IU Insider Blog: An odd 17-point loss

It would be one thing to lose a 17-point decision if you were down double digits at the half or hadn't experienced any first-half success. But that wasn't the case with this Indiana team Tuesday night against Syracuse. The Hoosiers were tied at 33 early in the second half before a host of troubles led to a 69-52 loss to the No. 4 Orange.

If you had told me before the game that Indiana would lose to No. 4 Syracuse by 17 points Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, I probably wouldn't have been that surprised.

While I believed the Hoosiers were capable of being competitive, I really wasn't sure what to expect when they played in an environment like the Carrier Dome at Syracuse. It's a raucous atmosphere. They had roughly 26,000 fans in the building Tuesday night and there weren't a lot of them rooting for Indiana.

But this is a 17-point loss of the disappointing variety.

This is a 17-point loss after the game was tied at 33 a few minutes into the second half.

This is a 17-point loss that included a 12 minute and 46-second stretch of the second half where the Hoosiers didn't score a field goal.

This is a 17-point loss where Indiana did a complete about-face from the way it played in the first half to how it tried to play in the second half.

This one leaves you scratching your head.

In the first half, IU attacked more. The Hoosiers hit a few timely perimeter shots. They weren't settling as much for jump shots and when they did they had people crashing the boards. They were just more fluid.

And they only turned it over six times. In the second half, Indiana turned the ball over 10 more times for a total of 16.

With a young team, inconsistency is to be expected from game to game. We have certainly seen it with IU's abilities at the free throw line. One game the Hoosiers are on, the next they're clanging shots from a variety of positions.

But what you don't expect is the large type of inconsistency you're getting from one half to the next. That's what makes it so difficult. You watch one half of basketball where you think Indiana has a chance to give Syracuse a run for its money and they you watch a second half where the Hoosiers simply cannot get out of their own way.

The big question is: Is this going to be a year long problem? Or is it more of a short term problem? People always say that halfway through your freshman year you're playing more like a sophomore. Those sophomore levels of play can't come quickly enough for the Hoosiers.

In the mean time, we'll sit back and see where this team takes us.

And hope that the consistency, especially with the framework of a game, can get much more consistent.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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