Friday, January 01, 2010

Atop the Big Ten

For one game at least. The Michigan game was a precious salve for the missteps since the first half of the Kentucky game. The crushing return to reality of the second half, the step backwards versus Loyola, the loss of Maurice Creek for the year... all washed away by a gutty quality win. Sure, Michigan has had a bad season so far, but if Novak & Douglass have finally snapped out of their funks, it's only a matter of time before they start notching quality wins. Unfortunately, it may be too late for the Wolverines to go dancing again. But I'm concentrating on Indiana here.

Jeremiah Rivers wasn't a threat offensively, but he got the Hoosiers into their offense and played an amazing defensive game, holding Manny Harris in check and helping out in the paint. Verdell Jones did a great job of being the playmaker, scoring from the outside and posting up, and throwing some amazing passes. Jordan Hulls got the start, and showed a nice shooting touch even though the threes weren't falling. But his poise while shooting free-throws were amazing. Hulls and Dumes took over the role of outside shooter nicely, while Jones and Watford stepped up their scoring. Watford did a nice job scoring and drawing fouls, but I'm still concerned about the lack of rebounding- only three boards in 27 minutes? Pritchard and Elston didn't have great stat lines, but they had energy and mixed it up inside, giving Rivers and Jones the opportunity to secure boards. It was also good to see Dumes in his element, adding some instant offense and making plays defensively. He had a couple of strips down low that were just magnificent (and will probably called fouls on the road- clean or not).

Indiana isn't likely to get to .500 in the conference this season, but they'll likely to stay out of the cellar and be well positioned to move forward next season. Progress- good to see on New Year's.

Have a good one, folks!


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