Savannah St. Notebook: Zeller’s value, free throws, more

  • 11/20/2011 8:09 pm in

Notes, quotes and observations from Saturday night’s 94-65 win over Savannah State:

Indiana is 4-0 for the second consecutive season. But this 4-0 start feels different than a year ago. The Hoosiers are dominating teams they should be dominating. And the one major ingredient that has changed from a year ago is Cody Zeller.

Tom Crean was asked to quantify how much better Zeller, who finished his fourth collegiate game with 23 points, makes his team following IU’s rout of Savannah State.

“No, I can’t (quantify). That’s nothing I really think about,” Crean said. “Cody is a really good player and we have some other really good players that are really developing a synergy and a togetherness.

“It goes back to what I’ve always said about Cody. I said when we signed him, and I’ve seen nothing that leads us to believe any differently and everything gets based on this, you can go at him and you can play through him. When you have a player like that it makes everybody better. so in answer to your question, that’s probably the best way for us to put it.”

GETTING TO THE LINE

As Ryan pointed out in The Minute After, Indiana got to the line at a ridiculous clip on Saturday night. The Hoosiers shot 47 free throws, which nearly matched their 49 field goal attempts.

Take a picture of the box score as a free throw rate that high is unlikely to happen again all season. And while Saturday may have been an aberration, Crean was still happy with Indiana’s early progress in getting to the line.

“There’s no question that when you are making more than your opponents are attempting you’re not going to lose many games,” he said. “We haven’t had a lot of that, and we’ve been an outstanding free throw shooting team. Last year in all of league play we were 5th in the BCS in free throw percentage, but we were 53rd in attempts in league play. That’s been a huge part of what we want to do along with cutting down the fouls.”

Through four games, Indiana ranks 21st nationally in free throw rate, defined as FTA/FGA, and 135th nationally in opponent free throw rate. The Hoosiers were 333rd in opponent free throw rate last season.

A SPARK OFF THE BENCH

The Hoosiers have gone with the same starting lineup in all four games with Will Sheehey getting the nod as the first man off the bench.

It’s a role the sophomore wing has taken well as he’s averaging 11 points on 50 percent shooting in 17.3 minutes per contest.

“I just try to mix things up a little bit,” Sheehey said. “Coach wants me to come in and provide that energy. One of the things I try to do is play with energy and play aggressive. I’m completely comfortable in that role coming off (the bench) and trying to spark things.”

DEFLECTIONS UP

It’s a stat Crean references regularly and the importance of deflections was clear when Sheehey answered a question about Indiana’s biggest improvement over last season.

“We’ve had more deflections than ever,” Sheehey said. “Getting our hands in the passing lane and being aware on defense is still something we need to improve on. Just over the past four games or so, we’ve really just kind of been really active on the defensive end.”

According to Crean, IU finished with 55 deflections on Saturday.

RECRUITS TAKE IN ROUT

Two of Indiana’s verbal commitments — Devin Davis Jr. and Trey Lyles — were in attendance as well as 2014 Evansville Bosse guard JaQuan Lyles and 2014 Greensburg guard Bryant McIntosh.

Lyle, a consensus top 25 player and an AAU teammate of Lyles and James Blackmon Jr., wore a grey IU hoodie.

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  • Derbus

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=313240096

    Teague is OVERRATED as I wrote before and I predict IU will beat UK in Bloomington on Dec. 10.  Learn it, love it, live it.

  • Bracy2

    Love Zellers hustle

  • Anonymous

    Cody Zeller makes a huge impact on both sides of the ball.  

    On offense, he makes the defense make a decision: Stop Zeller and leave our guards open for threes, or go one on one with the All American and let him pick you apart.  Some would say try to stop Zeller, but then again Hulls is shooting a lethal 61.5% from three so far this year.  He forces teams to pick their poison.  Cody also runs like a deer.  I can’t think of many big guys who can get out and run with Zeller.

    On defense, he makes it a little harder to come into the lane.  In previous years, if the opposition wants to come into the lane, they will most likely have an easy layup or be going to the free throw line.  Now they might get their shot blocked or get the ball swiped.  Zeller also is a good rebounder who should limit second chance points.

    As long as he can stay healthy and stay out of foul trouble, the Hoosiers will surprise everyone (except maybe Dan Dakich).

  • HoosierNshaker2

    My boy JaQuan Lyle in the grey IU hoodie?  I LOVE it!

    Anyone know if he was also at the Evansville game last week?

  • Anonymous

    I believe he was.

  • Anonymous

    He was in attendance at the Evansville game. He was also reported to be wearing IU gear. He switched aau teams to join up with lyles, blackmon, and blueitt. A blueitt and Lyle commitment could mean an epic recruiting class more heralded than the 2012 class. Lyle’s play is reminiscent of Magic Johnson’s. We could very well catch or surpass pUKe in banner count.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I would LOVE to see both Blueitt and J Lyle!  That would mean that CTC had landed a top five class twice in three years.  That’s something the big boys do and I think it would solidify IU as being BACK on the national scene!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Boilers going downnnnnn to Bama! Love it!

  • Anonymous

    This was a good day, the Colts didn’t lose and PUke lost.

  • Anonymous

    when we had Rivers and Prittch out there, it was pretty much a 5 on 3.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    AND a Hoosier won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship tonight in an epic must win the race to win the season championship scenario!! Columbus, IN native and resident Tony Stewart! Go Smoke!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Think about this possibility:
    PG- Yogi -Jaquan Lyle
    SG- Buss- Blackmon
    SF- Hollowell, Blueitt
    PF- CZ, Hanner Perea
    C- Trey Lyles, Jurkin

    That’s national prominence. Name any of the top five teams in the country for the last 10 years and try and give me a better roster. That’s scary! I hope this dream comes true!

  • Anonymous

    He was in a red IU hoodie at the SSU game.  Lyle has a very good relationship with both Lyles and Blackmon.  Lately he has referred to them as ‘the 3 amigos’.  It’s just a matter of time until he joins.

  • Anonymous

    Great game even though at times defense was sloppy and we fouled a lot, but still better effort and much improved offense! Sheehey and Oladipo’s improvements are drastic along with Elston getting healthy. Can’t wait for the Butler, NC State, ND, and UK games to get a good gauge on how big ten play will go, which I think we’ll finish with 7 or 8 wins in conference this yr IMO

  • Anonymous

    Another topic i’ve thought about lately is who goes next year with the scholly numbers as they are now someone will have to

  • JohnFromBeyond

    Exactly what I was thinking. Now we can play 5 on 5 ball!

  • Anonymous

    This Hoosiers team needs to REBOUND. Ok, rant already over. Great talk about the deflections. I’m glad these kids are listening and doing it in the game. They’ve got to make sure the deflections are translating to TO’s and TO’s into points or foul shots on the other end. I thoroughly enjoy watching this team. They are playing good basketball, especially on the offensive end. I really had no idea how talented this team was until the first game this year, and they are playing well above my expectations. Let’s hope they keep up the momentum! Butler should be a good test. They’ll be the first team IU has played that has a good post player. I hope they play Cody one on one just to see how he stacks up w/Andrew Smith or whomever they choose to put on him — advantage Cody Zeller. Man I hope this is the year the Hoosiers start making noise in the conference. HOO HOO HOO HOOSIERS!

  • InTheMtns

    As for turning deflections into TO’s and TO’s into points, here are the turnover numbers and points off turnovers for the first four games:
     
       Turnovers  – SBU 16, IND 14.  Points off turnovers – SBU 12, IND 14.
       Turnovers – UTC 25, IND 18.   Points off turnovers – UTC 9, IND 30.
       Turnovers – UE 16, IND 12.    Points off turnovers – UE 12, IND 22. 
      Turnovers – SSU 16, IND 9.    Points off turnovers – SSU 4,IND 27.
     
    Pretty great so far, I’d say.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I think Lyle is getting down to near lock status, but we also are forgetting Hartman and Davis Jr. in that depth chart.  Those are two guys who can shoot, rebound, play D, and do a lot of the little things that make a team good . . . and I still think DD Jr. is going to be way better than rankings are giving him credit for!

