When you play the 286th ranked team on KenPom you probably can't learn too much, and I feel like I'm just repeating myself at this point. ONTO THE LEARNINGS:
- James Blackmon Jr. may be human after all. After hitting 54% from three-point range prior to the Jimmy V Classic and is a paltry 2 / 13 (15%) in the two games since. It goes without saying that there's no real cause for alarm here, as even the best shooters go through cold streaks. The cold streak has been limited to his outside shot, however, as he went 7 / 11 inside the arc against Louisville and 6 / 9 tonight. It's encouraging to see him try and succeed at other things on the rare nights his long shot isn't falling.
- Stanford Robinson could be running out of opportunities to prove he deserves big minutes. You expect rotations will tighten up as the conference season begins and in a crowded backcourt, Robinson hasn't really shown a lot of growth from last year. At this rate, his ceiling is probably that of Yogi's true backup, as he has shown flashes of brilliance when it comes to passing the ball, but he is still far too prone to turning the ball over to be counted on as a ball handler against the upper echelon of the conference. He has a knack for getting to the rim but is struggling to finish with touch. And his on-ball defense can be tenacious but the consistency is still missing. Stan's physical talent and tools are undeniable, but he hasn't seized a role on this team yet.
- Saturday's game against Butler could make or break Indiana's non-conference slate. We didn't learn this tonight and this is the kind of broad statement that doesn't really mean anything, but I wanted to open up the dialogue on the importance of next week's game. Coming into the year, we knew there were four opponents that we could measure Indiana against: Pitt, Louisville, Butler, and Georgetown. Indiana is 1-1 so far, but the Pitt victory is losing quality. Beating Butler on a neutral court would be a huge boon for Indiana's tournament résumé, and it should be an excellent game. I'd like to see this game happen annually, and would LOVE to see Indiana sack up and try their hand at beating the Bulldogs in Hinkle Fieldhouse, one of the most storied venues in the state. Up until this point, the buildup to the Crossroads Classic games have been of "bleh" but I think this version deserves some hype.