When Tom Crean and Tom Izzo coach against each other they know exactly what the other is going to do. This game was no different. Whenever Izzo called out a play, Yogi, an extension of Crean, was immediately yelling out what defense his team needed to get into. Crean decides to go zone every now and then, so Izzo invites it and counters it with their inside-out game and great ball movement. The chess match between two of the better coaches around the nation was a treat to watch all the way down until Cody Zeller’s charge was the checkmate.
Victor Oladipo was absolutely [insert over-the-top adjective]. From the very first play he provided the energy needed to ignite Assembly Hall and put together one of the more brilliant performances of the year; 21 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals, 3 blocks, and 22 deflections! His NBA stock will continue to soar with games like that. Some other real in-depth evaluations: Yogi Ferrell was better than Keith Appling, Christian Watford was solid all game, Will Sheehey hit some big shots, and Jordan Hulls was Jordan Hulls. Zeller had his second straight quiet offensive game but he came up big when it mattered most with a trio of huge plays being the block , the lay-up, and the charge that sealed the victory.
There wasn’t any player that looked really too bad, except maybe Hanner Mosquera-Perea. Hanner can’t seem to catch anything and doesn’t do hardly anything on offense but set screens, but we already knew this. His play scares me because with games like this it shrinks up the front court depth to basically nothing. Mo Creek had a couple cheap fouls and missed a wide open three. I haven’t given up on Mo just yet but at some point you have to start to wonder if he is ever going to produce something valuable on the court.
Perhaps the bigger the stage, the better this team is, which is not a bad thing at all. Think bout the hyped up games IU has had this year (North Carolina, Minnesota, and this one) compared to not so much hyped up ones (Georgetown, Butler, Wisconsin). All six games were supposed to be pretty good games but the former three were definitely a lot more talked about beforehand. There was a different energy and feel to first three (granted all three were at home) but it still is something to think about.
Now to my “I know more than any IU coach does” analysis. Am I the only one confused by the game plan on defense when the ball is entered into the post? They help way too much but don’t commit a full on double team. The perimeter defenders turn their back to their man and that is when you see Gary Harris just spotting up shooting wide open threes. I’m OK with a full on double team (although I don’t think it is necessary) or just a quick jab at the post to mess with his timing but whatever it is Indiana was doing in this game it didn’t look good. Maybe it is the players’ faults or maybe that’s on the coaching staff, whatever the reason, it is their job to fix it and my job to complain about it.
Team Grade: A-
Looking Forward- Indiana heads to that smelly arena up north to take on in-state rival Purdue on Wednesday night. The Boilermakers just beat Iowa in overtime so I’m sure the Purdue fans will truly believe they have a chance in this game. This is will be a nice JV tune-up for the big game on Saturday.