What did we learn from a dominating 89-70 victory over Maryland tonight?
1. When the Assembly Hall crowd is on its game, they bring it. "9 pm Thursday night game" is pretty much an ideal start time for a college basketball home game in my opinion. It gives the fans plenty of time to have dinner, meet up with their friends or family, and make the drive in if they're coming from out of town to Bloomington. And the Assembly Hall crowd was at its best and loudest that it's been all season tonight. The Kyles were in the house, so they probably have a better idea of what it was like in person, but even watching it on TV, it was apparent that the crowd was very much into this game from the start, and the Hoosiers were definitely feeding off this energy. And the opponents seemed rattled as well - Melo Trimble did not have his usual stat line with only 10 points, and Dez Wells only had 9 points. This is a crowd that sings along to a BANK JINGLE, for crying out loud (Note: yours truly has done this multiple times), and even did "overrated" and "na na na na hey hey hey goodbye" chants at the end. Crowds like tonight are part of why Assembly Hall has the national reputation that it deserves.
2. The Hoosiers' ability to attack the glass cannot be understated. The Hoosiers won the rebounding battle 15-13 in the first half despite the fact that they start 6-6 Collin Hartman at the five. At the end of the game, the rebounding margin was 27-24 Hoosiers. In addition, we had fewer turnovers and more assists than the Terps. Troy Williams and James Blackmon grabbed 7 and 5 rebounds respectively, but even all 5 feet 11 inches of Yogi Ferrell got two boards as well. With Hanner Mosquera-Perea still out for the near future, the Hoosiers will need to continue this trend going forward in B1G play.
3. The shooting woes from the first few B1G games seem to have disappeared. Shots were falling early and often for the Hoosiers, and everyone seemed to get in the act. The Hoosiers shot a PHENOMENAL 15-for-22 from downtown, or just over 68 percent. Give it up for Hartman, who shot 3-for-3 from outside to begin the game. Yogi Ferrell obviously must have been bothered by his poor shooting in the Illinois game, as he was on fire from outside and finished with 24 points on 7-for-8 three-point shooting, including an exclamation point heat check in the final minute. This three-point explosion came despite Maryland having a nice night from behind the arc as well (10-for-20), along with the Terps having the 12th-ranked three-point defense in the country. Four guys for IU got in double figures, including Ferrell's 24, Blackmon with 21, Williams with 16, and Hartman with 15. This was IU's vaunted offense at its best.
The Hoosiers are now 15-4 and tied for first in the B1G with a 5-1 record. Next up for Indiana is a trip to THE Ohio State University on Sunday, whom we beat 69-66 in Assembly Hall back on January 10, so hopefully we can avoid a letdown against a team that will likely be fired up after barely squeaking by Northwestern tonight.