Expected to be an improved team in 2015-16, Indiana received a nice boost Wednesday afternoon. Forward Troy Williams, has decided to return to school for his junior season, announcing the news on his Instagram page. According to multiple outlets, Williams came to his decision after consulting with both Indiana head coach Tom Crean and uncle Boo Williams.
This is an important piece of news for the Hoosiers, who are still awaiting NBA Draft decisions from guards Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr.
Williams led the Hoosiers in rebounding and was their third-leading scorer in 2014-15, averaging 13.0 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest. Williams started 28 of the 32 games he played in, shooting better than 54 percent from the field and reaching double figures in scoring in 20 contests.
His return means that Indiana will have the front court depth it lacked in 2014-15, with Williams being joined by Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Emmitt Holt as returnees and two quality prospects in Thomas Bryant, Juwan Morgan and O.G. Anunoby entering the program as well.
You think college basketball is unwatchable this year? Turn on an Indiana game
And, unless your rooting allegiances lie in Kentucky or some other Big Ten college town, I find it very hard to believe that you won’t feel the same way if you watch the Hoosiers play. Here’s what they do: they push the ball, they spread the floor offensively, they let their quartet of talented perimeter weapons make plays and they fire up threes at will.
When those threes are going down, you’ll have nights like Thursday night, where the No. 23 Hoosiers went 15-for-22 from three, hit 60.0 percent of their field goals and blew out No. 13 Maryland on a night where the Terps shot better than 50 percent from the field and hit 10-for-20 from deep.
In a season where everyone is complaining about how unwatchable college basketball is, the Hoosiers are the collegiate version of the Golden State Warriors. They’re not quite as dominant — Yogi Ferrell is a stud, but Steph Curry he ain’t — but they are now 15-4 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten, which is tied for first in the conference with Wisconsin.
And here’s the scary thing: they may have just found a way to get better. Hanner Mosquera-Perea, one of just two true big men on Indiana’s roster and their starting center, got injured after their blowout loss at Michigan State. That was thought to be a major blow to the Indiana season, but what it’s done is make them even more difficult to guard. Now, instead of having a center that wasn’t all that good of a shot-blocker or a rebounder letting defenses clog up the lane, the Hoosiers are using Colin Hartman — a 6-foot-8 flamethrower — to open things up even more.
It might be for the best. Yeah, Indiana will take a hit on the defensive end of the floor, but they weren’t stopping anyone anyway. They entered Thursday night ranked 197th in defensive efficiency, according to Kenpom. If you’re going to be a bad defensive team, one that needs to score a ton of points to beat good teams, you might as well have your most unguardable team on the floor at all times. Since Perea got hurt, Indiana has gone 35-for-68 from three. That’s 51.4 percent.
Indiana is going to have some off-nights, but when they’re on, they’re going to be able to play with anyone in the country.
Georgetown overcame a 10-point halftime deficit. Indiana (more like Yogi Ferrell) scored seven points in the last 90 seconds of regulation to force overtime.
But in the extra frame, the Georgetown duo of D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Joshua Smith were too much for the Hoosiers, as the Hoyas picked up an important 91-87 win on Saturday afternoon inside Madison Square Garden in one of the best games of the season.
For the Hoyas, this was a great way to end the non-conference portion of their schedule, as they hope to see similar results when they return to The Garden in March. Georgetown has the makings of a top-25 team, though, didn’t have the resume to match. In the Battle 4 Atlantis, Georgetown topped an injury-plagued Florida team, and took Wisconsin to the wire, only to lose by three. The Hoyas also hosted Kansas earlier this month, but suffered a five-point loss.
At different points of the game, both teams showed why they’ll both be tough outs in their respective conferences.
After being plagued by three fouls in the first half, Smith scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half and overtime, grabbing six boards (five offensive) and recorded two steals. He gave Georgetown the inside presence Indiana couldn’t handle.
In the first half, the Hoosiers opened up a double-digit lead thanks to 3-point shooting from Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. The two guards combined for six of Indiana’s seven 3-pointers. The Hoosiers would score 26 of their 40 first half points off 3-point attempts, as Georgetown fouled two 3-point shooters, resulting in five points from the free throw line. Georgetown held dig itself into a whole, missing way too many point-blank shots.
Troy Williams had a great showing, especially in the second half, making plays for teammates, crashing the glass and hustling for 50/50 balls.
Smith-Rivera scored 24 of his game-high 29 after halftime and Aaron Bowen had a career-high 20 off the bench. Ferrell was one of three IU players to go over 20 with a team-high 27. Williams had 23 and Blackmon added 22.