Sunday, November 16, 2008

Crean starts out with, well, with a win.

It was sloppy, ugly, and contains a lot for IU fans to be concerned about. But you gotta like that the Hoosiers scrapped their way to an 18-point win over Northwestern State to open the Crean era. Whether it was taking four charges in the first half or Daniel Moore becoming a much-needed reincarnation of Erreck Suhr (altho to be fair, Suhr was probably a better shooter while Moore is quicker on the drive), or walk-on Finkelmeier (the forgotten "veteran") snagging 4 rebounds and 3 steals in 10 minutes, or freshmen starters Pritchard, Jones, and Williams competing hard in their very first game, or the sweet scoring touch of Devan Dumes, there was a lot to appreciate.

However, a few red flags came up, turnovers- which everyone knew was going to be a problem this year, were bad enough at 23 for the game, but some of them were astonishingly ugly. Nick Williams did a good job rebounding, but coughed up the ball a lot, and Verdell Jones had some ugly possessions where he just got the taken out of his hands, and Pritchard fired that one from under the basket clear to the cheerleaders at the other end of the floor, but Kipp Schutz in garbage time got the per-possession prize with 4 in 3 minutes. The other red-flag was outside of Dumes, the Hoosiers were 1-8 from behind the arc (and there were some really good looks sprinkled in there) and shot only 68% from the FT line. On the upside, you'd rather they missed these shots in this game, but it doesn't instill confidence in this squad's outside shooting. Another major concern for me is that IU gave up 27 offensive rebounds. I don't see how we compete in the Big Ten, at all, without addressing that somewhat. Pritchard's got potential, and Taber's getting healthy, but Jobe's no help at all inside and you can see most the Hoosiers are still getting the process of boxing-out AND going to get the ball.

But, all in all, it was nice to enjoy a win. I also liked that Malik Story looked to take advantage of the mismatches on offense (the killer instinct!). He showed some good athleticism and and ability to create offense, which is going to be valuable. You can tell that Crean wants him to get a little more disciplined, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Story getting starter's minutes by January or February. Also, Matt Roth is really good shooter who should get plenty of minutes, but I suspect he's not a guy who's going to be able to create his own offense. Next up, IUPUI who should be a little tougher of test.

IU Soccer went down this afternoon to Michigan State, 1-0, in the Conference Tourney championship game, but they got nice wins over Ohio State & Michigan to secure their NCAA bid. However, same as last year, this club seems to have real trouble manufacturing multiple goals in a game, and that will not get you to the Final Four. On the upside, Will Bruin's starting to get a little looser and more comfortable now, so maybe having a good lead striker will "lead" to more goals. Hope you lads have been saving them up.

Go Hoosiers!


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