Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Hillsdale

  • 11/05/2013 10:10 am in

In a final tuneup before Friday’s season opener, Indiana beat Hillsdale College, 79-39, on Monday night at Assembly Hall.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from Indiana’s exhibition win:

· Sheehey not forcing the issue offensively: With the scoring that Indiana lost from last year’s Big Ten championship team, replacing that production is a major storyline going into the season. One guy who isn’t attempting to force his way into a more prominent scoring role is Will Sheehey. This is a positive development for Indiana because Sheehey has always been a player who moves well without the ball, picks his spots and produces with efficiency. In the two exhibition games, Sheehey is 10-of-18 from the field and while his six turnovers are more than we’ve grown accustomed to, the senior forward appears to be making a seamless transition from Big Ten sixth man of the year to a starter.

· Robinson makes a strong first impression: After sitting out the first exhibition game with a bruised knee, Stanford Robinson came off the bench Monday night and delivered the following line: nine points (3-of-3 FG, 3-of-4 FT), two rebounds, two assists and two steals in 11 minutes. Robinson was effective both off the dribble in the halfcourt and in transition. But it’s his energy on defense that may eventually earn him a spot in Indiana’s starting lineup. “I think Stan got his fuel from defense,” Yogi Ferrell said of the freshman’s debut. “Stan has long arms, is a great on-ball defender, and gets many deflections.He was one of the top three leading deflections when he was healthy for practice. Once his defense got going he flowed within the game and he was driving the ball well and finishing.”

· Vonleh struggles from the line again: Whether it’s a blip on the radar or something more indicative of what’s to come, Noah Vonleh is now 0-for-8 from the foul line through Indiana’s first two exhibition games. As a player who projects to get to the foul line regularly and who is easily IU’s best post player, Vonleh’s free throw percentage carries importance. At Big Ten media day last week, Tom Crean said Vonleh has been fine from the foul line in practice, but thus far, what is happening in practice hasn’t carried over to games. It’s important for Vonleh to get off to a respectable start from the line on Friday to build confidence and to keep the free throw struggles from becoming a lingering issue.

· In the preseason, Ferrell has been Indiana’s most effective player: Yogi Ferrell appears to have put in significant offseason work on his game and the early returns are very encouraging. The loss to Syracuse last season in the Sweet 16 clearly left a sour taste in Ferrell’s mouth and the sophomore point guard knew his improvement had to start with his perimeter game. In the two exhibition games, Ferrell finished 8-of-15 from behind the 3-point line. We’ve witnessed guys like Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo come through Bloomington in recent seasons who have transformed from below average 3-point shooters as freshmen to above average as upperclassmen. If Ferrell can keep defenses honest with his jump shot, it opens things up for him to attack off the dribble.

· Better communication fuels defensive effort: Regardless of the final score, this wasn’t a win that came particularly easy for Indiana. The Hoosiers led by just nine at halftime and trailed by as many as 11 early on. So what changed that allowed Indiana to take command? Defensive communication, according to Ferrell.  “I think the main thing that changed was our communication. I felt that when we first got out there, no one was really talking to one another – leaving guys on islands,” he said. “We can’t win when we’re leaving guys on islands. We need to have a collective unit. After that first TV timeout, we said that we need to talk more and give better effort on defense and that will lead to our offense and get easier buckets for us.” Hillsdale coach Jason Tharp agreed  that Indiana began to lock in defensively as the game moved along. “They really guarded us,” Tharp said. “I thought they did a great job with their switching and their length defensively is incredible. What they do to you is they take away your opportunity to make a scoring pass because of their length.”

Filed to:

  • CreamandCrimson

    The comment made by Hillsdale’s coach is music to my ears. “Their length defensively is incredible. What they do to you is they take away your opportunity to make a scoring pass because of their length.”

