Yesterday we wrote about the last 6 games in the Indiana vs. Indiana State series, describing how each of those games had been tightly contested. If we would have told you that this year’s matchup would break that trend and result in a blowout, virtually everyone would have predicted an IU victory. Needless to say, when the prohibitive favorite gets blown out on its home floor, the report card isn’t going to be pretty. So without further ado we present the cringe-worthy Hoosier report card for game 1, a 90-69 loss to Indiana State:
Overall – F+
Ok, is there really such a thing as an F+? We didn’t want to give an F for the first game under a new coach but maybe we should. We did, after all, take solice in Archie Miller not regressing in year 1 at Dayton. Perhaps the most troubling thing about the overall performance was that it looked a lot like last year as we will detail below — and that is the one thing no one expected. Many did expect the Hoosiers to struggle this year, with most predictions placing them in the bottom half of the B1G standings. Many Hoosiers fans scoffed at these predictions. Perhaps it is time to consider that the predictions were too generous. It will be interesting to monitor the Sycamores this year to see if this game was a flash in the pan, or perhaps they are the real deal. We suspect the former, similar to Fort Wayne last year.
Coaching – D
This is a tough one to hand out because we really don’t know what is going on. Have the guys just not yet grasped what Arch is teaching? Are the coaches not effectively getting through? As we mentioned, a lot of things looked similar to last year. Dribble penetration, turnovers, not getting out on shooters. The coaches have their work cut out for them changing old habits, but getting blown out by a MVC team on your home floor can never garner anything better than a D, under any circumstances.
Offense – D
Ok, sure, they put up 69 points. But 19 turnovers on only 12 assists? 4-18 3 point shooting? A lot of those 3s were rushed, again similar to what we saw last year. And we’d argue that ISU softened up some in the second half. There was some effective post play and just a generally better fluidity to the offense, with guys able to get to the rim at times. That was an improvement over last year if we have to say something nice.
Defense – F-
Was there any question? If we are giving out F+’s, then we are giving this one an F-. We had visions of Kelan Martin and Donovan Mitchell lighting us up last year. Dribble penetration was surprisingly effective against the pack-line defense, especially after ISU got a few 3s to go. Players were not communicating, leaving open shooters. Transition defense was late. Sure, Scott and Barnes were unconscious, but there are no words for how bad this was.
Players with Meaningful Minutes
- Curtis Jones – C – A glimmer of hope since he got a couple garbage time 3s to go but he was largely ineffective when the game was still in doubt.
- Al Durham, Jr. – B+ – Good first showing for a freshman. Obviously Arch liked what he was getting as the 19 minutes were much more than what was expected. Had a nice 3 point play on a dribble drive and generally attacked the rim well.
- Josh Newkirk – D – Last year rewind. Showed some flashes but overall was ineffective, including a missed layup and only 1 assist. Lost minutes to Durham, Jr., so not much more needs to be said.
- Justin Smith – C – Nothing real noteworthy one way or the other. Just a freshman feeling his way through the game.
- Robert Johnson – D- – We take no pleasure in giving that grade. We really hoped that he would emerge from whatever funk he was in last year, but he clearly hasn’t. 4 turnovers, bad shooting and an overall passive approach on defense. It felt like last year and it hurt the team. If the shots aren’t falling RJ needs to be ultra aggressive on defense and floor leadership.
- Devonte Green – C+ – Certainly didn’t have the scoring night that many expected — and this team is going to need Green to score if Johnson cannot. Had some nice passes. Had 3 steals, but was still outshined by ISU guards.
- Juwan Morgan – C+ – The most troubling stat line for Morgan was 2 rebounds. IU is going to need a lot more than that from Morgan. He did have some nice post moves and some finishes around the rim, but also had 3 turnovers.
- De’Ron Davis – B – Davis definitely looked more agile, and showed his strong post moves. Only 3 rebounds however, and he got into early foul trouble and wasn’t able to stay on the floor. That will kill this team with no front court depth. Also showed deficiencies on defense where he wasn’t quick enough to close out on some dribble drives.
- Freddie McSwain, Jr. – B+ – McSwain had 8 rebounds and overall made good contributions and brought more energy than anyone else. Shot 3-6 on free throws and seemed to lose his confidence there.
Main photo credit – Robert Scheer/IndyStar