News and notes from Mike Woodson’s radio show

  • 11/28/2023 7:43 am in

Indiana coach Mike Woodson sat down to talk with Don Fischer for this week’s edition of “Inside Indiana Basketball”. The Hoosiers are back in town after a long road trip to New York City and a non-conference matchup against Harvard up in Indianapolis. The team is just a few days away from starting conference play.

Here’s what Mike Woodson had to say ahead of the Hoosiers’ Friday matchup against Maryland.

• After the win against Harvard, Mike Woodson is happy with the overall improvement he saw from his team. The team had a much better performance offensively but is still far from where they want to be defensively. Woodson said the team started out fine in the first 20 minutes but then “opened up offensively in the second half.”

• Indiana plays their first Big Ten game of the season against Maryland and Woodson expects things to pick up. “Big Ten basketball is different because anybody can beat you in college basketball. There are no nights off in the Big Ten”. Woodson would later on say that Indiana must continue to defend their home court this year if they want to contend in the Big Ten.

• Don Fischer asked Woodson what his initial thoughts are on this year’s Maryland team. “(Jahmir) Young is the head of the snake and then they have (Julian) Reese and (Donta) Scott. Defensively, a lot of press.”

• Fischer and Woodson discussed Indiana’s trip to New York. Woodson was very impressed with the defending national champions, UConn Huskies, and said that they are a very good team. Indiana would lose that game 77-57 for their first loss of the season. “They showed us what it’s like to win at a high level.”

• The second game in New York for the Hoosiers was against the Louisville Cardinals. IU would go on and win that game 74-66 to split the weekend road trip. This game saw a tight contest in the final minutes but with a late defensive adjustment, Indiana was able to pull out the victory. “If we don’t go zone, we come out of that game empty-handed.” The Hoosiers switched from a 2-2-1 zone press to a 2-3 zone defense and that helped push the Hoosiers past the Cardinals.

• During the radio show, Woodson mentioned that the switch defensively was because of associate head coach Kenya Hunter and assistant coach Brian Walsh. Woodson said “I’m not a zone guy” but was pushed to make the change by his staff. The decision would work well as the Hoosiers forced Louisville to shoot 35.7 percent from the field.

• Indiana is coming off a recent win over Harvard University taking down the Crimson in Indianapolis. The bench especially played a big role in the win with Kaleb Banks, Anthony Leal, and Anthony Walker continuing to play significant minutes off the bench. Leal made his regular season debut when Indiana got into foul trouble. With his strong performance, Woodson said he might give him more minutes moving forward. “Happy as hell for him to step in and play the way that he did.”

• There’s no denying that Indiana has struggled from the 3-point line this season. The team is shooting 24.1 percent from behind the arc which has cost the Hoosiers at times. “We gotta keep working on it until we start to make them.”

• Indiana has not only had trouble making shots from distance but has also struggled defending them. The team is allowing 9.7 threes a game. The combination of a lack of threes and allowing too many threes isn’t a recipe for success. “If we are struggling to make the three, we gotta make our opponent stop making threes.”

• This year’s group has a lot of new faces but the chemistry on this team is one of its biggest strengths. After the six games, everyone has continued to get along well and continuously root for each other. “Everybody likes one another. Everybody is pulling for each other. That’s a good sign when you are building a basketball team.”

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