Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Savannah State

  • 12/07/2014 1:00 pm in

Indiana moved to 7-1 on Saturday night with a blowout win over Savannah State at Assembly Hall. Here’s a look at five takeaways from IU’s 95-49 win over the Tigers:

· Indiana took care of business against an inferior opponent: This may not seem significant, but there’s an argument to be made that it’s a sign of growth for a young team to step on an opponent early and never relent. After Michigan lost to NJIT and Purdue lost to North Florida earlier in the day, it was fair to ask whether Indiana would create early separation or let Savannah State hang around like Lamar and UNC Greensboro, two earlier, similar opponents in terms of their Pomeroy ratings.

The Hoosiers looked flat early, but exploded for a 33-8 run to claim a 43-17 halftime lead. From there, Indiana never looked back on its way to win No. 7.

“When we go out there, we want to give it everything we got like it is our last game,” junior Yogi Ferrell said. “So that game can transfer over to the next game so we can get wins on top of wins.”

· Quietly, Yogi Ferrell is thriving: Is it possible that Indiana’s best player isn’t being talked about enough? Because the numbers say that so far, Ferrell has been a better player this year. Here’s a look at his numbers this season through eight games compared to last year’s first eight:


We discussed how Ferrell’s role would change again as a junior in the preseason and so far, what we’re seeing is a player who is shooting less from the perimeter and distributing the ball more. As much as Ferrell’s shot selection was questioned at times last year, he was Indiana’s best perimeter option and he operated as such. This season, his 3-point attempts are down and his assists are up along with a slight decrease in turnovers. As good of a scorer as James Blackmon Jr. has been so far, Ferrell is still Indiana’s best two-way player and it’s encouraging that he’s become a more efficient player as a junior.

· Emmitt Holt played well, again: One of the best things that can happen with a young player early in the season is to build off a strong performance with another solid effort. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday with freshman Emmitt Holt, who was the star of IU’s win over Pittsburgh last Tuesday.

Holt didn’t match his production from the Pitt game against Savannah State, but in 11 minutes, he scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds and had two blocked shots. And while the sample size is still lacking, the Pomeroy numbers like Holt as this team’s best offensive (24.4 OR%) and defensive (17.7 DR%) rebounder. Most would probably agree that the eye test agrees with the numbers.

“Emmitt is just going out there and doing everything he does in practice,” Ferrell said of the freshman. “I feel like Emmitt can pass well off the post, especially when he gets in that alley, he can finish down low. He’s a great offensive rebounder. We definitely need him out there doing that for us.”

· Zeisloft settling into role: In just his third game coming off the bench in an IU uniform, redshirt junior Nick Zeisloft seems to be adjusting well to a role as a shooter who can take care of the ball off the bench. Over his last three games, Zeisloft has scored 20 points in a total of 57 minutes. He’s hit 6 of his 14 attempts from behind the 3-point line in the stretch while committing just two turnovers.

For the season, Zeisloft is hitting 43.2 percent from distance and while he’s been somewhat streaky, having his experience and leadership available off the bench should be a positive for Indiana as the schedule becomes tougher.

· Indiana didn’t have a great game taking care of the ball: If there was a negative coming out of this game, it was Indiana’s carelessness with the ball. The Hoosiers are about to face pressure like they’ve never seen before against Louisville on Tuesday and if Savannah State was a warmup, the numbers weren’t encouraging.

Indiana coughed it up on 20.6 percent of its possessions against Savannah State, its second worst performance of the season. Taking care of the ball is going to be an essential piece of success against Louisville and it’s something that Tom Crean acknowledged that his team is going to have to do better the next time out.

“The bottom line is, they never go away and they don’t let up,” Crean said of Louisville. “And their guards are extremely physical in the sense of how well they get up into the ball. The one thing that we — preparing for this season was how good SMU created defensive pressure and got steals, how good Pittsburgh got steals, how good Louisville was at getting steals and back tips. Louisville is as the head of the class on that right now. So we are going to be really, really great with the basketball.”

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  • SCHoosier

    If you’d get $5 for every time Yogi’s name is mentioned positively on a game telecast you could tour the world by seasons end. He’s fine..Ferrell’s role has changed and he is adapting. If IU is going to survive UL’s pressure..Yogi’s gonna have to be the man with the ball in his hands and play under control. Holt will only get better and I think he will do it quickly. IU..first road game and all against that Cardinal pressure…could fall behind by 10 pretty early. What I like about this team is that if they keep hustling..Hoosiers are not out of any game with their 3pt and FT shooting. Teams are going to have to keep a couple oxygen tanks close by for this one.

