The Minute After: Eastern Illinois

  • 11/13/2015 10:01 pm in

Thoughts on a 88-49 win over the Panthers:

After a closer, more challenging than usual exhibition finale Monday against Bellarmine, Indiana stepped on the gas and ran over Eastern Illinois in their season opener.

The Hoosiers entered the locker room at half up 49-17 on the strength of a 21-1 run and never really looked back, save for a bit of a sluggish and sloppy start in the second half. They dominated the boards, rebounding a comical 63.6 of their misses, which led to 26 second chance points. Eastern Illinois, meanwhile, rebounded just 14.3 percent of their missed shots and scored only one second chance point. IU’s athleticism and size was just too much for the Panthers all night.

James Blackmon Jr. had himself a game. His 17 points (7-of-13) in 21 minutes led the Hoosiers. He added seven boards as well. But most importantly, he defended. Like his backcourt mates Robert Johnson and Yogi Ferrell, he’s getting up in the defender’s space well out past the perimeter. During one stretch in the first half, he appeared to alter a runner that didn’t hit the rim and later recorded a steal.

It’s just one game against Eastern Illinois, but this was the most encouraging takeaway from the opener. If Blackmon Jr. pours in points like he’s known to do and defending at a respectable level? Watch out.

Thomas Bryant’s energy continues to impress. It appears Indiana’s plan is to establish their talented freshman early on the right mid-post. It worked tonight. Bryant drew a number of fouls on Eastern Illinois as the Panthers had trouble with his size and activity. But it’s not his only area on the court. Bryant scored on and up and under off the left block in the second half. He tried driving off the top of the key as well, but drew an offensive foul.

And in his most emphatic score of the night, Bryant dunked it home off a pick and roll, drawing a technical for taunting afterwards. He finished the night with 11 points and nine boards (five offensive).

Indiana is still struggling with the 3-ball a bit (9-of-27, 33 percent). Yogi Ferrell’s 3-pointer made streak was even in question at one point, though he ended up knocking one home with 6:11 to go to extend his nation-leading streak to 66 games with a made trey. Robert Johnson had little trouble with his 3-point shot tonight, however.

His new shooting style is looking nice and he knocked down 4-of-6 from distance and finished with 12 points. Having Johnson coming off the bench with his defense and ability to both handle and shoot the ball is a nice luxury in Tom Crean’s rotation.

Max Bielfeldt looked more in place as a bench contributor for the Hoosiers tonight. He grabbed eight rebounds, had a couple nice buckets (3-of-3), got to the line (4-of-6) and finished with 11 points in 15 minutes of action.

Indiana’s defense overall was again encouraging, as it held the Panthers to just .72 points per possession and an effective field goal percent of only 38 percent. There’s just more commitment and effort across the board. Despite the weaker competition and the early juncture, I think we can safely say the defense is better than a season ago. But just how much better is still unclear.

We got a Tim Priller bucket. The Hoosiers are 1-0. Basketball is back and it feels good.

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  • Sowapatch

    Best signs that not everyone will have noticed, especially if you weren’t there:

    1) Increased effort on defense from JBJ and Troy. Specifically, jumping into the passing lanes at the 8:30 and 6:45 marks in the first half. These guys are trying to make plays, not just sagging off.

    2) Constant “soft pressure” on the PG bringing the ball up from Yogi, RBJ, JBJ, etc… Cannot be understated. With only a 30 second shot clock, making the point guard work for 7 seconds to get it across helps the whole defensive effort.

    3) OG. One of those games where the stats don’t say anything close to actual performance. Kid looked engaged, versatile, and ready to play. While Juwan looked a little lost, a half step behind, and disengaged, OG was active on the boards, in the passing lanes, and setting screens. Long run, we need one of OG and Juwan to step up and quick big time quality minutes.

    4) A few instances of specific plays being drawn up (think Yogi 3 pointer and Juwan bringing the ball up the floor (?) only to have a wide open JBJ backdoor) and working. Crean showed glimpses of half court offense.

    5) TB’s energy. Kid loves to play and looks like he loves IU.

    Only one game, but damn. Complete effort.

  • OhioHoosier

    Great performance from many, and I do not want to draw on a negative but I noticed it both exhibitions as well: Yogi’s shot looks different, there is a slight hitch and it is making his shots much flatter. He is incredible and will be fine but I wanted to know if anyone else who has been at the games has noticed the same thing.

    Side note: Thomas Bryant’s energy is infectious, I love it.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Wisconsin and Illinois both loss. Wow!

