It was a huge early Big Ten conference basketball contest between the Indiana Hoosiers and the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday afternoon: the Hoosiers, ranked fifth and undefeated in conference play, hosting the eighth-ranked Gophers, who also were undefeated thus far.
It was the first time since 2000 that a game in Assembly Hall featured two top-10 ranked teams in the nation. The game, though, could be categorized as the good, the bad and the ugly for the Hoosiers.
If you didn't watch the game you would be thrilled Indiana beat Minnesota by seven at home, 88-81, but for those who analyzed it, it got rough.
Indiana came out firing in the first half of play. They shot 64 percent from the field and 65 percent from behind the arc. They also forced Minnesota to 12 turnovers and gained 19 points off of them. After the 20-minute mark to signify halftime the Hoosiers had a huge 23-point lead and looked like they would cruise to a victory.
Not so fast.
Indiana nearly had itself to blame for a loss by giving the ball away too much in the second half and got away from what they were doing to get the lead in the first half. This is something the Hoosiers do way too often.
They get a big lead then get too complacent and try too many crazy things thinking teams will just roll over for them. They should have known Gophers coach Tubby Smith would have his team show no quit and turn up the intensity a bit.
In fact, Minnesota played a style the Hoosiers are built off of and did a big thing teams shouldn't do against IU, and that's full-court press them. Every coach talks about how quick Indiana is and how good they are at getting down the court and getting fast-break points.
With the Hoosiers' lead teetering between 17 and 19 points most of the first half, they became complacent and began throwing the ball all over the sold0out Assembly Hall. This was the same team that committed just four turnovers in the first half.
Reality is the Hoosiers got too careless and no one wanted to break an easy press. All they had to do was just keep the ball in the middle, calm down and dribble. It wasn't that difficult. Indiana made it more difficult than it should have been.
This actually was a good thing and a great lesson to be learned. They know should know not to expect teams to just give up and just keep the foot on the accelerator. There's no reason Minnesota came back in this game. I understand Gophers fans will think their press was beneficial and should have won this game, but anyone who knows basketball knows it was all on Indiana's complacency.
The Hoosiers though got the win and put themselves one more game ahead of a Big Ten threat.
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