Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Youngstown State

  • 12/30/2017 9:41 am in

Indiana completed the non-conference portion of its schedule on Friday night with a 79-51 win over Youngstown State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The win improved the Hoosiers to 8-6 this season with a pair of conference road games looming next week.

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

· Role for McRoberts continues to grow: Zach McRoberts hasn’t cracked Indiana’s starting lineup – yet – but his minutes continue to increase.

After playing a combined 16 minutes in IU’s first seven games, McRoberts has played double figure minutes in each of the last seven. Over the last four games, McRoberts is averaging 6.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and a steal in 26 minutes per game.

He’s also developed some confidence offensively as he’s 5-of-10 on 3s over the last four games. But it is his defense and hustle that have allowed the walk-on to carve out a major role for the Hoosiers.

“Zach is earning his minutes, not only in practice but he is doing exactly in practice what he does in the games,” Archie Miller said following the win over Youngstown State. “He’s giving maximum effort. He’s playing extremely hard. He is giving you a lot of hustle plays. A lot of winning plays.”

· Another poor 3-point shooting performance: Fourteen games into the season, Indiana’s 3-point shooting percentage is in the bottom 50 in the country.

The Hoosiers struggled once again on Friday and finished just 5-of-22 from the perimeter. But is there hope for a turnaround?

Some of the career numbers for some of IU’s key players suggest there could be. Robert Johnson, a career 38.6 percent 3-point shooter, is hitting just 32.4 percent this season. Collin Hartman, who is also a 38.6 percent career 3-point shooter, is shooting just 30.8 percent this season.

“Right now, we are not shooting the ball anywhere near what our capability is,” Miller said. “Part of it is, I think we have four or five guys on our team that start the game with – ‘boy I hope I make one tonight’. When you have three or four guys thinking like that and the first one doesn’t go in, next thing you know, you have some guys out there really struggling.”

· Early second half run was the clear highlight: Following a lackluster first half in which IU committed 10 turnovers and led just 29-20 at the break, the response early in the second half was encouraging.

Miller inserted McRoberts into the lineup to begin the second half in place of Al Durham Jr. and the Hoosiers outscored the Penguins 22-7 in the first 7:26 of the half.

“I thought inserting Zach into the lineup in the second half after studying the plus-minus stuff at the break, it was clear that he was a big difference when he was in there,” Miller said. “The first four, five or six minutes of the second half, I thought that was really big having him in there. That got our defense-to-offense going with some easy baskets and extending the lead.”

· Defensive rebounding an issue once again: After allowing Tennessee Tech to rebound 31.8 percent of its misses in last Thursday’s win, the Hoosiers were even worse on the defensive glass on Friday.

Youngstown State, which came in with an offensive rebounding percentage of 31.3 for the season, grabbed 37 percent of its missed on Branch McCracken Court.

Youngstown State finished with 17 offensive rebounds, but only had 11 second chance points. Against better competition, the number would have been much higher.

“We are not rebounding the ball at all right now,” Miller explained. “Even in the Tennessee Tech game. They had 17 offensive rebounds in this game tonight. That’s not going to cut it moving forward. You are not going to be able to survive against the teams in our league if you can’t rebound. I think our defensive rebounding percentages that we are looking at right now, we have to be consumed with that.”

· Another steady performance from Juwan Morgan: The play of Juwan Morgan has been a consistent takeaway throughout the season and Friday night was no different.

Morgan finished with a game-high 16 points and added six rebounds, three steals, two assists, two blocks and just one turnover in 29 minutes.

Through 14 games, Morgan is averaging 15.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, a steal and an assist in 27.6 minutes per game.

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  • Colt

    Archie is spot on with his assessment regarding IU’s shooting woes. Confidence is the one key ingredient that all good (and great) shooters have.

  • coachv

    “Some of the career numbers for some of IU’s key players suggest ” improved shooting on the horizon. i disagree. roberts still drifts 2 feet left on all of his wing 3’s. his body rotates counter-clockwise while he is in the air. plus he leans back and left a little. hartman’s follow through is too verticle. you can analyze numbers all you want but i prefer to study the mechanics. neither one of them is going to start shooting better any time soon.

