Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Bellarmine

  • 11/06/2016 8:30 am in

In their second and final exhibition contest, Indiana rolled past Division II No. 3 Bellarmine, 73-49, at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Saturday night.

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

· Newkirk showing major promise at the point: It’s just two exhibition games, but Pittsburgh transfer Josh Newkirk appears ready to be a major contributor for Indiana.

In two exhibition games, Newkirk logged 51 minutes and dished out 11 assists with just one turnover. And while he hasn’t shot it particularly well, Newkirk looks more than capable of commanding Indiana’s offense when the ball is in his hands.

“You can see his athleticism has improved tremendously,” Tom Crean said postgame. “I’ve got a friend here that coaches high school in Pittsburgh, known him for 25 plus years, and he said, I don’t even recognize this Josh Newkirk, which that’s a great compliment.”

Newkirk flashed his athleticism on Saturday when he finished a dunk in transition with a defender right on his heels. Given the talent Kansas has in its backcourt with Devonte Graham and Frank Mason, we should learn a lot more about Newkirk on Friday night when the Hoosiers battle the Jayhawks in Hawaii.

· Anunoby dominant offensively: OG Anunoby’s 16 points in the opening exhibition game against Hope College may have been a sign of what’s to come with the talented sophomore.

Anunoby has received plenty of preseason accolades, but there were questions on how he’d respond to an increased role and more minutes. So far, so good.

Anunoby poured in a game-high 25 points against Bellarmine on 10-of-11 shooting from the field. And he made it look easy around the rim as his length and athleticism was too much for Bellarmine to handle.

“I told Tom, OG is one of my favorite players in all of college basketball,” Bellarmine coach Scott Davenport said. “Our players heard it, and they heard it again at half time. He is one of my favorite players in college basketball. I think he is a very special player, and by all accounts, a fantastic young man. My hat is off to him, because he had a monster game. He is one of the best offensive rebounders I have ever prepared for. It is tough, but in my evaluation, he loves to play basketball. He loves to play.”

· Indiana struggles from behind the arc, but still wins easily: In previous seasons, this may have been a game that Indiana struggled to put away.

The Hoosiers were dreadful from behind the 3-point line, finishing 6-of-29. But it didn’t matter because of the defensive intensity. Indiana was engaged on that end from the opening tip and never let up. As a result, Bellarmine committed 20 turnovers and shot just 35.3 percent on 3s.

“It’s real easy sometimes to come out in the second half and take the foot off the gas a little bit,” Tom Crean said. “They never did that. We had nine straight stops to open in the second half. We kept them out of the paint. I think they were 5-of-27 when we kept them out of the paint, which is really, really important.”

· Davis flashes potential: The numbers don’t jump out on the stat sheet, but freshman De’Ron Davis improved upon his performance from the first exhibition.

The freshman from Colorado logged 14 minutes, up from nine in the Hope College win, and was active in the passing lanes and around the rim. Davis isn’t an explosive athlete and is still working his way into game shape, but his length and instincts are impressive.

Davis collected three steals, dished out two assists and grabbed two offensive rebounds in the win. He’s struggled to finish plays offensively so far (4-of-11 combined from the field in two games), but Davis appears ready to contribute.

· Free throw shooting bears watching: Stats in exhibition games don’t count, but Indiana’s free throw shooting thus far hasn’t been good.

The Hoosiers finished the preseason just 27-of-46 from the line for 58.6 percent. That may have not mattered in previous seasons early on with inferior competition, but it could matter on Friday against Kansas.

Last season, Indiana was a 73.1 percent free throw shooting team, which was good for 59th nationally. Are the numbers in the exhibition game an anomaly or something to be concerned about? We’ll begin to get our answer on Friday.

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  • Icecreamncrimson

    Man, Newkirk sure is quick.

  • Arch Puddington

    A couple of variations:

    — Jones and Green looked a bit “freshmanier” last night, Newkirk looked a bit “upperclasmanier”. Of the three exhibitions I have seen, last night was his best overall. He is our most natural pass-first PG, which is nice, and last night he showed a bit more dynamism than he had previously. If he can sustain that level of play, one of our big pre-season questions will be answered.

    –I and others have had some debate as to who will be “the man.” TB has been popular choice for obvious reasons, and I wondered if maybe RJ might be that guy. Well, at this point it would be hard to argue anyone other than OG. Newkirk may be the primary ball handler, and TB may be the heart of the team, but OG sure looks like the guy who is most likely to just flat get something done when it has to be done. Even last night there were some sloppy and ineffective stretches, and it was almost always OG who did something to right the ship: a dunk, a three, a steal, a rebound, something. I’m still not sure about his ball handling, but other than that he has looked every bit like the high-upside prospect that some projected him to be.

