Indiana Basketball – Hoosiers Continue Their Unpredictable Season – Beat Michigan 63-52

by Kent Sterling

Yogi Ferrell had 27 points on 7-8 shooting from beyond the arc.  That's a solid reason for a huge grin.

Yogi Ferrell had 27 points on 7-8 shooting from beyond the arc. That’s a solid reason for a huge grin.

Yogi Ferrell.  Mentioning anyone or anything else as a reason for Indiana beating Michigan this afternoon is silly.

Yogi Ferrell shot, led, and defended like a champion today.  He asserted his considerable will and accurate bombing from outside the arc as he propelled the Hoosiers to another win over a ranked opponent after a tough loss.

The team defended well, but you can’t win if you don’t put the ball in the bucket, and Yogi put on his work boots today to score 27 points.

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The Hoosiers have lost to Northwestern and Nebraska while beating Wisconsin and Michigan in one of the strangest seasons of the last 30 years in Bloomington.

Ferrell hit seven of eight from beyond the arc, and bailed Indiana out of several possessions as they ran the shot clock all the way down before Ferrell launched a bomb.

The fans in Assembly Hall appeared uneasy through the first half, lustily booing Indiana coach Tom Crean when he removed either Big Ten freshman of the year candidate Noah Vonleh or Ferrell.  They cheered just as loudly when the two returned.

And they were right to.

During the two-minute period four subs joined Stanford Robinson in the first half, Michigan enjoyed it’s only effective run of the game – a 6-0 streak to take a 13-10 lead with 10:10 left.

So Indiana moves to 4-5 midway through the conference season, and 14-8 for the season, while Michigan suffered its first conference loss of the season.

The Hoosiers will travel to Minnesota next Saturday to play the Golden Gophers, who are also 4-5 in the Big Ten.  Go ahead and try to figure out what the hell is going to happen in the Barn.

Every time the timing feels appropriate to write off the Hoosiers as young and inept, they win a huge game against a tough opponent, and every time it looks like Crean has the Hoosiers playing well, they lose to what was believed to be a Big Ten bottom feeder.

It’s maddening, but it beats being predictably bad.

The Big Ten continues its overall schizophrenia as the team thought to be good loses to teams thought to be bad.

Today, the insanity paid off for Indiana.  Thursday, it went against them as they lost to Nebraska.

Back to Ferrell, who flat out put the Hoosiers on his back and earned them a win that appeared unlikely after what happened less than 72 hours ago in Lincoln.

He’s certainly no stranger to exhibiting greatness in a sea of mediocrity.  He was far and away the best player for Park Tudor during his time there, just as he is at IU.

As Indiana fans discuss the possibility of Vonleh jumping to the NBA, and the dearth of size that would result next season, they need to start pondering a future without both Vonleh and Ferrell.  Yikes.

Ferrell can handle, distribute, shoot from distance, and competes every night.  He’s not going to intimidate anyone in the pros with his size, but it’s not hard to envision Ferrell in the league.

That’s the price of success, I guess.  When players turn in a transcendent performance – as Ferrell did today – fears of losing him dance in fans’ heads just as they did in 2013 with Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo.

Fans had only one question for Crean about Ferrell, “Why did he only play 37 minutes?”  Surely, if he can play 37, three more won’t kill him.

The mysterious, magical, disappointing, and thrilling 2014 Big Ten season continues with yet another impossible to predict result.

Maybe today, fans should be content with the win, and not spend too much time fearing the future.  Plenty of time for that after whatever might happen over the next six weeks.

8 thoughts on “Indiana Basketball – Hoosiers Continue Their Unpredictable Season – Beat Michigan 63-52

  1. Jeff Gregory

    They even looked effective against the zone – making mainly aggressive mistakes when they made them. One sweet possession early in the game against the zone even brought a tear to my eye (or should have). It was almost as though Crean was monitoring our conversation in the other post, Kent, as the spacing and quick passes surfaced.

    Young teams will win when they shouldn’t and lose the same way. Hopefully with each game, the experience will get them over the hump of tournament exclusivity.

    As far as Vonleh jumping ship, I hope this little statement is worth at least one more year, “The NBA is always going to be there. I just want to go to college, have a great time, play basketball and get a degree.”

    1. kentsterling Post author

      I saw that possession. I don’t believe the ball hit the ground once. About eight passes, and a made shot. Pop, pop, pop, pop, and shot. Very sweet indeed.

  2. Jeff Gregory

    BTW – You might be burying the lead here, Kent. The real news is that IU beat a top ten team and DIDN’T storm the floor afterward.

  3. Warren / TN.

    Tip of the hat for the big win against UM. I had thought the Michigan game could provide a key win towards the ultimate goal – getting into the tournament. So how does a potential berth look now? Better, undoubtedly, but the magic number remains a 9-9 in Big10 play without doing some serious damage in the Big10 tournament. Thus, a 5-4 finish to the season seems imperative.

