Tuesday, November 10, 2009

2nd exhibition game a win

Indiana crushed another in-state small college team, beating St. Joseph's 95-67. Although the final score wasn't markedly different than against Grace, IU pulled away early in this one and cruised. Maurice Creek had a monster game, and showed everyone why he was considered the most college-level-ready player of the recruits coming in. Hulls had a pretty poor game, at one point in the first half committing three straight turnovers. Watford and Rivers were steady again, as was Jones, although Jones had some serious turnover problems. As for the team stats, IU shot 5 of 10 from three, 32 of 46 from the stripe, and had 15 assists to 18 turnovers.

What can be gleaned from these games? Well, I did my own little number-crunching of the stats, and while the low level of competition can't give a reliable forecast, you can tell that the freshmen plus Rivers are pretty decent in comparison to the returning Hoosiers. In fact, the seven newcomers would've probably won more games than all of last season's roster. Verdell Jones and Tom Pritchard were two of the best IU players last year, and while they still look like they belong in the starting lineup, they're not better than newbies Rivers, Creek, and Watford.

Also, the bench- the Hoosiers will actually have one this year as Hulls & Derek Elston (boy, they could've used Elston last year) will make positive contributions off the bench. And Capobianco and Roth will fill in as depth, but I don't expect either of them to top 10 min./game. Muniru and Dumes are a bit of a mystery still. Dumes was the leading scorer last year and perhaps the best on-ball defender, but where will he fit in once he's healthy? And Muniru- well, he had a nice night against a team that wasn't very big or very good. But he can block shots and dunk- great upside. Jobe and Moore, barring incredible improvement or disastrous injuries, will probably see a lot more of bench this year.

In other Big Ten news, Ohio State kicked off the real season with a real game (altho it was just Alcorn State), and Evan Turner had a night for the ages with a triple-double, just stuffing the stat-sheet. Enjoy him in his last go-round here in the college game. Michigan State also beat Grand Valley State, exacting some revenge for a loss a couple of years ago, but they were still without Morgan, Roe, and Allen, and Summers got poked in the eye and only 19 minutes. Also, Kalin Lucas shot 6-for-18 from the floor, bringing his preseason total to 11-for-39. I've mentioned my reservations about Lucas' shooting percentage in the past, and shooting 28% against D-II competition isn't exactly alleviating my concerns.


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