Five takeaways from Indiana’s win at Minnesota

  • 01/07/2018 11:33 am in

Indiana picked up its first road win of the season on Saturday as the Hoosiers beat Minnesota, 75-71, at Williams Arena. The win improved Indiana to 9-7 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten.

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

· Indiana created scoring opportunities for Robert Johnson … and he delivered: If you’ve followed Robert Johnson’s career in Bloomington, you know that he’s never been the focal point of IU’s offense.

Johnson is at his best offensively when action is run to create space for him on the wing, which allows him to get into the lane or get some room for open 3-point attempts.

The Hoosiers made it a focus to get Johnson freed up by running a ton of screens for him and the senior delivered a terrific performance. Johnson did a little bit of everything in the win as he finished with 28 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 38 minutes.

He was an efficient 7-of-14 on 2s, many of which were in the lane and at the rim, and he also splashed in three of his seven 3-point field goal attempts. With De’Ron Davis sidelined, the Hoosiers are going to need even more perimeter scoring and trying to put Johnson in the best situations to find success is a key. On Saturday night, that was definitely the case.

· Smith makes the most of our starting opportunity: Freshman Justin Smith’s role has diminished in recent weeks as he’d played double digit minutes just once in IU’s last nine games.

But with Davis and Collin Hartman both out, Smith was thrust into the starting lineup for just the second time this season. Smith came through in a big way in the win with 20 points and three rebounds in 26 minutes.

He hit five of his eight 2-point attempts, made both of his 3-point attempts and was 4-of-4 from the free throw line. It was an impressive performance for a freshman who has been a fringe rotation player since late November.

“Really proud of Justin Smith,” Archie Miller said. “He really stepped up and played for us on both ends. By far his best game of his career.”

· Morgan responds from disappointment at Wisconsin: Miller said in the postgame that Juwan Morgan was disappointed by Indiana’s performance on Tuesday night in Madison.

The Hoosiers fought for a half and then were beaten soundly by the Badgers in a 71-61 loss. Morgan’s play on Saturday was a major reason Indiana was able to avoid another road loss.

Morgan posted a double-double – 20 points and 12 rebounds – in 38 minutes. He also had four blocked shots and committed just two fouls.

“We had a huge sense of urgency,” Morgan said postgame. “It’s a next man up mentality. When De’Ron went down and then we saw Collin go down, we knew the show doesn’t stop because you lose a few actors. Just keep going. And as we did and stuck together, that was the end result.”

· Indiana capitalized on Minnesota’s turnovers: The turnover battle was close on Saturday with Indiana committing 13 and Minnesota finishing with 14.

The points off of turnovers, however, were a different story.

Indiana outscored the Gophers 22-10 on points off of turnovers, which was a major difference in the outcome.

Zach McRoberts deserves plenty of credit as the redshirt junior had four steals, several of which led to possessions in which Indiana scored at key points of the game.

· At 2-2 in the Big Ten, a huge week awaits for the Hoosiers: The last time Indiana had an impressive Saturday win away from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers followed it up with a dud performance on Branch McCracken Court.

Indiana’s league schedule has been road heavy so far and now the Hoosiers have the fortune of playing two home games this week with students back in town.

Taking care of business this week in Bloomington will go a long way in determining if Indiana will be able to challenge for a middle of the pack spot in the conference.

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  • Mark Bando

    Good takeaways alex but you forgot one of the most important ones: our defense to close the game. We held them to two points in the last 3:30. That as much as anything won the game for us.

  • GiantsFanSince52

    Sixth takeaway–somebody needs to run up and stuff a sock in Dan Dakich’s mouth immediately before any game someone is dumb enough to give him a mic…

  • Adam 01

    1. Really nice performance from RJ, especially his slashes to the rim. To nit-pick, he should have hit one or two more 3’s, as they were all wide open looks. Also, he still had a couple head-scratching turnovers. All-in-all, though, the good easily outweighed the bad, and that’s not even including his defense, which is almost always top-notch.
    2. JS looked confident and under control from the start, and played pretty smart defense on Murphy. Hoping for consistence!
    3. JWs offensive rebounding is my favorite part of his game. He’s only 6’7!
    4. I can’t remember that last time we outscored a high-major opponent in points off turnovers. That felt REALLY good (ZM does so much!).
    5. PLEASE let’s avoid a letdown again PSU!

  • That’s a good one. Excellent point.

  • Mark Bando

    Thanks Alex

  • Ms hoosier

    My takeaway is that this team played much harder with more passion and fight in this game!! They could have beat Wisconsin if they would have fought to win in that game. Hopefully this is the effort they will play with the rest of the year if so I can see this team finishing 9-9 or 10-8 in B1G

  • Koko

    I’m ready to be torn apart on this one but I see a new OG, JM combo. Not saying JS is a OG by any means but I do see JS and JM playing well together in a fashion as did OG and JM. JS played decent defense and scored pretty much at will. Can it continue? I think so. Sure there will be ups and downs for JS but overall he and JM click well together as did JM and OG. Hoping RJ finishes out the season in the manner he played yesterday and mixing in Zach and we could finish out the season in better shape than most feel we will…..I’m thinking NIT.
    If CH gets healthy and performs as he did at Wisky and DG can stay in present time when on the court things could be that much better. I do hope we see CM play some decent minutes.

  • inCMitrust

    Let’s win the next two at home and we may be on track for the NIT. Assume a loss at Mich St. and win the next two and who knows. That is asking a lot considering our inconsistencies this year. Gotta believe.

  • Bill Graham

    Agree. I think js will be better than O.G. (already is in some ways) and regarding the beginning of your post it’s bad when many of the posts on here have to be prefaced like that. People on here take analysis way too literally and personally. I liked your opinion.

  • Bill Graham

    I live in ohio (now) born and raised in Indiana. Everyone here loves Dakich. ESPN (or whatever network he’s on) can’t seem to grasp that people from Indiana generally despise him. I hate it when they have him call our games.

  • Bill Graham

    Ya was that after we switched juwan onto Murphy?

  • Rob

    At IU yes. In the NBA no.

  • HoosierOne

    I honestly prefer anyone else…..literally anyone.

  • Bill Graham

    Takeaway #6: Archie coached a perfect game. There is no need to analyze the coaching performance. He is perfect. Anyone who critiques him is a troll and a hater and obviously doesn’t support him or this team.

  • GiantsFanSince52

    I liked his comment during the game that “whenever someone (him) says anything bad about I.U. it’s the I.U. women who come down the hardest on them (loosely but accurately paraphrased). Well, you go, I.U. women! Perhaps Mr. Dakick needs a safe place for his snowflake butt to hide out to protect him from the meanie girls… Sounds like he had his lunch taken away more than once as a kid…

  • Todd Jones

    Love Juwan Morgan! He feels like the heart & soul of the team, and McRoberts the spark

  • SCHoosier

    The change in IU’s offensive strategy was obvious and well executed. The “curls” off screens gave Rob a lot of looks and assist potential. Frankly..Hoosiers might be a better overall team with Davis available for some minutes..but IMO the offense has more potential with him out. Really great ball movement..and great work by Morgan who is actually our best post player. Not sure how many point blank shots at the rim the Hoosiers didn’t convert..but it was a lot.if we can get our other guards to wake up..might get something going. Effort and toughness..Coach wants it..he got it at MN. Great work IU!

  • VOXAC30

    Do you mean JM? Juwan Morgan is listed at 6′ 8″

  • VOXAC30

    Bill I think it’s because its how critical he is of Indiana. It seems he never gives Indiana the benefit of the doubt. Me being a homer think he’s full of sour grapes.

    As you recall he coached Indiana for a month, if that, back when Kelvin destroyed our program. That was his dream job and a lot of people thought that was where he was destined to replace Bobby Knight. But he was put in a unwinnable situation.

  • kingoflucerne .

    Except when he had Newkirk, McRoberts, Green, Durham, and McSwain in for a couple of minutes. Maybe it was to try to force one of those guys to step up on offense and I understand the main 3 scorers needed a break, but none of them were gonna do it that night.

  • Tommy Morrsion

    Defense was good at the end, I agree. I do think, although, that was helped a good deal by poor/rushed shot selection and missed FTs by Minny at the end. Sure, a good part of that was caused by IU’s defense and they deserve credit. Still, somehow, I left the game with a weird feeling that Minny did a lot to give us the game.

  • Lance76

    If there was a choice between Dakich and Walton, I would choose Dakich.

  • Mark Bando

    Not sure, but that would make sense

  • Mark Bando

    Yeah, they seemed a little flustered and we seemed calm

  • Fifer39

    LOL Bill. I don’t blame you for that given the reaction to some of your posts last night. I agreed with much of what you said but I’m not sure the forum is ready for that completely objective coaching analysis yet. In reality the sample size is probably too small either way anyway, but for now, the cult of Archie is King. I’ll be as happy as anyone to see him properly crowned but I’m with you in that it’s still got to be earned. Keep posting.

  • BruceA

    Takeaway 1b…as RJ goes so go the Hoosiers. At this point we know the good things we get from JM and Z.M. Nothing consistent from anyone else. We saw the impact RJ can have on a game yesterday. Takeaway the turnovers and he’s going to make the greatest impact.

  • HoosierOne

    Hahaha. Team Walton all the way for me.

  • Fifer39

    Interesting comments from Archie’s brother yesterday after the loss to Colorado. I watched a bit of that game and the freshman McKinley Wright seems to be the heart and soul of the Colorado team already. He’s the kid that Archie had signed for Dayton but de-committed when Arch got the IU job. If he’s a blueprint for the kind of guard Archie wants to build around then I’m definitely excited to see his next few recruiting classes.

