Josh Wilson is a part of the Hoosiers-United family. You can check out his other work by following the links below:
Follow Josh and the rest of the Hoosiers-United family on Twitter: Josh Wilson (@joshwilson33), Ben Malcomson (@malcomsonben), Chris Corley (@chriscorley_3), Brian Tonsoni (@Soni42), and Bill Murphy (@Williamindiana2).
In an early season matchup that had most fans licking their chops, Indiana vs Duke was certainly going to be one of the best matchups of the year when they met in the annual ACC/BigTen Challenge. It was the exact opposite of that on Tuesday night. Indiana played careless, soft, and flat out got worked by Duke in every facet of the game. So I am asking you, please temper your expectations for this team.
It’s hard not to get excited about a team with so much potential. Indiana isn’t even at full strength, thanks to a slew of injuries. But they were very capable of a much better performance than they displayed Tuesday night in Durham. A very lackluster performance, mauled by turnovers and poor defense, it was almost like a blast from the past for this Indiana team.
Turnovers, let’s talk about turnovers. We all have marveled at the performance of Indiana’s guards so far this season. Indiana’s guards looked very sped up all game, and never got in a rhythm offensively. Most of those turnovers led to what will certainly be a large portion of Duke’s season highlight reel of dunks. Most of the highlight reel featured Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. Williamson and Barrett were outscoring Indiana 40-36 by themselves at one point early in the second half. That is certainly not a recipe for success. Back to the topic at hand. Indiana has had ups and downs so far this season. They haven’t always looked as solid as we had hoped. I’ve heard some rumblings of a sneaky Final Four run for the Hoosiers. All I am going to ask, is that you relax, and temper your expectations. This team isn’t there yet. This team still needs to get to full strength and mesh together in order to find itself and develop the chemistry it takes for a deep run into March and what we all hope is a Final Four appearance in April. But this team isn’t ready for that yet, so let’s pump the brakes.
Back to the game.
Indiana falls to 5-2 on the season after a 90-69 loss at Duke. The Duke freshman four outscored Indiana 75-69. Just shows you how dominant they were tonight, and how awful Indiana was as a whole. Indiana was led in scoring by Romeo Langford with 13 points. Indiana never led in the contest and trailed by as much as 27 at one point. After having 13 turnovers in the first half, Indiana was able to steady a little bit and only had 7 turnovers in the second half, totaling 20 on the night. Still too high of a number, but all things considered, not a bad finish after a horrible start to the game. Duke had 24 points off turnovers and 20 fast break points. Indiana shot 56% from the free throw line (14-25). So, if you take a step back and look at the end result, and then see how the game was played, if Indiana takes care of the ball, and knocks in some free throws, this game was much more of a contest than what it was. But, it’s easy to live in what-ifs after the fact. But my point is, these things are fixable. Indiana just needs to get healthy, and get some time together to develop some chemistry.
March is a long ways away. This game is either going to have a good or bad effect on Indiana’s season moving forward. How will they handle this loss? Will they learn from it and make something positive of it? Or is it the start of a downward spiral? That is up to Indiana. Only time will tell.