  • straight no chaser

    LOL, my test run of my Bo Ryan voodoo doll worked!

  • TomJameson

    You need to get a calapari doll going!

  • straight no chaser

    For recruiting season!

  • disqus_4UbWP6rS24

    I haven’t watched the game yet, but wanted to mention for those who didn’t see Maker’s ESPN interview today that he listed six schools. Arizona St, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Notre Dame, and St Johns.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    I watched it and he mentioned that he is ” pretty sure” he will attend college.

  • dwdkc

    Liked what I saw from Max. He muscled to some boards that wouldn’t be there in the Big 10 but he has a solid game that will translate to top competition. Pretty nice touch down low too on putbacks. I think we know exactly what we will get from him which is just what will be needed as frontline depth. Wasn’t as happy with Troy–I hope he leashes some of those drives to nowhere against better competition. Was hoping for more control this year. Collin will be better when he has his legs back under his shot 100%. Nice shooting from RJ tonight but I noticed at least 3 TOs; he needs to tighten that up. Really good overall effort on D against a team with a few guys who can score. Still some work for the coaches to do to give Duke a good game.

  • UCLA, too.

  • Arch Puddington

    Excellent post, thanks for the insight. It was apparent even from Don Fischer’s radio call that OG stepped up. I was at the Ottawa game, and while he didn’t look BAD, he did look like a freshman. It’s exciting to think he may already be making progress. Morgan looked to me exactly as you describe him here, but his time will come. We will likely see both for four years, and that is a good thing.

    As for the defense, my sense is that both RJ and Troy have both improved. I’ll have to be convinced about JBJ, not because I don’t think he works hard, but because I am just not sure he has the foot speed and instincts to be a truly excellent defender. But I am willing to be convinced, and will gladly acknowledge that I underestimated him if and when that day arrives.

    I am not as critical of the cupcakes as some here are, but I will say this: I am excited to see us in action against top competition. A few more warm-ups and we’ll see where we really are.

  • marcusgresham

    And UCLA

  • Arch Puddington

    NC State and Texas as well.

  • gm

    just a litte observation regarding onunoby’s sartorial choices: whats up with the shorts? they look like they’re pinned to be higher. if dude wants shorter shorts then by all means get him a pair, don’t make him pin them.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Very encouraging performance against a lowly opponent. Holding any team to under 20 points in a half is an accomplishment. Hey, we also got a Priller bucket!

  • Can’t wait to watch the replay tomorrow, and I’ll be paying particular attention to JBJ on defense. I was struggling for the right word to describe his performance in the exhibitions–if not “lazy,” then maybe “listless” or “passive.” He didn’t seem to be making the effort (actually, on offense as well in the second game). I remember during one or two B1G games last year (maybe the tourney game against NW?) he showed that he can play aggressive defense, and so I know he has it in him. Maybe he’ll realize that his pro career depends on it, and he’ll start exerting himself every game.

  • IUMIKE1

    My keyboard just told me that you are it’s best friend. lol

  • Ole Man

    Just an opinion….way to early to be nitpicking on Troy.
    Totally agree on Duke.

  • IUMIKE1

    In case you haven’t been told, a successful criminalapari voodoo doll is to be used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with no exceptions. A chance to bash someone so deserving of being bashed always makes my keyboard spring to life.

    I would also like to say, that a certain calislimy voodoo doll owner could very well find a bottle of fine scotch suddenly appearing if he was open to allowing a certain someone to stick some of the needles into the eyes of said doll. Just throwin’ that out there. lol

  • IUMIKE1

    Or as sure as a foreign 18 year old bball phenom that is going to be making millions of dollars before real long and that is controlled by an American handler can be anyway.

  • straight no chaser

    Ha, it sounds like you might have an enchanted keyboard. I’ll leave Calipari to you. How’s that for a team, fellow Hoosier? I, on the other hand, have to be very frugal with my powers, or else they cease to work. And they work best on fellow warlocks! LOL.

  • IUMIKE1

    LOL I’m thinking that putting the kabosh on Calicheat is going to require a total team effort. Not gonna get the upper hand on “he who coaches Satan’s team” by myself.

  • straight no chaser

    I’ll choke the recruiting pipeline. Should make your job a lot easier!

  • Arch Puddington

    Your keyboard and I go way back.

  • Troy Scott

    I see the same Troy as last year. He’s not ready,for the next level. He can only dunk! He stil plays out of control and can’t hit the ocean with a rock if he’s more than 2ft away.

  • I think were undefeated when priller scores

  • IUMIKE1

    I have suspected as much for some time now. lol