Tonight was a nice night to see the Hoosiers completely for the first time this season.  I watched a little from Friday night’s Eastern Illinois last night but today is my first full breakdown.   I am not going to critique the defense until December 2 against Duke.

The 102-76 win was good to see from the Hoosiers.  I am glad they won and I thought they played decently overall.   Here are my observations.

First Half

  1. Troy Williams got things going early with a block that led to a Yogi Ferrell three pointer.
  2. Williams outside shot was looking pretty good.
  3. Max Bielfeldt showed outside range has he hit a three pointer and he also scored on the inside.
  4. I really liked IU’s pace of play and their spurtability.
  5. Nick Zeisloft was back to his three point ways after hurting his finger.
  6. Chris Horton played well for Austin Peay.
  7. I also liked the way IU attacked Austin Peay’s zone off the dribble.

Second Half

  1. I loved the way Thomas Bryant came back right back after giving up a bucket inside.  He scored right back on Austin Peay with authority.
  2. Collin Hartman had a big dunk off a pass from Troy Williams.
  3. I loved the end to end jam from Troy Williams.
  4. The second half was put away with a three point barrage from IU.  Zeisloft was on fire while Ferrell and Blackmon joined the fray.
  5. The announcing crew of Kevin Kugler and Jon Crispin pointed out the 20 turnovers IU had and they said IU hit 18 of their last 20 games to end the game.

From here, I want to see IU finish off Creighton before the big Maui trip.  It’s nice to be able to watch IU basketball again.

 

I am back for another Hoosier season and I am finally got my mood in the right place for this season.  The continued suspensions and off the court incidents have not sat well with me.  Enough of the past difficulties, it’s time to look at the roster and see what the keys are for this season.

First I want to look at why this season is important.  We are two seasons removed from making the Sweet 16 in 2013.  2014 was a tournament less season and 2015 was a season which we should have been in the NIT.  Why is this season important?  The incoming classes from 2016-18 are loaded with talent in and out of Indiana.  We have to show we can win so we can get the top recruits.  Second if we win, it should keep Tom Crean around for these classes that are loaded.  I’m still in Crean’s corner, but if things go south, I expect the hot seat to get even hotter for Coach Crean.

This leads to this season and how are we going to win.  We will have the scoring ability.  We have that.  The question mark is how much improved is the defense going to be.  Our defense was atrocious at times last year.  The transition defense was awful.  The Hoosiers will go as far as their defense takes them this season..

Now we bounce to the roster.  The table setter is senior Yogi Ferrell.   He has gotten better and better each season.  Barring suspension, he should go down as one my all-time favorite Hoosiers. The other key to the Hoosiers is Junior Troy Williams.  I would like to see better defense from him and we have all seen good Troy, bad Troy.  I expect this year to be a break out year for Troy.  Anything less than that would be disappointing.  The third key player is James Blackmon Jr..   He is coming off an injury and had to miss most of the summer per peegs.com.   He should be a solid shooter for us.

Other guards looking to help out are Robert Johnson and Nick Zeisloft.  I can’t wait to see Johnson’s improvement from his freshman season.  Zeisloft could not miss from three toward the end of last season.

The best thing about IU this year they will have help in the front court.  This means they will be able play better defense and they should get some offense flowing through the position.  Freshman Thomas Bryant comes in with high expectations.  Transfer Max Bielfeldt from Michigan should help out as well.  Colin Hartman will provide his usual hustle and flow to the offense.

Outside of Bryant, the other key freshmen are Ogugua Anouby and Juwan Morgan.  I don’t know much about these freshmen.  It appears Anouby was playing well in the Haunted Hall of Hoops scrimmage today per Mike Pegram and Jeff Rabjohns of Peegs.com.

All in all, I want this year to be a fun season.   I don’t want to get upset over bad defense or bad play from Troy Williams.  So if everything goes well, I expect to see the Hoosiers make the Sweet 16 this year.

Today, I finally got a chance to see IU as they fell 81-76 in the second round of the NCAA tuurnament to Wichita State..

The first half was all about a battle between Yogi Ferrell of IU an Fred VanVleet of Wichita State.  The Hoosier built up a big lead of 19-12 early on Collin Hartman was unleashing threes and they built up a 33-25 lead.  However, the Hoosiers never could pull away as they missed a lot of shots.  Also Troy Williams played out of control in the first half.

Wichita State climbed in before the half with the penetration of VanVleet.  He had a three point play and Yogi came back with a bucket as the Hoosiers held a 39-36 half-time lead.

IU busted out to a 45-40 lead in the second half.  However, Hartman picked up his third foul on a bogus tickey tack foul.  Then Darius Carter erupted on the inside for the Shockers with some big buckets.

