Indiana basketball did last night what everyone expected of them last Tuesday. The Hoosiers dominated Samford in every facet of the game and it showed on the scoreboard. It was such a quality game for Indiana that it is a real struggle to come up with a recap that isn't just sunshine and roses. Indiana played really good and did very few things that one would complain about.
The star of the show was Yogi Ferrell as he went for 26 points and 6 assists with only 3 turnovers. Unfortunately for Yogi he missed out on a double-double in points and assists because of some of his teammates inability to handle the passes he was slipping by the defenders. It's something we saw a lot of in his high school days where teammates were just as surprised by the passes as the defense was. We missed that last year, but he seems to have found it again.
Speaking of finding things, Yogi's shot also looks like its returned to his high school form. He was never an elite shooter but he was always consistent. After last night's 5-7 performance from three, including several very Trey Burkian step back jumpers, he's shooting an even 40% on the season from three. With an average of 18 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists a game, if he can manage to keep the season line anywhere near that we're looking at a potential All-American. He's been great, and expectations are for him to remain so.
Speaking of All-Americans, freshman Noah Vonleh became the first Indiana Hoosier to start his career with three straight double-doubles last night. In 18 minutes of action he pulled in 10 rebounds to go with his 13 points. Now through 3 games Noah is ranked 35th in the nation in defensive rebounding %. He's 178th in offensive rebounding % and to this point has been the best rebounder on the best rebounding team in the country. He's very good and if we get two years of Vonleh, Hoosier Nation has been given a true gift.
The final player I want to shine the light on is the guy that I've actually been most impressed with so far this season in the context of his expectations coming in. Hanner Perea is a completely different player than he was last season. His awareness and hands are 100% improved. No more does he set a screen in the high post and then look around frantically trying to figure out what I do next. He's a true depth player in the post for a high major basketball team. Certainly last night's Sports Center making dunks were impressive, but what has me excited about the guy is his rebounding and defensive presence. He basically defends the lane and cleans up rebounds. Because of that he currently has an offensive rating of 127.6 on the year. Cody Zeller finished last season at 119.4.
Overall it was just an impressive showing for the Hoosiers when they really needed it. Some might point out they only had 9 assists on the night, but they spent a lot of time slashing to the basket. You don't get credit for passes that open up easy drives for your teammate, but they're equally important. The Hoosiers are likely to be a low assist team this year because of their need to slash. They're essentially the polar opposite of last year's team. Don't expect a lot of easy assists on set shots. It just isn't going to happen. If these guys have space when they catch the ball they aren't going to settle for a shot, they're going to attack the rim.
Next up the Hoosiers take on their first real competition of the season in a pretty good Stony Brook team. Stony Brook is currently rated 73rd in the nation by Ken Pomeroy and they're projected as only an 8 point dog against the Hoosiers. If Indiana can come out and play like they did last night against Stony Brook, a blowout is certainly an option. If that happens, expect the Hoosiers to get more love in both the polls and the computer rankings.