The start of the game felt like Indiana might have turned a corner and might be on the verge of a season changing road victory as the Hoosiers ran out to a double digit lead. But first half foul trouble for Juwan Morgan and De’Ron Davis helped to change the course of the game as the pair spent much of the first half on the bench with two fouls each. The momentum continued to favor Louisville into the second half, and a prolonged cold shooting streak ultimately doomed IU. Louisville wins it, 71-62.
Overall: C+ There were positives in this game, like the start. Indiana led 27-18 with 6 minutes to go in the first half. But of course they lost by 9, which means there was an 18 point negative differential from there. The Hoosiers did a nice job on the boards, keeping things even with a strong rebounding team in Louisville. Poor perimeter shooting and turnovers were ultimately what doomed IU. This team won’t win many (if any) games when its seniors go 6-23 from the field.
Coaching: B- It isn’t necessarily the coach’s fault that the team can’t hit open shots, and it isn’t necessarily the coach’s fault that Davis and Morgan got into foul trouble. But at some level you have to say the buck stops at Coach Miller and his staff, and we’re sure he’d agree. And Louisville seemed to make more stylistic adjustments than IU in the 2nd half, especially with their defensive pressure.
Offense: C+ Davis and Morgan had nice performances, everyone else, not so much. Beyond the poor perimeter shooting, the problem with Indiana’s offense was that it allowed Louisville to dictate things. The Cardinals defense extended out to the half court, even full court at times and often got Indiana playing backwards. Sure, some of the ball hawking by Perry on Newkirk was excessive and there should have been more fouls called, but Indiana needs to attack that pressure. The turnovers returned, as IU committed 15, although against a team like Louisville this isn’t altogether surprising.
Defense: B- If Indiana native Malik Williams put special emphasis on this game then he likely went home happy. He matched his 3-point total for the entire season in the first half, and that really helped to swing the momentum of the game. You can’t blame IU for not honoring his shot. He was 3-12 on the year from distance and his shot isn’t pretty. But once again a guy catches fire against Indiana from distance. Overall the defense wasn’t bad, but there were breakdowns in the second half leading to lobs at the rim and open looks.
- Al Durham, Jr.: C What can you say? He finally looked like a freshman. Very freshman, with 5 turnovers and missing all his shots from the field. He did have 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal, so it wasn’t a complete loss, but he nearly matched his turnover total for the season today.
- Josh Newkirk: B It didn’t feel like he shot 2-8 and had 4 turnovers. That’s probably because there were times when he was the only person keeping IU in the game. 13 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists — a couple of which were really special passes. His energy was exceptional throughout.
- Justin Smith: B Really not much to say here other than that his minutes are becoming a mystery. He seems to have a much more complete game than those that you’d think were competing for his minutes. Is there a back channel story here?
- Robert Johnson: C- We need to go back and watch the film and see what we missed on defense. We’re giving him the benefit of the doubt that he was worn out covering Louisville’s guards because unfortunately he didn’t provide much else for this team, and we hate to see that.
- Devonte Green: C+ Not a real productive day for the sophomore guard.
- Juwan Morgan: A Morgan continues to be the most valuable player on this team, doing a little bit of everything. He really held his own with Louisville’s longer big men, and his rebounding (9) was the main reason IU was able to match the Cardinals on the boards.
- Zach McRoberts: B+ One thing is clear under Archie Miller — heart trumps talent. Of course McRoberts is talented or he wouldn’t be on the team. But is he more talented than Smith and Green? He got more minutes than both of them, and when you see him out there getting 3 steals and 2 rebounds you can at least in part understand why. He did have 2 turnovers though and his offense is limited although it looks better than last year.
- De’Ron Davis: A In the past we’ve heard stories about players with improved endurance and vertical jumps and then never really saw it play out. It’s clear that Davis is a vastly superior athlete than he was last year. Kudos to Cliff Marshall and Davis for getting this done. There were times today when Louisville couldn’t stop him. And he hit 4-6 free throws which was a big step in the right direction.
- Freddie McSwain, Jr.: B It has now been 4 straight games that he’s had 2 or less rebounds. He also only had 1 against Seton Hall. Perhaps his early big numbers were inflated against inferior opponents? He did have a very nice block and another monster finish at the rim.
- Collin Hartman: B- Wasn’t the veteran’s day. Even the one 3-pointer he did make was a bit of a lucky bounce. He just looked off today. IU definitely needs more from Hartman going forward.
Photo credit – Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports