Last night, we found out that IU is indeed deserving of the number one ranking they have had since October. The Hoosiers (7-0) played their up tempo style and simply ran the Tar Heels out of the building. IU's 83-59 win over North Carolina was something special.
We learned a lot about this team last night. We know that they like to run, and that you can't fall asleep on them at any point in the game, or IU will make you pay. IU has the best transition game in the country.
The defensive intensity and ability that IU showed was also impressive. For a team that struggled at times on defense last year, they have really show vast amounts of improve this year.
Here are a few take away's from the game:
- Cody Zeller is unbelievably athletic. He is absolutely a basketball player who happens to be seven-feet tall. He had a number of transition baskets where he caught the ball under the rim and still managed to score. He had a number of big blocks, especially in the second half. IU made an adjustment in the post defense at halftime since UNC had hit a number of floaters and runners in the first half. Zeller was able to send these types of shots the other way in the early going, forcing the Tar Heels to settle for longer jumpers.
- Will Sheehey is the best sixth man. If Christian Watford isn't careful, he is going to lose his starting spot and, more importantly, an NBA contract. Sheehey was on fire from the three point line and his mid-range jumper keeps getting better and better. Watford, on the other hand, was pretty bad last night. His shots weren't falling early in the game and he then started forcing his shot. His dunk late in the game was nice, but he has a tendency to disappear from games far too often. If his shot isn't falling, he needs to be useful in other ways, like creating shots for others and getting rebounds.
- Yogi Ferrell and Jordan Hulls might be the best back court duo in the country. Both are exceptional passers and each does an amazing job playing to their strength. Yogi's ability to penetrate into the lane and kick out is devastating to opponents. Hulls is just an exceptional shooter. The type of season that Hulls is having is something special for IU fans. Zeller gets all the attention, but Hulls is making things happen every time he touches the ball.
- Victor Oladipo is becoming a dangerous player. We all know that he is a lock down defender and is athletic enough to block a shot as easily as he picks off a pass. But this season he has become a much better player on offense. He is much more active on offense and better at finishing around the rim this season.
- IU's ball movement is confusing. The Hoosiers are so unselfish and spread the ball around better than any other team right now. Four players scored in the double digits and eight different players put points on the board. The Tar Heels were thoroughly perplexed by IU's ability to move the ball and didn't have an answer on defense.
This was IU's last big test before the Big Ten season. Butler could be a challenge when the two teams meet in Indianapolis on December 15th. IU has six more games before opening at Iowa, which will be IU's first road test.
This week has been dubbed "Beat UNC Week" by the athletic office as the men's soccer team will face North Carolina on Friday in the Elite 8 of the NCAA tournament. The basketball team lived up to their end of the bargain, and even honored the soccer team at halftime with a standing ovation.
The No. 1 Hoosiers will take on Coppin State Saturday evening. We'll have more on that game later in the week.
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