What to watch for in Indiana’s exhibition finale

  • 11/09/2015 10:31 am in

Indiana’s final exhibition tune up tips off tonight in Assembly Hall as the Hoosiers host Bellarmine University. 

The game will be broadcast live on BTN Plus at 7 p.m. ET and replayed on BTN on Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET. In lieu of our traditional game previews which focus heavily on the opponent, here’s a look at what to watch for as the Hoosiers take the floor against the Knights:

· Progress from issues in game one: Indiana won its first exhibition game comfortably over the University of Ottawa, but there were plenty of correctable problems.

Most notable? Turnovers. Indiana had 19 last Tuesday for a turnover percentage of 26.4. One reason Indiana was able to make a leap offensively last season was its ability to limit mistakes. The Hoosiers were such an efficient shooting team that avoiding turnovers typically led to high percentage looks.

Indiana also gave up some uncontested looks in the first half against Ottawa that it will need to clean up as Bellarmine has attempted 22 3s per contest through its first two exhibition games. The Gee-Gees were unable to capitalize from distance last week, but the Hoosiers need to do a better job of closing out on shooters and rotating on defense.

· How does Indiana handle Bellarmine’s size? No, the Knights aren’t super imposing on the front line, but there’s enough size on Scott Davenport’s roster to potentially cause problems.

Bellarmine will likely start a 6-foot-10 center and a 6-foot-8 power forward, which is more size than your typical exhibition trots out. It’s also an adjustment from the first exhibition game against Ottawa, which really had no answer for Indiana on the offensive glass. The Hoosiers grabbed 50 percent of their misses and will need to be even more relentless to have a repeat performance in their final tuneup before Friday.

“Bellarmine will be extremely physical,” Tom Crean said. “They are a great screening team. It continues to prepare you for the different things you are going to see from a team that is very committed to their half-court offense and defense.”

· Lineup, rotation watch: Indiana went with more size in its starting lineup against Ottawa with Robert Johnson coming off the bench, Troy Williams shifting to the 3 and Max Bielfeldt starting alongside Thomas Bryant.

Crean has said he’s not married to a particular starting lineup, so changes early in the season could be more based on matchups than anything else.

With only three regular season games on the schedule before the Hoosiers depart for Maui, will Crean look to establish a fairly defined rotation sooner rather than later? Freshman O.G. Anunoby got an early look against Ottawa, but saw limited minutes due to foul trouble.

And keeping Johnson coming off the bench along with Nick Zeisloft to back up James Blackmon Jr. and Yogi Ferrell gives the Hoosiers a more balanced guard rotation given that walk-on Harrison Niego is the only other true guard option on the roster. How will Johnson adjust to a change in his role after starting all of last season? Given his maturity, he seems as well equipped as anyone to handle the change.

Filed to:

  • I am so sorry and mean no disrespect, but every time I read or hear O.G.’s name my mind starts screaming, “OB One Kenobi!!”, I’m not even a Star Trek fan. Well, I feel a lot better sharing that hang-up and I do plan to get help..

  • CreamandCrimson

    These three things all make sense to me. I’ll be paying particular attention to the turnovers (and the nature of each turnover…can Troy play more in control? Are they turnovers from going too fast? etc.), the defense (Bellarmine was at or below 60 against two quality defensive programs, what do they do against IU?) and whether or not any trends begin to develop from game number 1. I hope IU gets to the foul line more often and manages to get Bryant as many looks as we did against Ottawa. If he continues to get 16 shots, I really like his chances to put double-doubles every night.

  • HoosierStuckInKY

    Prepare for Star Trek/Star Wars geek out in 5…4…3…2..1…

  • SilentBob

    Feel a bit uneasy about this game. These guys aren’t going to be timid. I saw an interview of their coach after the Louisville loss and I believe he said they returned 11 players from their final four run last year? They’ve already played Louisville and Cincinatti, so I don’t think Assembly Hall will make them too nervous. They stayed close with Louisville most the game I believe and ended up with 55 against what I imagine was another stout Pitino defense. If we can keep them around the same number I’ll be happy.

    Some things I’m looking for

    – Roberts defense. His looked easily the most improved in the first game, I wonder how he will look against bigger opponents. Also I thought Nick did a pretty good job against Ottawa of fighting trough some screens, hope to see that continue.

    – whether Crean will continue to mix and match lineups, and how we look with Bryant off the floor against good size.

    – how well Thomas finishes around the basket tonight after a few bloops against Ottawa.

    – whether the other two scholarship freshmen fit in a little better tonight and who gets the most court time of the two.

    – and how do we defend some of the back door cuts. I said this in another comment, but Ottawa got some nice ones against us. Some of which we erased with superior size and athleticism. That won’t be as big of an advantage tonight.

  • Ms hoosier

    Is the game gonna be on IU radio network?

  • Dagwoods

    I heard Bellarmine plays good fundamental half court basketball. It will be interesting to see if we can force teams like this to play at our tempo.

  • SilentBob

    I believe so

  • Bill Graham

    A lot of our guys should see mins in this one. I can’t wait to see how the freshman perform. Fingers crossed for a Thriller three or two.

  • Bill Graham

    Well put. I’d like to see us cut down on the turnovers. I’d also like to see more of Bielfeldt (I still haven’t figured him out). Also can our front court stay out of foul trouble since they have size?

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    Where is Obi 2 Kanabi

  • cooper

    What I’ll be watching for:

    Oh wait I won’t because BTN is garbage and wants me to pay $10 for crap picture and crappier announcers. No thank you.

    Sure this will be a walkover which is what is should be. Nice to see a win by 40-50