Here is an analysis of Tuesday's 83-80 overtime loss to Illinois in the Big Ten opener at State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill. This analysis is a regular part of our AllHoosiers.com coverage of Indiana basketball this season.
WHAT LOOKED GOOD: All things considered there was a lot of good for a conference opener. Indiana shot the ball reasonably well in regulation, hitting 47.6 percent of its shots from the field. The big difference was that a lot of those shots were from the perimeter. Indiana only scored 12 points in the paint the entire game. That means 17 of the Hoosiers' 23 field goals were not inside shots. Ten of those were from beyond the arc where IU hit a season-high 10 3-point field goals on 22 attempts, 45.5 percent. Yogi Ferrell came up big. He had a career-high 30 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He made 5-of-8 3-pointers and all seven of his foul shots. He had five rebounds and four assists. Unfortunately he also had six turnovers. He played 43 of a possible 45 minutes and didn't come out In the second half or overtime. IU did a nice job on the boards holding a 43-31 edge. The Hoosiers also blocked six shots. Indiana also got to the free throw line 30 times against a team that only was allowing its opponents 16 foul shots per game.
WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE:The turnover count is rising and Tuesday the Hoosiers had a season-high 23 turnovers that led to 25 Illinois points. In the last three games, Indiana has now turned it over 63 times. IU already is the worst team in the Big Ten in terms of turnovers averaging 15.9 per game. Ferrell had six, while both Noah Vonleh and Jeremy Hollowell had four each. Another problem was defense when it came to allowing Illinois to drive the lane. The Illini scored 32 points in the paint and a big part of that number was drives that resulted in soft jumpers in the paint.
FOR STARTERS: Indiana has now used the same starting lineup in 13 of 14 games this season: Will Sheehey, Jeremy Hollowell, Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell. Against Illinois, the starters scored 63 of Indiana's 80 points with a good number of those coming in the form of Yogi's career-high 30. The starters combined to hit 18-of-44 shots from the field, 8-of-19 3-pointers and 19-of-21 free throws. The Hoosier starters had 29 rebounds and 10 assists.
ILLINI DOMINANT AT HOME AGAINST HOOSIERS: Illinois has won five in a row against the Hoosiers at home and 11 of the last 12 against IU in Champaign. The exception was the Eric Gordon Face The Music game in 2008.
INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here's a look at my own thoughts on a few Indiana players from Tuesday's loss to Illinois:
1. NOAH VONLEH: There was lots of good in Vonleh's Big Ten opener (mostly in the first half) and lots of room for improvement in the second half and OT. At half, he had 13 points and five rebounds. Probably most importantly he only had one foul which he had picked up in the first 3 minutes. In the second half, Vonleh got in foul trouble and also stopped being aggressive inside. Vonleh took six shots in the game and all of them were in the first half. That means he did not have an official shot attempt in the final 13 minutes of the second half and overtime. Perhaps his bigger problems came with his errors. He made four turnovers including a huge one off a defensive rebound with 25 seconds to play in a 78-75 game with the Illini leading. He also had a lane violation on a free throw that was not allowed by Yogi Ferrell in the second half, too. He finished with 16 points and nine rebounds but seemed to leave a lot out on the floor.
2. JEREMY HOLLOWELL: Hollowell struggled again and at some point one would think he will play himself out of the starting lineup. He played 23 minutes Tuesday. He missed all six of his shots from the field including a pair of 3-point attempts. He did have six rebounds and three assists but he also had four turnovers. For Indiana to be successful moving forward, someone is going to have to step up and Hollowell would be a likely candidate.
Stanford Robinson: Robinson played a season-high 19 minutes and when asked about those minutes later, Tom Crean said that he has led IU in the plus/minus category the last three games. Perhaps but the Hoosiers need to get more out of the freshman guard. He missed all three of his shots from the field and hit just 1-of-4 free throws. All three of the foul shots he missed were short. He also had two turnovers and four fouls. If he was playing lockdown defense that we be another story but often times he was guarding Rayvonte Rice, who scored 29 points for the Illini.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch