Is there such thing as an ugly 36-point win? If so, this was it. The Hoosiers came out flat once again (this issue will be addressed later) and found themselves down 9-2 going into the first TV timeout. Keep in mind they were playing Coppin State. A relatively tame Assembly Hall was getting anxious as Indiana continued to brick shots and throw the ball away. Still, after not playing like the #1 team in the country for the first twenty minutes, the Hoosiers found themselves ahead by 14 at half. Credit this to either IU for being really good or Coppin State being that bad, probably a mixture of both.
The second half was more like the team us fans are much more accustomed to seeing. Coach Crean went to a 3-quarter court pressure defense and Victor Oladipo ate the Eagles up. The turnovers he forced were able to create easy buckets for the Hoosiers and put this game away early in the second half. While conference opponents are going to be much more talented than Coppin State, it is still nice to see a different weapon IU can use on the defensive end. Once the frontcourt depth is there, could we see this much more?
Now, onto the biggest issue I had with this game. Indiana came out sluggish and wasn’t executing to start the game. This has happened in nearly every game this year. You can’t really point your finger at one certain thing that causes this but something needs to be done. Perhaps, switching the starting lineup up will fix this. Perhaps, it’s not that simple.
However, at some point if IU continues to come out slow, it will eventually catch up to them and cost them a game down the road. They have been able to overcome it all year and win so you could say why change anything? That sort of blind thinking is why some businesses fail. Why not switch the lineup up for a couple of these cupcakes just to see how it affects this team.
These players aren’t the players that seem like they would pout and moan if they weren’t starting, so I say why not. My choice would be putting Will Sheehey in for Christian Watford. Both of them play similar minutes anyway and why not have Sheehey’s energy from the get go instead of waiting 4-5 minutes into the game. Besides, Watford seems to play better when Crean “challenges” him and by challenging Christian to earn his starting spot back could spark his game.
The Hoosiers saw a perfect 7-0 in the month of November for the second straight year. December should be a cakewalk for IU up until New Year’s Eve when they play their first true road game in the conference opener against Iowa. A 14-0 record is a not a stretch of the imagination by any means heading into the new year before things start heating up. Eight games in, as an IU fan, you have to feel very comforted by the team’s play up until now.
Team Grade: B
On to the next one:
Looking Forward- As finals approach, the slow part of the schedule is here as the Hoosiers get a week off to prepare for Central Connecticut State next Saturday at home. The Blue Devils are from the Northeast Conference and currently have a 3-3 record before they play New Hampshire on Wednesday. Sophomore guard Kyle Vinales is the nation’s second leading scorer, averaging 25.7ppg and has played just about every minute in every game so far this year. A name to keep a look out for.