Indiana’s Big Ten campaign got off to a good start on Saturday, knocking off Nebraska 68-55 at Assembly Hall. The win bumped Indiana into the top-30 of the KenPom ratings, and the Hoosiers are now 7-1. Which player combinations stood out in IU’s victory?
- Welcome to the lineup breakdown, Anthony Leal. The sophomore out of Bloomington South showed up in Indiana’s co-best lineup, along with Xavier Johnson, Tamar Bates, Race Thompson, and Trayce Jackson-Davis.
- Specifically, this lineup gave the Hoosiers a lead in the first half that they would never relinquish. Impressively, these five didn’t give up a single point during their 1:47 on the floor together.
- Leal entered the game with 11:26 to go in the first half, with IU trailing 14-4. He then played the next 10:01 without a break, and by the time he returned to the bench, IU led 26-22.
- Leal had a great game, but IU’s leader in +/- on Saturday was Bates (+16). Bates showed up in IU’s top eight lineups on the afternoon.
- For the first time this season, Indiana’s most frequently-played lineup was not the starting five. Rather it was Rob Phinisee along with Parker Stewart, Miller Kopp, Thompson, and Jackson-Davis. This was likely due to a combination of Johnson’s foul trouble and IU’s slow start.
- As you can probably guess, the starters struggled vs. the Cornhuskers. They went -5, the worst lineup of the day for the Hoosiers.
- IU’s most efficient lineup was a smaller mix of Phinisee, Stewart, Bates, Kopp, and Thompson. At a high level, this lineup has shooting and athleticism and could be a valuable infusion of energy during Big Ten play, like they were on Saturday. During their shift, they pushed a 43-36 IU lead up to 11 points.
- Johnson’s importance to this team cannot be understated. The Pitt transfer and ex-Nebraska signee still ended up in both of IU’s +5 lineups and went +7 on the day. Mike Woodson entrusted his point guard to close out the game as well, playing him the final 5:38 to clinch the win.
- Woodson played 15 permutations on Saturday, the most since the St. John’s game.
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