PENN STATE’S LARGEST EVER WIN OVER INDIANA… 85-66.
Following Indiana’s struggles at home with Northwestern, the Indiana Hoosiers desperately needed to cauterize the wound of back to back Big Ten losses. After taking the court against the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Indiana Hoosiers proceeded to yield to Penn State’s shooting and looked defeated along each step of the way.
The first sign of adversity seems to lead to a 5 second pity party that can not be done while running back to help on defense. I am always the first to defend these guys, because I love this team and this program. But the lack of effort is just jaw-dropping. I would almost rather see the Indiana Hoosiers turn the ball over twice as much so long as the players looked to make up for them more often. The Hoosiers look like a team of Sad Boys, when they need to turn into a team of MAD BOYS!
Turnovers. Turnovers everywhere. The Indiana Hoosiers just can’t seem to get on the same page with their passes. Despite going for a 10 minute stretch without one in the second half, the Indiana Hoosiers still handed the ball over 11 times. While you would think that number could lead to an Indiana Hoosier victory, when a team is shooting as well as Penn State had you can’t afford any.
That largely hot night shooting for the Nittany Lions came in conjunction with Indiana’s inability to get out on shooters. While Penn State was moving the ball admittedly well, it doesn’t get any easier moving forward. If the Hoosier back court is unable to find the necessary defensive presence on the perimeter, lost with Xavier’s injury, every team has the recipe to beat the Hoosiers. This is an issue that if left unaddressed, could potentially be the catalyst of all our woes moving forward. Find pride on the defensive end, especially in the back court. Because in this matchup with Penn State, Indiana showed little to none.
Taking advantage of the defense, Lundy and Funk had a night for Penn State. Each shooting 7-12 from beyond the arc. It was all night. These two, dagger after dagger, tearing out the hearts of Indiana fans everywhere. It was impressive to watch, just absolutely nauseating it was against the Hoosiers.
Jalen Hood-Schifino had an uncharacteristically poor day of offensive production. While it is nice to see him hit those occasional quick offense 3’s I didn’t even stop to think about how drastically those could be hindering this squad until listening to the BTN broadcasters discuss it. Low percentage opportunities, despite who may be taking them, are still low percentage opportunities. Jalen shot 5-15 on the night. Ending with 11 points, 4 assists, and 6 rebounds. Jalen is a star, that is with out a doubt. Selfishly, this fan would like to see him bring a little more intensity emotionally. While he is liable to go off for a jaw dropping highlight, he’s also liable to put his head down in defeat and surrender uncontested Points Off Turnovers.
Penn State’s shooting all but removed Trayce Jackson-Davis’ ability to dictate the game defensively. Not entering his domain down low, the Penn State shooters challenged the other Hoosiers to contest, and they ultimately couldn’t. They game planned well against Trayce and the Hoosiers had no real response to get him back to delivering a characteristically monstrous stat line. Pains me to see Trayce’s final year being one of the toughest he’s seen, but I have confidence that he can lead this squad and find a resolution to whatever ails this squad. While it isn’t his job, as it is Mike Woodson’s, I still believe he can greatly aid in establishing an identity to build on in the defense. The back court just has to respond to it.
Jordan Geronimo took the court and quickly showed off more energy than he had. He immediately had a presence on the court that he had been lacking in his last few performances up until this point. In the first half, he even led the Hoosiers in +\- with -2. While this game was tough to watch, his improved play, and the emotion he was playing with is nice to see. Especially for a Hoosier fan desperately searching for silver linings wherever I can. He ended the night shooting 3-5. That being said, it seemed like he played more meaningful minutes in this 19 point loss, than he had in the 8 games prior. Here’s hoping he can continue to bring intensity and continue to flesh out his game.
