Young Hoosiers show strengths, weaknesses in first exhibition

WHAT HAPPENED: Indiana allowed Division II Southern Indiana for about 25 minutes before pulling away for an 83-68 exhibition game victory in front of an announced crowd of 17,472 at Assembly Hall.

Southern Indiana went on an 11-4 run at the beginning of the second half to cut the deficit to 42-40, but shortly after, the Hoosiers went on an 11-2 run to take a 55-44 lead. Southern Indiana was never closer than six points and never closer than 10 points in the last 10 minutes.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: IU sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell, who shot just 30.3 percent from beyond the arc last season, scored 20 points with six 3-pointers.

Sophomore forward Jeremy Hollowell scored 13 points. Freshman swingman Troy Williams posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and also added three blocks. Senior swingman Will Sheehey scored 10 points, freshman forward Noah Vonleh had nine points and 12 rebounds and sophomore forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea had nine points and five rebounds in just 15 minutes of action.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: Indiana was everything IU coach Tom Crean billed it to be — extremely long, extremely athletic and very, very inexperienced. The Hoosiers gambled often on defense, and when those gambles paid off the results were spectacular. Indiana had 10 steals and caused 16 turnovers which turned into 18 points. They scored 23 points off of fastbreaks to just two by Southern Indiana. Williams and Vonleh were every bit as athletic as advertised, and Mosquera-Perea showed the beginnings of understanding how to use his considerable wingspan and bounce. The Hoosiers dominated the glass, winning the rebounding battle 54-36 and grabbing 21 offensive rebounds.

There were times, however, when gambles led to easy baskets for Southern Indiana. The Screaming Eagles didn’t shoot the lights out, knocking down just 29 of 70 field goals and eight of 25 3-point attempts, but the Hoosiers made it a little easier to score than it could have been. Southern Indiana shot 50 percent in the second half.

The Hoosiers also fulfilled Crean’s prophecy by showing that they are not yet a reliable shooting team. To his credit, Ferrell very much mitigated that. The work he put on his jump shot was evident as was the faith that the Hoosiers have collectively in his ability to make shots. They moved him off the ball and ran him around screens to make sure that he had catch-and-shoot opportunities on the wings, not forcing him to always have to pull-up off the dribble. The rest of the team, however, was a combined 3-for-11 from beyond the 3-point arc and struggled to get much of anything accomplished in the mid-range either. For all of Williams’ highlight reel plays, he was just 4-for-12 from the field. Sheehey was 5-for-11 from the field, but almost all of his buckets came at the rim and he couldn’t find his mid-range jumper. The Hoosiers shot 38.9 percent from the field in the first half and 41.8 percent from the field in the game.

Free throw shooting was also an issue, especially for the ballyhooed Vonleh. He missed all five of his free throw attempts, shooting long on most of them. The Hoosiers were 18-for-31 collectively.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: Winning the exhibition games is important even if they don’t count, because nobody wants to be the team that lost to a Division II squad, because there’s an effect to that in terms of perception. It was good in that regard for the Hoosiers to avoid that fate and more so just get their first idea of what victory feels like collectively. It was also good for them to get their first idea of who they are and what that looks like against something other than each other.

It’s clear this team is still a long way from a defined identity, but the potential is obvious. The length and athleticism will keep them in games even when the shooting isn’t there and while the Hoosiers are still learning the college game. They play with energy and desire, which also goes along way, and they seem to at least understand that they don’t know everything. So in just about every way, the first game was for them a generally healthy experience.

WHO SAID WHAT: 

IU coach Tom Crean

“I thought the first game under the lights, the first game in front of the fans, I thought our guys played with tremendous energy. I thought we got better as the game went on. I think these guys understood that at some point in time, if you just stick with it, stick with your energy, you keep pushing the ball, keep attacking, good things are going to happen. It was certainly not a situation where we played as efficiently on defense in the second half. We had 53 deflections. We outrebounded them by I think 16 or 18, but we still had our moments where we didn’t challenge shots as well, we didn’t rotate as well, we didn’t go through screens as well.”

“I think the biggest thing, especially in a guy like Troy (Williams) is like I mentioned at one point, I said, ‘Do you know who Babe Ruth is?’ and he didn’t. I said, ‘Well, Babe Ruth was an unbelievable home run hitter, but he was also a strikeout king. And right now we don’t want to be Babe Ruth. We don’t want to hit home runs and we don’t want to strike out. We just want to play solid basketball. With his aggressiveness, there were a couple points where he tried to make plays that would’ve brought the house down, but unfortunately they made the baskets, and that’s a great example of our night and where our team is right now. There is a lot of talent. There is a lot of athleticism. There’s a hunger, but we just have to gain an understanding. We’ve got to understand when it’s time to take a chance and gamble, but most importantly when it’s just time to bare down and be solid.”

 

12 comments

  1. Apparently Crean doesn’t either… He is hardly a “strike out King”

    #3 all-time HRs

    #105 all-time in strike outs

    Oh, and by the way if you’re just looking for a solid batter… Ruth was #2 all-time in OBP at 47%(!)

    I think I’d take a Babe Ruth type player on IU

  2. Pretty interesting stats, Geoff. It’s amazing how time and years upon years of filters and untruths erode the reality of what a great all-around player Ruth was…But does OBP take into account base on balls and pitching around him? I would imagine there were some days where he’d hardly get much of anything to swing at. And when they pitched around the corners, it was likely far more difficult to take one deep. It’s a credit to Ruth that he could turn many of those near intentional walks into hits, but it also makes one wonder just how many he could have taken deep if they actually gave him much to choose from over the plate.

