Here is an analysis of Indiana's 90-66 victory over Kennesaw State Sunday afternoon at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers close the non-conference season with a 10-3 record. This analysis is a regular part of our AllHoosiers.com coverage of Indiana basketball this season.
WHAT LOOKED GOOD:The two individual performances that stood out for me came from Yogi Ferrell and Luke Fischer. Ferrell just looked under control. He had 25 points, which was one off his career high, along with six rebounds and five assists. On one drive where got hit in the lane and somehow finish the shot, got fouled and eventually made a free throw, the play appeared to even surprise Yogi a little bit. Before shooting the foul shot, he turned around and looked up at the video board to watch the replay and then smiled. Fischer was solid, playing what I thought was his best of the year. He had a career-high 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. He had two rebounds, an assist and three blocked shots. He also had a career-high 19 minutes, five more than he had played in any game. He has now had double figure minutes in the last four games. Indiana shot the ball at its highest percentage of the year but that was mostly because the bulk of IU's shots came from inside. Indiana was 32-of-51 from the field, 62.7 percent. In the second half, IU was 15-of-23, 65.2 percent. The Hoosiers scored 58 points in the paint though which accounts for 29 of their 32 field goals. The other three came via 3-pointers by Yogi Ferrell.
WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE: Turnovers continue to be the most concerning statistic with this Indiana basketball team. Because of the uptempo style some of that is to be expected. But so many of IU's turnovers just seem to be of the unforced variety. Indiana turned it over 20 more times on Sunday. That's 40 in the last two games. The season average had been around 16 but obviously that number is going up instead of down. Troy Williams had six of those turnovers as he continues to struggle because of trying to play too fast. Because of those turnovers, Indiana was never able to get the kind of distance you would have thought it would have been able to achieve against a team like Kennesaw State which was clearly one of the worst teams IU faced in the non-conference season. The Owls are now 3-10. Tom Crean eluded to that in his post game when he said he told his team that it scored 90 points today but imagine what that number could have been if the Hoosiers hadn't turned it over 20 times.
FOR STARTERS: Crean went with his usual starting lineup of Ferrell, Noah Vonleh, Will Sheehey, Williams and Jeremy Hollowell. That five has now started 12 of the 13 Indiana games (Jeff Howard started for Hollowell against Evansville). Sunday's starting five combined to score 61 of IU's 90 points. The group picked up 26 of IU's 41 rebounds.
INJURY UPDATE:Knock on wood but Indiana doesn't appear to have any players that will be question marks heading into Big Ten play which begins Dec. 31 at Illinois.
RECORD SINCE 2011-12 Indiana is now 66-19 since the start of the 2011-12 season including a 44-3 record at Assembly Hall. The 44 wins represent the most of any team in the nation over that span.
INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here's a look at my own thoughts on three Indiana players from Tuesday night's victory over Oakland:
1. Troy WILLIAMS: The learning curve has proved to be a little tougher for Williams than I had expected. He had some good games earlier in the year but lately he just hasn't looked comfortable. The game just looks fast for him. He played 24 minutes Sunday and had seven points on 3-of-4 shooting. He also had four rebounds, four assists and four steals. All of those are good numbers. Unfortunately what a lot of people remember is his six turnovers and his 1-of-4 effort from the foul line. The good news for Indiana fans is that there is so much upside with Williams and at some point he is going to turn into one of this team's most consistent players. The question is when.
2. WILL SHEEHEY:In a four-game stretch from Evansville to Oakland, Sheehey appeared to be in a funk. He scored a total of 18 points. He was 7-of-27 from the field in those four games. All of a sudden though, the senior has caught fire. In the last three games he has scored 51 points. He has hit 19 of his last 32 shots in those three games, too. This is a lot more of the consistent level of play that Indiana fans have been expecting. Sunday, he had 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He also had three rebounds, three assists and a steal.
3. NOAH VONLEH: Vonleh just missed his seventh double-double of the season and it was foul trouble that cost him the opportunity. The big freshman was limited to 19 minutes because of fouls. He only played seven minutes in the second half before fouling out. He had four of his five fouls in the second half. Vonleh still finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Vonleh had his eighth game in a row with six shots from the field or less. He was very productive with the ones he did taking, as he made 5-of-6. But for Vonleh to become the dominate player many expect him to be, he needs to shooting the ball a few more times a game. One would think that is a statistic that will improve along with experience.
NEXT UP: IU is back in action on Dec. 31 when it opens Big Ten play at Illinois. The game will tip at 3 p.m. ET and be televised on ESPN2.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch