Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Chicago State

  • 11/09/2013 10:50 am in

In its 2013-2014 season opener on Friday night in Assembly Hall in front of an announced sellout crowd, Indiana crushed Chicago State, 100-72.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from Indiana’s first win:

· The kids can play: It would be unwise to draw conclusions from a guarantee game in early November, but now that we’ve had a chance to see a healthy sample of IU’s freshman class, it is fair to say that Tom Crean assembled a well-rounded group. Without going in-depth on any specific player, this class brings athleticism, length and an urgency to attack. There will be plenty of bumps in the road for this group as it learns to play against more disciplined opponents that don’t commit fouls at such an alarming rate, but there’s no denying that this class has the talent to eventually mold into something special.

· Vonleh establishes himself early: Noah Vonleh didn’t waste any time inserting himself into the fray in his debut. The freshman from Haverhill (Mass.) scored Indiana’s first five points, including a layup in which he was fouled and also hit the free throw. In total, Vonleh’s line was impressive: 11 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks, two turnovers and an assist in 22 minutes. He also hit all five of his free throw attempts after going 0-for-8 in the preseason. Vonleh is currently Indiana’s best option to start at the five and putting him there gives the Hoosiers a starting unit that features five guys who can handle the ball. The soft spoken, humble freshman offered this assessment of his night: “I’m going to keep working hard and getting better and hopefully I can keep getting double doubles.”

· Indiana is still learning to use its length despite blocking 13 shots: The Hoosiers nearly tied a school record for blocks in a game last night and this group is still in the infancy stages of learning how to use length to its advantage. Many of the blocks came off of pure ability and had nothing to do with IU’s positioning, which speaks to how long this group is and also how much room for improvement remains. Crean was encouraged with his young team’s progress from the exhibitions to the opener, but knows there’s far more he can get out of this group defensively. “I think it’s certainly got the capabilities (of blocking a lot of shots), and I don’t think we’re even challenged,” he said. “I’m more concerned about the shot challenges especially on the perimeter, I should say. But I thought from game one to game two in the exhibition season, we really did a better job with our length. Not just because the deflections are up, but I thought we played longer.”

· Depth could turn into one of this team’s primary strengths: As Crean has noted for several years, depth isn’t defined by how many guys see the floor. It’s defined by being able to go to your bench without a significant drop off. Last season, Indiana didn’t have that luxury as guys like Derek Elston, Maurice Creek and Remy Abell were too inconsistent. How deep these Hoosiers will go once into the bench once the meat of the schedule arrives remains to be seen, but there are nine or ten guys who are in the early mix for rotation minutes. The most impressive bench cog last night was Devin Davis, who scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds in his first game.

· 19 turnovers isn’t so bad when you consider the pace: IU had 19 turnovers, a figure that stands out when you examine the box score. A traditional box doesn’t show possessions though. IU had 86 possessions last night, which is seven more than it had in any non-conference game last season and 12 more than it had in any Big Ten game. That equates to a turnover percentage of 22 (the same figure the Hoosiers had in last year’s opener), which isn’t awful for a team that is constantly trying to run. Obviously the pace isn’t indicative of what’s to come the rest of the way as things will most definitely slow down, but in the context of how this game was played, IU wasn’t overly careless with the ball.

Filed to:

  • BostonHoosier

    Not sure if we have an Elias sports connection here, but is IU is the only team in CBB history to score 100 points without hitting a single midrange shot? 52 points in the paint, 45 free throws, and one three pointer last night.

  • kingoflucerne .

    I still can’t believe that stat line…1 3pter all night. IU has a long history of living and dying by the 3. I’m sure this team will take their 3s when they need to, but to have several threats in the starting five and on the bench that can take it to the hole will keep defenses honest. This is definitely gonna be a fun year for me to watch, but will probably give my Grandpa a heart attack.

  • SCHoosier

    Given how the B-10 teams like to pack the paint on D..we’d better find a 3 pt game before then. I know TC will take advantage of the cupcakes to get out and run..but that opportunity will come to a screaching halt when we play SYRA in the Dome. Lot to like with these young Hoosiers..and a lot to improve on when it comes to half court b-ball.

  • kris

    Yeah, we obviously have a dropoff this year in terms of pure shooters on the team. I suspect some kids will step up at times, but mostly that Crean will have this athletic group try to take advantage of the new NCAA hand-checking rules.

    This team can get to the basket and with the rule change, it will be harder for teams to defend against that. It’s our strength and Crean will likely try to exploit it, which could help open up some shooters on the outside.

