The Minute After: Creighton

  • 11/19/2015 9:31 pm in

Thoughts on an 86-65 win over the Bluejays:

Cautious optimism ran through the minds of the IU faithful this summer.

Sure, Indiana was primed to have an elite offense once more, but could it incorporate a big man seamlessly into this group of shooters when the narrative has often suggested otherwise? And more importantly, after an abysmal defensive showing last year, could it improve enough to put the Hoosiers in elite territory?

A performance like tonight’s against Creighton helps to start remove the caution and let the optimism reign free. Indiana put it together on both ends in its drubbing of the Bluejays and the possibilities of what the Hoosiers can become are starting to take shape.

We need to start with Thomas Bryant. What a performance. As I noted on Twitter, Bryant is this team’s emotional leader for a squad sorely needing one. His emotion and passion have endeared him early to the fanbase. He gets the crowd and his teammates hyped.

Bryant was a little more in control with his body and he did huge things on offense and defense. The freshman was just about unstoppable in the post and got a bunch of buckets around the hoop with some terrific moves. He hit all six of his 2-pointers and added a 3-pointer to boot to finish with 17 points and seven boards. Bryant was equally impressive on defense, intimidating the Bluejays at the rim with four blocks. One of his two assists was a solid touch pass back to Yogi Ferrell for a 3-pointer early in the game.

When Bryant is this good on both ends and everyone is filling in the gaps around him, it makes this team a force to be reckoned with.

“The lion came out in me,” Bryant said after the game with a smile.

James Blackmon Jr. had perhaps an equally impressive performance. Tom Crean has asked for more playmaking from his sophomore and he provided that tonight. Blackmon Jr. got into the lane and found a streaking Troy Williams for scores out of the short corner on his way to four assists. He was also feeling it from distance, as he hit 4-of-6 from beyond the arc to lead Indiana in scoring with 19 points.

Couple Blackmon Jr.’s shooting with his playmaking and respectable defense, and it was a next-level performance from the sophomore.

The Hoosiers’ defense never really figured out how to stop Maurice Watson Jr. (game-high 21 points), but got it done regardless. It held the Bluejays to .84 points per possession after giving up .97 to Austin Peay. Creighton only mustered an effective field goal percentage of 48.

After Indiana’s burst to a double-digit lead in the first half, the Bluejays were never really in this one and the Hoosiers simply coasted for much of the second half before closing the door with Troy Williams’ emphatic putback jam off a Nick Zeisloft miss.

Indiana is up bright and early tomorrow morning to travel to Maui. This performance was a great confidence boost and lead-in to the tournament. Play like this next week and you put yourself in position to bring home the championship.

Filed to:

  • Tyler T

    What a win!! We definitely got to see the potential this team has. When playing like this, IU has the chance to compete with any team in the country. Period.

  • Speed

    This game is a step in the right direction. Good D will make this team special. Great D will make them a champion!

  • straight no chaser

    I keep tracking our D on Ken Pomeroy. We are at 60 now. Keep it up.

    And we dropped from #1 to #2 on offense. Darn it!

  • SilentBob

    For the most part that was a pretty darn good team that took the floor tonight. Still some slop and confusion, but the season is barely underway. Did a heck of a lot better getting Thomas the ball tonight, and for the majority of the game we played pretty smart defense.

  • Ole Man

    Have to start hitting the 3s with some consistency. It’s becoming a bit of a nagging problem. May cost us against better teams.

  • IU_fan_in_Lafayette

    When Troy Williams has the ball he like a box of chocolates, you never know what your going to get….( it’s not because he is a kid of color).

  • Interestingly, and not trying to be negative, but there’s a much higher ceiling to this team. I don’t consider this a great performance by this team, just a good one. Keep turnovers to 10 or fewer, hit a higher percentage of threes, improve the defense another notch, and hit TB more consistently in the post–and _then_ they can beat any team in the country, on any given night. Lots of improvement to be made, which I consider a pretty good thing to think after the third game of the season.

  • As much as I love TB, I _really_ don’t want him taking four threes a game. Hit one to keep the opposition honest, then take the easy stuff in the post. His three misses contribute a bit to the percentage drop, as well as Yogi having an off night from outside. But as long as JBJ and Zeisloft keep hitting, I think we’re okay in that department. Mostly.