  • GaHoosier

    First: When the score was 12-9 in favor of IU, Coach Crean benched his WHOLE starting five…guessing because of turnovers, lack of hustle, and no intensity. The second string players came in the game and quickly got the score to 17-9. Savannah St called a TO, and slowly over the next couple of positions Coach started to insert the starters again. Whether is was getting benched or Coach Crean lighting a fire under them, the rest of the half was pure domination!!!

    Second: When Hartmann is in the game…I feel a sense of peace. When he touches the ball…I feel like the smart play is going to be made. He has truly been a great addition to this team!

    Third: Hanner is playing better, a direct result of Holt (more on Holt later) playing well. Hanner is more aggressive on both sides of the ball. He is not afraid to get in foul trouble the last couple of games. When he just plays ball and doesn’t overthink the game, he is a vital part of this team.

    Fourth: Troy starting to show #HoosierNation why Crean wanted this young man. His free throw shooting has greatly improved. His ability to use the baseline is truly a work-of-art. When he lets the game come to him, and not force it, he is an x-factor that teams will struggle to defend!

    Fifth: So far Coach Crean has used his freshmen well. We also should give him and his staff credit for finding Holt. This young man is strong, quick, has length, understands the game well, moves his feet, fights for rebounds, and has tremendous enthusiasm on and off the court (this was greatly lacking last year).

    Finally (yes this is my 6th takeaway, not just five): This team can shoot the ball. They don’t hestiate when they catch the ball…they are ready to fire. Basketball is truly simple…but the ball in the basketball more than the other team! Shooters can do that. Great defense is not going to define this team. Adaquate defense and rebounding coupled with ball movement and great shooting will define their success!

  • Fred C. Dobbs

    IU is just so deep this year. Their fun to watch!! I know their going to lose a few this tear but man are they fun to watch. I’m more jazzed about this team than two years ago. Their under the radar. I love it

  • Max

    I’m excited too … but two years ago IU had the #1 team in the country for much of the season. Let’s not get carried away here!

  • mark

    Compare Holt’s stats per min to Perea’s. Just looking at that, no way HMP should get more mins than EH. Nice to see Stan stuff the stat sheet a la last year.

  • hoosier oak

    off subject but trying to get five tickets for the New Orleans game. but only can find them grouped in fours. any ideas

  • eville87

    Two thing can happen here. 1. We get blown out.

    2. As I said in my last post I’m excited because we have nothing to lose. If we get anything as far as rebounds and defense down low. Limit our turnovers and shoot a high percentage from 3. We could actually beat Louisville. Live by the 3 die by the 3. Perea will have to have his best game ever when Holt isn’t in. Anxiously looking forward to Tuesday. I think it will tell a lot as in if we are a top 68 team or not.

  • marcusgresham

    Hartman has been what everyone wanted Etherington to be.
    Holt is becoming what everyone wants Davis to be (can’t wait to see them together next year.)
    Troy paid attention last year and learned from Sheehey how to cut.
    I’d like to see April get in a bit more with the regulars, at least in some of these games (and I know there are potentially only a couple left.) I realize he has miles to go, but he appears to have a decent understanding of what’s going on and there’s going to come a day when they’ll need his size. He doesn’t have to play more than a couple of minutes, but he’s so damn big he at least becomes an obstacle.

  • ForeverIU

    I agree with everything you said, but Jeremiah is much more than an obstacle. He has an elegant and graceful game, like Emmitt.

  • Whohadthelastperfctseason?

    I haven’t been to any games this year, but in the last few years there have been a lot of IU “fans” who buy tickets but don’t show up for games (‘sup with that?). I’m guessing that this still occurs, especially at games vs. lower-ranked opponents.

    If so, you could buy 4 tickets together + 1 elsewhere (or 3 + 2). I would bet that you could still find 5 no-show seats together and just relocate there. You might eventually have to move—I’ve seen people show up at
    halftime….or the ushers in a given section might not let you pass w/o tickets for that section. However, you might also get lucky. Besides, if you bought 3 +2, nobody would have to sit alone, even in the worst-case scenario.

  • Blair McKee

    You beat Louisville’s pressure by quick passes and avoiding turnovers. Yogi cannot do that alone. IU has athletes, and SHOULD BE PREPARED for this. I have my doubts, but am looking forward to the test!

  • Mandeville, R.

    I know he’s only played 12 minutes this season in mop up duty against bad opponents…but if April can become a poor man’s George Leach, I’ll be thrilled. He only blocked 1 shot, but he altered at least 3 in his 5 minutes.

  • GaHoosier

    I’m glad someone learned from Sheehey on how to cut to the basket! Sheehey had some holes in his overall game, but he knew how to cut to the whole and use his hoops.

  • SCHoosier

    Elegant and graceful are the makings of a good ballet dancer..I’d like to think of JA as a potential b-ball beast in the early stages:)

  • SCHoosier

    It’s embarassing on a nationally televised game to see so many empty seats..especially on the floor section. The Halls rep is taking a whack this year

  • ForeverIU

    If you don’t think there are elements of the strength and body control of a ballet dancer in basketball, then I don’t know what game you’ve been watching. Beasts are clumsy and rambunctious, lol!

  • KmanCRK

    I will never understand why HMP & Holt would play a combined 26 minutes. Both guys need as much experience as possible.

  • Bdub-hoops

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Holt has really only played significant minutes in 3 games. I love what he’s brought so far, but we really need both of them to produce to have success this far. I hope that we see a good split of minutes between them unless one is absolutely outpacing the other when we get into the meat of conference play. To your point, if Holt keeps progressing he should start and take the lion’s share of minutes at the 5. I think that will probably happen at some point this season, but I think it’s not a small thing to keep Hanner’s confidence up going into conference play.

  • millzy32

    I normally scream at the TV when any team passes it around the perimeter and then settles for a 3 pointer without trying to take it inside but this is different. I don’t mind this team hoisting up as many 3’s as they want. They can all shoot. If they have an open look they should be bombing it. This team will truly live and die by the 3 but unlike most years and most teams I am OK with this. These guys are Gunslingers but unlike past years they are actually doing it with live ammunition.

  • millzy32

    True but that team was no match for the Syracuse zone because they couldn’t shoot. This team would shoot Syracuse out of that zone and make it a much different game.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    Technically not truly a road game as its on a neutral court, but I guess anything away from Assembly Hall is a road game. Go Hoosiers!

  • Whohadthelastperfctseason?

    It is indeed embarrassing. Besides the empty seats being seen by audiences on national TV, recruits also see them when attending our home games. Not very impressive.


    Or why several great bball players, including but definitely not limited to, none other than the great Dr. J, have taken ballet lessons to improve their game.

  • SilentBob

    Blow out game against one of the worst front courts in college basketball is why. One of the few times this year where I can say both will get more “experience” battling in practice than in game. Might as well not risk injury and rest them for one of the best front courts in college ball. The only developmental value Savannah St brought was a press defense, might as well give our guards and wings the most time as they are the most crucial to breaking the press. Then April and Priller get minutes, and if the basketball gods play a cruel joke on us and one of either HMP or EH get injured they will need those minutes.

  • SilentBob

    That was a name drop I didn’t expect to see ever lol. Nice! Miss good Ol’ George

  • SilentBob

    If we somehow beat Louisville I bet you see those seats fill up pretty quickly. Dang band-wagoners lol. I thought we were the one fortunate school not to have those lol

  • SilentBob

    Some of the comments being made by Coach and the players about Collin, Stan, and Emmitt make me think this team hasn’t even scratched the surface of how good they can be. By just “trimming the fat” and giving our best players the most minutes they could be much better. Then mop up some of our technical difficulties on defense and on the glass….. I know we can’t get to all during the course of the season, but if we can just get marginally better then we could be very competitive in the Big this year.

  • BigAd007

    That team could shoot extremely well.

  • Michael

    They could. But not on that day

  • IUHoosier1976

    Not much to take from this game, glad we were able to beat them convincingly. One worry was how bothered we looked by the full court press at the beginning. Rather then breaking it through quick passes we seemed to hold onto it and let ourselves get trapped. Savannah St seemed to get gassed pretty quickly trying to press so it was a very small sample size where they seemed to “effectively” press.
    Obviously that’s not a tenth of the pressure we will get from L’Ville so I hope our guys learned from it. Can’t wait for tomorrows game!

  • millzy32

    This team now has 4 or 5 shooters that are better than any shooter on the team 2 years ago and yes I am including present day Yogi as a better shooter than former Yogi. Hulls was the only starter that could consistently knock down the triple and he usually needed to be very open. When that team played Syracuse they shoot poorly and turned the ball over trying to get in the lane with no success. The current team could just whip it around the perimeter until someone is open and drain it. Current team has 6 or 7 guys that I don’t mind taking the 3. The other team had 2.

  • Dagwoods

    Holding you to that! LOL.