Indiana falls 75-71 in overtime vs. No. 12 Illinois

Indiana coach Archie Miller started his comments Tuesday with what seemed like an obvious statement.

“Frustrating game for us,” the fourth-year coach said after a 75-71 loss to No. 12 Illinois in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. It was the Hoosiers’ third straight loss at home. It was the Hoosiers’ third loss in four overtime contests this season.

But in a season where the Hoosiers’ close losses are starting to pile up, Miller wanted to make a distinction. “Outcome, I should say,” he said. “Frustrating outcome.”

The game itself was a dog fight, which is the nature of Big Ten basketball. And, once again, the Hoosiers proved they were capable of putting themselves in a position to win. To battle.

But as has been the case too often, IU (9-8, 4-6 Big Ten) didn’t know how to take that final step toward victory. A hook shot by Trayce Jackson-Davis jumped out of the rim with a minute left in regulation, erasing IU’s chance to play frontrunners. Miller was kneeling on the sideline in his khaki pants, his head facing the floor, as the Illini went back up the court and untied the game.

IU brought it back to even, but in overtime, the sloppiness that struck with nine second-half turnovers, it spilled into the extra period. The Hoosiers couldn’t corral 50-50 balls, and they gave it away a couple more times to boot.

On the other end, it was Kofi Cockburn, the Illini’s gargantuan 7-footer, mean-mugging after a dunk to push the lead to four. Race Thompson cut it back to two, but Illinois had Da’Monte Williams hitting clutch free throws to stretch it to four.

Twice this season, IU pushed Illinois (12-5, 9-2) to the brink. Twice, the Hoosiers lost.

“Our guys competed,” Miller said. “We’re not tough enough to finish games off. We’re not tough enough in little plays, loose balls. Hits your hands, you can’t get it. Grab it, they get it. There’s just too many of those plays right now, that we’re not able to finish off, the tough plays that you gotta make to win.

“That’s why we are in so many heartbreakers.”

Now, the Hoosiers have to somehow hold it together as they face the next 10 conference games, having already let so many opportunities slip away. This was a big one, as the Hoosiers face the potential of a four-game home losing skid with No. 8 Iowa about to visit the Hall on Sunday, looking for vengeance after last month’s Hoosier victory in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

It’s not like the Hoosiers didn’t compete. They held Illinois to just 38.6 percent shooting from the field. While Cockburn was irrepressible at times, collecting 16 points and 10 rebounds, Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu only had 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting.

But as good teams do, the Illini found another catalyst. Senior guard Trent Frazier finished with 19 points, including a 4-of-9 effort from beyond the arc. With IU ahead 64-58 with just over five minutes to go, Frazier hit a pair of 3s to tie the game back up.

IU, on the other hand, did just enough to lose. The Hoosiers didn’t shoot much better than the Illini, posting a 40.7-percent rate. And their 15 turnovers were costly and untimely, especially the 11 that came in the second half and overtime.

“I feel like the effort’s there,” said Jackson-Davis, who led the Hoosiers with 19 points and 14 rebounds. “But at the same time, down the stretch, there are probably four or five plays, loose balls, 50-50 balls, we have to grab. Loose rebounds we have in our hands that they take from us, and you can’t let that happen.”

“The effort was definitely there, but we just have to close out these games. That’s what it comes down to.”

IU did battle through challenges, including Jackson-Davis. Early in the game, the Hoosiers’ star forward struggled to finish inside, missing his first four shots. But Jackson-Davis deposited his first field goal via a one-handed flush in the face of Cockburn. That dunk not only stunted an 8-0 Illini run, but Jackson-Davis went on to score 10 of his 12 first-half points in the final six minutes.

Jackson-Davis was aggressive in pursuit of the rim, ramming home two more dunks during that stretch. But his teammates were equally aggressive. Trey Galloway, for one, drove to the rim and found Race Thompson for an easy lay-in. Armaan Franklin also came off a screen and elevated for a two-handed jam.

The punctuation on the half, though, were two jump shots. The first, a 3-pointer from freshman Khristian Lander, made it 39-34 with 45 seconds left. Then, Lander set up Jackson-Davis for a midrange jumper at the buzzer, the big man backpedaling, just locking eyes with his teammates as they ran into the locker room.

All nine of IU’s available scholarship players logged double-digit minutes Tuesday, including a season-high 19 for Lander. There was one moment in the first half where IU all but played even with Illinois while four freshmen were on the floor.

“I think that speaks to the development, I think that speaks to the improvement we are getting right now. We have to stay with that,” Miller said. “As frustrating, as angry, whatever you want to say, we have to stay with what we are doing because we are getting better.”

It just wasn’t quite good enough. One particular player, Race Thompson, seemed to know that. Immediately after the game, he was on the floor, shooting free throws.

When the game was on, Thompson played spectacularly at times, collecting 18 points and eight rebounds. Miller believes no player benefited more than Thompson from IU’s nine-day break between games, because IU’s physical forward was taking a pounding. He was more than physical Tuesday.

But everyone was flawed, in some way. IU got to the free throw line 34 times, and the Hoosiers missed 11 of those, including a 6-of-12 effort from Thompson.

“Race is a warrior,” Miller said. “He drew nine fouls. He just continues to be a guy that’s blue-collar. He’s a leader right now. He’s developing into a terrific team player. He’s going to have to get back at it pretty quick.”

Miller just needs this team to keep working, as Thompson was after the game.

Amid mounting disappointment, that’s all they can do.

“I do think we can play with anybody,” Miller said. “We are just having a hard time finishing things off. The good thing is we got another opportunity Sunday versus a great team.”

46 comments

  1. Hopefully many of you on ET turned this off. It certainly wasn’t worth the pain. It was the tragedy of tragedies to watch.

    The flaws continue to be obvious & rear their ugly heads in these close every night battles.
    1. FTs FTs FTs. 13-21 in the 2H excluding Armaan’s intentional miss.
    2. 15 2H+OT TOs! Not counting at least 1 missed 1 & 1 & one 0-2 from Race. Those are equal to 2 more TOs!
    3. Missed “bunnies”. We missed 18 shots in the paint! I looked it up on the box score shot map.

    We foul out their best player & our total ineptitude on offense prevails.

    I look at this schedule and have no clue where the next W is going to come from.

  2. Dear TJD,
    The game doesn’t end at halftime. Yell, lock eyes, taunt. Go ahead. Then get your butt handed to you in the 2H.

  3. Pretty awful. This team plays close games and always loses them because they just aren’t good enough. RP and AD wouldn’t start on any other Big Ten teams.

    This season is done. KL is getting better. Get him more minutes and let him take Rob’s place. This current line-up is not working.

    And what the heck is going on with this program? Jerome suspended for attitude problems. Rob didn’t look like he even wanted to be out there tonight. Leal was barking at Archie on the sidelines. TJD was sulking in the 2nd half. No leadership and AM is losing this team.

    And someone they only lost by 4 in OT to the #12 team in the country.

    Indiana Mediocrities are at 9-8. I’d have them OUT of the tournament at this point. And the schedule isn’t getting any easier. IU might not make the tournament for the 5th straight year in a year where the entire tournament is held in Indiana.

    Dark days.

  4. Atrocious guard play+ poor coaching= NIT
    I’m trying to see a bright future but the skies are very cloudy over Bloomington!

  5. Just watched the Press Conf. on YouTube. It walked me off of the ledge. It is clear to me that Archie is as PO’d as we are. He called out his team’s “softness”.

    & Ill give the dude credit on sitting Jerome down. When asked about it he said something like “(he) needs to have the mentality to protect his teammates & this team at all times”. That tells me JH wasn’t practicing social distancing very well the last 9 days & nights.

