Quick turnaround as the Hoosiers face off against Miami (OH) in far friendlier confines. (Indiana Basketball short pregame thoughts)

Quick turnaround for the Hoosiers who just pulled out the 2 point victory over Sean Miller and the Xavier Musketeers. In that win, the Hoosiers claimed their most significant away victory in quite some time. While many would have loved to see the Hoosiers march into Cincinnati and get a dominant through and through victory from start to finish, I honestly think that this ended perfectly for the Hoosiers. This one allowed Indiana to get the win and still have plenty of tape to comb through and address shortcomings. Without much time to do so, Indiana may need to discuss potentially quick adjustments should the Hoosiers hit the road bumps of shooting droughts, as they had to start that Xavier game. The Hoosiers now have the talent and depth to still produce offensively even when it seems the outside shots aren’t falling. Now it’s a matter of continuing the offenses calibration towards a finely tuned high performing championship contender.

So heading into the Hoosiers matchup with the Miami (OH) Redhawks, I just wanted to discuss a few things I will be keeping an eye out for in this one. The Xavier game gave Hoosier fans plenty to look forward to in this upcoming neutral site game. So because the Hoosier Faithful tend to travel better than most teams in the nation, I fully expect the game in Indianapolis to feel far more welcoming to Trayce Jackson-Davis and company. That environment in Cincinnati was impressive, I was beyond grateful to see the Hoosiers win in a place that they honestly would not have last year. This team is different, the ability to pull that one out yesterday showed this. Look for the Indiana Hoosiers to be feeling right at home amongst a sea of their own.

Xavier Johnson had an absolutely incredibly stat line against the Musketeers. Xavier had a senior’s stat line of 23 points on 7 for 8 from the floor draining both of the 3 point shots he took in this game. Xavier Johnson shouldered a huge amount of the offense for Indiana. He also had a (honestly weakly called) technical and made a few lapses in judgement on the court. But, I’m not going to knock him for it too much. Xavier Johnson plays hard for the team I love, so I’ll pull for him on pretty much any occasion. In this game with the RedHawks, I would like to see Xavier be able to cut down on some of his volatility just a bit in order to remain more consistent for the Hoosiers. He is undoubtedly a leader on this team, now I just want to see him exude the quiet confidence that can often come with that status. That being said, Xavier is an emotional player, it may just be essential to his game. If this is the case, I pray that he can remain himself while limiting the mistakes that cost the Hoosiers on the scoreboard.

Malik performed beyond his years against the Musketeers and fully expect him to continue making his case for 6th man of the year. He brings invaluable depth. Depth that I’m hoping will be able to get far more run against the Redhawks in Indianapolis than they had against Xavier in Cincinnati. I fully expect Malik to take his impressive stat line of 12 points, 6 rebounds in 16 minutes, and boost it up a bit with a larger number of minutes and opportunities.

As for Jalen, While his stat line left a bit to be desired. He still was invaluable opening up the floor and opening up opportunities for other Hoosier playermakers. I expect him to have a chip on his shoulder following his 1 for 9 FG performance. I would expect that in this game the shots have to fall at a higher clip than that right? Look for Jalen Hood-Schifino to come out looking to run and light up the Redhawks defense.

The Hoosier shots will have to fall at a higher percentage then they had last night if we hope to be vying for a title come March. That Xavier game looked reminiscent of a lot of Hoosier games I had seen last season, with the major difference being the glorious outcome. Our shooting looks better on the whole than it did last year, here’s hoping this Miami game can go a long way in finding the range for the Indiana Hoosiers.

The Indiana defense remains pretty incredible. The Miami Redhawks should by all measure be in for an extremely long day trying to get a rhythm going. This Indiana defense is enough of an asset to keep our squad in any and every game. For the games the Hoosiers go behind, it will just be a matter of being able to create the offensive production to claw back into it, but the opportunity to do so will always be there.

Lastly I wanted to discuss what I expect to see from our captain in this one. Trayce Jackson-Davis was the most competently dominant player I may have seen in the candy stripes last night. 30 points on 13 for 16 from the floor shooing. Shouldering 37 minutes, Trayce showed out on the national stage. Showing the country why he was a pre season All-American selection. He’s shown flairs of this thoughout his time in Indiana. But last night, TRAYCE WAS NOT TO BE DENIED!!!!! He absolutely dominated with his post work. He has an aura to him this year (yes I’m a fan and just referenced his “aura”). I fully expect Trayce to make short work of the Redhawks front court. Should be no problem for the most foundationally important piece of this Indiana team.

Mike Woodson has this Indiana team playing harder and more confidently than the squad of last year had. It shows. Look for Mike to continue to set the tone and reestablish a sense of pride in the players of this progam. God I just love it.

All in all, I don’t think the Hoosiers’ should have much of a problem handling Miami (OH) in front of a crowd of Indiana citizens. I’ve been wrong before, but even with the short turnaround following a grinded out win in Cincinnati, if Indiana hopes to be taken seriously in the national discussion, they need to be able to navigate trap game scenarios such as this one.

Thank you for taking the time to read these short thoughts of one Indiana Hoosier fanboy. If you would like to hear my short recap of the Xavier game, you can listen to Often Daunted anywhere you get your podcasts. (Yes, I know… I started one… another sports podcasts… another drop in that ocean). Check in for an episode recapping the Miami game Monday!

Have a great day Hoosier fans and thanks again! Down with Miami!

LUX ET VERITAS!!!!!

-Burke

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