Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over UMass Lowell

  • 11/17/2016 9:05 am in

Indiana moved to 2-0 on Wednesday night with a comfortable 100-78 win over UMass Lowell at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

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

· Blackmon Jr. continues hot start offensively, but defense still a work in progress: After dropping 26 points on Kansas in the season opener, junior James Blackmon Jr. had another great offensive game on Wednesday against UMass Lowell.

Blackmon Jr. scored 18 of his 23 points in the the first half and hit five of his nine 3-point attempts. Through two games, the Marion product is 9 of 17 on 3s and has an effective field goal percentage of 70.7.

However, there’s plenty of work to be done for Blackmon Jr. defensively. He still gets lost or caught out of position, which can’t happen regularly against better competition. Blackmon Jr. is an elite shooter and can score in a variety of ways, but Indiana needs him to be more of a two-way player.

· This game was perfect for De’Ron Davis: It’s totally fair to criticize the volume and quality of Indiana’s guarantee games this season, but Wednesday served as a learning experience for freshman De’Ron Davis.

Davis has plenty of ground to make up after missing the summer in Bloomington. His conditioning isn’t where it needs to be to play major minutes. Indiana may not need him to play more than 15 or 20 minutes in a game this season, but they do need him to build confidence and get acclimated to the speed of the college game.

Against Lowell, Davis played 12 minutes and was productive. He finished with eight points, three rebounds and a blocked shot. When you look at individuals on the roster who have a chance to make major progress as the season goes on, Davis is right near the top of the list.

· Bryant showing patience: Just as he did last season, Thomas Bryant showed on Wednesday why he’s such an efficient offensive player. He’s patient and doesn’t force the issue.

Against Kansas, Bryant hoisted a few early 3-pointers that were a bit surprising, but he connected on two of them to help Indiana generate some offense. On Wednesday, Bryant made the most of the limited offensive opportunities that were available to him.

The 6-foot-10 sophomore took just five shots and finished with nine points in 22 minutes. Moving forward, Indiana needs to do a better job of playing inside-out and establishing Bryant to open things up even more on the perimeter.

“I think at one point in the first half, once we figured it out, we had 15 straight scores going through the paint,” Tom Crean said. “And with the uniqueness of guys that can drive it, handle it, pass it, post it, you know we can get there different ways. And that’s what we have to be, especially when we’re playing the sagging defenses that we see.”

· Green shows off his athleticism: Through two scrimmages, two exhibition games and two regular season games, we’ve seen a little bit of everything from freshman Devonte Green.

Green is a capable 3-point shooter, a fearless driver and can dig in defensively. On Wednesday, he showed what kind of athlete he is. On a breakaway play in transition, Green did this:

· McSwain appears to be pressing offensively: Through two games, junior Freddie McSwain has the highest usage rate on Indiana’s roster.

The 6-foot-6 forward is using 31.8 percent of possessions while on the floor and is just 1-of-10 from the field. Several of his shot attempts have been long 2s, which are not a part of Indiana’s typical offense. It’s also important to note that many of McSwain’s shots last night were after the game was already decided.

Like Davis, McSwain missed the summer and is getting his legs underneath him following minor surgery. His long term value to this Indiana team will be as a rebounder, defender and finisher at the rim. The fact that McSwain kept shooting on Wednesday shows that confidence isn’t an issue, but look for his role to become more defined in the coming weeks.

Filed to:

  • Fifer39

    My frustration is certainly one of mindset. With people who can’t take a balanced view of his overall contribution to the side and the 2 wins so far.

  • love it

  • RDD#76

    He plays better D than Jay Edwards or AJ Guyton did some guys are better at one phase of the game than other I just want effort to be happy

  • PocketHoosier

    It would be really nice if we had one or two of those cupcakes replaced with some cream puffs from the SEC. Vanderbilt, LSU, Georgia, Arkansas…any of those would be breezes, but would shore up the noncon.

    Even scheduling a midmajor like Rutger would be better than playing these intramural games.

  • No, I spoke in a hypothetical, but if he really had a net negative, then yes, he’d be better off not seeing the floor at all in favor of someone who can lock down defensively and score 0 points.

  • Fifer39

    And play for a 0-0 draw?

  • Chappy Dan

    Thought the same on Green’s steals. “Wait, was that a replay?”

  • Chappy Dan

    You must be joking. IU already has the firepower to outshoot any B1G team because we already beat Kansas in a shootout. We done proved it! Who in the B1G is gonna beat us offensively? Purdon’t? Wiscan’t? Spartain’t?

  • ForeverIU

    The problem is that if we’re winning, and if JBJ is contributing a lot of point production, we can never prove that he is a net negative. Imagine then the wrath that Hoosier Nation would unleash on CTC. LOL.

  • ForeverIU

    Even though I’ve closed the JBJ notebook (in my mind), I fully appreciate your point.

