Hoosiers looking for Moore opportunities

During the past month of action, a span of eight Indiana games, freshman forward Clifton Moore has played a total of eight minutes.

In the coming weeks, Moore’s workload is expected to change.

At some point soon, IU coach Archie Miller acknowledged Friday, the Hoosiers will have to find ways to get Moore involved in the game plan. The 6-foot-10 Pennsylvania native has played only sparingly during his rookie year, but Indiana could use the frontcourt help after De’Ron Davis’ suffered his season-ending Achilles injury last week.

Pushing Moore into the playing rotation is now one of Miller’s objectives this month.

“We’re looking for those opportunities right now,” Miller said. “When we feel he’s ready, he’ll get them.”

Moore has played in only five of Indiana’s 17 games this season, with all but one of those contests coming against lower-level non-conference opponents. He played two minutes and picked up one foul against Iowa on Dec. 4.

He hasn’t seen the floor since logging four minutes against Youngstown State on Dec. 29, and with the Hoosiers in need of frontcourt bodies for the final two months, Miller wants to get Moore in a position where he’s ready to contribute and play longer stretches, if needed.

“With injuries and foul trouble there’s always going to be that opportunity where he’s going to get his chance,” Miller said. “We want him to be ready. He’s working extremely hard in practice. He’s getting a lot of reps now in practice.

“But I think when his time comes, to not have him not ready is unfair. I definitely think we have to try to find ways to get him in there, so when he is called upon to do things for longer stretches of time that he feels more comfortable.”

So why hasn’t Moore seen the court more often this season? There are a couple reasons.

For one, there is the natural learning curve every freshman navigates in his first season. Moore is still learning how to assert himself as a big man with perimeter skills.

There’s also his lanky, 220-pound frame. He was always going to need time to add bulk, and right now, he’s still learning how to play with the kind of physicality Miller wants to see from his bigs.

“He’s been up against that a little bit just from a strength perspective,” Miller said, “but he’s getting better at it, and I think with his looks and some of the things he’s getting in practice to be more confident offensively, to just be himself and try to continue to work through what we’re doing, take chances in practice working on your game, so to speak, and when you have your opportunities in the game, you feel more comfortable. He’s just learning.”

His teammates, meanwhile, are encouraged that, when called upon, Moore will be ready.

“He’s been working hard,” Zach McRoberts said. “He works hard during practice, even after practice getting extra work in with the coaches, so I think the big thing is just stay ready, stay mentally into it, stay ready on the bench and when his number is called he’ll be ready because he’s been working. He’ll be good for us.”

18 comments

  1. Thanks for the story it is much appreciated. Miller once said that he was like a kid on ice skates when he played now. You can see from the small sample size he has a ways to go. From my understanding, he played on more of a local AAU team instead of a national circuit one. Watching his highschool highlight vids it looks like he played against pretty weak competition. I’m sure playing against D1 competition is a major leap for him. You can see in his face he is far from being fully developed physically, but at 6-10 he is a very intriguing prospect. Hopefully Miller can develop him into a special player.

  2. I’m with you, Ben_M!

    Let’s see if our Hoosiers can forge another win against a weak Northwestern team tomorrow!

    Boy did the referees (especially that white-haired guy) give us the game against Penn State. We should get Home Court Advantage (but perhaps not to that extent, that was rediculous!)

    Still, Archie is working refs and getting the Call, and that’s all right with me (though I prefer to watch a game that is more evenly officiated. That Penn State game, the refs gave us the game and then late, when it was out of reach for P.S., they started making bad calls against the Hoosiers so that someone could say “but they were horrible both ways.”

    Will we get the call against Northwestern? (Will we even need it???)

    I don’t think I can be at Northwestern in person…was in 8th row middle of the court (student section) for P.S. It got loud 3 or 4 times…..not that much but when necessary….go Big Red!

    1. The star had an article that KenPom favored IU for the northwestern game. Interested projecton with the rankings you’ve supplied Ron. Hopefully we are turning the corner. Right now we are tied for 3rd and listed for 5th due to overall. Looking at the teams below us I would say Maryland, Northwestern, and Wisconsin are our main competitors to maintain 5th in the standings. Too bad we didn’t out last Wisconsin, but it makes sundays game against Northwestern all the more important. Can we maintain 5th? Will a bad big Ten get 5 teams in? How many teams do you guys think will go to the NCAA from the big ten? I’m guessing 8-5 the rest of the way putting the Hoosiers at 11-7 and 18-12 before the big ten tournament. That includes 7 wins against teams currently behind us in the standings. Even with a win in the tournament I’m not sure 19-13 will get us in, but a couple surprise wins could boost our resume and we could still realistically get in the NCAA. Not saying it will happen but we aren’t out yet.

