Indiana faces first true road test at Duke

  • 12/01/2015 9:21 am in

After a shaky 1-2 performance in Maui, Indiana needed a confidence booster before traveling to Duke on Wednesday.

Alcorn State, one of the worst teams in Division I, provided it. The Hoosiers built a double digit lead by the time Braves scored their first points and coasted to a 112-70 rout.

James Blackmon Jr. scored a career-high 33 points on 11-of-15 shooting, and five others also scored in double-figures.

But things are about to get difficult as IU will face the No. 7 team in the nation at Cameron Indoor Stadium in front of a national TV audience on ESPN. Troy Williams is confident, despite the fact that IU went 3-6 in true road games last season.

“It’s a different team,” Williams said. “We’ve got Thomas Bryant.”

The defending champion Blue Devils are led by sophomore guard Grayson Allen who averages 22.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. They also feature senior forward Amile Jefferson who averages a double-double in the post.

“They drive to the rim. They get fouled. They have inside-outside attacks. They really, really want to get fouled,” Tom Crean said of the Blue Devils. “I think Grayson Allen may be averaging seven or eight fouls drawn a game. That’s tough. We’ll have to be really sharp defensively.”

Turnovers were slightly down against Alcorn State, as the Hoosiers turned the ball over 12 times for a turnover percentage of 17. But the Hoosiers still rank just 328th nationally out of 351 teams in terms of taking care of the ball.

Both Blackmon Jr. and Williams said they’re excited for another chance to prove themselves on the national stage, and that playing in games like this are why they came to Indiana.

“Wednesday is definitely a huge opportunity for us,” Blackmon Jr. said. “We’re just going to practice hard like we have been and get it rolling and come out and do what we’re supposed to do.”

Williams, who has struggled with turnovers through the first seven games, was better in that regard on Monday. The junior had just one turnover. Indiana also went with a three-guard lineup with Robert Johnson starting with Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr.

Duke, which is coming off a 33-point win over Utah State, lost to Kentucky last month in the Champion’s Classic at the United Center, but has rebounded well from the setback. The Blue Devils have wins over Georgetown and VCU since the Kentucky loss.

“I don’t think we’ll have any trouble with being ready to play a game like that,” Crean said. “It’s more making sure we understand the personnel, understand what they want to do, and understand how best we want to attack that and try to keep as accurate and we want to play fast, but we can’t play reckless. You can’t play reckless against anybody and give the ball away, and you certainly can’t do it there.”

Filed to:

  • and I even tried not to make it obvious!

  • Bk39

    Bryant has been very good at avoiding early foul trouble, though a reminder by the staff that This may well be the strategy before the game wouldn’t hurt. Hoping for a respectable showing. Wisconsin two years ago, nobody though IU had a chance, but somehow amidst all the turnovers and horrible offense they figured a way to win, so there is a giant killer aspect to IU basketball that one should never dismiss.

  • Ole Man

    Despite your attempt to ignore you own childishness and lay it off upon me, I choose to rise above the fray.
    Down home we have a saying about getting muddy if you “waller” with pigs.

  • straight no chaser

    Grayson Allen came off the bench and scored 25 points as a freshman in Duke’s last two games last year to help his team win a championship. I’m not sure what “overrated” means.

  • millzy32

    Thus my irony post below. I found his post a very amusing pot vs kettle struggle.

  • oldiugymnast

    Man should I ever follow this advice with Mark!!!

  • SCHoosier

    U have to get boards to be a threat to Duke with a transition offense. That’s priority two..priority #1…IMO… is defense..especially..limiting their pts in the paint..be it drives or post plays.

  • Tcuomo

    By bringing that up you are proving my point. I call it the Mitch McGary Factor. Did Grayson Allen ball out in that title game? Hell yes he did. But thats all anyone really remembers. Mitch McGary wasn’t anything special in college, but rode the coattails of a spectacular tournament performance onto the bench at OKC. Shabaz Napier anyone? Great, Grayson Allen can score 28 points on Bryant. JBJ just got 33 on Alcorn ST. It doesn’t mean much. But I saw that game against UK and he couldn’t do anything. He’s good,but I don’t think he’s the POY candidate everyone was raving about in the first week.

  • oldiugymnast

    Oakland’s rep is really unfair. If you go wearing opposing team gear and also don’t talk crap and insult people you will be fine. I have seen it a few times and the ribbing was all good natured.

  • SCHoosier

    “Good about avoiding early foul trouble”..which can also translate” that’s why opponents have gotten so many pts. in the paint against the Hoosiers.” TB has to walk a fine line of aggressiveness and caution..tough for any player let alone a freshmen.

  • millzy32

    Same goes for here in Cleveland. Mostly good natured ribbing but I have seen Fathers and families barked at with a megaphone for long distances in the Muni Lot. No idea why anyone would purposely walk through a crowd of drunken Browns fans with opposing colors on when they could easily park elsewhere and get to the game.

  • millzy32

    Or not coaching. Purple font.

