Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Samford

  • 11/16/2013 1:35 pm in

Indiana picked up its third win of the season on Friday night with a complete dismantling of Samford, 105-59, in front of an announced sellout at Assembly Hall.

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

· Vonleh making it look easy: Another night and another double double for freshman Noah Vonleh. In the win over Samford, Vonleh posted 13 points and 10 rebounds, making him the first IU freshman ever to begin a career with three straight double doubles.

The freshman crop in college basketball is extremely talented this season and Vonleh isn’t being discussed much on the national scene, but he’s been Indiana’s best player early this season. His free throw troubles during the exhibition games have disappeared through three games as the 6-foot-10 forward is shooting 77.3 percent from the line.

· Ferrell’s career night: With 26 points, sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell set a new career-high and did so in efficient fashion. Ferrell was 8-of-11 from the field, 5-of-7 from the foul line and also had six assists. Through three games, IU’s floor general is averaging 18 points, four assists and four rebounds and is shooting 40 percent from behind the 3-point line.

What might be more important to track as the season moves along is Ferrell’s turnover percentage. As a freshman, he coughed the ball up on 24.5 percent of his possessions. Early this season, that figure has dropped to 17.4 percent. We’re still a long ways off from drawing any definitive conclusions on just how improved Ferrell will be this season, but the early returns are encouraging.

· Hoosiers make it a point to get to the line: Indiana shot a program-record 55 free throws in the season opener against Chicago State. That was followed by only 17 attempts in a narrow win over LIU Brooklyn. The Hoosiers were back in attack mode against Samford and the final stats bear it out. IU attempted 41 free throws for a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of 65.1 percent. The Hoosiers have ranked in the top 15 nationally the past two seasons in free throw rate and Tom Crean believes it is a key metric for his team once again.

“It’s got to be in the first line of strengths,” Crean said last night. “It’s got to be in the first sentence of the identity of the team. I mean, it really has to be because we got a lot of athletes, we got a lot of guys that can drive the ball straight line. We may not have all the skills down when it comes to the shooting, passing, post moves, all that stuff yet. But to attack the rim, to attack the backboards, to get out and play and create turnovers defensively, all those things help lead to the free throw line.”

· The bench makes a major contribution: After only scoring five bench points against LIU Brooklyn, Indiana scored 43 points off its bench on Friday. Evan Gordon scored 10 points and Hanner Mosquera-Perea added a career-high eight. In total, eight different bench players scored. Once the competition level increases, the Hoosiers won’t get that level of production off the bench, but developing consistency is pivotal to this team’s success.

Last season, Indiana expected to have more depth than it ended up with when the year ended. Postseason, Crean acknowledged that the season’s bench never really materialized as he had hoped. Whether or not depth can end up as a true strength of this team remains to be seen, but Indiana appears to have several players — Devin Davis, Gordon, Mosquera-Perea and Stanford Robinson stand out so far — who could ultimately make the bench an improved unit over a season ago.

· Assembly Hall faithful recognize Seltzer, Hightower: Former Indiana assistant Bennie Seltzer, who worked tirelessly for four years as a major piece of Crean’s staff in Bloomington, received a nice ovation from Hoosiers fans prior to tipoff. In his second season at Samford, Seltzer’s stop was his second road game of six straight for his young team. Samford has only reached the NCAA tournament twice in program history and its last appearance came in 2000, so Seltzer faces a major building project in Birmingham.

Long time Big Ten official Ed Hightower worked his final game in Assembly Hall last night and was also recognized late in the second half as Crean took the microphone during a timeout and asked fans to applaud Hightower. The response started out somewhat chilly, but ultimately ended with a nice applause for Hightower, who is the superintendent for Edwardsville (Ill.) schools.

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  • Hoosier Hall

    Vonleh has been superb so far. It will be interesting to see how he fares against Big 10 competition. I really hope he sticks around for next year, but if not I think we’re ok with Fischer and Perea. I am sold on Yogi already. I know we’re not competing against elite talent yet, but his confidence has been on full display and you can’t fake outside shooting like that.

  • HoosierCruz

    It is going to be great having this team learn to compete without lights-out shooters this season, then get three lights-out shooters next year!

  • Robert Weber

    I really like this year’s team. They’re a great group of guys and seem willing to learn and improve. I think they might be underrated a bit, but that’s okay. I love when IU is the underdog.

    Next year’s team, however, could truly be something special, especially if we improve this year as much as I expect we will.

  • G-Rob

    Agree, this team is going to keep improving and growing as a team. Yogi’s off season hard work is showing in his game. This young team is going to have some growing pains this season but all the pieces are there for a really special team next year. CCan’t wait to watch this exciting young team keep progressing this season.

  • Miamihoosier

    Yogi’s a returning McDonald’s AA… many of those are there in the country? Less than 20? He’s starting to realize if he plays to his ability, he can be the best player on the floor every night. If he’s maxing out, he’s better than Gary Harris, Aaron Craft, or anyone else in the Big Ten. He’s averaging 18 points a game through 3, and more importantly, no one can stay in front of him. Vonleh looks like he will be a consistent double-double out of the low post, but Yogi is our star. Our initial defense is good, but we give up wide open looks a lot when the opponent runs their set all the way through. Team defense has got to get better. That game rivaled last year’s North Carolina game in “fun to watch” factor. Perrea’s confidence is growing and growing……that kid was a top 20 player at times in his high school career. You can see the potential, I think the way he is playing this season is what we thought we’d see out of him his freshman year. If he becomes a basketball player…wow, watch out. Troy Williams is my favorite player. If you listen to him in the post game interviews, he’s obviously not an eloquent speaker, but he just loves basketball. As raw as he is now, I think his development is going to come at warp speed, and we will be lucky if we get him for a Junior season. I don’t want to waste anymore time thinking about next year. This season is in full swing now. The games get a lot harder, and we’ll have some disappointments, but THIS season will be plenty fun.

  • Brian Stewart

    The best thing about watching Indiana right now is our freshman don’t have a clue what they are doing yet. When the light bulb comes on and we are also able to stretch the defense with some outside threats the sky is the limit!

  • CreamandCrimson

    Very good performance, particularly after the scare against LIU-Brooklyn.

    +Shot selection and plan of attack was much, much better and much more suited for our personnel.
    +We thought this team would be capable of being a very good rebounding team. Through three games, the results are encouraging.
    +Hanner Perea is far from polished but he is starting to get it.
    +Collin Hartman looked pretty solid in his surprising minutes.

    Stony Brook is going to be a tough test. They might be our best non-Big Ten home opponent. Add in the quick turnaround (less than 48 hours) and we are going to need to play well to win. This season will be full of highs and lows, this game was a definite high.

  • TomJameson

    I agree; talk about multiple weapons. That’s similar to what we had last year in the inside-outside game, but with a ton more athleticisms! I definitely don’t want to knock last years team, but I don’t think anybody can argue that this team isn’t more athletic. Love them both, but love the differences too! lol

  • TomJameson

    Where they are right now, I don’t think they are underrated; maybe even a little overrated. BUT, by the end of the year I really think we’ll either be in the top 10, or then be underrated. I really think we’re going to be upsetting some teams in March.

  • TomJameson

    Miami, I agree with a lot of that but with these additions to focus on some of your points I like most.

    Yogi hasn’t maxed out yet. Isn’t that a scary thought? I think he’ll stay 4 years, but if he keeps improving I think 3 is more like it.

    I agree about our defense, but with the improvements we’ve seen game-to-game so far, I don’t have as much of a concern. Although I will say that is probably my biggest concern with this young team.

    Vonleh, well yeah, he’s a beast and going to be great this year. We’ll see when we start hitting some real competition. But yeah, I think he’ll step up.

    Troy is probably the top of my favorites list also, but that list has a few on it. lol. I think Troy will end up being a star in the NBA. I really do. 3 year at IU and then a stellar career in the NBA.

    This season is going to get me close to having a heart attack. lol

  • Snookafly

    I definitely heard some boos when Crean was honoring Ed Hightower. I wonder what Coach is going to do when Valentine retires.

  • HoosierPat

    Hightower is nowhere near as bad as TV Ted. Everyone would boo him.

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    Funny comment I read last night:

    That’s pretty dangerous, asking Assembly Hall to “salute” Ed Hightower

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    My two takeaways:
    Man, this team is athletic.
    Man, this team is *young*.

  • Strummer dude!

    Team is very young, very athletic and very inexperienced, But upside is that this team will become older, more athletic and very experienced by the end of the year. Upside is a strong finish this year, add a few key components next year while watching something really special develop both years and beyond.Look for the recruiting only to get better!


    I will applaud, applaud the fact that we won’t have to put up with his sorry excuse for a ref butt !


    Was kinda concerned when, in his post game comments, Crean said that HMP is in a walking boot whenever he isn’t on the court. Can’t be a good thing for him as it could turn into a out of action for an extended amount of time injury for him and just as he is starting to really get it and contribute. I’d say he’s probably looking at some kind of medical procedure during this coming offseason. Kid just can’t seem to catch a break, last year the taliban of college bball (ncaa) screwed him over rather royally had the walking boot for an extended amount of time as well and sounds like this year that same walking boot is his best friend off the court. Really, really hope that it doesn’t become a bigger problem for him this year cause the minutes he is getting this year is setting him up to be a big time contributor next year…..if it doesn’t turn into a lingering problem for him.