      My prediction:

      NW – win
      @MSU – loss
      Mary- win
      @ill – win
      Pur – loss
      @osu – loss
      MSU – loss
      @ Rut – win
      Minn – win
      ill – win
      @iowa – win
      @nebraska – loss
      OSU – win

  3. Interesting, Ben_M.

    Northwestern played well against Minnesota….we struggled. I agree, Sunday is a key game!

    4:30!!

    Let’s hope our fans come through with some noise……

  4. It’s a pretty easy formula to get into the tournament….Always has been.

    Win only 1/3 on the road, and you’re NCAA tournament hopes will be thin.
    Win 1/2 on the road while securing your home floor, you’re likely safe.
    Win 2/3 on the road and you’re in.

    Who the road games are scheduled against is the kicker. Our conference schedule is very soft this year. It was intended to be another gift for Crean. Crean would have had another conference title….Bryant would have probably stayed another year. There would have been another Crean contract extension…and more years of sputtering in March Madness.

    1. Wagner on fire today….I think he was battling some sort of foot/leg injury earlier in the season. Watch out for the Volverines if he gets rolling. He has the full repertoire and can play the post facing the basket.
      I wouldn’t count MSU out of anything this early. MSU is deeper than deep. They have so damn much talent that they’re in a short term chemistry funk.
      Izzo usually chokes at Final Fours…but this may be his best shot for a final run at a national title.

  5. “to not have him not ready”?
    That’s one too many nots isn’t it?

    Also, can a schedule be soft and a gift for one coach, and the same exact schedule not be soft and a gift for another?

    Obviously NOT.

    That’s all.

    Go Hoosiers.
    Keep the streak alive.

    1. Exactly what I was saying, The ‘gift’ was intended for Crean..His firing was completely unexpected. Don’t you recall all of the bitching about buying out his remaining year? This schedule was for Tommy …and the apologists Hoosier fans who think winning a conference title is an excuse for watching more dud performances in March.

  6. Conference titles in the big ten aren’t as meaningful as they once were. Of course it’s great to win one but when you play like 4 teams 1 time it becomes more about the scheduling draw. The best team with the easiest schedule usually wins in but not necessarily the best team over all.

        1. No, that’s not what I asked. You said some years the best team didn’t win the conference because another team had a weaker schedule.

          I asked what years that happened.

    1. Ben_M- “Best” teams are purely subjective definitions. Best teams on paper…Best teams according to rankings…Best teams with the most lottery picks…Best teams in the conference standings…Best teams at the conference tournament….Best teams in March….Best team on the final Monday of a college basketball season?

      Purdue has a lot of “best teams” in Indiana if we’re talking about conference titles.

      March Madness is about as close college basketball gets to the free-for-all of what was once our all-inclusive singular high school basketball tournament. It’s not just being the best in a given moment, but being the best against the progressively better/best(?) as one marches forward with every contest an elimination game. It’s about being stronger, grittier, and playing to utmost potential against teams of all styles and formulas for winning. There is no greater proving ground than getting tossed into a bracket and having to put together successive wins against luck, fate, expectations, rankings, and previous achievements you were once measured. You may be the hunted ….or the hunter. Can you live up to being the target ….? Can you put forty minutes together like nothing you’ve ever done before and take down a Goliath?

      As Double Down said precisely a week or so ago (paraphrasing)….People don’t remember or care about regular season success….or who’s the ‘best’ in the conference. It’s being at your best against the best in the nation. It’s about being best in successive elimination games. The ultimate proving ground is March Madness and it’s what people remember. It’s what defines an “elite” team and an “elite” programs(whether it be one season or one decade of dominance).

      It’s why we have reunions for the “best.” Do you think Purdue’s conference champions reunions feel the same as Indiana’s national champions reunions? Which reunion is best?

  7. Ben_M –
    Exactly true. Playing a higher percentage of the customary 4 to 5 upper tier teams one time makes for even more variances between soft and more challenging conference schedules. And whether you get those 4 to 5 upper tier with more home than away adds more false results of “champions” due more favorable/less favorable scheduling.
    Expansion made for too many omissions for doubling up every team….creating either easier/more difficult schedules by pure chance or via concealed/planned objectives.

    Wagner of Michigan …or Haas of Purdue? Though Wagner was very impressive today, I still think Haas is more clutch?

  8. I would argue that I and perhaps some other Indiana fans who buy season tickets and attend the games do in fact “care” about regular season success.

    Not satisfied with only success in the regular season though, I will agree with that.

    Congrats to the team today on a very strong effort vs NW.

    Not perfect, but much improvement continuing.

Leave a Reply