    — DD looks good. Certainly the most natural low-post, back-to-the-basket player we have, and does a number of other things well. He even went coast-to-coast after a steal. He is already able to contribute, and in th years to come I suspect he will be able to play a solid leading role.

    — TB will always get his, but he is still not quite the low post killing machine I wish he were. He is neither as instinctive nor as polished as one might wish for ideally. Nevertheless, he is just so energetic and impacts the game in so many ways that our fate is still directly tied to him.

    — I will never understand CTC’s obsession with non-traditional PG’s. Maybe I’m too sensitive after the Jeremy Hollowell debacle, but I just don’t like it. Juwan Morgan is an outstanding player, and it is fine for him to develop the kind of versatility that CTC has called for. But he is not a PG, and I hope that he plays that role only in emergencies once the real games start.

  • BL4IU

    Top six rotation players by minutes (OG/TB/JN/JBJ/RJ/JM) shot 68% from the FT line. Volume FT shooters were JBJ (78%), TB (57%) and JM (63%). Last year TB shot 71% and JM 80%. Accordingly, confident these six will be fine. The freshman, not so much. They shot 38% collectively. Biggest concern is DD assuming he’ll see the line the most. He went 2-5 in the two exhibition games. No idea what he shot in HS.

  • BL4IU

    Hope there are no emergencies 🙂

  • Ms hoosier

    Totally agree with you on Juwan, I hate to see him playing the point we don’t need to take him away from what he is best at, and that is getting rebounds, second chance points, making the hustle plays and spotting up for an occasional three. Juwan makes the team better when he’s doing those things!!

  • Lance76

    Enjoy reading your posts. I wonder about Juwan Morgan also, but CTC has always had multiple ball handlers on the court at once. It makes me wonder if he is just trying to develop him more in ball handling or if he really wants him at point position. I did not see the game yet, but would like to see TB and DD screen into high low action.

  • dwdkc

    And I think JBJ will end up closer to 90%. But half of our top 6 (OG, JN, RJ) were poor FT shooters in their last season. Really hope that improves or it will cost us.

  • SCHoosier

    The FT thing is a concern given KU is next. Last couple of years Hoosiers have started badly from the line. They got better as the season progressed…but were not facing the critical games against quality opponents that IU must deal with this season.

  • b_side

    Think Crean is just getting JMo accustomed to the Hartman role. He only brought up the ball a few times. I don’;t think it ever happened after a made basket – the typical time you’d expect a point guard like JN or RJ to bring it up. We saw JMo doing the baseline pass thing, a play the team has been practicing for years. My hope is that getting Morgan comfortable early on will help him be comfortable as a press-breaker with one of the guards.

  • Arch Puddington

    Well, Morgan started both halves of the Hope College game at point, and while I wasn’t counting, there was at least one time last night when he brought the ball up, and several others when he was clearly the guy initiating by attacking the lane off the dribble.

    It’s not a huge thing, but in as much as we have 5 guards who can play that role, including the press buster role you mention, it is just hard for me to understand. It makes sense for him to be comfortable operating on the perimeter with the ball in his hand , but again, I hope the true PG role is left to others.

  • Agreed on all points. Re: TB, I still think he just hasn’t had the chance to develop because of the injuries. Now that everyone is available in practice to bang against, and I also believe now that CTC can maybe shift his focus a little away from the new and injured guys, I expect to see TB improve dramatically in these areas. Or so I hope.

    I don’t, though, think that will happen by KU, and so with the offense not quite being ready (although man, that defense!), I’m not terribly confident about Friday’s game. As good as I think this team is going to be by the B1G (I’ll go ahead and project another championship), they’re NOT going to be that good early. Except unlike last year, when we could point at something just downright wrong for the early losses (horrible defense), we’ll know that this team just needs to grow together a bit. And then when it does–watch out.

    Oh, and just read your last point about JM. I do think CTC is settling in on JN as the true point. I think JM will be used so we don’t lose to another Syracuse that has really tall and long guards. I think it’s a hedge. Or again, so I hope.

  • I just want to to stress the obvious here: that defense was stifling. I think for all of the concerns we might have on offense, and I think we’ll experience those on Friday, I think we should be very happy with the defensive effort this team put out. This a team that I think really likes to play good defense, and has the skills to play it at an extremely high level. By the B1G, I have no doubt that IU will be the best defensive team in the conference and one of the best in the country.

    The kids are going to learn a ton against KU, that they can then practice against a few lesser teams before UNC rolls around. I think KU will be a tough experience, but a great way to learn just where the team is and where they need to go from there.

