Hoosiers In The NBA: Oladipo Will Look To Turn His Luck Around With The Pacers

Victor Oladipo has had a very unlucky start to his career.

It started right from draft night in 2013, when the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted Anthony Bennett with the first overall pick. In a parallel universe somewhere, Oladipo would have played with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James in the last three NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. However, more than likely he would have just replaced Bennett in the trade package the Cavaliers sent the Timberwolves in 2014 for Kevin Love.

The Orlando Magic happily picked Oladipo up with the second pick as the best player available. It wasn’t a position of need considering the Magic already had a pretty good shooting guard in Arron Afflalo, who along with Nikola Vucevic were the key pieces the Magic received from the Dwight Howard trade just a year prior. So to compensate, the Magic tried to have them share the backcourt with Oladipo as the point guard, which returned mixed results at best.

As a result, the Magic traded Afflalo to the Nuggets and drafted a point guard to play alongside Oladipo in Elfrid Payton. While this did end up being Oladipo’s most prolific scoring season (17.9ppg), the Magic remained a cellar dweller in the east and management finally gave up on head coach Jacque Vaughn and switched to James Borrego during the final third of the season.

Despite the team slightly improving, the Magic became anxious to start winning now and signed veteran coach Scott Skiles to become Oladipo’s third coach in three years. While Skiles did help unlock some of Oladipo’s defensive potential which had surprisingly been missing the first two seasons, Skiles’ abrasive personality didn’t mix with the team and after recommending several roster moves that caused the team to go backwards, he too was gone.

Oladipo’s fourth coach was to be Frank Vogel, someone who would get the best defensively out of Oladipo and would be a welcome change as a “player’s coach”. Yet fate intervened yet again as the Magic traded Oladipo to the Oklahoma City Thunder in another win-now trade for the services of Serge Ibaka.

While unfortunately Oladipo would no longer be part of Orlando’s building process, this looked like it would work out great. The Thunder were trying to keep Kevin Durant from leaving so they traded for the guy Durant once praised by calling him a young Dwyane Wade. Under his newest coach Billy Donavan, Oladipo would fill in the gap left behind from the disastrous James Harden trade and would form a new big three in OKC with Durant and Russell Westbrook.

That never had a chance to happen as Durant instead signed with the Warriors and motivated Westbrook to become only the second player ever to average a triple-double during an entire season. Westbrook’s MVP season did let Oladipo get his first taste of the playoffs but just like in the regular season, Westbrook’s monopoly of the ball relegated Oladipo to being nothing more than a three-point shooter or an occasional alley-oop parter.

Now in an attempt to keep Westbrook from leaving Oklahoma City, the Thunder have traded for a Durant replacement in Paul George and with limited trade assets were forced to move Oladipo to the Indiana Pacers. There he will play for his fifth coach in five seasons in Nate McMillan (sixth if you count Vogel even though he never played for him) and play for a team that is looking towards the future with star big man Myles Turner leading the way.

Oladipo does deserve some blame for his inconsistent career up to this point (the turnover problems and surprisingly average defense during his first few seasons as well as his still streaky outside shooting), but after looking at all the circumstances he had to go through it’s actually a little bit surprising that Oladipo has been as successful as he’s been to this point in his career with averages of 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Here’s to hoping Oladipo finally finds his place in the NBA now that he’s back in the state of Indiana.

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Hoosiers In The NBA: Gordon Vs Oladipo (Playoff Preview)

NOTE: Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Hoosiers In The NBA! Please try to spread the word by liking it on Facebook or retweeting this on Twitter if you enjoyed it. Of course this is completely optional but it is greatly appreciated. Otherwise I hope you enjoy this latest edition and for more coverage follow me on twitter at @QTipsForSports or just look for the hashtag #HoosiersInTheNBA:


It took until his fourth season, but Victor Oladipo will finally get his first taste of the NBA Playoffs.

Oladipo and the Oklahoma City Thunder will face the Houston Rockets in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs starting on Sunday. The Rockets have two former Hoosiers on the team in potential Sixth Man Of The Year Eric Gordon (who had to wait even longer than Oladipo to reach his first playoffs, taking him seven seasons) and rookie Troy Williams.

