Upon Further Review - Illinois

HoosierNation.com takes a look back at Indiana's 51-43 loss at Illinois a setback that ended a season-best five game winning streak. We name the game's MVP, look at what were some of the most concerning and surprising things to come out of the win, and hear what the players and coaches had to say afterwards...

Game MVP - D.J. White. It wasn't a good day for anyone on the Hoosier roster, but White's 12-point, eight-rebound effort was the best of a bad bunch of performances. White helped Indiana quiet the raucous crowd early by scoring on the team's first possession and he had six points in the game's first four minutes to help IU open an 11-4 lead. But White attempted only one more field goal in the first half and didn't make another bucket from the floor until the clock read 13:11 remaining in the game. By that time, Illinois had opened an eight-point lead and the Hoosiers were in trouble. After putting up big numbers against some much more imposing defensive presences in recent weeks, White wasn't nearly as dominant Tuesday against Illinois' Shaun Pruitt, a big body at 6-10 and 250 pounds but not much of a shot blocker.

Biggest Surprise… Indiana went 17 minutes with only one field goal. During that span – which started with 12 minutes remaining in the first half - the Hoosiers missed 14 of 15 shots and saw a seven-point lead turn into an eight-point deficit five minutes into the second half. Indiana has been very good in recent games on the offensive end, leaning on the inside-outside combination of D.J. White and Rod Wilmont to produce five straight wins. During that streak IU averaged 78 points/game and reached the 70-point mark in each contest. But the offense was downright offensive Tuesday, and the 43 points was eight points less than the previous season-low of 51 against Duke. The Hoosiers shot just 38.6 percent overall, 29.4 percent from 3-point range, got to the free-throw line only six times and had a season-low eight assists. Those kind of numbers are going to produce a loss to just about anyone on a team's schedule.

What I Found Most Impressive… As bad as IU was offensively, Coach Kelvin Sampson's team did enough on the defensive end to stay in the game until the closing minutes. The Hoosiers suffered a similar offensive shutdown last year in Minneapolis and the end result was an embarrassing 61-42 beating at the hands of the Gophers. This time around Indiana made things difficult for Illinois as well and were within two with six minutes remaining. The offense never did come around, but even on the Hoosiers' worst night, in the most hostile of environments, Indiana hung around until the closing minutes. Illinois wound up shooting 40.5 percent from the floor and 23.5 percent from 3-point range.

What I Found Most Concerning… Early in the year Lance Stemler was one of the team's most consistent offensive weapons, but he's seen his playing time and confidence dip in recent weeks. Stemler suffered through another sub-par outing Tuesday, scoring five points on 2-of-5 shooting in 24 minutes, and in his last five games Stemler has totaled just 17 points and is 6-of-20 from the floor. Part of the problem is Stemler isn't the best defensive match-up against athletic power forwards who play around the basket, which has resulted in Kelvin Sampson turning to Mike White more in recent games. But that still doesn't explain why Stemler was passing on some open looks from the perimeter against Illinois. When Stemler is on the floor he needs to be a mismatch in his own right on the offensive end with his ability to knock down 3-point shots. But if he's passing up clean looks, he turns into a non-factor.

Turning Point: There's no mistaking the 17-minute, 1-of-15 shooting display did in the Hoosiers in Champaign. The Hoosiers were unable to get the ball to D.J. White inside and were unable to knock down any shots from the perimeter. The shooting woes got started with five consecutive misses from behind the 3-point arc, and Illinois quickly got back into the game.

Quotable: "Their defense was good. They've been a good defensive team all year. I didn't think our offense wasn't very good, either." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"It's not that – it's about our personality. I've never worried about kids after losses as much as I do when they win. When we lost to Duke, when we lost to Kentucky, we lost to Ohio State, I thought we really competed in all phases. We just lost the game. I didn't like our identity tonight. It's not just offense, I think your attitude about competition carries over to every phase of the game." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

I know we just got ranked, and I know we've won five in a row, but we're the kind of team that if we don't play with a chip on our shoulder and play with an edge, we're not very good. I didn't see that tonight. I saw it against Michigan State, Purdue, Iowa, Connecticut. I didn't see us playing with an edge tonight. I didn't think we played with the right kind of attitude, and we're the kind of team that we have to." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"Frazier is a tough kid. I think they probably get their identity from Frazier. He's a tough kid." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"It was a great crowd. The one I'd compare it to literally and figuratively is Oklahoma State. They're orange, too. They have great, great fans, and Illinois has great fans." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"The team did a good job when I caught the ball to come down and help." – D.J. White.

"I know this was a big game for Illinois. And their kids played with more of an urgency than ours did." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

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