptional — and the only thing standing between a four-point loss and an embarrassing blowout defeat — others were not. Langford and Juwan Morgan combined to go 3-for-12 from the field during the first half, while Justin Smith went scoreless for the game.

“I thought, offensively, that was probably as poor as we’ve played here in a long time,” Miller said. “Our turnovers in the first half really broke us down in terms of giving them 17 points off turnovers. We had 10 in the first half. And that was kind of a little bit of a deal breaker for us at halftime. And then I thought in the second half, hopefully coming out of halftime we would be able to regroup. But we weren’t able to make a couple plays there in the first four, eight minutes, especially long rebounds and some 50/50 plays that just kept the lead right at the same time.”

To a man, the Hoosiers said they’d welcome the chance to play again, but it’ll be a long wait until Sunday evening. Even then, the NCAA Tournament selection committee isn’t likely to come calling. Those six Quad 1 victories could still keep IU under consideration — only 14 teams have more of those than Indiana — but the Hoosiers failed to back up their strangely impressive resume with a performance worthy of college basketball’s biggest stage.

The Hoosiers thought they were ready to make a statement in Chicago.

Turns out, they weren’t.

“Obviously,” Davis said. “The more ready team won the game today.”

59 comments

  1. I wonder if I U receives NIT bid if Morgan and Langford would play and risk an injury? It’s like the football players with pro ambitions sitting out the also ran bowl games.

  2. If the Big Ten has a preseason agreement with NIT, I U may not have a choice of playing or not playing. I agree enough already.

  3. I could see Romeo sitting out the NIT, but maybe he doesn’t want his performance in today’s game to be his last one in an IU uniform. The remainder of the roster could benefit from a few more games. Some of those guys need more experience playing together for the benefit of next year’s season.

    Credit to Green for his excellent performance today. Better late than never, but where did that guy disappear to for most of the season?

  4. The NIT is now a disgrace…Not so much years ago when the field of the NCAA was smaller. I would refuse any offer to play in that pointless tournament.
    If we don’t make the NCAA tournament(which the headline of this article too early assumes in its premature declaration…seeing how some believe the committee will take 9 teams from the BigTen), then consider it a fair but painful reality for losing so many games at Assembly Hall this year(including going down to our major rival) .

    We defeated MSU twice. Many believe they are one of the frontrunners(other than Duke) to win it all. We scored 32 points in the span of seven minutes of today’s game. We have never played well in the pointless conference tournament(as are all major conference tournaments pointless with no concern for the extra drain/exhaustion/danger/overkill it puts on a student-athlete).

  5. IU is shooting 40% (in tournament 4 times) to get in March Madness tournament over last ten years. I would say that is pretty insignificant.

  6. Let’s get back to root causes of failure here. The NCAA bid really did not come down to this game. It came down to the 12 of 13 we lost in Jan. and Feb. St. Mary’s didn’t steal a bid from us, nor did OSU. We did it to ourselves. Win 3 – 5 of those games, which was entirely possible, and we have a double-bye in this Delaneyfest and we’re in the dance.

    In retrospect, I think Archie has done a helluva job. We have inferior basketball players, athletes recruited by our prior, dare I say “coach”, and a couple of freshman with potential, one of which may leave for the NBA. The dude has 4 total players he recruited, all in their first year. He taught this team to play hard, which they continued today. They went down with a fight and never quit. A real credit to the leader.

    Of note, the surge we were on in the last 8 min. came with Morgan on the bench. Just like our two wins over MSU. Coincidence?

    This “digging a hole” problem has been with us since day 1 of this season. A zebra doesn’t change its stripes.

    Speaking of zebras….there were some amazing no-calls, missed calls, and strange calls. But we didn’t lose this game due to them in any way, shape, or form. We didn’t value the basketball (day 1 problem), couldn’t shoot (day 1 problem), took bad shots (day 1 problem), played w/o a true center (day 1 problem).