  6. Close again, no banana. Like all the losses this year. If not for 1 well rounded guard who can shoot from outside and drive, dish or shoot this team would be high flying. It does appear Lander can become just that. But I’d say he is still a full season away. I really hate to say it but I get more disappointed with Rob every game. 0 points last night. He just isn’t a floor leader. We’d be in a much better place if Galloway would just average 8 points a game. Which Hunter has been averaging the last 5 games. Race gets more valuable every game. With another 12 lb. added by next year he’ll be immovable.

  7. The whole short term era of Archie Miller and IU men’s basketball for the last 20 years including all coaches since Bob Knight era sounds just like
    90% the 20th century and the first approximately 15 to 20 years 21st century of IU football tradition. This includes play on the field, coaching, administration, hope, dreams, recruiting among other things in each respective program.

  8. 17 games in, we know what we get from Rob and Al. Uneven performances and more bad/mediocre than good.

    Lander is going to be good and his growth is on the upswing. At 9-8, we know what we get with Rob and Al. Let Lander eat their minutes, make his freshman mistakes and give this team a chance and an opposing defense a guard they actually have to keep an eye on.

    Armaan has been really great this year. His injury is really unfortunate. He’s playing tough with that bad ankle.

    1. Armaan is our only playmaker & he is clearly hobbled. He can drive, shoot of the dribble, and hit open guys.

      Al can drive but once he does his head is down & he isn’t passing it. Rob, bless his heart, plays good D & can hit some open shots, but he isn’t a playmaker. We all know Lander has potential, but we have to take the good with the bad. He’s just 17. He has a (too) quick trigger.

      With inconsistent guards comes inconsistent teams.

      1. Coach Brian Tosoni on Assembly Call nailed it. We are just relying on players who won’t be starting for most B1G schools, so the margin of error is zero for this team. When everything magically clicks, you get Iowa wins. But we just don’t have the talent to play like that consistently.

  9. I agree with the critical comments posted above but am wondering why all the Archie supporters aren’t attacking those who posted those negative comments? Where’s the derision, the name-calling and the attempts to silence the critics? Why the sudden tolerance? Or is it acquiescence? I know, it’s tough to admit you were wrong.

    I only disagree with one comment. This IU team is not mediocre; it’s a bad team. This is a bad Big Ten BB team. Oh, this IU roster is not devoid of talent, it just lacks enough of the right talent and it collectively lacks some essential skills. I’m aware of how close some of IU’s losses have been, but a mediocre team would have won some of those close games. A bad team finds ways to lose them, especially on their home court. It is increasingly obvious that IU’s win over Iowa was an anomoly.

    Who knows what will happen throughout the games remaining on the schedule? Maybe some switches will get flipped and IU will go on a winning streak. But with signs that Archie is beginning to lose some of his veterans, that some of the players have stopped buying in, I’m not optimistic. Over four seasons Archie has not demonstrated that he has the ability to fix what’s broken, or to recruit players who possess the skills (i.e., the ability to make free throws, 3-point shots and “bunnies” from inside the paint.) necessary to win games. It’s really simple. Unless some switch gets flipped soon, Archie has failed.

    We don’t know for sure because fans are not allowed to attend the games, but I’m guessing that Archie has now lost the Hoosier Nation. I don’t know one IU alum or IU fan who still believes Archie is the right man for the job or that he can turn the program around. Oh, we’d all like to see that happen and be proven wrong, but I don’t know anyone who believes it. The only questions that remain to those of us who feel that way is 1) how long will Archie remain, and 2) what condition will IU BB be in when the next coach takes over?

    1. Archie took Dayton to an Elite Eight…How many Elite Eights did Crean take the Hoosiers over his nine seasons at Indiana?
      Two seasons of dealing with dysfunctional roster holdovers from the previous cue card coach.
      Two seasons effected immensely by Covid-19 (cancellation of March Madness and the ‘Carnegie Hall” of college basketball turned to “deafening silence.”
      Injury to Brunk and abrupt transfer of Justin Smith.

      Archie was certainly not my first pick…I think he was more the “chosen one” by the same undermining specialist of Scoop now wanting to throw him under the bus.
      And though he wasn’t my first choice to replace the Barnum & Bailey Show, I still don’t see how any reasonable fan (#mythreeinventedfriends) could want Archie’s head on a platter with such little opportunity to truly build his own mature roster under anything resembling a normal college environment/atmosphere…(all atop the very empty roster/cupboard, existing or future committed, upon his arrival).

  10. I don’t know if Lander is going to be that good? Plus just because it looks like he should get better doesn’t mean that he will get that much better. There are many examples of players of similar circumstances. B.K. always said high school skills/success doesn’t necessarily translate into college.
    Example: Michael Lewis 30 plus points per game in high school senior year and Knight makes him into a defensive specialist.
    Use to hear the same thing over and over again for much of the 20th and first two decades of the 21st century for IU football tradition.

  11. Lander needs to fill out some more and learn to play defense. He is so lost on defense, it is embarrassing. However, he should still be in high school, and he obviously has concentrated only on scoring skills. I would expect a major turn around next season, where he feels more comfortable in the college game and understands the importance of being a well rounded player. I am still high on this kid’s potential. He is the least of my concerns regarding the IU basketball program.

  12. Agree about Lander being least of concern. However, I don’t expect a major turn around regarding Lander. He will improve. Major turn around talk is more hope to see major turn around.

  13. t —I agree with what you said about high school talent translating to college and even college to NBA. Case in point; Ayo vs Romeo both came into college at same time both ranked at 5 star recruits. Romeo hyped all over the place. When Romeo came to IU fans knew he didnt have a good shot. He stayed 1 year and Ayo stays in school. Now Ayo is projected top 7 draft and Romeo appears to be headed out of Boston as injuries have piled up (hasnt played a game yet) and Boston newspapers calling him a bust. Perhaps Archie and staff should stop listening to the recruiting services and AAU Tournament results and start recruiting the kids HE NEEDS to fill in a team instead of the 5 star Players that left their game in High School.

    1. I’ll state this, early in the season I saw enough of KL I didn’t want to see anymore of him for the rest of the season. But over the last 5 games he has proved he’s improved plenty and showed it against tougher competition than we played early in the season. He gets tired physically and mentally earlier than the upperclassmen and his D is has no resemblance to Rob’s but for the most part he runs the the offense with more promise and passion. He needs to play in intervals totaling 15-18 minutes a game.

  14. Again, seems like only a handful of folks want to talk about the game.

    For those that do, how about this? The officials called over 50 fouls last night. I’m getting so worn out by Big Ten officiating. There’s no flow to these games. Just a bunch of zebras who enjoy playing with their whistles.

  15. Good point, DD. The refs have been bad for a while now. And calling fouls against IU’s opponent is an advantage to the opponent, since IU is not very good at making free throws.

  16. Talking about the game…I fell asleep with about four minutes to play in the game before overtime. I didn’t even try to stay awake because the outcome was already known. Oh um.

  17. And didn’t actually know the final score and who actually won the game until about 9:00am the next morning (Wednesday, February 3). Yawn.

  18. same here t. watched part of the first half and recorded the rest. Best approach for my B/P .Cold and rain today, perfect time to watch the rest. Reality and expectations for this team do not meet. But, come on, what did you expect for this game. Believe the line was +3 Illinois. Number 20 something playing a top 5/6 team. Hearing the talking heads mention they are a final 4 or 8 team. Minimal advantage with empty Assembly Hall. TJD played 40 minutes battling a tough team. Probably unable to be at his best as the game went into the later 2nd half and OT. Freshmen overall did a good job. Maybe a real good job. May need to see more of them. You guys calling out players by name – I guess if you played some D-1 bb ok, otherwise just sit in the easy chair and have another beer.

  19. It is hilarious that the HSR is really nothing more than an Archie gossip thread. All these years I hear about how smart Indiana fans are at basketball, and the slow realization is that their passion translates into nothing more than discussions worthy of The View for sports.

