What to watch for: Indiana in Montreal

  • 07/31/2014 12:30 pm in

Indiana begins a five-game tour over six days in Montreal, Canada (with one game in Ottawa) on Aug. 8 which will be the first foreign trip for the program since 2007. Here’s a look at five things we’ll be watching for on the trip:

· How will Indiana respond to adversity? The last Indiana foreign trip in 2007 to the Bahamas resulted in three lopsided victories by an average margin of close to 60 points. This group of Hoosiers will be playing a much more difficult slate of games against some of the best teams in Canada, including Carleton University and Ottawa University, who faced off last spring for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) title.

It’s not a matter of if Indiana will face adversity in several of these games, it’s a matter of how they will respond. With only two returning upperclassmen and seven new scholarship players, it’ll be interesting to see how quickly chemistry can begin to form against solid competition.

“I’m really anxious to see who is real up when we are playing well and who gets real down when we are not playing well,” IU coach Tom Crean said earlier this month. “And then you’ve got to have guys that can impact the game on both ends of the floor.”

· Our first look at James Blackmon Jr.: Indiana fans have followed James Blackmon Jr. since the summer before his freshman year of high school and now the Fort Wayne native is set to make his debut in an IU uniform. Blackmon Jr. looks like a pretty safe bet to start from day one as a Hoosier, but his impact on other perimeter players could be a major storyline this season.

Much has been made about Blackmon Jr.’s ability to score in a variety of ways. He can score off the dribble using a floater, with a pull-up, off the catch on the perimeter, in transition and also going to the basket in the halfcourt. But how will his game make it easier for other IU perimeter players to be effective? Will he take some of the scoring load off of Yogi Ferrell and allow him to become more of a distributor? Will his ability to space the floor open up more driving lanes for Stanford Robinson and Troy Williams? And how will he and Robert Johnson complement each other?

· How will Hanner Mosquera-Perea respond to major minutes? We went in-depth on Mosquera-Perea’s role a couple of weeks ago, but Montreal will afford us the first opportunity to see the type of offseason progress he’s made to date. With several months still to go before meaningful games are played, his performance in Montreal shouldn’t be judged too heavily one way or the other, but getting him reps as a main rotation cog has to be viewed as a major priority on the trip.

We know that Crean has praised Mosquera-Perea’s progress with his physique, but we’ll be watching things like his turnover rate and his fouls, both of which were major problems for him as a sophomore in limited minutes.

“We need his consistency,” Crean said of Mosquera-Perea in early June. “It’s no more fun and games, now it’s time for you to lock in and mature and not anymore talk, let’s get at it.”

· A glimpse of Indiana’s “unconventional” style: When Crean met with media at Huber Winery in early June, he noted that he wasn’t sure how Indiana would play other than it would be “unconventional.” With individual workouts over the summer and 10 practices to prepare specifically for the trip, we’ll get our first glimpse at things like rotations, how Indiana will utilize the post, how Indiana will use its new shooters and more.

We know that Indiana doesn’t have a big man that is going to command the ball often in the post, so how will that change the offense? Rotation wise, is Indiana going to go small often and use Williams at the four? And without a proven, efficient scorer around the basket, how will the Hoosiers generate easy offense and not become too reliant on the 3-pointer? These are all potential items to track in Canada.

· Our first look at Tim Priller, Jeremiah April and Nick Zeisloft: Blackmon Jr. and Johnson are familiar names to Indiana fans who follow recruiting and Max Hoetzel became more familiar as last season moved along. But Tim Priller, Jeremiah April and transfer Nick Zeisloft are all relative unknowns to fans and media alike.

These five exhibitions should provide insight into each player, each of which has the opportunity to bring a little something different. For Priller, it’s size and shooting. For April, it’s the potential to add frontcourt depth behind Mosquera-Perea and Devin Davis. And for Zeisloft, it’s shooting, defense and leadership, three things that Crean discussed when the program announced his addition earlier this summer.

Filed to:

  • Charlie Semar

    Will any of those games be televised?

  • dffggtyrtwe

    just as Leonard answered I am taken by surprise that a single mom can make $7907 in a few weeks on the internet . check my source …………. P????P.???

  • dffggtyrtwe

    good

  • No television.

  • HoosierHysteria5

    Nope.

  • SCHoosier

    Don’t tell me Max has decommitted? No mention just an oversight I assume?:)My 3 main questions (which you’ve covered: 1) How much have our returning players improved their games in the off season 2) Can Perea be a factor for this team or not? 3) W ill Max, Tim, JA or Nick be a serious contributor this year?

  • Tom Jeffries

    I wanna see how well IU can take care of the ball

  • iubase

    look forward to seeing the Hoosiers live in Montreal. I feel this team will be stronger than last due to the hardships faced last yr. The outside shooting should be a strong suit and with Stan, Troy and Yogi penetrating the lane it should be fun to watch. HMP is a key. Hope CTC is patient with him since he needs quality time on the floor to develop his skill set.

  • Which games are you going to?

  • Alex,
    Will we have any coverage at all? Maybe we all could donate to send a reporter to give us play by play via twitter. I can’t give much but I’d be glad to contribute to this cause. I’m starved for IU basketball right now.

