In today’s edition of Banner Morning:
• Romeo Langford had a strong college debut.
• Archie Miller was not pleased with Indiana’s defense.
• Free throws linger as an issue.
• Robert Phinisee’s steady hand will likely keep his playing time high.
• Evan Fitzner did exactly what Indiana recruited him to do.
• The Hoosiers are clearly still getting comfortable with the finer points of the pack-line.
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Welcome to another edition of Banner Morning. We are now 7 days away from IU-Marquette.
In team news …
Indiana opened the 2018-19 season last night with a 104-55 victory over Chicago State.
Romeo Langford led Indiana with 19 points in his college debut, 17 of them coming in the first half. At one point Romeo scored eight straight points to extend Indiana’s lead from 23-16 to 31-16, which was the Banner Moment on last night’s edition of The Assembly Call IU Postgame Show.
Devonte Green, Evan Fitzner, and Justin Smith were also in double figures scoring. And Zach McRoberts contributed 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and his usual solid defense to go along with 6 points on 2-2 shooting from downtown.
Robert Phinisee had another strong showing, contributing 5 assists and 5 steals while committing two turnovers.
The obvious negative from last night’s game? Free throw shooting. Indiana shot just 57.6% from the line. While the 33 attempts are a major plus, Indiana’s ability to get to the line is going to be neutralized if they can’t start hitting their free throws at a higher clip.
The not-so-obvious negative from a game in which Indiana held its opponent to 0.688 points per possession was defense. Archie Miller was not pleased with his team’s defensive consistency and cohesion, stating in his postgame press conference, “Our on-ball defense, our pressure on the ball, wasn’t where it has to get to. You saw a lot of just communication breakdowns. So we have a lot of work to do on that end of the floor.”
Now let’s go around the horn and get some reaction to Indiana’s victory …
In his Minute After post at Inside the Hall, Ryan Corazza remarked on Robert Phinisee’s continued solid play, saying, “Phinisee appears to have a little more control and balance to his game, which could help tip the scales in his favor as the season goes along and he continues to learn Archie Miller’s system and the college game.”
Zach Osterman discussed Evan Fitzner’s strong debut, saying Fitzner “spaces the floor well and moves without the ball like an experienced shooter. He’s filling the exact need he was recruited to ably for the Hoosiers.”
And Ben Ladner commented on Indiana’s defensive struggles, stating that “Despite noticeable improvement, Indiana hasn’t yet mastered the finer points of the pack-line defense. Had Chicago State boasted more capable passers and shooters, it might have generated far more open shots than it did Tuesday night.”
Next up for Indiana is Montana State on Friday evening at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The Bobcats are currently ranked 268th in KenPom.
For the links mentioned in this edition of Banner Morning, visit assemblycall.com.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a brand new edition of Banner Morning. Until then, keep your elbows in and your eyes on the rim, and go Hoosiers.