Tuesday, November 22, 2005

First two IU Basketball games

Didn't see the Nicholls State game, but caught most of the Florida A&M game. The Hoosiers aren't playing anyone serious yet, but they weren't playing anyone serious last year and were eeking out 3-point wins. I don't remember the last time IU scored 100 points in a regular season game (against a D-I opponent). Seems like it's been since the AJ Guyton-Luke Recker years, and 2 games into the 2005-2006 schedule IU is averaging 99.5 points a game.

IU looks way better than last year at this point, and much more confident even without expected starters DJ White & AJ Ratliff. Most of all Marshall Strickland (22.5 ppg, 4 apg) who appears to have a giant monkey off his back with Bracey Wright gone and actual point guards on the team to start the offense. Killingsworth looked great against NSU, but struggled with only 10 pts & 9 rbs against FAMU, and seems a bit turnover prone aginst the zone and double-teams. But Marco's line against NSU? 28 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals, 4 blocks? He even nailed his only three-point attempt. What a debut! And very necessary to have that presence until DJ gets healthy. FAMU got spanked, but they definitely got hosed on a few calls, but when you're down 20 (or 35), it's hard to argue a call here or there would make any difference. IU should beat Western Illinois on the road without too much fuss, but don't expect another 100 -point game. WIU will probably zone Marco to keep his numbers down, and the shooting will doubtfully be anywhere near what it was tonight. IU's defense and new-found depth will most likely be what carries the Hoosiers on the road.

Sean Kline is back and healthy, and he and Lewis Monroe give the Hoosiers a couple of solid rotation guys. Robert Vaden has not had any brilliant moments, but he was a totally solid 3 last year, and this year he looks much more confident and smooth with his handles, bringing the ball up against pressure. Rod Wilmont played well, with 17 pts and 8 rbs and 3 steals, and is looking to give IU a AJ Moye-type presence off the bench. But Wilmont shot a lot, too. Ben Allen should be a solid back-up center, he still needs to figure out some things about post defense and rebounding, but he's got all the skills you could want out of a big man. Cem Dinc has serious talent, and that's evident just in the garbage time he got, but I can see why Davis isn't playing him right now. He's got some adapting to do when it comes to the basics of post play in the college game. But great hands, good reaction time on the blocks, and sweet passing. Terrible free-throw shooting tho', but that's a problem that Killingsworth might share. Hopefully MK's decent enough that opposing teams don't adopt a Hack-a-Killer strategy. Back-up point Earl Calloway sat out due to an injured hip, but with newly-scholarship-ed Errek Suhr's solid play last night it looks like Strickland will never have to play another minute at point, which is great news for IU to have a solid scorer at the two-spot who recognizes that he has teammates on the floor also.

Good day for the Big Ten, Michigan State bounced back from a drubbing to clobber Chaminade, and Iowa upset Kentucky. That was kind of predictable, if I'd thought about it. Iowa always does well in the pre-conference, and has experienced guards (Horner) that can play against the Wildcats pressure. Kentucky has a very young team, and without Randolph Morris inside, they are going to really suffer some losses. Juco Rekalin Sims wasn't posting good numbers inside for UK in the preseason because he's awesome, it was because there's no one else Tubby has to plug in there. Remember, Patrick Ewing Jr. looked pretty great in the preseason for IU last year. By the end of the season, 'tho', expect Kentucky to be in the Sweet Sixteen (as long as they get Morris back), and not Iowa. Northwestern beat Florida Atlantic by ten, and continues its quest for the NIT. Wisconsin barely got by Old Dominion, but this was a big win for Wisconsin. ODU should NCAA-tournament bound whether they win their conference or not. Passing will be a concern for the Badgers with their big line-up (6-8 Ray Nixon essentially playing point), as they only got 13 assists vs. 12 turnovers. But the good news for UW is that Marcus Landry is turning out to be quite the mensch. So far the Big Ten only has two losses, MSU to Hawaii and Northwestern to UNC-Wilmington, and I think both of those opponents would have a good shot at the postseason. So 19-2 overall is nothing to worry about at this point for the B-10 conference.


At 2:52 PM, Blogger Special K said...

Wow. You sure have a lot to say about sports. My brother-in-law, Lyman, does the dual blog thing too. Life in one and sports in the other - is that right? (:

At 6:54 AM, Blogger Indiana Fan said...

But, but... Life is Sports.

Yeah, I got some stuff to say. You gots no idea.
I just couldn't keep my mouth shut, so now I've got this dumping ground for it all. Occasionally I would rant and rave at Bill and other Bball dudes, but I'd rather not fill up their inboxes.

Hey, I just saw that you added me to your links! You rock!

Now I've gotta figure out how to do that...


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