The first word that comes to my mind after watching this game: disappointing. I know it’s not the Indiana Basketball team’s job to make sure I approve of their performance, but the IU coaches and players have to be very upset with themselves. Plain and simple this game should have been put away when the chances were present. The Fighting llini hung around all game and to their credit, when they saw the window was closing to mount a comeback, they were flawless in their execution down the stretch. Indiana was not. The Hoosiers recent play fooled me into thinking no matter how bad it got, they were going to find a way. Just like they tricked me against Butler. And Wisconsin. That’s what this team is and that is what college basketball is: once you think you have it figured it out, it’s just going to prove you wrong.
Despite the loss, Indiana played really well on offense. They were finding the cutters, hitting open shots, and making the extra pass. Will Sheehey brought the energy so hard he got a technical for his celebration. Jeremy Hollowell hits two threes like he had been doing that all year. Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford were automatic for the most part. However, if you want to be the #1 team for long, you can’t let down on defense and that is what the Hoosiers did tonight.
The zone defense seemed to be an extreme hit or miss. I personally think switching to a zone isn’t a bad move with the personnel Indiana has but I am just more confused as the why Crean decides to go to it when their man-to-man defense was working just fine. It didn’t cost them the game by any means but it definitely freed up some of their shooters and they hit the threes with ease. The other defensive problems are player-orientated. It isn’t even an a lack of ability but more of a discipline problem. When this team wants to be good on defense it has shown it can be. But the great teams don’t breakdown in the late stages of the game. The great teams don’t lose to teams they shouldn’t lose to. This Indiana team is not a great team. However, they are extremely talented and seem to get “it” more than any other team I have watched this year. This loss stings. It is going to haunt them all the way to Columbus on Sunday until 1 p.m. Can this team shake off the ghosts or let it carry over. Only time will tell.
Team Grade: D
Looking Forward- Two road losses in one week would put a major kink in IU’s conference title plans. Ohio State will be coming back after taking #3 Michigan to overtime in Ann Arbor. This should be one of the better games of the season in college basketball and will have big conference implications. If Indiana wants to get back on track, they are going to have to beat a top ten team on the road to do it.