IU faces an equal in Florida State

If you were to list Indiana’s strengths coming into the season, there is a theme as it relates to Florida State.

The Hoosiers have size in the frontcourt.

The Seminoles have size everywhere.

The Hoosiers have 11 scholarship players who can contribute significant minutes.

The Seminoles have 11 players who log double-digit minutes per game.

The Hoosiers aren’t geared to necessarily outshoot their opponents.

But the Seminoles aren’t desperate to play a barn-burner of a contest, either.

“It’s almost the first to 60,” IU coach Archie Miller said Monday on his radio show, “and the other team is really having a hard time getting to 60.”

Of the Hoosiers’ eight-game stretch of opponents to open the season at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, No. 17 Florida State (7-1) is by far the toughest test. And they are a valuable measuring stick because of how they align with the Hoosiers’ greatest strengths and weaknesses.

IU (7-0) has eight players standing 6-foot-6 or taller. FSU has 10, including seven at 6-8 or above. Two 7-footers, Dominik Olejniczak and Balsa Koprivica, only add to the challenge inside.

FSU jumped into the top 25 this week following three-point wins over Tennessee and Purdue at the Emerald Coast Classic. The Seminoles converted less than 40 percent of their shots in both contests but forced the Volunteers into 21 turnovers and the Boilermakers into another 24.

That’s concerning for an IU team that just committed 19 turnovers in a win over South Dakota State.

“It’s just hard to get a clean look, it’s hard to get a good shot against them,” Miller said. “You add in the fact they are turning teams over quite a bit … It’s just a very difficult style to go against.”

What could make matters more difficult for IU is the continued unavailability of sophomore Rob Phinisee. The point guard, one of the Hoosiers’ best ball-handlers and perimeter defenders, has dealt with a variety of issues.

If he’s out for a third straight contest, junior Al Durham and senior Devonte Green will have to handle the ball more. Green, in particular, had four turnovers for the Hoosiers the last time out.

“I talked to those guys at length … just too many silly plays feeding the post, or in transition, not making the simple play,” Miller said. “We’ve had some illegal screens that have started to add up, some charges that have started to add up. You start to add up 12 in a half, 13 in a half, those are 13 possessions … you are not getting a shot up.

“That’s been a little disappointing, like I said, the decision-making. I think the awareness level now, moving forward here this month, we know we don’t have a lot of room for error taking care of the ball.”

IU will need every possession against a Seminole squad that limits opponents to 35.8 percent shooting from the floor. Shot selection is also important because FSU’s size and athleticism gives them the ability to run in transition.

“Drives that relate to shot-blocking turns into run-outs, as well,” Miller said. “This team doesn’t need a lot to get out in transition with the size and talent that they have.”

On the defensive end, the Hoosiers can’t just focus on one player, either.

Devin Vassell, a 6-7 sophomore, leads the Seminoles in scoring at 12.5 points per game, but Trent Forrest, a 6-4 senior, isn’t far behind at 12.4 per contest.

Patrick Williams, a 6-8 freshman, and M.J. Walker, a 6-5 junior, pair with Vassell to give the Seminoles a variety of playmakers on the wing.

“The good thing is they are a little bit like I would like to be perceived, as the guys that have a lot of different types of guys,” Miller said. “They aren’t a one-trick pony where one guy is doing all the shooting. They are kind of by committee.”

The question is which big, versatile, deep team plays its best basketball tonight at Assembly Hall.

“For us, we are always on a quest to say, when you play your best opponent on the biggest night, can you be at your best?” Miller said. “That’s what we are heading toward (to)night.”

12 comments

  1. IU’s toughest opponent. Yes. However, quite commentary on a 17th ranked team being the best thing since the invention of last bread or basketball itself. Florida State is basically the first decently tough opponent IU has played against for the 2019-2020 season. This is the first game of the season worth watching regarding IU. A wait that lasted until December 4 of season for a legitimate IU basketball game.

  2. Regardless, what sports bring in revenue and crazy California and those who want to put college athletes on salary or pay for athletes here are current issues. 1. Is lack of media coverage (tv) for women’s sports…mainly women basketball…a violation of title IX? I for one would have much rather watched IU ladies in Paradise Jam and other ladies games during T. Moren era than November IU men’s basketball games this year and even sometimes in past years. 2. Because of lack of media (tv) coverage are women college athletes (basketball) being afforded equal opportunities as men’s sports?
    Due to this lack of media (tv) exposure how much is the cost in image popularity resulting in financial loss to an individual woman or women on a team? Where men’s sports because of much exposure (tv) can become popular household names…women because of lack of exposure (tv) though may be known remain in the background costing women athletes (basketball players) marketing opportunities. There are many elementary, middle school, and high school girls sports and athletes including basketball. More media exposure (tv) equal to that of men would make women athletes (college and pro basketball players) = girls growing up wearing their favorite/s female athletes t-shirts. Is title IX currently being violated?

    1. I agree about women’s games need to be on TV more, but channels like ESPN, FOX Sports are not subject to Title 9 as independent businesses. I think that may be better addressed with the conference TV networks.

      1. t & IUH92,

        The problem is not the product on the court, but the ratings the networks. Are you going to force viewers to watch a product they do not wish to see? If there were a market for certain sports, you can bet that the networks are going to cover them. However, if the conference networks try to force the issue, the only thing which will happen is lost revenues for the conference.

  3. Ron, I don’t know if t warrants an upgrade. I’d like to think so, but will have to waiT unTil The resulT of TonighT’s game (and I Think our Hoosiers will beaT FSU This evening).

  4. Colleges and universities are working at an organized unequal balance to televise men’s vs women sports along with networks. I would argue that viewers can learn to want to watch and become addicted to what they once may not have wanted to see. Examples: horrible tv shows, big time pro wrestling, game shows, music etcetcetc. Plus I would argue viewers do want to see sports (basketball) on the women side not being covered. And given the same promotional (brainwashing) on the women’s side that has been afforded on the men’s side viewers and fans would become addicted to the women’s (basketball) sports as well as men’s side. There lies the discrimination.

  5. Great, more complaints about women’s basketball in the men’s basketball thread. How many men’s basketball threads can t derail with the same BS complaint? This is getting super old.

    *Obligatory Comment: happy for the women, glad they’re good and all that. Saying you have a preference for men’s hoops (which is 98% of sports watching fans, men and women) doesn’t make you a sexist. Oh wait, I’m just brainwashed (eye roll touching the back of my brain).

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