[Postgame 3-2-1] What We Learned From Indiana's Lost to Auburn
We break down three key stats, two observations, and one lingering question from Indiana's loss to Auburn in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon.
We’ve officially witnessed the new worst loss in the Mike Woodson era.
Saturday’s outing against Auburn caused me, and likely many others, to flip a mental switch about this team within a matter of minutes.
In building a 22-10 lead, it became pretty apparent what the Hoosiers’ ceiling might look at their best, but also how quickly they can crumble when faced with adequate pressure.
Coming off a big, scrappy road win at Michigan, and then into the first five minutes of the game in Atlanta, there was a lot of optimism. By the end of the game though, there was only disappointment and discouragement.
Here are three key stats, two observations, and one lingering question from Indiana’s loss to Auburn.
Did you miss yesterday's edition of the postgame show?
The Assembly Call is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
3 Meaningful Stats
1. Indiana tied its season-high for made 3-pointers before the first media timeout.
This was the most encouraging way in which the Hoosiers could’ve opened the game.
Draining four of its first five 3-pointers within just a few minutes of the opening tip was not a feat many expected to see, especially against a long, physical team like Auburn. Indiana finally seemed to overcome its shooting woes, and it was a great sight to see Mgbako wield the hot hand with two of those makes early on.
If only that play had continued throughout the rest of the game.
The under-16 media timeout was a detrimental turning point for the Hoosiers’ 3-point shooting. Their performance in every other aspect of the game would soon crater as well.
Indiana shot just 2-12 from beyond the arc during the remainder of the blowout and were never able to find the same level of offensive intensity as the opening minutes.
2. Auburn responded to Indiana’s biggest punch each half — with runs of 42-12 and 23-10.
Despite falling behind by 12 early in the game, Auburn quickly answered with an outstanding final 13 minutes that sent Indiana to the locker room with an 18-point deficit. In that span, Indiana was held scoreless for nearly five minutes.
The Tigers were relentless in pressuring the Hoosiers to prevent them from getting hot, but it was still astounding how greatly Indiana struggled to convert from the field after such a strong start. Indiana’s defense did not do it any favors either, and there were once again many communication and rotation errors to give up easy buckets.
Questionable substitutions certainly seemed to kill a lot of IU’s early momentum, but a general lack of offensive identity and organization were also once again problems.
At the beginning of the second half, Indiana strung a few buckets together to cut the deficit down to 11. Still, Auburn responded with a run of its own that put the game completely out of reach with well over 10 minutes remaining.
3. Auburn outrebounded Indiana 39-35
Stop me if you’ve heard this before — rebounding was a major concern, especially with the size and talent of Indiana’s starting frontcourt!
Both Reneau and Ware had decent games scoring-wise, but the fact that a significantly smaller Auburn frontcourt dominated them on defense isn’t fantastic. Auburn’s defense is ultimately what gave the Tigers their edge, and their athleticism and aggressiveness on the boards was a game-changer.
Indiana will once again have to up their intensity when fighting for boards when conference play rolls around. Hopefully this game was a wake-up call to the work that all five players on the court must put in to fight on defense.