  • b_side

    I’m with you on the Hope starting lineup. But that also included McRoberts. Couldn’t begin to tell you why. Maybe they had a good practice together leading up to the game. Obviously Crean treated Bellarmine a little closer to a regular season game. There was still a lot of experimenting with lineups (we saw TB/DD together with JMo as well as OG with 4 guards).

    The roster offers a lot of flexibility. Let’s hope Crean can wreak havoc to best the 2012-13 Kenpom defensive efficiency ranking (#28).

  • Arch Puddington

    Agreed. Once everyone is in shape and the chemistry has set in, this will be a very good team that can not only match up well with a variety of opponents, but that can cause real matchup headaches for less versatile teams.

  • Oh, and I think so far at least, JBJ’s defense looks just fine.

  • marcusgresham

    I haven’t seen the game yet, but it seems to me that when he has Morgan playing the point it’s usually only in the offense, rather than actually bringing the ball up the floor.
    I would suspect there are multiple reasons for this. One would be that he has the size to see over any guard. Another would be that anyone his size is not likely used to playing defense on the ball that far from the basket (and it’s also pulling a defensive rebounder out of position.) The third reason would be that most of our other guys who would generally be running the point (with the exception of Newkirk, and I think he’s better than he’s shown thus far in the first couple of exhibitions,) are also our best outside shooters and it gives them an opportunity to move without the ball for open looks.
    If IU is going with a three-guard lineup and Morgan is kind of the “fourth guard,” at it might not make sense but if it’s more of a traditional lineup with two other guys his size or bigger (TB, OG, JM, JB, RJ, for example,) I can see it. If you have those three bigger guys hovering closer to the basket it works against you in regards to spreading the floor for ball movement as well as eliminating lanes for guys making those Will Sheehey/Troy Williams-style cuts.

  • marcusgresham

    I think the Syracuse loss was more a result of not having enough tall shooters than not having a tall PG.

  • SCHoosier

    Commenting on Hope..TC asked fans “not to make too much of those lineups.” In the second exhibition TC said “I didn’t get to use all the combinations I wanted.” I think the coaches take on KU’s starting line up may decide if IU goes big (Morgan and OG on the wings.).or smaller with three guards. In any case..exhibitions are for experimentation. That , IMO ,was limited due to KU being on the schedule 3rd game of the season.

  • b_side

    Agreed. Guys weren’t necessarily blowing by him, but he did get caught reaching a bit, picking up a few unnecessary fouls.

  • Arch Puddington

    Not reading anything into it so much as just being annoyed and confused by it. But let’s face it: CTC is not a conventional coach. He’s kind of the Les Miles of college basketsball, a creative but controversial guy with a creative but controversial approach. Some of his creativity — Cody’s great run outs come to mind — work really well.Maybe Morgan will save us someday by leading the attack in a critical moment. Until then, I’ll probably complain about it.

  • Arch Puddington

    The Syracuse game was 100% about a bigger, stronger, faster back court overpowering Yogi and Jordy. Carter-Williams and Triche combined for 38; Yogi and Jordy combined for 0. That is among the reasons I am enthused by this year’s team; not only more interior size and strength than that year’s team, but bigger, more physical guards. And more of them, to boot. I’m not saying this team will be better, just that it doesn’t have the same weakness that that team did. It may take the freshmen a while to fully step up, but JN, RJ, and JBJ are juniors with the strength and experience to cope with good back courts. Or so I hope!

  • Arch Puddington

    Bellarmine’s coach certainly like the way the Hoosiers defend. As a guy who knows a thing or two about basketball, he was clear that he was impressed with the defense we presented.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Yes it does!!!!! Take care sir! November 11 will be here soon.

  • I think this team has the potential to be better defensively. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think by the B1G, maybe top 10 defensively. Not only are there some standout defenders, like RJ, OG, JM, and DD, but everyone is at least good defensively going about 10 deep. The weakest link is probably JBJ, but looking at him yesterday, he’s committed to being better and was looking pretty good. When you have that many people you can put on the court, you can wear out all but equally deep teams–and how many others are there?

  • To me, it was his commitment to defense that mattered. As long as he’s bought in, then as long as he’s decent the team can be excellent defensively and benefit from his offensive capabilities. And I think he’ll stop reaching as much once the team has more time together. It’s important to remember how little time they’ve had as a complete team and how that’s impacted their development–meaning, defensively, just how good they’re capable of being. And since every single player seems committed to improvement, I think the upside is huge.

  • Yeesh, sooner than I could have imagined. I’d be okay if it were two weeks away to give the kids a little more time, but of course we don’t have that option. So, bring on KU!

