Gameday central: Rutgers at Indiana

It’s senior day in Bloomington — and an opportunity for Indiana to keep its hopes of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament on track.

The Hoosiers find themselves in another must-win game this afternoon against Rutgers, the final game before next week’s Big Ten Tournament.

Rutgers has won the last two meetings in the series, including a 66-58 victory on Jan. 30 in New Jersey.

“I think the first time we played them, clearly they did a great job at the end of the first half and the the beginning of the second half of disrupting us and hitting the offensive glass and getting out in transition,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “We did a few good things, but we lost our composure and got out-physicaled in that game. Give Rutgers credit. They play extremely hard. They have a gauntlet of big guys they throw in at you, and their guards have really grown up. Geo Baker is really explosive. Ron Harper Jr. is playing really well of late. To me, they’re one of the harder playing teams.”

Indiana will also recognize five seniors after Sunday’s contest: forwards Juwan Morgan and Evan Fitzner, and guards Zach McRoberts, Johnny Jager and Quentin Taylor.

“It’s a great group,” Miller said. “It starts with Quentin and Johnny. Those guys have been invaluable to what we’re doing. They’ve been great teammates. They practice every day and don’t get the credit everyone else gets. Evan is a guy that’s stepped in here for one year and took a leap of faith. He’s been the consummate teammate and he’s helped us along the way. Zach, obviously, is a huge, huge guy for our staff. He gives us a leader on the floor, a guy that can be counted on. He’s had such an unfortunate run of injuries and hasn’t had the same role, but he’s a guy that really cares.

“And Juwan went from start to finish with us. From Day, he’s been a rock, not only in practice but off the floor. He’s a true adult. He’s really mature. Without him, I don’t know where we would be. Our hope is that all five of them can experience some good moments with us as we continue to go through March.”

RUTGERS (14-15, 7-12)
P No. Name Ht. Cl. Avg.
F 5 Eugene Omoruyi 6-7 Jr. 13.5
F 2 Shaquille Doorson 7-0 Gr. 3.8
G 00 Geo Baker 6-4 So. 12.6
G 23 Montez Mathis 6-4 Fr. 8.8
G 24 Ron Harper Jr. 6-6 Fr. 7.8

INDIANA (16-14, 7-12)
P No. Name Ht. Cl. Avg.
F 13 Juwan Morgan 6-8 Sr. 14.8
F 3 Justin Smith 6-7 So. 8.8
G 1 Al Durham 6-6 Sr. 7.7
G 0 Romeo Langford 6-6 Fr. 16.6
G 10 Rob Phinisee 6-1 Fr. 7.0

12 comments

  1. Great win. Totally different team it there right now.

    I remember a poster here once saying the mark of good coaching is seeing players and teams getting better. Undeniable the difference in this team as they head into the Big Ten Tournament with everyone playing better.

    Props to Archie for continuing to keep this ship afloat, believe in these kids and get them here. Let’s do some damage in Chicago now.

  2. Several of us, myself especially, have been highly critical of Green’s performance through much of this season. But we must acknowledge Green’s significant improvement over these last few games, as evidenced by his performance today. Green has recently begun playing like many of us hoped he would at the beginning of the season. Today, Green was an effective offensive weapon and he protected the ball reasonably well. For a team that was committing 15 or more turnovers a game earlier in the season to committing just 13 turnovers in the last two (conference) games, that shows major improvement, and Green deserves credit for being a part of that improvement. Watching Green, anyone could see his obvious athletic ability and potential from day one. But he made far too many really dumb and careless mistakes. Frankly, for much of this season Green was a liability. Today, Green was a major asset and he seems to have gotten a lot smarter of late. He deserves credit.

    If IU, and especially Green, can continue to execute and protect the ball, this roster could provide The Hoosier Nation with one of the biggest surprise endings to a season we’ve witnessed in decades.

  3. According to ESPN, these are some of Green’s stats from the last three games. 40 points, 10 assists, 6 steals and just 2 turnovers. Ironically, Green makes a higher percentage of his 3-point shots than he does his 2-point shots. If IU is to keep this winning streak going, Green needs to play this way for the remainder of the season.

  4. The Hoosiers are a team nobody wants to play right now. Results from December or January are absolutely meaningless. This is a completely different team.

  5. Chet, I agree with you, nobody wants to play IU right now. But as to your second comment, there is no chance that Archie gets voted Big Ten Coach of the Year, regardless of how the team finishes the season. He did a good job preparing this team to begin the regular season and has done well to bring them back from the dead at the end, but his team played terrible in between. It just doesn’t work that way.

    1. The team was devastated by more injuries than any team I am aware of and going into the last week of the season they are playing their best ball and are still in contention for an NCAA bid.

      He may not win the award but I will be shocked if he doesn’t receive some votes.

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