Indiana’s introduction to the 2017-2018 Big10 season didn’t go as they had hoped, or planned, and they have no one to blame but themselves.
Their body language from the onset was one of a team that seemed like they felt as though their strong showing against Duke on Wednesday night had proved, even if only to themselves, that they had turned the corner and knew what it would take to compete night in and night out.
I’m going to garner a guess that the one thing they learned against Michigan was that playing on the road is a lot different than playing at Assembly Hall, especially in the Big10. Seton Hall was a good road test earlier in the year but solely because they were a ranked, veteran team, and not because of the atmosphere.
Let’s be honest here, the Hoosiers are going to be outmanned in most games. Which is all the more reason for them to understand that they have to play harder, smarter, and they have to pay attention to detail more so because of it.
The swift ball movement, and the emphasis on playing inside out that has been present when they have played their best basketball this year, seemed to have been thrown out the window right from the opening tip.
One on one drives into double teams. Lazy passes when they actually tried to feed the post. Quick shots that you can get anytime in the shot clock. A step slow on defense, as well as to loose balls. All things that can not afford to happen with any team in any game, but for sure not when you are undersized and have no pure shooters on the floor, or the bench.
When you throw in the inability to assess situations on the fly, it’s a recipe for failure. After a few game stretch of doing all of the little things it takes a team that is not superiorly talented to do to win, IU took a huge step backwards.
Improvement is all about learning from your mistakes. Sometimes how much a team has learned shows up more in the game following a well played game, than it does in that well played game. And although we’ve seen glimpses, and even games that Indiana has played like they’ve figured out the things they have to do to have a chance to win, it’s obvious that it hasn’t 100% sunk in yet.
On two separate occasions after Indiana had battled back from double digit deficits, they reverted back to the tendencies that they had earlier in the year. After getting a stop on defense and needing a good look at the basket, that if made could make things real interesting, they instead had a turnover on one of those and a jump-shot with no one else on that end of the court except Michigan players.
It’s unacceptable and inexcusable. ESPECIALLY from one of your senior guards. But the overall effort by the team as a whole was just not good enough. Maybe in the film room comparing the past two games will be all that it takes for these players to see the difference between playing the #1 ranked Blue Devils shot for shot, or playing the Michigan Wolverines like an average mid-major team.
We all kind of knew it would be a roller coaster season this year, but I’m not sure that after almost reaching the top of the biggest hill on the schedule, that we knew it would be such a huge drop on the other side. It wasn’t a total revert back to the beginning, but it sure wasn’t building off the past game either.
Just as the game following a well played one can show you so much about a teams heart and ability to learn from its success or it’s mistakes, the game following an unacceptable performance can show you as much, if not more.
I’m confident that they will learn what it takes for them to compete night in and night out. So I say bring on Iowa and let’s see how much they learned against Michigan.