There were a few questions swirling around Indiana University and whether or not they were for real heading into Big Ten play.
After tonight's 80-65 loss to Michigan State, there may be a few more questions.
It was obvious that going on the road to MSU for the opener and without Will Sheehey was going to be tough. Any Tom Izzo team is going to play hard-nosed defense and rebound the ball.
They did more then just that tonight, as IU struggled to find a consistent rhythm on offense. Penetration was difficult to come by, Cody Zeller was non-existent and Jordan Hulls had an all around off night.
The biggest question at this moment is, how will they bounce back against OSU on New Year's Eve at home?
Here are some of the things I noticed after IU suffered their first loss of the season tonight.
All last season we kept talking about how we needed a low post presence. Well now that we have "one" there's an instant need for some bench help.
Sorry to say, but Tom Pritchard is not the answer. Nor is Derek Elston. In fact we don't have a necessary answer for that problem.
We have Cody Zeller and that is great, but when he struggles like he did tonight then our entire offensive scheme (not that we have one) changes.
The additions of Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin will make a huge difference in the post come next season. Again it is somewhat of a wait for next year theme.
There is nothing I like more than watching a white boy drain threes or drive the lane. However, Jordan Hulls can only do one of those and tonight he didn't even do a good job of that. Hit threes.
Lacking this season, or shall I say the past few seasons, is a true point guard. One that is a difference maker and can create for himself. Someone that is a dynamic, take the game over type player.
We all know that isn't Hulls and that player to be is Yogi Ferrell. The future continues to look bright for a still young IU team, but the future can't get here quick enough.
Ferrell is going to change the complexity of the offense and will certainly be considered an early front runner for freshman of the year next season.
Hulls has come up with some big shots and will continue throughout the season, but boy could we use Yogi.
With every game and every practice the maturation becomes more evident. The level of better play is there, too.
Upsetting then-No.1 Kentucky was phenomenal for IU and their young team. Tonight's loss also may turn out to be just as valuable, all depending on how they respond from their first defeat.
They are still one season away from being considered upper-echelon in the Big Ten. Even with the likelihood of them dancing come this March.
Their competitive nature has been there since day one when Tom Crean took over. The thing lacking is pure talent. Not saying IU doesn't have talented ball players, but most teams have them that much better.
This team will continue to fight and pull some upsets this season. They will also probably lose a couple games that they shouldn't. But competing for a Big Ten title may not be so realistic this season.
Hopefully they prove me wrong, but if not I won't be disappointed. Things are headed in the right direction and next season the sky is the limit.
One quick question for everybody. Can you see the court when you are dribbling with your head down?
I am pretty sure I know the answer to this one. NO!
Verdell Jones III has done that his entire career at IU. Yes, he has made some clutch shots, but he has also made some terrible decisions with the basketball. Part of that is because he doesn't dribble with his head up.
There were too many times tonight where I saw him and other Hoosiers make ill-advised decisions with the basketball. Making costly turnovers.
Let's not forget about the one-and-done trips. You know, where we come down and make one pass then shoot the ball. Or try to play street ball, which I like to call one-on-one.
Hate to say it, but there is only one player on the team that even has the quickness to play that type of ball and that's Victor Oladipo.
When we charged back tonight is when we shared the ball, ran our offense and took smart shots. We also played great defense that allowed us to get out on transition.
This has been a common theme the past few years and I am starting to wonder if we have more then five sets on offense sometimes.
Ahhh, something I have been thinking, but haven't said yet this season. Now I get the chance to.
Hey, Cody Zeller. MAN UP!
Everyone says that IU needs to get him the ball when they are on offense and I do agree. However, tonight's game showed that he needs to bang for position and demand for the rock.
Don't just stop battling for position when you don't get it right away. There were too many times where he was just standing around when he couldn't gain his low post positioning after seven to 10 seconds.
I think he got a little taste of what college basketball is truly about. That's physical, hard-nosed, full 40-minute Big Ten basketball.
Trust me, he is a smart kid and will learn from this tonight. The adjustments will be made and he will continue to grow every game. You have to in this conference if you plan on sticking around.
Next challenge won't be any easier when he squares off with Jared Sullinger from OSU.
I still think he is a great player for a freshman. Heck he leads the team in scoring and rebounding for a reason. He is still a freshman and it's a long season, but he needs to learn from this game.