With every basketball game that Indiana plays this season we will take a look at three things to watch that could be important for that game.
Here are the three keys for LIU Brooklyn:
1. HANDLE THE BALL
In football, coaches talk about how some of the biggest improvement is made between game one and game two. It's different in basketball in a season that spans well over 30 games. But you do look for improvement from game-to-game. Handling the basketball is one area where Indiana needs to show improvement from the season opener against Chicago State. Some of IU's errors were a result of playing at break neck speed. Many, however, were unforced. IU turned it over 19 times against the Cougars with nine different players having at least one turnover. The five IU starters combined for 13 turnovers though no one had more than three. But Indiana's season high in turnovers a year ago was 19. That happened twice. It occurred early in the season against Mount St. Mary's and in the Sweet Sixteen against Syracuse. Indiana's average a year ago was 13 turnovers in 36 games. That's closer to an number that IU needs to work towards.
2.ESTABLISH PERIMETER SHOOTING
One of the more interesting statistics to come out of the Chicago State game was that Indiana only hit one shot in the game outside of the paint. IU had 52 points in the paint which is 26 field goals. The Hoosiers made 27 field goals for the game. The only non-paint bucket was a 3-pointer by Jeremy Hollowell. The fact that IU was only 1-for-8 from 3-point range is not a huge concern. This will not be the same 3-point shooting type team that IU had a year ago. But if the Hoosiers can knock down some perimeter shots it will open up the inside a lot more for players like Noah Vonleh and Hanner Mosquera-Perea to penetrate for inside buckets.
3. MAKE THE EXTRA PASS (AND HIT THE SHOT)
When you have seven players score between eight and 16 points, including six in double figures, it's a testament to unselfish play. Part of that style is making the extra pass. Indiana did that at times against Chicago State but then the shooter was unable to convert. What that leads to is a very low assist-to-bucket ratio. Indiana had just eight assists Friday on 27 baskets. Last year, the Hoosiers had 515 assists on 951 baskets. A telling statistic is when two good passers like Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey combined to only have three assists (Yogi had all three) in the opener. Those numbers need to much higher. A big question mark for this Indiana team remains what players are going to be able to consistently hit the open jumper. Will Sheehey will likely be one of them. He has the most experience and will be looked upon to consistently hit that shot from the outside. Yogi Ferrell has shown in the early going that he is more than capable of contributing from there perimeter, too.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch