BAD AND UGLY: YEAH, WE’RE STARTING IN REVERSE TONIGHT.
Do you know what we learned tonight? Because I’ll tell you what we learned tonight. This Hoosiers team is trending as such: good performances buttressed by bad ones. Really, really bad ones.
Where one could take pride in games like IU’s victory over Michigan, or Pittsburgh or even their work against Kentucky in a loss, they’ve underachieved in Puerto Rico, looked woeful at home in a loss to Loyola (Md.) and looked equally bad against Ohio State in Columbus this evening.
We wanted to look to the Michigan game as a sign this team has turned the corner, that they were going to be OK without Mo Creek. But they are young. Young teams will do that to you. They will emblazon your heart one moment with the promise of better things on the horizon, only to regress to a middle-school turnover fest the next.
If you watched the game this evening — IU’s first real road test of the season in a stadium that wasn’t even full and was pretty lifeless — you know what happened here. Turnovers were the story. Unforced, dribbled-off-the-leg turnovers. Fourteen in the first half, coupled with the length and athleticism of Ohio State’s man defense that left IU stagnant on the offensive end, and there was just no turning back. Christian Watford had six of those 14 turnovers in the first half. (IU finished with 24 for the game, by the way.) And where Devan Dumes came in and saved the day against Michigan last week, he instead air-balled a three upon his arrival.
Ohio State hit 5-of-10 threes and grabbed 12 points off all those turnovers in the first half, while IU ended it with their lowest point total of the season heading into the locker room (20).
Up 18 to start the second half, Ohio State got out in transition for a couple buckets early, and the lead eventually ballooned all the way to 32. Evan Turner was not needed this evening, that’s for sure.
IU just had no answers tonight. The road is always a tough journey in the Big Ten. Add in a young, inexperienced team to the mix, and it becomes that much harder.
THE GOOD: VJ3, FREE THROWS, TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY.
Can’t say enough about Verdell Jones. The kid brought it for 20 points against Michigan last week, and then topped it tonight, pouring in 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting, and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. IU was an impressive 14-of-17 from the line for 82.4 percent tonight as well.
You hate to see IU play like this, because you know they’re capable of so much more. But this team has proven so far that its a wildly inconsistent performer. Until they string solid performances on top of each other and don’t go into a dark regression again, it’s hard to gauge which IU team is going to show up on any given night.