Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Morehead State

  • 12/07/2015 10:23 am in

Indiana bounced back from Wednesday’s disappointing loss at Duke by crushing Morehead State on Saturday night at Assembly Hall.

The win moved the Hoosiers to 6-3 with four non-conference games remaining. Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Eagles:

· Indiana was better defensively: No, Morehead State wasn’t a very good offensive team. But the Eagles were better than Alcorn State, which scored 70 points in Assembly Hall last Monday.

As today’s film session points out, the Hoosiers were simply more engaged and in better position on Saturday night. They drew shot clock violations and got out in the passing lanes. Rather than being back on its heels, Indiana was aggressive.

“I think we know our defense needed to get better and really worked on it the past two days,” Max Bielfeldt said. “Just simple things. I think we really kind of worked together today and put out a pretty good product.”

· There was a sense of urgency on the floor: The matchup with Morehead State was expected to be relatively close, as the Hoosiers tipped as a 13-point favorite. That number is much lower than what we’ve seen with many of the guarantee games in recent seasons in Assembly Hall.

But after things stayed close for the first seven or eight minutes, Indiana dominated this game. Morehead State isn’t the quality of opponent that the Hoosiers will see in the Big Ten, but it isn’t a slouch, either. From that standpoint, it was encouraging to see a competent team beaten thoroughly.

Can Indiana sustain that type of energy over multiple games?

“The challenge is, you know, daily reminders to our team that we want to go out there and get stops,” Yogi Ferrell explained. “We pride on getting as many stops in a row as we can. We want to go out there and just stop them, because I mean, defensive rebounding, those are the two things that we struggled at in a few games, but I feel like I said, this game is another step in that direction for us to becoming a more complete team.”

· Robert Johnson provides defensive spark: His statistics don’t jump out in the box score, but sophomore guard Robert Johnson was a major key in the win.

The 6-foot-3 guard got the start and made the most of the opportunity. He was in the passing lanes early and often, his ball pressure was solid and he was a defensive catalyst on several possessions.

“He’s going to get a lot better this year,” Tom Crean said of Johnson. “He’ll get a lot better on both ends. I think as his confidence grows in his defense, it will grow in every other part of his game.”

· Indiana’s turnover percentage is coming down slowly: It’s still not anywhere close to where it needs to be, but the Hoosiers are gradually improving at taking care of the ball.

For the third straight game, Indiana had a turnover percentage of 18.3 or less. In its first six games, IU didn’t have one game with a turnover percentage below 19. That’s progress.

One of the keys to Indiana’s season is getting the overall turnover percentage back in line with the number we saw last season: 17.2 percent. Right now, Indiana is still at 21.6 percent through nine games.

· The Hoosiers found offensive balance: When Indiana is at its best offensively, the ball is moving and the scoring is balanced. On Saturday, that was the case.

Five Hoosiers scored in double figures and two others had eight points.

“Really proud of the effort, energy, attitude, the way they responded,” Crean said. “And it’s been obviously a long week; it’s been a long couple of weeks and I thought they did an outstanding job of learning and applying it and bringing their practice game and practice preparation to the course, and they did it for a long period of time.”

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  • Arch Puddington

    I’m certain that some will comment about increased energy or intensity, but that is not what I saw. What struck me was how much simpler things looked on both ends of the floor than is typically the case. Less reaching and lunging on defense, more footwork and communication. Fewer wild drives on offense, more crisp cuts and passing to the open man.

    Execution, baby. Good for the soul.

  • pdhoosier

    I’ve been saying it for awhile (in the world, not on this forum) but RJ may be my favorite player. Doesn’t really do anything wrong, plays aggressively on defensive, and is most often silky smooth on offense. People always talk about TW making the “oladipo” leap, but i imagine with a leadership role next year we will see great things from Rob. Just a thought.