For this edition of Hoosiers In The NBA, I’m going to go over how Oladipo and Gordon performed this season and how they preformed against each other to help predict how well they’ll play in their first round matchup. I’ll also go over how much I expect Williams to play in the series and also touch on Noah Vonleh and his Portland Trail Blazers’ first round matchup with the Golden State Warriors. Lastly I’ll post the final regular season stats for all six former Hoosiers who played in the NBA this season.


Gordon Vs Oladipo

Neither player would call the 2016-2017 their best statistical season, but both Eric Gordon and Victor Oladipo would still call this their best seasons due to how well their teams performed and what role they had in the success.

Gordon embraced his role of three-point specialist off the bench for Mike D’Antoni’s Rockets and the result was a career-high 246 made three-points on 37.2% shooting. Meanwhile Oladipo went from the main ball-handler in Orlando to being Russell Westbrook’s wing man in Oklahoma City and the jump in open looks helped Oladipo shoot a career-best 36.1% from behind the arc as he was the second-leading scorer for the Thunder.

Taking a look at how they played against each other this season only highlights how much both had success from deep this season:

Eric Gordon vs the Oklahoma City Thunder: 19.0ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.8apg, 0.25spg, 0.25bpg, 1.5tpg, 2.3fpg, 39.7% FG, 40.5% 3FG, 100.0% FT, 34.3mpg. (four games)

Victor Oladipo vs the Houston Rockets: 18.3ppg, 7.0rpg, 3.0apg, 1.25spg, 0.00bpg, 2.3tpg, 2.5fpg, 46.8% FG, 46.7% 3FG, 50.0% FT, 37.3mpg.  (four games)

While I don’t expect both to hit above 40% from long range during this series, I do believe we’ll see multiple clutch threes from one or both. With both Westbrook and James Harden gathering so much attention, it may fall on a supporting player like Gordon or Oladipo to help push their team over the edge and into the next round. Regardless of the result, we’re guaranteed at least one former Hoosier will be playing in the Western Conference Semifinals.


How Much Will  Williams Play?

Troy Williams deserves a lot of praise for what he has accomplished during his rookie season.

As an undrafted rookie he wowed teams during the Summer League while playing for the Phoenix Suns and while the Suns couldn’t keep him due to a logjam at the wing position, the Memphis Grizzlies did sign him to their opening night roster. After 24 games and 13 starts with the Grizzlies, Memphis decided to switch gears when it found itself unexpectedly in the playoff hunt and thus Williams was cut and sent to the NBA D-League where he had a ton of success which included winning the D-League Slam Dunk Contest.

Like Yogi Ferrell, Williams used the momentum of his D-League performance to get a second chance with the NBA, where he has had immediate success with the Houston Rockets averaging 9.7 points on 50% shooting, including 38.1% from three-point range filling in for the injured Sam Dekker. With Dekker still out for at least the first round of the playoffs, does that mean we’ll see Williams play a role in the Houston-Oklahoma City series?

That’s where things get tricky. Teams usually shorten their benches in the playoffs and since Dekker was similar to a ninth man off the bench, it wouldn’t be surprising that Williams, Dekker’s replacement, might not see the floor much when you consider a healthy Dekker would likely see his minutes dwindle. I think Williams will see the court in the first round but I wouldn’t count on him playing every game.


What To Expect Out Of Vonleh And The Trail Blazers Against The Warriors

The Portland Trail Blazers’ last 10 games proved to be a significant step forward for Noah Vonleh.

While the Trail Blazers wrapped up the last playoff spot in the Western Conference by going 7-3, Vonleh finally flashed the potential scouts saw in him when he was considered a lottery pick back in 2014. He averaged 7.6 points on 56.4% shooting and 8.6 rebounds while playing 28.1 minutes per game and recording three double-doubles.

Vonleh hopes that his recent performance carries over into the postseason after failing to score and only grabbing four rebounds in six postseason games last year. Luckily he’ll be playing against a team in the Golden State Warriors that he has had some success against this season:

Noah Vonleh vs the Golden State Warriors: 4.5ppg, 4.5rpg, 0.3apg, 0.75spg, 0.00bpg, 1.3tpg, 0.8fpg, 38.1% FG, 40.0% 3FG, 0.0% FT, 15.0mpg. (four games)

While those numbers may seem a little underwhelming, it’s worth noting that the last time Vonleh faced the Warriors was still before the All-Star Break. In 48 games before the All-Star Break, Vonleh averaged 3.2 points on 40.7% shooting and 4.2 rebounds. In the 26 games after the All-Star Break, Vonleh has averaged 6.7 points on 57.5% shooting and 7.2 rebounds. Needless to say, I expect Vonleh to play much better this time around against the Warriors.