    Looking ahead, which is an almost impossible thing to do this year with the Hoosiers, lends me to have the following thoughts:

    Win at home against PSU, Nebraska, win on the road @Purdue and @NW would be the logical thought process, right? That leaves picking up one more win…. somewhere. I’m not sold they can pick up one of those on the road, but I do feel like IU can beat OSU (or possibly Iowa) to reach that .500 mark in conference. Better yet, beating BOTH OSU and Iowa would be a HUGE boost and a berth would look likely to me at that point.

    Then again, trying to fit the Hoosiers into a logical thought process hasn’t panned out this year, so who knows? I still think Indiana squeezes into the NCAAT, and maybe sets up a 5/12 seed matchup with ….. wait for it ….. Kentucky?

    So buck up ! You might get UK on the schedule after all ! hehehe

    1. kentsterling Post author

      An IU vs. UK matchup would be a fantastic capper on the season. What a reward for continuing to fight during this weird season.

      Which would be a more regrettable end to a UK season – the loss at Bob Morris in the NIT opener last year, or a loss to Indiana in an NCAA opener?

      Kentucky is going to be a tough out in March if they find a collective soul.

      1. Warren / TN.

        Obviously, a season ending loss to Indiana would be MUCH more regrettable, any way a UK fan would care to slice it. After all the hype surrounding this UK team, it would be a shocker.

        That said, I still think UK will finish no worse than second in the SEC and at worst a 4 seed, which makes a second round 5/12 matchup with IU moot. Outside IU’s own issues of making the tournament in the first place, it may be more legitimate to see them as a 12 seed paired with a 5 seed, and THAT pairing might be placed opposite a #4 seed Kentucky, setting up a potential third round matchup.

        Along with most others, as of the current moment, it would appear Indiana is still on the outside looking in. How the automatic bids play out and how other teams finish will also play a huge role in Indiana’s bubble watch. I say that with all respect and honesty. I always enjoy discussions with Indiana fans that extend such likewise sentiments as you, Kent.

        Yes, it’s too early to be thinking tournament for either squad, but as fans, we get to have fun playing around with it! Thanks as always !

        1. kentsterling Post author

          Every time I think Indiana have a better than 50/50 chance to make the tourney, they get beat. Every time I assess their chances as under 50%, they win. Usually, I have a good handle on what will happen, but I am baffled by IU’s uneven performance. Unpredictability is the price of youth, but this is an all new level of unpredictability.

          You don’t need me to tell you about a lack of predictability after UK looked awful against LSU and then quite good vs. Ol’ Miss. Cauley-Stein was AWOL for weeks, and then looked great at Rupp the other night.

  4. K Mills

    I’ve been an IU fan for what seems like forever, and I have never witnessed and IU team depend more heavily on a single player, EVER.

    First, Mighty Mouse bails IU out of 10-12 bad, and I mean BAD, half-court possessions a game. Come on we’ve all witnessed them — Push the ball up, nothing. Pull it out, take 10 seconds to get everyone in their right spot to run a play, get nothing. Pull it out, run the dribble weave, give it to Yogi with oohh, six seconds left on the shot clock, and see what he can do with a ball screen. Now, in college basketball with a shot clock there are going to be possessions like the one described, but these possessions have become IU’s status quo when it comes to half court offense. (Ok, I’m not trying bash Crean here…oh wait maybe I am…but hey at least he knows to give it to his best player in these frequent occurances.) He may be the only player where I insist he shoot pull up threes in transition because that is likely the best look he’s going to get.

    Second, Yogi is the ONLY player who can handle the ball and create for others. Look at these assists numbers in IU’s five losses in Big Ten play:
    @ Illinois — Yogi: 4 assists (led team); Hollowell 3
    vs. MSU — Yogi: 2 assists (tied 1st) w/ Hollowell and Robinson
    vs. Northwestern — Yogi: 1 assist (tied 1st) w/ 5 others
    @ MSU — Yogi: 3 assists (led team); Williams/Robinson each 2
    @ Nebraska — Yogi: 5 assists (led team); Sheehey 2

    All that tells me is that if Yogi ain’t creating shots for others, then nobody is creating shots for others. We go, as he goes.

    Third, he’s proven to be the only somewhat reliable shooter (If Noah would shoot a little more he could join MM here). Sheehey can’t throw it in the ocean. Gordon was hot early in the season, but since Big Ten play he’s digressed. Etherington won’t shoot although his stroke is buttery looking. Robinson can get to the hole, but from outside 15-feet, cover your head. Then there’s Troy and Hollowell, yikes. Basically, he has to shoot, and he has to shoot often.

    Fourth, apparently he’s our best defender or at least has posted the best defensive performance so far this year with his work on Stauskas. I do think IU’s team defense is pretty good. It’s definitely long and athletic, but for the sake of my argument lets call Yogi our best one-on-one defender.

    So, that makes Yogi our best shooter, ball handler, crunch time scorer and defender.

    Here’s to you Might Mouse.


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