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Indiana University

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Indiana
vs. North Florida
When: 7:30 p.m. today
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: 1250 AM; 102.9 FM

IU focus turns to next opponent

Indiana coach Tom Crean sent a clear message to his team after its loss to Syracuse on Tuesday.

He didn’t have to rehash it after the postgame locker room talk, or the comments he made to the media after the 69-52 loss at Syracuse.

The players, he said Friday, understood what they needed to do.

And the Hoosiers (6-2) moved on almost immediately.

“There’s not a great deal of experience in here, but there’s a lot of hunger. They want to get right back at it. I don’t think there’s any question about that,” Crean said.

“There’s not been a whole lot of time spent on rehashing or regrouping from Tuesday. It’s really been a lot more about this is what we need to do to be better and staying locked in to that.”

Crean stuck to that point – moving on, getting better, turning a young team that faced its first true road game into a seasoned unit ready for its next challenge. Maxing out the day is the goal, Crean said – clichéd as he admitted it might sound.

That process begins anew today as IU takes on North Florida at Assembly Hall.

“I know it sounds kind of trite,” Crean said, “but it’s really true, and that’s what you’re always trying to do.”

Freshman forward Troy Williams agreed – there’s no sense dwelling on the past.

The Ospreys (5-5) run 11 deep and like the Hoosiers play an uptempo style. They have more of a focus on perimeter shooting than IU does, but both like to take advantages of defenses in transition.

North Florida averages 68 possessions per game. The Hoosiers average 71.

“What sticks out to me is that most of their players average between six and 12 points,” Williams said. The Ospreys feature eight players who fall in that realm. “Any given night can be any guy’s night.”

North Florida is also dangerous in half-court sets, Crean said, and it runs a lot of sets to free up shooters.

Beau Beech, the team’s second-leading scorer, is shooting 44.4 percent from beyond the arc, and he isn’t the only deep threat.

There are eight players on the team shooting 40 percent or better who have played in all 10 games.

“North Florida is very creative offensively,” Crean said. “They run a lot of pick and rolls, they run a lot of screening actions. The biggest thing to me is probably guarding the dribble on the defensive end because they isolate very well.”

Those have been the talking points in Bloomington since Wednesday. Syracuse has become an afterthought.

And though the clichés kept rolling in, for a young team, they bore truth.

The Hoosiers can’t afford to focus on any loss or win for too long.

There’s still too much to learn – both about the next opponent and about fellow teammates.

“Throughout the season, you’re just going to have games like that,” graduate transfer Evan Gordon said. “Every game is a learning experience, whether you win or lose.”

smorrison@jg.net

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