Indiana buried itself in an early hole, couldn’t shoot well enough, didn’t get enough from its best player until late, lacked the consistent defensive will to make this a fight, and dropped to 1-6 against Ohio State in the Archie Miller era in a 78-59 loss to the No. 4 Buckeyes.
Or, in other words, IU went into Columbus on Saturday operating on its default setting and received the expected result.
Here are Three Things:
At least one thing was consistent this week
In each of the three games Indiana played this week, the Hoosiers found themselves staring at a massive deficit midway through the first half. It was a 17-4 crater against Iowa, a 21-7 pit against Northwestern and a 21-6 hole against the Buckeyes, who ripped off a 19-0 run as IU’s offense bottomed early in regulation. How bad was it, exactly? The Hoosiers ultimately went seven minutes and 14 seconds without points and eight minutes without a field goal.
- Missed open shots? Check.
- Missed bunnies? Mmm hmmmm.
- Pointless dribbling? Yes.
- A void of any semblance of creativity and/or flow? That, too.
It was awful basketball (though saying as much in describing a 19-0 run is probably redundant) and a chore to watch, but not at all surprising given the toddling starts this team has been known to produce under Miller. Will there be a lineup change at some point? Anything to shuffle the deck? It’s hard to say. And anyway, it’s not like IU has great options from which to choose. Outside of Jerome Hunter’s 10 points, Indiana’s other four reserves went scoreless and offered little else in the way of contributions. Such is the state.
Too many turnovers
As mentioned in the preview for this one, Ohio State doesn’t turn teams over at a high rate. The Buckeyes, themselves, didn’t really do it this time, either, as a chunk of IU’s 15 errors on Saturday were of the unforced variety.
IU had five turnovers in the first eight-plus minutes, four of which were direct results of their own sloppiness. Khristian Lander, Armaan Franklin and Al Durham combined for 11 miscues in what was a(nother) bad game for the Indiana backcourt. Franklin had, perhaps, the worst game of his young career, Phinisee had virtually no impact and Lander finished as a minus-21 after going scoreless in 17 minutes.
The defense remains uneven
It feels like we’ve exhausted this point (among others) this season, but if you’re going to consistently trot out abysmal offensive teams, you better have a defense that can make up for it. Not an average defense. Not an OK defense. We’re talking a great-to-elite defense. But IU doesn’t have that, either.
After Saturday’s game, the Hoosiers’ defensive efficiency ranking in conference play is the fourth-worst in the league. Ohio State scored 1.22 points per possession, the most an opponent has produced against IU since Michigan recorded 1.37 ppp on Feb. 16, 2020. The Buckeyes pulled down 12 offensive boards — only one more than IU — but also scored 20 second-chance points off those opportunities. IU dug deep and had some good stretches on the defensive end Saturday, twice shaving double-digit deficits to five points. Consistency, however, eluded the Hoosiers.
IU is back at it on Wednesday against Minnesota. Try to enjoy the rest of your weekend.