Indiana head coach Archie Miller has been consistent since before the season started.
Rebounding is a big area of concern.
For a while on Wednesday night at Florida State, it looked like the concern had been addressed.
With under a minute to go in regulation, Indiana held a 42-31 rebounding edge over the Seminoles.
Less than six minutes later, at the end of overtime, the rebounding battle was deadlocked at 44.
The details within that 13-2 Seminoles rebounding run was the difference in the game.
“Our inability to get some scrappy ones (rebounds), our inability to get some big ones, especially late, is disappointing,” Miller said after the game. “That’s something that we can control.”
Indiana’s resilient defense was able to get four stops over the last 31 seconds of regulation, after its not so resilient effort on the glass allowed three FSU offensive rebounds during that stretch.
While they couldn’t snare a board to save their lives, IU did find one way to get the ball late in regulation — or so they thought.
Sophomore guard Armaan Franklin stepped in front of a Florida State baseline in-bounds pass and appeared to call timeout before he fell out-of-bounds.
Instead, the officials didn’t give Franklin the timeout, and Miller protested vigorously from the sidelines.
“Definitely I thought Armaan stole it, called timeout and had his feet on the ground,” Miller said.
The explanation he received from the officiating crew didn’t square with what Miller’s eyes told him.
“They said they thought he was falling out of bounds, and you can’t reward a player for falling out of bounds and calling timeout.”
The play would have given Indiana a final second half possession with 6 seconds remaining and the score tied.
Instead, IU’s inability to grab any loose balls extended into overtime.
Junior forward Race Thompson had a relatively quiet day on the boards, with 6 rebounds in 34 minutes of action. He’ll need to produce more, especially in light of the revelation by Miller on Tuesday that the the team will be without center Joey Brunk for the foreseeable future.
The Hoosiers only have Jackson-Davis and Thompson as players that you can realistically expect to be high volume rebounders. And with the pair logging 40 and 34 minutes, respectively, it is reasonable to wonder if they wore down late against a Florida State squad that played a 12-man rotation.
Jackson-Davis and Thompson will have to continue to play major minutes, and continue to rebound until the final buzzer.
And it will have to be all hands on deck from the rest of the team to avoid what happened on Wednesday night.
Franklin did his part with eight rebounds, as he continues to be effective on the glass from the guard position.
But the Hoosiers will need effort like that from everyone.
Because while things looked promising for much of the game in Tallahassee, in the end it was back to square one.
“I don’t feel good about rebounding. For me and our staff it’s our number one concern, Miler said.
“It’s probably the number one thing that is going to hold us back if we cannot rebound the ball better.”
After a strong first 39 minutes on Wednesday night, it was in fact rebounding that ultimately held the Hoosiers back against Florida State.
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