Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Mississippi Valley State

  • 11/28/2016 9:39 am in

Indiana picked up its fourth win of the season on Sunday afternoon as it easily defeated Mississippi Valley State, 85-52, at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. It was the 20th straight home win for the Hoosiers.

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

· Indiana’s offense doesn’t run as smoothly without James Blackmon Jr.: Defensive flaws aside, Indiana’s offense is at its best with James Blackmon Jr. on the floor.

Blackmon Jr. sat out on Sunday with a minor left knee injury suffered in the Fort Wayne game, a setback that isn’t expected to be a long term issue. However, after watching Blackmon Jr. struggle against Fort Wayne in IU’s loss and then watching the Hoosiers for a full game without him, it’s clear that he’s the most vital piece to the offense.

We wondered in the preseason how Indiana would replace the dynamic playmaking ability of Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams, two guys who could go make a play with the shot clock winding down. In the season opener against Kansas, Blackmon Jr. showed that he was capable of filling some of the void. Beyond Blackmon Jr., Indiana doesn’t have a go-to-guy offensively. With North Carolina looming on Wednesday, getting Blackmon Jr. back appears critical to IU’s chances to protect home court.

· Indiana is staying out of foul trouble, but the Hoosiers aren’t forcing any turnovers: Through five games, there’s some good and there’s some bad when it comes to evaluating Indiana’s defense.

On the plus side, the Hoosiers are keeping teams off of the foul line with a free throw rate allowed of 25.6 percent. Through Sunday’s games, that ranks 28th in the country.

But Indiana is struggling to create turnovers, which is a concern given the length and athleticism of this group. The Hoosiers only forced 11 turnovers against Mississippi Valley State. For the season, Indiana ranks 331st nationally in forcing turnovers. Compared to where it finished last season, Indiana’s opponent turnover percentage is down by more than four. The sample size is still too small to draw any conclusions, but it’s a trend through five games that needs to be reversed.

· Bounce back game for Anunoby: After failing to score in 13 minutes at Fort Wayne, OG Anunoby had a career-high 21 points on Sunday afternoon.

Anunoby still appeared to be a bit sluggish in terms of his conditioning, but it didn’t matter against an inferior opponent. The Delta Devils had no answer for Anunoby.

“We just need to let him play. That’s what he did today,” Tom Crean said postgame. “He played, I thought he really worked through it because he was winded and there’s no question that he had lost some of his conditioning and things like that from being sick.”

· The primary ball handling duties are still a work in progress: As Ryan pointed out during the game last night on Twitter, Indiana is lacking a consistent dribble penetrator to facilitate offense:

Josh Newkirk has shown some flashes of solid play, but his turnover percentage is currently north of 30. Robert Johnson currently owns the team’s best assist rate, but has seven turnovers in the last two games.

Indiana is just 16-of-49 on 3s in its last two games and Corazza’s point about the quality of looks is a valid one. Tom Crean pointed out after the Fort Wayne that Indiana is a drive and dish team, but right now, the Hoosiers aren’t generating the good looks needed to be an elite offensive team.

· Indiana needs even more from Juwan Morgan: Through five games, Morgan has been Indiana’s best offensive rebounder from a percentage standpoint. He’s also handled some of the team’s ball handling and playmaking duties.

Offensively, it’s time for Morgan to become more assertive. Among the regulars in the rotation, Morgan has just the seventh highest usage rating. He’s been efficient at drawing fouls and getting to the line, but Morgan needs to get the rest of his offensive game going. He’s 0-of-6 on 3s this season, but is also Indiana’s least turnover prone player so far.

Most of Morgan’s offense is likely to come on the offensive glass, but given his ability to draw fouls and convert at the line, Indiana would be well served to create a few more opportunities for Morgan to make plays in the paint.

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  • NC Hoosier

    6. I’m bringing my family from NC to Bloomington on Sunday for our first ever game at Assembly Hall and need recommendations. I know this isn’t the right spot for my request, but hope you can look past that.

    *We will be arriving in Bloomington about noon on Saturday so want to take advantage of our time there.
    *Is Cook Hall open to the public for tours? Would love for my 9 year old son to see that facility.
    *I’m going to buy the tickets (four) from Stub Hub. Any sections I should try to avoid? Not trying to spend $100 per ticket though.
    *How early can we get into AH on game day? Game starts at 6. Want to be there when the doors open so kids can walk all around and possibly get near the court during warm ups.
    *Where is the best place to eat on Saturday for dinner, as far as having the most IU memorabilia? I’ve heard several of you mention Yogi’s before. Is that family friendly?
    *After the home games, is there an area outside of AH where we can wait for the players and possibly get an autograph?

    We try to go to any IU game when they play here but this is my first trip to Bloomington to see a game. I went to basketball camp there when I was 15 but that was decades ago.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

  • Coleman

    Try not to get anything the last rows of the lower level it’s called the cave for a reason. Nick’s English Hut is a great place with tons of memorabilia.

  • N71

    I’m not completely sure why we go zone but OG’s advantages are lost a little when we do. If we went 3-2 and he was in the middle up front that would put him in a position for maximum disruption, interfering with ball movement, sagging when needed, etc. It would really screw up the other teams ability to get their half court offense going, imagine if you were the opposing guard and had to deal with that. We also have the size to go with just 2 on the baseline.

  • Hoosier Hall

    As far as seats go, the balconies are cheapest and not too bad as long as you aren’t in one of the sides or corners. Try for the middle (avoid AA, FF, GG and MM). I’m not sure about Cook Hall being open but you should be able to get into Assembly Hall a couple hours early. The players will occasionally sign autographs after games on the court but it’s usually only a few select players. I’ve always liked Nick’s English Hut but make sure you get there long before you want to be at Assembly Hall, it’s a busy place!

  • iugradmark

    Nice summary. We are a work in process for sure. Juwan is having trouble finishing shots that he made last year and I think it has caused him to hesitate a bit. I think he just needs a breakout game to get going. Thankfully, he is not one of those players that doesn’t contribute unless he is scoring. After watching the first few games, I think we have to give up the thought of running the same kind of offense we could with Yogi. We just don’t have a point guard capable of doing the things Yogi could do. We need to run more sets rather than just break down the defense with one one one penetration. We look a bit more like we did pre Yogi with lots of pulling the ball back out and pounding it without putting pressure on the defense. Yogi was a special player and we will miss him but we need to change up the way we play in order to maximize the team we have.

  • IUBizmark

    This is a great idea.

  • Hoosier Hall

    “The Cave” isn’t as bad as it used to be with the new jumbo-tron but I still prefer the balcony if I can’t get in row 20 or below.

  • CrimsonWave96

    Mother Bear’s Pizza is a very good family restaurant right off IU’s campus with some IU memorabilia. There is also some IU gift shops near by to get some IU gear that you probably don’t normally see in NC! It is normally pretty busy, and on gameday it gets crazy. Bloomington is great, and everyone is super helpful and accommodating (when it comes to seeing facilities or possibly players) especially if you mention being from NC and your first game at AH.

  • Arch Puddington

    Buffalouie’s is a sandwich and wings place in a really cool building with lots of IU memorabilia. Mother Bear’s Pizza and Janko’s Little Zagreb have less memorabilia, but along with Nick’s are arguably the classic places to eat when visiting IU.

  • samsbinky

    The lobby of Cook Hall is open to the public. That is where they have (had?) the championship trophies as well as other displays to look at. I don’t know about tours, but I suspect that would be hard to get. I don’t know if they have moved the trophies to the Assembly Hall since they finished remodeling this year. You may run into some players or coaches at Cook Hall if you are lucky. We ran into Coach Crean during my son’s freshman orientation 4 years ago and he spent 5 minutes with us which was very nice of him.

    As far as places to go for meals, there are a lot of good choices. With young kids, you will be limited in your selection because of Indiana’s bizarre alcohol laws. Places like Yogi’s, Nick’s, and the Trojan Horse are all good places, but will limit you to certain sections because of these laws. Opie Taylor’s and Crazy Horse are other good options that allow younger customers. All those places, other than Yogi’s are on or near Kirkwood Ave which is on the edge of campus and is just a great place to walk around. Plenty of good places around there to pick up IU clothing if you need that.

    I hope you and your family enjoy your trip.

  • NC Hoosier

    What is the highest row number you would sit in? I’m seeing some in the 40’s. Thanks

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    lennie’sbbc. try the 10 speed hoppy wheat, one of my favorite beers in the entire universe. enjoy!

  • BL4IU

    If this team moves/shares the ball, we don’t need heavy dribble driving by our guards. Have done it in stretches and opposing coaches have been impressed with our unselfishness. I really like flashing TB or OG into the paint near the foul line like we did several times last night. However, once they catch it, they have to be more decisive; shoot it, drive it or make the simple pass. Btw, both had open looks but didn’t seem inclined to take a wide open jumper in the paint. Similarly, love the back-cuts that allowed OG to flash to the rim for an easy feed and score. Anyway, lot of ways to score other than dribble drive. Let’s take advantage of this team’s strength.

  • kennygeorge

    That’s what makes me so proud to be a HOOSIER. When someone needs help or guidance, it comes thru in SPADES> HOOSIERS are the most fantatstic people on earth, bar none. GO IU>>>>>

  • Bill Graham

    Just my opinion but:

    -Don’t get balcony seats. Yes they are cheaper but at the same time you drove 7+ hours from N.C. to get here. Do you really want nosebleed seats where the players look small? No, get something, anything in the lower level. You’ll get a better feel for the court, the game, the band, the student section, and the venue itself

    As far as places to eat. Here’s a decent breakdown:

    If you’re looking for somewhere slightly pricey with great steaks:

    Try Janko’s or Scholar’s Inn

    If you’re looking for something less pricey with a fantastic view:

    Try Scenic View. 446 Is quite possibly the most beautiful road in Indiana and Scenic View has fair priced food that is quite delicious (its my go to). *This is my top recommendation. If you go here you might as well before or after dinner drive down to the lake its only a mile or so from the restaurant and the view coming down the hill is pretty amazing.

    If you’re looking for a hometown tradition/pub feel:

    Nick’s or Mother Bears. Mo Bear’s is the local hotspot for pizza but its crowded and covered with uncomfortable booths that are littered with grafiti. But the pizza is out of this world and all of us locals learn to love it for what it is. Nick’s is an english style hut with good beer, pizza, and stromboli. Not a bad choice as previously mentioned good memorabilia.

    Buffa Louie’s for wings. The owner is a die hard and is a nice guy its decked out with Hoosier this and thats.

    Lennie’s is ok. Trojan Horse is ok. But not to the same standard as the previously mentioned group.

    Places to avoid:

    The farm….It may be trendy for local democratic youth…but the “organic” ingredients are either love or hate….dont risk it.

    Any chain or common restaurant ex: mexican restaurants, Malibu Grill, Olive Garden, Domo, Colorado Steakhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings (you can eat at any of these places anywhere anytime. If you’re in Btown eat Btown unique).

    Lastly, In case you haven’t seen the campus before. Its gorgeous. One of the most beautiful in the nation. If the weather permits get here early and give your family time to drive around. I’d also recommend parking at the Union and strolling around campus. You’ll really get a feel for what is like to be a Hoosier Grad and you’ll get some great pics.

  • Piker

    The 81 championship team is being honored at half time. I went to one of these (the 53 team) and they were signing autographs and giving away posters before the game.

  • Bill Graham

    You can tell a true Hoosier when they recommend BBC beers over Upland….I love Btown, and have always had good service at Upland but my gosh I don’t think those people are capable of making a decent tasting beer.

  • NC Hoosier

    The 81 team is how I became a Hoosier fan. Was a young kid living in Winston-Salem, NC. Was a big Wake Forest fan and they stunk. Every one of my friends were Tarheel fans. They were unbearable and constantly ragged on me. I was so thankful when IU beat UNC that I became a fan that night. Been a huge fan ever since.

  • Bill Graham

    In my opinion I say we give the PG reigns to Robert Johnson. I’m have tempted to say Devonte because he is an excellent dribble penetrator but his youth scares me against good teams. I say RJ. Yes he is turnover prone. But I’ve noticed his TO’s often come in spurts. Really really bad spurts where he turns it over 2 or 3 times in a row. Sometimes it even looks like he’s intentionally just passing the other team the ball…often causing me to scream some sort of profanity followed by “take care of the ball Robert!”
    But at the same time. He is barely a junior. Give him the entire preseason to take over Yogi’s duties and I’m confident we can reduce those turnover spurts before conf play. Also, by the end of his senior year we’d be looking at a pretty consistent floor general.