Season Averages:

Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell: Guard, Dallas Mavericks:

10.0ppg, 2.4rpg, 3.7apg, 0.91spg, 0.20bpg, 1.5tpg, 2.0fpg, 40.6% FG, 38.6% 3FG, 83.1% FT, 26.0mpg (46 games)

Eric Gordon: Guard, Houston Rockets:

16.2ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.5apg, 0.64spg, 0.55bpg, 1.6tpg, 2.0fpg, 40.6% FG, 37.2% 3FG, 84.0% FT, 31.0mpg (75 games)

Victor Oladipo: Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder:

15.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.6apg, 1.16spg, 0.31bpg, 1.8tpg, 2.3fpg, 44.2% FG, 36.1% 3FG, 75.3% FT, 33.2mpg (67 games)

Noah Vonleh: Forward, Portland Trail Blazers:

4.4ppg, 5.2rpg, 0.4apg, 0.41spg, 0.36bpg, 0.9tpg, 2.1fpg, 48.1% FG, 35.0% 3FG, 63.8% FT, 17.1mpg (74 games)

Troy Williams: Forward, Houston Rockets:

6.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 0.8apg, 0.90spg, 0.33bpg, 1.1tpg, 2.0fpg, 43.7% FG, 29.0% 3FG, 65.6% FT, 18.6mpg (30 games)

Cody Zeller: Forward, Charlotte Hornets:

10.3ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.6apg, 1.00spg, 0.94bpg, 1.0tpg, 3.0fpg, 57.1% FG, 0.0% 3FG, 67.9% FT, 27.8mpg (62 games)

The Four Things I Learned About “The Archie Miller Era” From Today’s Press Conference

It lasted only 45 minutes, but during those 45 minutes the Indiana Hoosiers have already created a new identity that will be called “The Archie Miller Era.” Here are the four things that were mentioned during Miller’s press conference that already have Indiana on a new path:

  1. A Tough, Nasty Defensive Team: The Tom Crean Era was defined as a break-neck paced offense with a defense that was sometimes good but at other times very bad. Archie Miller’s philosophy asks for the same free-flowing offense (but not quite as fast), but also asks for his teams to be tough and nasty on the defensive end. Specifically he asks his players to be “tough-minded.”
  2. Non-Conference Scheduling To Help Seeding: There has been a lot written about Indiana’s non-conference scheduling over the years, so it wasn’t very surprising that the first question asked to Miller was his approach to scheduling. Miller’s answer really got the press conference off on the right foot as he talked about how the non-conference schedule is all about getting Indiana a resume that will help get it a better seed in the NCAA Tournament. In fact, Miller said “the non-conference scheduling component  is probably the second most important thing you do as a coach other than recruit.”
  3. Redshirting And Limiting Scholarships: Crean’s philosophy towards roster management was always about not letting a scholarship go unused, but that has led to problems such as juggling too many players and facilitating playing time that resulted in “strange” substitution patterns. Miller addressed that he plans on regularly playing nine to ten players and thus doesn’t feel the need to have all 13 scholarships used at the same time. What was most interesting about his statement was that he wasn’t against using all the scholarships but those extra three/four players would likely be transfers sitting out a year, or projects that would be redshirted. Not having a full roster would also prevent the need to worry about having enough room for incoming recruits, something that had been a problem during the final four years of Crean’s tenure.
  4. Recruiting Inside-Out: The biggest reason a section of the IU fan base really wanted an Indiana guy for the job is because the state of Indiana has a great amount of talented high school players who instead of coming to Indiana have decided to leave the state to commit to other colleges. Recent examples from the class of 2017 include Kris Wilkes (UCLA), Paul Scruggs (Xavier), Malik Williams (Louisville), and Jaren Jackson (Michigan State).  Miller made it abundantly clear with his “Inside-Out” approach that he will do his best to recruit the best that Indiana High School hoops has to offer.

