1. If we can go 12-0 before Big Ten play, we should move up into the top 15. That’s good for the program and will make Crean’s task of recruiting future classes a bit easier.

    IU basketball is definitely back, but the true test of how good this team is will be the first three games in conference play. Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan will provide a severe test. If they play like they did against NCS and KY, we’ll do well. If they play like they did against ND, we’ll be in trouble.

    In order to get into the NCAA tournament, assuming they are undefeated going into Big Ten play, IU needs only to win nine Big Ten games and beat North Carolina Central. That would put them at 22-9 before the Big Ten tournament. A 23-10 or better record should get us to the Big Dance! That’s HUGE progress. Go Hoosiers!

  2. In order for us to move up, we need someone above us to lose. Remember, most are playing cupcakes like us. Missouri hosts Illinois; Baylor hosts ST Mary’s CA (8-1) and travels to West Virginia (7-2); Marquette hosts LSU(7-3); Georgetown hosts Memphis, who was top 25 pre season but is 5-4 on the season; and Florida hosts Florida State (8-3). ALl others above us that would drop far enough for us to pass with a loss play cupcakes at home (Duke, UNC, OSU, SYR, etc. wouldn’t drop far enough for us to pass). If Baylor and Missouri suffer losses, I could see us passing them and Xavier is hurting because of suspensions, but the others would have to suffer huge upsets at home.

  3. Not necessarily. The longer the team goes undefeated, the more likely it is that the polls influenced by subjective criteria will change. I could see IU ranked 15 going into Big Ten play.

    But as we all know, it really does not matter, it’s just fun to see IU returning to notoriety in college basketball.

  4. Everyone is being so cautious on this team’s prospects! I understand that and I don’t want to get ahead of the curve either.

    But, come on. Isn’t it about time to start at least cautiously exploring the higher end of this team’s developing potential. When you’re 11-0 and have wins under your belt against #1, and on the road in the B1G-ACC, and when you’re not having letdowns against your Notre Dames or even your Howards, your team has to be re-evaluated with a high end bias, at least as part of the picture.

    Despite that, nobody wants to say yet that this team looks really good and could even challenge for the Big Ten title. It is all “well, they’re in that second tier after OSU and Wisconsin, etc.”

    Other than conceding that they will not go undefeated, I say why not measure them up for a possible conference title challenge?

    The keys to me in that evaluation and in holding that thought are (a) their improvement individually, (b) their improvement as a team and (c) their continuing to play unselfishly together.

    At this point, I think (c) is a given and (a) and (b) are in range.

    The most amazing thing to me is the level of individual improvement by nearly all of the guys. That was not expected and that is what is driving a lot of this.

    They’ve bought in. Kudos to Crean on that – and to them.

    Sheehee and Oladipo are on a trajectory that, if continued, could propel them into professional basketball. In other words, to get calculus on y’all, if they continue to accelerate at the same rate, the sky is the limit. We’re talking trajectory. If their improvement rate falls off, that is a different story – and at this point, it is hard to tell. I’m rooting for them and what I see is, at a minimum, the hard effort to get to those high points. In other words, if those two don’t make it, it will not be for lack of trying.

    Zeller, if anything, has a higher rate of acceleration and starts from a higher point. I’d say it is a foregone conclusion that if he stays healthy, he is going to play in the NBA. You can almost watch him improving by the game – like a weed that grows so fast you can see it moving up daily.

    Watford used to worry me, but he too seems to have “drunk the kool-aid” and who can blame him after seeing these other guys improve so much. If he plays like he did against Kentucky and continues to buy in and work his ass off, he too is potential pro material. And the other guys are driving him to that, bless them!

    Jordy is an interesting case. Hugely improved, physically challenged size and speed-wise, but clearly with the will and the brains to offset some of that and to achieve more than one would reasonably expect. I have a hard time seeing him playing at the next level, but I wouldn’t count him out.

    Verdell is also much improved, although I have a harder time seeing him on that same trajectory as the others leading to the possible pro game. But give him credit. He has seen the improvement around him and is buying in too, IMHO.

