Monday, December 18, 2006

Big win, ugly game.

The SIU match was a must-have for Indiana if they wanted to make a case for NCAA inclusion. And they got it, and surprisingly in the second half, looked like the better defensive team. I thought IU would hit some three-balls, open things up, and look like the better defensive squad, but no go.

Both teams were drowning offensively, but shining defensively. And it's an ugly stat-sheet. Noone comes out looking very good, although it's good to see AJ put aside problems of confidence and just play. And it looked like he learned from earlier contests (Indiana State comes to mind) where opponents would just tear the ball out of his hands, when got he got a good steal doing the same thing to a SIU player in the second half.
Rod Wilmont ended up being probably the most effective player on the floor, again thanks to some stellar rebounding and late play, but it's really looking like you can't have him and Joey Shaw on the floor at the same time. Too bad, because although Joey didn't have a good stat line, he drew a lot of fouls from the Salukis, I think 5 in the first half.

Now the Hoosiers can just work on taking care of business over the next 3 games until they go to Ohio State on Jan. 2nd. I tell you, after breaking down the non-conference HPER stats, that's not a game I'm looking forward to. With Oden in, the Buckeyes have 5 players in the top 20 of most effective Big Ten players. The Buckeyes haven't played a particularly vicious schedule or anything (and due to scheduling, I'll only post in-conference HPER ratings), but man alive, the trend is incredible.

We'll see if having a star line-up or having really good depth captures the conference crown when Wisconsin and Ohio State finally clash. I think this is the most intriguing 1-2 match-up since the '93 season when it was Indiana and Michigan's sophomore Fab Five vying for the Big Ten.


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