4 storylines for Indiana’s game vs. Minnesota #iubb

1. The homestretch begins now. With only six games remaining in the regular season, Indiana will play four of them at Assembly Hall. Barring a late collapse, which seems unlikely, the Hoosiers are playing to solidify their standing in March. Most NCAA Tournament projections have the Hoosiers slotted as either a No. 7 or 8 seed in March, so the upcoming stretch will allow IU to do so over the coming weeks. Indiana is 14-1 at home this season and its 63-8 record at Assembly Hall since the 2011-12 season is the second best home record among Big Ten teams over the last four years.

2. IU could use help from Hanner Mosquera-Perea. That Indiana was able to get its 6-foot-9 big man back in action last weekend against Michigan bodes well for the next two games, when the Hoosiers will face a bit more size in Minnesota and Purdue. The Gophers’ post presence isn’t as overwhelming as the Boilers, but 6-foot-10 center Maurice Walker is in the midst of a strong senior season. Walker is third in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.585), while averaging 7.4 rebounds per game — good for third in the conference.

3. Are bounce-back efforts in the cards? Whether the long college basketball season is becoming a grind, Robert Johnson won’t say. But the freshman guard will certainly be looking for a bounce-back game after shooting only 3-for-13 in Wednesday’s loss at Maryland. So, too, will his classmate James Blackmon Jr., who shot only 2-for-14 against the Terps and is only two games removed from an ankle injury that caused him to miss the first and only game of his freshman season. Blackmon was fine in his first game back from the injury, scoring 13 points and grabbing eight rebounds against Michigan. That’s the kind of performance IU will need from Blackmon against the Gophers.

4. Crean asks for a lively environment. Indiana has played very well at home this season, but no atmosphere has been as electric as it was on Jan. 22 when the Hoosiers took down then-No. 13 Maryland by 19 points. So with an odd Sunday night tipoff set for tonight’s game against Minnesota, Crean is asking fans to recreate that atmosphere against the Terrapins and bring some energy to Assembly Hall. “We need a Maryland atmosphere where the walls are shaking long before tipoff.” Former IU stars, Cody Zeller, Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo are all expected to be in Bloomington for the game.

28 comments

  1. A couple thoughts for the night:

    Just checking the pulse of what counts as a satisfying finish for our fans. Assuming we don’t make a highly unexpected run to a Final Four or beyond, and that a Sweet Sixteen is the most realistic ceiling for this year’s team, (not saying if we hit on all cylinders we can’t beat most any team in the country, nor that we are invulnerable to a disastrous finish and miss the tourney all together…) would everybody be more satisfied with a B1G tourney final, or a sweet sixteen finish in the NCAA?

    The tidbit about Maurice Walker is interesting. Perhaps it’s because he was overshadowed by the 17-year reign of terror of Trevor Mbakwe in the MN post, but I don’t ever recall seeing Walker’s name before. Did everything finally just click for him? Might people be saying the same thing about Hanner as he finishes his career next year?

    And since Miller brought up Oladipo… I only watched highlights, but I have to say that most years that “540” dunk would have won him the contest. The Levine cat deservedly won with his multiple ridiculous finishes. But hats off to Vic, who not only scored 22 for the American team in the rising stars challenge, but perhaps solidified himself as a future superstar with his performance this weekend. Couldn’t happen to a seemingly nicer guy, and he represents the stripes well. Hope we can win one tomorrow for him and for rest of the Big Red faithful.

  2. I could really care less….The Magic are irrelevant. The NBA All-Star weekend is probably the most irrelevant weekend in all of sports….College Football is over…Super Bowl is over….Everyone anxiously awaiting March Madness….

    I’d watch a pro bowling tournament before caring about dunk contests…I could also care less what Oladipo(or Zeller..or Vonleh) develop into as professionals….Compared to the chance at partying with Hoosiers fans on Kirkwood Ave.while on their way to making a Final Four run and bringing home banners, they’re games now forever compete with the dozens of inconsequential, boring multitudes of NBA offerings spewed all over the cable landscape destined to certain remote control clicker death via a more interesting HGTV series with cute “fixer upper” host in a toolbelt…… Couldn’t be a “seemingly nicer guy” is Oladipo, indeed… But until it’s the NBA Finals, he couldn’t be on a seemingly more boring place to play the sport in its most bastardized form since it’s creation….The NBA is basketball built of dragged out overkill, saturation that drowns distinction, and a sad stage for displays of self-glorification where little of any intrinsic and lasting value for the humble and real rewards in the game could ever be tasted again….It’s a perfect fit for the Mark Cubans of the world….It’s a wonderful game for all the movers and shakers to act like the get something in which they are totally clueless….It’s the Sea World and Disney Land of Naismith’s game…..It’s stripping everything down into a burlesque show and watching beautiful human creatures dumbed down to millions their bank accounts to jump through hoops for our shallow enjoyment….

