Today I sit here as the Hoosiers are coming off a Big Ten Title for men’s basketball and a sweet 16 run.  The Hoosiers off season has had injuries across the board and the team has not always practiced together.  That is why I think it is going to take a little bit of time for this team to jell to begin the year.  I will take a look at the Hoosiers and give some thoughts on what to expect.

I believe the Hoosiers will make the tournament once again.  How far depends on how much they jell during the season.  I also expect them to finish in the top five of the Big Ten.

Thomas Bryant is my number one player to watch this year.  Will he improve on defense and will his offense continue to grow?  I think both of these things will happen.  He is going to be the anchor of the offense on the inside.

One thing to watch out for is how IU replaces Troy Williams in the front court.  Helping Bryant with this effort will be freshman DeRon Davis.  He is a out of Colorado.  Juwan Morgan figures to help out and then there is OG Anunoby.  Anunoby was huge defensively down the stretch last year, especially against Kentucky in the second round of the NCAAS.   The NBA has their eye on Anunoby.  His growth on the court this year will be huge for the Hoosiers.  Also looking to contribute is transfer Freddie McSwain.

The big miss on the inside will be IU’s lone senior Collin Hartman.  Unfortunately, he had a knee injury early in preseason and will miss a big chunk of the season.  He is the Hoosiers glue guy.

Another key to the season is how will the Hoosiers replace point guard Yogi Ferrell.  Josh Newkirk, a transfer from Pittsburgh figures to help out.   James Blackmon Jr. will be back coming off a knee injury.   His key will be to get better on the defensive end.   He will definitely help out with his three point shooting.   Then there is Robert Johnson, who was definitely missed in the  loss to North Carolina in the Sweet 16.  A freshman I am excited about to see how he plays is Curtis Jones.  Another freshman looking to get into the mix is Devonte Green.

The identity of this team will be fun to watch to see how it develops   I don’t know if the Hoosiers will have the three point barrage they have had  in the past.  That will be something to look for.   Will they be a running team or will they attack on the inside?.   These are questions that will be answered shortly.

Whatever the case, this should be a fun season for the Hoosiers and ones that fans enjoy as IU builds towards getting beyond the Sweet 16.

Tonight, I watched Tuesday 81-78 win over Iowa on ESPN as the Hoosiers clinched the Big Ten Title outright.   I love the poise and fight this team has shown.   They have to be commended for how far they have come this season.

IU came out of half time leading 47-41 and they opened up the floodgates before things got tense in Iowa.  Here are by observations for the game starting with the second half.

  1. Collin Hartman picked up his fourth foul with 18:00 minutes left in the game.  The officials were very ticky tacky in this game and they missed a big foul on Thomas Bryant.
  2. IU got things going as Troy Williams hit OG Anunoby with a nice pass for a bucket to put IU ahead 53-44.
  3. Nick Zeisloft had a pretty good game overall.
  4. The Hoosiers lead later exploded to 60-46 with a Yogi Ferrell  three and Yogi hit Williams on a pass.
  5. IU was crashing the offensive boards hard early in the second half.
  6. Yogi is just amazing to watch.  The way he dribbles and the way he can quickly hit a back step jumper.
  7. Iowa started to make things interesting after Thomas Bryant picked up his fourth foul.  Iowa clawed back little by little and Nicholas Baer hit two huge threes to tie the game at 70-70.
  8. Much later Peter Jok put Iowa ahead 74-72 with a bucket and Hartman fouled out with 3:55 left.  Mike Tirico then mentioned Iowa went about four minutes with out a field goal.
  9.  The big shot for IU came when Yogi Ferrell hit a three with under a minute to play to put IU ahead 80-75.
  10. However, things weren’t settled yet.  Anthony Clemmons was able to a three to cut IU’s lead to 81-78 with 7.1 seconds left and IU needed a Jok shot to bounce off the rim at the buzzer to take the victory.
  11. I joined the first half of the game with Iowa leading 10-9.
  12. Yogi hit a three to make it 17-12 IU and Zeisloft was hot early on.  Anunoby was guarding Jarrod Uthoff hard at one point in the first half.  Tirico mentioned that Uthoff had seven points early in the first half.
  13. IU got a little sloppy around the 8-10 minute mark of the first half as Anthony Clemmons had a three point play to cut IU’s lead to 26-25.  Tirico also pointed out the play of Christian Williams for Iowa
  14. IU got going once again as Yogi and Max Bielfeldt hit threes to put IU head 40-34.
  15. Then later on Zeisloft hit a three and IU went into the half leading 47-41.

My mantra all year long was IU needed to play defense and they just have kept getting better and better.   I only doubted Coach Tom Crean once this season as I have been pretty much behind him all along.  Dan Dakich said Crean cut down on his practice time and simplified things for IU.  That was a big adjustment and it’s just so much fun to watch IU get better and better this season.

I’m hoping for a big run in March because this team is easy to root for.  GO HOOSIERS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight I watched IU defeat Iowa again after watching it live Thursday.  It was a great win especially after I thought Iowa’s experience was going to take over in the second half.  I was so proud of how IU toughed out this victory down the stretch.  Right now after Maryland’s loss, IU heads into Sunday’s game against Michigan State tied atop the Big Ten with Iowa at 10-2.

