A night after Purdue put up 107 points in Piscataway, Indiana scored 103 a in a 34-point win over Illinois tonight. Including Maryland's win over OSU on Saturday, this was the third 100+ point performance in B1G play in four days. Here are five takeaways from tonight's contest:
1. Indiana came in with a gameplan - shoot the long ball.
In our game preview, we mentioned that the Hoosiers' effective field goal percentage was 2nd in the country, and that the Illini were 315th in eFG% on defense. Tom Crean and his assistants obviously noticed this stat as well, and the gameplan was clear from the start to shoot a lot of three-pointers. And the Hoosiers delivered, going 9-for-21 in the first half from downtown, and averaging over 1.3 points per possession. By the end of the game, this was up to 1.45 PPP. The Hoosiers spread the wealth around from three as well, and even Thomas Bryant got in on the action.The biggest drama of the second half became whether or not the Hoosiers would break the school record for threes. They did, with 19 total in the game and Harrison Niego hitting the final one with a minute remaining.
2. As expected, Yogi Ferrell broke the school assists record - with style.
However, the most memorable moment from the first half was not a three-pointer. It came when Yogi Ferrell noticed Max Bielfeldt cutting to the basket, and hit him with a sweet no-look dime to break Michael Lewis' all-time assists record. This was a memorable night for Ferrell, and the crowd responded to his record-breaking assist with a very loud and celebratory ovation. Before the season, I wrote that Yogi had a chance to truly cement his legacy this season as a senior and four-year starter for the Hoosiers. This record will surely be part of the legacy he'll leave in Bloomington.
3. The team cut down on its most glaring weakness - turnovers.
At the under-16 timeout, Indiana only had five turnovers. They ended with 11, but the improved ball control was evident throughout the game. The ball movement was crisp, and led to a ton of assists and scoring opportunities for everyone.
4. Max Bielfeldt has been a rock for this team.
Bielfeldt came to the Hoosiers from Michigan as a graduate transfer last summer. Alreadyexpected to replace the departed Devin Davis and Hanner Perea, he immediately was thrust into a larger role once Emmitt Holt was dismissed from the team in late August. His experience has come in handy all season, but he's especially come into his own for the Hoosiers during B1G play. From the Rutger victory through tonight, Bielfeldt has come up in key moments for the Hoosiers. Tonight, during the second half, Bielfeldt had 10 straight points for the Hoosiers to extend Indiana's lead and put the game out of reach.
5. Indiana is 6-0 in the Big Ten, has won 11 straight, and most importantly is having fun.
Yes, it's been an easy schedule for the Hoosiers in the B1G so far. But regardless, this is the first 6-0 start in conference play for Indiana since Eric Gordon was on the team in 2008. Do you know where Eric Gordon was originally going to play in college? People forget that.