“The inside-out approach means that we have to dedicate ourselves to the high school coaches in this state, the high school talent in this state , and the grass-roots programs in this state. You’re not going to get every player, but if we want them, we should have a great chance of getting them.”

However the Inside-Out approach isn’t limited to Indiana. While the home state is the priority, Miller brought up the fact that some of the best Hoosiers weren’t originally from Indiana and that the Hoosiers need to take advantage of the recruiting footprint it has created and still recruit those areas. If Miller can’t get the type of player he wants from the state of Indiana, he’ll get that player from somewhere else. You can trust Miller to keep his word about recruiting the state, after all, eight of his Dayton players were from Dayton’s home state of Ohio.

Hoosiers In The NBA: The Aftereffects Of The Trade Deadline

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While not a single former Indiana Hoosier was moved at the NBA Trade Deadline this season, each team that has a former Hoosier did make at least one trade in preparation for the home stretch of this NBA regular season. So this time on Hoosiers In The NBA, I’ll go over the moves the Dallas Mavericks (Yogi Ferrell), Charlotte Hornets (Cody Zeller), Oklahoma City Thunder (Victor Oladipo), Portland Trail Blazers (Noah Vonleh), and Houston Rockets (Eric Gordon) made and how they affect our former Hoosiers.


Houston Rockets

  • Got Lou Williams from the Los Angeles Lakers for Corey Brewer and an unprotected first Round Pick in 2017
  • Sent K.J. McDaniels to the Brooklyn Nets for cap space
  • Sent Tyler Ennis to the Los Angeles Lakers for Marcelo Huertas

While at first it may sound redundant to add Lou Williams when you already have Eric Gordon, it actually isn’t for a team that plays like the Houston Rockets.

Recently removed from a game where they attempted 58 three-pointers, the Rockets try to put as many shooters on the floor as possible. Williams offers another shooter off the bench and adds insurance in case Gordon or starter Patrick Beverley miss extensive time due to injury.

Williams and Gordon can also play as a backcourt duo and are capable veterans with good enough passing skills to work well off another. Maybe most importantly they could give some much needed rest for James Harden near the end of the regular season.

As for the other two moves, they were in preparation of creating enough cap space if the right buyout candidate becomes available. Even if they don’t sign someone, neither player was playing much if at all for the team.


Charlotte Hornets

  • Got Miles Plumlee from the Milwaukee Bucks for Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes
  • Got Chris Andersen and cash from the Cleveland Cavaliers for a top-55 protected 2017 second round pick
  • Waived Chris Andersen

The importance of Cody Zeller to the Charlotte Hornets was made abundantly clear from the team’s actions during the trade deadline. Despite needing to fix numerous issues if they want to regroup and make the playoffs, the Hornets felt it was most necessary to get insurance for Zeller (who has already missed 20 games this season).

Miles Plumlee may be an unnecessarily expensive contract, but he’s still a very capable backup who poses no threat to taking Zeller’s starting spot away. Unfortunately he only played a couple of games before getting injured and is expected to be out for a week or two so the move has backfired on the Hornets at the moment.

The other move was a simple buyout. Knowing this, the Cleveland Cavaliers agreed to be compensated with a second round pick that won’t go to them unless the Hornets somehow make the Eastern Conference Finals.


Portland Trail Blazers

  • Got Jusuf Nurkic and a top-five protected first round pick in 2017 from the Denver Nuggets for Mason Plumlee, a 2018 second round pick, and cash

This was a very interesting trade as I did not expect the Portland Trail Blazers to part with a player who has been as valuable as Mason Plumlee.

Now what does this mean for Noah Vonleh? Well Jusuf Nurkic uses a lot more post-ups than Plumlee, and that might mean more open shots for Vonleh if Nurkic gets going and starts getting double-teamed. It has been 15 games since Vonleh attempted his last three-pointer and while I don’t expect him to start jacking up deep balls in the near future, this may be a chance to get some confidence from long range.

It will be very important that Vonleh improves playing with Nurkic because the Trail Blazers also received a first round pick in next year’s draft from the Nuggets, giving Portland potentially three of the first 30 picks this summer. It would be crazy to think the Trail Blazers wouldn’t draft someone to challenge Vonleh with one of those picks so Vonleh needs to start improving quickly.


