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Sweet 16 Loss Ends Season For Hoosiers

March 29, 2013 Comments off

The Indiana Hoosiers would fall to the Syracuse Orange in the Sweet 16. The Hoosiers are the second No. 1 seed to fall out of the tournament. (Credit: InsideTheHall.com)

The Indiana Hoosiers would fall to the Syracuse Orange in the Sweet 16. The Hoosiers are the second No. 1 seed to fall out of the tournament. (Credit: InsideTheHall.com)

Indiana Hoosiers fell to Syracuse Orange Thursday 50-61, and different areas of the game made the result of the second No. 1 seeded team to lose early in the tournament.

The 2-3 zone, too big of a game for Yogi Ferrell, scoreless Jordan Hulls, refs unfair in foul calls and Tom Crean was outcoached were a few reasons, or excuses, for how Indiana would eventually fall for successive years in the Sweet 16.

Turnovers. That was the game changer for Indiana as they fell Thursday. Syracuse was able to force 18 total turnovers for the game, 12 in the first half and 10 in the first 10 and a half minutes of the game.

Allowing the Orange to outscore the Hoosiers 12-2 on points off turnovers in the first half, put Indiana down 12 heading into the locker room at halftime. Many turnovers came down to the high-paced offense Indiana has shown all season.

“Strength and size no doubt had something to do with (Yogi and Hulls),” Crean said. “It wasn’t the missed opportunities of scoring that hurt us so much, but the points of turnovers that turned into live-ball turnovers.

Though, their season average per game in turnovers was 12, which was matched in the first half, and turnovers will be high when in a run’n gun offense.

Yogi Ferrell ended his freshman season with 0 points, 1 assist and 4 turnovers. (Credit: CincinnatiBell.net)

Yogi Ferrell ended his freshman season with 0 points, 1 assist and 4 turnovers. (Credit: CincinnatiBell.net)

“Yogi will be a great player, and it is the first time he has seen that kind of zone and length,” Coach Crean said postgame. “You have to have quickness, and unless you have five (Hanner Mosquera) Parea’s, you can’t sim a zone like that in practice.”

Ferrell did not start the second half after starting with four turnovers. Will Sheehey took his place, and had his own issues like he had for many weeks leading to the NCAA Tournament.

Sheehey is an interesting player, and after getting off to a great start in the season, fizzled through the duration. He gave a spark off the bench as the Hoosiers jumped to a seven-point deficit early in the second half, but few poor decisions later, missed free-throws and chuck threes, Indiana found themselves losing trace of the lead.

Atrocious is the word to describe Sheehey’s shooting in games. Anything outside of the paint and he is ice cold. He is a great player when he pump-fakes, dribble drives and passes from the baseline, but he is not a threat to teams who leave him open like Hulls and Christian Watford were.

Lastly, was the inability of Hulls to make shots beyond the arc. People want to put all the pressure on Zeller playing well in order for the Hoosiers to win, but, in reality, it is more important for Watford and Hulls to make shots by a drive-and-kick in order to get Zeller the spacing in the paint.

Unfortunately for the Hoosier faithful, Hulls had arguably the worst month of his career in March while playing for Indiana. His field goal percentage was 26 percent and his three-point percentage was 23.5 percent during the final eight games of the season. As he agreed to, his shooting performance will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Three seniors will leave the Hoosiers, while they may lose more players. (Credit: TMNews.com)

Three seniors will leave the Hoosiers, while they may lose more players. (Credit: TMNews.com)

This team had high expectations entering the season. Being a No. 1 seed was expected, winning the Big Ten Championship was expected and winning a sixth championship banner was the most expected.

The level of talent in the starting-five was inarguable, but it will leave the team and fans in disappointment when next year’s team will not be as high-profile. The Hoosiers are losing seniors Hulls, Watford and Derek Elston, but more than likely will lose sophomore Zeller and junior Victor Oladipo.

In their postgame press conferences, Oladipo and Zeller both told the media they haven’t thought about the NBA draft at all. Obviously, they have thought about the draft, and they will not return for their junior and senior years.

If the feeling of defeat and disappointment of not reaching the Elite 8, Final Four or championship game isn’t enough for them to say they are returning, then nothing is.

So say goodbye to four of starting-five, and welcome the possibility of making another run for a title in a few years.

Thoughts Following Indiana Loss Against Wisconsin

January 16, 2013 Comments off

YogiTop

No. 2 Indiana Hoosiers defeated Tuesday by Wisconsin Badgers at The Assembly Hall. Hoosiers next game is Sunday at Northwestern. (Photo Credit: Jamie Owens)

Being able to watch these home games from the balcony, I leave knowing the outcome of the game and for the most part how each team played on the championship banners half-court.

With that said, going home and watching tape left me with the same thoughts following Indiana’s loss against Wisconsin and their past two games at The Assembly Hall.

Closeout defense on perimeter:

This was the main takeaway from Tuesday’s loss to Wisconsin, and most of the issue was from the first half. Wisconsin shot 33.3 percent from three-point range in the first half, making four of 12. Both teams were not successful shooting in the first half or second half, but Wisconsin’s inability to score down low would have allowed Indiana to stretch their lead to more than one at the half.

