Five takeaways from Indiana’s win at Penn State

  • 01/08/2013 11:18 am in

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Indiana started off 2013 with an impressive performance as the Hoosiers crushed Penn State 74-51 on Monday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. Here’s a look at five takeaways from IU’s fifth straight win:

· What road problems? Yes, Indiana finished 3-6 last year on the road in the Big Ten. But dating back to last season, the Hoosiers are now 4-1 over their last five true road games and comfortably dispatched of Penn State on Monday. The Nittany Lions might finish in the Big Ten’s cellar, but the win moved IU to 2-0 in the league and most impressive of all, the start to this game left little doubt on the eventual outcome. After trailing 3-2 following a 3-pointer from Brandon Taylor, IU reeled off a 13-0 run and maintained a comfortable margin the rest of the way. Two straight road wins to open the conference season will certainly build confidence from within that this group can continue to win away from Assembly Hall.

· An assertive Watford is a major plus: After IU’s win at Iowa, I wrote that Christian Watford wasn’t the difference in the win, but he was a critical factor. In State College, Watford was even more assertive offensively early than he was in Iowa City. In the game’s opening four minutes, Watford finished two plays at the rim (one of which resulted in a 3-point play) and also buried a 3-pointer. Watford has been criticized frequently for failing to finish plays around the basket, but his field goal percentage at the rim has increased from 54 percent last season to 58 percent so far this year. After failing to record a rebound in IU’s win over Florida Atlantic on Dec. 22, Watford now has 22 rebounds over his last three games.

· Indiana fills it up from the perimeter: It wasn’t nearly the performance put forth last January at Penn State, but IU used the 3-point line efficiently on Monday and it was a collective effort. In total, five different players connected from distance, including Jordan Hulls, who bounced back from an 0-for-10 performance from the field at Iowa. Victor Oladipo connected on his only 3-point attempt and is now at 47.8 percent on the season. Remy Abell continues to take the perimeter shot when it’s available and is now 12-of-20 from outside after shooting just 6-of-15 last season. In total, Indiana now has five players with eleven or more 3-pointers made and Will Sheehey owns the lowest percentage at 39.4.

· Who will emerge from the bench? It’s still a fair question to ask after IU didn’t really get much from the bench beyond the play of Sheehey (eight points, four rebounds) and Abell (seven points, two assists). Right now, Jeremy Hollowell looks the most comfortable of the group and the freshman from Indianapolis scored three points (all on free throws) and grabbed four rebounds in 10 minutes. He looks like a viable candidate to play some minutes at the four when the opposition goes small. Hanner Mosquera-Perea struggled to find any rhythm on Monday as the freshman from Colombia picked up three fouls in four first half minutes and finished with one rebound in eight minutes.

· Things to work on: It’s tough to find many faults in a 23-point win on the road in conference play, but there are a couple of things that could be of concern, particularly heading into Saturday’s game with Minnesota. Indiana allowed Penn State to grab 17 offensive rebounds for a OR% of 39.5, their second-worst mark of the season behind the loss at Butler. The Nittany Lions couldn’t convert the second chance opportunities they received, but that won’t be the story with the Golden Gophers, the country’s best offensive rebounding team. Also of note: IU had 17 turnovers, many of the unforced variety, and shot just 22-of-34 from the foul line for 64.7 percent.

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  • HoosierSammy

    Would I be alone in saying that I wouldn’t mind a few losses on the road if it came at the expense of more playing time for HMP and hollowell. Obviously you can’t lose in front of the home crown, but I mean if what is holding them back really is in game experience, then give them some in game experience! And what better experience to get than in front of some raucous crowds in say, Ohio state and Michigan state (two teams we can very well lose to on the road regardless of who plays) the gain we could see would definitely be worth it come March.

  • dtfreed

    Where was DE, hurt again?