  • marcusgresham

    I agree that it was their bigger backcourt overpowering IU’s, but I think it’s more that IU’s shooters (other than Watford,) were shorter. The PG isn’t quite as important against a zone as it is against man-to-man.
    I also agree with you that I like bigger, stronger guards. Maybe it’s because I’m short and I always wanted to be a bigger guard, who knows?. I love Yogi, but most guys his size aren’t able to do what he did (he also was pretty damn strong.) Denny Crum built a career on 6’4-6’5″ guards.
    It also didn’t help that Hulls was one-handed that game.

  • marcusgresham

    I like Scotty Davenport. We hear him on the radio down here quite a bit and he seems like a pretty good guy who has forgotten more basketball than most people ever knew.

  • SCHoosier

    Complaining about stuff if part of whats fun on this board..I mean..nobody listens at home!!):

  • Arch Puddington

    I watched the ITH video of him after the game. He comes across as an exceptionally decent guy — positive, gracious, appreciative — and like one of those basketball lifers who knows pretty much everything (in a nice way!). I looked up some things about him after that, and it seems like he is highly regarded at Bellarmine and will be there as long as he wants. What a great life.

  • HardRockHoosier

    Maybe you don’t remember,Syracuse had a 6′ 6″ and 6′ 5″ guys, playing out front. They wreaked havoc with the passing lanes and our shorter guards with no wing span couldn’t shoot or pass efficiently. it was discussed at length on this site, as being a very large part of our inability to score or penetrate, with any kind of consistency.. You aren’t selectively choosing to ‘miss-remember’ that are you?

  • HardRockHoosier

    Yeah, and remember he was wearing some kind of a brace contraption on his shoulder from that vicious hit he took in the temple game..

  • Outoftheloop

    IU started an experienced Jorda Hills who played the entire game with a separated shoulder. Our other guard was a small quick freshman and Syracuse is known for their great, but unusual zone defense. Slice it any way that you want, but Syracuse was the better team that night!

  • Outoftheloop

    Or on this board, lol!

  • Piker

    Maybe TC was sending a message to bad guard play in practice. JM will not be playing point when it matters. Not sure he was in this game just slotted there to start. Coaches do this.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    BL, Hello, I think IU will beat Kansas. Thoughts? I always admire what you and OleMan and others have to say.

  • BL4IU

    Hey 34! Toss-up in my opinion. Expect both teams to D it up. Biggest challenge – slowing down Mason, their PG. We need to share the ball and get some good looks at the rim but most likely will come down to which team shoots it better from the perimeter. Hope we get back on track from three. Also, thinking TB may have a big game if they choose to play him straight up vs. double teaming him like Hope and Bellarmine. Like your opinion best. Go Hoosiers!


    I’m hoping it’s a case of where TC wants JM to do something better/more often when the ball is in certain spots on the perimeter and is doing this for him to understand better what his teammate needs to see from him when he is posting up, cutting to a certain spot, etc. Hopefully it’s the old role reversal coaching trick that helps a player understand what it is that their teammates need to see from them from a different perspective and before they feel like the play is there and possible to complete without turning it over. As with so many other things, you can simulate things to a certain extent in practices, but there is no substitute for doing it in an actual game, thus game minutes at the point (I’m hoping). I’m just kinda thinking out loud and trying to come up with a reason why he would be playing him in this way. I’m like you in that, there is no shortage of true guards that can fill that slot in a much more efficient manner and it allows JM to do the kind of things that he does much more efficiently, which in turn helps the team overall more.


    That describes him pretty closely IMHO. I have a close friend who’s son played for him at Bellarmine, and had the opportunity to speak with him a few times, watch a few practices and hear about many other things that he had actually said and done through my friend. After taking 2 or 3 official visits to mid and lower level Div1 programs, my friend’s son made the decision to play for him. He has had several players that could have played meaningful minutes in Div1 by their sophomore or junior years and at schools that we’ve all heard of.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Nice!!! Man oh man I can’t wait to watch the game. IU 76, Kansas 63.

  • John D Murphy

    Watched the BTN replay. Our D was closer to end of last season than beginning of last season. I was really impressed. The offense was just a touch sloppy but not bad. The thing that is missing to me is Will Sheehey / Troy Williams on the baseline cutting from almost under the basket. That has been a staple of IU for a long while and I’m not seeing anyone fill that portion of the offense.

  • John D Murphy

    On Jones and Green. Agree but, you can see they are both going to be really good. As is DD.

  • John D Murphy

    Meant to include this. I know JBJ’s shot wasn’t falling and so what. We know he can shoot. If he commits to D in every game like he did in this one, IU will repeat as B1G Champs.

  • Arch Puddington

    For sure. I expect some big moments out of both of them this year, and many more in the next couple of years.