I know it can sound like a broken record sometimes, but due to the things I read on Twitter and the message boards after a game, it obviously hasn’t sunk in for some people yet. Indiana just does not have any consistent shooters on their roster. There is a positive to be found though, and it’s that the shots they want they are getting. But they just aren’t knocking them down.
Obviously that is a big problem considering the game of basketball is won by scoring more points than the other team. But sadly, it’s a fact with this team. So from here on out for the remainder of the season, wins and losses will primarily center around whether or not they are making as many of those open shots as they are missing.
You’re not going to beat too many quality teams, especially on the road, shooting 40% from the floor, and 21% from three point range. Yet aside from that, Indiana went into the Yum Center and played a much taller, longer and more athletic UofL team pretty evenly.
Rebounds were even at 37 apiece. The Cards only blocked one more shot than the Hoosiers, and they also had three less turnovers with only 12. But the 15 turnovers that IU had didn’t really surprise me considering the defense that Louisville plays, and a few of those were forced due to players trying to force things a little because the shots weren’t falling.
The defense, and the turnovers alone are a vast improvement over what we’ve witnessed in the recent past. I will have major concerns if we’re still having these discussions in year two or three of Coach Miller’s era, but in year one, and without one single player that he himself recruited to come to IU, I have no concerns at all.
I sat at mid court Saturday afternoon surrounded by a slew of Cardinal fans, and while cheering, and/or shaking my head over yet another wide open miss, I couldn’t help but think what this game would have looked like had a coaching change not been made. I was then able to smile to myself knowing that I wouldn’t ever have to find out.
Juwan Morgan was the most consistent scoring option that Indiana put on the floor. He didn’t only hold his own against the Cards, he at times was the best player on the floor. He is also only one of two players on Indiana’s roster that could match UofL’s length and athleticism.
He guarded their 7’ Center, their 6’9” Power Forward, and their 6’6” slashing 2 Guard, and he guarded them all well. He scored from in the paint, he hit jumpers, and he found the open man when he was doubled.
Now picture a roster full of Juwan Morgan’s next year. Players in the 6’7” to 6’8” range that are long, can defend, and can shoot the basketball. Being able to close out on open shooters after a switch or fighting through a screen is about effort, yes, but it’s also about length. The difference between a 6’3” guy closing out on a shooter and a 6’7” guy are not even remotely close.
This is the 5th game I’ve attended this year, and although I haven’t left happy each time, I’ve left knowing that these guys are getting better each game. Unfortunately the one thing that really needs to improve is not something that you can change very quickly, and that is shooting.
When the shots fall, Indiana will win some basketball games. When they don’t fall, they will lose some. So even though their ever improving defense and their effort will keep them in games, it will leave us fans to drive home repeating the same thing over and over. “We just can’t shoot.”
It’s frustrating, but it’s true.