  • Koko

    They played well no doubt. No where to go for RJ but up. A good reliable player. I like him a lot. TB is coming along. Will be fun to see him develop over this season. What a change in defense from Duke to Morehead St. I think Crean was embarrassed by Coach K’s comment on not being able to figure out what IU was doing on defense. Heck maybe Coach K was giving Crean some coaching by making that statement.

  • Jeremy

    I am going to rub this magic lamp and make a wish. Awww stupid lamp Creans still here.

  • straight no chaser

    If I may quote Alex on twitter:

    Alex Bozich [email protected] Dec 4
    Based on what I’ve now observed through IU’s first eight games, Robert Johnson needs to be playing more. 20 mins not enough. #iubb


    I feel vindicated! I hope Crean will put basketball over “politics”!

    Really? I’m separating between basketball and politics? LOL.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I’d like to add Max to the list of players needing more minutes. Hard to believe he played just 16 minutes, and they were very efficient minutes. Can’t emphasize enough the value of experience.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Absolutely. He should have 20 minutes or more per game. The guy plays solid defense and hasn’t really shown any big negatives that I’ve seen. He can knock down 3’s and clean up the glass… What’s not to like?

  • straight no chaser

    I wonder if he’s still not 100% health-wise. He struggled with injury for most of his Michigan years.

  • inLinE6

    Didn’t watch the game, but saw Morgan was missing from the stats sheet. Did he have injury?

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    My takeaway from this game is that Johnny Mellncamp has way more game than the Hoosiers right now , sitting with Chrstie Brinkley at the game saturday night.

  • inLinE6

    I always thought RJ should be in the start lineup. And as others also pointed out, MB should receive more minutes too, either start or off the bench. But that means two of our star players would see their time dwindled, or one of them even has to come off of the bench. Knight would make it happen, but Crean won’t. I understand there’s a consequence when you NOT let a 5-star recruit to start, or a high profile NBA prospect to play less. You may hurt your image. You may find yourself a hard spot recruiting future top HS players. But they have to earn their minutes. I’m not sure this is what happens right now.

  • straight no chaser

    Yes, injured, the last two games I think.

  • Ole Man

    I disagree in that he fills a role that IU desperately needs. The occasional start beside TB against bigger teams may be necessary.
    However, the rotation of TB and MB is working. Why change that? Who comes off the bench if those two start together? (And please don’t say O.G.–he isn’t ready, yet.)

  • Ole Man

    Your comment adds nothing to the conversation.

  • David Macer

    Tony, quit feeding the trolls….

  • PBzeer

    I don’t have btn, so I didn’t get to watch, but following the audio and live stats, it seemed like when Max came in, everything started to jell.

    If this is the start of a sustained effort, then there’s hope for this season. If it’s just another of the too frequent teasers of what we’re capable of, we could lose a couple more games before the start of B1G.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Oh I don’t think there is anything wrong with the rotation of Max and Thomas, I’m just advocating for Max to get at least 20 minutes per game. Whether that is in place of or with Thomas doesn’t matter to me. He plays hard, smart basketball and solid defense.

  • IU Coop

    RJ this year appears to be a throw-back player to Knight’s days. There is just something about him when he’s on the floor that looks like he has a higher basketball IQ than the rest of the guys and gets after it defensively. Love seeing him out there.

  • IULore

    I’m fine with him coming off the bench, but right now he is better than JBJ and should play when he is struggling.

  • Dagwoods

    I don’t believe we have any 5 star recruits currently on the roster.

  • IUJeff

    RJ should start all the time.

  • IUJeff

    Crean needed some sort of wake-up call.
    Guys did play with much better effort for much longer this game. And that was a huge change from most of the Duke game and previous ones.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Putting less energy in trying to make the big play gives you more energy to make the right play.

    That’s my takeaway.

  • straight no chaser

    Dang, what did I miss?

  • CreanFaithful

    RJ played 26 min vs Morehead. JBJ played 24.

