Last night, while putting off my essay for class, I tried a little experiment. With MacBook in hand and remote nearby, I put on the DVR'd Indiana v. Maryland game from last night and tried to really dig in to the details of what, exactly, was happening.
As a non-athlete (at least not past high school) I have never really made a serious effort at Peyton Manning-style film study before. But here are a few unusual things that occurred to me in the first half (second half coming after I finish this paper!):
1) When the starters or top eight guys (including Dumes, Hulls, Elston) are in the game, defense was fairly good. Rivers was doing an outstanding job on Greivis Vasquez early in the game. Creek also played him tough, but both he and Dumes let General Greivis slip over screens to take open threes that really put Maryland back in the game.
Still, the zone was very solid with all of these guys. Capobianco and Jobe are defensive liabilities. I was pleasantly surprised at how hard Jordan Hulls worked on the defensive end, and also at how mobile Tom Pritchard looked at times.
2) Devan Dumes made at least two great leading passes (to Jones and Creek, I believe) that both ended up not counting in his favor thanks to misses or blocks. He looked very heady running the fastbreak on these occasions and also showed exceptional range from beyond the arc. If he's still not 100%, then he's going to be a factor for this team once he gets there.
3) Christian Watford is an amazing athlete. Elston has a similar game but just isn't as springy or dominant. Elston needs to capitalize on his chances - he hurried several putbacks which resulted in wasted possessions. Still, his energy is excellent.
4) Jeremiah Rivers made three Top-Ten caliber plays. His block near the 10-minute mark on Moseley, then his flying steal on the ensuing inbound and fast-break throwdown were all just awesome moments. Actually, make that four, because that twisting reverse layup early in the game was great, too.
5) Hulls looked solid coming in and running the offense. He is more of a three-point threat than Rivers, which could be an X-factor going forward.
6) Verdell Jones looks like a man without a position. He and Creek have very similar skill sets, but Creek may already be as good of a defender and a better three point shooter. Verdell needs to keep driving the basket and taking those pull-ups that he is so good at. He also needs to finish stronger. He failed to draw several should-have-been fouls near the hole. Still, his mistakes are down somewhat.
7) Pritchard, despite a lack of stats, actually played well in the first half alongside Watford. He's one of the team's best pick and roll options.
Anyone else watch the game? Agree? Disagree? Let me know below.