  • Ole Man

    Excellent and astute observations.

  • inLinE6

    Including some turnovers too……

  • I think that’s the “you never know what you’re going to get” part. 🙂

  • SCHoosier

    That’s the Thomas B we’ve been waiting to see. Good effort by everyone..sharing the ball, defending the three and hitting the boards. Plenty of areas to work on..but like where the Hoosiers are going into Maui. Morgan and OG need to get better ..sooner than later. Troy still drives me crazy with his out of control plays (including starting the game with a reckless drive head down into 3 defnders in the paint) .Guess that’s just part of his DNA. (Don’t Need Any ..of that)

  • Beat Duke

  • Troy has the moves he just is selfish and tends to force action or shot, open or not, almost every time he touches the ball. When he does pass he is usually so out of control its bad or turnover. There were times tonight I just wanted him of the bench. I think he could play at the next level but his inability to make good decision doesn’t seem to improve. I’m still glad he is on the team because he has a load of potential.

  • Kyl470

    Good win now it’s time to take Hawaii by storm.

  • TomJameson

    No Mark, that doesn’t sound negative, it sounds cautiously optimistic. LOL I agree with you, but I don’t think this team can really limit the turnover to 10 or fewer because they play so fast, at least not consistently. Maybe 12 or less. The threes will get better, I think the defense will get better, and TB and the rest of the team will get more used to playing together, and you’ll see TB being an even bigger part of this team. I’m really liking the direction this team is heading. They’ll have their ups and downs, I just hope people don’t jump all over them when they have a down night.

  • TomJameson

    I agree about TB, and Max, shooting too many threes (unless they’re hitting them). The really sweet thing is that if a couple are off on their shot, there’s always a couple or three to pick it up.

  • Even the cautiously optimistic in me thinks it will be the B1G before this team fully hits its stride. And then, watch out. In the meantime, I think we can beat just about anybody on our schedule, but we can also lose to a few. Next week is going to be interesting, to say the least.

  • bvillehoosier

    I was at the game tonight. Great crowd I thought especially for an early non-con opponent. They announced a sell-out although I saw empties in the balcony. Thomas Bryant gets the crowd so into the game it’s awesome. Team played very good all around. I heard that Creighton had been averaging 106 points a game if you take into account their exhibition games…so they obviously can score. Holding to 65 was impressive for us. Let’s make some noise in Maui boys!!

  • Lance76

    TB impressed me early when Yogi was trying to get open and TB had 1 handed touch pass in high post back to Yogi for 3. Later in the game TB had patience and post move to score on the big down low. IU seemed to play smart tonight.

  • TomJameson

    Again I agree (what the hell is going on?? — LOL) Especially about when IU will be hitting it’s stride. I’ve been saying that since day 1. Their pre-conference schedule is really a trial by fire, and I’m positive it will pay B1G dividends in conference play. LOL

  • disqus_4UbWP6rS24

    I, too, am tired of seeing four turnovers on Troy’s stat line. However, I don’t like it when he is on the bench. He is very active with his hands and is a constant threat to the opposition when on offense. He also brings a lot of fans to their feet at home games, and the volume from the fans can and does play a part in some games. He needs to slow down just enough to gain better control without placing a harness on his athleticism and abilities. He is a stat stuffer, or at least can be…but that also, unfortunately, includes turnovers at the moment. I don’t want him on the bench as long as he is playing with intensity the entire game. Last year there were a couple games where he didn’t seem to put the effort in like he is capable and like is needed, but so far he seems to be playing with a lot of intensity. Again, I agree…please slow down slightly…but don’t lose the intensity. When he plays with intensity, based on last year’s performances, he is a stat stuffer.

  • TomJameson

    That was something we saw on TV was the empty seats. Creighton was a good team, and to some the best test for IU so far. I would have thought the place would have been packed. Maybe TB will get people into the seats with his energy. He is really fun to watch, as is this entire team.

  • KmanCRK

    I’m sure it’s safe to say Slick and the Hurryin’ Hoosiers really enjoy watching this team play.

  • disqus_4UbWP6rS24

    I will be happy…no, ecstatic…if IU merely takes Hawaii by a drizzle. If they leave Maui with no losses, then I will finally be convinced they have a legitimate shot this year.

