A Changing of the Guard?

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - In the wake of back-to-back lopsided losses, there could be a changing of the (point) guard on the horizon for the IU basketball team.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - In the wake of back-to-back lopsided losses, there could be a changing of the (point) guard on the horizon for the IU basketball team.

Frustrated by his team's inability to get point production out of the point guard position, IU Coach Mike Davis said Monday that his coaching staff is going to sit down today to figure out a way to get five players on the floor that can contribute offensively.

"We're going to get together as a coaching staff and just try to figure out who can we play, and where can we play them, because the teams we've played the last couple of games have been playing us 5-on-4," said Davis. "They haven't even guarded our point guard at all."

While a decision hasn't been made, it appears that Davis is strongly considering moving senior Marshall Strickland back to the point guard spot and moving Lewis Monroe to the bench for the time being.

"Yesterday, we played Minnesota and they put (forward J'son) Stamper on Lewis Monroe," said Davis. "We have to make the adjustment now to counter what opposing teams are doing to us. That might take me moving Marshall Strickland, a guy that can really shoot the basketball, back to the point guard position."

While the 6-5, 200-pound Monroe was never expected to be a big contributor offensively, Davis appears to have grown frustrated with the senior's reluctance to attack the basket off the dribble or to take to open perimeter jump shot. Since missing the Michigan State game, Monroe has averaged just 3.3 points and 3.7 shots per game in the last four contests despite averaging 28.5 minutes of action in those games.

Back-up point guard Earl Calloway hasn't been much better, going a combined 2-of-11 from the floor during that same time span.

Their struggles have allowed teams to focus their attention of slowing down the likes or Marco Killingsworth and Robert Vaden, among others, with little concern of surrendering a open look for either Monroe or Calloway.

"Teams are making adjustments to our point guards not being able to shoot the basketball," said Davis.

Davis pointed out that in Indiana's 81-79 win over Ohio State, the Buckeyes started the game with forward Matt Sylvester guarding Monroe, and that helped OSU open a 17-point lead early. Indiana countered by moving Strickland to the point midway through the first half, and Indiana responded with a rally that allowed it to cut the margin to eight by halftime.

Monroe returned to the point guard spot in the second half and was aggressive offensively, scoring 11 second-half points to help lead the Indiana comeback.

But Monroe hasn't been as aggressive offensively ever since, which has allowed teams to focus on shutting down the other four players on the floor. Davis now thinks it's time to get five players on the floor that are a threat to score when they touch the ball.

"We have to get guys healthy and we have to put guys in the right position, and I think we'll be able to do that," said Davis.

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