  • CreanFaithful

    RJ started and played more minutes than JBJ. Why are you talking about Knight?

  • CreanFaithful

    I like RJ a lot too, but he still needs to clean up the turnovers. He has the highest TOV% of all players getting meaningful minutes.

  • MK

    This was an easy matchup for Max because they have no size. Unlike others on here I haven’t been that impressed with him, but it seems like Crean has given him the green light offensively, so so be it.

  • Jeremy

    Your opinion does not matter to me.

  • cooper

    Has he been part of the stat sheet when he plays?

  • iubase

    A glimmer of hope. TB played better and hopefully will mature and be the stopper we hoped for. Those 2 straight line lay ups he gave up in the WF game still make me shudder. They communicated and played well in this game – no doubt. The proof will come when they get “punched in the mouth” – with a good opponent (like Duke or even WF). How will they respond to adversity? Usually people and teams regress. CTC needs to stick with the simple game plan, and please no more straignt line lay ups to lose a game…CTC has to step it up. This season’s success will be predicated on getting them there – no excuses. The Big Ten schedule will flesh this out.

  • marcusgresham

    The only other woman on the planet who even remotely looked that good at 61 years old is The Venus de Milo, and Christie’s got way better arms.

  • straight no chaser

    I hope this will be more the rule than the exception, because so far RJ has averaged 20.9 mins while JBJ has averaged 24.9

  • Hoosier_1158

    Collin is going to be one of my all time favorite Hoosiers.

  • Ole Man

    Agreed…he’s been “sturdy” but nothing spectacular.

  • Ole Man

    1st time that’s happened.

  • Ole Man


  • Yes but for some reason, we seem to do better when Max does not start. Further, if he’s’ outside shooting 3s he’s not going to be cleaning the glass,,,

  • I think our future… and our best potential lies with Bryant.. and that’s where the minutes need to be.. Max is a nice fill in, but let’s not go overboard just because he had a good game.

  • What?? JBJ, Bryant and yogi areallfi v e star recruits.. What rock did you crawl out from under?

  • WHERE have you been.. He’s been out of the lineup for at leasttw o or three games.. Wow, do you not follow IU basketball>

  • CreanFaithful

    Why do you make comments like this without knowing the facts??? 4 of 9 games, RJ has had more minutes than JBJ.

  • Ole Man

    First of all, that would be five games he didn’t.
    Secondly, I was responding to your “RJ started and played more minutes” comment.
    That is indeed the 1st time that has happened.

  • CreanFaithful

    In that case, also not true. He has started 2 games in which he played more minutes than JBJ this season. But who cares whether the guy starts or not? If he’s getting the minutes, then what’s the point?

  • Ole Man

    Okay, I missed one. Big deal. RJ should be starting over JBJ whenever possible; and he should be playing more minutes right now.

  • CreanFaithful

    JBJ is the most efficient player on the team right now, offensively. He also takes care of the ball better than Rob, Rebounds better than Rob, steals more than Rob, shoots 85% from FT (Rob at 58% right now, ouch)… I agree Rob needs minutes, but let’s not get crazy. JBJ had a poor showing in Maui and he was benched in the St. Johns game. It’s not all that cut and dry. I think Rob getting 25ish + min/game is about right.

  • Ole Man

    JBJ also gives up nearly as many points as he scores.

  • Ole Man

    I think he meant by their play, but I’m not sure.

  • Well if that’s what he meant, he should state it differently.. I guess at times I could agree with that assessment. But we all know some five stars acclimate to the college game faster/better than others.

  • straight no chaser

    Don’t want to get in a battle of stats with you, but RJ has taken half as many 3-pointers as JBJ even though his 3-pt shooting percentage is better. He also has more assists per game despite playing five mins less. Finally, turnover ratio (the way it is calculated) gives an unfair advantage to the guy who takes more shots. Look at the formula. Two players can have the same number of turnovers, but the player who takes more shots has the lower turnover ratio.