Indiana opened its foreign trip in Montreal with a 110-70 win over Laval University on Friday night. It was the first of five games over six days for the Hoosiers.
Considering it was the first game with this current group together, we learned a significant amount during the game, even in a blowout.
1. POSITIONS DON'T MATTER: With Hanner Mosquera-Perea still in the United States due to a visa-related issue, and Jeremiah April sitting out with an ankle injury, Indiana was as thin as possible on the front line.
I thought Tom Crean would go with sophomore Devin Davis as the starter inside, but instead, he went with a five-guard lineup to start the game. Crean started Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson, Nick Zeisloft and Troy Williams, and it obviously didn't hurt the Hoosiers on this night.
How will a lineup like that fair against a bigger team, I'm not sure, but it's clear the Hoosiers clearly are a team without positions. Sure, Indiana would struggle to match up with teams much bigger inside, but imagine those teams having to match up against Williams as the team's center. That would be scary.
If the Hoosiers are to play small this season, as they likely will, everyone will have to rebound on both ends. Williams finished with six boards, as did Blackmon Jr.
The true beast: Davis. The sophomore had eight points and 16 (SIXTEEN!) rebounds off the bench in only 19 minutes. He may only be 6-foot-7, but he's the strongest player on the team and should be a force for IU inside this season.
2. WILLIAMS IS BETTER, BUT: It was a huge sophomore debut for Troy Williams, who showed off some big improvements -- especially in his body. Williams is stronger, and he also showed the ability to knock down midrange jump shots. He had 21 points (9-13 FG) and six rebounds in 21 minutes, but he also turned the ball over a team-high five times. Turnovers were an issue for the whole team last season, and especially for Williams. He needs to clean that up.
3. FERRELL KEEPS GETTING BETTER: Point guard Yogi Ferrell scored a team-high 22 points and knocked in four 3-pointers on seven attempts. Ferrell also had six assists to only two turnovers and four rebounds.
Ferrell seemed unaffected by the international 3-point line. IU only had eight 3-pointers as a team, despite all of its shooters, and Ferrell had half of those. It's clear Ferrell just keeps getting better. The key for him will be to continue to be a vocal leader and keep his guys in line throughout the season.
4. IT ONLY GETS TOUGHER: It will only get tougher for Indiana from here. The Hoosiers will face their toughest two games on the trip Sunday against Ottawa University on Sunday and Carleton on Monday. But it was a positive first step for the young Hoosiers on Friday night.