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Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Hoosiers survive the week from hell

Junior Robert Johnson attempts a layup. The Hoosiers defeated the Redhawks 83-55.
Junior Robert Johnson attempts a layup. The Hoosiers defeated the Redhawks 83-55.

Exhausted, mentally drained, achy, ready for a nap.

It’s been a tough week for the press covering IU basketball this week.

The Hoosiers are probably tired as well.

In eight days, IU Coach Tom Crean and company took on four different teams. One of them was No. 3-ranked North Carolina. The other three, well, 
were not.

After a disappointing — to say the least — loss to Fort Wayne, IU needed to right the ship quickly, especially with a primetime matchup against the Tar Heels coming up in the middle of the week.

IU made quick work of Mississippi Valley State, pummeled North Carolina and then grinded its way to two satisfactory victories against SIU-Edwardsville and Southeast 
Missouri State.

Four games. 4-0.

“I think it was pretty tough,” junior guard Robert Johnson said about the schedule. “I’m proud of the way the guys fought and found energy, to be locked in to things like shoot around to film. I think it was a really big jump for our young guys.”

There’s still plenty to improve on, but in terms of getting the job done, the Hoosiers were up to snuff.

Here’s as vague a sentence you’ll find in the Indiana Daily Student. We learned a lot about IU this week, but we still have plenty of questions.

I apologize for making you read that, but it’s true.

“Hey, Greg. What did we learn?” you ask suspiciously.

Well, that’s a fantastic question.

We know this squad is as deep as a Crean roster has been since his arrival at IU.

Sophomore forward OG Anunoby’s high ankle sprain at the end of Wednesday’s North Carolina game allowed for sophomore forward Juwan Morgan and freshman forward De’Ron Davis to garner some 
attention.

Against SIUE and SEMO, Morgan went a combined 12-for-12 from the field.

That’s 100 percent for those wondering. Some things could have gone better for the Hoosiers, but Morgan’s field goal percentage could not.

“That’s swell and all, but that’s just one thing you noticed. Give us some more,” you demand.

OK, OK. Here we go.

Sophomore Thomas Bryant, the man in the middle, may not have had the gaudy stats that he often puts up, but he was as pivotal as any player on the court.

Against SEMO, Bryant didn’t make his first bucket until the second half, yet he was still a presence.

No. 31 had 10 rebounds, four blocks, three assists and one chest bump with Crean. He also shot 5-of-6 from the free throw line to bring his percentage for the last four games to over 80 percent. Last season Bryant shot slightly less than 71 percent. Finishing and-ones and other trips to the line makes him somehow even scarier.

With all of that said, none of this matters without Anunoby. The high-flier went down near the end of the North Carolina game and is day-to-day while definitely making progress, Crean said.

Fortunately, if a player were going to go down, this was as good a time as any.

The two cupcakes after North Carolina set the team up for the possibility of more flexible lineups.

Frontcourt and backcourt players who normally wouldn’t see playing time were thrown onto the court just to see what would happen.

Before the Big Ten schedule, allowing for different players to get new looks will allow the players to become more comfortable with one another.

It also lets Crean test out lineups for later in the 
season.

IU should be proud of how it fared during the past eight days.

“They have been on point, on attack and on a mission since the middle of the week,” Crean said.

With six days until its next matchup, IU will have some much-needed rest until it’s time to wake up again and get back to work.

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