From there VanVleet was destroying IU off the dribble and Hartman picked up his fourth foul with 10:24 left.  James Blackmon got called for a cheap foul as well on a hand off.

Eventually a critical out of bounds play hurt the Hoosiers as Zach Brown scored to put Wichita ahead 59-54.  The lead increased to 63-57 as VanVleet continued to do his thing.

Despite all the adversity, IU would still hang around.  Williams hit a three and a Hartman 3 made the score 72-68 Wichita.  I don’t know what the Shockers did to slow down Yogi but Yogi managed to get IU within 72-71 with about 2:18 to play.

However, the Hoosiers fell as Ron Baker was fouled on a drive and he made two three throws.  Then Tekele Cotton sealed the win with a late bucket.

The critical points for me were as follows:

1. Once again, the Hoosiers could not stop dribble penetration.  VanVleet was unstoppable.

2. The play of Darius Carter in the second half gave the Shockers a huge boost.

3.  It was not the complete reason for the loss but the officiating was inconsistent.  They let Hartman bang in the final four minutes.

What lies ahead?

1.  There are so many questions with IU, Will Tom Crean be kept?  Will Tom Crean be bought out? Will Tom Crean be fired?  I am going on record as saying I want him back because I feel a new coach will set us back a year or two.

2.  Who is leaving?  Will Yogi go pro?  Will Troy Williams go pro?  We have oversigned by two players.  Today, Jeff Rabjohns reported that Stanford Robinson will be transferring.  I have no clue who will replace Yogi at point guard if he leaves.

3. Next year, I want Troy Williams to come off of curls inside the lane and use his quickness that way.  I am tired of his wild shots coming up the court and dribbling wildly on the wing.

4. There has to be a priority on defense for next year.  The Hoosiers defense was unacceptable.  A big man will help with rebounds.  But IU’s help side defense is horrific.  Many times this year there was no help on defense.  Their transition defense  was horrible.   IU has to get back to playing man to man with a “want to”.  This has to be built over the summer because the Hoosiers can no longer play like this.  If this is not fixed.  you can go right to Tom Crean.

5.  IU has to get rid of their offensive shruggedness.  A full roster should help.

6.  This summer is critical for IU.  They have to develop a togetherness and a toughness that will carry into next winter.

7.   I am still loyal to IU basketball and will still root for them.  However if the defense is not corrected, I will be one unhappy camper.  The future is now for IU basketball and they have to come though and get better.   One more mediocre year on defense will be unacceptable to me.  Fan are already upset  so this next year is critical.

Sunday was a happy day for me.  A week and a half of stress worrying about the future of Tom Crean and the future of the Hoosiers ran the gauntlet on me.  I was so happy because I did not think the Hoosiers would get in.  This was by far the most stressful tournament announcement   I have waited for in my Hoosier fandom.  The great news came as IU got a gift with a 10 seed against No. 7 Wichita State.  I thought for sure IU would have to have a play in game if they made the tournament so I was very happy.

I am going to have to DVR Friday’s game and Sunday if the Hoosiers are fortunate to win.  I am fighting for my Hoosiers as I have picked them to go to the Sweet 16.  It is a tall order to beat Wichita State and most likely Kansas.   I don’t know anything about Wichita State.   From past experience in the NCAAs, I know they have been very good under Gregg Marshall.  I also have heard a lot about Fred VanFleet and I also know Ron Baker is a good player.  It is going to be a tough task for the Hoosiers but they can do it.

I just want everyone on the team to be loose and free along with uping their defense a little bit.  I am not asking for a miracle but I just want to see an increase in the defensive productivity.  I’m just glad the Hoosiers are in because that is the standard I set and expect from IU.  But I want this team to fight and get themselves a victory.  It’s been a long and difficult season.

The Maryland quarterfinal in the Big Ten Tournament

I was not too upset as I watched the Hoosiers fall 75-69 in last Friday’s game tonight.  IU was in it the whole way and they just came up short because of missed shots and Maryland’s defense per Bill Raftery

IU started playing the game really fast as did Maryland.   Yogi Ferrell was hot early as was Robert Johnson.  IU had a 13-10 lead with 15:03 left in the first half.  Maryland would take advantage of their quickness with Melo Trimble and Dez Wells.  But Troy Williams got hot to tie the at game 32-32 and Maryland went into the half with a 42-40 lead.

To start the second half, Wells blocked a Ferrell shot and Trimble went off the on Hoosiers to take a 47-43 lead.  They eventually went up 52-47 on a three pointer from Jared Nickens per ESPN.com and Nickens hit another three to make it 62-55.

Despite all of this, IU battled back as they pulled within 62-60 with under 3:33 left.  IU would pull within 68-66 with 39 seconds left per ESPN.com   Then free throws from Evan Smotryz and Wells sealed the victory for Maryland.

Overall, I thought the quickness of Trimble and Wells was too much for IU.   Wells also posted up the Hoosiers.  On the Hoosiers side, Troy Williams had a nice game.  I could not figure out why James Blackmon struggled.  Then lastly, Emmitt Holt has really improved as a player.  Any boost on the inside will be great for the Hoosiers as we enter the Madness.

It’s been a world wind couple of weeks with the Hoosiers as they struggle to secure an NCAA bid and Tom Crean’s job security  has been heavily scrutinized as well.  Tonight, I made the mistake of watching the Hoosiers a second time in their 74-72 loss to Michigan State.  The first time looked better but the second time around, all the bad came out.  Today, I will go over the good and bad from the Michigan State game, and what I want to see in the Northwestern game.

THE GOOD

1.  Hanner Perea’s monster dunk in the first half.  That was awesome.

2.  Nick Zeisloft – He is on fire from the three point line.  Everything he puts up is almost an automatic.

3.  James Blackmon – He was able to drive the lane  successfully.  It was good because we need him.

4. The return of Colin Hartman -He was great in my first look of the game, he was setting the screens and the offense seemed to be moving well.

5. IU did not have to deal with Branden Dawson.  Things could have been much worse.  Dawson is the Spartan’s leading rebounder with 9.3 points a game.

6.  The Hoosier come back as they were down 67-56 left with 3:43 left.  I don’t know what they did to come back but just the fact that they had a chance to tie the game at the end of regulation was tremendous.

7.  Emmit Holt had a good sequence of box outs to start the second half.

8.  The Hoosier offense was decent to start the half.  Perea was good in the post early.

Before I go into the bad, I feel bad for Yogi on his missed free throw that could have tied it.  Yogi is a warrior and always will be in my eyes.  I am going to point out a bad play by him because I have to present both sides.

THE BAD

1. Michigan State started out the first half hot from the outside and Matt Costello played well in the post.  Costello was a force on the boards as well.

2. IU had some empty possessions on offense in the early part of the game.

3. IU’s transition defense was horrible.

4.  The offense did not look as good as I thought watching this game the second time around even with Hartman back.

5. Marvin Clark of MSU was big on the boards as well.   He was able to hit a big three pointer after two rebounds by Michigan State.

6.  The bottom line is IU did not box out at all.  i’m going to break my Todd Jadlow rule of not rippinig into players once again.  Troy Williams did not box out on Clark at one point in the first half and in the second half,  Williams’ half stab at a box out which lead to a Michgan State basket.

7.  IU gave up too many open looks on three point shots.  They have been poor on helping and recovering.

8.  The Yogi play.  It was funny at the time, but the more I thought about it. It hurt IU big time.  Yogi went on a dribbling expedition and fumbled the ball away which led to a Travis Trice lay-up and a possession later, Trice hit a three point shot to to put MSU ahead  48-44 at one point.

WHAT LIES AHEAD

1.  The good news in all of this IU still has a shot at making the NCAAS as the latest Joe Lunardi bracket as them as a 12th seed in the play-in game.  My eye ball test says they have to win the Big Ten Tourney.  Either way,  I am fighting for the Hoosiers to get in because that is the standard I have for my Hoosiers.

2.  In the Nortwestern game, we need absolutely no stagnancy on offense, we need to play loose and free, and we have to clean up the boards.  Tom Crean said in his postgame press conference  via Peegs.com, the rebounding would be addressed.  I am going to hold him to that.  And finally  we need a win, without it, we will be looking at the NIT and that is unacceptable in my world.

Today I was jacked up for Indiana but in the end, they fell 77-63 Tuesday to Iowa.  I have a lot to say or maybe not.  The important thing is here I am not out to fire Coach Tom Crean.  I am not blaming him for the loss of Luke Fischer or for the lack of a big man.  They made every effort they could to patch the hole or maybe I am in denial.  This team is out of whack without a consistent big man and Crean has tried everything he can with what he has.  It’s very frustrating.  My bottom line is if IU does not make the NCAAS this year and if they don’t make it next year, Crean has to go.  Another off the court incident, Crean will have to go.  I do not want him fired.  I don’t see what that will do.

Here are my thoughts from tonight, I will go over the first half and then the second half.   I bummed right now, most fans are going to go after Crean, but you do have to look at the roster and see it is out of whack.

1.  The game started in IU’s pace but it quickly changed as Iowa employed a zone.  Mike Tirico said IU went four minutes without a field goal at one point and they finished with one field goal in the last six minutes per Tirico.

