Indiana Basketball: Best and Worst Moments from Hoosiers So Far
As Indiana basketball heads into 2014, the nonconference season is done and the Hoosiers stand at 10-3. It's been an interesting 13 games for Indiana, with plenty of highs, but some lows as well.
This slideshow will examine the Hoosiers' season to date and pick out the three best and three worst moments from 2013-14.
Third-Worst Moment: The Play of Jeremy Hollowell
Going into this season, expectations were high for sophomore Jeremy Hollowell. As a freshman, he gained valuable experience as a part of Indiana's rotation. Now, as a starter, the offensive capabilities he flashed in high school were supposed to shine.
His shooting percentages of 37.6 from the floor and 26.1 from beyond the arc have held him back and are the reasons why he's only averaging 8.6 points per game.
The Hoosiers need a lot more from Hollowell going forward.
Second-Worst Moment: Loss at Syracuse
The Hoosiers were embarrassed by Syracuse in last season's NCAA tournament, so when they went to New York for the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, IU fans hoped for revenge. Unfortunately, they received a similar result. The Orange blasted the young Hoosiers, 69-52.
The same 2-3 zone the Hoosiers battled against back in March befuddled them again. For the second time in less than a year, Indiana looked unprepared and coughed up the ball far too often.
In IU's defense, Syracuse is once again one of the nation's top teams, and the Hoosiers are inexperienced. It was their first true road test.
But considering how head coach Tom Crean and many of the roster's players faced Syracuse not all that long ago, a better showing was expected.
Worst Moment: Loss vs. Notre Dame
When the Hoosiers took on Notre Dame, it was their last chance for a quality nonconference win. It would have been a nice resume builder considering how many cupcakes they faced up to that point. Unfortunately, the Irish came out on top, 79-72.
This game is such a low point for Indiana because it was basically a home game, as it was played in Indianapolis, and Notre Dame, while more experienced, didn't look to be more talented. They simply played harder and executed much better than Indiana.
Despite this, the Irish were very beatable. This game was a great opportunity for Indiana to show it could beat a legitimate team. It would have been a great confidence boost for the Hoosiers as they go into the Big Ten season.
Instead, IU laid an egg in a pro-Hoosier environment and still doesn't have an impressive win to date.
Third-Best Moment: The Improvement of Yogi Ferrell
Point guard Yogi Ferrell has been a revelation for Indiana in 2013-14. He is the Hoosiers' best offensive option and is blossoming in his second season.
Ferrell leads the team in scoring (16.8 PPG) and three-point shooting (42.7 percent) and is second in free-throw shooting (81.1 percent).
His 4.2 assists per game aren't too shabby either.
He's the go-to guy when Indiana controls the basketball. If Indiana is to do any damage in the Big Ten, it will be behind Ferrell's lead.
Second-Best Moment: The Play of Noah Vonleh
A lot of hype surrounded freshman Noah Vonleh when he arrived in Bloomington, and he's living up to it. The 5-star recruit is playing like one.
He is a beast on the low block, scoring 12 points and pulling down 9.5 rebounds per game. He may not be Cody Zeller, but he's made Zeller's departure much more manageable.
Besides the rebounding, Vonleh is making the most impact on defense. He leads the team in blocks and is second in steals. Per Sports-Reference.com, he has by far the team's best defensive rating out of players seeing significant minutes.
He is arguably Indiana's best player, and the Hoosiers will need him to keep it up against Big Ten competition.
Best Moment: Indiana's First Half vs. Syracuse
The Hoosiers lost badly to No. 4-ranked Syracuse, but only trailed by four at the end of the first half. They matched the Orange blow for blow.
Why is this so important?
Indiana showed it could play with one of the country's best teams. The Hoosiers didn't back down despite being so young and inexperienced. The national television stage and hostile crowd didn't shell shock them. It may have only been for a half, but Indiana played at a high level and competed.
This is huge as the Big Ten season begins. Night in and night out, the Hoosiers are going to face tough competition. Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa and Michigan are just a few of the formidable foes littered throughout the conference.
Because IU has proved it can hang with an elite team, it shouldn't be scared against the ones remaining on its schedule. The first half against Syracuse gives us a reason to think the Hoosiers can perform well in the conference this season.