    You guys spend 10 hrs a day on here saying the same things over and over again. But can’t find time to watch more than 4 minutes of a game. Shorter version of all of your comments: “It isn’t 1976 here anymore! Kids are lame! Corporations! Money! Privilege! Bob Knight did it better!”

    Regardless of what, I’m still a Hoosier fan. I went to school and got a degree at IU. Regardless of what’s going on, I’m going to watch hope these guys get better. After a game, it would be cool to break down the game and talk about what happened. But maybe I should ask Ron if it’s ok with him to talk about these things, because you know, it is kind of hard to break down a game when you can’t talk about players.

    What’s the median age here? Maybe we find this out by seeing how many of you are already vaccinated.

  20. t –
    I think DD is Barbara Walters….Disappeared from Scoop View to go into retirement. Now does guest appearances with naive Scoop “View” members while commanding utmost respect and attention.
    Now watches all IU games with 20/20 due to wonderful friendship with the late Hugh ‘Double’ Downs
    (“I’m Bpbwuh Wuh-Wuh Downs…And dis is Swoop Tuhwenty Tuhwenty”).

  21. I would just like to say that the “dark days” for IU Basketball (mentioned on a February 3, 2021 at 12:39 am comment concerned entirely about the game ) ended on March 16, 2017.

    The dark days are over. These is no coach we could have hired after our darkest days that would be doing any better than Archie Miller. We are still in the grips of a pandemic. Last year’s tournament was cancelled. The show must go on, but many top blueblood programs are struggling on their home courts and on away courts. Games are all over the place. Results are all over the place. Thank god this isn’t the NBA. Thank god some of these kids may actually need fans in the stands…and pep bands…and cheerleaders. Thank god they have not become so jaded and narcissistic as to not feel the shell shock of basketball in empty arenas.

    This isn’t college basketball, folks. You can talk about the games….but they really aren’t games. They are silent scrimmages given no influx of crowd energy. They will be games when fans return in full numbers.

  22. 1… Have never watched the View. And I’m OK with that. 2 …. Don’t ask me DD, I’m just grouchy. As you said, I’m an IU fan since the days of only radio. But every day the same s…. complaints on here. Those kids are putting in the work and time trying to get better and they come sooo close sooo many times. So ok, break down the games, the good and bad. but don’t throw these kids under the bus.

    And I ask again, what coach would want this job – except for the money. It’s not TRAIN WRECK program yet – maybe. I hope CAM does not want to keep his job bad enough to follow his brother and so many other programs trying to attract the top HS kids.

    1. I hope CAM does not want to keep his job bad enough to follow his brother and so many other programs trying to attract the top HS kids.

      Amen. Archie did as the fan base asked. He’s done his best to recruit Mr. Basketballs and gain favor with the statewide h.s. programs. He’s a teacher and not just a talent scout. His teams try to play defense to the utmost (outside some who it may never sink in…or are simply still learning). Smith’s transfer and Brunk’s back surgery were hard hits beyond his control.
      They are not dark days. They are promising days of a young team doing their best in very trying times. He sat a good player because of what sounded like irresponsible behavior as it relates to Covid protocol. Having Jerome may have got us over the hump against Illinois….But what choice did Archie have? He’s not crucifying Jerome for it….Kids make mistakes. Learn from them.

    2. I think part of the breakdown of games is that we have two upperclassmen starters who really aren’t starters. On other B1G teams, they’d be awesome role players. That’s not throwing anyone under the bus, it is pointing right to why this team is sitting at 9-8 vs 12-5. They seem to be working hard and the effort is there. They seem like great guys. I’ve never attacked them personally.

      I’m frustrated too. Perhaps looking at 5 years in a row of no NCAAs? At best, a bubble scenario this year. Archie knows basketball. He’s not stupid. He seems like a great guy too. Why can’t this team win games? HC has some great thoughts in points to some good things the young guys are doing who might be a year or two away. Me? I have no opinion, because I don’t know. But other point to a bare cupboard in recruiting. However, in 2021-2022, the transfer rules have changed everything. We might be able to fill our needs that way.

