The Minute After: Youngstown State

  • 12/29/2017 11:09 pm in

Thoughts on a 79-51 win over the Penguins:

With the non-conference slate drawing to a close and full-time Big Ten play looming, Friday night’s game against the Penguins looked like an opportunity for this all-over-the-place team to develop some consistency and possibly start to find some answers. After all, Youngstown State entered the contest extremely overmatched in many areas and had lost eight straight games. But despite a 28-point margin of victory, there are questions still abound and it’s starting to seem like Indiana’s Jekyll and Hyde nature isn’t going away anytime soon.

Even in the 40-minute confines of this game alone, the Hoosiers’ wide range of personalities was on full display.

The good – an 18-4 run over the first five minutes of the second half. Leading just 29-20 at halftime, Indiana played with much more energy out of the break, especially on the defensive end, where it forced one turnover after another. These multiple Youngstown State miscues led to transition points in bunches for Indiana, including multiple break-outs for easy layups. Zach McRoberts, who started the second half in place of freshman Al Durham, sparked the run. After opening with a 3-pointer, he had a steal that led to a Josh Newkirk dunk in transition and then a block on the next defensive possession. By the time the run was over, Indiana led 47-24 and the game was out of reach for the offensively-challenged Penguins.

The bad – outside of that 18-4 run, Indiana spent much of its time treading water against a team that entered just 2-10 with both wins coming over Division III schools, Franciscan and Westminster. And it wasn’t just that the Hoosiers struggled, it was how they struggled. Many of the nagging issues this team has battled through its first 13 games showed up again. They committed 10 first-half turnovers, many due to head-scratching decisions. They came out extremely sluggish, scoring just eight points through the first 6 minutes and finding themselves in a tie game at home against one of the worst teams in Division I. And, once again, they struggled to consistently feed the post against a severely outmatched Penguin frontline.

At least for a night, Indiana got reprieve from another recurring theme. Youngstown State was awful on the offensive end, especially shooting from distance where it finished 2-for-25. And it’s a good thing. Had the Penguins been able to knock down even a few more open looks, especially in the first half, this game might have taken on a whole different identity.

In the end, it’s a 28-point win that had its moments. McRoberts was solid once again and finished with seven points and eight rebounds, including five offensive boards. Juwan Morgan continued his consistent production with 16 points and six rebounds. Justin Smith continued his string of productive minutes. And in the second half, the Hoosiers cut down the turnovers, finishing with five after intermission.

But at this point in the season, there appear to be too many questions without answers. Will this team ever find a way to limit turnovers? Will it be able to consistently establish De’Ron Davis and Morgan in the post? Will it become even an average shooting team from the perimeter? And, most importantly, will it ever develop any type of consistency?

Only one thing is clear. With conference play continuing Jan. 2 in Madison, the answers are coming soon – one way or another.

Filed to:

  • Ray Hallett

    McRoberts starts the next game. He has taken the role that I thought Hartman would take and also Hartman’s minutes. Durham isn’t bringing enough right now and the move would give us two guards off the bench instead of only Green.

  • ImYourHuckleberry

    Totally agree in terms of Hartman and mcroberts flip flopping. I gotta say I like ZM off the bench. He plays the 6th man/spark plug well. Could definitely see Archie rewarding him though.

  • VOXAC30

    Missed game due to my 19th Wedding Anniversary. Am I wrong but it seems this team has no consistent shooting and we don’t feed the post. I really wished JBJ would have stayed for his senior year. It will be even more difficult in Madison buckets don’t seem to fall in badger arena.

  • Mr. Shep-dizzle

    Was at the game. It’s amazing how unmotivated they come off at times. Our bigs can’t catch a pass in traffic most of the time. When the finally turn it on and play smart, they look like a decent ball team. Glad to see Smith getting some quality minutes. It will be an inconsistent year but it would have been that way with the old regime. I feel confident a lot of this will be taken care of by next year. Good way to start conference play.

  • Banned on the Run

    Zach McRoberts: Hoosier baller. We’ll need a couple of this type of guy on every team, forever.

    And this one, he comes here without a scholarship, because he loves the game and he lovers what IU stands for. And he’s willing to work in the shadows until it comes time for his hustle and his BB IQ to the court. Looked SO confident with those catch-and-shoots from deep.

  • Kwang

    Congrats!

  • MrNobody

    Rewarding him and at same time sending message to rest of team. Agree we need couple more of these type of Indiana kids on team as stated above by banned on run.

  • Allhandsondeck

    Yes! More in-state recruits! There’s that part of the fight song: ” … the glory of Old I.U.” Some players GET that; others don’t. We need more kids on the team that want “team wins” and “more banners” that reflect passion and glory. Not for NBA careers, but for Old I.U.