  • vicbert caladipo

    1. This game showed me nothing positive. I saw the same good play by the same players, the same so-so play from the same players, and the same head scratching from the same players.

    2. 2-25 from YSU wasn’t because of great D. They just missed the same shots that ISU and FW were making.

    3. That was one of Freddie best games even if he was throwing the ball all over the court.

    4. What happened to this supposed transformation of DD. He doesn’t seem any more athletic than last year……..maybe worse??

    5. Zach made a couple bonehead plays but he continues to be our sparkplug and a guy the others should emulate.

    Side notes. CH hasn’t given us much lately and DG seems to do the same head scratching things. AD has hit the freshman wall early. JS made his first 3 of the season, but missed his first FT…in fact 3. Go figure. JM will be our only player considered for all bigten honors. Thinking CJ should have stayed. Not sure why he would quit mid season. From here on out there are no more easy games. I think we will sneak a few wins here and there but will go 0-3 vs PU and MSU. Vicbert prediction 5 games. Could be worse. Have seen every bigten team play and unless we give a Duke/ND performance we could lose to any one of them.

  • inLinE6

    I wonder if we can put McRoberts on scholarship at least for this year (there’s open spot anyways). His tuition is not a huge deal considering he’s in-state kid, but he more than deserve it. The way he’s playing, he’d start for us pretty soon.

  • coachv

    wonder if mcroberts gets a scholarship next year? as his minutes increase and his confidence grows, we are seeing his game bloom. i, for one, predict more from him. he is our best rebounder, our best off the ball defender and our smartest player. i think he will be one of our top scorers from here on out.his shooting technique is perfect and i think he will end up being our best 3-pt shooter for the season.

  • Ole Man

    Apparently, it was researched and the empty scholarship of CuJo cannot be given out as the same scholarship cannot be awarded twice in one season.
    So, no, it cannot be used for the second half of the season for McFloorburn.

  • Ole Man

    Vic, I watched a different game entirely.
    I saw a team with rust the first half.
    A fired up team come out and dominate then coast the second half — 50 point half, excellent D, assists.
    Just my opinion, but if you’re continually looking for what’s wrong because you think perfection is possible, then you’re missing the beauty of the transformation occurring right before your eyes.
    Leave the over-analysis to ESPN; they’re great at going overboard and getting it wrong.
    Sit back and enjoy the ride, my man.
    Just my two cents.

  • Ms hoosier

    Archie defined this team to a T in his presser when he said that This team is not a high energy team and that there are not 2 players on this team that when the ball is tipped that are gonna get after you! To me that’s what I see in this team they are not gonna stay in the opponents face for 40 minuets

  • vicbert caladipo

    I just can’t get fired up for anything positive that happens against Youngstown State. My negativity comes from watching OTHER teams play. We are not in those teams league and probably won’t get there this year. I don’t think I am over analyzing things. Most are saying the same thing. Pessimistic…yes…I am guilty of that. I ALWAYS enjoy watching IU as I did in Creans first years and trust me….when we beat a bigten team I will give them their props. I don’t expect much so if it sounds like I am upset. I’m sorry….I am not. The 2nd half you elude to is what was expected against a team with zero D-1 wins. I know this team isn’t good and a work in progress, but we are better than we showed most of the game and should be better than 2 of the teams we lost to.

    My two cents…..I think you and a few others are so glad Crean got canned and Archie hired that you refuse to criticize anything about this team. You were a lot more critical last year. Same players. Pretty much same results. I am looking forward to the conference schedule and don’t expect much, but will enjoy watching and ANALYZING(haha ; ) every game.

