Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thoughts on the Indiana win over Illinois

Perhaps it's not such a big deal that IU took down one of the most vulnerable and mercurial heavyweights in the conference. Indiana should be getting back to a point where they defend their homecourt against anyone, no? And even though Illinois threw the ball away a couple times down the stretch, this was a pretty satisfying win from my point of view. No Verdell Jones, no Maurice Creek, and an opponent who was playing some *great* defense. I was really impressed by the Illini defense, and was thinking to myself throughout the game that IU would have a hard time breaking 50 points (and they did). However, I was also really impressed by the Hoosier defense - specifically Jeremiah Rivers and Tom Pritchard did a lot to shut down the main motors of the Illini offense. And as a bonus, I saw Christian Watford actually playing some solid defense and running the floor in transition, and Jordan Hulls played smart and didn't get exposed defensively (at least, as far as I saw). It's a good win, and frankly, this was the "surprising" win I predicted was in IU's future. Hopefully, there's a couple more, along with a few decent home wins over the other lower-shelf Big Ten teams.

The loss of Jones and Creek hurts, obviously, but there's a couple of good things it made the Hoosiers do- 1) Play Rivers until his legs fall off: Rivers is wildly uneven, and threw the ball out of bounds for no apparent reason just as much as the whole Illinois team, but IU could not have won this game without his defense on McCamey and his penetration and passing that involved the whole team. With Pritchard and Rivers on the floor, and Watford actually working at it - the Hoosier defense isn't so bad. 2) Force shots to come from Hulls or Roth: Roth was cold, but Hulls certainly wasn't. Creek's outside shooting was not back yet, and having him chuck threes was hurting the IU offense. Hulls also did a reasonable imitation of Jones' ability to penetrate and shoot in the lane a couple of times, but they need Jones back. However, I think Jones tends to call his own number a little too much, and the other Hoosiers tend to sit around and watch what he's gonna do, ultimately stagnating the offense. The Hoosiers need Jones as our bailout man, but IMHO, we need him to be slightly less featured in the regular offense.

One negative note, why do the IU ballhandlers, after passing back out, just stand around dejectedly or walk away disinterestedly from the ball? Either run to corner to space the floor or make an *immediate* cut to the hoop. C'mon, Crean, even Davis knew this one.

And one final note. What is up with Boiled Sports? The life of a Purdue fan must be pretty miserable if this much effort goes into deriding another basketball program after one win. I mean, Purdue's pretty good this year, right? And IU's not so good, so what's with all the fear and loathing? Weird.


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