IU began the game with a sluggish demeanor and offensive struggles, and spotted Notre Dame a 9 point lead, accounting for IU's biggest deficit of the season, but a solid defensive effort combined with ND's offensive struggles allowed IU to control the second half and ultimately to win comfortably. IU is now 10-0, and with three sub-300-ish non-conference. Neither team set the world on fire in the first half, but IU held ND to 20 percent shooting in the first half, and ND's better offensive play in the second half was mostly offset by IU's. Unlike most of IU's games to date, this one was a bit ugly, and had the feel of a Big Ten slugfest. It was the first time all year that it really felt like IU had an off day, yet when the game was over, IU had an 11-point win over a well-coached team. Here's the box score.
Taking a look at the tempo free stats, IU's best area of improvement was in rebounding. IU had 16 offensive rebounds to only 21 defensive rebounds for Notre Dame, while ND had only 7 ORs compared to 24 DRs for IU. Turnovers were basically a wash, with IU holding a slight edge, but considering where ND ranks nationally in offensive turnover percentage, it's generally a positive. All in all, a win against and injury-and-attrition-damaged Notre Dame program doesn't tell us all that much about the future. It was, however, an example of IU finding a way to victory when we weren't playing all that well, and considering that IU's three remaining non-conference foes all have Pomeroy ratings of 255 or lower, it virtually assures the Hoosiers of a 13-0 non-conference record, and a 12-0 record when the Hoosiers begin Big Ten play. As many have noted, if IU wins its next game, the Hoosiers will be 10-0 for the first time since 1989-1990. That season should be a cautionary tale, as the freshmen-led Hoosiers finished 8-10 in the Big Ten that year. Before that, IU went 10-0 in 1982-83 as well, but finding the last 11-0 start requires reaching all the way back to 1975-76 and the undefeated NCAA champs. This team isn't remotely on that level, but has exceeded all expectations.
Individual performances of note:
- Cody Zeller had another fine game,albeit in some foul trouble, with 21 points on 8-14 shooting.
- Victor Oladipo was great against his high school teammate Jerian Grant: 16 points on 6-7 from the field, no turnovers.
- Bad Watford was back, shooting only 2-9 from the field, but he did manage to eek out 10 points thanks to 6-6 from the line.
- Jordan Hulls managed 12 points and was 2-2 from behind the arc. IU hit three of his unusually low 7 three point attempts, but whoever was ahead of IU must have lost. According to Pomeroy, IU is now first in the nation in three point shooting percentage.