Indiana returns to the floor on Monday night refocused on the fundamentals

Indiana returns to the floor on Monday night refocused on the fundamentals.

Nothing that happens on the floor at Assembly Hall Monday night will tell you how much the Hoosiers learned from their nightmare trip to Maui. You'll have to wait for Wednesday night at Duke for that.

But Indiana returns to the court against winless Alcorn State on Monday, and the Hoosiers insist the things that went wrong in Hawaii last week are correctable. 

"We got away from being us," said junior forward Collin Hartman. "We didn't play like we've been practicing up to this point. We feel like we let ourselves down and let an opportunity slip away. But all we can do now is work hard like we have in practice, and re-lock into who we are, what we do, and what gets us wins."

The Hoosiers (4-2) lost two of their three games in Maui, to Wake Forest and UNLV. Even in their win against St. John's, Indiana didn't look anything close to a team that could compete in the Big Ten. 

Even more surprising was the fact that the Maui trip came only a few days after the Hoosiers dominated Creighton, looking like a national contender in the process.

The Hoosiers don't have time to lick their wounds, though. While Indiana's director of media relations didn't allow IU players to talk about Duke in a press conference on Sunday, you can bet Tom Crean will use Monday's game to work out the kinks and prepare for things IU will likely see against the Blue Devils. He won't tell you that, but Alcorn State ranks 348th out of 351 Division 1 teams, so Monday's outcome is not in question.

"The team got back Friday night, and we practiced Friday night, we practiced yesterday, we practiced today," Crean said. "[Maui] was so uncharacteristic of the way we've practiced. We just made too many careless mistakes. We've got to play more fundamentally sound.

"Losing Emmitt Holt hurt us. That gave us a veteran up front that knew what we were doing. We've got to grow into that right now. Outside of Collin Hartman, who's playing undersized, we're with a brand new front line. I'm not sure if everybody's picking up on that, but that actually is a fact."

That is a fact, but it's also a fact that many top programs overhaul entire parts of their roster in a year's time. Indiana is not unique in that way. And while Crean expected to have at least Holt, and probably Devin Davis and Hanner Mosquera-Perea too, it does no good to complain about it now. 

Indiana may have a brand new front line now, but it hardly had a front line at all last season, and the Hoosiers didn't look as bad as they did in Maui last week.

Indiana's main issues in Maui were familiar ones: Too many careless turnovers, and not enough defense. Everybody was guilty, but Troy Williams struggled in both areas. Crean was late to Sunday's press conference with the media because he was spending extra time working with Williams, he said.

"He's very coachable. We've just got to get back to Troy's strengths," Crean said. "That's a big thing. Sometimes you get in a game, and it's like a mirage. You think it's there, and it's really not. And you get away from your fundamentals. I think Troy got away from his fundamentals because he's really improved in a lot of areas. It didn't look like that in the games, but it looked like that last Thursday night. So it's not like it's not there."

Crean also announced Sunday that freshman forward Juwan Morgan sustained an injury against UNLV last Wednesday and will be out for "a little while." 


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