DATELINE DECEMBER 17, 2013
Late Monday night, I took in Saturdays 79-72 loss for the Hoosiers to Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic. I found myself squirming on my couch for most of the night as I did not like what I saw. I wasn’t angry with the effort but a lot of work needs to be done.
Dave O’Brien was doing the game and I expected Doris Burke to call the game. But none other than Dan Dakich popped up at the game. This shocked me as I had no idea he was doing the game.
The defense was bad for IU all the way through during the game. It wasn’t just the young guys. Early on, Evan Gordon and Sheehey got burned. Sheehey was not up in the grill of Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant. Demetrius Jackson blew by Jeremy Hollowell to start the game. Garrick Sherman was just absolutely tearing up Noah Vonleh on the inside. Zach Auguste also came in and tore up Vonleh. Dan Dakich said Vonleh came in to hang out on defense while Auguste came into compete on offense. That’s the way I feel about this team sometimes, they need to be more aggressive. Stanford Robinson also upset me on the defensive end. He got beat by Jerrian Grant and just gave up on the play. Jerrian Grant had a big three at the end of the first half as the Irish took a 47-42 lead per ESPN.com.
The defense continued to struggle in the second half as Sherman was just too much for Vonleh and Devin Davis. Dakich said there was no communication. Yogi was getting beat off the dribble. Gordon got burned on a back screen and Vonleh could have switched to help out. Both were in the wrong on the back screen. Atkins and Grant just were better than the IU guards Saturday. Jackson continued to wipe Gordon off the floor. Troy Williams got burned on defense by Atkins late in the game. Then Grant beat Sheehey on a bomb to end the game.
IU obviously has a lot of work to do on defense. They just had a ton OF breakdowns on the defensive end. But Notre Dame’s guards are much better than IU with Grant, Jackson and Atkins.
The good news is IU was able to adjust in the second half against the zone. In the first half, it was just Sheehey moving in the zone as O’Brien said he had 16 points in the first half. The second half was much better as the team had a lot more movement. Stanford Robinson definitely improved from the first half to the second.
IU was in the game the whole second half. It was good to see them make a run. Yogi cut it to 2 at 71-69 on a three pointer but Atkins blew by Williams to clinch the victory.
O’Brien said Pat Connoughton was strong in the second half. Tom Knight was also strong in the first half. Another big key was how the Irish kept Yogi out of the lane. They did a good job of blocking his shots as well. Yogi may have been fouled not sure though.
From here on out, IU needs to get better feeding the post, they can’t have silly turnovers from Sheehey , Gordon or Hollowell. Yonleh was very aggressive in the post in the second half but they weren’t getting him the ball. Yogi needs to clean up his shot selection a little bit and the threes have got to be cut down a ton. This team is much better driving to the basket. That has to start with the defense but you can do a lot in the half court to use their athleticism. Crean wanted the ball to go inside during the Cuse game and the youngins got away from it. IU can also improve their post passing with a simple dribble to create a bounce pass. I know Crean has a plan for the offense, it’s time for the players to excecute it.
Today on his radio show, Dakich said IU should shorten its rotation. I would now start the following – Yogi at guard, Sheehey at guard and Robinson at guard with Vonleh and Robinson in the middle. Hanner, Etherington and Gordon should come off the bench and then you squeeze in Hollowell at some time. IU needs guys right now who are going to fight and attack the basket.