Monday, January 18, 2010

Reassuring win

The Hoosiers can win the close ones, and have the toughness to come back in overtime. That's actually quite reassuring as we watch the new incarnation start to figure out its identity. Minnesota and Michigan are solid teams (kudos to Michigan for beating UConn) and the Hoosiers notched wins at home over the both of them, doubling their conference win total for last season. Minnesota was a pretty good team, too, ranked #20 in KenPom and #53 in Sagarin, but still, rushing the court probably was not necessary. I understand the sentiment, 'though, when you're there wondering if IU has actually turned a corner or not and they come through against a good team- it's probably just an overwhelming emotional feeling to experience the win like that for maybe the first time in your college career. However, y'all got it out of the way, okay? Let's have no more of that, unless it's a buzzer-beater-over-the-#1-team situation.

Verdell Jones looks like he's having fun in the clutch out there, hitting a couple of huge long jumpers with guys in his face. The interior play is getting better too, as last year Minnesota stuffed the IU players over and over again down low, and last night Watford and Pritchard combined for 23 points and 16 rebounds (& 6 turnovers, tho). Additionally, Elston and Capobianco actually had pretty decent games, efficiency-wise, even if they didn't score very much. Rivers stuffs the stat sheet, but still has problems shooting, while Hulls shot well & Dumes shot okay, but neither added too much else, stat-wise. Hulls did have 4 assists to only one turnover, tho- which is pretty darn good against Minnesota- but he did throw a pass to Al Nolen with the score tied and 8 seconds left. The rotation looks pretty good, but you can tell by Moore's presence that the Hoosiers are one guard short. Next year, they'll have Creek back and a couple of frosh wings, but this year it's still a little thin.

This win is reassuring that Hoosiers are on the way back up, and you can see that KenPom's projections for IU's conference record have been raised to 5-13, from the 2-14 projection after the non-conference schedule ended. However, the two most winnable games remaining on the schedule are coming up, away at Penn State and home vs. Iowa, so the Hoosiers can't lose focus.


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