With Xavier Johnson out, with Race out, responsibility has fallen to Miller Kopp and Tamar Bates to produce for this team far more than they would have been asked. If the Hoosiers are going to be contenders with the squad as is, either of these guys has to step up and become the third aspect for the opposition to plan for. While Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jalen Hood-Schifino will always be spotlighted. If one of these two steps up and garners more defensive attention it opens up the defense for the entire team. In this game, they had pretty similar nights to their performances against Northwestern. Miller took a total of 3 shots. 3 SHOTS!!!! He’s got to find his opportunities far more than that. Shooting 100% from 3, he was 1-1. Tamar went 4-9 with 11, but still was unable to provide enough of a threat to rattle the Penn State game plan.
Mike Woodson has been under fire by many for the often seemingly uninspired play this Indiana team has put on film as of late. Needing to get the away win, Mike Woodson was tasked with getting these guys prepared and ready to go for the Nittany Lions. Mike Woodson and the Indiana staff absolutely failed in that regard. No way to cut it, no way to paint it prettier. I believe Mike Woodson is the man for the job in Bloomington (despite the murmurs of curses amongst the most pessimistic fans out there). But, this is an obstacle that any coach we can hope to lead us to a title needs to be able to overcome. Inspire a locker room. Seems easy enough… I’ve seen the movie “Miracle”.
Unrelated side tangent: you can say losers blame officiating, but throughout the Big Ten these refs have allotted so much ludicrous play that it is absolutely a detriment to not only Indiana but the Big Ten as a whole. By allowing each game to become a bare knuckle brawl these officials have hampered the overall quality of the game on display. With no true perennial class of the Big Ten (I REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE PURDUE YET), it’s no wonder when you consider that each team his almost quite literally given a puncher’s chance. It’s been ridiculous for near a decade it seems. It took all but 20 seconds for the officials to screw something up, misreading the ball off the rim and not counting Jordan’s put back. Having these guys sad out of the gate. It’s absolutely ludicrous that the Big Ten has allowed the officiating to get to such a point, but hey everyone else is dealing with them too I guess.
The injuries this Hoosier squad have faced, while at the time may not have appeared to be season careening (in my unprofessional opinion at least), now appear to be more and more the case. I see all of the talent left on the roster and have to imagine something can be done. But then Penn State beat Indiana by 19 points. While I will process this loss, as I have all the prior, this one was admittedly BBBAAADDDD.
With so much hype to start the season, the Hoosiers are now playing some of the most emotionally deflating basketball this Indiana fan has ever seen. It’s absolutely disheartening to see just how easily the Hoosiers have rolled over following each turnover. It is astounding how these guys aren’t fired up by giving these turnovers away. It leaves me absolutely shocked in frustration. Following an error, the offending party seems to immediately put their head down in defeat and sit on the offensive end almost assuming 2 Points off Turnovers. It seems to be such an easy fix, as you think if you noticed it on film something would be addressed, yet Indiana continues to allow it to happen.
It’s a problem. A problem that seems to be just one on a list of many. The Hoosiers haven’t been able to punch back in any sort of meaningful fashion in these games. That is Mike Woodson’s problem. No way around that fact now. He needs to address something 2 games ago to get any emotion out of the Hoosiers.
The Indiana Hoosiers can go one of two ways after a season defining loss such as this. You can show up and once again have no answer to the first sign of adversity, or you can face adversity with emotion, anything really. I am ignorantly, obliviously, ridiculously loyal to Indiana basketball. I choose to continue to believe this team can turn it around because what is the fun of any of this without holding on to that last glimmer of hope for all she’s worth. Wherever this season ends, with Indiana crawling the entirety of the Big Ten ladder, or plummeting into NO-BID City. You will find me on that bandwagon. With so much talent, I choose to believe this team can compete. Here’s hoping Mike Woodson can find a way.
Thank you for taking the time to read these short thoughts of a Hoosier fan. I do apologize for any and all grammatical or spelling mistakes you labored through. I just write to pass the time and discuss the team I love to follow as a hobby. If you liked any of what you read and would want to give me a listen, check out the Often Daunted podcast. Episode recapping this one OUT TODAY. Wherever you get your podcasts.
Hey Hoosier fans… It’s always darkest before the dawn. With how dark that game felt to watch, I have to imagine dawn is right around the corner. The Hoosiers face Wisconsin next. Down with the Badgers!
LUX ET VERITAS!