Live chat transcript

QUESTION: Good morning, and welcome to the IU sports chat. Thank you for joining us. Are you ready guys?

JEREMY PRICE: Ready indeed. Let’s get this chat fired up.

MIKE MILLER: Morning, everybody. Let’s chat.

ANDY GRAHAM: Ready, willing, possibly disabled.

QUESTION: So, how many scholarships are available for football recruiting…they seemed productive during the bye week?
Second, IU men and women’s BBall recruiting….Do the women have more room for more commits…or any surprises for either?

Steve, Indy

JEREMY PRICE: Steve,

I’ll leave the football recruiting to the football dudes.

As for basketball, the IU women now have four commits for 2016 and should have one more scholarship open as the result of Lyndsay Leikem planning to graduate after this year. One of their recent commits was 2017, which should have room for a class of four.
Not sure about any surprises on the men’s side, although we continue to wait and see what will happen with the guys who have recently visited like Brown, Kegler and Davis — most of whom I expect will make a decision shortly whether they actually sign now or not. Indications are Eron Gordon isn’t completely off the radar, plus you have guys who won’t decide until spring like Rawle Alkins and Thon Maker.

MIKE MILLER: Hey Steve,

Football scholarships are a fluid situation at this point in the year. With 10 players in the current 2016 recruiting class, they’re likely to add between 5-10 more before February depending on transfers, junior graduations and so forth. Keep an eye on the quarterback position. Cincinnati three-star prospect Peyton Ramsey is already in the fold with a verbal commitment, but Wilson is looking at junior college possibilities. Richard Lagow, a 6-foot-6 junior college target from Texas, confirmed to me last week that he expects to visit IU for the Michigan game on Nov. 14.

ANDY GRAHAM: Steve:

The 2016 football recruiting class probably won’t end up as large as the last two or three classes, with only 13 seniors on the active roster. There are always guys with junior athletic eligibility but senior academic status who go ahead and graduate without returning to play their final season, and there are other forms of attrition, so my thought is IU will end up with somewhere between 15 and 20 signees, though it could be more. There are currently 10 commits. Coaches reported that recruiting was one of the encouraging aspects of the bye week, with Kevin Wilson specifically mentioning the Hoosiers were being well-received out on the recruiting trail, but how this season plays out is going to tell the tale as to whether the current class can start to measure up to the quality of the last three classes. So far, according to the ratings, it doesn’t. Coaches were very positive about the bye-week workouts. They seem to think this team remains ready to play.

I’ll let Jeremy and Mike break down the basketball recruiting in detail, other than to note that, yes, with more transition in the women’s program, there is probably even more room for newcomers there than there is on the men’s side — and the men’s class is still going to be sizable.

QUESTION: How many actual student tickets were sold this year for basketball? In past I know it was over-sold and they would give an actual number (12,000 last year I believe). Clearly they have at least sold all 7,800 but was curious if they over-sold again and how many games each student got? I am curious how enthusiastic the students are and what the mood is on campus in regards to the team.

Mike, Seymour

JEREMY PRICE: Mike,

Not sure about the actual number of student tickets this year. I believe they were following the same pattern as last year, so I’m assuming around the same 12,000 number. Regardless, I think the overall mood is pretty upbeat regarding this team, perhaps more so than the past two years.

MIKE MILLER: I’m told 11,000 student season tickets have been sold.

Seems to me that student morale is more optimistic this season, perhaps cautiously so. It’s obviously nothing close to what it was at this time three years ago, but I think it’s the best it’s been since that time.

ANDY GRAHAM: Mike:
Don’t know about the tickets, but perhaps Jeremy and/or Mike can enlighten. Can’t report the campus mood other than to say, based on
feedback from my student sons, it seems guardedly optimistic.

QUESTION: 1. I was encouraged by giving up only 54 points to Ottawa even though they missed a ton of open shots. That tied the Rutgers game last year for 2nd least given up in any game including exhibitions. Where does IU’s defense need to rank nationally for this to be a big season? 50th? 25th? Heck just improve from last years ranking of 214th.

2. What happened to the Big Ten Championship banners? I saw the National Championship banners were moved to the North side and the other lesser banners gone all together. I am actually a big fan of this as IU should be celebrating nothing less than a championship. Physically are the actual missing banners down in storage, tossed in the trash or hanging somewhere else?

Darren, Martinsville

JEREMY PRICE: Darren,

1. I’m not sure what kind of national ranking would be good to make this a big season — top 75 maybe? The big thing, like last year, is IU doesn’t have to be great defensively, not just be a complete sieve. The Ottawa game was a good example in that the defense really wasn’t so great for much of the game other than Ottawa missing shots, but I thought it was significantly better in those last nine minutes. And that’s where IU can make hay, with a focused defensive effort in short bursts that can allow it to create separation.

2. I believe the other banners are in temporary storage. Not sure how many people really missed them though.

MIKE MILLER: Hey Darren,

I may put in a special request to get Ottawa on the exhibition every year or two. Do I have that power? No, probably not. But that’s a fun team to watch. I don’t think they had their legs while playing their fourth game in five days, which probably led to the shooting troubles. Too bad. That’s a really exciting team when they’re on.

Defensively, I’m not sure I see a jump from 214 to 50, but I think hovering around the 100 area is certainly possible. Really, I think the point is to not be as porous as last year. It doesn’t have to be great, and it very likely won’t be. If IU can aspire for average defense, that should be good enough.

I’m told the banners are in temporary storage. I expect them to return, though I don’t know if a permanent site has been decided. Seems to be sort of a fluid situation. I was told at one point that after the renovations on the boxes in the south loge are complete, a set of banners — national championship or the other set — could be raised just overtop the premium seating area. Not sure if that’s still the case.

