Indiana has never challenged Duke on Tuesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium and the Hoosiers have dropped from 90 to 69 before the Blue Devils in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.
Indiana is now 5-2 this season and will open the Big Ten play Saturday afternoon at Simon Skjodt's boardroom. Here are five things to remember about the loss to the Blue Devils:
• Indiana was crushed from the beginningAfter a close defeat against Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational final, Duke looked like a team with something to prove on Tuesday night.
Indiana, however, did not seem ready to respond to the immediate rush of dunks and layups of the Blue Devils in the opening minutes of the game. As a result, the competition lasted about seven minutes when Duke built a 12-point lead.
Despite playing in Arkansas in front of more than 18,000 fans earlier in the month, Indiana was just not ready for the environment of Cameron Indoor Stadium, paired with Duke's five-star talent.
"It's an environment game. It's a hard place to play, "said Archie Miller in postgame. "They've probably won only 95% of their games here in the last 45 years, so I think at some point they're giving some credit to their audience."
• Indiana's business numbers set the tone early: Duke is one of the least experienced teams in the country, but the Blue Devils boast a five-star talent at almost every position.
Indiana does not have that luxury and for the Hoosiers to have a chance to win in an environment like the Cameron Indoor Stadium, it is essential to take care of the ball.
Duke entered the game in 26th place in terms of forcing the turnarounds and while the Blue Devils increased the pressure of the ball, most of the UI errors were caused by themselves.
In the first period, Indiana returned 14 times, 19 points for Duke. In a game without the margin of error, it was just too difficult to overcome for Hoosiers.
"When we reverse the steps as we did tonight, it will be a recipe for a disaster here," explained Miller. "Give them credit. They cause a lot of these problems. "
• Duke won all the key confrontationsWhen entering the contest, it was fair to wonder how Indiana would treat Duke's freshmen.
As leader, Tre Jones dominated Rob Phinisee. Juwan Morgan had no answer for Zion Williamson and admitted it in his post-game commentary. And the duo of RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish was much more productive than Romeo Langford and Justin Smith.
Smith's performance, which made five turnovers in 21 minutes, should be of particular concern to Indiana. For the second time in both UI road games, Smith was on the bench for most of the second half.
Indiana does not lack talent in his lineup, but Duke is only a class superior to all positions. And Tuesday night proved so much.
• Recover McRoberts and Green should help IU depth to progressIf there was good news to expect from Tuesday's loss, it's the return of Zach McRoberts and Devonte Green.
Green struggled in 20 minutes on the bench, while he finished only 2 of 6 and made three turnovers. McRoberts scored only three points in 16 minutes.
"We wanted to bring them back here," Miller said after the match ended. "I hope that tomorrow there will be a good report on their health. If we can start maintaining a deeper team every day in training, I think it will give us the best chance to improve. "
• As serious as this loss is, Indiana must learn from it and move on.: Indiana was not the first team to lose 20 points against Duke this season and the Hoosiers will not be the last.
The Blue Devils are favorites to win the national championship and Indiana will not face a tougher test all season.
Indiana simply can not afford to linger beyond Tuesday.
Hoosiers have a lot to do with Northwestern, Penn State, Louisville and Butler over the next 18 days. It may be a decisive season as Louisville and Butler represent the last two IU opportunities to add quality wins to their non-conference resume. And if the Hoosiers want to compete in the Big Ten, it is imperative to start well in the league matches next week.
(Photo credit: Duke Athletics)
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