Indiana drops first home game in over a year


WHAT HAPPENED: Wisconsin was good enough playing its slow-down game to keep No. 2 Indiana from playing its uptempo style and pulled off the upset with a 64-59 win over the Hoosiers in front of 17,472 at Assembly Hall on Tuesday.

The Hoosiers fell to 15-2 overall, 3-1 in the Big Ten, and will likely slide back down in the polls on Monday after climbing up to No. 2 from No. 5 this week. The Badgers (13-4, 4-0) take sole possession of first place in the conference.

It was the Hoosiers’ 11th straight loss to Wisconsin in the series. However, it also snapped a six-game winning streak going back to Indiana’s loss to Butler on Dec. 15, and it was Indiana’s first loss at Assembly Hall since their 77-74 loss to Minnesota on Jan. 12, 2012. The Hoosiers had won 18 straight at home.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Wisconsin had four players in double figures. Senior forward Ryan Evans led the group with 13 points to go with eight rebounds, and also hit a critical off-balance, late-in-the-shot-clock jumper late in the game to stem an Indiana run.

Sophomore guard Traevon Jackson added 11 points, senior forward Mike Brusewitz and freshman forward Sam Dekker added 10 each. Ben Brust had nine, and he and Jackson combined to hold IU senior guard Jordan Hulls to 2-for-8 shooting, four points and three turnovers against three assists.

IU sophomore center Cody Zeller had perhaps his most dominant half as a collegian with 18 points on 8-for-8 shooting in the first half, but the Badgers held him to 1-for-7 shooting in the second half and he finished with 23 points as well as 10 rebounds. Senior forward Christian Watord had 11 points and junior guard Victor Oladipo had 10, but no one else scored in double figures. Hulls and Ferrell were a combined 4-for-16. The bench scored a total of two points after scoring just three against Minnesota.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: Wisconsin played it’s brand of basketball and made sure the Hoosiers could not get out in transition at all.

Indiana tried to full-court press to try to hurry the pace and create turnovers. That didn’t help much, as the Badgers only gave it away eight times, which is actually below their Division I-best average. The Hoosiers therefore scored just seven points off turnovers and three points on fast-breaks.

So that left the Hoosiers in a half-court setting most of the time and it didn’t go well. They couldn’t get perimeter looks, couldn’t find space to drive, and couldn’t find anything in the mid-range either. Across the board it was their worst offensive performance. They made just 37.0 percent of their field goals (20-for-54) and 25.0 percent of their 3-point attempts (3-for-12). They were able to get it to Zeller in the post in the first-half, but in the second half, the Badgers made sure he was always facing double-teams and generally having lots of guys in his vicinity anytime Indiana even thought of giving him the ball. They almost totally snuffed out the pick-and-roll game, and the Hoosiers basically had no offensive recourse.

On the other end, the Badgers were able to beat Indiana off the dribble, get into the lane and also find drive and kick options. The Badgers didn’t have a great shooting night, but did hit seven 3-pointers and 45.1 percent of their field goals, which was plenty on a night when scoring — as it always is in Wisconsin games — was at a premium.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: The Hoosiers will assuredly fall in the polls and they’ve taken a costly loss at home in a league where it is very difficult to win on the road. Wisconsin now has a one-game advantage on the rest of the league, and even though the Badgers started slow, the rest of the teams in the conference certainly can’t be pleased to see that.

That being said, the Hoosiers can look at one partial bright side — they don’t have to play Wisconsin in Madison this year, and the only other team that will be so dedicated in their attempt to slow Indiana down will be Nebraska, a team that doesn’t have nearly the talent Wisconsin does. On some level, the Hoosiers may have provided a blueprint for how they can be defeated. It’s best to make them spend as much time in a half-court setting as possible. Conference play is by its nature significantly slower, so the Hoosiers were never going to be able to consistently run the way they did against North Carolina and other non-conference foes, and this gives teams even more of a reason to try to limit possessions. But no one is as dedicated to playing slow and as philosophically committed to that objective — in the way it recruits and the way it schemes for every single game — as the Badgers are, so it’s unlikely that any other team will be able to grind it out to this degree.

WHO SAID WHAT:

Tom Crean

“First and foremost, we just didn’t make enough shots. Tonight when we weren’t making enough shots, especially ones taht were open, we also didn’t come down and stay as disciplined as we needed to be defensively. They beat us off the dribble a little bit , and the first half, our main problem was that we were holding our rotations too long and over-helping on defense, which is something you don’t need to do against Wisconsin. What Wisconsin does is they bait you with their drives and they beat you with their kicks, and we didn’t do a good job against that. When we over-helped they made shots. In the second half, they made some shots at the end of the shot clock that reminded me of the McDonald’s, Michael Jordan/Larry Bird H-O-R-S-E commercials. When you get momentum going, it’s amazing what can happen.”

“We were not consistent. We had guys that played too hurried and too rushed. We had guys that didn’t cut and move the way you need to cut and move. Sometimes you need to cut and move just to move the defense.”

“We missed a lot of shots,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “We missed 34 shots. A lot of things gotta go right for you if you missed 34 shots. … It’s gonna cut into your possessions. You gotta shoot the ball well against Wisconsin. That’s part of it. When teams play well against them, they shoot the ball well against them, and we didn’t.”

Cody Zeller

ON getting fewer looks in the second half

“They were clogging up the middle more. But it was the same thing. Shots not falling.”

Victor Oladipo

“We didn’t really defend the dribble well. They were getting in the lane, and making tough shots and stuff like that.”

AUDIO: Tom Crean

AUDIO: Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller

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58 comments:

  • Punjab says:

    Great write up, but there were two points I didn’t fully agree with.

    1. I would LOVE to go back up to Madison and play them again. Wisconsin is tough, obviously, but they played about as well as they could possibly play. I was a little surprised at their relatively low shooting percentages, because it seemed at times they were hitting everything they threw up– especially the end-of-shot-clock Hail Mary’s. We play again, and it’s probably a different outcome. Plus, I don’t want our seniors going out having never dined on Badger meat.

    2. I’m not sure this is the blueprint for how we can be defeated. If you said this last week, you’d probably be saying the blueprint was to press us. And UW had two completely different strategies. First half was to deny the perimeter. When Cody destroyed them inside, they clogged the middle and made us shoot from outside. The latter was the more effective strategy tonight, but I doubt teams are going to count on us missing 75% of our threes and just about all of our midrange jumpers.

  • Geoff says:

    To expand on the 2nd point Punjab…

    I think this is as good a blueprint for beating IU as any. Here’s the caveat – there are only a handful of teams in the country who play Wisconsin’s style. FSU comes to mind. Ohio State plays a similar brand this year out of necessity due to a lack of offensive options. How many other teams have enough talent and size to succeed in that style against IU?

    Now if you’re talking about a team that has talent and size to compete with IU employing a slow it down, grind it out style for one game to try to beat us… then I would have serious questions about the team’s discipline and ability to carry out that gameplan when it’s not their normal style.

    Wisconsin lives and breathes what they did last night. They do it every game of every season. They don’t change it to match up with an opponent.

    I guess I’m just not that worried about some team playing out of character in the tournament and doing it so well, with so much discipline, and hitting such big tough pressure shots at the end of the shot clock that they pull an upset against us. Seems unlikely.

  • Punjab says:

    Agreed. Wisconsin is a severe matchup problem for us, especially with such a limited options. But I still think if we play 10 games against them this year, we win 6 or 7 based on the usual production from our bench that just wasn’t there this time.We’ll probably split with OSU, too. But unless you’re tailor-made to play this style of game, I don’t see many teams trying it out.

    Let’s just hope we don’t have this type of matchup nightmare on the tourney. When it’s all on the line, we do to want to rely on jumpsuits in a half-court offense as our only source of production.

  • Punjab says:

    Ha. Jump shots, either.