  • I’d sure love to see IU get more consistent at the FT line. If they make 75%, they would have beaten Butler. Going forward, they’ve got to take those gimme’s, b/c OSU, Ill, Minn won’t be giving much else.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    23 point road win in the big ten, y’all. The rest is details. Seriously, no matter how bad a team is (and PSU was SHOCKINGLY bad), that is a good night’s work.

    We’ve got some stuff to work on (defensive rebounding is the big one for me), but that gives Crean something to scream about in practice.

    And, we’re not gonna be that sloppy Sat. These kids know Minny is tough, and they will be focused.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    23 point road win in the big ten, y’all. The rest is details. Seriously, no matter how bad a team is (and PSU was SHOCKINGLY bad), that is a good night’s work.

    We’ve got some stuff to work on (defensive rebounding is the big one for me), but that gives Crean something to scream about in practice.

    And, we’re not gonna be that sloppy Sat. These kids know Minny is tough, and they will be focused.

  • SCHoosier

    I think TC anticipates foul trouble in the Big…with our thin front line due to the inexperience and lack of court awareness by the freshman..a zone is probably going to have to be used at times..like it or not. IU played it so badly at Iowa..actual game practice was/is needed when possible.

  • IUMIKE1

    Well said. Have a very similar view.

    A win is a win but then again bad play is still bad play no matter what kind of spin someone puts on it.

  • IUMIKE1

    I don’t think playing time at the expense of us winning any game is worth doing that. I understand what you are saying as far as it being of paramount importance for them to get actual game time minutes and totally agree and that is why I didn’t understand why he didn’t play HMP every minute he could when he first came back and we were still eating cupcakes. In the Penn St. game, with the lead we had it seemed to me that he could have gotten several more minutes than he did. Yea, he had 3 fouls in a short amount of time but it seems like the primary concern would have been getting him minutes and if nothing else it seems like him playing with 3 or even 4 fouls would have served a dual purpose in getting him more minutes as well as learning to play with that many fouls.

  • IUMIKE1

    I don’t think playing time at the expense of us winning any game is worth doing that. I understand what you are saying as far as it being of paramount importance for them to get actual game time minutes and totally agree and that is why I didn’t understand why he didn’t play HMP every minute he could when he first came back and we were still eating cupcakes. In the Penn St. game, with the lead we had it seemed to me that he could have gotten several more minutes than he did. Yea, he had 3 fouls in a short amount of time but it seems like the primary concern would have been getting him minutes and if nothing else it seems like him playing with 3 or even 4 fouls would have served a dual purpose in getting him more minutes as well as learning to play with that many fouls.

  • IUMIKE1

    Agree. At the risk of sounding like I’m trying to single CW out, as I’m sure he was probably not the only one that done it, but I did notice CW a couple of times act like he didn’t really know if they were in zone or man to man. One time in particular he was so far away from his area / man, for no apparent reason, that he had no idea what was going on and it resulted in a wide open made 3 for them. Just like there is no substitute for actual game time minutes to make a player better there is not substitute for making a team better at playing a zone, or any other type of D for matter, than to do it in an actual game type setting.

  • IUMIKE1

    Noticed that he has quite the brace on as well. Hope his shin problems aren’t becoming a problem for him again. Wondering if that is maybe part of the reason for him not getting at least a few more minutes than he is. If it is he may very well be on a minute limit type of thing like some of the others have been.

  • IUMIKE1

    Noticed that he has quite the brace on as well. Hope his shin problems aren’t becoming a problem for him again. Wondering if that is maybe part of the reason for him not getting at least a few more minutes than he is. If it is he may very well be on a minute limit type of thing like some of the others have been.

  • IUMIKE1

    BOTH !

  • WhereIsIvanRenko

    There is a vast difference between shouldn’t make and shouldn’t take. He has had the tendency to force shots early in the shot clock in the past. He seems to be showing more restraint as of late.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    You are alone bro

  • RT

    Sure is nice to know you have a chance to win games even when we don’t play our best. Please don’t forget the not to distance past,,,,,,, Enjoy this team , they get better every game . GO IU