The Minute After: Mississippi Valley State

  • 11/27/2016 6:47 pm in

Thoughts on a 85-52 win over the Delta Devils:

This one was billed as a game the Hoosiers would have little trouble winning. The Delta Devils rank near the bottom of Division I in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings. They’ve played a brutal seven-game road schedule to start the season coming into this afternoon’s contest, including a loss yesterday to Fort Wayne.

And save for a sleepy stretch in the first half — where Indiana failed on both sides of the ball and the Delta Devils cut a 17-point IU lead to just five — this one played out pretty much as expected with Indiana cruising to a 33-point victory. The Hoosiers really made their mark on the game at the start of the second half. They got back to what they do best on offense, pushing the pace in transition, spotting the open man and knocking down shots. A 14-2 run to start the final 20 minutes of the contest put the Hoosiers up 24 points (54-30) with 17:22 to go. That pretty much shut the door on the game.

Indiana’s defense did allow some dribble penetration at times and busted out a 2-3 zone again on occasion. Still, it was a dominant defensive performance, as the Hoosiers held the Delta Devils to just .74 points per possession. Indiana intimidated at the rim in the second half as Thomas Bryant (three blocks) and DeRon Davis (two blocks) swatted a number of shots. Zach McRoberts got the start and continued to show strong effort on defense and an ability to make the hustle play.

On offense in the first half, some stagnation carried over from the Fort Wayne loss. Indiana was taking 3s off little ball movement and defenders near, not in the flow of offensive sets where it had gained a true advantage over the defense. Those types of possessions also failed to get anything going in terms of dribble penetration. For the game, the Hoosiers shot 36 percent (9-of-25) from distance, better than the 29.2 percent they shot against Fort Wayne, but still not as high a percentage as we’ve come to expect from Indiana’s offense under Tom Crean.

Still, Indiana scored a solid 1.10 points per possession heading into halftime and that got better thanks to a strong offensive start to the second half with the Hoosiers ending the game scoring 1.21 points per trip.

Individually, OG Anunoby returned from illness to score a career-high 21 points with an efficient 7-0f-12 shooting performance. He added eight boards, an assist, block and steal in 26 minutes of action. Thomas Bryant added a double-double (13 points, 11 boards) and Curtis Jones played well off the bench (nine points, five assists).

The Hoosiers will get the early part of this week to prepare for North Carolina at home on Wednesday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Tar Heels are coming off a dominant win over Wisconsin in the Maui Invitational championship game and look very much like a team with the tools necessary to make a deep run in March. The same was being said about the Hoosiers after their victory over Kansas, but their loss to Fort Wayne has allowed some doubt to creep in on that.

Tom Crean teams have traditionally been very good at home against ranked opponents and the atmosphere should be great in Assembly Hall. But if Indiana doesn’t bring its A-game on both sides of the ball, its 20-straight home winning streak will be very much in jeopardy.

Filed to:

  • Arsdale

    DeRon – not Devin – Davis was the guy with two blocks.

  • TomJameson

    I was not impressed at all, but maybe that’s a result of my higher expectations for this game. I really thought IU would come out with intensity, energy, and a very strong defense .. and I didn’t see any of that on a consistent basis. Yes, I know they’ll get better, but I thought they would try to make a statement on this game. Hopefully they’re just saving it for NC.
    I’ll say a little prayer for JBJ, hope his knee problem was just a little tweak and they all were just playing it overly cautious.

  • GaHoosier

    I really liked our zone defense when we had OG, Davis, and Bryant on the baseline. On back-to-back positions, there was blocks by Davis and Bryant.

  • There was good effort for all but about 5 minutes or so in the first half. It’s hard for a team to maintain that effort when you’re up by 20 points and pulling away, and then of course quite a bit of the second half was played by the subs. I saw flashes of good stuff and some not-so-good stuff. Hopefully they’ll be able to maintain the effort against a top 5 team when it comes to Assembly Hall.

    Yeah, really hoping it’s nothing serious with JBJ. We need his scoring. I was glad to see OG back and playing–it’s a different team with him on the floor.

  • BL4IU

    Hate to lay it on one kid but I’m feeling more and more that OG needs to pick this team up and put it on his back. He has the potential to really raise this team’s level of play. Funny, normally you talk about scorers like that. With OG, it’s his entire game: defend, rebound, energy plays and yes, scoring. He’s getting better but needs to stay aggressive on both ends of the floor; even when shots aren’t falling. He’s young and his energy level and focus seem to fluctuate with his scoring. obvious we don’t have to worry about his commitment. Loved Coach explaining that OG may be grinding too hard. In the gym at 7:30 a.m. shooting on game day, then back again practicing long before shoot around. No wonder he looks fatigued; hell, I thought it was a bug 🙂

    Loving me some Cujo as well. Cool customer.

  • ForeverIU

    De’Ron has a nice mid-range hook shot. Old school and gritty. Can’t wait to see him develop.

  • We’re really just scratching the surface with OG, I think. Hopefully CTC can get him to scale back a little on the workouts and leave some energy for the games.

    About CuJo, notice that he’s often directing the offense? I noticed it against KU too. He’s a smart kid in addition to having ice in his veins–what’d he have tonight, 5 assists? He has a real knack for the game, can’t wait to see him when March rolls around.

    It’s gonna be rough here at the beginning, but they’ll pull it together.

  • Absolutely loved seeing him take and hit that shot. I remain convinced he’s our best true center, and that TB is better as a forward alongside him against a team with any height.

  • ForeverIU

    I hate to say it, but I have a feeling we are going to play some/much/all of the season without JBJ, and Curtis will come of age very quickly.

  • ForeverIU

    He did it before (maybe more than once), and I remember thinking to myself: I haven’t seen that style of play in a while.

  • Larry Brown

    Still don’t get giving all this PT to a walk-on. Can’t help but wonder what would have happened if CuJo played instead of McRoberts in the last 12 mins vs Fort Wayne. I don’t want to hear “he made freshman mistakes earlier in the game”; everyone makes mistakes at some point in a game. The point is, you have to put your best players on the floor to give yourself a chance to win. There’s a reason we recruited CuJo and Deveonte and DD but never recruited McRoberts. And there’s a reason no other major recruited McRoberts, and there’s a reason the other top-ranked teams do not have walk-ons playing major roles. Everyone talked about how much depth IU had going into the season, then can someone please tell me why, as soon as one starter goes down, we call on a walk-on and make him a starter? No knock on McRoberts, I have no problem with him playing a couple mins here or there, but I can’t help but think we could have won vs Fort Wayne with CuJo in there, or one of the other scholarship players

  • Larry Brown

    if Crean dares to increase his role. Right now, he gives McRoberts more minutes. I for one just don’t get that.

  • Yeah, I thought the same thing when I saw him make the shot today. I said out loud, “Yes, that’s called a ‘hook shot,’ baby.”

    I was alone.

  • You think? Is that just a guess or is there info on an injury? If you’re right, then yes, CuJo is going to get a real trial by fire.

  • McRoberts is playing with real fire and is playing well on defense. I noticed that the team has more energy when he’s out there scrapping for loose balls, deflecting passes, fighting for rebounds, etc. Eventually I imagine a player like CuJo will jump in and show the same energy, and then he’ll get those minutes. But the bottom line is, today, IU was better with McRoberts on the floor.

  • I answered this a little before. McRoberts had the most energy and gave the most effort against IPFW. Same today. As long as he’s playing with more effort, I imagine he’ll continue to get the playing time–it’s a heck of a motivator.

    I doubt he’ll play against someone like UNC, because I doubt effort will be a problem in those games. But how else can CTC motivate players like CuJo to play with effort other than rewarding a player who’s giving it?

  • ForeverIU

    Yes, I “think”. I don’t have info. Based on his history of injury. I hope I’m wrong.

  • cbags05

    Double take. Yep it’s that Larry guy still dogging on McBob.

    I didn’t see this game unfortunately. I can’t say I am surprised to hear JBJ is hobbling. Really hope it’s not the same, but this is how it started last year.

  • cbags05

    Priller might have saved the day since he has a scholarship.

  • Yeah, I hope you’re wrong too. We need his scoring.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Aren’t you the same guy making 10 comments slamming McRoberts the last game? Give it a rest please. This guy is playing his heart off AND contributing. I’m no genuius, but i’m not seeing where he has cost us anything. I haven’t read all the posts, but please tell me I’m not going to read 10 more slams against Mc Roberts and CTC’s decision to play him.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Here we go again….That’s #2…..yet I will keep scrolling down.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Honestly…kidding aside…Priller is playing much better than any other year. He doesn’t look scared and he’s contributing in many ways. Dare I say maybe he gets into rotation by years end?

  • pcantidote

    Let it go.

  • David Macer

    So only players on scholly should play. Kids that practice their asses off and are walk ons should only see mop up time. Glad you can only post about the game rather than coach the game.

  • David Macer

    He will if he earns it. McRoberts has obviously earned his PT.

  • cbags05

    I find it hard to believe he does. In such a guard and small forward heavy offense. But anything is possible. That’s why hard work and dedication is so much more important than scholarship status once the ball is tossed up.

  • pcantidote

    Somebody tell Coach Wilson to get Mitchell Paige on the bench too, right?

  • cbags05

    Scottie pippen, jeff hornacek, john starks, jj watt, ben wallace, andre drummond…..those dudes never should have been played.

  • vicbert caladipo

    You should probably listen to CTC’s presser on other thread. He gives a good explanation as to why ZM is playing.

  • ForeverIU

    I never enjoyed the Priller jokes. As far as I’m concerned, he deserves to be respected like any other player on the team, and there’s no reason to assume that he will not become a contributor.

  • N71

    Agree but I kept thinking they should try a 3-2 over the 2-3 with OG up in the middle, top of the paint/key to stop the ball from being rotated. With DeRon and Thomas in the game together that’s enough size to defend the baseline and then OG could sag once the ball hits the corning. This would be a Syracuse level of zone I’m thinking. Allows us to leverage the unique skills OG has.

  • Ole Man

    I’d rather CuJo at this point than JN.

  • Ole Man

    Hate to say it, but that zone is Swiss Cheese against a good team.

  • ForeverIU

    I love Swiss Cheese. What are you talking about?

  • Not sure I’d go quite that far, but certainly I’d be happy to see CuJo get significant minutes.

  • Ole Man

    On D in the first half, JN was being “overly aggressive” and their guards were taking his lunch money. It happened at least twice.

  • Ole Man

    It can easily be exploited by a good team.

  • Wish I could replay the game. Damn ESPN3.

  • ForeverIU

    I should have added LOL. I was just kidding. I know what a swiss cheese defense looks like 🙂