  • Justin Beard

    Beating Duke by 40 @Duke would make up for Maui, IMHO. Just sayin.

  • MK

    Troy’s bigger problem is dribbling out of control into traffic

  • straight no chaser

    Oh, please, he sunk 32 points on Georgetown. And Coach K is the one playing him 32.4 minutes a game (the most on the team), not me. He had a bad shooting night in the Kentucky game.

  • cooper

    “We will have to be really sharp defensively.” Welp what’s plan B?

    He should just say, we need to shoot lights out to win.

  • cooper

    As coach at IU, Ive turned on him. I’m over it. Pre-Maui I was considering spending a stupid amount to travel and go see IU-Duke. At this point id rather go to Boise to freeze and watch the football team in the Downey Toilet Paper Bowl

    At least they have overachieved and done more with less

  • bojak

    If they beat Duke anywhere it sure as heck won’t be because of the great coaching by Crean. He is not capable of being a great coach. Now fire away you Crean lovers. Go Hoosiers.

  • Tcuomo

    2 teams ranked behind IU (kenpon 25) and we look terrible. You can be a good player and play 32.4 minutes. I just don’t think he’s as good as advertised.

  • Missing Moye

    It would definitely make up for Maui. It wouldn’t make up for 2008-2015, however.

  • Knuckledrager

    Loose nut behind the wheel.

  • CreanFaithful

    I agree with your rebuttal, but it wasn’t just an “off shooting night” against Kentucky. He consistently tried to force things that were not there and got his shot blocked repeatedly in the process. He won’t likely have that problem with IU, unfortunately.

  • Bk39

    Agreed, a good strategy though would be to amp up the aggressiveness as time ticks off the clock until he gains experience.

  • Darrell Allen

    Whatever the hell that comment is supposed to be!

  • straight no chaser

    If you were smart about fooling us you would hide your disqus replies.

  • Darrell Allen

    “Racist conspiracy-theory posts” … you directing that comment to me?Hey, you’re the one hiding behind a pseudo name not me! “Fooling us”? I don’t need to hide anything I post! I stand behind my posts and if you don’t like them, don’t read them! Brave boys behind a pen huh?

  • straight no chaser

    I’m not “hiding” any more than 90% of people on here are. And your real name doesn’t mean anything to me. You can say whatever you want in your posts. I don’t care. Just don’t go around preaching to people about civil and fair behavior and etiquette.

  • HoosierHillbilly

    Call me stupid, call me crazy but for some reason I think IU shows up for this game. I’m not happy at all with this team underachieving to this point, but as of right now I’m just going to say they were enjoying maui too much last week and forgot that they were there to play ball. This team, I don’t believe, is mentally strong enough to deal with certain things and that extends to basketball on the beach.
    Let’s all hope they come to play anyway because this is really their last chance to prove anything in the non-conference as I don’t think ND is all that good either.

  • Jimmy Chitwood

    Everyone is sick of Crean, you think if somehow they manage a win tonite all is forgotten?!?!?! WTF are you smoking bro?

  • millzy32

    I think to turn on him you’d need to have bought in at some point. I personally never bought in because I have never seen any actual coaching that would lead me to believe that it was making a difference in how the kids played. Just my observation over 8 soon to be forgotten years.

  • Koko

    I think Crean knows he is “backed up into a corner” no matter what he says.
    It is up to him to make it go right. Can he admit to himself that he might be wrong in certain aspects of his coaching style? Can he change himself, his coaching style and the future of this team now? Or will his current style of coaching continue on with no consideration of the situation he is in?
    I don’t know what I’m going to see tonight, but I do know I want to see the kids play well and kick some Duke butt. If they come out and play at the high level they are capable of playing, we will fly home with a win. Go Hoosiers!

  • Koko

    I have paid attention mister grumpy. I watch every minute of every game. Direct me to where I can see in writing that TB is tied/leads (which is it tied or leads?) in assists to TB because that is not what I see. What I said is not an attack and certainly not unfounded….do you watch the games? And your last sentence is a bit dramatic don’t you think?

  • Ole Man

    “Mister Grumpy”… I’ve been called worse! But is that necessary to the discussion?

    IF you were a member of the paid forum, you would have seen those stats posted. I’m not going to bother to go look them up for you because

    A: I’m going to be “grumpy” at your condescending “do you watch the games?” — not necessary — LOL

  • Koko

    I guess I could go on with this….you making me wrong, me making you wrong….but I’m not interested. So we can leave it at I’m an inattentive, condescending poster of nonsense and you are grumpy. Won’t it be fun to talk about our win at Duke tomorrow?

  • sarge

    Haha, I laughed too much at this

  • sarge

    If you are strictly talking in-game coaching then I can agree. But you can’t say players like Vic never got better while here in Bloomington. He is a good and even great coach in some aspects, just not the type most Hoosiers are accustomed to.

  • sarge

    Calm down bojak horseman…

  • cooper

    They will pity you for rooting for a nice little team sadly. Prob congratulate you on the huge upset if IU wins.