Analysis: Bouncing back from a very bad game

IU did a complete disappearing act Monday night in East Lansing in a 70-50 loss to the Spartans. But how this team bounces back Saturday against Ohio State will tell us a lot about the heart and character of the 2014-15 IU Hoosiers.

I know what the spin is going to be on Monday’s 70-50 loss to Michigan State.

It’s just one game. ONE VERY BAD GAME. But still just one game.

Indiana plays nine of its final 16 Big Ten Conference games at home beginning with Saturday’s matchup against Ohio State.

There’s no reason to sound the alarm. Indiana basketball fans can step in off the ledge. As bad as IU played Monday night in the second Big Ten game of the season, after looking impressive in a road win at Nebraska last week, there is still a stark reality here:

It’s just one game.

But here is what troubles me. If it were a player or even a player or two that for whatever reason wasn’t motivated or didn’t come to play, that would be one thing. But this was a total breakdown. IU didn’t play with a purpose. Indiana’s best player was Yogi Ferrell and even Yogi missed 10 of the 16 shots he attempted.

Tom Crean shouldered the blame for his team not being ready to play. Of course he has to. It’s a fall on the sword kind of moment. But some of his words in his postgame press conference just gave the impression that he couldn’t really completely comprehend what he had just witnessed either.

“Everything we needed to do in this game; get back on transition, get back on defense, definitely block out, we just didn’t do those things,’’ Crean said. “Not with any sense of purpose. We didn’t cut with any urgency. Our cuts and our screens were as soft as maybe I’ve ever coach at Indiana, maybe anywhere. That’s it. We got back on our heels and just didn’t respond.

“I thought our leadership was left somewhere back in Bloomington and I guess that falls on me because we didn’t have any leadership in that game whatsoever.’’

And he said the Big Ten is a very unforgiving league.

“They could care less what you did the last game,’’ Crean said. “Whether you win or lose, you have got to bring it quickly and we will start responding again in the morning.

My thing though is I still go back to the complete disappearing act. How does that happen?

Where was Troy Williams? Where was the player who had played so well of late? Against Butler he had 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting. He only had eight points against New Orleans but did it on 4-of-5 shooting. He had 23 points against Georgetown and hit 8-of-12 shots. Against Nebraska, he had 13 and made 6-of-10 shots.

Add that up and Williams had 66 points in four games. He hit 27-of-44 shots from the field. He had 31 rebounds and at least six in each game. He played at least 23 minutes in each of those games. For the season, he was shooting 59 percent from the field.

Monday night, Williams played 17 minutes with no points and one rebound. He took two shots. He only played three minutes in the second half.

Someone explain Hanner Mosquera-Perea to me. Please. He had just come off a game where he had a double-double, the first of his career, and played with great energy. On that one rebound he got at the end of the Nebraska game some say his neck was over the rim. He had been playing with a purpose.

But for the second game in a row, he came out and got two quick fouls and was immediately behind the 8-ball. His statistics line matched that of Williams. Zero points and one rebound. The difference was Mosquera-Perea took only one shot and played seven less minutes.

Two starters. Zero points. Two rebounds. Three total shots. Inexcusable.

Robert Johnson scored a few points in the second half but his first half was of the same variety. Zero points, three rebounds, 0-for-2 from the field in 13 minutes.

And how about James Blackmon Jr.? For the game, he was 1-for-14 from the field. In the first half though, he missed all eight of his shots, had two points from the free throw line, three rebounds, and played 16 minutes.

IU trailed 36-17 at half and four players had scored. Yogi had nine of the points. Only two of the four had made a field goal.

The list could go on and on. But you get the point.

It was just one game. ONE VERY BAD GAME.

But how Indiana looks Saturday against Ohio State will tell us a lot about this team and what we should expect moving forward.

And as IU fans, you simply have to hope that whatever led to Monday’s total breakdown in terms of how the Hoosiers played the game, does not repeat itself at that scale on that stage any time in the near future.

It was just hard to watch.

Crean: Mosquera-Perea in fight for his job

Game Analysis

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