When sixth man Will Sheehey went down with an ankle injury, Indiana needed another bench player to step up. The “next man up” philosophy that coach Tom Crean and the players often reference was suddenly a reality.
Derek Elston, Tom Pritchard and Remy Abell figured to take the majority of Sheehey’s minutes. But it has been senior Matt Roth — a guy that’s been at Indiana through all the turmoil — who has filled Sheehey’s shoes as well as anyone.
Roth can shoot the ball as well as anybody on the Hoosiers’ roster — and probably the country — but he has been used only sparingly as a 3-point specialist during his time at Indiana.
In previous seasons, Roth battled injuries and had been a defensive liability. The latter didn’t allow Crean the luxury of keeping him on the floor for more than a few minutes.
But with the opportunity created by Sheehey’s absence, Roth has displayed a new focus and effort on the defensive end. Without his work on defense, Roth would likely still be a sparingly-use