  • Sandra Wilson

    I would say their 3 point shooting had little to do with our defense. Many were open looks that were close, but just wouldn’t drop. I agree with you that all will be disappointed if they think we’ll be 8th in the B1G. We would need to play really hard and really smart every game, and that just doesn’t seem possible at this point. Unless we can pick up a decent graduate transfer guard for next year, I don’t think it will be much (if any) better than this year, particularly if JM would decide that playing in Europe would be better than playing at I.U. Speaking of Miller, I really wish we would stop trying to play with 3 guards. 2 of our guards in there at once is more than enough. It’s really enjoyable to watch MSU play this year. It’s nice to see a coach hold the players accountable. Izzo chews the freshmen just like he does the veterans (constantly), and he also uses the bench. The team responds.

  • dennis powell

    Absolutely agree about McRoberts. He is in my mind Indiana basketball through and through.

  • dennis powell

    I didn’t get to watch much of the game do to weather and traffic. What I did see was pretty good. The second half. McRoberts had better be in the starting lineup for the next game. Hartman being the warrior he is can’t seem to keep up. The injuries have taken their toll. Reminds me of Glen Grunwald for all you old timers. I just can’t figure out how a guy with DD body can be such a softy around the rim. It’s almost embarrassing. I keep harping on DG not getting enough playing time but he is truly the only guy on this team who can create offense. Best passer easily. I know some are going to say to many TOs. I can’t argue. To those who say 8th or lower in standings I have to say you are probably right. This team has to play to hard to win and they have shown they only want to do that occasionally.

  • SCHoosier

    Coach was right in his comments about how much the offense needs to improve. He knows shooting 59% from the line and 22% from 3 isn’t going to result in many (if any) B-10 wins. After watching MSU yesterday…if DD doesn’t play bigger and stronger he’s liable to get hurt when the Spartans tip it up..and I’m serious about that.

  • coachv

    imagine if only davis could jump

  • coachv

    you missed the game because of that? my wife would have watched it with me! i can give you the number of a good lawyer. you can do better.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Supposedly it’s been reported by several people that he increased his vertical by 8 inches thru the new conditioning coach. I don’t see it. Not even 2 inches

  • vicbert caladipo

    It doesn’t hurt that he is the best recruiter in the bigten too. When searching for a new coach last spring, a few posters complained about getting an “older” coach. Izzo would be considered old but he just gets better every year. I would put Izzo in the top 3……maybe #1 in NCAA

  • VOXAC30

    If would have watched it she would have been needing the lawyer because she would have killed my a$$. I tried to angle it in but fancy restaurants just don’t play sports.

  • Dave Carnes

    Sometimes guy just don’t jump.I remember when the Pacers worked out Mason Plumly and said he jumped like 40inches.Hell I don’t ever remember him getting off the floor at Duke.Tall guys don’t have to jump in highschool

  • I have great hope for Archie as IU’s coach, but I agree with you, I feel sorry for the young guy. You can see what kind of stress he is under as he paces the sideline and his team makes one bonehead decision after another. At one point during last night’s game the camera showed CAM holding his right arm and massaging his right hand like it was numb and then he set down. I know it comes with the job, right?

  • Dave Carnes

    cut a brother some rope it was Youngs Town State

  • The NBA and NCAA need to restore college basketball to it’s original intent (student first), Let the kids that are ready and have no interest in a college degree go directly into the league from high school. it would tend to level the ‘playing field’ (court).

  • inLinE6

    He’s still playing under the rim.

  • SeeingRed

    Exactly. I don’t think Izzo recruits guys who need a lot of hugs. They know what they’re getting into when they sign the MSU LOI and very likely have the personality to deal with it. They know he’s trying to make them better, his way.

  • IUMIKE1

    Trying to remember the last time he went up and threw it down with some authority, or even a little authority. Hell JM does a better job of doing that than DD does. Sometimes it seems like his vertical ” is ” 8 inches and not that his vertical has improved by 8 inches. Rik Smits disease maybe ??

    Would really like to see JMcR start the next game, if for no other reason than to see if it can get us off to a better start than we have been. Would like to see him start in place of the third guard as well.

  • Gary Cline

    Miller has a bunch of average players, Morgan might be the exception, and the seniors have not risen up to the task and responsibility of being seniors. Lack of leadership and talent is the problem with this squad and it won’t correct itself until Miller gets his own players into the system. The past coach simply was not recruiting effectively, especially within the State of Indiana and now it is obvious why he was let go.