The Indiana Hoosiers basketball team started off the season with a bang. IU dominated Chicago State 100-72 on opening night.
The Hoosiers have a lot of questions this season, chief among them is how to replace four starters who had over 1,000 points each in their careers.
Against Chicago State, Tom Crean went deep into his bench, even when it wasn’t garbage time. 17 of the 18 players on the roster saw minutes on the floor. Crean appears to have his starting lineup set, but its extremely likely that it will change in the coming weeks.
The starters consisted of: Will Sheehey, Troy Williams, Noah Vonleh, Yogi Ferrell, and Jeremy Hollowell. The lineup was potent, with all five scoring in double digits.
Vonleh was impressive in his college debut with 11 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks. He had four fouls which is a cause for concern and he needs to learn to play defense without fouling, which is a problem he carries from high school.
Hollowell had a very big game with 14 points and four blocks. He was also very good at drawing fouls and had ten attempts from the free throw line.
Freshman Devin Davis was strong off the bench with 10 points and nine rebounds.
IU has a lot of solid players, but right now there isn’t really a focal point for this team. There isn’t a go-to scorer or a dominant big man anymore. Crean has to figure out how to make this offense work with something resembling the same efficiency as last season. He also has to learn how to beat a 2-3 zone. The Cougars went into the zone a few times and nearly shut down IU’s offense completely.
If any future opponent is taking notes, they’d be wise to stick with the 2-3 against the Hoosiers. Right now, Pomeroy has the Hoosiers ranked 23rd, with the 20th offense and 38th defense. Its only been one game, but it was an encouraging start.
Nov. 12th – Indiana vs LIU Brooklyn, 6pm
LIU sits at 1-0 after a narrow seven point win over St. Peters. The Hoosiers host them in the regional round of the 2K Classic. LIU Brooklyn faced James Madison in the NCAA Tournament last season in the play in round, with the winner facing IU. The Blackbirds are led by Jason Brickman who averaged 8.5 assists per game last season and had 14 in the season opener. They are very good at spreading the ball around and hitting open shots created by the extra pass. Their starters had issues with turnovers against St. Peters, something IU would like to replicate. This is a solid test for the IU’s defense but the Hoosiers will have their way offensively. IU had 45 points from the free throw line against Chicago State but would like to see more production from the field, especially the three-point line.
IU has too much talent to lose this game, and should run away with it even if it takes some time.
Nov. 15th – Indiana vs Samford, 7pm
The Bulldogs are 1-0 this season, with a game Tuesday against UTA. They were 11-21 last season and don’t appear to be that much better heading into this season. Forward Tim Williams leads this team in scoring going back to last season. Much like college football, IU is bringing in a number of inferior opponents to warm up against before the schedule gets tough. Samford is no exception, and yet another opponent that the Hoosiers should roll over.
Nov. 17th – Indiana vs Stony Brook, 5pm
Stony Brook had its best season since being in Division I last year, going 25-8. They lost in the second round of the NIT to Iowa. Many thought they should have made the NCAA tournament last season. They are 2-0 with a game against Northeastern on Wednesday. This will cap a long week for IU with three games in six days. This will likely be the biggest challenge for the Hoosiers this week. The Seawolves (what?) are on the cusp of making their first NCAA Tournament ever, but have consistency issues with their key players.
After two more warm-up games, the Hoosiers should have things pretty well figured out. Its also another home game for IU and likely to be yet another lopsided win.
The Hoosiers have two light weeks, with one game each, before facing No. 9 Syracuse on the road.
Don’t forget to follow us on twitter, @InkOnIndy.