The Indiana Hoosiers basketball program has jumped out to a 4-0 start. They had a grueling week with three games in six days.
The week opened with LIU Brooklyn, who made the NCAA tournament last year but lost to James Madison in the play-in round. LIU was surprisingly resilient and led at halftime before IU rallied to win 73-72.
The Hoosiers struggled mightily from the three point line, and LIU dared them to take those shots. The Hoosiers hit just 7-of-26 attempts. IU also struggled to get to the foul line (17 attempts) while LIU practically lived there (27 attempts).
Overall, it was a gritty win that showed more maturity than was expected from this young team. It also proved that coach Tom Crean can make some solid halftime adjustments (where was that against Syracuse?).
IU followed up that game by hanging 105 on Samford and 90 on Stony Brook in lopsided victories. While they are lesser opponents, the Hoosiers did what they were supposed to: dominate inferior foes on their home court.
Pomeroy has the Hoosiers ranked 31st after last week, with the 45th offense and 35th defense. They’re seventh in tempo, preferring to run up and down the court much like last season. The Hoosiers are just outside of the AP Top 25, but are 22nd in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Here’s a few things we’ve learned after last week:
- Yogi Ferrell worked hard on his offense. He currently leads the team in scoring in 19.5 points per game and is connecting on 40-percent of his three point attempts. Ferrell is dishing out 4.5 assists per game as well, a number you’d like to see improve, and turning the ball over about twice per game.
- Will Sheehey shoots too much when frustrated. A lot of IU’s struggles against LIU can be traced to Sheehey’s poor shooting. He was 3-for-11 from the three point line, and 6-for-18 overall. He can be a bit of a volume shooter and is very streaky from game to game.
- Noah Vonleh is a top 10 freshman. He has four double-doubles…in four games. He is averaging nearly 15 points per game and an eye popping 13.5 rebounds a night. It’s an outstanding start for the young freshman.
- The team stats are…interesting. IU is averaging 92 points per game, 15th in the country and shooting 47-percent from the field. They are 2nd in the nation in rebounding, but 315th in assists. Three point shooting is a legitimate concern, with IU hitting only 30-percent from the arc.
- IU doesn’t have a reliable long range shooter. Last season, IU had at least two floor spacers on the court at all times. At some point (like it nearly did in the LIU game) its going to cost the Hoosiers badly.
IU heads to New York for the Legends Classic championship, an event the Hoosiers won last season. It offers a good challenge away from home for this young team.
Nov. 21st – Indiana vs Washington, 9pm
Washington is 2-1, and hasn’t really played anyone decent this season. They suffered an embarrassing loss to UC Irvine, 86-72 at home. Per Pomeroy, Washington is a worse team than Stony Brook (112th vs 84th). This game presents an interesting challenge for IU. Its the first time away from Assembly Hall for this young team, but its on a neutral court that Hoosier fans packed last time around.
Washington is in a transitional season and currently projected to finish around .500 and 8th in the Pac-12. They are lacking in front court depth after losing two rotational players to knee injuries. Only seven players have seen extended minutes so far this season. The Huskies like to push the tempo as much as IU does, so expect a game that goes up and down the court.
This is a game IU should win, and they are currently favored by eight. The problem lies in how this young team will perform away from home. The Hoosiers will win this game, but expect it to be close.
Nov. 22nd – IU vs UConn/Boston College, 5/7pm
If the Hoosiers win, they’ll face the winner of No. 18 UConn-BC, lose and they face the loser.
UConn is 4-0 and BC is 1-3. Based off that alone, IU (should they win) will face Connecticut. These Huskies will likely take apart the Eagles and could do the same to the Hoosiers. UConn is ranked 18th in the AP Polls, and 9th by Pomeroy. Their adjusted offense is 8th in the country and they have the 29th ranked defense. Boston College could win this game, they have the 11th ranked offense, but their defense is beyond awful ranking 292nd in the country.
Aside from a one point win over Maryland, UConn has dominated its opponents by double-digits every night. Their starting five has a lot of experience, with no freshmen in the lineup. Only one starter, Omar Calhoun, is an underclassmen. Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright make up a dangerous backcourt that is averaging 26 points, nearly 15 rebounds, and 12 assists per night.
If (when) IU faces these Huskies, they will have their hands full and it will likely end with the Hoosiers first lost of the season. If IU pulls off a win, or even keeps the game close, then fans will know that they have a good team on their hands. This game could easily be a blowout, but this team has the potential to keep it close and even win.
All that said, I believe that IU comes in second in the tournament, falling to UConn is a relatively close game.
Catch the Hoosiers in action against the huskies by picking up your IU Vs. Uconn Basketball tickets here!
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