As expected, IU rolled past Bryant, 97-54 in the season opener. The Hoosiers looked like the number one team in the nation in their home opener.
Coach Tom Crean has put together a very nice team this season, and the news keeps getting better for the future. Yesterday we learned the IU had signed Noah Vonleh, the #8 recruit in the country. Vonleh will headline a class that has now jumped up to third best in the nation.
Vonleh will more than likely have big shoes to fill as it is pretty clear that Cody Zeller will go pro after this season (scouts already list as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft).
But, back to the season opener and what we can take away from the game.
- Zeller just keeps getting better and better. The sophomore center had 18 points and 10 rebounds, he also had an 80 percent shooting night. He struggled from the free throw line, but that will improve over time. It's hard to nitpick his performance, but he will be at the charity stripe a lot this season as teams will be fouling him often.
- Yogi Ferrell is better than advertised. The freshman had ten points, seven assists, and five rebounds. His court vision is something special and he is the kind of point guard that IU hasn't had since Isaiah Thomas. Ferrell will take this team to the next level.
- Despite a rough shooting night, Christian Watford had a pretty good night. The senior had 15 points and 15 rebounds. Watford looks like he is making a big transition this season, similar to what DJ White went through. It worked out well for White as he is currently in the NBA. Watford needs to have a big season if this team is going to be successful. He had a bad night from the three point line, just one-for-five, but that might end up being his worst shooting performance of the season.
- This team has some serious depth. Will Sheehey, Remy Abell, and Jeremy Hollowell all had scored in the double digits. The bench managed to shoot 61 percent. 12 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. All impressive numbers, admittedly against an inferior foe, but still a very good night. Hollowell was very active and overcame a slow start. We believe that Hollowell could be one of the more impactful players off the bench this season.
- The feel good moment of the night had to be Maurice Creek signing in to a standing ovation. Creek was once thought of as a future NBA player, but after multiple knee injuries his future is questionable. Creek was 2-for-3 from the three point line and was active on defense. He looks healthy and should he remain that way, will have a very good season.
- Crean's gameplan was exceptional. It seemed like the plan was to crash the paint hard and see just how fast this offense can run. The first part put Bryant in serious foul trouble. The second almost got IU in trouble, but it looked like the Hoosiers found a good pace as the game continued.
Now, we turn to our good friend coach Garrett Guffin for some in-depth analysis.
Pace, chemistry, respect. Those are the three words that best describe the Hoosier’s first game of the season against Bryant. Admire the pace the Hoosier’s tried to push on a lackluster Bryant team early, but notice the score at the end of the 1st TV timeout in the first half. 9-8. That’s it. As you continue to watch the game, you notice the chemistry between Zeller, Abell, Oladipo, Sheehey, and Creek. It was a completely different look from new age to veteran players. That was not the only look Coach Crean tried to give Bryant University, as he mixed multiple freshman in with seniors and even experienced juniors throughout the game. This proved to be a very solid learning experience for the Hoosiers, as well as a respectful win. IU simply proved down the stretch that once they slow their game down from “Super Speed” to just “fast” that teams will earn the respect of IU.
Up next for the Hoosiers is North Dakota State Monday night. Don't forget to follow us on twitter, @hoosiers101.com
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