      I’m pulling hard for this team to get better, but it’s Lucy with the football so far. I’ve learned my lesson with IUFB. I’m just going to sit back, watch and discuss what I see. What I see right now is a pretty mediocre product and I just don’t fully understand why.

  23. I still observe lots to like, promise, potential and steady player improvement with this team. The D is so much better than the past 2 years. With that I’ll stay the course.

  24. Lots of IFs associated with this 9-8 team.

    If….
    ….Brunk was healthy
    ….Franklin was healthy
    ….Galloway was healthy
    ….Stewart could play
    ….TJD could actually use his right hand that he supposedly worked on all off season
    ….we could raise our FT to 75%

    & on & on….

    The good news is that defense travels. When you play good D you can be in every game. I’m an optimist. We are closer to where we want to be now than we were 4 yrs. ago & the 8 before that.

  25. Need the superstar point guard…We’ve been over this. Need that point guard as a creator who can be a big shot maker and a big assist guy. We haven’t had one for a very, very long time. Yogi was pretty close. Yogi did a lot more than anyone we currently have….and his motor was relentless.
    Durham and Phinisee would exhibit their strengths if they had some freedoms afforded by a great point guard. Both are more comfortable at being combo guards….or taking over the point position when the superstar is getting some rest.

    Other than Nebraska and Northwestern, I think every BigTen team should be in the Big Dance this year….The conference is simply that good this season. Watching #7 OSU vs. #8 Iowa and there isn’t a huge upgrade in talent from those two teams compared to our Hoosiers (especially if we had Brunk and our new transfer available).

    I think we’ll be in the Big Dance…and I think we have just as good a shot as just about anyone….Maybe not Gonzaga…They truly seem in a league their own. But in March, all it takes is one off shooting night. Tournament is completely wide open. The bluebloods (Kansas, Duke, MSU, UK, UNC) are not so ‘blue’ this year.

    Why not take 12 from the BigTen when there is so much parity in the conference? Hell, expand the field to 96 teams…..It’s a pandemic. Give almost everyone a shot as a reward for dealing with such difficulties to simply entertain us.

  26. Good points, AZ.

    Just a note and not trying to make any transference fallacy arguments here. But just wrapped up watching OSU so it is fresh in my stupid brain. This year was supposed to be a down year. They got a couple of transfers (Sueing was Cal’s leading scorer last year) and Towns is a nice shooter off the bench. Plus some guys who were role players last year are stepping up. The just beat Iowa tonight and look like the team to beat in a brutal B1G year.

    They had a lot of “IFs” this year and they have worked out. Then again, there’s Holtmann’s career.

    1. DD, I was telling my wife the same thing about OSU tonight. They looked clueless early season but they’ve figured it out in a big, big way. Holtman is one helluva coach & a really good guy. Met him on Thr. am of the Big Ten tournament last year at the Westin. He’s the one who told me the whole thing was canceled about an hr later.

      One for self punishment, I poured over the IU league stats tonight looking for more clues.

      1. Al & Rob are 27-77 from 3 w/ 55 assists & 24 TOs (not a bad ratio), but only 5.5 assists/game. Overall, we’ve assisted on < half of our buckets!

      2. Rob’s FT % = 64% & He’s only shot 11! To H4H’s no PG point, 11 FTs from your PG???

      3. We’ve attempted 12 more FTs & hit 6 less than the opponents. We’ve left 71 pts at the line in 10 games, not counting the missed extra shot on missed 1 & 1s. Race is only at 61% & he’s had the 2nd most attempts on the team.

      4. We’re averaging 1.5 3s/game less than opponents. (4.5 pts/game equivalent). Had Armaan played in his 2 missed games this would likely be even.

      5. We’ve shot 44 fewer 3s & hit 15 less.

      6. Rebounds, TOs, 3 pt %, FG %, assists are all equal to the comp.

      Long story short when I look at the numbers….
      1. Subpar guard play.
      2. Not making up for lost ground at the 3 Pt line with FTs. Probably need to shoot more 3s, not less.

