Through five games this season, Indiana is learning its strengths and weaknesses.
The Hoosiers (3-2) will look to continue to emphasize what they do well and work on their deficiencies when they host North Alabama (2-1) on Sunday.
Indiana is getting a stronger grasp of the pack-line defense in year four under head coach Archie Miller. The Hoosiers are holding opponents to 37.6 percent shooting from the floor and 63 points per game.
“We’re hanging our hat right now defensively, and our team right now is a better defensive team than what we’ve been,” Miller said.
The Hoosiers are coming off a tough 69-67 overtime loss at No. 20 Florida State on Wednesday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Trayce Jackson-Davis finished with 25 points and 17 rebounds, his second double-double of the season and the 14th of his career.
Jackson-Davis is averaging 22.2 points and nine rebounds, but he isn’t getting much help on the perimeter. The Hoosiers rank last in the Big Ten is both 3-point shooting percentage (28.8 percent) and 3-pointers made per game (4.2).
“He’s got to continue to be motivated to take this team to another level, and I think everybody else has got to rise up just as well,” Miller said.
Another concern for Miller is rebounding. The Hoosiers were unable to grab key defensive rebounds down the stretch and in overtime at Florida State.
Miller had set a goal for his guards to grab 12 rebounds per game. Indiana’s guards finished with 14 against the Seminoles, with Armaan Franklin leading the way with eight. Overall, Indiana’s rebounding margin is at just plus-0.2 for the season.
“It’s probably going to be the number one thing to hold us back if we cannot find a way to rebound the ball better,” Miller said.
North Alabama is playing at Indiana for the second straight year, having lost 91-65 in Bloomington last season.
The Lions are coming off a 62-57 loss to Troy on Thursday, a game in which they nearly rallied back from a 13-point halftime deficit and were within one point in the final minute. Jamari Blackmon missed a 3-point attempt that would have tied the game in the last seconds, and the Trojans sealed the outcome with two late free throws.
Blackmon and Mervin James topped North Alabama with 11 points apiece, though Blackmon sank only 4 of 15 field-goal attempts, including 1 of 10 from 3-point range.
James leads North Alabama in scoring at 18 points per game. Payton Youngblood is the Lions’ top perimeter threat, shooting 38.9 percent (7 of 18) from 3-point range. Detalian Brown is hitting 37.5 percent (6 of 16) from beyond the arc.
–Field Level Media