Kentucky isn't a good team. Between the recruiting failures of the late-Tubby era, injuries, and transfer issues, this UK team is not reminiscent of the Tony Delk-Ron Mercer era. All that said, IU for all the expectations placed on this talented team, is young and inexperienced. The Hoosiers took the court without their best player and without any guard who played for IU last year. Despite the absence of Eric Gordon and Armon Bassett (plus AJ Ratliff, who will be back next week), IU beat Kentucky comfortably. IU never trailed, led by 12 at halftime, extended the lead to 20 within the first five minutes of the second half, and the score hovered around that margin for the rest of the way. Here is the box.
Before the game, I mentioned Kentucky's impressive defensive stats. The Hoosiers shot 46 percent for the game and shot 32 free throws. IU's defense stifled UK's expectedly anemic offense. UK shot only 38 percent and turned the ball over 19 times. The Cats grabbed only 9 of 35 misses, while allowing IU to rebound 11 of its 32 misses. IU still isn't generating many shots off of assists (10/22), but that is to be expected with a depleted backcourt. Of more concern are the turnovers, 15 for IU in a 66 possession game, including 5 by DJ White.
On the individual side, the Hoosiers did have some nice individual performances, most notably by Jordan Crawford, brother of Kentucky's Joe Crawford, who had a terrible game. Jordan managed 20 points on 10 shots, including 3-5 from three point range and 7-10 from the line. DJ White scored 16 points on 11 shots and 13 rebounds. Deandre Thomas scored 11 points on 10 shots. He was 5-10 from the field but hurt his efficiency by going only 1-5 from the line. Thomas committed only two fouls in 22 minutes, which is progress. Jamarcus Ellis continued his all around excellent play and added some outside shooting to the mix, 12 points on 8 shots. Mike White managed 7 points on 4 shots, thanks to 5-6 from the line.
Overall, a good win. Kentucky isn't good this year, but they count their wins against IU from 1994 to present, so we'll take them however we get them. Now, the Hoosiers enter a fairly light portion of the schedule. IU plays only four games in the next 30 days: three consecutive Saturday nonconference games and then the conference opener at Iowa on January 2. After that, IU takes the weekend off and plays at Michigan on January 8. IU's next meaningful home game is against Illinois on January 13. So, we will have some downtime here in terms of basketball. I'll try to take a wide look at the team and the conference, and of course will have lots of Insight Bowl coverage.