It’s always better to beat the teams ranked near the 200s on KenPom when they come into Assembly Hall, imo.
- Indiana locked down the perimeter: Make no mistake, Tennessee Tech can shoot the rock. They hit 38.3% of their triples coming into this game, good for 74th nationally. This was cause for alarm given Indiana’s consistent lack of ability to guard the perimeter. However, the Hoosiers were up to the challenge tonight, and held Tech to a mere 29.4% from distance. Archie was resolute in pregame, that while the Fort Wayne result was disappointing, he wasn’t going to change their defensive approach to try and patch up holes short-term. Instead, the plan was to stick to the defensive principles he’s taught his entire career and demand better execution from his players— and he got that tonight in spades. A haphazard 2-3 zone might help stop the bleeding this year, but Archie’s tenure here hinges on getting his team to play his pack line correctly, and he’ll sacrifice short-term gains to make that happen.
- The senior backcourt looked the part tonight: It wasn’t a Big Ten-caliber foe out there tonight (but neither were Indiana State or Fort Wayne) certainly, but Josh Newkirk and Robert Johnson looked tremendous tonight, particularly when they took the ball strong to the hoop. Newkirk put up 20 points on 6-9 shooting (nice), including 3-4 from deep, and stuffed in 6 assists and 4 rebounds to round out his night. If Indiana is to make any real noise in conference season this year, they desperately need these two to play like they did tonight on a more consistent basis.
- Zach McRoberts gonna start letting it fly, I guess: McBob had taken sixteen 3s in an Indiana uniform coming into tonight but pulled the trigger five times from deep tonight, hitting two. One would have to imagine he’s been encouraged by the coaching staff to start taking those open shots, and while the first couple didn’t look very good, his two makes sure did. It’s no secret that Indiana is dying for outside shooting, and if McBob can hit 40% of his tries each night, that would be a tremendous lift for this team’s offense.
Indiana finishes their non-conference slate on December 29th against Youngstown State in Bloomington. Have a good Christmas, y’all.