Dallas Mavericks

  • Got Nerlens Noel from the Philadelphia 76ers for Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson, and top-18 protected first round pick in 2017
  • Waived Deron Williams

While the most important move the Dallas Mavericks made this past week was trading for Nerlens Noel in hopes of him becoming Tyson Chandler 2.0, the move that affected former Hoosier Yogi Ferrell the most was management’s decision to waive Deron Williams and thus hand over the starting point guard position to Ferrell for at least the rest of the season.

While he already signed a two-year contract with the Mavs earlier in the month, whether that involves him starting or playing backup has yet to be determined. The early returns show a lot of positives for Ferrell becoming the long-term starter. He has averaged 13.2 points, 4.8 assists, and 1.6 steals in his nine starts and the Mavericks sport a 6-3 record in those games. Now that he has been given the chance, Ferrell just needs to keep up his level of play and he’ll remain the staring point guard going into next season.


Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Got Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second round pick from the Chicago Bulls for Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow, and Joffery Lauvergne

This was a huge trade for the Oklahoma City Thunder for multiple reasons. It gives a bench unit that has struggled two players that can score in double figures on any night. It adds depth up front and on the wing, two areas that were a little lacking.

Most importantly it signals that Victor Oladipo is about to have a much bigger role on the Thunder. The departure of Cameron Payne means that Semaj Christon is the backup point guard for those instances when Russell Westbrook needs to rest. While Christon is okay, this might be a chance for Oladipo to play the role of main ball handler again.

The addition of Doug McDermott also may allow Oladipo to move around the court more and get back to some of his slashing playstyle. The Thunder didn’t have a ton of three-point threats to space the floor and thus relied on Oladipo to stay along the perimeter to create that space. While it has led to an improved three-point shot from Oladipo, it has limited him from doing some of the other things he does well like drawing fouls on drives to the bucket or grabbing more rebounds. McDermott can potentially be that spacer that can let Oladipo show off some of his other skills.


Season Averages:

Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell: Guard, Dallas Mavericks:

9.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.4apg, 0.82spg, 0.18bpg, 1.6tpg, 1.8fpg, 40.9% FG, 37.2% 3FG, 80.0% FT, 24.6mpg (22 games)

Eric Gordon: Guard, Houston Rockets:

17.2ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.7apg, 0.63spg, 0.52bpg, 1.7tpg, 2.0fpg, 41.4% FG, 38.2% 3FG, 84.4% FT, 30.5mpg (54 games)

Victor Oladipo: Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder:

16.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.5apg, 1.23spg, 0.33bpg, 1.6tpg, 2.3fpg, 44.6% FG, 35.4% 3FG, 74.1% FT, 33.7mpg (48 games)

Noah Vonleh: Forward, Portland Trail Blazers:

3.3ppg, 4.2rpg, 0.2apg, 0.32spg, 0.36bpg, 0.8tpg, 1.8fpg, 42.3% FG, 35.0% 3FG, 55.3% FT, 13.4mpg (50 games)

Cody Zeller: Forward, Charlotte Hornets:

10.8ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.4apg, 0.77spg, 1.05bpg, 1.3tpg, 3.2fpg, 58.7% FG, 0.0% 3FG, 69.2% FT, 26.8mpg (39 games)

Hoosiers Get A Fairy Tale Ending On Senior Night, Squeak Past Northwestern

It was a magical night in Bloomington that culminated in Indiana’s lone senior proposing to his girlfriend on Senior Night.

But before Collin Hartman got down on one knee and became engaged to his girlfriend, his Indiana Hoosiers finally had their own happy ending as they ended their five-game losing streak by barely (and I mean barely) getting past Northwestern 63-62.

The magic started with 5:30 left in the first half. After a quick 30-second timeout in response to a 11-0 Northwestern run to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 22-14, the Hoosiers showed a passion not seen during the first 14:30 as IU finished the half on an incredible 22-0 run that ended with Devonte Green sinking a buzzer-beating three-pointer from the opposite three-point line.

Despite ending the half on such a momentum-shifting run, the Hoosiers 36-26 halftime lead didn’t last long as the Wildcats only needed 6 minutes to retake the lead and held it until the final seconds.

With 3:11 left and the Wildcats up 61-53, it looked like the clock was about to strike midnight on the Hoosiers last remaining hope of playing in the postseason. Yet the tide turned yet again as the Hoosiers finished the game on a 11-1 run that included the following:

  • Three offensive rebounds for IU in one possession
  • 87.5% free throw shooter Bryant McIntosh missing one of his free throws
  • Robert Johnson scoring just his second bucket of the game and his first since the 10:12 mark of the first half
  • James Blackmon Jr hitting a big three-pointer with 38 seconds left
  • Not fouling Northwestern and perfectly defending the Wildcats for the full shot clock
  • Not calling a timeout after grabbing the rebound with nine seconds left and having Blackmon drive to the basket only to throw an amazing pass to an open Thomas Bryant underneath the basket.
  • Bryant getting fouled but still being able to make the game-tying basket with 2.6 seconds left
  • The most dramatic go-ahead free throw make of all-time

(No seriously, the way the ball bounced up in the air before going through the hoop is something out of the end of a Disney sports movie)

What made it even more suspenseful was that McIntosh’s half court heave almost went at the buzzer but luckily for the Hoosiers it hit off the back of the rim.

The result was a win for one of Indiana’s best winners in Collin Hartman. As stated by Indiana Coach Tom Crean during the celebration, Hartman was an integral part of last year’s Big Ten championship team. He did all the little things and even stepped up in the scoring department when the Hoosiers needed him most. But perhaps the biggest lasting image of Hartman was the fact that he wanted the Hoosiers to beat Kentucky so badly that he played in the game despite having a broken wrist.

For the ultimate winner, it was only fitting that the Hoosiers made what was likely his last game in Assembly Hall a win.

Indiana’s NCAA Tournament Hopes Look Grim After Home Loss To Michigan

When the NCAA Selection Committee showed their top 16 teams this weekend, a grim reality sunk in for the Big Ten. None of the top three teams (Wisconsin, Purdue, Maryland) were among those top 16, showing that the Selection Committee does not think highly of the Big Ten this season.

That’s why it was so important for Indiana to beat fellow bubble team Michigan at home. Instead, the Hoosiers lost and now look at the realistic situation of needing to win the rest of their regular season games just to have a chance of playing in the NCAA Tournament.

Unlike the last two losses (at Wisconsin/vs Purdue) where the Hoosiers battled a top team in the conference and fell just short, IU never really gave Michigan much of a battle as the Wolverines scored the first basket and never let Indiana take the lead once. Michigan led by as many as 13 while the Hoosiers never got closer than six points in the second half.

Thomas Bryant, who had averaged 20.2 points over his last five games, was constantly doubled as he was limited to just eight points, five rebounds, and three blocks. Unfortunately, the Hoosiers had a difficult time turning the double team to their advantage and getting the ball to the open man, as Indiana again committed 15 turnovers that led to 20 points for Michigan.

The one person who did step up was De’Ron Davis. Two days removed from taking a shot to the face that made him miss most of the second half against Purdue, Davis was the only Hoosier able to take advantage of Bryant’s double-team as he scored a team-high 13 points on 4 of 5 shooting, including 5 of 6 from the free throw line.

“He played very well considering shot that he took (against Purdue),” said Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean. “And we’ve got to continue to play him more. He’s not as great in the ball screens so that sometimes limits (his minutes). But he’s very, very hard to guard and he’s got great feet, great hands and great eyes.”

Crean was really frank about his team’s performance, saying his team needs to get easier shots on offense and has to play with the same intensity as when shots do go in the basket. He was especially frustrated with the team’s consistent overhelping on defense.

“It makes no sense to be coming off the corners the way that we are with what we have out there. That’s not what we do. We guard the ball. We don’t overhelp because it’s teams like Michigan that can shoot the ball so well.”

Crean also talked about everyone on the team needing to improve communication, including himself.

“It’s very easy to be locked in and connected to one another when the shots are going, but when they aren’t going is when real leadership’s got to emerge. And I’m not shirking the responsibility one iota. One thing I’ve learned in nine years it all falls on me. But the bottom line is that we’ve got to do something to get communication up.”

“We still have a season left to play,” said Robert Johnson about his team at this moment. “So we’re not even thinking about quitting. We always look forward to the next game. Now we’re just looking forward to getting better and moving on to the next game. And that’s another opportunity.


