Indiana basketball capitalized off a much-needed road win last Thursday against Illinois with another double digit win back at home Sunday against Michigan State 82-69. The Hoosiers are now winners of three straight as they head to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers Wednesday night.
Certainly, something was said in that locker room after that disappointing performance on the road against Penn State. IU has played three of its best games of the year just in the span of this week, and is slowly climbing to the top of the Big Ten standings. Here’s what I took away from Sunday afternoon’s win against the Spartans.
The Hoosiers needed this performance from 3-point range
It’s been one of the biggest Achilles heels for IU in recent years, but Indiana shot the 3-ball very well on Sunday. Even though the Hoosiers did not shoot well from beyond the arc in their past two wins against Wisconsin and Illinois, they still found a way to win. However, questions began to come up about if they could keep the winning up despite some poor 3-point shooting.
But Tamar Bates and Trey Galloway gave the Hoosiers a boost Sunday that can go a long way come later in the season. The two combined for eight 3-pointers while shooting at a 88.9% clip, and were a huge reason besides a Trayce Jackson-Davis 31 point double-double that Indiana was able to win this game. If Indiana can get this type of production from 3-point land more consistently, this team is heading in a great direction come late February to March.
Trayce Jackson-Davis continues his dominant stretch
The preseason All-American has been on an absolute tear during this winning streak for IU, as he is averaging 28 points and 12 points during this three-game winning streak the Hoosiers are riding. Jackson-Davis is doing much better in being more aggressive when going to the basket as we saw him throw down a couple of monster dunks throughout the game.
Not only has he been IU’s team leader in points and rebounds over this three-game stretch, but he’s also the team leader in assists during this streak as well. We’ve seen games where Jackson-Davis makes some incredible passes to find shooters on the outside, and he certainly did more of that on Sunday afternoon. This passing ability just adds another dangerous element to an IU offense who may have just settled into its rhythm.
This team has its confidence back
Many were concerned going into this game if IU would play flat after securing a much-needed road win just days earlier. But it turns out this team did the opposite, as the Hoosiers played like they were earlier in the season, with a lot more confidence and doing an excellent job in all phases of the game.
A big part of this confidence is shown in offensive rebounding. Guys such as Jackson-Davis and Jordan Geronimo have been much more active on the offensive glass and getting second opportunities to score for Indiana. The overall effort of this team is just so much better than earlier in Big Ten play, as this team had gotten down on itself and wouldn’t play hard at times. But this effort from the Hoosiers we’ve seen the past three games needs to be the standard for Mike Woodson’s team, and could be huge with a gauntlet of Big Ten games coming up in February.