Well, for 20 minutes on Wednesday, the Hoosiers looked nothing like the team that got ran out of the gym less than a week prior to Indiana State. However, somewhat predictably, Seton Hall turned it up to a notch that the Hoosiers don’t possess and won going away, 84-68.
The starting line-up
The big news came at tip-off where Al Durham and Justin Smith were in the starting line-up. I thought it’d be too early to start them and was dead wrong as both looked more than competent, combining for 20 points on the night.
If Archie Miller is willing to make that big of a change, I’d take it another step further and bench one of Josh Newkirk or Robert Johnson. I’m personally higher on Johnson, but we have over a year’s worth of a sample size that shows that those two aren’t a good backcourt together. I would roll with a line-up of RoJo/Newkirk, Devonte Green, Smith/Durham, Juwan Morgan, De’Ron Davis.
Devonte Green should start
Speaking of Green and the starting line-up, the sophomore should be in it going forward. Green was one of the main reasons Indiana was in the game in the first half as he was red hot from three.
He’s pint-sized Troy Williams (h/t to our own Auston Matricardi) and can be infuriating at times, but he’s worth starting over Newkirk or RoJo.
The defense is still a work in progress
Archie’s calling card hasn’t quite panned out this season as Indiana continues to struggle defensively. Tonight, Angel Delgado got just about anything he wanted inside, finishing with a double-double. On the outside, the Pirates hit 9-of-17 from deep, bringing the IU opponent season total to 39-of-77 (50.6 percent).
Sometimes, you simply come up against a better team with better players. To a certain extent, that’s what happened tonight. But there’s still a lot of fundamental things that are lacking.
The good sign is improvement each game, not only on defense but on offense. Indiana gets a three-game reprieve against three teams they should beat before it’s most brutal stretch of the season. The improvements are going to have to come hot and heavy for IU to salvage much else out of non-conference play.