The Minute After: Howard

  • 11/12/2017 11:13 pm in

Thoughts on an 86-77 win against the Bison:

This one goes down in the books as a W, one sorely needed after Indiana’s surprising season-opening loss to Indiana State on Friday night.

But that doesn’t mean it came with ease against a weak opponent. Or that there still aren’t some serious concerns about this team as it heads to its first showdown with a ranked opponent on Wednesday night against Seton Hall.

As a Big Ten Network camera scanned Indiana’s bench in the waning minutes of the game, Stephen Bardo noted the Hoosiers looked more relieved than happy to win the game, their faces sullen. The energy of this team has been a little off through two games — more doom, gloom and negative than upbeat, joyful and positive. The Hoosiers are lacking confidence on the court, too, as they adapt to Archie Miller’s system.

Indiana started the contest 0-of-7 from the free throw line and finished shooting just 8-22 (36.4 percent) from there. The Hoosiers also surrendered over a point per possession (1.02) to a Bison squad that had one of the worst offenses in all of Division I a season ago and started there again this season after a loss to George Washington on Friday night.

Indiana’s senior guards also are having a hard time finding footing. After a 2-of-7 performance against Indiana State, Josh Newkirk followed up shooting just 2-of-9 tonight. Robert Johnson followed up his 2-of-8 performance on Friday night by hitting just one shot in the first half. Johnson became more aggressive in the second half and ended up finishing the night 5-of-8 (14 points), but he hit just 2-of-6 from the line.

With the seniors struggling some, Indiana got production from a pair of freshmen: Justin Smith (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Al Durham Jr. (16 points). On a team currently lacking confidence, Durham Jr. showed no fear early in knocking down 3-of-4 from distance in the first half. The freshman also drew some contact in the second half and hit 3-of-5 from the line. Smith showed some nice production out of the short corner for scores, finished an alley-oop and made good work against Howard’s matchup zone around the rim in the second half.

After some serious problems in the turnover department against Indiana State, the Hoosiers were much better with the ball tonight (16 TO%). The Bison scored just 12 points off those miscues, as opposed to the 34 the Sycamores posted on Friday night.

De’Ron Davis didn’t record a personal foul all evening, which means he was able to play heavy minutes (29). Davis made the most of his opportunity, posting an efficient 7-of-9 shooting performance en route to a team-high 17 points. The sophomore really struggled from the line tonight, though, going just 3-of-10. Davis had a couple that hit the back of the rim and his struggles seemed to compound after missing a few early on in the contest.

“We’re gonna have to get a lot more physical, we’re gonna have to get a lot tougher, and Wednesday’s going to be a great opportunity to see how that’s going,” Archie Miller said after the contest.

Will Indiana’s energy shift to a more positive fashion away from Assembly Hall? We’ll soon see.

Filed to:

  • vicbert caladipo

    I like Al D. A LOT

  • AZMBNZ

    I hate to say it, but it seems like there are glaring problems on the defensive end of the ball. Perimeter defense was still extremely challenging for this team. It doesn’t make sense given Coach Miller’s defensive acumen. At least the overall sense of urgency and intensity was ramped up for this game. It was also great to see the confidence of the freshman to make plays and grab the rebounds.

  • Mark Bando

    What are they putting in the drinking water in the visitors locker room? The opponent three point shooting has been insane and Howard hit some at the end of the game that were crazy. That cant continue. The games of AD and JS add lots of hope for the season. DD played great. RJ showed improvement.

  • Mark Bando

    I thought our perimeter defense showed much improvement. I cant remember many wide open looks we gave them if any from three.

  • vicbert caladipo

    30 three pointers against 2 mediocre to bad teams. Is our perimeter D that bad or have the opponents just shot above their heads?

  • Mark Bando

    To me, mostly shot above their heads.

  • vicbert caladipo

    When it comes to new TV analysts…. Max B > R. Hummel

  • dwdkc

    it doesn’t matter what your perimeter D is, nobody should shoot the way ISU did even in a shootaround uncontested. But looks like a long non conf season coming up

  • IULore

    Another good find

  • inLinE6

    Anybody paid attention to Howard players wearing Nike shoes? They are sponsored by under armor – how can this happen?

  • Hoosier4life67

    Hello everyone. Time for me to chime in now that I actually seen our Hoosiers play ball for the first time this season. After all the gloom and doom post I read after the first game I decided not to post till I actually got a chance to see them play. In my personal opinion I liked what I seen today other than the free throw shooting but that will come around. Lets face it. This year is a rebuilding year and I wouldn’t worry about the record at the end of the season. Look for the improvements that the players make over the course of the year. These kids are young and they are learning a completely different style of play from years past. In the long run it will be much better fundamental basketball that we will see being played. The defense will take time to develop from the non defensive play of years past.

    The freshman were fun to watch tonight as they really showed no fear and showed us what the future holds for the program and us fans. I believe its great that they are getting all the playing time they are and it looks like that will continue with all the injuries facing our beloved Hoosiers. This will only help them come B1G season. Don’t be so down on this group of young athletes and give them a chance to develop into a new system. The results may be impressive by the end of the season. I don’t believe it will end with an invite to the dance but I’m ok with that. As long as these kids stay out of trouble (like what was happening during the Crean era) and continue to show signs of improvement I will call this year a great success.

  • Hoosier4life67

    Sorry I didn’t notice. Personally I really could care less. Didn’t even know under armor made shoes or if they are even that good. I just want to see Indiana Jerseys running up and down the court. As far as I’m concerned let them wear what ever shoe feels comfortable to them as players.

  • Hoosier4life67

    Him and Smith are going to be fun to watch develop.

  • Mr. Mitchell

    nothing about the injuries :/

  • bball at nick’s

    Well said. We agree!!!

  • N71

    Oddly, we seem more competitive with our younger guys. I assume this is due to the older guys being hamstrung by having played in another system, now thinking too much, resulting in tentativeness. I underestimated this particular issue to be honest.

  • Jrod

    IUs off ball defense is poor. I can’t remember how many times they lost their guys on defense. Learning how to anticipate where the ball is going is key to close out defense on the 3. AD does a good job of this but it needs to be a team effort.

  • level 42

    I didn’t get to watch the game last night but I did check the box scores as the game was happening. The second time I checked the starting five didn’t even have half the points on our team. I then saw the rest of the box score and realized Coach Miller is on as much of a learning curve as the rest of the team right now. His direction is new to all the players and their direction is new to him. That is rebuilding a team; knowing strength and weakness, learning how to use each team member the best. We have good players and will improve if we work on the team concept. We don’t have to have superstars or one and dones, although they can help, we need a Team. Go Hoosiers!

  • MK

    I do not understand what has happened to Robert Johnson’s confidence. As a freshman he was automatic from outside and had the penetration game to go with it. Now it literally looks like he is second guessing every decision he makes out there. Even dribbling looks like a struggle. He has the basketball yips and this team is going to struggle unless he can snap out of it.

  • VAHoosier

    I think that’s exactly what it is.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    it can only get better, right? Al D looks like the only one with no fear, he’s gonna be a player

  • TomEke

    A couple positives:
    1. DD stayed out of foul trouble and showed good variety in his post game — notably a floater, a reverse layup, and a left handed baby hook. He shot 75% from FT last year — I’m confident he’ll figure it out again.
    2. The injuries (which I hope aren’t more long term) to CH and JM, have created a great opportunity for JS. He impressed me with how quickly, and how high, he got off the floor on both an alley oop in the first half and a two handed slam in the second.
    3. RoJo finished a nice runner in the second half. I liked the aggression there, and hope to see more of it. I’m hopeful that he is figuring out his role as more of the “lead dog”. On his career, he has never had a season with a free throw rate above 20%. Thru 2 games this season, he is at 50%, and hopefully that continues. 14 points on 5/8 shooting is a good night.
    4. Happy to see ADJ figure out his shot after rough shooting performances earlier in the season. After missing his first 3 of the game, I liked how he decided to take the ball to the hoop to try and gain confidence rather than just continuing to jack up 3’s.
    5. 25 assists to 12 turnovers. I’ll take that any day of the week. The announcer mentioned that IU’s Assist Rate on made baskets is way up from last year. The 75% last night, 25 on 33 makes, was great, and hopefully is a sign of things to come.

  • vicbert caladipo

    To be honest, IMO, he hasn’t been the same since he sprained his ankle against PU a couple years ago. Rarely have we seen him dunk since then and he doesn’t seem to go to the rack with authority anymore

  • Desert Hoosier

    Ok, I’ll take the other side of this conversation. I get it, “its a rebuilding year”, and I’m fine with that. However, to be beaten as badly as they were, in their home court, almost setting a school record for the most points given up, is nothing short of an embarrassment. If you really want top recruits in the future; i.e. the next Langford and Garland, then you need to have other schools look at us as one of the toughest programs in the conference. To be content with ‘it’ll be fun watching them develop”, and my personal favorite quote I hear all the time…’as long as they stay out of trouble’ should not be our goal for the year. That should be a given, and even if we fell short the previous years, we don’t make that the goal or standard of our present year. It should always be a given and nothing more! I fully support Archie Miller but I do expect more from him than I’m currently seeing. And that is a good thing. In fact, I believe Archie feels the same way.

    I’m not expecting a bid to the dance, but experts have picked us to come in last or very close to the bottom of our division. I believe we should expect more from our team as I’m sure Tom Izzo, Coach K, and others did in their first year. Everything we achieve or fail to accomplish in our first year will have future implications. My opinion would be we finish in the middle of our division which would over exceed expectations. That would be true development of players and what top recruits will look at. If we are content with being in the basement and falling back on ‘these aren’t Archie’s recruits’, ‘they are soft’, they have to learn a new system’, then we have embraced excuses for sub par player performance and coaching. Again, nobody of any talent will come to IU if they do not see it as a winning program. That is why Duke, Kentucky, and other top programs get the first looks at the best players! We need to set the bar higher!!!

    This isn’t meant to fall under the gloom and doom post. But I am also a passionate fan and like many others, believe we can be far better than we are currently showing. I know its only the first two games, but from what I saw, we have a long way to go if we are ever to be taken seriously as a dominant team in the big ten. That is unless the goal is to simply run a clean program…

    This is what our current AD had to say about IU, and I love it!!!!!!

    “The expectations for Indiana University basketball are to perennially contend for and win multiple Big Ten championships, regularly go deep into the NCAA tournament, and win our next national championship — and more after that,” Glass said Thursday, parroting that release. “We will identify and recruit a coach who will help us meet these expectations.”

  • IUBizmark

    I thought they were both good though!

  • IUBizmark

    Now we know how everyone else felt when they came to Assembly Hall.

  • Gary Cline

    Hoosiers are weak in the back court despite having 2 seniors start. Newkirk is not a point guard and RJ has not gotten out of his funk from last year, and I doubt we see much improvement from him on the performance and leadership level.

  • Geoff_85

    ISU finished 17-26 from 3. If you can’t shoot 65% in a shootaround, you don’t belong in the college game.

  • Outoftheloop

    Robert’s second game was a vast improvement over the IN St game!

  • Outoftheloop

    Because Al is so long. But each of the 5 guards needs first to body up on the opposition, then move their feet with their hands off, and compete 100%!