    Happy New Year. Let’s get some W’s. Go IU

  • Let’s face it, we have a type A+ coach and, for the most part, type B- laid-back, nice guy, players. Doesn’t appear to be any fire in the belly, winning or losing seems to set easy with them. IMHO, maybe the current team’s mindset is, a carryover from last season, it is a lot easy losing doing ‘my thing’ than expending a lot of energy for a team win. Good luck to CAM in getting these guys on board, and I pray he does at some point. Hard work is no fun if you don’t win

  • vicbert caladipo

    Agree…..seems a lot lose focus. Even Zach who plays as hard as any kid is guilty of that at times. I may be wrong but I think CTC’s recruitment of “good” guys is part of our downfalls. This team needs a couple thuggish players like Nick Ward. Did anyone see him yesterday before our game? He has no regard for anyone including his coach. I love our players but you and coach are right. Not enough guys who get after it.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Predictions for the bigten season?

  • Ms hoosier

    9-9 at best!!

  • Colt

    Since we are all tossing around our two cents……this team still reflects the “I will get you to the NBA” attitude that was CTC. Archie has a daily battle on his hands combating this.

    Ole Man is right about this being a major transition season. You can see some of Miller’s teachings showing but old habits die hard. I am so frigging glad Crean is gone that if they go winless in the B1G this year it won’t bother me.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Exactly what I was saying…..a lot are so happy Crean is gone they really don’t care what happens this year. Problem with your first statement is…….who on this team will make the NBA. I see ZERO, so if any of those players still exist, they are delusional. Maybe Morgan, but he will need to show an outside shot.

  • Colt

    What I am saying is that CTC shoveled that NBA nonsense. Not Archie.

  • bball at nick’s

    We will win one or two on the road and 4-6 at home. So, worst case 6-12 and best case 9-9.

  • Well, exactly as you said: the second half was what should have been expected against YS. That makes the point that the first half was “rusty” (or something) also valid. Not really much disagreement in the assessment here, just in whether there’s anything positive to take away.

    Personally, I think this team simply plays to its competition. Now, all teams can do that on occasion, so it’s not like it’s so unusual. But that defines this team’s character, as far as I can tell. It’s what accounts most for the ISU and FW losses, and I suspect it’s why we start out slow but then eventually pull away against these lesser teams. It’s as if the team realizes they need to start playing when the score is relatively close as the half closes. Then Archie reminds them in no uncertain terms how poorly they’re playing and they better pick it up, and then they come out in the second half and play better. Of course, that could be deadly in the B1G if they underestimated ANY team.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I agree. IMO this team just isn’t smart. Not calling them ignorant as most excel in the classroom. I just don’t see a lot of basketball smarts on this team. Next year, unless we land Romeo or a surprise big man, I don’t see much improvement. I am like you in that I’m not too concerned with a lot of wins. I would be much happier just seeing them play hard and make better decisions. The turnover issue is still there. The hedging issue is still there. At what point does Miller start pulling his hair out? At least he can enjoy the huge paycheck until he can get a few better recruits and guys who play like he wants them to

  • Colt

    I agree 100% on the smarts part. Thanks for the conversation and GO IU!!

  • bball at nick’s

    Well, Vic, and you seem unhappy with the Archie hire. Which is fine if it’s your opinion.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Mark. Some of them just don’t seem focused for 40 minutes and we already have one guy who quit. This is probably the hardest group of guys to figure out, starting with CJ. Here’s a guy who looked like a star in his first college game and now has quit. DG seems like NBA caliber at times and other times an average juco player. DD is like a man amongst boys displaying excellent post moves, then fumbles the ball around and looks like he’s playing with 2 left legs. RJ lacks confidence often. I still have not seen him dunk since the injury 2 years ago. He had a breakaway last night with no one within 10 feet and he lays it in. JN plays as expected. Good moments. Bad moments. CH looks lost in his role. Etc etc. I am mostly interested in what our roster will look like next year.

  • vicbert caladipo

    No problem. Always enjoy the conversation, even disagreement, when there is no petty name calling. We are all entitled to our opinions as wrong as they seem to some. GO IU!!!!!

