On October 29, Indiana basketball opened up the season with an exhibition win against Marian University, 78-42, thanks to a double-double from Malik Reneau. Yes, it’s only an exhibition game and it’s already time to overreact to the many things we saw in that game.
The Hoosiers were 8-for-19 from beyond the arc in the opening game in Assembly Hall, where they typically shoot quite horrid. Mike Woodson’s defense showed some true grit and muscle against this top NAIA program, allowing just 42 points and limiting Marian to shooting just 24.6 percent from the field.
While the defense was holding tough, as expected, the offense showed flashes of what it could be, even without their star, Trayce Jackson-Davis. Jackson-Davis had been “a little banged up” and seemed to be wearing a brace on his right wrist on the bench.
While he was all suited up alongside Tamar Bates and the coaching staff, Malik Reneau and Race Thompson went to work against the undersized Marian big men. The two combined for 27 points, 17 rebounds, and three blocks while combining to shoot 11 for 16 from the field.
It was more than just those few things that I took away from this opening exhibition game, here are six more takeaways that stood out to me:
Six takeaways from Indiana basketball exhibition win vs. Marian
#6. Xavier Johnson should not be running the offense for Indiana basketball
In 24 minutes as the lead point guard for the Hoosiers, Johnson totaled 11 points, three assists, and two turnovers while shooting just 2 for 11 from the field and 0 for 3 from deep. There were multiple occasions in this game when I turned to my fellow Hoosier fans watching with me and said, “that was some very selfish basketball”.
How can you watch a game of your senior point guard and think he’s being selfish when he has some very young and talented players around him? That’s unacceptable. Will Xavier look better playing with his running mate Trayce Jackson-Davis? Probably. But if he continues to play out of control and try to score as much as he did on Saturday against an NAIA program, Indiana basketball will be in a lot of trouble against every single team they play this season.
Mike Woodson may even need to take drastic measures and move Johnson to the bench and hand the keys of the offense to freshman guard, Jalen Hood-Schifino.