    In fact, the positive influence of the individual and team improvement dynamic has to be hitting all of them. And it is contagious. Remy. Elston. Etherington. All showing lots of improvement.

    If they continue to improve at that rate and injury doesn’t appear, I say watch out.

    The next three games could tell a lot. We all sit here and say “It would be great if they could take 2 out of 3, etc.”

    But remember, we said the same thing before the Butler – NC State – Kentucky – Notre Dame games — and they took them all.

    I would still be surprised if they take them all. But they’ve already surprised me a lot. And, honestly, I wouldn’t be THAT surprised any more.

    I think you at least have to consider it.

    And I hope I’m not jinxing anything by doing so.

    Go, Hoosiers!

  5. WestCoast, I am ready to re-evaluate. I now believe that IU can contend for a Big Ten title IF Sullinger has lingering health issues and Zeller stays healthy all year. If one of those two things doesn’t happen then OSU is too good. I think we are every bit as good as Wisconsin, and better than Michigan, MSU, or Illinois. So yeah, after seeing the consistent effort I don’t see why we can’t be the #2 team to a healthy OSU.

    My favorite player tonight was Remy. He just looked so smooth and under control. He’s a menace on defense, but he looked really good on offense. Hit a 3 right off the bench, went to the hoop with bad intentions, took two hard dribbles left and pulled up with a defender right there and hit nothing but net from 17 ft, and then drew the D for the nice dump into Pritch. It will be interesting to see if he starts to take some chunks of Jones minutes after tonight.

    Funniest play of the night – VJ3 gets a jump ball in the second half, and after he sees what the ref calls he hops up and down looking at the bench and motioning that he earned a “deflection”. A desperate move by a floundering senior…

  6. Dustin-

    Can you help me out? Who was the blogger on Scoop that was blabbering continuously about Remy Abell even before Crean offered him? For the life of me I’ve gone blank on the bloggers’ name…If this person is now using a different screen name would you know from the IP address(chuckle..chuckle)?

    What an incredible visionary and hoops genius…”Look, boss…The plane, the plane.”

  7. I still say we finish the season in 4th or 5th place in the conference standings. We’ll probably be a 8 or 9 seed in the NCAA tournament and likely sent westward for our first round game.

  8. We have so many good young players. Practice must be intense. Say what you want but I say Jordy is a game changer. He has become a premier scorer. Just a nasty outside shot and remarkably good going to the hole. I’m always amazed when he scores in traffic, but he does. If you don’t make him a focal point on defense he will destroy you. A zone killer who doesn’t miss an open shot. He may never play beyond college but he is a top flight collegiate scorer who’s getting better every game.
    Remy is a stud. Bless Verdell’s little heart and unbelievable (truly) stats but he’s about the fifth best guard on the team. Remy is better in every physical part of the game. Verdell is a senior, so there’s that, otherwise he should be fighting for playing time with Daniel Moore.
    One of my favorite things about this team is that there are about 7 guys who might light you up on any given night. The predictions are fun, not my thing, but there’s just no way to do it. There are just so many different ways this team can go after you. As long as CZ and Jordy (yep, I think he is THAT important, mostly as a leader) stay healthy the sky is the limit.
    Here’s a bit of good news. I pulled up the box score from The Sporting News and they informed me that Mo Creek played 12 minutes going 3-4 from the field and 2-4 from the line. Who knew?

  9. Keith,

    C’mon! I’m on the West Coast! What do ya expect?

    More seriously, Sagarin has us #3 in the country this a.m.

    So he must be toking something too.

  10. Thank you, Dustin. I knew you would come through with more than two lumps of coal for ol’ Harvard.

  11. mark82; looks like at least two teams ranked ahead of IU lost last night and one was threatened with a huge upset. I’ll repeat my prediction that IU will be ranked in the top 15 next week assuming they beat UMBC Thursday. It’s been way too long coming, but this is really fun again.

    How many people will show up to watch Thursday night? Hope it’s more than 11,111.

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