These are my very initial thoughts on last night's game, with the very significant caveat that I haven't seen the game or even a single highlight. For those of you who a) weren't willing to part with $2.99 because of spotty streaming video performance from the BTN last year and b) forgot to set your DVRs for 3 a.m., note that the Big Ten Network will replay the game at 8:30 EST tonight. In any event, here is the box score, and here are my random thoughts:Individuals:
- Have I forgotten how to do the math in the offseason, or was this really an 85 possession game?! Certainly, the sheer number of turnovers (25 by Grace, 17 by IU) can artificially inflate the pace, but that is flying. Last year, the nation's quickest-paced team was VMI at 81 possessions per game. Again, please correct me if I'm wrong, but it's FGA-OR+TO+ .475FTA, right?
- If my calculations are correct, IU's 17 turnovers aren't that bad, except that they occurred against a NAIA Division II team. A 20 percent TO percentage would have been middle of the pack last season, and IU finished third-to-last in Division I last year in the category. In fact, IU turned the ball over on fewer than 20 percent of possessions only five times last season.
- Field goal shooting was fine (46 percent) and free throw shooting was pretty good (75 percent). IU rebounded 70 percent of Grace's missed shots and 46 percent of the Hoosiers' own misses. Both would have been very good percentages in Division I last year.
- In his first game against live competition, Christian Watford scored 19 points on 13 shots. He was only 5-13 from the field but was 9-9 from the line. He had 11 rebounds, including 6 offensive rebounds.
- In 21 minutes, Jordan Hulls scored 14 points on 6 shots and had 3 assists and zero turnovers. Encouraging, but would Grace have been good enough to beat Bloomington South last season?
- Maurice Creek was so-so- in his debut, scoring 5 points on six shots and turning the ball over 5 times.
- Jeremiah Rivers scored 12 points on 10 shots, including 6-10 from the field.
- Verdell Jones scored 10 points on 7 shots. He had 8 assists, but five turnovers.
- Derek Elston, in only 17 minutes, scored 10 points on 8 shots and pulled down 7 rebounds.
In sum, I'm not sure there are any great lessons to be learned from this game. Grace, I presume, was a physically overmatched team. Still, there were no major red flags, and nine different Hoosiers played more than 10 minutes against live and unfamiliar competition.