Jordan Hulls was named the MVP of the tournament.
There is a lot that can be taken away from this tournament. This was IU's first trip away from the comforts of Assembly Hall, but you wouldn't have been able to tell as the crowd at both games was 90 percent IU.
Here's what we learned during the two games:
- IU struggled to shoot ball, but that won't happen very often. They showed resilience in the second half after being down by one at halftime. IU simply had a bad shooting night and were clearly unprepared to face a higher caliber team. This isn't a knock on the coaching, but a mind state that the players were in that they quickly came out of.
- Cody Zeller wasn't himself in either game. Zeller apparently is getting over a case of asthmatic bronchitis, which would explain his lackluster performance in game one. He said that he felt better in the second game. Without him, IU's offense suffers dramatically. They can overcome a poor performance from him once in awhile, but really need something more in the range of a double-double every night.
- IU is going to live at the free throw line. They took 24 attempts Monday night, to Georgia's 14. IU has too much size (mostly Zeller) and speed (Yogi and Oladipo) to guard without fouling. These three players HAVE to work on their FT shooting and be hitting at least 75 percent of their attempts.
- IU will struggle against larger teams. Don't know if you know this, but Georgetown has four starters that are at least 6 feet and 8 inches or taller. IU starts two six footers and yes this was a mismatch. The Hoyas zone defense gave IU fits as the length of their players allows them to play the passing lanes exceptionally well. Make no mistake, Georgetown is a very good team (they did beat #11 UCLA on Monday) and they will be ranked at some point this season.
- Zeller wanted to be more aggressive and he was. Zeller said he finally felt like he could breath again after overcoming his illness. What was really impressive was his passing ability. There are few center that can pass like him. Dick Vitale said it best in that he is a basketball player who happens to be seven feet tall. He is so sound fundamentally that he can attack his opponents how ever he wants.
- Hollowell has to realize that he's not in high school anymore. He got decent minutes before sitting out with too many fouls and, more importantly, too many turnovers. The reason he was forced to play was simply due to his 6-8 height. IU was lacking in big bodies due to the ineptitude of the NCAA. IU really needs to get Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea back on the court to improve its front court depth.
- Jordan Hulls was magnificent in Brooklyn. It's no wonder that he was named MVP. The senior hit every big shot that IU needed and simply made plays for IU. he had 31 points, six assists, six steals, and five rebounds to just five turnovers through the two games. He is the prototypical IU player and will be sorely missed after he graduates.
- IU won this game at the free throw line. As we said before, IU will live at the line this season. IU had 17 free throw attempts in overtime alone, and 36 for the game. Georgetown only went to the line 10 times. This is where IU has a distinct advantage over other teams.
Now we turn to our good friend Coach Guffin for his analysis of the tournament:
Depending on who you are and when you tuned into the tournament, you either think IU isn’t the #1 team in the country or you're on the bandwagon. Over the two games, the Hoosiers were put in two very different and unique scenarios that will benefit them later on in the season. In game one against Georgia, IU proved it was able to conquer unfortunate issues like foul trouble, bad shooting, missed free throws, and inexcusable turnovers. The first thirty minutes of the game resulted in the Hoosiers having to overcome a deficit for most of the game. In game two against a tough Georgetown team, who knocked off #11 UCLA the night before, IU was put into a scenario to resist a comeback and battle for not just forty, but forty-five minutes. Both games were true tests of character and determination for a young, yet experienced team. Off-season conditioning paid off for the Hoosiers in a rare back-to-back setup. I look forward to seeing how IU will show up next game against Ball State; whether they will be on cruise control or the typical Crean way of taking no one lightly.
IU will face Ball State on Sunday in Bloomington. Tip off is scheduled for 6:00pm.
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