If you believe that the first half of the Seton Hall game was a sign that Indiana head coach Archie Miller is starting to get through to his new team, then you should feel good about Indiana’s upcoming schedule. Well, the next three games anyway. Over the next 10 days, the Hoosiers have three consecutive home games against teams it should beat. Yes, we are obligated to add emphasis to the word “should”, since we know what happened against Indiana State, and we know that the Sycamores are 0-2 since that game.
Coach Miller gave us clues about why you can’t just flip a switch when attempting to mesh a team with a new coach. But assuming things are starting to resonate, these three games should give the Hoosiers three more chances to get in some live game action, with time to process each performance and improve before things turn not so friendly. They could also hopefully get Collin Hartman back during this stretch.
The next three games are as follows:
- Sunday – South Florida (Ken Pom #267)
- Wednesday – Arkansas State (Ken Pom #211)
- Friday – Eastern Michigan (Ken Pom #146)
Certainly all games that Indiana will be expected to win, right? We’d certainly think so. But about that schedule after those 3 games. What can you say? Wow. We are going to find out real quick whether these Hoosiers are making progress:
- November 29th – vs. #1 Duke
- December 2nd – at Michigan (Ken Pom #43)
- December 4th – vs. Iowa (Ken Pom #58)
- December 9th – at #18 Louisville
- December 16th – vs. #13 Notre Dame (at Indianapolis)
We’re sure they’ve had tougher stretches, but we can’t think of any. Sure, that sentiment is driven in part by our insecurity about this 2017-18 edition of the Hoosiers, but under any scenario this is a difficult stretch of games. One has to ask themselves what would be an acceptable record in those five games? Just get the Iowa game? That would leave Indiana at 5-6. Ouch.
The Duke game is setting up like the 2005 Duke/Indiana game. We can see Indiana giving an inspired effort in an electric atmosphere against the #1 ranked team, but ultimately it may not be enough.
This team, with a healthy Collin Hartman, is good enough to beat Michigan and Iowa — at least from a talent perspective. But is this team ready to go into what will likely be a raucous environment in Ann Arbor? That won’t be easy. Michigan had their way with Indiana last year and swept the series. The home game against Iowa is certainly winnable, but not a game that will be easy by any means. Sure, they lost Peter Jok, but most everyone else is back.
Notre Dame has some new faces but still has Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell. Mike Brey’s teams play Indiana tough even when IU is the favorite. And Despite Louisville’s ongoing FBI controversy, they still have a deep, talented and experienced team with a veteran frontcourt that is likely to give Indiana fits no matter how much they’ve progressed by then.
Indiana will certainly have its hands full with that five game stretch. But one thing’s for sure — we are going to find out whether Archie Miller is getting through to his team and changing its identity.