IU Insider Blog: More inconsistent play

Until Indiana basketball begins getting consistent play from its freshmen players, the up and down results are going to continue. Here are my thoughts on Saturday's Indiana-Notre Dame game.

Up and down and then up and down some more.

That's the best way to describe Indiana basketball through the first 11 games.

Indiana is 8-3 and should be 10-3 now when it opens Big Ten play in 17 days in Champaign against Illinois on New Year's Eve.

The losses were to Connecticut by one, Syracuse by 16 and Saturday Notre Dame by seven.

Connecticut and Syracuse were somewhat expected. Notre Dame … not so much. Indiana lacks a signature win and depending on what Notre Dame does from here, there's a good chance that the loss to the Irish will look like a bad one when NCAA resumes are examined in March.

Indiana had no business losing to the Irish Saturday afternoon.

Tom Crean blamed it on Notre Dame's experience versus Indiana's youth and the Hoosiers not handling the bright lights. Perhaps, but first of all just how bright were the lights really when there were more Indiana fans in the building than anyone else?

More than that why would a neutral site game in Indianapolis be "brighter lights" than say Madison Square Garden? Indiana looked pretty good there against Washington and Connecticut.

I just think it's freshman inconsistency. The Hoosiers are relying too heavily are first year players and when they don't perform to an elite level there are going to be problems:

Consider:

Troy Williams didn't score Saturday against the Irish. He had 13 on Tuesday against Oakland and he had 22 in that first game in Madison Square Garden against Washington. He has had a few games this year where he looked like Superman. Saturday he was a shell of his normal self.

Noah Vonleh has to take more than five shots. He has to demand the basketball in the post. Saturday he took three shots in the first half and two in the second. Not exactly a very productive 21 minutes on the floor. He had eight points and six rebounds. In nine second half minutes, he had two points and three rebounds.

Luke Fischer looked timid under the bright lights of Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The same player that made all three of his field goals and looked impressive Tuesday night, missed all three on Saturday. He played 10 minutes, had one rebound and one assist.

Devin Davis gets a pass because he is still coming back from an injury. His situation is too tough to call. He didn't score but he only played six minutes./p>

The thing is I think all four of those guys will be solid contributors as freshmen this season. I really do. It's just going to time. But the up and down, rollercoaster season for each of them will probably continue. There will be good games and bad games.

Hoosier fans are hoping the good ones are more plentiful than the bad ones.

IU just has to hope it has nothing to do with bright lights. Because there are going to be a lot of brighter lights ahead as this team will soon be in Big Ten conference play.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch


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