  • Dagwoods

    We’re 1 day away from Thanksgiving Break, and a lot of students don’t have classes on Friday (so those are already likely gone). It was a great turnout considering.

  • Crimson&CremeFraiche

    I think every year his decision making has improved throughout the season. He is a game changer. I can’t wait until he posterizes that last Plumlee at Cameron Indoor. I’m calling it now.

  • straight no chaser

    Yogi Ferrell can score at will. 3’s not falling? No problem, time to morph into “aerial rim-bound Yogi”. This kid collects stats like they’re a-dime-a-dozen. What sort of inner being lives inside this kid? I think we take him for granted sometimes. If we get that banner, Yogi’s wicked smile will be stretched all across it. I miss him already.

  • straight no chaser

    We can talk about Creighton later, LOL. But thanks for the first-hand report.

  • straight no chaser

    Beat Vandy!

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    Solid win…waiting to see road performance

  • Hoosier Hall

    Hartman and Yogi won’t shoot like that every game though. It has to balance out at some point.

  • TomJameson

    Oh yeah, that does explain things. I didn’t realize the break was so close. Thanks Dagwoods!

    One of the posters on the premium forum said the crowd was really into the game tonight, loud and very responsive to the TB show and the TW dunks. Good to hear.

  • straight no chaser

    He’s not improving. Just getting more playing time. The more playing time he gets, the more highlights, and the more turnovers. Your fantasy is very tempting, but don’t hit your head on the way back. LOL.

  • Joshua Adams

    Why do you feel the need to include ‘it’s not because he is a kid of color’? My god, have we become such a politically correct populous, that such an explanation is needed? UUnbelievable. ..

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Wrong.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Kegler is 18 years 6 months old. Not 17 years old like you stated.

  • straight no chaser

    You should start by getting an avatar, IU 34. LOL.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Good point.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Hey good friend, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  • straight no chaser

    Same to you IU man!

  • disqus_4UbWP6rS24

    What is your point? I said I will be ecstatic if they win each game, even if barely. I also said that I would then be convinced IU has a legitimate shot this year. At this point, I cannot say IU is a legitimate title contender. I would love to have that confidence, as I have watched IU basketball religiously for fifty-three years, but at this point in the season I cannot say I am convinced they have what it takes to win it all. 1975, 1976, or even as recent as 2013 were years when I was convinced at this point in the season they had a real shot. It is rare for me to be overly optimistic, as they’ve had stellar rosters in the past that never came close to a title. They are off to a great start at 3-0, but most IU teams have started 3-0. If they make it out of Maui with no losses, then I can gain more confidence. Wins over Eastern Illinois, Austin Peay, and Creighton are not enough. It is their schedule that dictates that. I am only stating that Maui will not be their first test, as every game is a test, but their tournament games in Maui will be their first test as to how well they can compete with other teams of equal or greater preseason expectations.

  • dwdkc

    Mark you are dead on the money. They did some nice things at both ends. Things they can tighten up: Troy does not need to make out of control drives; I think there were a couple of no chance shots along with 4 turnovers as a result. Turnovers–a few lazy passes that were stolen and careless plays. They will never be last year’s Wisconsin in terms of efficiency, but this team shoots it even better, so I really wish they wouldn’t surrender so many possessions without a shot (which are high % almost by definition with these guys). Some breakdowns getting them out of position resulting in layups (here, I think Bryant can improve quite a bit). A good defensive effort, but lots of room to improve. Which is good news, because I think as a result this team can be really good.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Agreed.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    You know what? You are right. Only three games played so let’s see. Maui will be a big test.

  • Crimson&CremeFraiche

    Big Tom was a beast tonight!!!!

  • IU_fan_in_Lafayette

    Yes Josh.

  • IU_fan_in_Lafayette

    I agree. But for every highlight reel dunk he gets on ESPN isn’t making him a better player. He is just plays so wreck less and out of control.

  • IU_fan_in_Lafayette

    A double edge knife…lol

  • Outoftheloop

    Troy still can’t figure out how to let the game come to him. But when he just plays and doesn’t force it he is great! This team is FUN! How can a recruit not want to wear candy stripes? Poor decision Mr Brown.