  • Fifer39

    I still have nightmares about our last trip to Maui and they’re mostly about Walton’s commentary rather than the atrocious losses.

  • Bill Graham

    Ya I’m still a little sour if you can’t tell. I think overall I’m being misunderstood I’m with you and everyone else I want us and Archie to succeed. My analysis has nothing to do with my support. Glad some you’re mature and intelligent enough to see that.

  • Bill Graham

    He kept saying we needed to put Howard back in LOL. We don’t have a Howard!!

  • Ms hoosier

    I kept hearing him say that and I was like “who is Howard” lol!!!

  • Kyl470

    Yes. Smart not to have Morgan on Murphy all game though. Otherwise Morgan would have probably been in foul trouble.

  • Kyl470

    All coaches are open for criticism. Only problem I had was him taking Morgan and RJ both out at the same time with about 9 minutes left. I understand that you have to get guys a break, but in a perfect world he would have given Morgan a rest with about 12 minutes left and then Johnson with 9 minutes left.

    I think the real key of the game though was that he told our guys to hit there 3 pointers instead of missing them. 🙂

  • John D Murphy

    I just don’t think we’re going to see many minutes from CM this year unless we have even more injuries. He looks lost even in the few scrub minutes he’s gotten.

  • Koko

    Yes it appears that is the case at this point. Hopefully he starts doing what Archie wants him to do in practice to earn more minutes.

  • Adam 01

    I do mean JM. 6’8, huh? When I played high school basketball, which is being kind, because I was awful, I was listed at 6’0. I was nowhere near 6’0. There wasn’t a player on our team listed at their actual, no-shoes-on-height. Maybe it’s different now?

  • VOXAC30

    I know 6′ 8″ may be a stretch….

  • Lance76

    After CuJo left at mid year and seeing McKinley Wright play, we could have used Wright. You never know how that may have effected RP’s recruitment. Wright is the real deal from the few times I have seen him play.

  • IllinoisHoosier

    This is what can happen when more than one player is scoring. I think a well played game. I think johnson needs to focus on mid range. It seems to fit him better. I would love him to hit 3s but could play more like a cheaney with drives and mid range coming off screens. Good game by Morgan and smith. Hope they can keep showing up. Some games it has seemed that Morgan and johnson were too unselfish and trying to spread the ball around instead of being aggressive. Much better tonight. Great job guys.

  • dwdkc

    I’ve also been thinking this as we watched him clang 3 pointers. He’s been good going to the rim with runners and layups (was actually off a bit on those today). If he looks for that he can be effective, and the increased confidence showed in his 3 point shot. As a shooter if you aren’t hitting, take it inside and see the ball go through the hoop a few times; we’ve all known that forever. Also props to Archie for adjusting the offense to feature driving in the absence of the big low post presence in De’Ron.

  • dwdkc

    That last sentence sure doesn’t exactly go out on a limb “challenge for a middle of the pack spot in the conference”. Alex’s cautious style makes me chuckle some times. Yes we are limited, and we’ve looked awful at times, but we’re 2-2 after 3 road games and 1 home game. And as everybody keeps forgetting, the other teams mostly aren’t very good either! Never would have thought Minnesota was this vulnerable this year.

  • Fifer39

    CuJo off to Okla State I see. Pretty good landing spot presuming he’s on scholarship.

  • Neil

    What a ridiculous and embarrassing comment to make. Anyone who thinks any coach is perfect does not understand the game of basketball. Even the best coaches are not perfect and can always improve. “Come on man!”

  • David

    Don’t you remember Juwan Howard? He played for Michigan in the 90’s. I wasn’t aware he had any more eligibility though.

  • Bankshot

    Any win on the road in the big ten is a good win. Please keep in mind that Minnesota was playing without their two best players.
    I was remiss in not giving more credit to Morgan. The kid has been playing tough, consistent ball. Big cred to the freshman Smith, when his number was called he was ready!

  • beppecolo

    Wright was key to Colorado beating ASU (#4) and Arizona (#14) this weekend. If he keeps improving at the current rate he could be a one and done. Needless to say, he would’ve helped IU a lot.

  • Hoosier Hall

    No way. Dakich just makes ya mad with his BS but I never get mad at Walton. He’s hilarious.

  • Bill Graham

    I couldn’t agree more.

  • dennis powell

    A while back I made mention of seeing something special in JSs game defensively. Until Saturday his offensive game had been suspect at best. Was Saturdays performance a freshman waking up or did he just find himself in situations that gave him opportunities. Time will tell. I have been tough on RJ because of the flashes of great play he shows us while disappearing at other times. Saturdays play was who he is and everyone needs to recognize it, most especially him. This week is a good chance to make headway and build some identity. Go Hoosiers!!