Indiana Basketball is 2-0 and has looked phenomenal
Indiana basketball was dominant in their first game of the Maui Invitational, beating the Providence Friars 79-58. The player of the game was undoubtedly Race Thompson, who finished the game with 22 points on 8-12 shooting to go with 13 rebounds (8 offensive).
Thompson set the tone from the very beginning of the game and carried the team throughout. Whenever Providence would begin to narrow the deficit, it seemed like Thompson would make a play to keep the Hoosiers in control.
The Hoosiers never trailed in this game aside from being down 0-2 after Providence’s first possession of the game. Here are a few key takeaways from IU’s statement win:
There was a lot of hype about Race Thompson during the offseason, and he has shown why through two games. His effort and rebounding are at the same level as they were during his first two seasons, but he flashed more skill on offense.
On several occasions, Thompson used fancy footwork to maneuver his way to a bucket in the post. He also showed the ability to knock down a 15-foot jump shot and had two thunderous dunks. It is clear he has improved his skills a tremendous amount and looks to be Indiana’s second-best player. He has actually outplayed Trayce Jackson-Davis through the first two games, but I am not willing to crown him as IU’s best player quite yet.
Free throws were a major issue against Tennessee Tech, but the Hoosiers cleaned up at the line today. They shot 75% at the line on 24 free throws. This will continue to be a huge storyline throughout the season. A team this physical is bound to take many trips to the line, and they will need to convert on those easy chances.
The Hoosiers played stellar defense today, especially in the first half. The Friars had 9 turnovers and 9 field goals in the first half and finished the first 20 minutes with just 24 points. They fared a little better in the second half, but holding a team to 58 points will earn you quite a few wins in college basketball. This is one of the better defensive performances Indiana has had under Archie Miller.
The offense looked more fluid today than it has in any game in the past three years. Players were moving without the ball, swinging it across the perimeter with eagerness, hitting the roller on pick-and-rolls. The Hoosiers displayed everything that has been lacking from their offense last season. The players look to be having more fun in the system, and they are getting far better shots.
One note on the offense. Indiana seemed to be a little less active on that side of the ball in the second half, but I think it may be a conditioning issue. Due to COVID restrictions, there have been far less practices and it is possible teams will have to play their way into basketball shape this season.
The Hoosiers started out the game shooting 1-9 from three in the first half but finished 5-14 — a decent clip. Almost all of their threes were open and they are bound to convert on more of those looks than they have through the first two games.
The Hoosiers will be back in action at 1:30 ET to take on Texas in round two of the Maui Invitational.