  • ForeverIU

    I actually appreciate your insight into his game, believe it or not. What bothered me is that you took my comment as an attempt to stifle discussion about JBJ. I was basically dealing with my own JBJ demons, because I was very hard on him last year and decided that CTC is well aware of the issues and has learned how best to exploit JBJ’s amazing talents while minimizing the damage. CTC is good at that. Also, what makes me feel better is that defense seems to be a priority among the newer recruits.

  • ForeverIU

    Ha ha me too, it was surreal.

  • ForeverIU

    Okay, you just proved your fan credentials. Woo ha ha.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    OG sure is looking great!!!

  • BMusic

    Haha…fair enough. I like the guy more than ever, and as he aspires to the NBA, some of us hold him to a high standard. I happen to agree that whatever defensive lapses he had didn’t warrant inclusion in the 5 takeaways. Lest it be forgotten, without his clutch shooting versus KU—some of those threes well contested by one of the best backcourts n the country—we don’t make it to overtime. He’s a stud, and I don’t think anyone loses sight of his overall impact.

  • BMusic

    I can see people are defensive re: James. In the interest of peace among the faithful, I’m going to opt not to reply. (Except to say that I opt not to reply.) In all honesty, I don’t feel that strongly about it one way or another.

  • Team sport

  • Fifer39

    Which, funnily enough, is exactly my point.

  • So if you’re a net negative you’re hurting your team. If you’re net 0, your team has a better chance of winning

  • Dave Carnes

    He also scores like Jay Edwards.The biggest ‘could have been”we have ever had.

  • DonMarsh

    After watching the KU game, it’s pretty clear that the only call the coaches need to make on Blackmon is to FEED HIM THE DAMN BALL!

    All this hand wringing over his defense is just plain silly.

  • Bill Graham

    I think one area where we can really improve is in team defense. Everyone wants to either criticize or defend James in regards to his D but I think the issue is bigger than James. I DVR’d the Kansas game and I’ve rewatched it 3 or 4 times. Here’s what I’ve noticed:

    Yes our guards (all of them) are getting beat on the first step – and they will continue to get beat. We face great competition and even NBA players get lost on the first step. But two points with that: 1. Newkirk, RJ, and JBJ all sustained injuries at some point in college (so that has to effect lateral movement – heck just look at JBJ’s offensive moves – mostly north south – so while he looks great… he still might have lost a lateral step).
    2. This is why there is team defense.
    – we need to pinch (help and dig) and recover better. We either over-commit and give up an open three or we are completely out of helpside and give up a layup. The best team I ever saw that played team D was the Butler team with Hayward, Nored, Mack, and company. All good players – but I wouldn’t classify any of them as exceptional defensive players – yet they relied on Butler D which got them to the finals (twice). Its about spacing, communication, and recovery. We aren’t there yet. But our offense can buy us time.

    I understand we are one of the fastest tempo teams in the nation. And because of that we will naturally give up more points. But this Team needs to embrace defense. Not just James

    -Sidepoint: I think against sub 250 teams its okay to throw Grant or Roberts in once in awhile. Those guys need to develop too. Sure they won’t be major contributors this year but every bit of experience helps. Develop your players CTC get them in game experience – not just the final 2 mins against the scrubs.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Sorry. I meant to say mid-50s not mid top 50.

  • Ok, ha ha. What a strange yet pleasant post! I frankly don’t feel strongly about it either, but do think it’s an interesting debate. For what it’s worth…

  • Outoftheloop

    And Tim Priller! He is a 3rd year player, 6’9, plays hard, and can shoot, we “think”. Let’s see!

  • Outoftheloop

    James is a VERY good rebounding guard! This is frequently overlooked!

  • IUBizmark

    Haha. Bob Knight approves.

  • Kwang

    “Even scheduling a midmajor like Rutger would be better than playing these intramural games.”

    This is a joke,right?

  • PocketHoosier

    …I wish it was a joke.
    Rutger hasnt done anything to earn that “s” yet. Until they play (any sport!!!) like they can legitimately win at least the American East or the Horizon, they will be referred to as singular Rutger.

  • Man, thank you, that’s exactly what I wanted to say myself and you said it so much better than I would have. Saved me the time. 🙂

    I think we were MUCH better at precisely what you describe here toward the end of last season. RJ was a huge part of that–he was so excellent at help and recover and when he went down to injury that was devastating. I still think we lost to UNC (or at least, by so many points) because RJ wasn’t there to guard the perimeter early in that game.

    I’m certain, though, that CTC is working on that, and we’re not where we want to be with regard to team defense because of the delays. I think we will be better by the time UNC rolls around, very good by the time the B1G season starts, and excellent by the tournament. It’s all down to the team communicating and getting used to playing together, something that simply requires time to develop.

  • cbags05

    Rutger is on our schedule dude

  • PocketHoosier

    yes. i know

  • Bill Graham

    I completely agree. Its something thats hard to develop in practice. Typically comes about over the non conf.