Here’s my breakdown on this great victory.

  1. Collin Hartman had the assignment of guarding Jarrod Uthoff.   Yogi Ferrell had the assignment of guardiing Peter Jok.
  2. Thomas Bryant got things going for IU underneath before grabbing two quick fouls at the first tv time-out.
  3. Robert Johnson had a big three pointer off a Hartman offensive rebound.
  4. IU was able to drive the ball inside early as they took a 20-10 lead with 11:26 left.   The defense was also really locking it down.
  5. ESPN’s Rece Davis pointed out Harrison Niego’s charge on Anthony Clemmons.
  6. Nick Zeisloft found his shooting range with three three pointers in the first half.  That gave IU a huge boost off the bench.
  7. Max Bielfeldt also played well early for the Hoosiers.
  8. Hartman had a huge block off Uthoff and he came back with a three to make it 36-20
  9. Davis said at one pointsaid  IU was 6-11 from three point range.
  10. I thought IU had a solid team effort in the first half.
  11. Iowa climbed back behind Uthoff and Peter Jok got going at the end of the second half.
  12. Luckily for IU, a key intentional foul came on Jok and Yogi hit two free throws as IU went into half-time with a 45-38 lead.

The Second half

  1.  Iowa came back out in man and their experience started to take over.  At that point I was worried IU was in trouble but the Hoosiers gutted it out.
  2. During Iowa’s run, Mike Gesell got hot early, and there was a cheap foul call for Bryant’s third foul of the game.
  3. Uthoff also showed in the second half how  great a player he is.
  4. IU had a rough start to the half but Bryant was playing well when he was in while Yogi was struggling.
  5. Iowa had a 57-54 lead with 11 :30 left
  6. Thomas Bryant’s fourth foul was a cheap call as well..
  7. IU started to fight back with a big bucket from Harrison Niego and Bielfeldt tied it up at 60-60.  The Hoosiers went back to attacking the lane to take ove.
  8. Collin Hartman seemed like he was in on every loose ball.  He was tremendous.
  9. Later on Niego stripped Gesell and a basket by Troy Williams put IU ahead 67-62 at the seven minute mark.
  10. Yogi made it a 10 point lead with a big three pointer.
  11. Adam Woodbury caused a little noise down the stretch for Iowa.
  12.   Dan Dakich tweeted that there was a four minute stretch where IU clogged the lane defensively and they also clogged up the three point line.
  13. I really loved the way IU defended in this game. especially Yogi on Jok.
  14. IU led 77-72 with 1:14 left and Williams came up with a big jumper.
  15. Hartman’s drive for a lay-up put the game away and IU went on to a 85-78 win.

Ever since Blackmon went down, this team has jelled defensively.  I have been in keep fighting mode since the injury and I have thoroughly enjoyed this team.  I can’t wait to see what this team has down the stretch.

 

Tonight, I sit here in a good mood with IU men’s basketball as they sit atop the Big Ten standings with Iowa.  They just whipped Michigan the other night and it is amazing how far this team has come both offensively and defensively after James Blackmon went down.  I am so happy I can just relax and not get irritated with IU’s defense.

I don’t know if IU’s success is a product of the schedule or what it is.  But you can not deny they are playing at a high level at both the offensive and defensive ends.  I fully expect them to battle the Marylands, Iowas and Michigan States.  Those games will tell how good they can be this season.

I was able to watch the Illini game today.  This game was just another example of how well they have been playing recently.  The ball movement was great and the defense was good as well.  They are just so much improved.

Here are my observations on an historic night for Yogi Ferrell and just an overall 103-69 domination of the Illini.  It’s so much fun watching IU just punish their opponents.

  1. IU got off to a quick 5-0 start.  Troy Williams, who played a great game overall, was hot from three.
  2. Yogi tied the IU assist record with Michael Lewis according to Dan Dakich on a three pointer from Thomas Bryant.
  3. I did not see too many defensive breakdowns early in the first half.
  4. Yogi broke the assist record per Mike Tirico on a pass to Max Bielfeldt that split the zone nicely.
  5. Nick Zeisloft hit a three from the ozone layer as IU took a 22-11 lead with 10:32 left.
  6. Malcolm Hill got hot for the Illini as they pulled within 22-21.
  7. IU just exploded from there to take a 38-23 lead.  Harrison Niego and Ryan Burton got some playing time during that stretch.  Robert Johnson was hot from three.
  8. The second half continued greatly as Williams had a nice offensive rebound which lead to a Yogi three.
  9. IU was doing it as a team just drilling the Illini with ball movement.
  10. The second half was kind of the Max Bielfeldt show.  He was hot on the inside and outside.  He had a nice pass to Williams that threaded the Illini zone.
  11. Yogi was hot from 3 once again.
  12. Good ball movement led to a Collin Hartman three.
  13. Zeisloft also got in on the three-point barrage.
  14. Tirico said IU tied their single game three pointer record on a shot from OG Anunoby.  Anunoby had a pretty good half.   Later on, Dakich pointed out Niego as his shot broke the team record for threes..
  15. Mike Tirico pointed out the play of Kendrick Nunn

Here are some Dan Dakich thoughts during the game.