    As for Romeo, I sure hopes he comes back to hone his game at least 1 more year. He could use it. He’s a humble kid, which makes me think he will. We’re going to find out what drives this young man very soon. My guess is that he is disappointed in his, and his team’s, results this year. He knows he needs to get better to make more serious coin in the NBA. His draft stock has been going down since Nov. I’m old school, but there are 20 players that I’ve seen that I’d draft ahead of him (s.a. Carson Edwards, Casius Winston, Jordan Murphy, to name a few that I think are better). On my NBA team I’d be drafting 3 & 4 year college players and the occasional “can’t miss” recruit s.a. Zion W. I’d take the experience and complete game now vs. development projects that bust as much as they excel. Ultimately it is why the NBA is unwatchable. It IS the G league beyond the G league.

  7. AWIN …I agree with you about Romeo. Lottery picks don’t “disappear” in big games ; on your 20 players list what you forgot are the European players that always “sneak” into the draft as well. I would like t see 3 and 4 slot players contribute more than just moving picks.

    1. NBA players rarely get double teamed. It almost backfired on Holtmann because Devonte went unconscious. The plan was to fiercely double team and collapse on Morgan and Romeo every instance they touched the ball within 15 feet of the basket. DeRon as well…but just not as aggressively.
      It’s called let Phinisee, Smith and Green try to beat us from the perimeter. Phinisee and Smith are the real guys who didn’t show up. They were not being double teamed and their play, compared to the last two weeks of the season, fell off a cliff. Neither appeared confident. Smith played like a freshman. Phinisee was struggling…and finally acting like a freshman.

  8. Looks like the Nebraska team is playing the tournament with a serious effort to save their coach’s job, nice effort,

  9. You’re right AWinAZ, but Romeo can work on getting better with a few million in the bank. Unless he discovers that his stock has dropped into the second round, he won’t be back.

    Can’t wait to watch IU play when every player on the roster is an AM recruit. At least that will eliminate the most common excuse for his team’s performance.

  10. When IU ladies lost in big ten tournament they scored 53 posts after game. IU guys after losing in big ten tournament they have scored 15 posts.
    So far IU ladies 53
    IU guys 15
    Perspective on significance

  11. Tim Miles = Crean 2.0

    Most people think he’s done at Nebraska.

    And I see Mike Miller changed the headline…..You’re worried that you called this too soon. OSU takes down MSU tomorrow and suddenly they also look like world beaters.

    Big Ten Analysts(moments ago): “How do you keep a team that defeats MSU twice out of the Big Dance?”

    Most analysts(unless your name is Seth Davis) have not yet written IU out of the tournament. I’m still saying nine teams from the BigTen get in. Unless Nebraska or Illinois win the Big tournament, we are not necessarily seeing “hopes end” as stated in the first version of the headline courtesy of Establishment Mike.

  12. See all of you on Selection Sunday….The only posts appearing until now and then will be the apologists holdouts.

    Worst officiated game I’ve ever witnessed (outside of Downing getting screwed against Walton). The hook and hold not called(can’t remember who was hooking Morgan but it was obvious)…the push-off’s from Woods…and the outright assaults against Durham on about four different occasions going to the rim (and when was not intending to hurt someone when elbowing to the head not a four?).

    Nice plan by Holtmann…I will give him credit in having perfect timing in lifting Wesson’s suspension for the BigTen tournament against Indiana. What a tool… If it was a serious enough offense to keep out a star player during the stretch run of the season, then the judgment is very suspect now. I find it odd no analyst is placing that decision under more scrutiny.

    Marchie Miller.

  13. The truth is that this team is an NIT team, whether or not they choose to play. Indeed a strange season with some unexpected wins and many terrible losses. It is not an NCAA team with a chance of advancing far in the tournament. Assuming Brooks signs with Kentucky next year and Romeo goes pro, is their anyone on this site that feels IU is going to be better next year?

  14. They may not be better in terms of talent, but I’ll take eight more years of Archie before one minute of pace-oholic and cue cards.

    I’m not going to throw guys who came because of the last coach under the bus. It was obvious from senior night that their feelings are still often confused and conflicted. Less than a week before our ‘do or die’ game in this tournament, you have one of our most important players talking of how much he didn’t want to be at IU during the coaching change …and how transferring was in his brain frequently. That has to be tough for a second year coach who has done his share of embracing kids he didn’t recruit …It’s got to be tough to still hear that stuff brought up after two full seasons.
    Crean had very manipulative ways to get kids to come to IU that had nothing to do with the name on the jersey. I’ll leave it at that.

  15. Couldn’t Fred Glass write a check to selection committee and get IU into March Madness tournament. Just asking for a friend.
    What is the difference between that and North Carolina ghost classes when they played and won tournament???? Or the John Wooden championships as The godfather took care of his players? Can’t imagine what went on at UNLV? Just a few examples. What good is Fred Glass for anyway? Pony up and write a check.

  16. Maybe, research could be done since IU is big on research. Ask the horses that compete to get in the Kentucky Derby how they feel about it.

    1. Glass…? Doesn’t Mark Cuban have enough large sums of $$$ to buy us an ‘at large’ bid?

      I mean, he had enough to settle up the score for Kelvin to leave quietly. Gotta be somebody in that selection room who can be bought.
      Hey, Cuban…Kelvin is the only thing going for you down there in Texas. Certainly isn’t the MavHicks.

  17. Podunk…here’s the problem Romeo has…does an NBA exec. look at his last half of body of work (including this game) can I get a free agent cheaper for what I need than drafting “potential” that disappears in big games..I mean he was absent in first half for Mich State .College defenses have figured him out and will take less time in NBA…it will come down to money..which is a cheaper bet ..the free agent that knows the NBA or a Potential

  18. Romeo will still go top 10 in the draft….I mean, didn’t Vonleh go #11? Romeo has far more going for him than Vonleh…..

    OSU swarmed him with a double team at every touch. Good luck with that in the NBA. Our roster is simply not deep enough(nor, normally, lethal enough from the perimeter) to make defenses pay for double teaming. Also, OSU has enough athletes to get away with it. Athletic guys can recover fast out of double teams. If Phinisee and Smith were 1/2 the players they were over the last couple weeks, the double teams would have not worked.

  19. My bad…Vonleh went 9th in the draft. What!? He averaged a whopping 11 ppg. He was 3rd team All-Big 10.

    And some of you don’t think Romeo will go top 10?

  20. What a bummer. If it weren’t for Green dropping 30 ft Steph Curry threes, we’d still be scraping the rubber off our faces like Mitch McGary going up against Cody Zeller.

    This was a tough one to watch. Ohio State came to play. They didn’t play very well either, but they sure as hell wanted it more. They secured every loose ball. I do appreciate the Hoosiers fight in the end. But that 2nd half stretch was just too much for them to absorb. Kind of like the season. Just too little, too late.

    I’ve been pretty disappointed at fellow Hoosier fans who seem to think this has been about Romeo. He didn’t have a great game today, but he absolutely tried to take it to Ohio State through double-teams all day. They defended him perfectly. His teammates let him down. He has flaws, but he’s been pretty awesome for us this year. I’m very grateful that he played for us this year. Who knows how bad it would have gotten had he not been here….

    Regardless, I think we’re out of the tournament this year. If so, Indiana will have sat out 6 of the last 10 NCAA tournaments.

    So, on to next year. Keion Brooks makes his decision tomorrow. Trayce Jackson-Davis will be there, which is interesting. Everyone has thrown their hands up and surrendered to Kentucky. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen and TJD and him will be playing along side each other. I actually think we’re in better position from a team make-up, chemistry perspective next year. If we get Hunter back and healthy, this is a far better team than this one this year. We’ll see.

    1. Probably see “Iggy” Brazdeikis in the next Michigan Final Four…..They’ve sure had a lot of tournament success since the Chesterton kid taking the NCAA tournament by storm started all the momentum finally getting Beilein off the hook. It takes great coaching …but it also takes kids that don’t become shrinking violets when the lights get brighter. Sadly, we had a lot of shrinking violets today…and a very disjointed team looking like they wanted no part of big stages.