    How seemingly lost they all must be…How warped the perversions to make it all about “slam, bam, thank you, mam” dunks and long ball shooting contests….They turned basketball in the same we turn romance: Simply the act….You can tie it up in all the fifty shades of contorting acrobatics and marvels a dunk and “sick” crossover your obsessions with merely the “act” of basketball until the act becomes the replacement for the courtship that once built a love for the game….For the fans and players at this lowest level packaged as “highest” of enjoyment, it’s quite challenging to tell who jumps to the next piece of flesh meat more…..? Is it the so-called “fans” of their favorite new LeBron team jumping ship to new ship….or is it the “superstars” jumping from city to city to change uniforms faster than the chorus girls in a vaudeville show…

    I guess the NBA has it’s place….But without all the makeup, the kicking of high legs, the obsessions with frequency in just how well a “baller” can get it through the round cylinder from all angles,, and the playing into boyhood fantasies of “white guys that can’t jump” finding a way of getting into the “act” of the latest Dipo dunk now a centerfold in the garage, the NBA is about as close to basketball true to redeeming purpose of complexity all its possible layers married to heart and soul as Koby calling the hotel maid to his room….The act is all that matters.

  3. …….their games now forever compete with the inconsequential, boring multitudes, of NBA offerings spewed all over the cable landscape; destined to the certainty of a remote control clicker and death via a more interesting HGTV series with a cute “fixer upper” host in a toolbelt

  4. The problem with trying to figure out the NCAA tourney is the fact that it is all about matchups and who you draw. That is why you occasionally see 2 and 3 seeds get beat, they got a team that they don’t match up well with. Same with the #1 seeds that have to grind it out to the end. It us usually a team that they don’t match up well with. So being satisfied with a Sweet 16? My answer would be yes, but it all depends on the matchup. If IU draws a team that they don’t match up well with (big men in the middle), then it could be a one and done.

  5. Since Harvard went to such lengths to display his prowess for the written word, now might be the time to learn that if you “could care less” about something, that means that you actually care. If you “couldn’t care less” then you are at rock bottom of your caring level.

    You’re welcome.

  6. Harv, if you want classic hoops, go watch a HS game. My step dad is a “volunteer scout” for a fairly successful IN HS coach who happens to be a close friend growing up in Madison Co in the 70s. Even if he was never physically gifted enough to play it the way he saw it, he sees it and recognizes the beauty. He can tell you about pure hoops. Me? I can tell you you about playing the post for big time middle school and freshman basketball until programs… At least until everybody caught up in height and I switched to swimming and baseball to ensure I would see some PT myself.

    I don’t care about the NBA much more than you do, but you’re a fool if you don’t recognize the value of having a star alumni carry our flag. I remember a story from the HT many moons ago in which Sean May–yep, he of Hoosier Royalty and my Bloomington high school– was leaning towards IU. As he should. Then he got a call from Michael Jordan trying to convince hi to go to UNC. Helluva thing to turn down when you’re 18.

    Moral of the story is that Vic’s succes can only help us with recruits. If nothing else, he’s a story of promise. If his star continues to grow, that can only help but grow the IU brand. Like it or not, that resonates with future players. (There’s only so many Bobby Plumps in this world.)

  7. For what it’s worth, and since Punjab asked, I’ll give my opinion (though I far prefer to read Harvard’s rhapsodizing on ‘the game’, which I totally agree with)—

    I think if the Hoosiers of this year get to the round of 32 I would be satisfied.

    I had not thought this team could win a single game away from the friendly confines of Assembly Hall….as far as I am concerned they have already over-achieved.

