At halftime of this game, the Hoosiers had surged to a 62 - 29 lead, primarily on the backs of Troy Williams and James Blackmon Jr., who looked close to unstoppable. Make no mistake, they should have looked this way against a school of this caliber, but it's always encouraging to see your guys play well. It's like watching a feel-good movie, it doesn't have any tangible benefit but it just makes you feel good. I wouldn't care if they took on a team of kindergarteners, I like watching Troy Williams commit war crimes against rims.
While it was nice to actually watch the team in one of these games, I didn't keep up through the second half as the first half told most of the story. It would seem that the Hoosiers throttled down in the second half after making the talent disparity fairly obvious through the first twenty minutes. However, because I could actually watch this game, I don't have to give you my observations of others' observations. So we'll do this Clint Eastwood style:
- I had to trust the tweets of those in the gyms about Troy Williams' improvement but I got to see it for myself tonight. You have to adjust your accolades for the level of competition but he just seems far more confident in what he's doing out there. It sounds strange, but it seems like he's thinking less, allowing him to do more. Last year, Troy (and all the freshman) seemed unable to put their athletic instincts to good use because they had to mentally process the game as it unfolded in front of them. In the offseason, it seems like things have slowed down and Troy is getting better at quickly diagnosing what needs to be done and when he needs to do it. He could, obviously, bully his way to the rim at really any time against this opponent, but he did a great job of pulling up when the defense sagged off or passing to open shooters when the defense collapsed on him.
- Devin Davis looks like a completely different player. He had a few drives that started from the top of the key, which I don't think he ever did last year. A couple of them ended in turnovers, yes, but he looked confident finishing from either side. Can he do it with any consistency against B1G defenders? We can't possibly know, but it's nice to see him working on his game.
- Zeisloft. Dude is just money. I think I'm developing a bit of a man crush here.
- Everyone stayed healthy.
- Our main guards (Yogi, Stan, JBJ, Rob, and Zeisloft) had 23 rebounds in this game. I've noticed this team loves to crash the offensive glass, in particular James Blackmon seems to follow shots to the rim with regularity. This team is going to lean heavily on their guards to win games, so it's good to see them contributing in all phases.
- The movement: not a lot of standing around in this one. I think the 24 second shot clock helps in that regard, as it gives the offense some urgency, but lots of cutting and ball reversals. Yogi and Davis looked particularly sharp on a couple pick and rolls early on.
- Stanford Robinson hit all six of his free throws.
- Rob Johnson, Kevin Ferrell and Max Hoetzel were 1-9, combined, from three in this game. Granted, the international line is further back than the collegiate one, and it's one game, but I'm trying to find something bad to say about a game that IU consistently held a giant lead for.
- McGill's gym was apparently over ninety degrees for the game. That's probably not conducive to avoiding injuries and maladies in the preseason, but Indiana escaped unscathed, thankfully.
- Turnovers. There were minute long stretches where Indiana and McGill seemed to start a game-within-the-game where they'd try and make a dumber turnover than the last one. You could have gotten them drunk and put them on an ice rink (which could be a real game in Canada) and I don't think they could have been sloppier. IU ended up with 23 in the box score but that actually seems low. They counteracted a lot of their own mistakes with 16 steals of their own, but hopefully these antics are going to be more and more rare as the season gets underway.
- Tim Priller's shooting form. But, hey, he gets it off quick and it goes through the hoop, so he can shoot it underhand for all I care. The Texas freshman had a nice game, with eight points and a dime in fifteen minutes.