  1.  “Indiana is benefiting from his (Yogi Ferrell)  on ball defense.”
  2. He said IU is not a “product of the schedule.”
  3. “They (IU) run harder than the defense does.”
  4. “There’s a lot of ways this team (IU) offensively kills you.”
  5. “Yogi has done what seniors should do; up their level of winning.”

From here, IU has to be road warriors again and defeat Penn State.  Then a win there would set up a great show down with Iowa on February 11th.   I am so glad the Hoosiers are playing well and hope they continue to keep fighting like they have been.

 

Today, I look in IU’s 85-60 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes.  The Hoosiers are atop the Big Ten with a 6-0 record.  Their defense has definitely improved since the loss to Duke.

Here are my observations on the game.

  1.  IU did a great job defensively in the first half.  They were really active on defense forcing turnovers.  CBS announcer Carter Blackburn said they had 8 steals in the first half.  42 points in the second half is a lot but I am not going to ridicule.  The offense was there and defense did enough to secure the victory.
  2. The offense was proficient.  IU made great cuts and their screens were solid.  IU was able to get in the lane pretty easily on Ohio State.
  3. There’s good Troy and there’s bad Troy.  Against Ohio State, we got great Troy.  He was very efficient off the dribble.  He was under control and he also had a few blow bys off the dribble.   Troy also did it on the outside as he was hot from three in the first half.
  4. Thomas Bryant was pretty consistent in both halves.   He was very active on the boards and on offense.
  5. IU just made Ohio State look bad in the first half.  At one point in the first half, IU was up 40-14
  6. IU did have a little sloppiness with the second unit in the first half.
  7. Ohio State is a very young team.  I will say JaQuan Lyle stood out in the second half.

It’s been a while since I’ve written the Hoosier blog.  Since then IU has had a disappointing performance in the Maui Invitational, a bad loss to Duke and a big comeback against Notre Dame.  The theme of IU has been solid scoring plagued by an atrocious defense and bad turnovers.

Despite all that, they are 2-0 in the Big Ten after winning on the road at Nebraska this afternoon 79-69.  Here are my observations in general and about tonight’s game.

  •  IU’s defense is very hard for me to watch.  I am at the point where I can stand all the breakdowns so I am trying to limit my self to one game a week.  Tonight’s game started off okay defensively and IU did some good defensively.   However, they got beat off the dribble a lot and they did not play well in transition especially in the first half.  The second half was better because of their hot shooting but there were still breakdowns.
  •  Announcer Bob Wetzel- Several times he mentioned we were without James Blackmon Jr.  I only needed to hear that once.  He kept saying Yogi Ferrell needed to step up.  It drove me nuts.  It’s a five man game; Yogi was playing well offensively.  I will have more on him later.   I am at the point where I will root for IU to fight through the injury to Blackmon with expecting to get contributions from everybody.  Wetzel said IU “is not a bad defensive team.”  We all know this team is very limited defensively and it has a long ways to go.
  • Yogi Ferrell – In the first half, he was getting his players involved like a point guard should.   He had a big bucket at the end of the first half.  He came through offensively big time in the second half.  He pretty much carried IU to the win.
  • OG Anunoby-  He was instant offense off the bench in the first and second half.  He also made some steals.
  • Thomas Bryant- He continues to impress.  He was big inside once again.  He is getting better and better.  He came up with some big buckets both halves.   Both he and Troy Williams had some blocks to start the first half.
  • IU’s offense-  IU is so much better when are reversing the ball and moving on offense.  On one play in the second half, IU moved the ball well and it led to a 3 by Nick Zeisloft.  On the other hand, their turnovers were horrendous in the first half.  IU has to get this corrected .
  • Nebraska- Glynn Watson got it going at one point in the first half.  Jack McVeigh hit some big 3s in the first half.  In the second half, Shavon Shields and Andrew White showed their power.

From here, IU needs to keep working on defense.  They have a big game with Wisconsin on Tuesday.  I will probably not blog about that game but I will have more to come with a look back at games earlier in the season if I have time.  The Hoosiers just need to buckle down as a unit right now and keep getting better.

 

Tonight, I watched Thursday’s 86-65 win for IU over Creighton.

This game was a showcase of Thomas Bryant for IU.  He has nifty post moves as he showed it tonight.  He can also launch it from three.   It was great to see Bryant take care of business in both halves tonight.  Bryant was also blocking shots and altering them.

While Bryant was a his stuff, James Blackmon got it going as well for the Hoosiers.  The Hoosiers took advantage of Creighton’s quick three pointers.  The Hoosiers are like a powder keg that contstantly goes off.  Nick Zeisloft also got things going for IU in the second half.

IU pretty much coasted in this game.  I would like to point out OG Anunoby.  He gave up a cheap foul on the offensive end.  But then he came right back with a steal.

For Creighton, announcer Kevin Kugler pointed out Khri Thomas and Mo Watson was hot in the first half.