2.  Yogi Ferrell spent a lot of this game guarding 6-9 Aaron White.  A huge mismatch.   Iowa took control of the game pounding the ball into White, Adam Woodbury, Jarrod Uthoff,  Garbiel Olaseni.

3.  Utoff hit a big three to make it 28-24 and Robert Johnson hit a big shot at the half to pull IU within 32-28.

4.  The second half saw me get irritated that IU did not have good ball movement.  There was hardly any movement on offense and it was a struggle for IU to score.  In the mean time, White got hot for Iowa.

5.  Olaseni made a dunk to put Iowa ahead at 48-43.

6.  Crean called a time out and they seemed to play with some better energy.  But silly plays and bad shots hindered the Hoosiers.  Nothing was in synch offensively.   Iowa seemed a step ahead the whole night.

7.  Iowa blitzed open the game with with a three from Peter Jok.  The frustration continued as IU gave up an offensive rebound which led to a Jok three which gave Iowa a 59-48 lead.

8.  I will say this about the Hoosiers,  Yogi Ferrell played his tail  off.   Nick Zeisloft was the only one who gave IU a boost offensively as he hit his three balls consistently.

9.  Another bad play came when an Iowa player dribbled right around James Blackmon for a bucket.

10.  Besides the lack of movement in the 2nd half, I am still irritated with Troy Williams.  He is great athletically but tonight I saw him dribbling wildly and taking wild shots.  It drives me crazy.

10.  Collin Hartman would have helped a little tonight but we need him back for the Michigan State game.

11. All in all this was just an irritating loss and I can’t stand losing to Fran McCaffery.

At this point of the season, I am going to keep rooting for the Hoosiers because that’s what I do.  Tonight I consider their NCAA hopes almost vanquished   They are going to have to beat Michigan State Saturday and make it to the Big Ten Semi-finals to show the committee they deserve to be in.

Tonight I watched the Hoosiers second loss to Purdue of the season as they fell  67-63 at home.  After this game, the Hoosiers defeated Rutgers last Sunday and they fell to Northwestern on the road.   These three games provide a small sample size of what IU does when they are going well and what they do when things are not going well.

IU went cold in the Northwestern game according to Kent Sterling of CBS Sports Radio 1430 in Indianapolis and he said they did not defend very well in the second half.  Jeff Rabjohns of Peegs.com said Purdue was physical and played good defense against IU.  In the Rutgers game, I saw good ball movement and IU was able to drive to the hoop.

For me right now, IU has to shoot well and drive to the hoop with good ball movement to have success.   In the next few games at home against Iowa and Michigan State, IU is going to have to get strong fan support and put everything together in a good way.  LET’S GO HOOSIERS.

Anyways, I will go back to the Purdue game with my observations from the start of the game to the end.

1.  Hanner Perea was hot for IU to start the game.  He was scoring on the inside and from outside.  Yogi Ferrell had a monster lob to Hanner for a huge dunk.

2.  A.J. Hammons got going early as well for Purdue on the inside.  IU had no answer for him and Isaac Haas.

3.  IU was able to get in the lane off the dribble early on and they were getting out on the break.  However, things got touchy when Hanner got his second foul at the 12:04 mark of the first half.

4.  IU’s offense went into a funk with three straight possessions went down to the end of the shot clock.  Eventually quick shots and trying to make explosive plays led the game to be tied up at 23-23.

5.  Yogi hit a big shot at the end of the half to put IU in the lead at 29-27.

6.  The second half saw IU’s defense falter from where it was in the first  half Purdue had four quick points in the paint to start off.   Again, Hammons and Haas were too much for IU to handle.

7.  From there, Jon Octeus had a monster dunk down the lane and Raphael Davis went coast to coast to further the Purdue lead.  Then Kendall Stephens hit a big three pointer to make it 44-37 Purdue.

8.  Despite the play of Hammons, IU fought back behind the play of Troy Williams.

9.  Octeus came up with another hoop to make it 53-47 Purdue.  IU then could not hit some good looks.

10.  Once again IU rallied behind the play of Troy but Ocetus was there with another big drive and the Hoosiers left too many points at the foul line.

11.  Despite the adversity once again, IU tied the game at 58-58 all and Yogi put IU ahead on a three pointer at 61-60 but Davis came up with two big buckets to make it 64-61.

12.  Yogi tried to bring IU back with a lay-up and he went for the win with a three pointer but IU fell as Hammons cliniched the victory with two free throws.

Overall, this game was decided in the paint as Haas and Hammons dominated.  IU also gave up crucial lay-ups and they left too many points at the line.

From here, an NCAA bid hangs in the balance.   IU is going to have shore up their defense as much as they can without size.  But most importantly, there offense is going to have be extremely efficient for a full 40 minutes.  That means good ball movement and excellent shot selection.