Three Questions From Indiana’s Blowout Loss At Michigan State

Even though they led by as many as 10 points late in the first half, the Indiana Hoosiers still had to feel really good about their play going into half even though they were down by one. However, that feeling disappeared when the Michigan State Spartans dominated in the second half and ended up demolishing Indiana 88-69.

Not many expected the Hoosiers to win in East Lansing, but it was the fact that IU showed it was capable of winning that game that has Hoosier Nation asking questions. While I don’t have the correct answers, I’ll still give my opinion on what I think are the three of the biggest questions that have surfaced from this loss. If you have a different opinion or just want to add on to my opinions, please leave a comment below.

  1. Is it time to bench Troy Williams?
    • Benching Williams is not a viable long-term solution, but it may be a good short-term one. The man I call “Tornado Troy” has been a force all season, wreaking havoc against both Indiana’s opponents and Indiana itself. When Williams is at his best he’s an NBA lottery pick, but when he’s at his worst he’s a walking turnover-machine. Even though there were quite a few good things from Williams on Sunday, the fact he was scoreless in 20 minutes of play outweighs all of them. My solution would be for Williams to come off the bench for just Indiana’s next game (home against Nebraska) and in his place start OG Anunoby. Williams’ play has responded positively to being benched in the past, and might be what he needs to get going again. It’s also arguably the easiest game the Hoosiers have left so if the switch backfires IU would still be able to overcome it. Williams is the wild card in determining IU’s fate this season and like it or not he needs to play.
  2. What’s the reason behind Yogi Ferrell’s shooting slump?
    • The overwhelming theory is that the heavy minutes load is starting to catch up to him. While that does sound reasonable (Ferrell is playing 34.2 minutes per game), one look at his yearly stats and you notice he played around the same amount of minutes both last year (34.9mpg in 2014-2015) and during his sophomore year (33.8mpg in 2013-2014). Instead I think it goes a little deeper. With James Blackmon Jr. out, Ferrell has made it a point to put the team on his back Add that with the fact the Hoosiers have had a hard time functioning on the court without him and you end up stacking even more pressure and stress onto those minutes. The only real fix to this is if the Hoosiers can prove they can play well enough without Ferrell for extended periods of time so Ferrell can rest a few more minutes. The good news is that IU did just that in its win over Iowa. Now it’s up to Ferrell to take advantage of any extra minutes of rest.
  3. How crucial is it for Indiana’s NCAA tournament resume to get a road win over a great team?
    • I really doubt that not winning a road game against a top team is going to keep the Hoosiers out of the NCAA tournament. I also don’t think it will affect seeding that badly (one seed-line at most). If Indiana is able to grab wins over Maryland and Purdue, it won’t really matter to the selection committee that those games were in Assembly Hall. Where road wins are important to IU is in the Big Ten title hunt. Despite the loss on Sunday, Indiana still controls its own destiny as the Hoosiers still have one more game against Maryland and Iowa. However the game against the Hawkeyes will be in Iowa and is now a must-win, but only in terms of winning the Big Ten.
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