4 things we learned from IU’s loss to Nebraska

1. There’s still not enough production outside of Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford.

Indiana’s two top players continue to shoulder a heavy load without the presence of a steady third scoring option. While Morgan and Langford combined for 35 of IU’s 51 points, the rest of the Hoosiers shot merely 6-for-23 from the field. Inside of a challenging stretch of January, that can’t keep happening if IU is to pull itself out of its current funk.

The problem is that a solution doesn’t seem imminent.

It was the fourth consecutive game that Morgan and Langford have combined to account for at least 56 percent of IU’s scoring production. The Cornhuskers tried to force the rest of Indiana’s team to step up and beat them, a challenge the Hoosiers failed.

No other IU player scored more than five points.

“To be honest with you, we have some guys that have lost some confidence, whether it’s been in and out of lineups, in and out of practices, in and out of this,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “We’re sort of really starting to move into that role, not real sure what we are getting out of certain rotations and certain things. The big thing is confidence. The big thing is, like I said before, recharging our batteries here.”

2. IU knew the zone was coming. It still had no answer.

The Huskers’ 1-3-1 defense clogged the paint and dared Indiana to shoot, causing problems for an IU team unequipped to get into a jump shooting contest. Against the zone, Indiana moved without purpose and struggled to attack, complicating things for a team relying too much on two players.

“We knew it was coming,” Archie Miller said. “I mean, they play it every game. When you play against that type of defense there, you’ve got break its shape. You have to have some guys willing to take that ball and just go right at it, get to the paint and make somebody better, and we were very reluctant against it.”

Right now, Indiana looks easy to defend. Although IU’s defense was poor at times against Nebraska, and the Hoosiers never really took the slip away on ball screens, it was the offense that raised concerns about where the Hoosiers go from here.

Through six conference games, Indiana ranks 10th in the Big Ten in adjusted offensive efficiency.

3. The injuries keep coming.

The hits kept coming for Indiana on Monday night.

Sophomore guard Al Durham logged only six minutes after sustaining an unspecified injury during the first half against Nebraska. He walked to the locker room shortly before halftime and did not return to the bench for the second half.

“From what I can tell, it was some type of a kick or some type of a collision in the back of his leg,” Miller said. “I was told at halftime he wasn’t coming back. We’ll kind of see where that one goes.”

Durham, like so many on this IU roster, is no stranger to the injury report. He missed Indiana’s season opener with a lingering injury suffered during the preseason.

De’Ron Davis, too, doesn’t look like himself. The junior forward played only three minutes while he continues to recover from an ankle injury suffered on Jan. 3.

4. IU lacked the energy needed to compete.

Indiana was outplayed and outcoached, and complaints about the Hoosiers’ approach on both ends of the floor are valid. But most concerning was IU’s lack of energy.

Without that, Indiana didn’t have a chance.

The Hoosiers seldom showed the urgency required to win at this point in the season, and even when they did, they couldn’t sustain it long enough to put a serious dent in Nebraska’s advantage.

Late in the first half, after IU cut its deficit to six points with a minute left before halftime, defensive breakdowns by Clifton Moore and the tandem of Zach McRoberts and Evan Fitzner led to five quick and easy points for Nebraska.

“That was probably one of the most disappointing games that we’ve played as a team this season,” Miller said. “We didn’t have any energy, any pop, either end of the floor, and we’ve been able to hang our hat on playing hard and playing tough and having a lot of guys in there contributing, and that wasn’t the case.”

2 comments

  1. I admire Coach Miller’s honesty. I hope in 2 months I can say I admire his coaching abilities. IU is playing like a headless horseman with no floor general. Hopefully somebody both steps up and stays injury free.

  2. It’s beyond refreshing to have honesty over excuses from a head coach. Sometimes, nice guys finish last….And most nice guys are honest.
    “Headless horseman” is a great analogy in depicting our woes….There’s talent. There is ‘go about your business.’ There is even a rather methodical superstar who plays all aspects of the game like a basketball terminator. There’s lots of nice hair…There’s future green. There’s some mega leapers. There’s some flare. There’s more than the occasional blank stare.
    Fire in the belly? That cupboard is bare.
    Camaraderie? Where?

    I would like to hear perspectives from some of the assistant coaches. We have a ‘Bruiser” on the bench who once worked under Calipari. I’d like to hear his perspective as to when the Hoosiers are going to be the bruisers.

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