IU begins slow-down period with game against Coppin State

From now until New Year’s Eve, things slow down a bit for Indiana.

After a four-game-in-eight-day stretch that included three games against major conference opponents and two against what are now Top 25 teams in Georgetown and North Carolina, Indiana plays just three games in the next 18 days, starting with today’s 7:30 p.m. game against Coppin State at Assembly Hall.

It’s a significant change in rhythm, and it means the Hoosiers will have to maintain intensity in a period that will include a lot more practices than games.

“It’s just more practice time,” senior guard Jordan Hulls said. “More time for us to go out there and get better at practice. … It’s a little bit different as far as different rest times that kind of thing, but also competing in practice. That kind of stuff. It’s a little bit different because you like to play a lot of games, but again, it’s also time for us to get better in practice.”

One of IU coach Tom Crean’s greatest strengths so far this season has been keeping his team in the moment, forcing them to focus on succeeding in every single possession in every game and not allowing them to let up when they’ve built substantial leads. He demands the same intensity in practice, and now he has to try to maintain it without lulls through more than three weeks.

The goal during that period, IU assistant coach Kenny Johnson said, is making sure the players recognize that every day is critical in the Hoosiers’ progress toward March.

“It’s about figuring out how we can maximize ourself as a team,” assistant coach Kenny Johnson said. “… Each individual day has its own set of goals, just like we talked about having goals for every possession, every day that we have as we go along this journey of this season has a purpose. It’s really about continuing the skill development each and every day. It’s about adding to our portfolio, what we can do offensively and defensively. It’s about allowing guys to feel more comfortable in the multitude of roles that they have and making sure the players can be as versatile as possible moving forward. It’s a different set of circumstances with the space between the games, but it actually gives you an opportunity to take your time and really go back and make sure of the attention to detail.”

And when the Hoosiers actually do have games during this more sparse stretch, they don’t plan on taking it easy during those either.

Truthfully, Indiana probably could win most if not all of its December non-conference games without its best effort. Other than Butler (3-2), which is currently No. 7 in the RPI, none of the Hoosiers other four opponents are in the RPI top 100 at the moment and they have a combined record of 9-20. Coppin State is 1-5 so far.

However, the Hoosiers said, that’s no reason to let their guard down.

“We just don’t want to the play to the level of our competition,” freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell said. “We want to play the best that we can play. We played very well against UNC, of course, but right now, we’re playing Coppin State. We just can’t play down to their level because they don’t have the big name because they can come out there and have a spectacular game.”

And even though the Eagles have struggled and are coming off a 14-16 season, they have some dangerous elements. Guards Patrick Cole (15.3 ppg) and Troy Frankln (12.8 ppg) are both averaging double-digits, and forward Michael Murray is averaging a double-double with 10.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

The Eagles haven’t been stellar on offense all around, shooting just 34.8 percent from the field and 26.8 percent from the beyond the 3-point arc and averaging 68.8 points per game, but they are defensive ball hawks. Opponents average 21.3 turnovers per game against them and the Eagles average 11.2 steals, causing Hulls to compare them to the Virginia Commonwealth team that drove IU ball-handlers mad in last year’s NCAA Tournament third-round game, causing 22 turnovers before the Hoosiers held on to win 63-61.

“It’s a lot of ball-pressure, a lot of deflections,” Hulls said. “We’re gonna have to take care of the ball and make good decisions, make the right pass. … They’re just quick, so I guess VCU would be a good comparison, just because they get up on the ball and pressure you a lot.”

AUDIO: Kenny Johnson

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls and Yogi Ferrell


  1. A little more of that “Takin Care of Business” tonight!! As Cartman (South Park) has been quoted a few times, RESPECT MY AUTHORITY!!!!!!!

  2. Kaintuck lost at home to unranked Baylor today.


    No wonder Calipari was too chicken to play us as they would have lost by 40.

  3. Laffy, what did I ever say to you that was bad? A few posts back you just went off on me or was it someone using your name? I have never had a cross word with you so I did not understand your rudeness. I really hope it was not the real Laffy.

  4. You can bet KY won’t go back to Notre Dame’s home court again. Now they lose to Baylor at home who was unranked like Notre Dame. They should not even be in the top 25!

  5. On the recruiting front, I saw Hyron Edwards play last night. He got 31 points on 8-18 from the field, 12-17 from the line in an OT win vs South Bend Clay. Was a quiet 31. He let the game come to him and played every minute. I was surprised he didn’t play point. He is lightning quick and he had 5 turnovers vs 1 assist. Never seemed to get rattled. Looking forward to Blackmon coming to town tonight to play against Demetrius Jackson. Should be a great match up between a future Hoosier and future Irish.

  6. Donnie… Would love another update after that game. Interested to hear how Blackmon looks physically. If he is able to at least play even with the best senior in the state that would be quite a feat coming back from the knee.

  7. If I remember correctly, Kentucky’s home win streak just got broken. And to break it to an unranked team. Ouch. I wonder if those Kentucky administrators are now second-guessing that huge salary increase they gave to Calipari.

    While they don’t deserve it, they will still be ranked in the top 20.

  8. Yeah Donnie, let us know how that went. Very interested.

    Here’s something for the search engines, Kentucky was afraid to play Indiana and lose by 30 at KKK (aka Rupp) Arena. The Hoosiers weren’t afraid to play the Mildcats with only a walk on returning. That’s the difference between a dignified program with a proud history and a dirty program with a shameful history (the ONLY program to be sanctioned in EVERY decade of the NCAA’s existence AND the ONLY D1 basketball program to get the ‘Death Penalty’).

    Kaintuck will always be able to bring in a handful out-of-state mercenaries for a year to make the ‘state university’ appear to have a successful basketball program but it will always be a mercenary program. Every school recruits out-of-state but Kaintuck ONLY recruits out of state. There’s just no D1 talent in Kaintuck, and what there is goes to Louisville (or, with Remy, IU, but he was the first in 40 years).

    It’s hilarious to watch the arena full of ‘Kentucky Colonels’ cheering on a team with one or two Kentucky natives at the end of the bench (keeping in mind they didn’t even allow black players/students until the 1970s. Why would a black kid even go there? It’s shameful.).

    There is nothing to cheer for there unless you are like my Dad and would cheer for anything with ‘Kentucky’ in its name. Even as a kid I kinda felt sad for him.

    Kharma is biting them in the butt. Going by the averages, they’ll be put on probation any time now.

  9. Chet, to add to your note on U. of Kentucky, their stars- still heroes to Kentucky faithfuls- were also indicted for gambling and dumping games. After a loss to Loyola, their loss was described by a local paper:

    “Rupp was philosophical after the loss, saying to Bernie Shively as he downed a fifth of whiskey, “I don’t know…Lordy. But I think there’s something wrong with this team.” The three players were paid a total of $1500 for their work”.

  10. Sorry to disappoint everyone, but for some reason no one bothered to tell me my daughter’s game was tonight, so I didn’t make it to Marian to see Blackmon. I apologize for that. If I can get to see any other recruits up north here I post what I see. Go Hoosiers!

  11. Surprise, surprise, Kentucky is still ranked in the top 25 in only one of two polls. I was only half right. Lexington must be in shock today!

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