On this edition of “Hoosier Heartland”:
- Iowa Game Recap (Stat Battle, Statistical Difference Makers, and Impact Players.)
- What the Hoosiers Need Going Forward
- What’s next for the Hoosiers (Louisville) and my 3 keys to defeating them.
The Indiana Hoosiers returned home Monday night to face Iowa aiming to bounce back from their poor performance on the road at Michigan Saturday. IU did just that in their 77-64 victory over the Hawkeyes.
Statistical Difference Makers
- Rebounds – Indiana defeated the Hawkeyes on overall rebounds (47-42), but the number of offensive rebounds (16) was noteworthy. The Hoosiers are in a position where they must value every possession they get. 16 additional second chance point opportunities are huge for a team needing to find confidence and effectiveness from their outside game. Although both teams finished dead even in second chance points (12), every offensive rebound has an impact. For any of you who’ve played the game of basketball or watched it long enough, it’s a deflating feeling working your tail off to make a defensive stand only to give up an offensive rebound and allow the opposing team another opportunity.
- Multiple Defensive Categories – Minus the brief second half run of Iowa to claw their way back in it in the second half, you’re looking at a well-rounded game on both ends of the floor for the Hoosiers. Their success on defense with blocks, steals, etc. was a driving force in setting the tone for the offense. Indiana showed a refreshing confidence heading into an offensive possession after a big stop in route to beating Iowa in points off turnovers 22-10.
Impact Players of the Game
Juwan Morgan – Morgan continued his efficient tear through the competition on his way to yet another double-double. He finished with 15 points (6-9 FG; 3-4 FT), 10 rebounds (4 offensive and 6 defensive), 2 steals, and 1 block in 29 minutes of action. When the Hoosiers were challenged, Juwan was one of the players to spark the team to fight back and avoid falling in a hole throughout the game.
Collin Hartman – Hartman played a major factor in IU keeping the Hawkeyes at bay with a solid performance. He finished with 13 points (4-9 FG; 3-6 3-point FG), 5 rebounds (all defensive), 2 assists, and a steal in 20 minutes of game time. He continues to prove his value by just being on the court to set the tone as one of the floor leaders. He literally is a walking, talking, shooting example of toughness and perseverance.
What the Hoosiers Need Going Forward
3-Point Shot Efficiency – In order for IU to keep their opponent’s heads spinning, they’ll need to continue to improve on the 3-point shot. Indiana was able to knock down 8 3-pointers in the game, which led to them being able to attack Iowa’s defense and take advantage of points inside the paint (36-26 advantage) or a drive/post up and kick- out back to an open man for a higher percentage chance of getting a clear shot off from long distance. If the Hoosiers can continue a consistent, effective game plan from inside-out, you’re looking at a team who can contend with anyone in the Big Ten and beyond. Call me crazy, but this Big Ten season itself so far has been unpredictable. I feel more confident in saying that Indiana can win night in and night out with the players they have now more than ever this year.
Free Throw Efficiency – The Hoosiers were successful in getting 15 additional points from the line, but they had opportunities to acquire 8 more. It didn’t end up playing a factor in this game. But, how many games this season have we seen where the missed free throws doomed them? How much will free throws continue to be a major factor going forward? In my opinion, you can count on it. Each opportunity at the stripe is another chance at not just building on the score, but building momentum. I’m not saying we’ll go perfect at the line every night. But, I’d love to see them improve to a high 80 percentile shooting as a team. That will pay dividends in the long run.
What’s Next for the Hoosiers
Indiana (5-4; 1-1 Big Ten) heads south to the KFC Yum Center to face Louisville (4-2) Saturday, December 9th televised on ESPN at 2 pm EST/1 pm CST. You can also hear the call on IU Radio Network.
They’re led by junior forward Deng Adel (17.2 ppg, 50% FG season average, and 5.2 rebounds per game).
Louisville looks to break a 2-game losing streak tonight versus Siena (ESPN 2 – 7 pm EST/6 pm CST) after suffering defeats to Purdue (66-57) and Seton Hall (79-77) before facing our Hoosiers Saturday.
3 Keys to Beating Louisville
- Limit their free throw opportunities: A 78% FT shooting team, the Cardinals average 15 free throws made per game. If they continue with this trend, sending Louisville to the line could be damning for Indiana’s chances at success.
- Hoosiers Must Control the Glass – Louisville comes in currently averaging 41 rebounds a game. It will be vital that the Hoosier crash the boards on both ends. Having the advantage in the rebound category will be a major factor in the outcome.
- Pressure Defense – Louisville averages roughly 13 turnovers a game. This is an area where, if the trend continues, the Hoosiers will need to capitalize on every extra opportunity they have to score. Being on the road, the Hoosiers must start strong and get the Cardinals shaken early.