    I don’t think this year’s team is ever going to be elite offensively (next year’s team might be a different story as the elite shooters arrive/develop and open up space for the rest of the offense) but I do think our Hoosiers can become elite defensively. I think we will really start to see the blueprint for how Coach Crean wants to play. A lot of length, a lot of athleticism and speed, playing pressure defense (not a press but high pressure on the ball and in the passing lanes), turning those deflections into easy buckets and run outs and making your opponent wish the game would just end because they are tiring of dealing with IU’s defense.

  • Frank Holz

    ^^^^ What THEY said! (couldn’t have said it better myself!)

  • InTheMtns

    I loved hearing the Hillsdale coach’s comments about the defense, too. CTC said Sunday that this team needs to establish an identity and I can’t think of a better identity than “tenacious, relentless defense.”

  • iuoiu

    This sounds exactly what a lot of us were saying about Syracuse last March after the sweet 16. Maybe they’ll experience a bit of their own medicine when we come to town.

  • IU76’s

    Robinson looks like he is going to earn a starting spot early this season. Vonleh can only get better at the charity stripe. The 5th starter (inking in Vonleh, Robinson, Sheehey and Yogi) appears up for grabs. I look for IU to do a lot of substitutions and sweat on the practice court and in the gym will be rewarded with PT.

  • Ole Man

    I agree with the comments posted. My only caveat is to remember that IU was playing a Dll school which had played the night before.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I don’t think Stanford Robinson is a lock to start right now. I think he will probably end up in the starting lineup but it’s far from a lock in my opinion.

  • HoosierTrav

    Exactly! These are the teams that cause trouble in the tournament. They don’t need to rely on great shooting like last years team bc they lock down defensively and create opportunities in transition. Louisville made two final four runs off of this type of philosophy. They had one guy get hot from 3 ball land and the rest is history.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Agreed. There is definitely some caution along with my enthusiasm. When (if) we knock off UConn or Syracuse, you will see unbridled excitement for this team.

  • notfargj

    seeing the game up close last night, i tell you what, stanford robinson is the real deal. only time will tell when he becomes a starter but, the kid – second only to yogi – is as good a guard we have on the current roster. he has such fluid motion, quickness and a rock solid build that can compete against big ten talent.

  • CreamandCrimson

    That’s good to hear, thanks! I’ll be watching it tonight and seeing how Devin Davis and Stanford Robinson look on the floor next to an opponent (albeit a DII opponent) is something I’ll be looking at.

  • PDXHoosier

    Didn’t watch the game, but the highlights are getting me pumped for the season!

    Vonleh is going to be really special. We haven’t had a player with back-to-the basket skills like he has in a while.

  • GoIU811

    I really hope that Vonleh’s free throw shooting improves he should be getting a lot of attempts and it could obviously win or lose a game for IU. As much time as he spends in the gym you would think he would be Larry Bird from the free throw line not Shaq

  • OhioHoosier

    Stan is SMOOOOOTH

  • notfargj

    seeing the game up close, i tell you what, stanford robinson is the real deal. only time will tell when he becomes a starter. second only to yogi, he is as good a guard as we have on the current roster. he has such a fluid motion and quickness, along with a rock solid build that can withstand big ten talent.

    another thing i have to mention is williams leaping ability. the competition he faced in high school probably didn’t present the height / physical obstacles he’ll face at this level. so, it might sound a little extreme when i say this but while his athleticism is truly impressive there were a couple times when i genuinely feared for his safety. if he were to be seriously undercut by another player, i could see his season coming to a premature end.

    another guy to watch out for is luke fischer. the sky’s the limit when it comes to his potential. if he continues to work hard at developing his game, i could see him being a breakout performer in another year or so.

    granted, we didn’t see much of him last year but its evident hanner has vastly improved. he, too, has the makings of a superior player.

    and, davis is a great addition as well, a really solid rebounder.

    while i love this team, there’s a couple players who were given significant minutes last night but were underwhelming at best. coach is still experimenting with the line up and so i trust he is going to utilize the “crean” of the crop.

    ultimately, this could be a very exciting team in march. we have some superb talent this year.

