Indiana vs. USI: What We Learned

Indiana beat Southern Indiana 83-68 in exhibition Saturday night. Read more to find out what we learned from the Hoosiers' first game.

Indiana beat the University of Southern Indiana 83-68 in its first exhibition game Saturday night at Assembly Hall. Here's what we learned:

1. LOTS OF ATHLETICISM: Indiana has one of the more athletic teams I can remember in recent history. The six-man freshman class is long and athletic, especially Noah Vonleh and Troy Williams.

Vonleh and Williams were especially impressive on Saturday night. Vonleh had nine points and 12 rebounds, and Williams had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. Williams tried to go too fast at times, but played with tons of energy and could really turn into a special player if he works at it.

"At one point I said, 'Do you know who Babe Ruth is?' And he didn't," Indiana coach Tom Crean said of Williams. "I said, 'Well, Babe Ruth was an unbelievable home run hitter, and a strike out king. And right now, we don't wanna be Babe Ruth. We don't want to hit home runs and we don't want to strike out. We just want to play solid basketball.'

"There were a couple points where he tried to make plays that would have brought the house down, but unfortunately, they made the baskets."

Indiana outrebounded USI 54-36 and had 21 offensive rebounds. Hanner Mosquera-Perea, who looked much more comfortable on the floor than he did a year ago, added five boards.

Devin Davis and Stanford Robinson did not play, and when they return the Hoosiers will be an even more athletic group.

"There's a lot of talent, there's a lot of athleticism, there's a hunger. But we've just got to gain an understanding," Crean said. "We've got to understand when it's time to take a chance and gamble, but most importantly, when it's time to just bear down and be solid."

2. NOT AS MUCH SHOOTING: We knew it would be a problem heading into the season, but Indiana has significantly less outside shooting threats than it did a year ago. Point guard Yogi Ferrell made six 3-pointers on 10 attempts, but other than him, the Hoosiers didn't shoot it all that well.

For the game, IU shot 42 percent (28-of-67) from the field and 43 percent (9-of-21) from beyond the arc. Players not named Ferrell were just 3-of-11 from beyond the arc.

I thought we'd see more perimeter shooting out of senior forward Will Sheehey, but he attempted only one 3-pointer and missed it. Sheehey had 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting.

Where will the shooting come from as the season moves along? Specialists Austin Etherington and Collin Hartman played a combined nine minutes.

3. MOSQUERA-PEREA HAS IMPROVED: The sophomore forward looked much more comfortable on the floor than he did a season ago. His footwork is much better, he catches the ball better, and his shot looks much softer than it did last season.

Mosquera-Perea had nine points, made all five of his free-throw attempts, and made a pretty mid-range jump shot from the baseline.

THE STARTERS: Now, it was just an exhibition game, and some players are injured, but here's who Crean went with on Saturday night:

PG - Ferrell (20 points, 6-15 FG, 2 assists, 4 TOs)
SG - Evan Gordon (6 points, 2-4 FG, 5 rebounds, 3 assists)
SF - Sheehey (10 points, 5-11 FG, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 TOs)
PF - Williams (10 points, 4-12 FG, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks)
C - Vonleh (9 points, 4-8 FG, 0-5 FT, 12 rebounds, 2 steals)

I'd expect Crean's lineup to change throughout the season, but that unit worked pretty well together. Crean opted to bring Jeremy Hollowell off the bench in the sixth-man role, and I coudl see that working going forward.

Eventually, freshmen Luke Fischer and Robinson could work themselves into the starting lineup, in this writer's opinion.

FREE THROWS AN ISSUE: Indiana shot just 18-of-31 at the foul line against USI, and Vonleh was 0-of-5.

Crean doesn't think Vonleh's issues will persist throughout the season, but he wasn't a very good foul shooter in high school, either.

"His is very technical and then it becomes a little mental," Crean said. "Right now, it's just a matter of slowing the ball down and bending his knees. He's got such a long release because he's so long and tall. His hands are so big.

"He'll get better, and I think he wants to play at the end of games, so I think he'll definitely get better."

Mosquera-Perea and Etherington combined to go 9-of-9 at the line. Everyone else was 9-of-22. Other players that struggled: Gordon (2-of-5), Sheehey (0-of-2).

"He'll get better with that. They all are, after tonight," Crean said. "Who would've thought Hanner would have gone 5-for-5?" Top Stories