Analysis: Wichita State 81, Indiana 76

Indiana's season ended in Omaha on Friday afternoon. Here's what I'm thinking about after the Hoosiers' narrow loss to 7-seeded Wichita State.

Indiana's season ended with an 81-76 loss to 7-seeded Wichita State in Omaha on Friday afternoon. Here's what I'm thinking about following the game, in a stream of consciousness format.

***Indiana lost this game in the first half, when it allowed Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet to get in the lane for easy baskets time and time again. The Hoosiers (20-14) should have been ahead by at least 8-10 points at the break given their strong perimeter shooting and the struggles of Wichita State star Ron Baker. Instead, they allowed VanVleet to keep the Shockers in it with easy layups. Indiana led by only three at the break.

***Along those same lines, the Hoosiers never played off of VanVleet and dared him to make a jump shot. They should have. The Shockers (29-4) were just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc as a team, and VanVleet was 0-of-2. Make him shoot jumpers. Don't let him get into the lane. Indiana never learned that lesson in this game, and it never learned that lesson this season. It was a constant issue, and it was never fixed.

***Indiana needed more from guys not named Yogi Ferrell, but like usual in the toughest of situations, it was only Ferrell that consistently contributed. He had 24 points, but the Hoosiers fell to just 3-8 this season in games where Ferrell scores 20 or more points. Collin Hartman was good -- he scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting -- but James Blackmon Jr. had 14 points on 11 shots, Troy Williams had 11 points on 10 shots, and Robert Johnson had four points on six shots. That's not going to get it done against an experienced NCAA Tournament team like Wichita State.

***The Hoosiers need better next season, regardless of who their coach is. The whole "nobody expected us to be here" narrative has played out, and it's over. This is a program that should always be expected "to be here". Indiana should be good next year -- assuming everybody returns -- and it needs to be. The defense must get significantly better. That's Priority No. 1.



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