There’s a lot of things I took away from Sunday’s win. Among them:
- IU won’t have any problems scoring this season. Now North Alabama isn’t exactly a stiff test, but the Hoosiers scored when they wanted and how they wanted for most of the contest. 121 points? And to think, D.J. White only had 13. He could have scored at will in the post all afternoon. White also led the team with six assists.
- Jordan Crawford is good. Really good. In his first game as a Hoosiers, the freshman guard netted 30 points on an astounding 10-11 shooting. So much for first-game jitters. He didn’t miss a three-pointer, didn’t miss a free throw, and looked comfortable in the flow of the game all afternoon. “I was nervous at first,” Crawford said after the game, “but the veterans took care of me.” Added Sampson after the game: “I don’t think I’ve ever had a freshman go for 30 in his first game.”
- Breaking News Alert: Eric Gordon is also very good. In the much-heralded debut, Gordon was impressive as always with the basketball in his hands, scoring 24 points on 10-16 shooting. He thrilled the Hoosier faithful with daggers from three-point land and thunderous dunks to finish Hoosier fast breaks. But he needs to improve on the defensive side of the ball. He too often gave up his position to go for the block, and the Lion player went around him. I’m sure that will be a point of evidence for Kelvin Sampson during practice this week.
- The Hoosiers will also have to improve on defense as a whole. Sampson stressed this after the contest, saying they played much better in the second half but still had a long way to go. There’s no reason why an undermanned North Alabama squad should score 40 points in the first half. To win in the Big Ten, especially on the road, the Hoosiers will need to improve in this category.
- On top of Crawford and Gordon, the first-year players didn’t disappoint. Those making their debut in Assembly Hall combined for 64 of IU’s 121 points (53%). Combined with Crawford’s 30 and Gordon’s 24, Jamarcus Ellis added 10, DeAndre Thomas seven, and Brandon McGee chipped in five.
- For those of you wondering about Mike White not getting into the game, interesting news came during the press conference. Sampson said that they’re considering red-shirting the senior power forward due to the depth the Hoosiers have at that position. Because White is a returning player and not a freshman, he isn’t allowed to play in exhibition games if he’s going to redshirt. Sampson said the decision would be made between seven and ten days.
Overall, I’d say it was good win for Indiana but there’s still a lot of things to work on before they open the season Nov. 12 vs. Chattanooga. The first real test will come Nov. 27 when Georgia Tech visits Bloomington for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
This team has so much potential it’s scary. There are so many weapons to compliment the dominating low post presence White brings every night. Next Saturday’s matchup against UNC Pembroke should be much of the same.