First, a preface: I planned to catch most of tonight’s game via BigTenNetwork.com. I figured the kinks from Friday night would be worked out and it’d be smooth sailing, right? Wrong. There’s a lot of good things about the BTN, but their online “streaming” is not one of them. The picture froze consistently and was basically unwatchable. Final grade: Colossal fail.
Now, onto the action. Our Hoosiers passed their final test before Saturday’s opener with a 72-54 win over DII Bemidji State. It wasn’t a pretty effort on offense as neither team shot particularly well: IU shot 43 percent and the Beavers just 33 percent. IU also left 12 points at the foul line as they hit only 17 of 29 attempts.
Malik Story came off the bench and led the way with 15 points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes. Nick Williams and Tom Pritchard joined Story in double figures with 12 points each. Kyle Taber made his triumphant return with four points and nine rebounds. Verdell Jones (3-11 FG, four turnovers) and Devan Dumes (2-10 FG) both struggled.
Tom Crean was still in “let’s see what we have” mode (perhaps this will be an ongoing theme) as 14 different players saw time, including walk-ons Brett Finkelmeier, Evan White, Kipp Schutz, Kory Barnett, Broderick Lewis and Daniel Moore.
Even after two exhibition games, it’s really hard to get an idea of what to expect on Saturday when IU opens the season. The entire team is learning a new system and learning to play with each other. The hustle has been encouraging, but talent ultimately plays a big part in winning and the talent level on this club isn’t that of a typical Indiana team.
So, what say you, ITH’ers? Two exhibition games down and the opener Saturday, what are your observations about this team? Encouraged? Discouraged? Any keys to success that you’ve already identified? Let’s hear it in the comments.