After a tough loss at Wisconsin, the Hoosiers got back into the win column, overpowering the Merrimack Warriors out of the Northeastern Conference, winning by 32. IU was favored by 19 going into the game. Which lineup combinations made an impact on Sunday, and what lessons can be carried forward against more competitive opponents, such as Notre Dame and those within the Big Ten?
- Indiana’s best lineup on the day was the starting five of Xavier Johnson, Tamar Bates, Miller Kopp, Race Thompson, and Trayce Jackson-Davis. They did their job to begin the game, outscoring Merrimack 14-11 before the first substitution.
- Even bigger, they dominated the Warriors in the opening stretch after halftime. IU led by six at the break; by the time the first substitution was made in the second half, IU led 55-36.
- That’s right, Hoosier fans. On a per-minute basis, IU’s best lineup on Sunday was a full-bench unit of Khristian Lander, Anthony Leal, Tamar Bates, Jordan Geronimo, and Michael Durr. They played a 3:36 stretch late in the second half, pushing a 21-point lead up to 30. With computer rankings playing such a major role in sorting teams on Selection Sunday, bumping up the margin of victory sent IU all the way up to No. 27 in the updated KenPom ratings.
- One lineup that did struggle was the same group as above, but with Rob Phinisee in there instead of Lander. They played 3:11 in the first half and went -5 in that stint, as Merrimack cut a 10-point Hoosier lead to five.
- Of the ten rotation players (excluding Logan Duncomb), Phinisee finished with the lowest +/- on the team, at +3. Lander finished +11, while starting PG Johnson finished +22.
- Jackson-Davis led all players at +24. Lander led the team in +/- per minute, as his +11 came in 7:34.
- Interestingly, all of Bates’ 19 minutes came with Geronimo on the court. None came with Thompson on the floor. Geronimo played 1:26 with Bates sidelined. This could be a deadly duo in weeks to come.
- IU’s offense was at its best with Johnson in the game. In his 22:07, IU scored 50 points, or 2.26 points per minute (PPM). In the 17:53 he sat, IU scored 31 points, or 1.73 PPM.
- IU’s defense was at its best with Bates on the floor. In his 19:00, IU allowed 22 points, or 1.16 PPM. In the 21:00 he was sidelined, IU allowed 27 points, or 1.29 PPM.
- Woodson played just 12 permutations on Sunday. Seemingly, Woodson was able to diagnose the lineups that worked, such as the starting five, and let them play large chunks of the game.
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