Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Couple more Wins in the book

IU has a couple solid home wins, and seems to start to be getting its offense together. When a quick shooter like Stemler is in, your offense really starts to free up. Also, Stemler's ability to pass out of traps may be crucial going against Kentucky. It'd be nice if Sampson could play him more at the 3-spot, but that may come in conference play.

Talking about the wins... IU got a nice home win over Charlotte (74-57), but Charlotte's talent has fallen off the last couple of years. I think Bobby Lutz's club is a borderline NIT team... just a donut of a club.

IU had a pretty amazing blowout (92-40) last night of Western Illinois, who last year's more talented Hoosier team beat 102-79 (albeit, on the road). WIU is a terrible team that only got 7 wins last season, and will probably do roughly the same this year. Not that IU should feel too awesome about the win, but the Hoosiers did only turn the ball over 3 times against a trapping defense in a moderately-paced game. I also liked the soft press Sampson was using, which came up with a turnover or two, but mostly just slowed the WIU offense down.

Notes from the Box Scores:

I like AJ's reappearance as much as anyone, but he still only grabbed 3 rebounds over two games. When he comes back to get the ball, offensive rebounds will be rare for Hoosier opponents, as IU's rebounding is pretty good overall. But he almost never comes back. Also, for the 31 points AJ has scored, he took 19 threes (hitting just 6: or 31.5%), and he's still only hit 8 of 12 FTs for the year. I know you can shoot the three, but 1) hit the glass, and 2) drive the ball. Take a page out of Joey Shaw's book, who's shot 6 more FTs that FGA.

Speaking of which, Shaw looks impressive. For a guy who was supposed to help out with outside shooting, he abuses guys on the pump-fake and then draws contact. It's gotten him some turnovers and foul trouble, but just imagine him in a year or two when he's earned some respect. I don't think we've had an athlete like him since Charlie Miller, and nobody at that spot as aggressive since... geez, Greg Graham? Now, before we go wild with the comparisons, he's going to get into a lot of foul trouble come conference play, and his turnovers will hurt the team, but you gotta like the way this kid plays.

Rod Wilmont jumps out at you the most... when's he on, he's so effective. But he's showing great effort on the boards (10 each of the last two games), and even when he wasn't hitting against Charlotte. AJ Ratliff, are you listening?

Armon Bassett has crazy handles. At one point late in the first half, he nearly broke a WIU defender's ankles, making the guy fall down, and Bassett was just pulling the break up to reset the offense. Also, his criss-cross-over move for the pull-up and 2-pointer at the end of the Charlotte game shows an offensive ability that should keep IU from shot-clock violations.

DJ was fine, Mike White can rebound and play some defense, which is nice to see. Big Ben is getting some ideas of how to play inside, but he's still a project. Allen could be a pretty good center, if he can put it all together, tho.

Calloway's so talented, but also seems sort of deferential. When he gets turned loose (usually when IU's losing), he is such a threat, but he's either got to play under control or just decide to go for it, because the sort of indecisive middle gear he plays at(which is his teammates' high gear) still gets him into trouble. Gotta admire the 7 assists and 0 turnovers last night, tho. Suhr, well, he's Suhr. He's shown some nice driving plays this year that I didn't know he was capable of.

Looking at Kentucky:

Geez, I dunno. If each team had played the other's schedule, they'd probably have the exact same record. Each team has a nice center to revolve the offense and defense around (DJ v. Randolph Morris), each team has a couple of good gunners (Wilmont & Stemler v. Ramel Bradley & Bobby Perry), both teams have a ten-man rotation, problems with turnovers, mediocre free-throw shooting, but good defenses. Interestingly, IU is a little more felonious, recording about a 1.5 more steals a game, and gets about 3 more offensive rebounds a game, two areas that Kentucky has historically had the edge.

If this were a neutral-site game, I imagine that Indiana would win, as Morris & White would probably shut each other down, and IU would ride their outside shooting and Calloway/Bassett's playmaking to the win. But it's at Kentucky this year, and I think IU will get much worse treatment from the Refs than they did at Duke. DJ White probably spends the day in foul trouble, and Randolph Morris freely operates inside, and I doubt IU shoots well enough to carry the day. But they've certainly got a chance, and I do believe that IU is the better team.

Go Hoosiers.


At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I really like Shaw and agree that he has the potential to be REALLY good (along with Bassett), I'm not sure comparing him with Charlie Miller is entirely fair.

To Joey.

Let's face it, Charlie really just wasn't all that good at IU, at least beside what his expectations were coming in.

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Indiana Fan said...

Yeah, Charlie Miller was kind of the AJ Ratliff (so far) of his time. Things couldn't ever really get going for him with the exception of a couple of sparkling games.

But my hold-the-horses-on-comparisons remark was more about Greg Graham than Miller. When Graham wasn't taking a back seat to Cheaney, he was a decisive perimeter presence.

I like what Shaw could bring, and I hope AJ's able to pull a Dane Fife and finally snap out of his offensive stupor.


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