The Hoosiers find themselves hosting the St. Francis Cougars Thursday in Assembly Hall. And as excited as I was to witness this team take the floor for the first time against Marian Saturday, I am just as excited to see what tomorrow holds in store for Indiana fans. Now that Big Ten Network has already fleeced me for the BTN+ payment last time, it is nice to be liberated of that decision heading into this one. If anyone was on the fence last game, you NEEEEDD to see this team. If you can’t bring yourself to pay it, go bum it up on a buddy’s couch who does have it.
The story of the Hoosiers’ premiere outing last game was a tale of Indiana youth. The Hoosiers new youngsters put on a showcase game, putting on full display what each will be able to contribute to this years efforts at national dominance. I had already gone into extensive detail on Malik’s impressive outing in my Malik Reneau appreciation post, but whether it was his at the rim fundamentals, Jalen’s ability to infiltrate the opposition, or CJ’s quick release, our newcomers showed up and showed out. (I know it was Marian. But still.)
CJ Gunn clocked the most minutes on the Indiana side against Marian University, munching 33 minutes for the Cream and Crimson. CJ Gunn brought the ball up several times against Marian and I was very impressed with his overall game. The quick release shot that resulted in shooting 2-3 from 3 pointer is a sight for sore eyes here in Bloomington.
Indiana’s got the defense, Indiana’s got the depth, but what remains our most glaring weakness from last season is the shooting. If CJ Gunn can take advantage of these early minutes and prove himself to be reliable defensively and reliable in his turnover numbers he may play an even more integral part to the Hoosiers’ 2022-2023 campaign than the fans had originally thought.
I want to see CJ explore his offensive limitations in this one. While he was hoarding a mountain of minutes in that first game, he only put up 5 shots. While he was able to have 0 turnovers, I want the Hoosiers to delve further into just what they’ve got with CJ Gunn. Most of us believe the kid can shoot, well let him go in this one. Let’s see what kind of shooter he is. Even when the competition gets stauncher, if CJ Gunn is able to be counted on along the perimeter for a knockdown three he will get plenty of play time. Even if only to open up the interior for Jalen, Trayce, and Malik to operate.
Shooting is king. CJ Gunn looks like a reliable shooter who could become an integral part of the team by the time Big Ten play kicks off. And while that may be a little optimistic, I have to hold out hope that Indiana has been able to address their most glaring absence in preparation of their most hyped season in years.
If Trayce is good to go, I’m expecting a large stat line in comparison to the amount of minutes he will be handed. With what Trayce has been able to do against some of the biggest bodies in the nation during his time at IU, I imagine he will have monstrous board numbers. Which tend to go hand in hand with second chance buckets. I’m hoping Trayce and Tamar are both available to go. But it’s sounding like fans should feel more optimistically about seeing Trayce Jackson-Davis than seeing Tamar hit the court here.
Of course I will be looking for Jalen Hood-Schifino and Malik Reneau to continue their hot first impressions with equally impressive outings here. While Jalen has all the skills in the world, he looked a little hurried to start that last one (who can blame him, first live competition in the Hall and all?), I would expect to see him shake off those rookie jitters and feel more at home. I’m already thrilled with the film Malik has put out during that last game, now I want to see him go out and do it again, show off that his game is consistent.
All in all, not much to critique or breakdown in preparation of the Saint Francis Cougars. Just another exhibition where Indiana fans get their hit before the real competition begins (although I wouldn’t say that to a Louisville fan this week). Just hoping to be as surprisingly pleased with the Hoosier performance as I was against Marian.
Lastly, I understand these exhibition games are against weaker opponents. But with the current state of Indiana Football and the Indianapolis Colts I am going to take any sign of positivity in my teams and milk it for all it’s worth.
Thanks for taking the time to read these thoughts of an Indiana fanboy. Follow us on Twitter @FlyoverWire. Have a great day Hoosier Fans.
LUX ET VERITAS!