  • bdotblot says:

    Very disappointing loss. If we can’t get out and run, we are in trouble. The half court offense is a mess. The bench has been nonexistent the past few games. If there was anyone that was suited to match up with Wisconsin, it was Will Sheehey and he was no where to be found. I saw swagger out of the Badgers (that’s what happens when you own a team) while I saw fear out of the Hoosiers. The defense wasn’t really that bad last night although I saw way more blocking fouls than I normally see. It was like we were a step slow on their drives. They hit free throws at the end that pushed up the score (So much for being a bad free throw shooting team).

    Back to the half court offense though. It’s so predictable. We don’t set screens other than the high ball screen that Zeller sets practically every play. We don’t set screens to free up Hulls or any of our shooters or Zeller down low. We don’t make adjustments at all especially at the beginning of the second half. Does Crean not realize that the other team is going to make sure Zeller is going to have a harder time getting the ball? Other coaches aren’t stupid but they sure make our coaching staff look so. We are more athletic than Wisconsin is but the IQ and consistency is lacking for this team. It’s like we are missing that glue guy down low. The guy that does all the dirty work setting the screens, getting the rebounds, playing great defense. Watford isn’t that guy and it hurts us in physical games. Hulls is the same way in a physical game because his specialty of hitting shots is worthless if we can’t get him open. Hulls should be handling the ball less as he struggles bringing the ball up the floor against pressure and he struggles against bigger players trying to create his own shot. Luckily Wisconsin wasn’t that athletic otherwise they would have killed Hulls off the drive too. Crean does him no favors with this offense.

    I still think we are a good team. We definitely haven’t peaked yet but I thought we would have learned more from the Butler loss who played a similar style. We can still win the conference but we are going to have to get a game that we didn’t think we were going to get before (i.e. Minnesota or Michigan) or get some help somewhere else.

  • Wine Country says:

    I am really wondering if IU is a better overall team this year than last. Subtract VJ, Pritch, Roth, Healthy Elston from last year’s group and the only thing we have to add back in is Yogi. Yogi is better than VJ but by himself is he enough to make up for the other losses.

    I don’t see any improvement in CWat, Hulls, Will, or Remy. Now that we are playing league games, these players have slid back to their level of play from last year. VO is definitely better and Cody is stronger but has also been inconsistent at times. The rest of the movement are not ready to help this year and Elston and Creek are going to miss most of the season with injuries.

    I am beginning to believe that finishing where we did last year is probably about as good as it gets for this team. I love the kids. Great attitude, go to class, etc. but just don’t see these kids able to compete at a championship level.

  • Rich Beckman says:

    Did Elston get in the game at all? Is he hurt?

  • steve says:

    I am not sure why elston was just not redshirted given he has missed half of the season already. The movement was way way overhyped. I would agree finishing like last year is about as good as it will get. Probably a 4 or 5 seed in the tourney.

  • Laffy says:

    Didn’t redshirt him because we already have a scholly problem next year.

  • Punjab says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but we could use some more injury updates. I get on here pretty regularly now, but I rarely see much more than “Elston/Creek could return next game” when it comes to how are guys doing. We’ve seen that for a few games now. What are their real statuses?

    And what about the freshman? Hollowell played well in limited time, and Parea shows glimpses of promise when we realize he’s in the game. At least he’s an inside presence four 90 seconds at a time. That t could prove invaluable, like it has for most of the last three halves when our jump-shooting has failed us.

  • Laffy says:

    Sheehey is playing like he has narcolepsy. Can Dustin check into that?

    I guess Will only has “energy off the bench” when he can shoot 3’s on Cupcakes so he can prance around like a 5 year old on Christmas morning getting his first Star Wars toy.

    All about “having fun” instead of getting out there and working at it against a tough team.

    5 points TOTAL……from the ENTIRE bench…for TWO games?

    Inexcusable.

  • coachv says:

    looks like remy has been taking shooting lessons from watford. not good. especially for a guard.

  • Podunker says:

    #11 was Laffy’s most astute comment of the year. IU’s bench has been a huge liability the last two games. They either need to pick up their offensive productivity or be content with setting up their teammates’ offense. The bench is hurting the team badly.

