To be honest, this was one of the more boring games I have watched all year. Nebraska was so methodical on offense it was hard to stay interested. It was a smart game plan by Tim Miles and, quite frankly, their only shot at winning this game. They would take 30-second long possessions, hoist up a shot, pray it went in, and then sprint their behinds back to get their defense set up. I don’t really blame the tactic, it just ruined the game for me.
There really wasn’t a stand out player for the Hoosiers in this game. For being “Mr. Inconsistent,” Christian Watford (13 points, 11 rebounds) has become awfully consistent. Cody Zeller seemed to jump from 3 points to 16 in a matter of four possessions. Victor Oladipo had a very Oladipo-type of a game (13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals). It was nice to see Mo Creek hit a three at home (his first since December 8, 2012) and we saw five different guys join the block party in this game.
I really wasn’t disappointed in anyone’s play last night. I think the slow start on offense was much more indicative of Nebraska’s “slow it down at all cost” offense than something Indiana was doing wrong. The breaking point in this game was the start of the second half because of 1) Nebraska’s two big men (although you can argue Almeida counts as two) were in foul trouble and 2) As IU was stretching its lead, you started to see the Cornhuskers getting a tad bit nervous and start to speed things up, which is how the Hoosiers wanted to play all along.
The two decisions I questioned throughout the game were: the call to go to a zone defense in the first half and why IU kept running the weave up top when everyone watching could see Nebraska was just going to switch it. I wouldn’t have a problem with the zone defense once they had built like a 15-point lead because then the Cornhuskers couldn’t just pass it around top, running precious time off the clock. I just think Crean went to it a little early and it played into what Nebraska wanted to do anyway. As far as the weave goes, is it that hard to recognize what the opposing defense is doing and adjust? Unless, Crean had some master plan to lull them (Nebraska’s players and us fans) to sleep and then hit them with something unexpected, I don’t see the use. Moving it from side to side doesn’t really fit its purpose in that scenario. My solution: Get the ball in the post, get off-ball action going with some cutting and screening to test their communication skills, rain threes, do a dance afterwords to get the girlies jumping around.
Team Grade: B+
Looking Forward- I just heard about this new agreement in the Big Ten to stop scheduling FCS opponents in football. I wish that rule was put into place this year in basketball so we could just skip the embarrassment of IU’s next opponent. Oh well, the only tears you will see from me are of joy*.
*Side note- IU plays Purdue on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. for those that don’t know what I am talking about.