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Interview With the Enemy: Crimson Quarry

We chat with the IU SB Nation rep.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

With Purdue heading to IU tomorrow I chatted with the folks over at Crimson Quarry to get the lowdown for the game. Check out our chat.

With IU finally getting some semblance of healthy as the season begins to wind down, is this (mostly) the team you expected to have all year?

The answer is an unfortunate no.

Of the worst things that could happen for this Indiana team, losing Xavier Johnson to a long-term injury was near the top. Indiana isn’t in the tournament without his play down the stretch last season and he was reforming that chemistry and playing some good ball before the injury this year. The draw of 5-star freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino, aside from his obvious talent and playmaking ability, was that he’d be able to play alongside Johnson. Having two exceptional ball handlers on the court would allow Mike Woodson to get open looks for guys like Miller Kopp, since the offense’s motion last year was hampered by having two catch and shoot guys in Kopp and Parker Stewart. Trey Galloway is a good player who has an unlimited amount of hustle, but he just has a different skillset than Johnson and Indiana lacks the guard depth to do the kinds of things they’d probably like to do.

Those two got less than a game of time playing together when both were healthy simultaneously. Indiana’s been impressive with Hood-Schifino running the show, but having Johnson playing alongside him will be a “what-if” for years to come.

Aside from that, Indiana is now facing an absence from Jordan Geronimo right after getting Race Thompson back and Logan Duncomb has some massive sinus infection that the message boards are convincing themselves is actually an absence for training to guard Zach Edey specifically.

So, still no.

What is the biggest improvement in TJD from last season to this season?

So, there are takes across the landscape that Trayce Jackson-Davis hasn’t gotten any better during his four years at Indiana.

Anyone who thinks that is self reporting their lack of ball knowledge. You’re gonna have to do more than box score watching and actually watch the games to understand why. Since the hiring of Mike Woodson, Jackson-Davis has been empowered to truly own the paint and leave his assignment to block shots. The result has been him surpassing the all-time Indiana record despite not having similar freedom under Archie Miller. Not to mention the fact that he’s improved all-around as a defender, especially on the perimeter.

On offense, he’s always had a deep bag of moves to get to the rim. That’s usually where the impression comes from. The difference this year in particular has been that he’s become an incredibly capable passer with more assists per game as a forward than a lot of starting guards around the league. His court vision has evolved drastically.

The thing is that he doesn’t take jumpers. He has a pretty smooth form when he does, but you don’t see him do it too often for the same reason Zach Edey isn’t doing it. Why take a shot that’s lower in percentage by its nature when you can more easily get points in the paint? Edey has guys to take jumpers for him, and for the first time in his career so does Jackson-Davis.

Why is Assembly Hall consistently falling apart? Twice in I believe 9 years that pieces of it have just fallen off. What’s going on down there?

It’s old.

You won’t catch me defending the jumbotron mishap. That wasn’t due to age though, it’s the newest thing in the arena and someone just… didn’t do a good enough job of taking a look at it? I guess? Maybe Painter has Edey reach up there before the game to make sure.

How do you think Coach Woodson has acclimated to the college game in now his second season?

I think the biggest changes for Woodson from last year to now has been his recognition that he’s no longer working with NBA talent and what that means for the flow of the game. Last year, it felt like he would be almost too trusting of his players and their ability to turn things around on their own. This year, he’s using a longer bench, he’s quicker to call time outs, and he’s letting guys play with two fouls so long as they’re contributing elsewhere on the court. In sum, he seems to understand that college players need to be managed a bit more than the pros.

A great example would be his early timeout in the Illinois game, when Indiana was only down 4-0 but looked absolutely awful in both offensive possessions to that point. Last year I think he would have let that play out and hoped for the players themselves to get their heads in the game.

IU is 15-7 but has only lost 1 home game this season and that was to a surprising Northwestern team. How important is the home court advantage for this team?

Oh, home court advantage seems to be everything for the Hoosiers. Students are more excited to get out to games than they’ve ever been during my time in Bloomington (I am a Senior) and most students only ended up getting tickets to a handful of games due to high ticket demand. Saturday’s game is one of just five I got in my ticket pack so I’ll be going all out, as will everybody else. The athletic department’s pregame content really helps get the fans involved right off the bat and the team seems to feed off of that energy. Tidbits of an Isiah Thomas speech given at Hoosier Hysteria in 2021 played right before tip makes the student section go crazy. It should also be noted that the Northwestern game was held during IU’s winter break… had more students been in the building the result very well could’ve been different.

Given the high emotions this rivalry often sees what are your predictions for this game?

I don’t have anything concrete because I do not, for the life of me, know what is going to happen on Saturday.

The only thing I can say with confidence is that Indiana will likely get a tech for the student section chanting various obscenities or something like that.