We've learned a few things about the Indiana basketball team in its first four games. We will learn even more in the next two days.
The Hoosiers (4-0) are in New York City and will play Washington (2-1) at approximately 9:30 p.m. Thursday night at Madison Square Garden as part of the 2K Classic.
Indiana last played at MSG on Dec. 8, 2009, upsetting Pittsburgh 74-64. The Hoosiers finished 10-21 that season. Pittsburgh was 25-9.
Washington is 2-1 to start the season, beating Seattle and Eastern Washington, and losing to U.C. Irvine. The Huskies lost forward Jernard Jarreau to a torn ACL less than two minutes into their season opener.
Indiana coach Tom Crean expects Washington to run, run, and run some more on Thursday night.
"They want to play fast," Crean said. "They don't spend a lot of time in the half court. The ball gets swung a couple times and they are going to the rim or shooting a three."
The thing is, the Hoosiers also like to play fast. So expect a ton of points to be scored tomorrow night. The key for Indiana will be dictating the pace it wants and not allowing Washington to get many easy fastbreak baskets.
"It's all about transition defense," Crean said. "It's going to be a tournament of depth because every team has numerous players, but the depth is only as good as the consistency. ... College basketball right now is so much about how you attack in transition and how many two on ones you can create."
The Hoosiers are playing outside of Assembly Hall for the first time this season after four straight home games to begin the season. With a team consisting of six freshmen and several sophomores that didn't play major roles last season, that's an interesting challenge.
"This is a hard environment not to be distracted by," Crean said. The bottom line is, we want them to have fun and we want them to see New York, I want them to experience that.
But we can't be 20 minutes in and now I realize I'm at practice. That's what you worry about with a young team."