Here is an analysis of Friday night's 100-72 season-opening victory over Chicago State at Assembly Hall. This analysis will become a regular part of our AllHoosiers.com coverage of Indiana basketball this season.
WHAT LOOKED GOOD: There was a lot to like. Indiana attacked the basket from all positions. Troy Williams and Devin Davis in particular took it to the basket over and over. Will Sheehey was also strong in that area. Indiana had 62 rebounds led by Noah Vonleh with 14 in his college debut. Six Indiana players scored in double figures and seven scored between eight and 16 points. The Hoosiers went to the free throw line 55 times and converted 45 of those, 81.8 percent. IU blocked an Assembly Hall record 13 shots and scored 52 of its 100 points in the paint. Most of all the team just showed off its athleticism and the fact that there is a tremendous amount of talent on this squad.
WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE:There was plenty on this side, too, which you would expect from a first game. Indiana turned the ball over 19 times. Last season, 19 turnovers was the high in 36 games. The Hoosiers only had eight assists on 27 baskets. Indiana was limited to just three steals and a total of eight fast break points although the teams were running up and down the floor at break neck speed. The Hoosiers hit 45.8 percent from the field and made just one 3-point field goal.
FOR STARTERS: Indiana's starting lineup Thursday night was the same as it was Monday night against Hillsdale College in the final exhibition game: Will Sheehey, Jeremy Hollowell, Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell. In the exhibition final against Hillsdale, IU's starting combined to score 49 points, pull down 20 rebounds, with eight assists, 11 turnovers, two blocks and six steals. Friday night those numbers were 61 points with 35 rebounds, five assists, 13 turnovers, eight blocks and just one steal. The starters shot 16-of-42 from the field and attempted all eight of the 3-point shots, hitting one. That was made by Hollowell who was 1-for-2 from distance. p>
INJURY UPDATE: Will Sheehey showed no apparent effects of the right calf injury he suffered Monday night against Hillsdale with 14:27 to play in the game. IU coach Tom Crean had said Thursday that Sheehey had practiced every day this week and he expected him to be full go Friday. Sheehey started and played 24 minutes, scoring 10 points and pulling down nine rebounds. … Troy Williams appeared to get poked above the eye early in the game and had a band-aid on it when he returned in the second half. He played 10 minutes in the first half though and 12 in the second half.
FOR OPENERS: Indiana has won 16 straight season openers and 29 home openers in a row. Tom Crean is 14-1 all-time in regular season openers, including six at Indiana. Friday was only the second time in Crean's 15 seasons as a head coach that an opponent has scored 70 points or more against his team in a season opener and Chicago State needed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to do that.
INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here's a look at my own thoughts on three Indiana players from Friday night's victory over Chicago State:
1. DEVIN DAVIS: In a word, Davis was impressive. He was aggressive on both ends of the floor and really forced the action to his advantage when he had the opportunity. On one play, he got a long rebound on the defensive end and went out on the break and when no one stopped him he continued to the basket, made a nice up and under move and scored. He finished with 10 points and nine rebounds in 14 minutes of action off the bench. He was 5-of-7 from the field and also had three blocks. If Davis continues to play at this level, my guess is he'll either find his way into the starting rotation before long or will consistently be one of IU's first players off the bench.
2. NOAH VONLEH: A little over six minutes into the game, Vonleh had five points and eight rebounds. He got his 10th rebound with 6:23 to play in the first half. He finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds for his first career double-double. He was a load inside and used his strength to take the ball to the basket. He also had an answer for all of those who were doubting his free throw abilities. Vonleh had missed all eight of his free throw attempts in the two exhibition games. Friday night, he made all five of his foul shots. He was just 3-of-10 from the field but had a couple of inside shots that just rolled out. He's going to be a force for the Hoosiers inside this season.
3. Hanner Mosquera-Perea: I liked the way Hanner looked in Monday's exhibition finale against Hillsdale College and nothing he did Friday night changed the way I feel. He was active and that's the most important thing. Sure, he committed two turnovers in his 13 minutes on the court. But he also did some good things. He had a monster dunk and a big block. He also had a steal. He finished with five points and three rebounds. He made 3-of-4 free throw attempts. If he is a guy who can get six points and six rebounds or something in that vicinity every game this season, he's really going to help this Indiana team.
NEXT UP: Friday's game was the first of seven games in 20 days for Indiana. The Hoosiers (1-0) are back in action Tuesday night, Nov. 12 against LIU Brooklyn in the first game of the 2K Sports Classic. Tip is 6 p.m. at Assembly Hall with Chris Denari and Steve Bardo calling the action on the Big Ten Network.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch