BLOOMINGTON — Sometimes you have to get rocked to find yourself.


After the way Indiana was rocked in last week’s Maui Invitational (the 1-2 record was good for sixth place when the goal was a championship), the Hoosiers (4-2) are ready for a major bounce back.

The first step comes Monday night against winless Alcorn State and yes, forward Collin Hartman said, the Hoosiers are ticked.

“We recognize we have a lot of talent. We have high expectations for ourselves. It never feels good to start with a positive mindset and come out like we did. We didn’t play to our abilities or our own standards. We let ourselves down. We let an opportunity slip away. All we can do now is work hard like we have, go over the film, and lock in to who we are and what we do and what gets us wins.”

Turnovers were a big problem. IU gave up 25 points on 16 turnovers in a win over St. John’s,and gave up 22 points on 21 turnovers in a loss to UNLV.

IU has no chance if that continues, especially for Wednesday night’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge at No. 6 Duke, and the Hoosiers know it.

“What we took away from everything is that we got away from being us,” Hartman said. “We didn’t play like we’d been practicing. There were a lot of fundamental things that we didn’t execute that we practice day in and day out.

“It’s about making the simple plays, not trying to make the home run passes. It’s staying sound.”

Guard Robert Johnson said it’s about playing the way the Hoosiers practice.

“There is no quick fix,” he said. “A lot of our turnovers were fundamental based. It’s about staying solid and executing on passing and pivoting and keeping our spacing. It goes back to fundamentals and decision making. The things we practice every day.”

The Hoosiers arrived at Maui unbeaten and ranked No. 13, then lost to unheralded Wake Forest and UNLV, and struggled to beat a bad St. John’s team.

Did the experience humble them?

Coach Tom Crean wouldn’t go there.

“I don’t use that word. I’m with these guys every day. If there was any humbling that needed to be done before we lose games, that would have been corrected. That’s not the group we have. We want to win and improve.

“We won before we went out there, but we didn’t improve when we were out there the way we needed to. We didn’t take care of some of the basic things. I have to do more defensively to not put guys in situations that they’re not ready for.”

IU has struggled with interior defense. Crean said it’s because of the youth and inexperience of freshmen big men Thomas Bryant, Juwan Morgan and O.G. Anunoby. He added that the addition of senior transfer forward Max Bielfeldt brings experience in years, but not in familiarity with the Hoosier system.

“We’re with a brand new front line,” he said. “I’m not sure everybody is picking up on that. It is a fact.”

Crean said Morgan is out for a while because of an injury, and that Anunoby will have to be ready for a bigger role.

Alcorn State (0-5) rates No. 348 out of 351 NCAA Division I teams according to the rating system, but the Hoosiers aren’t taking anything for granted.

“We have to come out hungry,” Johnson said. “After a trip like that, it’s a disappointment to not play like you want to. Go out and try to bounce back and get the ball rolling in a positive direction as soon as possible.”