The Minute After: Evansville

Thoughts on a 94-73 road win over the Purple Aces:

SO MUCH FOR THAT

They said the Purple Aces would test the Hoosiers. They said this could be Indiana’s first loss. After all, Tom Crean’s crew hadn’t won on the road in its last 17 attempts. And these Purple Aces were coming off a win over Butler.

They were wrong.

Indiana got off to a strong start from the opening tip on Wednesday night inside the Ford Center and never looked back. In the first 20 minutes, Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey shut down Colt Ryan. Christian Watford, Verdell Jones, Jordan Hulls and Cody Zeller did the scoring. By half, they were up by 24. And though the second half wasn’t as crisp and got sloppy at times, the Hoosiers finished the night with a 21-point victory.

This team played with confidence. With hunger. With a chip on it shoulder. With strong shooting (65.3 eFG%), ball sharing (24 assists on 33 baskets) and defense. Three wins. Zero losses. On to the next one.

THERE’S CHRISTIAN

Watford failed to shoot well in Indiana’s first two games coming off injury, but Crean told the media after Sunday’s Chattanooga game he wasn’t worried.

And tonight, he came through for his coach. Watford got into the action early with two scores around the rim and also hit a couple threes. For the evening, the Alabama native finished with 15 points (5-of-7, 2-of-3 from three) and eight boards.

Another game, another guy stepping up and shooting lights out for the Hoosiers.

III

Jones hasn’t gotten enough love in this space. But he’s a big reason why the Hoosiers’ offense has looked strong this season. He’s not forcing the issue or doing more than he has to. And he’s finding the open man time and again. The senior dished out a team-high seven assists tonight to go along with a team-high 17 points, which was aided by a perfect 4-of-4 mark from beyond the arc.

SCATTERED THOUGHTS …

+ Hulls continues to shoot with efficiency (5-of-7, 2-of-3 from three for 14 points) and it was nice to see him taking it to the rack for some easy buckets when it was there for him this evening.

+ The Hoosiers didn’t struggle to get Zeller involved tonight (14 points on 6-of-7 shooting, nine boards), and he even seemed a bit more assertive himself, dunking with authority on a few occasions and showing off a nice score with his left hand in the first half. You wonder if he had a little more energy playing just 45 minutes away from Washington with what was reportedly a strong contingent of hometown fans — including his mom and dad — making the trip to see him.

+ Too early to start discussing this team’s ceiling? Anyone at least locating their dancing shoes at this juncture?

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    He’s definitely better in his first three games than his brothers!!!  I think we got the best Zeller . . . that’s a very, very good thing!!!

  • Anonymous

    Evansville has a contract with ESPN through their conference, and ESPN decided to put it on ESPN3.

  • Anonymous

    Think how good we would be if we had Guy. Zeller and Guy in the paint? No one would go there.

  • MikeinNC

    If everyone can stay disciplined on defense and play within themselves on offense, there is no reason this team cannot go 11-2 in non-conference and 9-9 in conference to squeak into the tournament at 21-11.  They have so many weapons on offense as long as nobody tries to do too much, and they really seem committed to hard nosed defense (finally walking the talk). 

  • Anonymous

    Yes I think that is the cold truth.  But, he needs to be ready.  Cody will be in foul trouble once IU faces the “home cookin” at some of the big ten road games.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Even when he gets rebounds just inside the block he takes too long to get the shot off and guys with ZERO athletic ability block his shot from behind.  He either needs to use a pump fake or just put it up quickly without taking the time to load and jump . . . because he’s all load and no jump!!! 

    Man, he’s a slow leaper!

  • Anonymous

    I am with you on that!

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately “all load and no jump” is right on.

  • Anonymous

    My advice to him, and I know he isn’t asking & won’t be asking, would be to do the Michael Jordon jump attack workout next off season or even this season if he is able to fit it in somehow. The guy that invented it was one of Jordan’s personal trainers at one time and in it he explains that you have two types of muscles in your legs one to just jump and another one, and these are the ones that the workout develops, that is essential in being able to jump quicker and higher, eg going higher for a rebound and jumping back up with it quicker and higher or exploding quicker on your jump shot. I have personally seen more than just one or two players that done the workout correctly and completely and it had pretty amazing results. Every single one that I’ve seen do it says it has helped them more than anything that they have ever done. I’m sure the IU strength coach knows what he is doing and it may be a case that he has done it or something very similar and it didn’t help him or maybe it did and what we see is an improvement over what it would be had he not done it. (Scary thought)

  • Anonymous

    The 99%ers part got me to thinking maybe we should take a page out of the occupy wallstreet people’s book and start a ” occupy ESPN ” movement cause they definitely are all about making money by intentionally screwing people over for one reason and one reason only and that being to make a dollar. 

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