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2014-2015 ITH season preview: Purdue Boilermakers

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With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Purdue Boilermakers.

After a CBI appearance two seasons ago and missing the postseason altogether last season, it may be a make or break season for Matt Painter in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers finished just 15-17 a season ago, which led to a candid speech from Painter following a home loss to Northwestern on March 9.

“First of all, it’s my fault,” he said. “It’s my job to get guys to play together, it’s my job to get guys to play, it’s my job to get guys to play smart, and we don’t do any of those. And so that is my fault. When you start off, people will always give you a break. But when you’re somewhere for nine years, they shouldn’t. They absolutely shouldn’t, because it is my fault we are in this position.”

If Painter is to orchestrate a turnaround this season, he’ll have to do so with a made over roster. Last season’s leading scorer Terone Johnson graduated, point guard Ronnie Johnson transferred and three other rotation players are gone.

A.J. Hammons opted to return for his junior season, which was a major offseason victory for the program and three sophomores who showed promise a season ago — Basil Smotherman, Kendall Stephens and Bryson Scott — are all back as well. Purdue also welcomes a five-man recruiting class that includes a 247Composite top 100 post player in Isaac Haas, a solid point guard in P.J. Thompson and Vince Edwards, another top 150 recruit.

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2014-2015 ITH season preview: Northwestern Wildcats

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With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Northwestern Wildcats.

Welsh-Ryan Arena has a new high-definition, 23-foot wide video scoreboard.

It will have little to do with Northwestern’s on-court play, but for those witness to the archaic, somewhat laughable screen that still hung from the rafters just last season, it’s symbolic of the program’s shift from Bill Carmody to Chris Collins: Modernity is the new rule.

Freshman Vic Law, a local product from St. Rita, arrives as the program’s top recruit in two decades (Evan Eschmeyer, 1993) — and just maybe its best ever. Law figures to draw the starting wing spot for Collins and be a top contributor from the get-go. Northwestern loses veteran Drew Crawford (15.7 PPG) off a team with limited bodies last season, but JerShon Cobb (redshirt senior, 12.2 PPG) and Tre Demps (reshirt junior, 11.0 PPG) return. They were the only other double-digit scorers for Collins during the 2013-2014 campaign.

Down low, Alex Olah is back for his junior season. At 7-foot and 265 pounds, he’s a bruiser and tough cover. Olah made great strides last season, developing more of an offensive game and improving his field goal percentage (41.5 percent to 50.9 percent). Olah also became a more respectable shooter from the charity stripe (58.3 percent to 68.0 percent) and proved a modest threat from distance (30.3 percent) for a player his size. He’ll be essential for the Wildcats during the physical Big Ten season on both ends of the court (block percentage of 6.3).

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More TV designations announced for IU’s 2014-2015 schedule

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The Big Ten announced television designations on Thursday for the remainder of league games that will be shown on either CBS or the ESPN family of networks.

Indiana will have a total of six conference games shown on the ESPN family of networks, two shown on CBS and a flex game against Rutgers that will be televised by either BTN or CBS.

The Hoosiers will also have one non-conference game on ESPN, two on ESPN2 and one on ESPNews.

Below is a list of all of the designations announced today by IU media relations and the Big Ten:

ESPN family of networks

November
24, Eastern Washington, 7:30 p.m., ESPNews

December
2, Pittsburgh, 7 p.m., ESPN2
9, Louisville, 9 p.m., ESPN
27, Georgetown, Noon, ESPN2

January
10, Ohio State, Noon or 1 p.m., ESPN or ESPNU
22, Maryland, 9 p.m., ESPNU

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2014-2015 ITH season preview: Penn State Nittany Lions

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Penn State Nittany Lions.

What a difference a year makes. After Penn State finished the 2012-13 season with a meager 10-21 record and 2-16 mark in conference play, the Nittany Lions showed last season they could be a formidable threat under Pat Chambers.

They pushed Indiana to the wire in State College. They beat Indiana in Bloomington. They also beat NCAA tournament squads Ohio State (twice), Nebraska and Mount St. Mary’s en route to a 16-18 (6-12) record and a berth into the College Basketball Invitational — their best season since 2010-2011.

Of course, that’s all in the past. But entering year four at Penn State, Chambers has proven he can make the Nittany Lions competitive in the Big Ten. And this season, the Nittany Lions could surprise, once again.

The big, glaring loss from last season’s team, though, is that of guard Tim Frazier, one of the all-time Penn State greats. The all-time assists leader at the school, Frazier provided the Nittany Lions with both on-court and off-court leadership — he was the team captain for three years, too. His loss leaves a lot to be made up for this season.

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2014-2015 ITH season preview: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Last season was Eddie Jordan’s first at the helm of the Rutgers basketball program, and it didn’t come easy.

The Scarlet Knights struggled and lost to the likes of UAB, Drexel, William and Mary and Farleigh Dickinson — and that was just in the non-conference season. Playing their first and only season in the American Athletic Conference, the Scarlet Knights finished just 5-13 in conference action, ending the season with a 92-31 loss to Louisville in the AAC tournament and an overall 12-21 record.

And things won’t get easier from here. On July 1, Rutgers officially joined the Big Ten, a perennial power league in college basketball. And for a school that has not had an overall record at or above .500 since the 2005-2006 season and a league record of .500 or better since 2001-2002, it will face an uphill battle as it makes the transition from the old Big East to its new home in the Big Ten.

For Jordan, he sees the process as “rebuilding.” Over the offseason, the Scarlet Knights lost two starters in Wally Judge and J.J. Moore. Both were forwards and former transfers, averaging a combined 18.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game and giving Rutgers some experience and stability in an otherwise tumultuous season. Rutgers also lost guards Jerome Seagears and D’Von Campbell, who both transferred out of the New Brunswick school.

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BTN to televise 17 IU games for 2014-2015 season

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The Big Ten Network announced television designations for 17 Indiana games for the upcoming season and also announced that it will show three games on its web-only platform, BTN Plus.

The conference also announced tip times for several games on the schedule.

Remaining games will be picked up by Big Ten television partners ESPN or CBS and times and network designations will be released at a later date.

Below are all of the TV assignments announced today:

BTN games

November

14, Mississippi Valley State, 7 p.m.
17, Texas Southern, 6 p.m.
20, SMU, 8 p.m.
22, Lamar, 8 p.m.
28, UNC-Greensboro, 9 p.m.

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2014-2015 Big Ten preview: Top non-conference games

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With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with ten non-conference games, listed in chronological order, that you’ll want to mark on your calendars as must see.

Minnesota vs. Louisville on Friday, Nov. 14
Event: Armed Forces Classic at the Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico
TV coverage: ESPN

The 2014-2015 season tips off with a battle in Puerto Rico between father and son. It will be the second-ever meeting between Rick Pitino, head coach of Louisville, and his son Richard, head coach of Minnesota, as the two squared off in a 79-55 Louisville win over Florida International in 2012. It also will be the first look at Rick Pitino’s 2014-15 Cardinals squad, which stands at No. 10 in the CBS Sports preseason rankings.

Michigan State vs. Duke on Tuesday, Nov. 18
Event: Champions Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis
TV coverage: ESPN

The Champions Classic opens its inaugural event with an early-season bout between two college basketball heavyweights, and it will take place in the Hoosiers’ backyard. The Spartans lost the likes of Gary Harris, Adreian Payne and Keith Appling over the offseason, so the test against an elite squad like Duke will be a gauge on where the Spartans stand with their new-look squad.

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