After starting the season 12-2, Indiana Basketball has dropped their last four games, all of them being conference matchups. The team has failed to win a game since losing to the Michigan Wolverines on Jan. 6. If Indiana does not figure out things soon, then they could miss out on the NCAA tournament for the third straight season.
The Hoosiers visited West Lafayette, Ind. for a conference showdown against in-state rival, the Purdue Boilermakers. Many analysts believed that Purdue had a slight advantage before tipoff, but few thought it would result in a 15-point deficit. Freshman, Romeo Langford committed two early fouls which sidelined him after only three minutes of action. Langford would later check back into the game but might as well have stayed out. The stellar freshman had career lows across the board, in a game that the team needed him most.
Langford, who entered Saturday’s contest averaging 18.8 points per game, was scoreless entering halftime. The Crimson Guard was devastated by the loss to Purdue, especially after listening to the daunting chants from Boilermaker fans throughout the closing minutes of the first and second halves. Langford finished the contest with one assist, three rebounds and four points in 22 minutes of action. Hopefully, Langford uses this game as a learning experience and addresses his 0-for-4 shooting from the free throw line.
Senior forward, Juwan Morgan showed a tremendous amount of grit, capturing four offensive rebounds, securing three blocks and hauling in three steals. Morgan understands the rivalry between the two schools better than anyone on the team, therefore he was not going to give up without a fight. Fellow sophomore teammate, Justin Smith led with 15 points, but also led in turnovers. Despite impressive performances from Morgan and Smith, Indiana shot 7-for-18 from the free throw line, resulting in massive momentum swings for the Boilermakers. If the Hoosiers are struggling to shoot foul shots, then it allows the opposition’s defense to commit fouls without consequence.
Miller, who seems to have quite a grasp on the players’ development, appears to be struggling to instill a few fundamentals. Shooting free throws should become second-nature to the team, but they have only converted on 48.4 percent (18-for-37) over the past two games. If Indiana is going to turn their recent skid around, then Miller will need to reinforce the importance of fundamentals. Check back Tuesday, when Indiana travels to Northwestern, to see if they can get back on track.