      Unlike buying your way to many things in this country (including light prison sentences), there’s still no dollars that can guarantee a trip to the biggest weekend in college basketball.

    2. I actually think Green could be the next Steph Curry….just like Oladipo is on his Space Jam rocket ship to be the next Jordan.

      Man, I thought I was a homer. I realize the legalization is big business in California, but my goodness the skunk smell is in the air….Take a few days off the grass ..(unless you need it for medicinal purposes, of course).

  21. Ron- I think Beilein is set for life at Michigan. He got a big contract extension after McGary (Chesterton, IN) help propel them to Michigan’s first Final Four in 20 years.

  22. Back to reality (the game) … I thought it was a coaching mistake not to keep the fury on at the 1 min. mark when we cut it to 3. When we settled back, because it was a 1 possession game, the aggression subsided for long enough to allow OSU to regain their balance. I would’ve kept the furious pace & fouling on. I felt it when it happened, so this isn’t a hindsight 20-20 thing.

  23. Morgan was -18 today in +/-

    Kudos to Green for keeping us in it. Much maligned all year but has come on in March. Still pisses the ball away too much with his playground style, but he’s been solid from the arc.

  24. I wouldn’t overlook what Fitzner did as well…Outside of Green, he may have looked the least intimidated by the pressure moments. Fitzner(also much maligned) played extremely well during the comeback stretch. He hit some timely triples in the game and was very active defensively and on the boards. Thought he played with a lot of focus and intensity.

  25. Unfortunate ending to an unfortunate year.

    Those thinking Romeo is not NBA talent because of his showing against college defenses designed to stop him, think again. Most of the defenses thrown against him in college are illegal in the NBA and the scouts know it. He will probably be drafted exactly where he was projected at the beginning of the year. I think the best thing which can happen for Juwan is to not be drafted and possibly get stuck in a system which is unfitted for. He will do much better finding a team as a free agent which his capabilities will fit.

    With or without Keion Brooks, I believe the team next year will be much better than this year’s team for two reasons. First, if they stay healthy the supporting cast will be much, much stronger. It will not be a team of individual stars you can key on as with JM & RL. The team will rise and fall as a team, not a particular individual, which is what Archie is building (not coincidentally, very similar to what we saw under RMK). You won’t see as many NBA lottery picks, but you may see a banner or two eventually.

    Secondly, we never saw a team able to establish team chemistry due to the abnormally high number of injuries. No team of any caliber can endure the level of injuries which IUBB did this year with so many key players and perform any better. Look at Izzo crying over the couple injuries he has, try having that with 5 or 6 key members of your team, Tom! Duke lost momentum with the loss of one key player. This year’s IUBB team looked out of sync all year even when doing well early in the year. They were never able to get all the pieces working together because they couldn’t practice or get enough game experience – together!

    One last thing, don’t be surprised if Brooks opts to go elsewhere that someone else pops into the picture quickly. I can think of a about 2 or 3 high level players out there who have not made decisions yet. Wonder if they might be waiting on what Keion Brooks does today?

    1. Naw t,
      This has a little different feel to it. Big difference was the catastrophic level of injuries on the IUBB team. IUBB had a nearly 40% incapacitated/severely limited due to injury level at one point, even as physical as FB is, don’t recall having an injury rate of the entire team that high.

  26. The refs let them play for the most part but still to many foggy calls. Absolutely hate the flagrant category and video reviews need to go away or maybe only used for 1-2 very specific situations.
    Lots and lots of missed bunnies within 4ft. of the rim.
    1st half TO’s really dug a hole. Lots of slapping on D by the Bucks not called as fouls. Which kept IU offense out of the paint effectively except for Davis.
    I believe it’s 50-50 Romeo comes back.
    I have no doubt next years team will be much better.(I’ll bet a k-boy Izzo thinks so too.)
    The steadiest player on the team after he got healthy and in shape has been Davis for the 2nd half of conference season. He’ll be the solid Senior we need in the middle.