    -Some argue that he’s too quiet, cool, and collected to be a feisty dribble penetration floor general…but at the same time in the words of Malvolio, “Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, others have greatness thrust upon them.” There’s a theory in psychology (don’t know the official name) but it basically says that “people will play the roles you put them in” So if I act like my wife is a nagging witch…Guess what she’s going to turn in to….

    Everybody keeps waiting for RJ to take that next step…Well maybe he needs a push. Maybe he needs to play a role that he isn’t used to. Maybe he needs some greatness thrust upon him.

    He has the speed, handles, and offensive knowledge to lead this team. Why not give him a chance?

  • Hoosierkamp

    Mother Bear’s Pizza is a must! I take my wife every year and she is so excited to go back! Get the Deep dish!

    Have fun!!!!!!! Go Hoosiers

  • NC Hoosier

    Thanks for all of words of advice. Knew I wanted to walk around campus and now I know to park at the Union. Definitely going to avoid any chain restaurants. I want a true Bloomington experience. Gonna make the most of the visit after the 9 hour plus drive! We’re arriving Saturday and leaving Monday, so I will have enough time to see a lot.

  • Bill Graham

    Excellent! Glad to have you in Btown. I’m a big fan of your state as well. My wife and I got engaged in Asheville. Its our go to vacation spot!

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i’m not an upland hater, but have to admit i can’t remember the last time i ordered one of their beers. too many options these days!

  • Bill Graham

    You know its not that I hate it. Its a btown company so I’ll drink it before I’ll drink a CBC (columbus brewing co.)…but at the same time it just seems like thats everyone’s go to outside of Btown but all the locals know that BBC beers are better.

  • Bill Graham

    Love the idea of the 3-2 even with Juwan in the point position. This is a weird team in that we are at our best offensively when we are playing fast…but we are at our best defensively when we slow the other team down. Historically there is hardly ever a team that is good in the zone but yet plays a fast paced offense. Syracuse is decent in transition but their half court sets are slower.

    I think if we are going to play zone then we need to find a PG. play the inside-out game and embrace that this is a slower paced team without Yogi.

    Contrarily, if we are going to play fast, then we need to embrace the CTC philosophy of active hands deflections, and helpside man (not zone) D.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Unfortunately the only guy on the team willing to take the role is TB and he better not play point guard. I’ve watched too many games and all the interviews. RJ is not looking to be the sole guy. He wants it done by committee. I think he sees the scrutiny laid upon his classmate and buddy, JBJ, and he wants no part of being the “talked about” guy. OG is a leader but more subtle and not sure the others would respond to subtlety. RJ is one of my favorites, but he just doesn’t have that nasty edge needed. CTC always talks about guys playing with an edge and this team has shown that against most opponents, but don’t see that edge against each other. If you haven’t listened, check out his Presser on the other thread. It is very interesting concerning your topic. I hate to keep bringing up BK cuz it seems to bother some commenters, but he would appoint a leader. I know apples to oranges cuz Knights leader was usually a senior and our lone one is hurt. If we can stem the tide until CH gets healthy, he’s our leader. At the guard position I’m afraid we don’t have anyone that doesn’t have serious leadership flaws. I’d love to see CJ blossom into our point guard and leader, but that’s asking a lot.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Bad elmers porters not bad

  • IdahoHoosier

    I like your idea to give someone the PG job, perhaps it is RJ or even Devonte. I have seen teams where all the players just knew their roles, leaders rose up to identify themselves, and things were great. But other teams I believe need to be assigned roles. With the personalities IU has there may not be a clear floor leader. Meaning CTC may have to make it very clear to each player their role and then hold them to it. I love the versatility that IU has, but I am watching games and not seeing a real team identity taking shape. I would like to see the team take hold of something like: We are a defensive stopping team, or We are a fast break team. IU could use at least one aspect to really hang their hats on and so far every facet has been inconsistent at best. What do you think?

  • transplantedhoosier

    I agree with everyone saying to avoid the top rows of the lower bowl. If you stand up, you can’t see the scoreboard. First few rows of the balconies, especially toward the center, are actually great seats.
    As for restaurants, I agree with everyone recommending Mother Bear’s for pizza. If you want a cheap meal and great sandwich, it’s hard to beat Dagwood’s. Just about any place up and down Kirkwood is a good choice. The Runcible Spoon always gets a lot of press for good breakfasts, and I was a big fan of the pancakes at the Village Deli back in the day. Little Zagreb’s is great for steaks.
    I would highly recommend walking from the library (look for the building that looks like the Borg ship from Star Trek) to the Union and out through Sample Gates. From Sample Gates, you can walk straight out to Kirkwood. This is the prettiest part of campus, and you will see a bunch of beautiful buildings (the buildings on 3rd St are great, too). If you do this, make sure to bring warm clothes and consider having someone drop you off and pick you up. It’s probably a 45 minute walk (minimum) if you walk round trip, as short as 20-25 if you go one way.
    Have fun! I’ve lived in three college towns, and it’s hard to beat Bloomington.

