Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Tennessee Tech

  • 12/22/2017 8:23 am in

Indiana improved to 7-6 this season with an 87-59 win over Tennessee Tech on Thursday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers now have a week off before returning to action on Dec. 29 at home against Youngstown State.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Golden Eagles.

· Hoosiers lock in defensively: Indiana bounced back from Monday’s embarrassing loss to Fort Wayne with a much better performance defensively against Tennessee Tech.

The Hoosiers held the Golden Eagles to just .82 points per possession, which ranks as IU’s best defensive performance of the season.

So what was different than Monday?

“Ball pressure. Working on the ball. Everything starts and stops with something,” Archie Miller said. “And in our program it has to start with the ability to really defend the ball. And if you watch the two games they’ll be night and day.”

Tennessee Tech’s effective field goal percentage – 41.4 – was the second lowest this season by an IU opponent and the Golden Eagles hit just 5-of-18 shots from behind the 3-point line.

· McRoberts shows confidence offensively: Redshirt junior Zach McRoberts is now a major part of the rotation, but to this point, his impact has been felt primarily on defense and on the glass.

McRoberts, who often passed up open shots in the past, didn’t hesitate when he was open on Thursday. The Carmel product took seven shots and finished with eight points. He hit two 3-pointers and also added six rebounds and three assists in 22 minutes.

“Part of it may have been their style. They chose not to guard him. So he found himself open and he didn’t hesitate,” Miller explained. “I think in the second half the shots he got were really good ones, and I was happy to see him make a couple because that’s a big thing for him is being able to create a little offense out there.

“But Zach’s done a nice job. He’s been a really nice, bright spot for us in the month of December.”

· Indiana’s shot blocking is a legitimate strength: The Hoosiers are still very much a work in progress defensively. Monday’s performance showed that Indiana is going to have to bring the same amount of effort and energy every game to be successful.

One area where IU was much better on Thursday was defending at the rim. Indiana blocked 10 shots against Tennessee Tech and owns a 15.2 block percentage this season. That number ranks 23rd nationally.

The Hoosiers are also in the top 100 in 2-point field goal percentage defense at 47.1 percent.

· Newkirk, McSwain deliver strong performances: Two of IU’s upperclassmen, Josh Newkirk and Freddie McSwain, turned in stellar efforts in the win.

Newkirk, who has been up and down this season, scored a season-high 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. He also had a team-high six assists.

“I just let the game come to me,” Newkirk said. “My teammates did a good job finding me in open spots and I just knocked down shots.”

McSwain, meanwhile, saw his minutes increase as De’Ron Davis battled a groin injury. In 15 minutes, McSwain tied a career-high with 10 points and also grabbed six rebounds.

· Morgan helps set the tone in first half: Through the first 20 minutes, it looked like Juwan Morgan was on his way to another double-double.

Morgan played a team-high 18 minutes in the first half and had seven points and five rebounds.

The production slowed for the Waynesville (Mo.) product in the second half, but he still finished with a well rounded stat line: nine points, six rebounds, three blocks, two assists, two steals and two turnovers in 28 minutes.

Through 13 games, Morgan is Indiana’s leading scorer (15.2 ppg) and rebounder (7.3 rpg).

Filed to:

  • Jethro Jones

    how do scholarships work? Could ZM pick up Jones for the remainder of the year or next year?

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I have a feeling there will continue to be intense, challenging practices. I doubt Archie will tolerate ever reliving the IPFW game.

  • Vernon Aldrich

    Alex Bozich has posted that the answer is explicitly NO, scholarships cannot be re-issued in the same year.

  • Jethro Jones

    ok, thanks!

  • 3AM Burrito

    A nice win and Archie seemed to get the teams attention in practice and shootaround and get them ready for the game and sustain the effort/focus throughout the game. It was nice to see IU just crush Tenn, not just kind of limp to a 9 point win. Especially when the early parts yielded a fairly close game, IU showed more resolve to pull away. Learn from losses, so while IPFW was awful, it sounds like it was a learning opportunity to the staff and players to play and coach to their max level and bring it every game, not just the “big” games.

