Except for a four or five minute stretch at the start of the second half, the effort and the execution that the Hoosiers showed on Monday night was something the ‘92 Hoosier squad that was in attendance could be proud of.
Three key things in any victory are playing defense, sharing the ball and limiting turnovers. For about 35 minutes against Iowa, Indiana did all three. And for this fan it was a beautiful thing to watch.
They had just 10 turnovers. They had eight players score, four of which were in double figures, and they had 14 assists on 27 made field goals. Aside from that four to five minute stretch at the start of the second half and their free throws (again), they played a pretty solid game.
Maybe one of the most promising things besides those stats, was the fact that this team is showing that it’s getting tougher and doesn’t get rattled when they are faced with a little adversity. That will pay dividends as we get deeper into the season.
Coach Miller is building a culture at Indiana on the fly, and he’s doing a pretty damned good job of it. During Iowa’s run there was no finger pointing, and there was no head hanging. Instead, they regrouped, tightened up the “D” and went on their own run. A decisive run at that.
All of the momentum that Iowa built while getting back into the game was nullified, and rather quickly too. Indiana got steals, they rebounded, and they made the extra pass. All of which resulted in an 18-0 run that all but put the game away.
At some point it will click for 40 minutes. Because of their roster deficiencies, they have to be smarter, tougher and want it more than whoever they are playing. Against Michigan last Saturday they were none of the three right from the opening tip.
On Monday they were all three except for that little stretch at the start of the second half. It was a true total team effort. They picked each other up and they showed that they can handle adversity, at least for this one night.
The schedule sure doesn’t get any easier anytime soon, so they will undoubtedly face adversity again. But aside from the Michigan game this team has gotten better each game.
I didn’t like how they handled a little success, even though it was in defeat, after the Duke game. But I sure liked how they handled getting their butts handed to them in Ann Arbor. They responded to a bad game the way good teams do. They buckled down and they created their own advantages within the game.
Up next is on the road at Louisville. Is it a game I expect Indiana to win? Probably not. Is it a game that Indiana can win? Absolutely! Especially with the effort they showed tonight.
It was a good win for the Hoosiers. A win they needed, and one they went and got!