Quick Thoughts: Indiana is a mess
Three things Mike Woodson needs to fix, like, now
Indiana coach Mike Woodson had an interesting quote Sunday afternoon, not long after the defending national champions drilled his nascent IU squad by 20 (via Zach Osterman):
"We knew this game would be tough,” Woodson said. “I was so anxious to get to the game, just to see where we were as a ball club. They kind of put us in our place, and we’ve got to go figure it out."
I’m not entirely sure how Indiana fans should feel about this. On the one hand, yes, Connecticut was IU’s first truly elite test of the season, the first barometer vis a vis any top team. On the other hand, Indiana’s first three games said plenty about where Indiana was as a ball club already.
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The Hoosiers barely beat Florida Gulf Coast, Army and Wright State; in doing so, they fell from 50th in adjusted efficiency to start the season to 73rd in advance of Sunday’s blowout. Wins are wins, but performance matters. They have undershot KenPom’s analytic expectations every time they’ve taken the court. They haven’t looked remotely like a top-half Big Ten team, let alone one of the most talented rosters in the conference. And most Indiana fans were already concerned before their team got run out of Madison Square Garden. In other words: Woodson maybe should have known where his team was to begin with.
Anyway, everyone from the most optimistic IU fan to the people already calling for Woodson to be fired (and apparently that’s already happening, which is fun) will agree with that last bit. Now the coach has to figure it out.
In advance of Monday’s game against Louisville — who suddenly looked downright competent in Sunday’s buzzer-beater loss against Texas — here are the three big things Woodson should try to fix first, presented in relatively concise fashion.
(Note: This is the first “Quick Thoughts,” a new type of post in which I will formally limit myself to a few big bullet points about a single topic or game. The idea is to get more stuff out the door to you guys more often without feeling like I need to write 4,000 in-depth words to justify my existence on this Earth. Been a career-long struggle, that. We’ll have a ton more to cover after Monday’s amazing Feast Week slate, so look forward to a large file Tuesday morning — including stuff from Maui, more on UConn after their game against Texas, and surprising Virginia’s biggest test yet.)
1. Fix this shot diet immediately
I mean, guys, just look at this:
Where to even begin? For contrast, have a look at where the reigning national champions get their shots:
The latter is a team with a clear idea of what it wants to do offensively — and all of the tools to make it happen. Connecticut does not want to take midrange shots. Its coaches thus run modern action after modern action — from the best offensive playbook in the sport right now — to get guys moving to the rim, into the middle of the lane, or open around the 3-point line. A super efficient shot diet ensues.
Indiana does not do this.
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