  • chiswede

    I cannot wait for Friday. Win or lose, this is going to be a fun team to watch.

  • moanders

    Ugh, too bad they aren’t coming to town…we’re heading to the DOME!

    **EDIT** – Sorry, didn’t read your post closely enough!

  • chiswede

    How did Hanner look? The one highlight of him in this post was nice.

  • Hardwood83

    Yes- Vonleh HAS to be a decent FT shooter. I am very encouraged hearing he shoots well in practice, it will sort itself out. There is no reason a scholarship Div 1 B-ball player can’t shoot at very least 60% FT.
    Btw– LOVED the up & under McHale move Noah had early on.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    given the rule changes this year, the entire team better learn to shoot FT’s! not sure if i like the new rules, but more scoring can’t be all bad i guess. though i will miss the occasional arm bar.

    regarding NV’s zero…point…zero FT% (also bluto’s gpa), at least it can’t get any worse! kid’s got a nice shot, so i ain’t too worried yet. nerves probably just got the best of him

  • Dee McDonald

    A DII school that took Valparaiso (a tournament team last year) into overtime before barely losing to them….I’d say we played VERY good exhibitions. It’s better than Indiana Wesleyan last year.

  • SCHoosier

    Given that NV’s high school and AAU FT % was in the mid-40’s I’d say the 0-8 to start the season is more than a “blip.” This team will be fun to watch..but TC’s gonna have some grey hair by conference time.

  • IULore

    The back to the basket play is really missing in today’s game

  • sarge

    nice AH reference, i give ya props

  • indianaourindiana

    Watford shot 38% from 3 freshman year though….

  • esapata

    In person, I thought Hanner looked good. His situational awareness on the court has seen a huge improvement over last year, he shares the ball, and for the most part seems to make much smarter attempts at scoring. I expect to see him get much more playing time than he did last year. He also made 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in a dozen or so mins last night. I think he also had some turn overs, but he’s definitely improved over last year, and he seems to be productive given the time he’s gotten.

  • HoosierPat

    I’m a really big fan of Robinson right now. He is very smooth on the offensive end and aggressive on the defensive end. Plus he has a little size so he would be able to defend a bigger guard who may have a few inches on Yogi.
    Also, I was very impressed with Hanner. He seems a lot more comfortable and confident than he did last year. He is going to need to provide some minutes this year o I hope he is ready to play a much more significant role.

  • notfargj

    physically, he’s built like a grown man. he also appears to be far more comfortable with the system just far more confident on the court.

  • MillaRed

    Saw the game. My takeaways…….

    Announcer guy. You are not Howard Cosell. Seriously.
    Official guys, please, please never officiate a basketball game. Never ever.
    Jeremy Hollowell is not a PG. But he’s good.
    Will needs to impose his “will” every minute he is on the floor. In other words, take over!!!!
    I miss Victor and Cody.
    Noah, Troy, Stan and Luke are way ahead of where Jeremy, Hanner and PJ were last year. WAY
    Gordon was an important pick up. By the end of the year we will get that.
    We will be very good next year.

  • Are you sure about that? On the Premium Forum, I’m pretty sure I read a post by Alex, that indicated a much lower number than that, for Watford…

  • BMusic

    Marco Killingsworth, I’d say.

  • Southern55Hoosier

    I wonder how much of it is because he has become so much stronger. It seems like Yogi struggled a bit early on because he too was shooting long as a result of more strength. Hopefully Noah will recapture at least what he had and then improve with time.

  • Snookafly

    Vonleh has more finesse but less meanness.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Amen – I watched the replay on BTN and literally had to turn the volume off because I just couldn’t possibly listen to Erik S. talk about taking one more charge.
    One thing that struck me about the game is how truly deep this team looks to be. I could honestly say I’d be comfortable with a starting lineup including: Yogi, Will, Noah, Jeremy, Troy, Devin, Stan, Luke, Gordon & Hanner. That is 10 players I’d be totally comfortable in feeling would compete every day in the B1G. Wow — and I think they will all play. I know there have been many debates about realistic rotations beyond 8, but seriously, I think it could happen. And that doesn’t even consider AE….

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    He did not flash well when they played zone, but he can learn how to be active when presented with it. He has a great stroke at the FT line, give him time and he will evolve. I am excited to watch this team develop!

  • BMusic

    More size, too.

  • MillaRed

    And we are looooong. Love Jordy but man that was hard to watch over the years. Noah, Stan and Troy are so flippin athletic. Remember Jordy and CWat as FR? Jeremy and Hanner? They were so overwhelmed.

    These new kids will have their growing pains but they just look faster, stronger, bouncier than the past 5 years of FR. I would like to see this lineup unless Will cannot stay with the 2 guard.

    PG Yogi SG Will SF Troy PF Jeremy PF Noah

    2nd unit
    Stan Gordon Devin/AE HannerLuke

    We will never see that 2nd five together for scoring reasons. But I like the combo of 2-3 of them with 2-3 of our starters at every given time.

    I still look at Yogi. He is so irreplaceable on this team. This is what will keep me up at night this season.

  • MillaRed

    He is rebounding with authority and it will only get better. He is quicker to the ball than the man he is guarding. He is showing a great stroke at the FT line. A player went to the lane that was contested by Hanner and it barely hit the backboard. He was daring the kid to drive. He will help this year.

  • MillaRed

    I hear you but athleticism displayed has nothing to do with the opponent. Hanner is under control. Noah is a beast. The kid was leading a fast break. Troy’s play resembles Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs. Stan is crafty!

    I have not seen this level of athleticism, speaking strictly on athleticism, on an Indiana team in a long time.

    Troy Williams was put on this Earth to be at the top of a 1-3-1 zone.

  • MillaRed

    Did you see Stan man up on that guard in the 2nd half? He dribbled 20 times and got absolutely nowhere. Could not get the ball out of his hands quick enough. Stan has amazing feet.

  • Corey M

    I don’t know about everyone else but I knew HMP was 100% more comfortable on the court just by the one little pass he made to Hollowell that resulted in an assist… That simple cross-court pass to a teammate for a bucket is something we didn’t see 1 time from Hanner last year. He is probably never going to put up huge numbers but if he can work within the flow of the offense just having his length and athleticism on the court this year will benefit this squad significantly

  • PDXHoosier

    Apparently, Marco is putting up some serious numbers in the Ukraine

  • Bobby34

    31% actually. He shot 38% his sophomore year.

  • Dave Carnes

    My thoughts exactly. Wouldn’t AE stat at Purdue.

  • Dave Carnes

    My biggest worry is that we will count on Yogi for too much scoring.He goes into slumps and if we are counting on him we may loose win he doesn’t shoot well.I would like to see him improve his floor general skills and be an opportunistic scorer.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I don’t think that will be a problem. There are plenty of scorers on this team. If he is having a bad evening, I could see Will/Troy/Stan/Jeremy/Evan having a wow scoring night to pull the load.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I think AE starts for Purdue, Wisconsin, Minn, Nebraska, Illinois, Northwestern, Penn State…. and will struggle to get quality playing time at IU. That said, I can also see him having one of those out of left field spectacular games like that kid from Louisville in the NCAA/Final 4.

  • SCHoosier

    An A+ for Milla on this one. I would add: Hanner is now where I thought he might be as a freshman..and he can have a role. Gordon may find a “steadying role”..but any minutes he takes from Stan’s development does not help IU long term. JH’s point experiment is worth a short try..but against a seasoned defender..Hollowell will get stripped 40% of the time he puts it on the floor. Both Will and Yogi had some TO”s that were embarrassing given their experience and roles. but..hey they were exhibitions!

  • Doug

    GO IU!