With every basketball game that Indiana plays this season we will take a look at three things to watch that could be important for that game.
Here are the three keys for today's game at Penn State:
1. HANDLE THE BALL BETTER
Until Indiana consistently does better in this area, this will continue to be one of the top keys to the game. The Michigan State game was better. The Hoosiers only committed 15 turnovers. IU had eight in the first half and seven in the second. That was a marked improvement over the Big Ten opener against Illinois when the Hoosiers turned it over a season-high 23 times. The two games before that, against Kennesaw State and Nicholls State, the Hoosiers had 20 turnovers in each game. Penn State is not known as a team that forces a great deal of turnovers so all eyes will be on the Hoosiers today to see if IU can have better ball management.
2. SLOW DOWN FRAZIER
Tim Frazier missed last season with an injury but he likely missed the games against Indiana in particular. As a junior the year before, Frazier scored 68 points in three games against IU. He had 21 points in each of the two regular season games and 26 in the clash in the Big Ten Tournament. If Stanford Robinson gets early time against the Nittany Lions look for the freshman to draw that assignment a lot. Yogi Ferrell will cover him, too. Frazier is effective because of his quickness and his quick pull up jumper. Frazier is averaging 17.1 points per game but in three Big Ten games his scoring output has slipped He had seven against Michigan State, 10 against Illinois and then 20 earlier in the week against Minnesota. In the first two games of conference play, he was a combined 6-of-23 from the field. Against the Gophers though, he was 6-for-7. He hasn't taken a lot of 3-pointers of late. He is 2-of-6 from distance in Big Ten play. The last time Indiana played Frazier was in the Big Ten Tournament and he scored 26 points, including hitting 4-of-6 3-pointers.
3. GET VONLEH 10 SHOTS OR MORE
As was mentioned in the player to watch segment, Noah Vonleh has not taken more than six shots in any game in the last 10. And in the two Big Ten games, while only taking 10 shots total, Vonleh has yet to attempt a single shot in the second half. That has to change and it has to change beginning today. Much like was the talk when Cody Zeller was patrolling the paint for the Hoosiers a year ago, the offense needs to run through Vonleh. He needs to demand the ball inside and the Hoosiers need to feed him. Indiana must take advantage of Vonleh's size and skills. Getting at least 10 shots up against Penn State would at least give the freshman big man a chance to be successful against the Nittany Lions.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch