Indiana vs. Duke — The Report Card

While Duke had a clear advantage in overall talent, length and athleticism, Indiana managed to hang right with the number 1 ranked Blue Devils for most of the game.  There was no question that the Hoosiers’ effort was there.  The bottom line here was that that Duke’s length and composure in a tough road environment was enough to pull out the win, 91-81.

In our preview we gave you six things that the Hoosiers had to do pull of the upset.  The results were mixed:

  • The home crowd?  This was never in doubt.
  • De’Ron Davis staying out foul trouble?  Nope.  His first half absence hurt Indiana.
  • Turnovers.  Only nine for the game.  Check.
  • Rebounding:  Duke only outrebounded Indiana 33-31.  Check.
  • Free throws:  It felt like Indiana was called for a lot more fouls than Duke, but in reality they were only called for 4 more, and only shot 3 more free throws.  The Hoosiers really struggled from the line though.
  • 3-point shooting:  Mixed.  Indiana was able to hold Duke to 3-17, but the Hoosiers were only 5-21.

Overall: B  No moral victories here, but if you compare where this team is to just a few weeks ago on its home floor vs. Indiana State, there is no debating the improvement.  Indiana should walk away feeling like they can play with anyone, but there are going to continue to be challenges against long teams.

Coaching:  B+  The strategy was sound.  Attack the basket.  Feed Davis on offense.  On defense the Hoosiers were handcuffed against Duke’s big men, but they really needed to find a way to prevent the Blue Devils from getting the ball so close to the rim.  Archie Miller has this team playing at a high level.  The next two games are conference games and they are difficult but winnable.  The true progress of this team will be better understood after these games.

Offense:  B+  We wouldn’t have guessed Indiana would outscore Duke in the paint and have only 9 turnovers on the game.  The Hoosiers didn’t commit their first turnover until there were four minutes left in the first half.  Indiana was effective with attacking the basket and playing inside out through Davis.  Unfortunately, it all fell apart from the perimeter and the free throw line.

Defense:  C+  Some of it was just Duke’s size, but Indiana let the ball get in too low and really struggled to stop the Blue Devils’ talented big men once they got it.  Indiana only forced 8 turnovers.  Duke shot 55% from the field.  This is the most talent Indiana will see all year, but they won’t win many games unless their defensive can be more disruptive.

Players:

  • Al Durham, Jr.: B  Durham has had better games and he likely lost minutes to Green in a game that better suited Devonte’s style.  Once again however, Durham hit another big shot in a key moment, this time when Indiana had fallen behind by 10 early in the 2nd half.  And once again he only had 1 turnover.
  • Josh Newkirk:  C+  Not his best night.  He struggled to stay in front of people on defense, his shot wasn’t falling and he had 3 turnovers.
  • Justin Smith:  B   We were really surprised he didn’t see more minutes in this one, especially in the first half when Davis went out.  He was active when he was in there.
  • Robert Johnson:  B+  The box score won’t necessarily reflect it, be he gave a solid effort covering Grayson Allen for most of the game.  He also did a nice job attacking the basket.  Unfortunately right now this team just seems to live and die with his 3-point shot, which was off despite open looks.
  • Devonte Green:  B+  We suspected this might be a style of game that suited Green and he delivered.  He made some great passes including the electrifying alley-oop to McSwain.  4 assists on 1 turnover.  Unfortunately his shot was also off.
  • Juwan Morgan:  A-  Did a little bit of everything with 14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, all while trying to hang with Duke’s longer big men.
  • Zach McRoberts:  B+  Was active and around the ball when he got the chance.  2 rebounds in 6 minutes.
  • De’Ron Davis:  B   Continues to pick up fouls and it really cost IU in the first half.  Whether they are questionable or not the trend now exists.  He was very effective on the block, but his 4-9 free throw shooting was bad and untimely.
  • Freddie McSwain, Jr.:  B   Only 1 rebound in 10 minutes.  This was difficult length for him to compete against.  Jay Bilas stole our Ben Wallace comparison but he didn’t look the part tonight.
  • Collin Hartman:  A-  There is no doubt Indiana is much better when Hartman is on the floor.  He did a little of everything with tip-ins , back door passes, chasing down rebounds and big 3-pointer.  If he can increase his minutes that will be a big boost to this team.

photo credit Bobby Goddin | IDS

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