Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Mississippi Valley State

  • 11/28/2016 9:39 am in

Indiana picked up its fourth win of the season on Sunday afternoon as it easily defeated Mississippi Valley State, 85-52, at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. It was the 20th straight home win for the Hoosiers.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Delta Devils:

· Indiana’s offense doesn’t run as smoothly without James Blackmon Jr.: Defensive flaws aside, Indiana’s offense is at its best with James Blackmon Jr. on the floor.

Blackmon Jr. sat out on Sunday with a minor left knee injury suffered in the Fort Wayne game, a setback that isn’t expected to be a long term issue. However, after watching Blackmon Jr. struggle against Fort Wayne in IU’s loss and then watching the Hoosiers for a full game without him, it’s clear that he’s the most vital piece to the offense.

We wondered in the preseason how Indiana would replace the dynamic playmaking ability of Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams, two guys who could go make a play with the shot clock winding down. In the season opener against Kansas, Blackmon Jr. showed that he was capable of filling some of the void. Beyond Blackmon Jr., Indiana doesn’t have a go-to-guy offensively. With North Carolina looming on Wednesday, getting Blackmon Jr. back appears critical to IU’s chances to protect home court.

· Indiana is staying out of foul trouble, but the Hoosiers aren’t forcing any turnovers: Through five games, there’s some good and there’s some bad when it comes to evaluating Indiana’s defense.

On the plus side, the Hoosiers are keeping teams off of the foul line with a free throw rate allowed of 25.6 percent. Through Sunday’s games, that ranks 28th in the country.

But Indiana is struggling to create turnovers, which is a concern given the length and athleticism of this group. The Hoosiers only forced 11 turnovers against Mississippi Valley State. For the season, Indiana ranks 331st nationally in forcing turnovers. Compared to where it finished last season, Indiana’s opponent turnover percentage is down by more than four. The sample size is still too small to draw any conclusions, but it’s a trend through five games that needs to be reversed.

· Bounce back game for Anunoby: After failing to score in 13 minutes at Fort Wayne, OG Anunoby had a career-high 21 points on Sunday afternoon.

Anunoby still appeared to be a bit sluggish in terms of his conditioning, but it didn’t matter against an inferior opponent. The Delta Devils had no answer for Anunoby.

“We just need to let him play. That’s what he did today,” Tom Crean said postgame. “He played, I thought he really worked through it because he was winded and there’s no question that he had lost some of his conditioning and things like that from being sick.”

· The primary ball handling duties are still a work in progress: As Ryan pointed out during the game last night on Twitter, Indiana is lacking a consistent dribble penetrator to facilitate offense:

Josh Newkirk has shown some flashes of solid play, but his turnover percentage is currently north of 30. Robert Johnson currently owns the team’s best assist rate, but has seven turnovers in the last two games.

Indiana is just 16-of-49 on 3s in its last two games and Corazza’s point about the quality of looks is a valid one. Tom Crean pointed out after the Fort Wayne that Indiana is a drive and dish team, but right now, the Hoosiers aren’t generating the good looks needed to be an elite offensive team.

· Indiana needs even more from Juwan Morgan: Through five games, Morgan has been Indiana’s best offensive rebounder from a percentage standpoint. He’s also handled some of the team’s ball handling and playmaking duties.

Offensively, it’s time for Morgan to become more assertive. Among the regulars in the rotation, Morgan has just the seventh highest usage rating. He’s been efficient at drawing fouls and getting to the line, but Morgan needs to get the rest of his offensive game going. He’s 0-of-6 on 3s this season, but is also Indiana’s least turnover prone player so far.

Most of Morgan’s offense is likely to come on the offensive glass, but given his ability to draw fouls and convert at the line, Indiana would be well served to create a few more opportunities for Morgan to make plays in the paint.

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  • Samuel_L_Smackson

    so many! But I like their burgers. Nothing special, but not bad. : )

  • Agreed about JN, and he’s getting better at finishing inside (I hope) and not just getting stuffed driving into the trees. Yogi learned that at some point last year as well.

    Crazy thought for for later in the season: CuJo is showing some intelligence on the floor. I notice he’s often directing the offense when he’s on the floor, and he’s usually correct. Things flow well when he’s out there–I thing by some point in the B1G, he’ll be getting some minutes even as a freshman.

  • If we’re looking at one of the freshman for PG duties, I’d go with CuJo. He’s often directing the offense when he’s out there now.

  • CuJo is ice cold, and as I mentioned a couple of times already on this page he’s been directing the offense already–and doing it well. Things seem to flow well when he’s out there, and he knows how to drive and dish. He also has some attitude. He gets my vote even as a freshman, unless JN can pick it up and take on more leadership.

  • vicbert caladipo

    CJ sees the court better than anyone and what you need out of your PG. He probably has more assists per minute played than anyone. He can also shoot and defend. He’s slight of build but as anyone knows he will get bigger and stronger like yogi did. If he sticks around he will eventually be our PG, if not sooner. Hope CTC realizes this.

  • So, IU is #13 in the new AP poll. I think that’s about right. Back in the top 10 if we win on Wednesday, but won’t drop too much if we lose.

  • UNC is really going to give us a great idea of exactly where the team is at.

  • Hoosier89

    Coastbuster is fantastic. Dragonfly ain’t bad. Teddy Bear Kisses is pretty good too.

  • ForeverIU

    Yep, I will just assume our previous ranking of #3 was just a typo, LOL. But maybe we earn the typo if we beat UNC.

  • And, the nerves are starting to kick in…

  • Fifer39

    CuJo is coming along great! I agree he’ll be sharing minutes with JN at PG by the B1G. He seems the perfect fit for a Crean style offense and he looks so confident in his own ability – loving the no look dishes!

  • Old_Time_Hoosier

    Yeah, it’s good. So is Dragonfly. Everything else? Meh.

  • Old_Time_Hoosier

    Schleter, is that you? Tuesday night Stroh a party! Or was that Thursday? My memory is a little bit cloudy! LOL

  • Old_Time_Hoosier

    Haven’t had it, but any beer called “Teddy Bear Kisses” should immediately be disregarded.

  • Old_Time_Hoosier

    NC is beautiful! Visited family in Wake Forest a few years ago, 2 hours east and you’re at the the beach, 3 hours west and you’re in the mountains. Who could ask for more?

  • sd chuck

    Juwan will be fine! glue guy without an ego! IU better team with him on the floor.

  • IUMIKE1

    I don’t know, in a 3-2 it usually requires even more communication than a 2-3, and I don’t have to tell anyone where we’re at, development wise, when it comes to that.

  • IdahoHoosier

    In other news, Butler is looking really tough. Undefeated, stingy defense and limiting turnovers, while taking quality shots and beating big names. Can we send someone from IU to a Butler practice and steal their formula??

  • Bill Graham

    Had a Bison Burger a few years back. We experienced the same thing. Weird tasting food and poor service.

  • Bill Graham

    Haha I suppose we’ll just agree to disagree.

  • Yeah, I think the Butler games looms large as well. Can’t wait until tomorrow night to see just where we’re at.

  • ForeverIU

    Anyone who mentions Soma is a true Bloomingtonian 🙂 Above it there’s Laughing Planet (burritos, etc.). Samira has a really nice $8-9 lunch buffet. There are a couple nice Indian lunch buffets (I usually go to the one on 4th St.). Le Petit Cafe is still there; the owners are nice, but quirky and inconsistent. I still haven’t mustered up the courage to spend $35-50 for steak at Little Zagreb’s, but I hear it’s awesome. Up from Uptown there’s Malibu Grill (excellent food, and also pricey). There’s King Dough Pizza (wood-fired pizza, new, haven’t tried it, looks nice from the outside).

    Downtown is now all metered-parking. Can use coins or credit card.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    That is classic!!!!

  • vicbert caladipo

    I hope Butler is ranked when we play them. Better for the resume. They always deserve to be ranked, but the voters just seem to wait until they are 7-0…8-1 to give them any recognition. Idaho’s right. Butler is a very good team.

  • ForeverIU

    Enough beer can make you immune to the taste, LOL.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Let’s get a win tonight!

  • Hoosier89

    Haha, yeah, not my favorite beer name.