IU Insider Blog: What did we learn Friday?

I completely understand why Indiana scheduled Samford. I just hope that the Hoosiers can get enough out of that game film to help them moving forward.

I completely understand why Indiana scheduled Samford on the 2013-14 non-conference slate.

It was all about former IU assistant Bennie Seltzer being able to add a marquee game to his Samford schedule and get his program some increased exposure. He's going to do the same at another one of his former coaching stops in late December when he takes the Bulldogs to Marquette on Dec. 28.

So I get all of that.

My only question is how much does a team really get out of a game that turned out to be little more than a glorified scrimmage?

Perhaps with a young team it's different. At this stage, Indiana is still learning how to play together, playing through different rotations and seeing what it does well and the areas where it needs to improve.

The problem with Friday night's 105-59 victory over Samford was that it was over so quickly that you just wonder how much the Hoosiers got out of it. Yes, it's another game playing together but I think at this stage a game like it had Tuesday night against LIU Brooklyn where it got taken to the wire before winning 73-72 had a lot more redeeming qualities.

As a side note, here's a scary thought about Samford. The Bulldogs were picked to finish fourth in the 11-team SoCon preseason poll. Other schools in its conference include Elon, Furman, Western Carolina, Chattanooga, Georgia Southern, UNCG, Wofford, The Citadel, Appalachian State and Davidson.

But that's another story.

So if you had to narrow down a few things that you thought Indiana learned Friday night, what would they be?

We already had a good feel for IU's athleticism and that came gushing through again. This team is going to be fun to watch based on that one sole intangible. The incoming freshmen have kicked that athletic level up a notch or two especially with guys like Noah Vonleh, Devin Davis, Troy Williams and Stan Robinson.

We learned that when Indiana doesn't settle for perimeter shots and attacks at every opportunity this team has a chance to be a lot more successful. It was a lesson learned in the second half of the LIU Brooklyn game and then the Hoosiers took the next step in the progression Friday night against Samford.

We learned that especially against overmatched opponents like Samford and Chicago State that Indiana loves to get up and block shots. It blocked 13 shots in the opener against Chicago State and 10 more Friday night.

We learned that a lot of guys on this team can play and as Crean said after the game they are in no way even close to establishing rotations yet. Friday night the first player off the bench was Collin Hartman followed quickly by Devin Davis. The fact that Hartman has that increased role says a lot about how much talent this team has at all positions.

We learned again that Noah Vonleh loves to bang inside and will not back down from any challenge. In the first few minutes Friday night, it looked like Vonleh could play a game of name how many points he wanted to score. He was that good and that dominate.

This non-conference season is going to be an adventure. There are going to be ups and downs and a lot of different levels of competition. That level is going to be increased dramatically on Sunday when a 3-0 Stony Brook team invades Assembly Hall. It's obviously going to get kicked up a notch next week when IU plays Washington on Thursday and either Boston College or Connecticut on Friday, both games at Madison Square Garden.

While I would like to see IU play a little higher level of competition than Samford, I completely get why the Bulldogs were on the schedule. Now, hopefully, Indiana can find enough positive moments from that game to build on moving forward.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch


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