Indiana won the most boring Big Ten basketball game of the season on Sunday, trumping Rutgers 76-57. The Hoosiers were led by James Blackmon, Jr., who continues to shine offensively for Indiana, now 12-6 on the season, 2-3 in the conference.
That’s really all the analysis that this game deserves, but we are a blog of the people, so here are the three things that stood out:
De’Ron Davis. Yet again, Thomas Bryant looked lost while on the floor for Indiana. In 23 minutes, the sophomore was 3-for-9 from the field and recorded just 8 points and 3 rebounds. De’Ron Davis, on the other hand, provided a spark for the Hoosiers after they fell behind 15-6 in the first six minutes of the contest. Davis finished with just 4 points and 5 rebounds, but his production was far more evident in his 11 limited minutes than Bryant’s. After starting the season in Bryant’s shadow, Davis seems to be this team’s best and most consistent option in the post right now. He should probably start seeing more playing time as the season continues. We’ll see if that’s the case.
Turnovers. Well, the lack thereof, actually. Indiana only turned the ball over 11 times on Sunday, which amounted to their best ball handling performance in quite some time. In a game where Indiana did almost nothing well (4-of-22 from 3-point range, out-rebounded by 9, allowing 26 free throw attempts, and falling in an early hole), 10 extra possessions (Rutgers had 21 turnovers) proved key to providing some separation and putting this game on ice midway through the second half. Sure, the performance came against a high school JV team, but it was nice to see Indiana take care of the ball for once. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.
One of these things is not like the others. Nebraska brought tremendous football history and has made themselves a contender in that sport in the Big Ten West. The Huskers basketball team has been plenty competitive, already having qualified for the NCAA Tournament as a member of the Big Ten and having knocked around some of the conference’s better programs. Maryland brought the basketball pedigree, including what would be the Big Ten’s most recent national championship if they had been a member in 2002. Their football program has been a lesser version of what Nebraska’s basketball program has been so far in the Big Ten, but they aren’t a laughing stock. Both of those schools also have had a lot of success in the “other” sports, such as baseball. Then there’s Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are 13-25 in football since joining the Big Ten and are 28-55 in basketball. The basketball team is 3-39 in conference play in that time span and have now lost 22 straight Big Ten games. They have, to date, won zero Big Ten Championships in any sport. This blog rips on Rutgers quite often, but the shots fired and jokes launched for cheap laughs and retweets aren’t untruthful. The presence of Rutgers has diminished the quality of the Big Ten. Today, when their basketball team laid down for a struggling Indiana team without an identity, an Indiana team that played poorly in almost all facets, provided yet another reminder that Jim Delaney and everyone else who played a role in bringing that school into this conference made an egregious mistake.