The Minute After: Ohio State

  • 01/10/2016 4:32 pm in

Thoughts on a 85-60 win over the Buckeyes:

This was supposed to be a test. A young team on the rise, the Buckeyes came to Bloomington winners of seven straight sporting a top 20 defense.

They left embarrassed.

The Hoosiers demolished the Buckeyes in the first half. Mauled them. Took no prisoners. 48-18 at the break and Ohio State scored just .54 points per possession. Indiana’s energy and togetherness on both sides of the ball was phenomenal. As our dude Jerod Morris pointed out on Twitter, Indiana has been sneaky good at stealing the ball this season (40th in steal %). That was on the display in the first half. Indiana swarmed the ball and stole it eight times from the Buckeyes. The Hoosiers scored 17 points off turnovers in the first 20 minutes. Indiana challenged shots and generally frustrated the Buckeyes.

What a change in all the right ways.

We’ve been dying for Good Troy to re-emerge and boy did that happen today. One turnover. Just one turnover. A career-high 23 points. When Williams gets a head of steam and keeps control, watch out. He’s near impossible to stop. His relentlessness on the drive meant he cleaned up at the line (7-of-9). Williams also hit 50 percent of his 3-pointers (2-of-4) and dished out two assists.

With James Blackmon Jr. out of the lineup, Indiana’s simply reshuffling the offensive deck. There’s a little less space, sure. So the Hoosiers are running a little more action for shooters running up from under the hoop through the paint and getting a pick from Thomas Bryant to try and free them on the top of the key. They’re also feeding the big man a bit more, too. Without the extra space, it’s looking a little more traditional, a little more old school. But it’s still pretty dang efficient. Bryant’s about as good as it gets in the country in terms of converting at the hoop. That’s not a bad fallback option as the team seeks other options without Blackmon Jr.

Bryant probably could have used a breather at the end of the contest, but he kept fighting till the bitter end of his run, even taking it off the top of the key for a drive and score late. The freshman was 7-of-11 from the floor and racked up his first double-double of his college career (18 points, 13 rebounds). Feed, feed, feed and keep feeding the big man.

OG Anunoby finally missed from distance in Big Ten play (0-of-2), but continues to make his presence felt. The Good Kid from Jeff City slammed home a putback dunk and finished off an alley-oop. He ended the day with seven points (3-of-6), four rebounds and his three steals tied for a team-high with Yogi Ferrell. With Anunoby on the court and Blackmon Jr. off it, Indiana’s suddenly a lot longer, more aware and more active on defense. In their 4-0 start to the Big Ten season, the Hoosiers have held each opponent to under a point per possession. Today was their best performance in that category (.86).

Indiana is all of sudden 71st in defensive efficiency in the country and has climbed back into KenPom’s top 25 at 22. They’ll be shooting for a 10th straight victory next weekend at The Barn.

“That was definitely the most fun basketball, in a half, at least, that I think I’ve played here,” Ferrell said after the game.

It sure looked fun.

Behind a raucous crowd with key recruits in the building, Indiana left little doubt Assembly Hall remains a force to be reckoned with when it’s going good. Enter at your own peril, Big Ten.

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