Indiana begins a stretch in which it will play three games in six days on Tuesday night against LIU-Brooklyn at Assembly Hall.
It's a difficult week, especially for a team as inexperienced as the Hoosiers. But by the time the week is over -- and by the time IU has played seven games over 20 days to begin the season -- we should have a much better idea where the Hoosiers stand.
"I think it's great that we have the games because we do need the experience," Indiana coach Tom Crean said Monday. "Now you're looking for consistency. I would say after those seven games in 20 days we're gonna have a better idea who's picking up what it means to be consistent."
Indiana (1-0) played well and looked really good at times in Friday night's 100-72 season-opening win against Chicago State. But there were several areas in which the Hoosiers must improve going forward.
***They turned the ball over 19 times. Some of those miscues can be attributed to Chicago State's pressure defense, but 19 is still way too high of a number.
***They were sometimes out of position defensively and relied on their length and athleticism to keep Chicago State from scoring. That obviously won't work when the Hoosiers play against teams that can match their length and athleticism.
"We tried to make yesterday best on best instead of a scout team kind of a look and doing more with our own length," Crean said. "When that happens, it creates more mistakes. And hopefully we can get those corrected."
***It didn't necessarily happen against Chicago State, but the Hoosiers trailed Hillsdale 13-2 early in their second exhibition game. Crean said he's still working to get his players to understand how important every game is and why they can't taken any opponent lightly.
"This is not a game that we get on the yellow school bus and we're supposed to win by 30 just because it's us and let's go play," Crean said. "That's what they have to learn. Every one of these games matter. Once they understand that every one of these games matter, then they'll understand the value of each possession. We haven't figured that out yet."
Vonleh praises Hollowell
Indiana freshman center Noah Vonleh -- who earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors after his 11-point, 14-rebound performance in the opener -- was asked Monday what he thinks of sophomore forward Jeremy Hollowell.
"I kind of look at him as like a Magic Johnson in a way," Vonleh said. "He can play the point, he can get us into offense. When he has a smaller guy, he can go in the post and get buckets down there."
Hollowell had a team and career-high 16 points against Chicago State.
Robinson must make others better
Freshman guard Stanford Robinson played only 10 minutes in Indiana's season opener, scoring six points on 2-of-4 shooting.
Why didn't he play more? Well, it may have been because Robinson is still learning to make his teammates better while running the offense. Prior to the game against Chicago State, Crean gave Robinson a critical role one of the team's in practice.
"He had a lot more responsibility on the white team, and the team didn't play well," Crean said. "It wasn't that he didn't play OK, but he didn't take anyone with him. It's the communication part. You really don't get great unless you have strong leadership, unless you have strong verbal skills. It doesn't matter if you can sing a song or give a speech. You've got to bring those verbal skills to the court. We're really trying to help him right now where he breaks the habit of putting his hands in the body."
All of the Hoosiers' six freshmen are still learning the value of communication, and Crean said that is an ongoing process.