  • WisconHoosier

    If we had hit 45 three pointers, and one free throw, we’d have finished with 188 points. So there’s room for improvement…

  • Hoosier73

    That’s what’s so exciting looking forward to next year when JBJ and the other long-range sharp-shooters come in. I hope JV stays another year, because that team would have all the weapons it needs inside and out to hang another banner. But it’s still going to be fun this year.

  • chiswede

    How many jump shots do you think we took in that game? Less than 15?

  • Kyl470

    Less shooters this year, but more athletes. But I’ve always said it’s easier for guy like Troy Williams to improve his jump shot than it is for a guy like Jordan Hulls to develop a 42 inch vertical.

  • Ole Man

    I’d like to see more of Colin and AE in some of these early games. Let’s see if we can develop a deep threat.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I agree. Now is the time to see if AE at least can step out and knock down shots but he doesn’t seem to be looking his shot in the least.

  • mk

    i agree. i don’t think they should see extended minutes but when they are on the floor lets get em look and see if they can toss a couple in.

  • mk

    *get em A look

  • IULore

    So much THIS!

  • dingo

    really speaks to the kind of work ethic Noah has when he goes 0-8 from the line and then the very next game hits all 5 free throw attempts.

  • Ole Man

    Let’s hope CTC is telling him to look for his shot more often.

  • Eric Kinman

    The depth of our current team makes me realize why guys like Remy opted to leave. I like him, but his playing time would have been seriously limited.

  • PBzeer

    Given the rule changes, I wonder if this isn’t a good year to have a bunch of freshmen who aren’t used to the physical style defense of the Big 10? Seems like it would be easier to teach, when they don’t have to “unlearn” a year or two under the old rules.

  • marcusgresham

    Totally agree EXCEPT for the fact that, by the time conference play begins, I’d bet the refereeing is back to about the same way it’s always been and the Aaron Crafts of the world will be allowed to resume their fondlefests with no repercussions.

  • PBzeer

    Given the wussified nature of the NCAA when it comes to referees, you probably are correct. Especially when the games start taking 3+ hours. Be nice to see them stick with the new rules though.

  • hoosier1158

    Remy didn’t leave because he didn’t think would get any playing time. He needed to get his shot formation squared up with the basket. He had the size, strength and athleticism to play. IMO anyways..


    Excellent point. I’ve probably been one Troy’s biggest backers on here and still am but with that said his jump shot for sure needs some improvement.


    Agree as well. While it’s a limited sample to look at I feel like AE has passed on more than one or two good looks from behind the arc. To me that seems really odd since he surely knows that that is one of the biggest things that is going to get him minutes and it’s shots that he didn’t pass on when we several other good outside shooters.

  • TomJameson

    Bet that shot improvement will be part of his sophomore leap! At least I hope so. If he’s as hard of a worker as I’ve heard, he’s going to improve tremendously for 2014.

  • TomJameson

    It totally sucks that Craft got a free ride for the “old” hand-check rules. It would be a shame if they let him get away with it again under the new rules. But I bet you’re right, the focus will relax, especially in cases when it applies to the Crafts of the world. 🙁

  • Andrew

    I’ve been thinking the same thing. It’s easy for refs to enforce the rules against Chicago State in November. It’s an entirely different thing when Bo Ryan and Thad the Nose and John Groce, etc etc etc are in your ear over every single touch foul.

  • Doug Wilson

    He said he left in search of playing time, Just saying!

  • HoosierTrav

    What a weird game. Yogi misses all of his 3’s and Vonleh hits all of his free throws. Going to be a crazy season. This season isn’t going to be the year we hang #6, obviously, but we have the chance to make some noise come tourney time and develop the confidence to make a serious run next year.

  • HoosierTrav

    Exactly. If the refs are calling these games the way we are supposed to, the typical B1G style of defense will mean charity stripe opportunities for us. I’m not terribly concerned about our shooting from behind the arc quite yet. We wont have a Jordy tyee shooter until next year, but Yogi, Will, and Jeremy will do just fine out there. Noah can stroke it from 3 as well.

  • CreanFaithful

    He’s gotten looks. On a few occasions he got the ball while the defense was in zone with an opportunity to either go straight up with the shot or continue to swing the ball around the horn. What did he choose? Neither. Shot fake, allowing the defense to catch back up and forcing the offense to reset. He has to correct that.

  • hoosier1158

    I didn’t say he left to work on his jump shot. He was one of those guys that would shot and not be squared up to the basket, i think that hurt his shooting percentage a bit. I was just stating i thought that was something he needed to work on.

  • hoosier1158

    I wonder how that notion got in his head? That is how you make room when you over-sign.