IUWBB: Extras ahead of IU-Georgia at 9 p.m.

With a little less than nine hours to burn before the No. 9 seed Hoosiers tip with No. 8 seed Georgia in the first round of the NCAA tournament, I thought I’d unload my notebook. There was a lot of material from yesterday’s press conferences that didn’t fit into this story in today’s paper. So here you go …

Cahill underrated, but by whom?

The NCAA tournament is a time of year for local papers and television stations to follow-up with former high school athletes who have gone on to do great things at the next level. A TV station from Toledo, Ohio, sent a reporter to South Bend to ask questions about Clyde’s Amanda Cahill on Friday.

Moren had a lot to say about her star forward.

“I think she’s undervalued, from a lot of people on the outside,” Moren said. “B was left off, I think by the media in the Big Ten, which was disappointing, but the coaches I know in the Big Ten value a kid like Amanda Cahill. She can do so many things, and she’s kind of a throwback type of player.”

Moren went on to rave about Cahill’s all-around game, including her footwork around the basket. She has proven her worth this year with 11 double-doubles, almost double what she produced as a freshman.

Must correct one point, though. Moren said Cahill was a second-team selection by the Big Ten coaches and honorable mention by the media. Minor slip-up, but she used that to say coaches, more than media types, appreciate Cahill’s game. Nice try. The media made Cahill a second-team All-Big Ten selection, and the coaches slotted her as an honorable mention nominee. Just one example of a media member appreciating Cahill here, and there are several other examples.

But otherwise, it was a lively exchange between Moren and the TV guy, where the second-year coach happily gloated about her 6-foot-2 sophomore. Maybe some of Moren’s coach friends will watch the report and reconsider their vote next year.

“She’s not the most athletic, she doesn’t jump the highest, and she doesn’t run the fastest,” Moren said. “But she has terrific footwork, she has a terrific feel for the game, she’s really a special passer. Then she has the ability to step out and knock down threes, she can play with her back to the basket. She’s kind of the whole package but nothing that she does is going to wow you. At the end of the night when you look at the stat sheet, she fills it up in different categories.”

Speaking of star sophomores …

While Cahill might have been overlooked by some coaches, Tyra Buss was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by both the media and the conference’s coaches. So when Georgia’s Joni Taylor was asked about IU on Friday, Buss was one of the first names that came to mind.

Buss has a penchant for pushing the tempo and attacking the basket as IU’s point guard, but Taylor was quick to point out that Georgia sees a lot of similar guards in the Southeastern Conference.

“That is what’s fortunate about the conference we play in. We see people like that every night,” Taylor said. “Yes, we have seen people that want to get to the rim and attack and score in transition. It’s something that we talk about, just to make our team aware, that, hey, this is another player who is going to try and get to the rim before we set our defense, but it’s not going to be a unique thing for us.”

Taylor went on to point out that the SEC has nine teams in the tournament. The Big Ten, by comparison, has five teams in the Big Dance.

Look for the Lady Bulldogs to try and pressure Buss and deny her as much as possible. But Taylor was also aware of the Hoosiers’ shooters. The second name that came out of her mouth was Karlee McBride, IU’s deep range weapon who has hit big shots this year. She will be playing in her sister Kayla’s old gym in South Bend tonight.

“They have McBride that can really stretch you, then they have players inside that do a really nice job,” Taylor said. “So we have to be sound in all positions.”

Georgia’s tough road

Yes, the Lady Bulldogs started their conference season 2-5, but there is a reason for that.

Their first four games came against teams that would finish with 21 or more wins — Texas A&M, Missouri, Kentucky and Florida. Knowing it would be tough to come out ahead with that kind of schedule, Taylor had her team split up the year into three parts, non-conference, conference and postseason.

“We talked about what might happen and the position we could be in if things went the way we wanted and what could happen if things didn’t go quite the way we wanted them to. We were disappointed in how we started, but I don’t think it was a shock, either. That helped our players, because they were prepared for a tough start. We just knew we had to stay the course and trust ourselves and trust the work we had put in all summer, all preseason and all non-conference.”

Georgia eventually dug out of its hole, finishing 9-7 in conference play. The postseason phase started poorly, however. The Lady Bulldogs lost in overtime to Vanderbilt in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Just like IU, they have played only one game in March, and their next game will be without their leading rebounder, Shacobia Barbee.

It’s tough to replace 9.1 rebounds per game, especially against an IU team that has outrebounded its opponents 10 out of its last 12 games. Along with guarding Buss, the Lady Bulldogs emphasized attacking the boards in practices ahead of this game, knowing it will take two or three players getting a couple extra rebounds to make up for Barbee’s production in that department.

“Everybody is just focusing in on boxing out and getting those rebounds,” forward Merritt Hempe said.