  • Jtime

    It was nice to see defensive intensity by this team. We don’t have the offensive firepower this year that we’ve enjoyed in the past. The only way this team is going to consistently be competitive is if it plays great defense. We aren’t going to outscore anyone in the B10.

  • #4 shorts

    The announcing for this game was laughable. Did anyone else hear them say that the problem with McBobs is that he takes a few too many shots? HA (btw loved his confidence yesterday)

  • Jethro Jones

    Dreading January a bit. I think it’s going to be rough.

  • Vernon Aldrich

    YW Jethro. It was actually Zach Osterman that posted the bad news…
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fff1104f634f19148ca8e346b6562dbac95205e2a1364938e7bfcfc42667df01.jpg

  • marcusgresham

    I’ll stand by something I said a couple of months ago. There will be some wins against superior competition and there will be some head-scratchers. I just think that’s what we’re going to have this entire season.

  • iugradmark

    Happy Holidays Hoosiers. Here are my 5:

    1. Archie has accepted that there is a lack of Senior leadership and is stepping in to fill the void. While not ideal, it is who these guys have been during their careers. Archie has run out of patience and will be tougher at practice to make his points.

    2. Archie is speeding up the offense. Some of this may be due to our competition, but I am noticing more effort to have guards speed up play and drive more and less effort to only play inside / out through the bigs. He is also playing De’Ron less and going more small ball.

    3. Zach is going to stay in the rotation and the coaches have told him that when he is wide open he needs to shoot it. Since he is likely to get 20-30 minutes per game we cannot afford to have a pass only player on offense. If he can keep this up, it will help change the spacing on the floor for everyone else.

    4. De’Ron is playing less effectively and therefore getting less minutes. Early it was his fouls, now it seems to be his ability to defend and rebound.

    5. I saw a few more sparks in the players this game. Al was playing better defense and also trying to drive harder to the hole. Devonte had some good minutes on defense and grabbed some rebounds. He will always be a bit up and down on offense but when he is more Rojo like where he is doing other things, he is valuable. Some of the backup front line guys looked better. Freddy was rebounding and hustling. Justin looked better grabbing the ball with two hands, seemed better on defense with some blocks, and drained a shot.

  • mharv2631

    I hope we outscore some teams or we will lose them all. LOL

  • We have to remember Archie did not recruit any of these guys, it takes a lot of time to learn mm defense so we may not see great defense this year, add to that these guys are used to flying up and down the floor and did not really have a strong half court offense. As long as Archie sticks to his plan and holds players accountable we will get there plus when he gets more of his type guys in it will be better.

  • inCMitrust

    According to Kenpom Jan, Feb and March are going to be a lot rough, as in I think no wins. If this team hustles they can be competitive with most of the teams in the Big10, so I guess we should get some Big10 wins. I started the season off hoping for 10-8 or at the worst a 9-9 record which I thought that would put us anywhere from 4th to 9th in the league. I’ve had to adjust my expectations a little. Can we to better than 6-12 in the conference. What are everybody’s thoughts on the teams conference record now?

  • Big ten seems a little down, maybe if we play descent defense and take care of the ball we may surprise. Remember we are already1-1and beat a team that was supposed to be better than us I believe.

  • Ole Man

    Yep; Alex gave Zack the credit when he passed along the info; I believe by reposting the tweet.
    Wasn’t that how he did it?

  • StudentHoosier

    Jager with his second trillion of the year.

    Go Hoosiers.

  • Colt

    A really nice bounce back win and effort by IU. If they can start knocking down more 3’s and play with this effort every on a consistent basis it will be a good thing.

  • bball at nick’s

    That was my question last week. Thanks for asking again, and the responses below.