Slow starts for Christian Watford:

It is pretty simple. Watford is the secret weapon for this entire team to be successful. I watch tape of him and wonder after, “How in the world did he get eight rebounds? I only saw three.” Against Wisconsin he only had five rebounds and 11 points, and what we saw in the second half is what Indiana needs at the tip. When Watford starts slow, Indiana can struggle early. When he starts with points and hustle, the Hoosiers are capable of extending leads quick.

Cody Zeller ended against Wisconsin with 23 points and 10 rebounds. (Photo Credit: Washington Post)

Cody Zeller ended against Wisconsin with 23 points and 10 rebounds. (Photo Credit: Washington Post)

Hoosier defense from Zeller, Ferrell and Oladipo:

We know Victor Oladipo is the best defender in the country, and he was jipped from the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top-25 list. Oladipo continues to prove he is the hardest working player on the Hoosiers team. Excellent defense ability, but he also needs to show his improvement on his jump shot in games too.

Other players who were impressive were Cody Zeller and Yogi Ferrell. Zeller went with a foul, in successive games, but played a major role near the paint, despite running from the perimeter to the block all night. Ferrell has been impressive so far in Big Ten Conference play, and his quickness and ability to stay elusive through screens has been a joy to watch. Improvement is still needed for this talented, freshman guard, but what has been seen so far is fantastic.

Jordan Hulls and Will Sheehey shooting woes:

Sheehey goes scoreless for the second consecutive game in 33 combined minutes. Against Wisconsin, Sheehey missed a mid-range jumper from the baseline, a shot he is known for and nearly automatic. When these shots start dropping or Sheehey drives to the hoop and gets to the free-throw line, it will open him up to hit the three-pointers down the stretch.

Despite a great outing against Minnesota, Hulls has been hesitant with the basketball in his hands when it comes to shooting. He threw up two horrific shots Tuesday night in the first half, and left the loss with only four points and no free-throws.

Holding big leads:

Though we have not seen this team screw up big leads besides the near loss against Minnesota, before conference play the Hoosiers have shown signs of having an inability to contain big leads. It is more vocal after having a 23-point halftime lead diminish last Saturday, because this team decides to take breaks and be lazy with a comfortable lead.

Momentum is everything in conference play, and when Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean’s team finds a double-digit lead, it needs to be clear to never let go of the throttle.

Ranked No. 1, But Really No. 1 Team?

December 12, 2012 Comments off

creanhoosiers

No. 1 ranked Indiana Hoosiers are 9-0 after demolishing another dismal team, and continue to prove their depth and explosiveness in Bloomington at Assembly Hall.

Indiana University is ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll, but is Tom Crean’s undefeated Hoosiers really the best overall team in the nation?

After seven games at home and a win average of 37.4 points per game, IU continues to prove they are basically unbeatable in the area code of 8-1-2. Though, their only competition so far at home was against No. 14-ranked North Carolina, who was also beat by Butler in the Maui Invitational. The Hoosiers dominated in the second half to win by 24 points.

The only thing this has proved is how Indiana is nearly unbeatable inside Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers were beat once last season at home by Minnesota.

When IU competed and won the Legends Classic against Georgia and Georgetown, they faced their only adversity so far this season. In the two games spent away from Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers only averaged an 11.5-point victory margin.

Which goes to prove, such as the flack they received last year, this team struggles when playing away from Bloomington or in neutral locations. Last season, the Hoosiers lost eight games on the road, two at neutral locations.

Though this team has been impressive in their quest for a sixth banner, this team has been getting too much praise this early in the season. By following the known Indiana basketball hashtag on Twitter, #iubb, many students, reporters and fans are already printing ‘2012’ on a championship banner.

If this team had started behind Duke in the polls early in the season, I believe Duke would easily be atop the rankings because of their wins against, three teams who were ranked inside the top-five on the day of those games: Kentucky, Lousiville and Ohio State.

sheeheyThere is no doubt Indiana has great depth. With a bench who could compete against some of the best, this team is only going to get better come Saturday against Butler and the rest of the season. With freshman forwards Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin returning after NCAA suspensions, losing Austin Etherington will seem irrelevant.

This team has not needed to rely on a great bench early this year with the shooting woes of Christian Watford, but Will Sheehey has been a remarkable spark this team needs when Watford and Cody Zeller are off the floor. As well as Remy Abell who is 10-15 from three when only playing 15.2 minutes per game.

What benefits this team in depth could be what the team needs to find scorers when struggling on the road. In the two games at neutral locations this year, the Hoosiers shot about seven percent worse than at home. Saturday when playing at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers, against Butler, we will see if the gap closes.

At the end of the day, this team is deep and talented, and has a good a chance as Duke and Michigan to be part of the NCAA championship game. There is more to prove and see from this team over the entire course of the season.

What we have seen has been impressive, but wait to see how they respond when Zeller is in foul trouble, Jordan Hulls is not making clutch three-pointers or the team is on the road against Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.

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