  8. thank you english teacher. while we’re at it, vic is a star alumnus, not alumni, and never an alum.

    i would take a sweet 16 appearance over even a big ten tournament championship. jeffrey, getting to the round of 32 means only one ncaa tourney win. that would satisfy you? wow. whatever happened to “it’s indiana”?

    tonight, i think minnesota’s height and pressure d will be a problem. they are playing their best ball right now. we have a lot of youth and poor ball handlers and i think they won’t handle the pressure well. blackmon is a poor passer and troy is loose with the ball. johnson is just ok. hanner? forgettaboudit. zeisloft can’t attack the press. hartman should be ok because he see’s it well. i think max would do great today but doubt crean sees it that way.

    obviously yogi is the big wild card. he can ruin the press by himself and may very well do just that. my guess is pitino will try to keep yogi from bringing the ball up court as much as he can. that’s what i would do.

    i think we lose a tight one and that puts us back on the bubble.

  9. Personally, I don’t think Vic’s success …or Cody’s success…or EJ’s success….means a hill of beans to future recruits…Deep runs in the tournaments puts the program on the stage that gives the elite talent the desired opportunity in getting noticed. These young men want to play when the lights are brightest…and that’s why it’s so difficult to turn down programs like UK right now. UK is on ESPN every week and the top talent at every position is almost guaranteed playing many rounds in March..

    That’s why it’s so imperative to have a top coach(one that has respect amongst peers for his full understanding of the game),,,that can offer those few elite guys still left in the pot a realistic chance at getting noticed the same. You can’t continually bet the farm on dark horses and cherry picking talent that skyrockets in the development process…You end up losing on a lot of those gambles…The UK recruits are much brighter young men than all that “bait and tackle” malarkey and ridicule suggests..They don’t want gambling their talent on projects….I also believe they desire championships just as much the Christian Watfords and the Will Sheeheys of the NBA bubble world….They may want it more because most are only going to be in college for one season.

  10. I don’t find “pure” basketball to be the assumed definition of a lack in talent….I prefer to think of it as an evolution in mindset and maturation where loyalty,and learning, along with the unselfish development of team goals pacing to the heartbeat of personal goals, finds a place to fully evolve….NBA is pure talent low on the rung in valuing anything outside the individual.

  11. I know I’ll be bashed for this, but UK plays very “pure” basketball…They play hard team defense…They are well-coached…They share the ball more than you’ll see on teams with one or two “stars”…and they have very high goals as a team for what they want to achieve together…It’s a pretty lethal mix. Simply because the one-and-done allows for college basketball to be turned into an accelerated curve of talent meets team, shouldn’t discount the fact that some very talented groups play more “pure” than less talented.

    Talent optimized + exceptional coaching + unselfish team goals finding precedent + defensive tenacity and heart + chemistry + loyalty to purpose and game plans = pure basketball.

    You’ll rarely find any of those components lacking in the equation once you get beyond Sweet 16’s. You can also get pretty damn deep in college ball with “talent optimized” as opposed to more numbers in very high talent without the other factors.

  12. Coach, are right….. I was thinking solely in terms of this team, and you brought up the fact that this team is an INDIANA Hoosier team. My expectations have been lowered over the past years (following the jettison of Davis). Early this season I made the mistake of watching a Kentucky game…..we are most definitely not in the same league as them…..I’d like to see us play Gonzaga in the round of 32 because that is the one ‘elite’ team I think we can beat.

    And I think your prediction of tonight is correct, except for one thing: We are playing at HOME and our CROWD will not allow us to lose.

    I don’t think it will be close in the final minutes. An easy IU win. We are most definitely in the same category of Minnesota and the Home Court advantage will propel us…..I hope.

  13. If anyone has made a farce out of college basketball it is the administration and fan base of the University of Kentucky. Their past NCAA violations are a backdrop to their present pursuit of one and done players and a forever win only mentality. I know their approach is not against present rules and if that is what they choose then so be it. But academics is a very distant consideration for UK basketball and the only apparent interest is do they meet grade requirements to play. I am sure most of these are nice kids and they are a very good team. But it it would pain me a bit to see this team become the first unbeaten since a “real” college team did it in 1976. I hope no one will mind my not accepting this as “pure basketball” at any level. It is not what I would wish at IU.

  14. You’ll never have to worry about Indiana playing Kentucky again….It hurts the Crean/Calipari friendship too much….Calipari saved Crean the total humiliation of future momentous blowouts…Crean saved Calipari the utter indignation from Indiana fans forever delusional in believing Calipari is somehow less “pure” than Mr. Because.