  • inLinE6

    Glad to be able to at least watch one game live. It’s been a long time.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    Well, I’m not expecting much accomplishment or polish this early in the year. This team will barely have any practice time under their belts to achieve much. No, what I’m really psyched about is the fact that these foreign “tours” allow up to 10 extra practices – plus of course whatever games they play – above and beyond the normal season’s slate. So it’s good additional experience all around. And that’s good, given Hanner’s need to develop further and the fact that a freshman – JBJ – is expected to do very well from the start.

    I’m loathe to say that last season’s experience could be determinant on this upcoming year’s accomplishments, but let’s be honest: The possibility that it’ll be a morale killer is the spectre at the feast. Such worries can haunt all but the strongest of will. As the saying goes, nothing beats getting back in the saddle to overcome adversity, so in my mind, the ultimate benefit of this trip is that the more games they play, the “further” in the past last season will feel to them. Any little thing to help them get further away from that will mean a lot. And this is the benefit I’m ultimately hoping for: To see this early start pay off come conference and tourney time.

    Early investment for later payoff. What I’m watching for won’t hit until December or January.

  • And One

    Yes: the extra practices will be huge, and playing these games, against decent teams with little pressure and no expectations, is just what these guys need.

  • marcusgresham

    He’s mentioned in the next to last paragraph

  • SCHoosier

    Thanks guess I need to get committed to reading with my glasses):

  • kaponya44

    Whatever happens , you want it to happen now, so it can either be integrated or addressed before the games count.There will be positives and negatives to take away but the experience will go down as a positive in the end if the team comes away with the basic framework to develop an identity.The 5 game slate could contribute to some early season momentum and maybe an upset or two later on down the road.This is also where Yogi’s international experience last summer could play a helpful role.

  • Bryce Kepner

    You should get some video for all of us!

  • Bryce Kepner

    Not just “decent” teams..one of the teams they are playing beat Wisconsin last year and only lost to Syracuse by 5.

  • And, I believe that Syracuse game was OT…

  • CreamandCrimson

    Obviously, this trip can be hugely beneficial for our Hoosiers and it comes at a great time. The results don’t matter but there will certainly be plenty of interesting “subplots” to track and take note of. A big “thanks in advance” to Alex and company for what I am sure will be excellent coverage from Canada!

    I’m looking forward to hear about:
    -The freshman + Zeisloft…how are they fitting in? How are they currently being used (which could change significantly by November)?
    -How is Troy being used and is he “making the leap” as we hoped?
    -As Alex rightly pointed out, how does Hanner respond to major minutes?
    -How well are Yogi and Blackmon Jr. meshing together?

    I’m excited to have some actual basketball to discuss (it’s been a bit dead around here recently and I think everyone is just waiting for some non-recruiting speculation to jump back in). As long as this team learns some things, improves and stays healthy, it will be a really valuable experience that should help us come November.

  • ForeverIU

    In reference to your question about Troy, this is a recent tweet from CTC:

    My man @troywilliams can always rock an outfit just like he rocks the rim. His game is advancing everyday.

    He posted a picture of Troy with a funky outfit, lol.

  • Guyton25

    This will be the first glimpse at a dynamite IU team. I think most people are sleeping on us because they’re sleeping on Perea. He’s been behind Zeller and Vonleh, and got less minutes than those roles called for. I think Perea will explode this season with Yogi and Blackmon on the perimeter. Devin Davis looked solid as all get out last year as well. Not to mention Hanner and Devin’s blocking ability..

    We’ll have a ridiculously athletic team with just as much outside firepower. The answer to the big question is: our inside game (on both sides of the floor) will be on par with the rest of the league, with a few subpar games as well as a few strong ones.

  • iubase

    I will be at the sunday game vs Ottawa at Champlain college – saint lambert.

  • iubase

    I can try but this is not my strong suit. Can give an overview of the game. Looking forward to seeing the new crop of players.

  • N71

    People are sleeping on Hanner because he has been sleeping. I agree with your thrust though, Hanner is critical. Guard and wing play will be covered, there’s enough of them that a couple or a few will rise to the challenge. Hanner is our only gifted big so if he doesn’t rise we’re sunk. That value pack coffee I picked up at Big Lots is doing some odd things this morning.

  • KmanCRK

    At this early point in the season, I just want to hear that:
    – we out hustled the hell out of them.
    – we were tenacious on D
    – our group rebounding was very effective.
    We know we have shooters and a great PG. I care more about the hustle stats and whether or not Hanner is a big part of that. Also I guess it would be nice to hear we only had 5 Turnovers per game.
    Effort & heart will always mask deficiencies. I want to hear that we are hungry.

  • Snookafly

    I can’t wait to go. I’m heading out tomorrow night. It’ll finally be nice to get some gauge of how we’re playing together and how the new parts are fitting in.

  • ForeverIU

    Take your iPhone and make sure the camera’s working, lol. Can’t wait to read your take.

  • Alford Bailey

    You and I are usually on the same page. Can’t wait to here your opinion on what you see.

  • Alford Bailey

    Off subject but we made Kenny Williams final list. Go reel him in Tommy.

  • ForeverIU

    My guess is we get Shake Milton and Juwan Morgan (especially if they insist on being a package deal), and UNC gets Kenny Williams. It sounds like CTC would also like O.G. Anunoby if he can beat Iowa to him.