    On another note….Current Hoosier roster is quite the laboratory of athleticism…Hope we can turn all that dynamic talent into some solid chemistry.

  3. On another note….Current Hoosier roster is quite the laboratory of athleticism…Hope we can turn all that dynamic talent into some solid chemistry.

  4. Just think if BR had exercised, trained and stayed in shape, ate a good diet, not smoke or drank and had kept the carousing to a minimum. He would have hit 2200 HR’s leaving BB’s future as nothing more than a bat boy.

  5. Though it is difficult to compare icons of the game across nearly a century of baseball.

    I’m not sure if Ruth could hit today’s pitching. The closer on Boston, Koji Uehara, is incredible…

  6. Harvard,
    On-base percentage in fact includes exactly that. The whole point of on-base percentage is that it factors in walks.
    Didn’t recognize exactly how off Crean was with this one until just now when I looked his numbers up again. Didn’t realize that in his entire career Ruth never struck out 100 times in a season. Granted, the seasons were 154 games then as opposed to 162, but still. By contrast, there were 105 guys this season who struck out at least 100 times and 40 guys who struck out at least 130 times. Also, there was only one season in a 15-year period (1925) in which he hit under .300 and struck out more times when he walked. Insane.
    Nice with the hyperbole, HC. But yeah, I think 800 bombs is probably realistic if not for the less than healthy habits. Give him a standard year in 1925 and add two years on to the end of his career and you’re there.

  7. For many years Babe Ruth was known as the king of strikeouts, known for his all or nothing batting style. He led the American League in strikeouts five times, and fanned 1,330 times in his career.

    And who’s to say…? They obviously pitched around Ruth…For an eleven year stretch(1923-1933), he led the American League in walks for nine of those eleven years. Maybe he had a great eye to not chasing pitches nibbling just outside the corners, or maybe they were just throwing garbage that he knew was nothing other than an intentional pass. Did they even have the “intentional pass” during his heyday? So the OBP is very good on paper, but to many that watched him play it may have likely appeared that when he had a chance to swing the bat at something hittable it was 50/50 probability of long ball or strike out. I doubt the many walks to Ruth is what the fans came to the ballpark to see. The walks padding his OBP would not leave the impression on the memory in the same fashion of the dramatic long ball or the dramatic fanning at the wind a blazing fastball from a pitcher that actually challenged him…So, conclusion, over time people forget about the punching of an outside pitch between the first and second baseman…They forget about the walks. The years pass and the reality of the OBP doesn’t live in congruence to the dramatic moments of the long ball and the huge swings that failed to make contact and ended in a strike out.

    Were they throwing a fastball at 100 mph in 1923? Was the baseball wound as tightly the balls made today? Could the balls carry anything close to what goes into making a Spalding head out to Waveland this era? Did they play nearly as many night games in the early 1900’s? Does the baseball carry as far in the cool night air of Candlestick as the warm summer breezes of a daytime afternoon game in Yankee Stadium or Wrigley Field? Were lineups as dangerous from top to bottom in Ruth’s era as many of the batting orders today?

    Bottom Line: There is no way to compare athletes that played in such drastically different eras of any game. There are obvious consistencies that remain in the games we love, but there are also a plethora of differences as the technology in the equipment/balls/surfaces, and the depth/breadth of evolving athleticism within each sport grows leaps and bounds. How far could Ben Hogan drive a ball with the sledgehammer, monster-sized, titanium drivers they use today? Hand a wooden tennis racket to Andy Murray …Could he volley with John McEnroe? Does a crafty finesse player like McEnroe even have his Wimbledon trophies and appearances if he plays in the era of the power rackets and the 140 mph serves of today’s tennis?

    Was professional football a rougher sport in 1945 than today? Did the lack of technology in the pads and helmets protect the athlete less and thus making the sport more dangerous? Or, is the athlete so much bigger/stronger/explosive today that it counters any advancement in equipment…thus making the NFL far more violent than in any time professional football’s history?

  8. (Here’s the last couple paragraphs that were chopped off the original above).

    I digress….The main surprise was not in the bending of reality that occurs when bias gets filtered into the equations/memories/stories/accounts/perceptions over time(along with the many unanswerable debates when comparing athletes across the spans of countless decades).

    I do believe the main surprise from ‘Iugrad10’ in post #1 had nothing to do with the perceptions of Ruth’s career. I do believe the main shocker was his utter disbelief that anyone does not know the name of Babe Ruth. I also found it quite bizarre. Far more bizarre than diving into the misconceptions of Ruth’s OBP numbers. There are names you just know in the world of sports…Rocky Marciano…Jack Nicklaus…Jim Brown…Rod Laver….Jim Thorpe…Jesse Owens…Babe Ruth…Joe DiMaggio…Dr. J….Secretariat…..Ernie Banks….Ted Williams…Kareem Abdul-Jabbar…Wilt Chamberlain….Muhammad Ali…Larry Bird…Bob Knight…Tom Crean….Tijan Jobe.
    Maybe Crean was just making stuff up again.

  9. …coachv….Geoff

    Could someone please put some rap music to Secretariat highlights?

    “Every spring and summer there is a horse….blah..blah..blah.”

    Is it weird that I got goosebumps from watching just how damn unbelievable that incredible horse distanced itself from the field?

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