At most universities football is the primary focus of the student body, but at Indiana University basketball takes precedent. On Thursday, Nov. 1, the Hoosiers hosted Southern Indiana in an exhibition game, defeating them 96-62. The entire game was in Indiana’s control, outscoring the Screaming Eagles in the first half 39-20.
Although the Hoosiers are filled with underclassman, they played as though they were seasoned veterans. Top-recruit, Romeo Langford, demonstrated his skills early and often, finishing tied for second in total points with 13 and a team-best 5 steals. It is worth noting that Langford committed 5 turnovers, which will likely be an area that is addressed before the season begins Tuesday, Nov. 6, against Chicago State. If the Hoosiers are able to correct these kinds of mishaps early in the season, then it will pay dividends when competing in tough conference matchups later on.
All three of Indiana’s top freshmen recruits led the team in scoring. Robert Phinisee and Langford added 13 points to the board, and Damezi Anderson finished with 14. It is encouraging to see the younger players on the team being given opportunities, but more importantly capitalizing on them when presented. The Hoosiers are filled with talent this season, therefore it is challenging to predict which team members will play significant roles on the court. The team demonstrated that they will rely on every player throughout games. Head coach, Archie Miller, appears to have an excellent grasp on how the team operates. This causes great anticipation for the fans as the start of the season is about to begin.
Last season, the team struggled to take control of the ball and committed far too many turnovers. Although it was just an exhibition game, the team only turned the ball over 11 times, which is an improvement of last year’s 12.5 per game. They were also able to force 10 takeaways on the game, which is an increase of last season’s 6.4 steals per game. It is evident that the team is performing at midseason form straight out of the gate, which should help them establish a dominating presence in what is shaping up to be a tough conference.
Miller will look to get any lingering issues addressed before Tuesday’s home opener, especially since he knows it is a game that team should exercise minimal mistakes. Indiana is in the driver’s seat, and the fans have been waiting for this moment since falling short of last season’s NCAA Tournament. If you would like to join the Crimson Guard in cheering on one college basketball’s most winning franchises, then tune-in for tipoff Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.