1-0 Hoosier fans!!!!! Holding the opposition to 53 pts in your opener isn’t too bad I’d say. Sorry in advance for any spelling or grammatical errors, just a Hoosier fanboy sharing some of his post game thoughts on Indiana’s 88-53 victory over the Morehead State Eagles. Let’s get into it.
Morehead State showed up far hungrier than the Hoosiers on the boards in that first half. Morehead State knew in order to pull one out in Assembly Hall it was going to have to be scrapped away from Indiana. They came out and were winning offensive boards that the Hoosiers can’t be giving up to undersized teams. Following the back and forth first 10 minutes of this game, the Indiana Hoosiers began to take it to the Eagles.
Heading into this game I was fully prepared to see the Hoosier depth get plenty of shine. I didn’t expect a large reason for the substantial bench time in the first half to be taken from Xavier Johnson due to foul trouble. He had foul trouble in the last game, and while we can handle that against lesser opponents, we can’t have him getting into trouble consistently here. Again it just seems like a case of what was Xavier’s biggest problem last year, not knowing when to let the throttle up a bit. His effort is relentless and often times to an almost detrimental level. I’m hoping that the experienced and highly touted Johnson can figure it out and be a more reliable presence on the floor.
That being said, those that were called upon to make up for Xavier’s absence in the first answered the call reliably. Top to bottom the Indiana Hoosiers provided a pressure that Morehead State had no answer for. Morehead State was going to live or die by the 3 in this one. Understanding that they weren’t going to be given much in the paint, the Eagles let loose 28 three point shots. Unfortunately for them, fortunately for IU, they were not falling in the second half.
In what has come as a surprise to know one, Jalen Hood-Schifino has quickly become the 2nd reliable playmaker that Indiana had missed throughout so much of last season. The addition of Jalen has in short, doubled our offensive options just based on the point of attack that can be made. Jalen Hood-Schifino has immediately added a level of depth to the Indiana offense that takes what was last year’s good Indiana team, and has made it potentially lethal.
Jalen continued to exhibit his superior athletic ability against the Eagles in route to 7 points and 4 assists. He has unlocked a facet of the Indiana offense that laid dormant all last year. There were often times where Indiana’s offense never seemed to have a plan B if the over the shoulder to Trayce from Xavier wasn’t working. Jalen’s ability to attack the rim and distribute the ball seamlessly just open up a plethora of options for an Indiana team with a plethora of weapons.
In what has been a bit more of a surprise, Malik Reneau was quick to continue flashing his finesse with a dime to Tamar. Threading the needle and leading to the easy bucket. He then continued to flash his already clinical footwork in the post…
He only continued to show off his strength and technical prowess on the often times outmatched Morehead State personnel. Malik ended the night with yet another impressive stat line, 15 points and 5 assists.
Race had missed the first two 3 pt attempts he took in this one. Morehead State gave him more than enough room as he called their bluff and drained his 3rd attempt. It is so good to see Race’s shot looking cleaner and more reliable this season. Shooting had to be an absolute critical focus of Indiana’s offseason, and for the short bit of tape Race has on the season, I think he’s gotten much better in that regard. Race ended the game with 9 points.
Jordan Geronimo continued to show off his development with just his intense strength. That guy is going to be a monster in the block this year, as he was able to muscle out 10 points in this one. He plays with a violence that has been missing in Assembly Hall for a while… and I love it. The garbage man of course had a put back slam in this one.
Of course it was just a monster day for the Indiana All-American. Trayce was absolutely outmuscling the Eagles throughout this one. While he didn’t play many minutes in the first half, Trayce still posted an impressive 15 points and 7 rebounds. Just a game to be expected from our All-American. What I am interested to see if Trayce will evolve his game to have a few more of those UNEXPECTED performances. Don’t just go out and get 15. Go out and get 30. A lot to ask I know, but hey I’m sure he is asking it of himself from time to time to. Great game for Trayce here.
Mike Woodson let his bench get plenty of time in this one. Sitting TJD for a large portion of that first half really allowed for the Indiana depth to continue to log much needed minutes in preparation for the tougher opponents to come. What Mike Woodson is doing in Indiana has given a fanbase so much hope and for the first season in a while, some real expectations. He has these boys buying into just what it means to play for the Hoosiers and you just love to see that as a fan.
Assembly Hall was rocking for the home opener. The largest student section in the nation continues to be a force to be reckoned with. We have one of the best home court advantages in the country. Now it is time to discredit the likes of Mackey and the Kohl Center with wins at those venues.
I don’t think I am crazy when I say this team is far deeper than the Indiana preseason #1 team under Tom Crean. With all due respect to Derek Elston and Austin Etherington… neither of those guys are sniffing the court on this number #13 Indiana squad. Crean’s teams often ran 8 players deep. Sure we don’t really have a player like Christian Watford, but I’d counter that and say those teams didn’t have a Malik Reneau. While you can compare teams all day and go back and forth I think it is safe to say this Indiana team can roll at least 10 deep in a rotation, we may not really even know how deep this team is until we get into foul trouble and see it truly tested.
It is so great to have the first love of my life back. Indiana basketball makes these cold Indiana winters tolerable. Having a team in contention just breathes energy into a fanbase that can definitely using it while commuting in the tundra that can be midwestern winters (that’s not sad right?). With Indiana looking great in their debut game of the year, the competition will only begin getting tougher and tougher. The Hoosier faithful have high hopes for this year. It feels great to get this campaign kicked off by handling our business against a weaker opponent. That is what great teams do, and this season I RRRREEEEAAAAALLLLLLLYYYYYY hope this is a great team. While it wasn’t a perfect game by any measure, this was a great showing by the Indiana Hoosiers, and plenty to get excited about for their fans. Have a great night Hoosier fans!
Thanks for taking the time to read these thoughts of an Indiana fanboy.
LUX ET VERITAS!!!