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Three Things: Indiana beats Wyoming 66-58

Thank god this was against Wyoming!

Indiana v Wyoming Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Between the crowd, the lack of offense, and the officiating, Indiana’s first tournament appearance since 2016 began with a game eerily reminiscent of the worst kind of Big Ten basketball. In the arena that spawned Archie Miller, the Hoosiers turned in a horrific shooting night, going 2-13 from 3-point range, giving some cause for concern that the team hadn’t outrun its haunted past.

And yet, Indiana has now won its first tournament game since 2016 and has a chance to upset St. Mary’s this Thursday in Portland. We can leave the ghost of Archie-ball in its rightful home of Dayton, Ohio. Mike Woodson has the team peaking at the right time, and it’s finally fun to be an Indiana Hoosier men’s basketball fan again.

Here’s Three Things:

Trayce Jackson-Davis

Right now, Trayce Jackson-Davis is playing like a player who has never played in an NCAA tournament before and who may never have the chance to do so again. After falling into a bit of a funk towards the end of the season, Trayce has put up 24, 31, 21, and 29 points in the last four games, respectively.

In addition to 29 points tonight, Trayce brought down nine rebounds and had one block while holding Graham Ike, who averages 19.6 points per game, to 17 points. Jackson-Davis was also able to get Ike into foul trouble, drawing offensive and defensive fouls on the opposing big that kept Ike on the bench for long stretches of the game.

Trayce has looked every bit the part of a preseason All-American lately and gives Indiana an interior advantage over just about every team in the country right now. He’ll need more help around him, but this is the version of Trayce that Indiana needs to make a little run here in March.

Jordan Geronimo (and the rest of the bench)

Jordan Geronimo was the other hero tonight for Indiana, as he scored a career-high 15 points off the bench for Indiana tonight on 7-11 FG shooting in 19 minutes off the bench. Geronimo also had seven rebounds, three on the offensive end, and a block tonight against the Cowboys.

Indiana desperately needed somebody on the bench to step up, with Race Thompson, Miller Kopp, and Parker Stewart all struggling. The three combined for just eight points in 78 minutes of game time tonight and each had at least three fouls.

Indiana also got some solid minutes from Trey Galloway (his late fouls aged me about ten years though) and Tamar Bates, who brought some energy to an offense that was starting to stagnate at points. Geronimo was the star of the night from the bench though, and his put-back dunks were about the only thing Indiana fans had to celebrate in the first half.

Rotations

There’s certainly something to be said for sticking with what worked for you, especially in the final games of the season. On the other hand, there was no reason for Parker Stewart to be on the floor near the end of the game there. He’s gone completely cold from 3-point range, and his defense does not justify using him a ton when he isn’t shooting well.

If Woodson is committed to leaning heavily on his starters, I’d maybe like to see them utilized more situationally, like leaving Miller Kopp in at the end of the game for free throws or Race in for his interior defense against a team like Wyoming.

This is, ultimately, nitpicky. Mike Woodson has the Hoosiers dancing and winning games in March. The margin of error will only shrink from here on out though, and I’d love to see this group finish out a special season on the highest note possible.