  • vicbert caladipo

    Not at all Forever! I will admit there were others I wanted before him. It’s more that I want him to prove his meddle before I anoint him great. I don’t blame Archie one bit for our poor season so far. Our players just aren’t good learners and they weren’t under Crean either. Not unhappy at all. I am glad you addressed this cuz oleman and a couple others think all I do is criticize and am unhappy. I just point out what I see. I don’t mean to sound like a complainer. Trust me on this. A persons words constructed on a keyboard are not always what you would see if we were pounding a few kraken and cokes at Nicks. I think in person you would like me. Here’s an LOL just for you in HAPPY NEW YEAR MODE

  • vicbert caladipo

    Cmon Ms………give me a predicition. I say 5 wins and hold onto your hat. A bigten tourney finals where if it isn’t PU or MSU, we win!

  • bball at nick’s

    LOL, okay. Glad you know me by my first name!

  • vicbert caladipo

    On a side note…..Big ten 5-0 in bowls

  • Just as an aside, ZM, probably isn’t the most talented player on the team but he has IMHO the best defensive stance on the team; low, stable, arms extended, in-your-face close out. He will get beat off the dribble by quick guards in the BIG but he will run guys off the 3 point line.

  • Ms hoosier

    I’ll say 8 wins and they will have to play PU or MSU before they get to the finals and get put out of the big ten tournament. But I hope your rite and I’m wrong!!

  • I don’t disagree with you, and actually as OleMan alluded to above there’s a lot to enjoy in how Archie is coaching this team. The fact that he can get that unfocused group that you describe to turn things around after the half is fun to watch. This is definitely a challenged roster, and I too am looking forward to seeing how the incoming guys do win Archie’s system. He picked them very specifically, I believe, because they’re his kinds of players, and I can’t wait to see them suit up.

    In the meantime, though, to OleMan’s point, might as well just enjoy the process because it’s likely all we’re going to have to hang our hats on. And ultimately, I really don’t think there’s much disagreement here.

  • Vernon Aldrich

    Love that name, McFloorburn… Seeing his role increase, I think you’ve got the right idea; The MacMan, puttin’ the Mac down, etc. I can see him taking over the PR role from TP. We can still have fun supporting the team as they struggle to improve. Happy New Year Ole Man!

  • inCMitrust

    I’ve gone from 10 or 9 wins before the season down to 6, which is actually worse than it sounds because almost all but 2 of the big10 are worse than I thought before the season started.

  • inCMitrust

    The homer colored glasses need to come off and realize how bad the talent is on this team. Watch any rated team and name one player from our team who would see any playing time at all besides Morgan. Crean left a major rebuilding job; not as bad as he inherited, but still a job that is going to take a few years. I enjoy watching the games to see and educate myself on Archie’s coaching philosophy, never knew much about the pack line before this year.

  • Ole Man

    Happy New Year to you as well!

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Vicbert!!! Now 6-0. Alabama obviously was never penalized for playing Mercer. Ohio State/Wisconsin/ PSU has been playing in the best conference all along. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  • dwdkc

    So I’m about to get on you for being so pessimistic on the win count, then you give me whiplash where you talk about a run to the final or a win in the tourney. OK so let me just say I am putting away my expectation (but not my hope!) of going 12-6 and now will go with 9-9. We’ll get a lot better but actually my view of the conference is improved the last few weeks with some good wins by several teams. I think Wiscy will be easier to beat than Rutgers even.

  • vicbert caladipo

    7-0 now. Happy New Year to you and yours too!!

  • Missing Moye

    Not sure that I can agree with that. Rutgers is improved, but they are still very Rutgers-like at times. They lost at home this week to Hartford, which is ranked 308 by Kenpom.

  • Mark Bando

    9-9. We will win most games at home and lose most games on the road. We will pull a couple upsets and lose a couple bad games. Coaching and a weak big ten will keep us at .500.

  • Outoftheloop

    The season is “poor” only because of two debacles against IN St and FW. IU should be 10-4 with 1 good W over ND and decent efforts against Duke and Louisville. It is very hard to “get on a roll” when the team is so weak on 3 point shooting. Win 1 of 2 on the road this next week. 10-8 is not a fantasy! Do it!

  • Richard Vance

    Up and down the court they can run, but side to side they look slow. Guard play has been inconsistent.