In its only game until next Saturday, Indiana blew out Grand Canyon, 94-66, at Assembly Hall on Saturday afternoon. Here are a few things Im thinking about after the game.
1. LOWEST TURNOVER PERCENTAGE IN CREAN ERA: Turnovers were a major issue for Indiana (8-2) in last Tuesday night's loss to No. 4 Louisville, and they were often an issue last season. Limiting those turnovers was clearly a focus for the Hoosiers against Grand Canyon. Consider this:
Indiana had only four turnovers, and didn't have a single miscue in the second half. The Hoosiers played the final 21 minutes, 52 seconds without a turnover, a remarkable feat for any team, but especially for a team that has had the turnover issues that Indiana has. Indiana's turnover rate of 5.7 was the lowest in the Tom Crean era.
"Crazy, isn't it? That's beyond belief," Crean said afterward. "I've never coached a team that had that few. That's a big step. What that does is put the pressure on the players now to know that they can do it."
2. WINNING ON THE BOARDS: Unsurprisingly, Louisville dominated Indiana on the boards last week. While it was against lesser competition on Saturday, the Hoosiers won the battle on the boards, 52-35 (Williams 8, Zeisloft 7, Mosquera-Perea 7, Blackmon Jr. 6).
One negative in the rebounding area: The Hoosiers had 21 offensive rebounds, but converted them into only 16 second-chance points.
"They got challenged pretty hard Tuesday night when the game ended," Crean said. "And from that point forward, because we need that from them."
3. HANNER IN FLASHES: It was another solid effort for Hanner Mosquera-Perea on Saturday, but again, it came in flashes. Much like the way he attacked Louisville for the first five minutes, Mosquera-Perea had four points, two rebounds and two blocked shots in a short three-minute span in the second half.
Mosquera-Perea finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 22 points on 4-of-7 from the field. He had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting against Louisville.
When you see those flashes from him, you just wonder: How good would he be if he was that locked in all the time? He's not to that point yet, but he's making moves in the right direction.
4. A POSITIVE PERFORMANCE BEFORE FINALS: Indiana got a chance to play one more time before finals week, and I think that was important. The Hoosiers got a chance to rid themselves of some of the negative feelings from the Louisville loss, and they were sharp for much of the game. They get a much-needed break now before beginning the toughest stretch of the season next week against No. 15 Butler.
"We're ready for a break. I could see that in them yesterday," Crean said. "You're always getting in a rut or you're always getting in a groove. You're always building toward that. There's momentum in a game, but there's momentum inside the season. If you win but you didn't play real well ... that's what cost us the Eastern Washington game because we didn't do that in the Lamar game."
5. SO MANY THREES: Indiana attempted 20 first-half 3s against Grand Canyon and shot 30 of them in the game, making 10. The Hoosiers seemed to settle for perimeter shots for much of the first half, but got that corrected in the final 20 minutes and played much better offensively.
Indiana has made at least eight 3-pointers in every game this season.
"Sometimes when you've got really good shooters, they forget how easy it will be if they just move the ball and they move it through the paint where you're creating help," Crean said. "When you're not making people help, eventually they get confidence.
"I don't have a problem with the attempts. There's gonna be some night we shoot 40, 45 3s. I'm not concerned about that, as long as it goes through the paint and as long as they're rhythm shots."