  • Arch Puddington

    Agree with much of this, although the point about DD probably needs some nuance. Last night he had 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 12 minutes, so his productivity was good. The problem, I gather, is that he limped off with a groin injury and played little, if any, after that. Having said that, his two previous games were statistical duds, including, inexplicably, just 7 points and only 2 foul shots against IPFW. I didn’t watch that game, so I can’t say how much of that was his own poor play and how much of it was because the whole team belly-flopped. And his 2 point, 3 rebound effort against ND was a dud as well. His two best games were against Duke and Louisville, so there is at least some reason to think that he can play really well when he is in the mood, but lacks either the maturity or the motivation to bring it every night. And of course, he is hardly alone in that sense. RJ and JN both have multiple no-shows in addition to some gems, and other than JM and perhaps ZM, the rest of team is unpredictable as well. If everyone played even near their best, this could be an OK team. But as long as they remain prone to disappearing, both individually and collectively,we will continue to have a roller coasters season. Let’s hope DD is healthy, though!

  • Sandra Wilson

    I’m not sure about the announcing for the games. I’ve learned to pretty much tune them out. I think Vitale and Bill Walton forced me to learn that trick. I did think that the pre-game announcers made some good points on the Ft. Wayne game. Jess Settles said that many coaches use the bench to help stop the turnovers and poor defense. Miller has chosen not to do that and now there are problems. People want to look at this Tenn. Tech game and think things have been corrected. Anyone that’s watched this team play this year knows that’s not the case. I can remember Chris Holtmann last year benching the entire starting 5 for the first several minutes of the second half because they had played so terribly in the first half. They regrouped and ended up in the Sweet 16. Coaches make their decisions and then have to live with them. They aren’t always right and the fans certainly aren’t always right. I just thought the comment was interesting and not at all laughable.

  • iugradmark

    Arch, good points. I may be wrong on DD. The good news related to injury is that he did come back in so I don’t think they would have brought him back if there was a question given the score last night. My comments on him were that early in the year, it seemed that his fouling was the primary reason he saw somewhat limited minutes. The fouling especially in the 1st half when Archie is going to sit you with 2. Starting with N.D., it seems like Archie is also not playing him due to his production and defense. I think he will continue to get 15-20 minutes per game but I used to think they would try and inch him up to higher numbers. I now think it sill be very situational for him. Yes the guards are also up and down but not sure what other options we have. For DD, we can go a bit smaller and play Colling, Zach, Freddy, and possibly Justin when DD is not going well.

  • iubase

    We will have a few hiccoughs along the way like the previous game. Overall headed in the right direction. The Big Ten other than MSU is not as strong but certainly deeper. The test will be conference play and whether we can maintain consistency. Archie is very passionate and consistent. This team is changing in that direction but is still a work in progress. We all need to be patient. Trust the process.

  • Jethro Jones

    I dont know what this means.

  • Kwang

    Stat line of 1 min. and zeros…………

  • Koko

    If they keep roller coastering it is hard to tell where they may end up.
    If they can stabilize the roller coastering probably 9-9 can be achieved.

  • SCHoosier

    Well he did relieve the ISU game at the FW debacle.

  • Vernon Aldrich

    You’re probably right Ole Man. I couldn’t remember exactly where I had seen it, and don’t like to misquote. Thanks.

  • Vernon Aldrich

    Patience…

  • Outoftheloop

    IU must win 1 of 2 road games when the B1G starts up. The road wins will be the key for the season!

  • Outoftheloop

    I am loving the B1G season! Win some road games, at WI is a start. Win all but MSU at home. No B1G team can match FW and IN St 3 point shooting except MI, and that away loss is over and IU is 1-1. Claw away and go 10-8 in the B1G. Anything can happen!

  • Outoftheloop

    Who on the bench is better than our 8 rotation players for TO’s and tough D? No one. This is not a deep team.

  • Outoftheloop

    Good info. I was wrong! But why? That makes no sense when a kid voluntarily leaves school after 1 semester, and a walk-on is taking his minutes. The second semester money is going to waste. What about the concept that the rules are there to “help/protect” the student-athletes?

  • Ole Man

    Heck, Vernon, I wouldn’t rely on my old memory! LOL!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!