      1. Great digging. It isn’t a pretty picture, but it tells the story.

        I feel bad for Rob. Here’s never been the same after he got that bad concussion. It’s not a toughness thing, Rob always plays hard. But people don’t really look into these things. Head injuries can haunt people their whole lives.

      2. Yes, we need to shoot more threes! But not Galloway (17.4%) or Thompson (27.3%).

        One complaint I have about Miller is that he is playing Franklin before the ankle fully healed. Even if the doctors said it won’t fully heal for months, he could have held him out a few more games. A less than 100% Franklin may be better than no Franklin, but it still represents a loss.

        Geronimo needs to play more (40% from 3!! Yes, small sample size, but still…) and Jackson-Davis a bit less. Trayce is going to be tired by season’s end.

        Speaking of Jackson-Davis, has no one noticed that he suddenly has a mid range shot? I think we had all given up on seeing that this season, but there it is!!

        Back to the three point shots. I feel like there are a few players that are reluctant to take a three. I felt there were several occasions against Illinois where there was a brief opening to take a three, but the player didn’t even seem to consider it. I want to see Leal take more three point shots. He’s only taken 18 of them in 169 minutes played. This is the guy who spends a lot of time in the gym working on it.

        My biggest concern about next year is Jackson-Davis. If he stays, I think the team will be very good. If he leaves, that is a problem.

      1. Spacing (or lack thereof) is a direct result of missing the stellar point guard. Basketball is not delivered at opportune time…A probing guard will never give you fast catch and release (not to be confused with fishing trip) shots. I don’t need charts or stats to know this.

        Weaknesses are primarily lacking a dynamic point guard and a solid baseline player/athletic forward to complement Thompson and Davis. We were waiting the last two seasons to finally see Justin Smith mature into that role….He left. No coach can reset that quickly…especially when are other inside option (one not nearly as athletic), Brunk, ends up with a season-long injury/setback.

        I enjoy the plucking of stats and shot charts….but this isn’t that complicated. We are missing a stellar leader/point guard. We are missing complementary inside help. Our main superstar, Trayce, is on an island. He’s the main IU force any opposing team needs to stop.

        The young talent all has potential….But young talent is often laden with inconsistencies. This is big time college ball in a conference as strong as it’s been in decades. Can’t expect freshmen to simply conquer the transition overnight.
        Losing a 100% Franklin has hurt us in the meat of the season.

        Our veterans are not ‘savvy’ veterans….It just is what it is. Youth, injuries, the transfer of one of our top inside/athletic forwards, loss of Brunk. I think it’s amazing we’ve been as competitive as we’ve witnessed. Oh, and that thing called a pandemic sucking all the energy out of a home court….These young guns needed some crowd energy to boost their levels of confidence and hitch onto rare moments of momentum. This isn’t a veteran team built for silent scrimmages.

      2. Without a dynamic point guard, “the paint” might as well be the Painted Desert…Your once vibrant “trees” on the inside might as well be the Petrified Forest.

        No active paint…now a desert? No vibrant trees now petrified?…Soon shooters get so tight that they can’t even drop the ball over the rim of the Grand Canyon. Confidence finds Death Valley.

        Question: If Lonzo Ball can now shoot the ball, why must there be no hope? What happened? His shot release no longer emulates this axis of rotation.

  27. reading thru the comments ; I read a lot of optimistic yet reality based opinions; I have a question for you all : If a player hits that “Developmental Wall” Like RP seems to have. Does he or will he drag the others down because they have to work harder to cover the regression?? I ask that on an individual basis knowing the injuries interfere with team progression

  28. IU Hoosiers Conf. 4-6 Overall 9-8

    Upcoming:
    Iowa L
    @ Northwestern W
    @ OSU L
    Minnesota W
    MSU W
    @ Rutgers W
    Michigan W
    @ Purdue L

    Final Record: Conf. 9-9 Overall: 14-11

    .500 conference record = March Madness Invite

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