Indiana v. UNLV – where can the Hoosiers turn?


A hopeful trip to the Maui Invitational for the Indiana Hoosiers began with disappointment and questions that have no answers.

As the thirteenth-ranked team in division one basketball, many viewed the Maui Invitational as an opportunity for Indiana to make a statement as a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten and in the country. But now, the run of games with mixed results may cause Tom Crean to lose his job sooner than later.

The Hoosiers went 1-2 in Maui, now 4-2 overall, and their top-25 ranking has become an afterthought.

Turnovers and the same defensive problems all over the court gave UNLV the early momentum and a 27-12 lead. Indiana had to fight and claw back the entire game.

The Hoosiers rallied on a 12-0 run, but they were getting bullied by a team that was projected to finish third or fourth in the Mountain West Conference. Also, it hurts when a team shoots 5-for-12 from the free throw line. The Running Rebels led by seven (41-34) at the break, which felt like 20. Patrick McCaw led UNLV with 13 points.

The Turning Point: A Troy Williams lay-up pulled the Hoosiers within two with 8:22 left in the game, but, of course, Indiana’s defensive effort was invisible, which allowed a 3-pointer by UNLV guard Ike Nwamu to increase the Rebels lead up to 5.

That was just the beginning of the end, as the 3-pointer triggered a 12-1 UNLV run. Zeisloft’s huge 3-pointer cut the lead to 10 with 3:50 remaining, but it was Indiana’s first field goal in nearly 2 1/2 minutes.

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The turnover bug hit Indiana again at the end of the game as they turned the ball over 4 times in the final 5 1/2 minutes of the game.

Also, 20 turnovers. That’s bad.

Danny Manning is a good coach, and UNLV is a program with basketball history, but Indiana should have beat Wake Forest and they should have beat the Rebels. They don’t need to blow teams out, but a team with top-15 talent should win these games. No excuses.

At the end of the game, Crean again switched his defensive setup, which resulted in a made jump shot by the Rebels. When will Crean realize that specific defense doesn’t work properly? A team that switches defenses in the middle of a possession never ends well.

This team needs leadership, and though Indiana is still a very good offensive team, time after time it seems as if they run a play that results in Yogi running in circles until he either makes a jump-pass (50/50 chance of working) or a miracle happens. That doesn’t win basketball games.

At this moment, I have no idea where to go from here. It’s still November, but God help the Hoosiers.

Next: Pacers slash the Wizards

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