  • RedX says:

    Just to add to the excellent comments here. What’s up with Hulls? He hasn’t been much of a factor lately either and he was forcing way too many shots last night. IMHO he is also a liability on defense. Last night was such a frustrating game to watch, because you know these kids a capable of so much more and they were at home and couldn’t defend their own court! Go Hoosiers!!!

  • southport 65 says:

    I know we lost and we will lose more and hopefully we will learn from them and get better, but I never want to hear about how Zeller played like a little girl against Butler! Enough is enough, he has taken on 2 of the big ten’s toughest team down low and held more than his own. Last night he had a double double with 23 points and 10 rebounds against Berggren who owned him last year. This year he had 5 point and 4 rebounds. He also held his own against Mbakwe and Minn. He has learned to play tougher and the 1st half he was great. So it is time to move on off of Cody. Now our bench has disappeared. We can win Big Ten games without our starters getting some rest and we can not have a drop off in play Will, Remy and Company need to step up. Also our “star Point Guard” can’t have a games with only 1 assist. He shoots poorly already and he has to make up for it with assists and defense. We are 15-2 with a lot of game left to get better so go Hoosiers.

  • Laffy says:

    Just because Cody had one good half against Wisky doesn’t mean he didn’t play like a girl against Butler.

    And he went 9 minutes….again…..without even taking a shot against Wisky.

    Don’t tell me “best player in America” when he’s only good half the game.

  • Larry says:

    This ntalk about Butler? Aren’t they ranked #13 in the country & rolling right now?

  • Three to the temple says:

    Crean put them up there by not playing Cody last play of the game. Why was Cody (zero fouls) not there at that point? Soon you will see Wisconsin #13 and rolling. Guess why (they are not ranked right now like Butler was unranked when they played us.)

  • southport 65 says:

    I never said he was the best player in America! I said it is time for u to stop calling him a little girl because of 1 bad game. I really don’t know why I am trying to reason with someone who is unreasonable. My bad. Please continue with your worthless ranting about how bad Cody and this team are, in your opinion, and we will see when March rolls around how really good or bad they are because that is when it counts not losing to Butler or Wisc. but how well we do in March madness.

  • Laffy says:

    Cody didn’t shoot the ball for 9 minutes against wisky when we needed him so stop saying it was “one bad game.”

    He played one good half that game.

    And I said he was a little girl in THAT game…..not overall.

  • psych says:

    Laffy,

    By all means, go ahead and continue your rants since it is clear trying to be rational with you is impossible, but I would ask that you quit referring to poor play by CZ and our team as “playing like a girl” or “playing like a little girl” or “playing like a bunch of girls.” It is insulting to women. Just because they are generally not as athletically gifted as men, does not make them any less an athlete, or competitors, or any less physical when they play basketball, hockey, soccer, or any other sport. They compete as hard, if not harder than men, knowing that their careers will likely end after high school or college. Male chauvinism really does not look good on anyone.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    Let’s just say that Cody went all “Sprockets” against Wisconsin in the 2nd half.

    Is that other guy Patrick Swayze?

  • Laffy says:

    Oh, Jesus.

    A girl can play as hard as she possibly can and she’d get DESTROYED playing against guys.

    So, you’re “stop being a sexist” = MAJOR FAIL

  • psych says:

    Again, you missed the point. Of course women would get destroyed against men in basketball. I am not disputing that. But when you say “playing like a girl”, you are insinuating the player or players is/are playing with less effort, not playing physical, and not playing up to his/their potential. That is the sexist part. How hard is it to avoid using such language?

  • elmo says:

    At least some of you are beginning to realize thar CreaN IS NOT A VERY GOOD x and o,s coach, probably a very nice person but he,s not a very good basketball coach. Never adjusts his game plan {if he has one} and his recruiting class for 2012 is turning out to be a joke, I think he is a complete distraction on the sideline, he needs to sit down and think about what is going on.

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