ANDY GRAHAM: Darren:

1. Agree the defense looked better, but it was just one exhibition game against a team that looked like it might have had tired legs after a lot of days on the road. As you note, the Gee Gees missed a lot of open 3s. But the defense down low looked better. Newcomers such as Bielfeldt and Morgan looked like they know what they’re doing down there, or at least showed some sound instincts, and Bryant is obviously a rim-protector kind of guy. So that factor alone should help. Can the perimeter guys keep their men in front of them better? We shall see. But it’s hard to imagine the defense not being better than last season.

2. Pretty sure that is simply construction-related and am assuming the other banners will resurface and be rehung once the construction abates. I understand the notion of championship banners only, but some of those other banners also have some sentimental value for those who have followed the program for a long time, and I’m frankly tried of the modern notion that anything shy of a title is unworthy. Sometimes the best and most inspiring performances don’t end up with the ultimate prize. I recall Isiah Thomas, when he became president of the Knicks a few years back, was asked what the high point of his basketball career was, and he said something like, “When I saw Mike Woodson gut it out to return from back surgery and take us to the Big Ten title in 1980.”

QUESTION: OSD is here. Been laid up with broken femur. Do not get on ladders. On to questions.
Seems the team looked good against Ottawa. But how will they do once season starts?
Any word on class of 2016 signees? If so who? We have two now right?
Have a good weekend!

Old Sports Dude, Crown Point

JEREMY PRICE: OSD,

Thanks for the safety tip. Hope you’re healing quickly.

The Ottawa game was certainly a solid start with some good things at both ends of the floor and some things to work on. How that translates to the start of the season, I have no idea. I think we’ll get a different look when IU plays Bellarmine in the final exhibition Monday, but I’m not sure we actually learn too much until Creighton comes to town on Nov. 19. I have to admit, it’s sort of a strange year in that it seems we know so little about a team everyone expects to be so good.

Signing week starts on Nov. 11, and Indiana has Crown Point guard Grant Gelon and combo guard Curtis Jones in the fold. The biggie is whether power forward De’Ron Davis makes a decision for the early signing period. He’s down to Indiana and Mississippi State with an official trip to Starkville scheduled for this weekend. Not sure if or when guard Bruce Brown, who visited a few weeks ago, will make a decision. Same for Mario Kegler, so plenty of irons remain in the fire, including Thon Maker who won’t decide until the spring.

MIKE MILLER: Hey OSD,

Broken femur? Gosh, get well soon.

A good question. You gotta like the energy of Thomas Bryant and the help he has next to him in Max Bielfeldt. I like that combination and look forward to seeing more from them. Bryant is the key to the season, but Troy Williams could be the X-factor. Following his development over the coming months will be of supreme interest. I sat down with Troy a couple weeks ago to chat and got a lot out of hearing him pinpoint the holes in his game. More than anything else, he knows he must be better at making the correct — or necessary — play when the game dictates. For a guy that’s playing at 100 miles per hour, that’s not an easy transition. But Troy knows he has to get better at thinking and digesting the game at a high rate of speed. One of the more difficult things, he acknowledged, is actually putting himself in a position to do so without thinking about it. It could take time, as Tuesday’s game showed. But I’m looking forward to following that part of it.

Alex Bozich of Inside The Hall has a good read on De’Ron Davis on his site this morning. Bozich talked with Davis’ high school coach, who says Indiana is in the lead and Davis should be making his decision in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned.

ANDY GRAHAM: Dude:
Yikes. Since that’s the biggest bone in the body, breaking the femur takes some doing. Hope you’re hanging in there and the pain isn’t too awful at this point, and that you are up and fully ambulatory before too long. Will take your admonition regarding ladders under advisement, especially at my age.

It was a good performance against Ottawa, overall. The young bigs all looked capable of helping right away, as did Beilfeldt. Blackmon’s shot was a thing of beauty. Lots of shooters, all over the court. Troy’s judgement often seemed askew, as he rushed things too much on both ends, but can’t complain about his effort-level. Yogi didn’t impale himself when he leaped over the IU bench. All in all, a good night.
When the season starts? This team is going to score. It has more defensive presence down low. Can the guards keep their men in front of them? Can IU recover to shooters? Ottawa looked tired, but some of the signs for IU were good, even for a first exhibition. As for signees or potential signees, Curtis Jones and Grant Gelon are the current 2016 commits. Folks keep saying IU is in pretty good stead with De’Ron Davis. Bruce Brown and Mario Kegler both had official visits last month. Thon Maker and Rawle Alkins likely won’t decide till spring. Eron Gordon remains a possibility. Etc.

Get well soon, Dude.

QUESTION: That is all the time we have today. Thank you for all of the questions. Stay on top of IU sports news with the Hoosier Scoop blog and app.

JEREMY PRICE: Thanks for joining us. Aside from football on Saturday and men’s basketball on Monday, in between is men’s soccer hosting Wisconsin in the Big Ten tourney on Sunday at 1 and women’s basketball hosting its exhibition opener Sunday at 2. The Scoop will keep you covered.

MIKE MILLER: Thanks for checking in, everybody. It’s another football weekend in Bloomington — the penultimate one of the year. We’ll have coverage from the game, while also tying together our IU basketball special section that’s slotted to run in print next week.

ANDY GRAHAM: Thanks, as always, to chatters, chatees, observers and denizens. The nation’s No. 10 football team comes calling Saturday. Should be fun.
Random thought: without one unbelievably bad penalty-kick call, Indiana’s soccer men would be unbeaten in their last 10 matches.