With Indiana probably needing to win out to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive, here is a breakdown of the final five games:

  • February 15 – at Minnesota
  • February 21 – at Iowa
  • February 25 – vs Northwestern
  • February 28 – at Purdue
  • March 4 – at Ohio State

The problem with Indiana’s remaining schedule is it’s difficulty level. The slate of teams may not all be at the top of the Big Ten standings, but that doesn’t matter when you realize the Hoosiers have struggled heavily on the road this season, going 1-5 so far with the one win coming via a James Blackmon Jr. buzzer-beater at Penn State.

There’s also the fact that other than beating Purdue in West Lafayette, none of the other potential wins would be huge resume-building wins. Iowa and Ohio State are likely going to the NIT, and while Minnesota and Northwestern would be nice wins, neither is guaranteed to be in the NCAA Tournament and both would likely take a hit to their resumes if they did lose to Indiana.

Basically the formula for Indiana to have a shot come Selection Sunday is to get a huge win at Purdue and pad the overall record by avoiding anymore losses. It will be a tough road ahead, but if Johnson is right and this team isn’t quitting, they still have chance no matter how small.

Despite Bryant’s Best Effort, Indiana’s Offense Unable To Outscore Purdue

The Indiana Hoosiers held the Purdue Boilermakers, the Big Ten’s best three-point shooting team, to just 28.6% from behind the arc. The Hoosiers grabbed the same number of rebounds (35 each) and even kept the turnovers fairly close (14 to 12).

Yet despite all that, the Hoosiers again failed to gain another resume-building win as they lost to Purdue 69-64 in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Thursday night.

The main cause for the loss was an unproductive offense. The usually potent IU offense struggled as Indiana shot 38.6% from the floor and 33.3% from behind the arc. In fact it’s not just this game as Indiana (averaging 81.3 points per game on the season) has averaged just 69.8 points over the last five games. When you take into account that one of those games was a triple overtime game where the Hoosiers scored 110 points against Penn State, those scoring numbers look even worse (for reference, the Hoosiers have averaged 59.8 points in the other four games)

It’s no secret that the “injury bug” has bitten the Hoosiers hard this year, but this game more than any of the last five games showed how short-handed the Hoosiers are at the moment.

  • Despite getting James Blackmon Jr. back from a leg injury, Blackmon very rarely looked like himself as he struggled with his shot all night, finishing 3 of 14  from the floor including 1 of 7 from deep.
  • Juwan Morgan, who’s playing while still injured, started strong but got into foul trouble and didn’t score after halftime.
  • Devonte Green, who had been playing well replacing Blackmon in the starting lineup, was limited to five minutes due to getting a back spasm lifting weights earlier in the week.
  • On top of all that, De’Ron Davis took a shot to the face early in the second half and missed the rest of the game.

Perhaps Purdue Head Coach Matt Painter explained it best as to why injuries really played a huge role in Indiana’s loss.

“You have to understand that Indiana doesn’t have a lot of their guys,” said Painter. “Collin Hartman is a good player, he affects winning and OG (Anunoby) is a really good player, so now when they get into foul trouble (like they did tonight) it’s not normal foul trouble, now it’s two guys are out, one just came back from injury and then you have a couple of guys in foul trouble.”

The one shining light, and the reason Indiana had a chance of actually winning the game was Thomas Bryant.

After being held in check in the first half due to foul trouble, Bryant singlehandedly carried the Hoosiers in the second half, scoring 17 of the Hoosiers’ 28 second half points. He finished with 23 points on 8 of 12 shooting, 3 of 4 from three-point range. Over the last five games, Bryant has averaged 20.2 points on an eye-popping 68.4% (39 of 57) shooting.

So when the controversial “blarge” was called with 44 seconds left (What’s a blarge? Well one referee called a blocking foul while the other called a charging foul, so the refs copped out and called a double foul. It’s okay if that definition  just confuses you more because honestly it confuses me too.),  Indiana’s fate was sealed as Thomas Bryant picked up his fifth foul.

If Bryant can keep up this level of production and can get some help from his teammates that are either not 100% yet (Blackmon, Morgan) or are wildly inconsistent as of late (Josh Newkirk, Rob Johnson), then the Hoosiers can still make the NCAA Tournament. But with six games left in the regular season, time is starting to run out.