The Minute After: Creighton

  • 11/19/2015 9:31 pm in

Thoughts on an 86-65 win over the Bluejays:

Cautious optimism ran through the minds of the IU faithful this summer.

Sure, Indiana was primed to have an elite offense once more, but could it incorporate a big man seamlessly into this group of shooters when the narrative has often suggested otherwise? And more importantly, after an abysmal defensive showing last year, could it improve enough to put the Hoosiers in elite territory?

A performance like tonight’s against Creighton helps to start remove the caution and let the optimism reign free. Indiana put it together on both ends in its drubbing of the Bluejays and the possibilities of what the Hoosiers can become are starting to take shape.

We need to start with Thomas Bryant. What a performance. As I noted on Twitter, Bryant is this team’s emotional leader for a squad sorely needing one. His emotion and passion have endeared him early to the fanbase. He gets the crowd and his teammates hyped.

Bryant was a little more in control with his body and he did huge things on offense and defense. The freshman was just about unstoppable in the post and got a bunch of buckets around the hoop with some terrific moves. He hit all six of his 2-pointers and added a 3-pointer to boot to finish with 17 points and seven boards. Bryant was equally impressive on defense, intimidating the Bluejays at the rim with four blocks. One of his two assists was a solid touch pass back to Yogi Ferrell for a 3-pointer early in the game.

When Bryant is this good on both ends and everyone is filling in the gaps around him, it makes this team a force to be reckoned with.

“The lion came out in me,” Bryant said after the game with a smile.

James Blackmon Jr. had perhaps an equally impressive performance. Tom Crean has asked for more playmaking from his sophomore and he provided that tonight. Blackmon Jr. got into the lane and found a streaking Troy Williams for scores out of the short corner on his way to four assists. He was also feeling it from distance, as he hit 4-of-6 from beyond the arc to lead Indiana in scoring with 19 points.

Couple Blackmon Jr.’s shooting with his playmaking and respectable defense, and it was a next-level performance from the sophomore.

The Hoosiers’ defense never really figured out how to stop Maurice Watson Jr. (game-high 21 points), but got it done regardless. It held the Bluejays to .84 points per possession after giving up .97 to Austin Peay. Creighton only mustered an effective field goal percentage of 48.

After Indiana’s burst to a double-digit lead in the first half, the Bluejays were never really in this one and the Hoosiers simply coasted for much of the second half before closing the door with Troy Williams’ emphatic putback jam off a Nick Zeisloft miss.

Indiana is up bright and early tomorrow morning to travel to Maui. This performance was a great confidence boost and lead-in to the tournament. Play like this next week and you put yourself in position to bring home the championship.

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  • mharv2631

    TB looks like he has fun out there, and with his youthful enthusiasm he reminds me of Magic Johnson personality wise.

  • Alan

    I think Troy is a slightly better athlete but Vic was waaaaay more under control. Could be wrong but don’t remember Victor having 5 turnover games.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Lol! Good one. Happy Thanksgiving Ole Man. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Remember you are younger than me.

  • RDD#76

    Also great Hooiser fans too

  • disqus_4UbWP6rS24

    Ummm…I guess I will start by saying that I am glad you made it clear you have not been a Peeping Tom outside my living room window. If you had been, then you may very well have caught me watching all the games…either live or as soon as my work schedule allowed. Your question, “so basically you haven’t watched any of the games this season?” is a head scratcher. It makes me wonder if you are watching games in the future. How do the following wins translate into such confidence on your part: Eastern Illinois (predicted to finish third in their division of the Ohio Valley Conference), Austin Peay (predicted to finish last in their division of the Ohio Valley Conference), and Creighton (predicted to finish eighth out of ten Big East teams)? I’m not saying that IU can’t win in Maui, but for you to claim that other teams will fear IU is a little over the top. Even farther over the top is having you tell me to start watching games, as if my uncertainty thus far is any indication that I haven’t watched IU beat up on three teams much weaker than what they will likely face in Maui. Give me a break.

  • Meadows007

    A lot of students had tests as well. I wish I could’ve been there!