In the season’s official opener against the Morehead State Eagles, Trayce Jackson Davis shouldered 23 minutes. Now while that may seem like a lot to some, in minutes distributed to your team’s All-American that is nothing! I’m hoping that in this matchup against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats we will again get to see the bench get plenty of shine.
Based on SI.com’s preseason ranking of all 363 Division 1 basketball teams heading into the season, the Eagles who we just faced were ranked at #240. The Bethune-Cookman team was their preseason pick for #322. While preseason rankings mean nothing, this can give you an insight into the overall view of the program. This is a lesser side the Hoosiers will be facing, they will absolutely need to make that fact abundantly apparent in this one.
So while I never want the Hoosiers overlooking an opponent, there should be plenty of minutes to allow the bench players substantial minutes and better figure out just what the order of the Hoosier rotation should be. This team is ddddeeeeeeeeeepppp, but each player seems to bring with him a very particular set of skills. These early season get loose games can go a long way in finding the most cohesive floor pairings on a team. I’m going to be looking to see if Mike Woodson throws out any interesting personnel combinations to test the extent of the Hoosier offense. Every few minutes the Hoosiers seem to be displaying a new facet of the offense that fans have not seen yet. I fully expect that trend to continue.
The Hoosiers’ length on defense is nothing to be trifled with. The Hoosiers were able to hold the Eagles to 37% shooting, with 30 of their 54 shots coming from behind the arc. That will tell you just how difficult it was for the Eagles to operate in the paint. I can’t imagine the Wildcats to pose much more of a threat than the Eagles had, I’ve been wrong before, but I’m willing to bet the Hoosiers have no problem smothering B-CU and shutting them down.
If you’re reading this, you’re a big enough Hoosier fan that you’ve already read all about our two freshman lighting up the Hall right now. I fully intend for the young whippersnappers to continue exhibiting the skills that made them two of the nations best recruits. Malik Reneau ended the last game with a game leading 15 points. I fully expect him to continue riding this wave of Hoosier Hype surrounding him and put another impressive stat line on tape for the fans. Malik’s “welcome to college basketball” moment will come, just not against Bethune-Cookman.
Jalen Hood-Schifino has had an easy go of it so far in Bloomington. Exhibiting his skills in each of the last 3 games, Jalen has quickly become one of the most exciting thing in Bloomington, Indiana. The skills he has, the size he has, the speed he has, all make for a combination that is truly special in college basketball. He too will have a “welcome to college basketball” moment, but again, just don’t see it happening in this one.
Xavier is one of my favorite Indiana players because I can just see how desperately that guy plays the game. He desperately wants to win. I hope he can get his legs under himself in this one and show the ability to manage a much more explosive Indiana offense than he’s ever been tasked to. If Xavier and Jalen can combine to limit turnovers, it will be an absolute nightmare for teams trying to get back into games against a staunch Hoosier defense. Limit turnovers, you limit chances, limit chances and there’s only that many less opportunities for opposing offenses against a defense as dominant as Indiana’s. That is an equation for success if you ask me.
Jordan Geronimo continued to show off his strength in the post against the Morehead State Eagles. While I love seeing this exhibited to its fullest extent. I’d love to see if there isn’t another aspect of his game that he has yet to show off to the fanbase. It was a long offseason, who knows if Jordan added a few things to his bag of tricks.
I fully expect the Indiana Hoosiers to head into Assembly Hall tomorrow and quickly set the game’s tempo. The best teams in all of sports don’t play to their opponent. They go out and force the other team to play their game, and beat them to death with experience. Championship teams beat the opponents they are supposed to. The Hoosiers are absolutely supposed to handle the Wildcats in an abusive manner tomorrow. I’m hoping for and expecting nothing less.
Thank you for taking the time to read these short thoughts of an Indiana fanboy. Come back here for a few of my post game thoughts tomorrow night.
Down with the Wildcats!
LUX ET VERITAS!!!