Whether they are ready or not, Indiana is about to get plenty of game experience quickly.
In the span of the next five days, the Hoosiers are set to play SMU, Lamar on Saturday and Eastern Washington on Monday.
The quick succession begins with tonight’s battle at 8 p.m. against the Mustangs, ranked No. 22 in the latest AP poll. And as far as if it has come in good timing, according to Indiana coach Tom Crean, it actually proposes several challenges.
“As far as this next stretch of games, is it optimal? It is what it is,” Crean said on Wednesday afternoon. “Ask the players if they want to play games and they say they love it. As for the coaches, you have to make sure that you aren’t getting away from making your team better, and not just turning it into preparation time.”
Indiana’s first opponent in the three-game stretch will be its toughest. SMU, despite its loss on Monday to Gonzaga, is rebounding 41.4 percent of its misses thus far — and Indiana has allowed 30 offensive rebounds in its first two games alone.
But the Hoosiers will get some necessary help, starting with tonight’s game. Suspended players Troy Williams, Stan Robinson and Emmitt Holt all are eligible to play tonight after missing the Hoosiers’ first two games — and all should be able to help on the boards.
ESPN.com: Indiana Hoosiers’ Stanford Robinson, Troy Williams apologetic before return
“I know we let a lot of people down, teammates, coaching staff, family and definitely the fans,” Robinson said. “But I think we’ve learned from it. Before I think we had a little idea of what it means to put on an Indiana jersey. Once this all happened and it went public, we saw what it really means to be a Hoosier.”
The players’ suspensions, announced just days after news of the car accident, made for a tumultuous start to the season for the Hoosiers and coach Tom Crean.
“He went through a lot more than we had to go through,” Williams said. “The fact that he kept us through all of this, we’re just grateful.”
ESPN also has a story on Emmitt Holt and how he’s dealt with the aftermath of the accident that left Devin Davis seriously injured.
Tom Crean and juniors Nick Zeisloft and Yogi Ferrell met with the media on Wednesday afternoon at Assembly Hall to preview Thursday’s matchup with No. 22 SMU.
Watch both press conferences below:
Indiana sophomore forward Devin Davis, who was injured in an accident early in the morning on Saturday, Nov. 1, is headed home today according to a post on Instagram by his father, Devin Davis Sr.
Indiana coach Tom Crean confirmed at his press conference on Wednesday that Davis has been released from the hospital and will stay in Indianapolis for outpatient care, but there’s no timetable for when he might be able to return to basketball.
“The fact that he’s progressed enough to the point that he can go home, that’s good, that’s very good.” Crean said. “I don’t know if there was ever a schedule that could be put in place on that. It’s like concussions and this was obviously worse than that. There’s no way to really put a timeline on that. And if the doctors aren’t putting a timeline on it, then there’s no way that we can.”
After just two days off, Indiana returns to action on Thursday night at Assembly Hall for a meeting with No. 22 SMU.
The game will tip at 8 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network with Eric Collins and Jim Jackson on the call:
What was once billed as a marquee non-conference home game for Indiana has lost some of its luster. Southern Methodist University, coached by Hall of Famer Larry Brown, was once thought of as a potential top 10 team this season.
But the Mustangs suffered a season-changing blow in the summer when the nation’s No. 2 recruit, Emmanuel Mudiay, headed to China to play professionally, rather than to SMU’s campus. The news for SMU hasn’t gotten better in recent weeks as last week it was announced that big man Markus Kennedy will miss the first semester for academic reasons.
SMU is still a very solid team that appears plenty capable of making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1993, but without Mudiay the ceiling for this group is much lower. While it’s not the marquee non-conference home game that the IU administration is still searching for after Kentucky fell off the schedule following the 2011-2012 season, it’s an early chance for the Hoosiers to get a win that could hold some water come March.
Indiana only outscored Texas Southern 39-35 in the second half on Monday night. Were it not for some Hanner Mosquera-Perea blocks, it could have been an even frame — or even one where the Hoosiers were outscored.
We’ll be taking a look at some easy looks Indiana gave up as well as two Mosquera-Perea blocks in the latest edition of Film Session:
I. Early in the second half, the Tigers get a two-man game going on the right wing. We can see Robert Johnson shading over and giving his man space to the right:
Johnson keeps giving space right and even jumps in front of a ball screen, which gives his man even more room and he takes it right at Mosquera-Perea:
He makes a move past Mosquera-Perea towards the rim:
Indiana moved to 2-0 with a comfortable 83-64 win over Texas Southern on Monday evening at Assembly Hall. The game was the first in the four-game Hoosiers Showcase and also marked the return of Mike Davis to Bloomington for the first time since the 2005-2006 season.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win:
· Johnson showing uncommon maturity for a freshman: It’s only two games and the competition level hasn’t been great, but freshman guard Robert Johnson is showing why he’s a major part of the equation for the Hoosiers. Johnson is a little older than your typical freshman because he reclassified after his junior season from the 2013 class to 2014. The extra time to develop at the prep level obviously proved beneficial as Johnson transferred to Benedictine Prep and saw his recruitment take off the summer before his senior year there.
Arguably the most physically developed freshman that Tom Crean has ever recruited to Bloomington, Johnson’s skill set is solid all around. He’s a very capable perimeter shooter and he’s good off the dribble despite lacking elite athleticism. In Monday’s game, he was on fire early on as he had 17 points by halftime and had a lot of ball handling responsibilities once again. Johnson’s turnover percentage is just 14.7 through two games, the lowest among IU’s starting five which speaks to his willingness to make the simple play and not try to do too much.
Like any freshman, he’ll have his ups and downs, but through two games, Johnson appears to have put a stamp on a starting position for the foreseeable future.
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· Mosquera-Perea excels again: Is it too early to proclaim that Hanner Mosquera-Perea has arrived? Yes. But with each game that passes, it becomes more and more clear that the Colombia native has improved significantly. There’s still plenty of work to be done, but it’s obvious that Mosquera-Perea is gaining comfort, particularly offensively.