    1. The push off was accepted by the officials as a normal part of an offensive move. Never saw so many uncalled offensive fouls pushing the defender off.

    2. HC,
      Hope you are right on Romeo, but I afraid he going to go. Here’s a big reason which may make a larger than normal bunch of college players jump for the nba again. Player at Texas projected to go at #10 got hurt yesterday, leg injury. We all should know what that means. Let’s remember back a few years to the gruesome injury for the Louisville player effectively ending his career. A big bunch of players jumped that year who might have stayed for another year because of that reason including Cody & VO. If they had any doubt about staying or going pro it was eliminated by that injury.

      1. Yes it can and does happen but rarely. He’s level headed and has to be thinking about the same Q’s we are. That’s what makes me think 50-50. $ talks loud. Wish I knew if he and Brooks have been talking. I’m sure it would reveal volumes about both situations. We’ll at least find out half tonight.

  27. It sounds unlikely that Keion Brooks will choose IU. And young Watford looks like a Memphis lean now. I don’t know who the backup plans are but Archie better get on it ASAP.

  28. Disappointing game from a disappointing team. Someone said this feels like IUFB and it does. Woulda, coulda, shoulda- didn’t. Coach Miller built successful Dayton teams with role players not future NBA lottery picks. Maybe Brooks choosing UK would be a blessing in disguise.

  29. Yes, but how would Archie’s Dayton teams have done playing in the Big Ten Conference? There’s no substitute for signing talent, lots and lots of talent. That’s the only path back to elite status.

    To be successful in the Big Ten, you need effective BIGS. And I don’t just mean tall guys, but BIG guys. Fitzner proves my point. Muscle and mass along with height and above average athletic ability. That’s how OSU beat us yesterday. Compared to OSU’s three previous games, yesterday their Big made the difference. Look at Duke with and without Zion. Duke is loaded with 5-star players, but when Zion went down, they suffered losses that would have otherwise been wins. Next year, we need a healthy DeRon Davis with Thompson, Hunter, Forrester, and Smith getting significant minutes.

  30. The interesting thing about Brooks’ announcement is that TJD and Franklin have both said they are going to be there. This could mean one of two things, 1. He’s going to IU or 2. Those three are really tight and just want to be there to support their friend and AAU teammate. Could be interesting.

  31. O.K., IU’s BB season is, for all intents and purposes, over. Hasn’t Spring Football been going on for the last week or so? Time for some news out of the Spring Football camp. And then I’m hoping we can get some good news about some graduate transfers signed to play next season and the NCAA’s approval of our newest QB’s eligibility.

  32. From Zach Osterman at the IndyStar.com: OUCH!
    “Over the past 20 seasons, IU is sixth in the Big Ten in win percentage in conference games, and sixth in the league in win percentage overall. One or two more years of high-level success under John Beilein in Ann Arbor, and Michigan will push the Hoosiers down to seventh.

    What does any of that have to do with Thursday’s loss? Not a lot. It’s just one more defeat woven into the broader tapestry of a once nationally elite program struggling to regain anything resembling its old footing in its own conference, much less across the country.

    Archie Miller is the man tasked with that tall job. He’s not the first. If he doesn’t succeed, he won’t be the last.

    But Indiana will keep pushing for a return to college basketball’s most exclusive table until one of two things happens: Either the Hoosiers get there, or IU’s booster base, far enough removed from the glory days to no longer remember them, stops demanding the program bring them back.”

  33. I’m glad the season is essentially over (The NIT is the NCAA version of AAU games). This level of disappointment and frustration should be reserved for IUFB as it always has been in the past.

  34. https//:yutu.be/50Lsv…Bob Knight Try this.
    You tube posted November 8, 2007 about earlier year after game looking into crystal ball on how good Bailey would be the next year. There are other you tube stuff on there as well.

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