In a normal scenario, it’s extremely easy to write-off an exhibition game as pointless. Of course, it has to be played for the purpose of grabbing your bearings as a team, but as a fan, it’s normally unnecessary.
Indiana’s 93-62 victory over Marian was different. With Archie Miller making his debut in front of the Hoosier faithful, this exhibition was an important first impression on what the year ahead could be like.
In the first half, Indiana suffered from what any team would suffer from in their first game under a new coach. There was a lack of fluidity in the offense and the team spent too many possessions settling for bad isolation threes. The defensive identity was evident, but a few lapses in judgment kept the game close early one.
The Hoosiers ended the first half up 40-28 and then started to truly catch their bearings.
In the second half, Indiana looked more comfortable and showed signs of optimism. Optimism that was highlighted by their leading scorer Devonte Green who has 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
The Hoosiers only turned the ball over 10 times and forced 16. Four players scored in double digits, and we saw a wide variety of lineups that would be considered intriguing as the Hoosiers pulled away with the 93 to 62 victory over Marion.
Here are the major takeaways:
This is going to take a while
Something that Archie Miller has been subtly talking about this offseason is the understanding that this isn’t going to be an immediate rebuild. Rome wasn’t built in one day, and neither will the Indiana Hoosiers. Tonight, Indiana’s offense lacked fluidity at times and miscommunication seemed to be a consistent defensive theme. Even with that in mind, only turning the ball over 10 times has to be a positive.
It’s okay to lack fluidity this early on. This was Indiana’s first game against an actual opponent, so these issues should be evident. There were still plenty of positive signs to pull from the game, especially as players got more comfortable in the second half.
Indiana has a new defensive identity
Miller has been preaching defense from the moment he got to Bloomington. Reports of Archie spending 75 percent of practices on defense seemed to have clearly been confirmed with the way the Hoosiers played tonight.
The Hoosiers defensively focused on pressuring the opponent and trying to force turnovers. In addition, they were noticeably less complicated. Less unnecessary switching and more focus on the simple things.
Devonte Green could be a stud
Green’s stat-line alone could bring excitement as he had 22/7/6. With that said, the more impressive parts of Green’s game weren’t exactly in the stat-sheet.
Green looked like a confident leader with the ball in his hands. He ran the offense with composure, brought energy to every play, and he was relentless on the defensive side of the ball.
Green can find the open man, penetrate effectively, and score in the isolation. Most importantly, he could develop into a star.
Archie Miller is comfortable playing small
He has to be. Other than De’Ron Davis, the Hoosiers don’t much size. Collin Hartman didn’t play due to precautionary reasons, but even with him the rotation this is a small team. Archie Miller’s offense is going to have to be guard heavy and tonight he appeared comfortable with that.
There were times where we saw Freddie McSwain playing center which almost seems absurd, but I didn’t hate it. It’s reminiscent of how the Warriors use Draymond Green and with what Indiana lacks in height, they make up for with length on the outside. Guys like Justin Smith allow the Hoosiers to play small and still feel comfortable.
Freddie McSwain is going to be pivotal
As previously mentioned, McSwain appears to be an important piece to this roster and that should be a good thing. Last season McSwain was hampered by injury and a system that didn’t exactly suit him. Now he can comfortably stay down low in the post and use his strength to grab rebounds. That’s why McSwain saw the floor for 15 minutes against Marion.
De’Ron Davis is incredibly polished in the post
After losing 22 pounds in the offseason, Davis looks way more mobile in the post. His footwork was impressive and at times Indiana looked to just feed him the ball on the block and get out of the way. Davis’ 10 points in only 19 minutes should be really encouraging.
Juwan Morgan added a jump-shot
Morgan only played 17 minutes tonight, but in each one of those minutes, he looked for his shot. A more confident Morgan was 2-for-4 from the field and let it go from behind the arc three times in the early going. It’s something to pay attention too moving forward as he looks to fill in some of the scoring duties left by those who have left the program.
Indiana has a basketball coach who wears ties
Always worth noting.