    I do hope for an NCAA tournament meeting…..I want to see Hanner go ballistic and contain that overrated inside game of the Wildcats…

  15. Seem like very intelligent kids when they’re interviewed…..And as I said, they often play a far less selfish version of ball than teams with poor coaching and pirma donnas that jack up 14 shots a game and are allowed to stay on the floor…

    I doubt very large percentages of “elite” level talent take on a challenging curriculum no matter the institution….We’ve seen evidence of that at NC with their make-believe courses.. Does anyone care Dean Smith roles in his grave over their recent shameful ways? Let’s not make this about only UK simply because Crean is afraid to play his friend and be exposed.

  16. Kentucky is a superior team to IU and would almost certainly win by a comfortable margin. But I believe Mr. Glass also had a part in the UK-IU series ending as well as Mr. Crean. At my age I always tend to shrink back a bit when someone brings up the word delusional but can assure anyone that I have avoided that condition in regards to Mr. Calipari and Mr. Crean. I do not care if we ever play them again as it is not really that important to the program one way or the other. I may have my own long term doubts about our present coach but I will always be on his side to succeed rather than fail, even if I still believe he is going to one day rip off his coat and tie and insert himself into the game.

  17. “Dean Smith roles in his grave “. me thinks a ghastly, ghostly english lesson is coming…

    iowa is conducting a textbook clinic on how to attack the 2-3 zone. if anyone wants a lesson i believe big 10 network has replays of the game later. i’m talking to you “coach” crean

  18. You are the one making judgments on character calling UK the “farce” of college basketball….UNC is just as big a farce and more “farces” are covered up than exposed…The NCAA chooses very randomly on those they want to burn to the ground and those they know provide too much cash to the television product/rating machine/exposure to go after. I don’t assume Crean’s character or his version of getting five to play a sound game of basketball is anymore “pure” at Indiana simply because he has the backdrop of banners and previous coaches representative a far different era at Indiana. As I said, most these kids that have to commit unbelievable energy and time to a game aren’t engaging in super-challenging curriculum(whether they stay one year, two,or three)… And what happened at UNC is far more despicable than anything Calipari has been accused or convicted in the world of recruiting or academic fraud…To invent classes that weren’t even there to attend…? To put high grades on official transcripts of athletes for classes that didn’t exist? Can it get any lower in placing the importance of sports programs ahead any level of academic legitimacy? Where is your indignation at UNC? ..Why is UNC now not called a “bait and tackle” shop? It’s all a farce in terms of academics and the mirages the NCAA places on its product…

  19. Duke was superior to Indiana in 2002..we see how that turned out…never lose faith…screw UK…I’m not scared to play them!

  20. We were talking about UK not UNC (what they have done is really ugly) and so I made no attempt to judge the rest of the nations basketball programs. I do not alter my view of the UK basketball program as claimed earlier and you may choose to disagree as you wish. Perhaps you can enlighten the rest of us on the “specific” farces that are covered up and those random choices they burn to the ground. You may be right Mr. Harvard but the tone of your comments suggest unquestionable knowledge of events rather than simply based on your opinion. I would continue but it is now approaching six, my attention span is failing, and I running out of time to have my glass of Mr. Johnny Walker black before dinner.

  21. Ah, Johnny Walker Black…..thanks for the memories (it has been a long, long, time since I’ve had the joy of a good scotch)….

    This site is so surprising and rewarding…….

  22. harv,

    respect your elders and stop poking mr walker’s embers.

    looks like matt painter just saved his job. hate him.

    let’s beat minnesota so they can start preparing their defense of their nit “title”

    where’s the tequila!?!

  23. Trow to re-ember the kind of Sept-ember
    When life was slow and oh, so mellow…
    And Chet “The Jet” Walker
    Was a head-faking Bulls fellow….

    JBJ heating up!!! Less Max Hoetzel.

  24. I sure wish that Blackmon kid was a baller….

    As I said over a week ago…Troy Williams is better than Oladipo.

  25. The Hoosiers looking good shooting and look at that rebounding edge…Minn on a roll coming in…nice job to Crean and staff but especially kids for executing…great game! Was this one hard to watch Tsao?

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