  • heresy

  • walk around the downtown area and Kirkwood. The Christmas lights are probably up and aglow now, too. Also, 4th St. has a smattering of good and eclectic restaurants, right behind Kirkwood and next to campus. That entire area is an embarrassment of riches, as far as eateries go. Great time to be in town.

  • Hoosier Hall

    If you are in the bottom section and anywhere below row 37 you are good. Anything above that and you’re better off in the balcony.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    yeah, upland been out there longer, and now they’re in broad ripple and also have a restaurant in carmel. but the public opinion may change now that you can get bbc16 oz cans outside of btown.

  • Hoosier Hall

    The Biltmore was pretty awesome when we went a few years ago.

  • Bill Graham

    Thats precisely where we got engaged. We always stay at the Omni Groove Park Inn. I highly recommend it.

  • Bill Graham

    Exactly. We need identify our identity… Well put.

  • Bill Graham

    Agreed CJ and DG have the skills. But maturity and experience are issues. I think they need some exposure at PG but they can’t be “the guy”

  • Rkeg

    Love me some Lennies when I’m in town. Best Brautwerst and sauerkraut you’ll ever have.

  • Shaggy_C

    I’m flagging this comment for review, as it offends basic human sensibilities. Upland Wheat is the nectar of the gods!

  • Hoosier Hall

    We only stayed one night in Asheville on our way to the port in Charleston (Carnival Cruise). It was a great stop to break the trip up and we watched Richie Rich with our kids the night before we left. They couldn’t get over being in the same mansion as the movie was filmed in!

  • Fifer39

    I just don’t get how JN barely even gets a mention in all this talk about who should take the PG reigns. He’s not perfect and he’s not Yogi and he’s actually still pretty inexperienced. But I thought there was no doubt we looked faster in transition and smoother in distribution with him at the point last night. I think he’s settling into the role folks and I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t start on Wednesday.

  • NC Hoosier

    Great info, thank you.

  • Samuel_L_Smackson

    So I was a townie (grew up in Bloomington) and I can say most of these recommendations are solid. Everyone has you sorted on the seats! 🙂

    My picks:
    $ – Ma Bears
    $ – Nick’s English Hut
    $$($?) – Zagreb’s

    No IU memorabilia, but local restaurants that are great –
    $ – Soma coffee
    $ – the ethnic places on 4th street! Indian, Turkish, Tibetan, Thai – all awesome.
    $$ – Samira – Afgani and delicious.
    $$ – Uptown Cafe (breakfast or dinner, it’s awesome)
    $$ – La Petit Cafe (Dinner) – not sure if still open, but if so, awesome french cuisine

    -Find the zoom floom
    -Find the ‘fire tower’
    -Explore campus, it’s seriously awesome and fun

    I’m sure there is more, but I have to attend a meeting at work! 😛

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Please don’t go to The Farm restaurant. We went there for my son’s IU recruiting visit and it was expensive and the staff were arrogant. The food wasn’t worth it. Nicks may not be the best for you also if you have your 9 year old son with you. Mother Bears is probably the best as everyone seems to agree. I believe you can enter the bball arena an hour before tip off. You will be amazed at the changes to the University as I was. My last visit was in 1996. Enjoy yourselves and travel safely.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Nicks? Bad food but wow many memories!!!!

  • NC Hoosier

    Looks like Mother Bears is highly recommended. Will likely be a stop for us.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    You will have an absolutely great time anywhere you go at IU. We were in heaven the last three times we have been there.

  • SCHoosier

    When James went down last season IU had 3 great seniors (Yogi-Max and NZ) to pick up the scoring slack and provide leadership. Without James..its a much different story this year. Let’s hope he gets back and soon.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83


  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Bill, We went to the Farm restaurant. It was not worth it.The staff was arrogant also.