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree. I wasn’t saying that they aren’t doing a great job, just saying that they need to maintain that production. This team has been persistent in getting after the ball, but they’ll need consistent production (which they’ve had obviously) in translating those TO’s to points come conference time.

  • IUJeff

    I liken Watfords game to DJ’s somewhat. I hope Watford really turns it on this year. He is looking better each game.

  • Anonymous

    Good question as, even with Matt Roth graduating, we are at 14 scholarship guys for 2012-13. I assume there is a plan in place…

  • IUJeff

    No NCAA for PUke this year. I agree mayby on the bubble. They were exposed and schooled last night. They are 6th – 8th in B10 at best this year.   

    PUs women’s program is better than the men’s. lol

  • Bleeding Crimson

    I totally agree esp after the Old D game but I listened to the talk show after the game and all the pUKe fans were saying they would have won by 20 if that game was at home…which I agree Rap Arena.  But pUKe is good but young.  I’ve heard them say that they have more talent then some NBA teams.
    I’ve yet to see them play but they are winning some games by 40+ points.  I guess is what I’m saying is bring them on but it will be a tough game and let’s not count our chickens until they hatch.  This team is really good and will get better as the year goes on.  pUKe plays N.C. the game before us if they lose that game that will not be good for the Hoosiers but if they win they might be looking over us as a solid win.
    We will see…I’m not sure that we are a top 25 team or will be by years end but next year for sure. 
    Go Hoosiers.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Way too early to see who the Hoosier really are.  Good forbid but if we lose CZ to injury of fouls we are in trouble.

  • Anonymous

    Yes – almost always!  I pity the poor players sometimes.  He could use a simple course in English language.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    I think Watford was just still nursing his injury the first two games and is now over the mental aspect of it all.   He is starting to hit the boards and rim harder these last two games.  His short is still good.
    GO Hoosiers.

  • InTheMtns

    Wow, THAT would be a great regular feature – What Did Coach Say? (Or in some cases, what didn’t he say.) Love the idea. 
     
    With respect to Zeller, I think CTC doesn’t want to participate in discussions that single Cody out as having the biggest (or most noticed) impact. CTC is trying to sell the team on TEAM. CTC doesn’t mind players getting praise, but he wants to guard against one player getting all the limelight. That’s not good for fostering the TEAM concept. He knows it’s going to happen anyway, but the Coach can’t participate in it.   

  • stonaroni

    I could care less if we win or lose against UK and will make no predictions.  Both teams have talent and both teams have a lot to work on.  Either team could win by 15 or lose by 15.  I want to see how this team responds to a top tier team and how efficiently the team and CTC executes.  A passing grade here will make me feel a ton better in big 10 play.

    I have always thought Teague was a little overrrated, but he is pressing right now which makes him look worse.  He has the ability to get penetration as well as any guard in the country but his lack of shooting ability and freakish athleticism causes problems as he cannot kill you from outside and be effective scoring in the paint.

  • stonaroni

    No way, DJ would devour him night in, night out.  DJ White was a bulldog.  CW has some skills but lacks any kind of fire defensively.

  • Anonymous

    Agree.  CW has a nice game, and is better on the perimeter than DJ was, but I’d take DJ in a heartbeat over CW.  DJ was a total game changer on both sides of the floor.  Also, it is much harder to find a 4/5 than a wing.

    Still, I’m glad CW plays for us instead of someone else!

  • Anonymous

    What makes Cody even more valuable is his calming demenor. He is not an overconfident cocky UK type hot dog player. He knows the game will come to him. He appears to be a great teammate as well. Those are the kind of players that will build is back to a consistent powerhouse in the big ten.

  • Anonymous

    Coach could learn many things from Cody.  .  .  .

  • Anonymous

    As I see the the scholarship numbers we have an open scholarship for the 2013 season.  We might have two depending on what happens next season.  What do you think the best option is for that scholarship?  I was thinking Bee Jay Anya.  Then we pickup a point in Jaquan Lyle in 2014 to learn under Yogi for a few years before Yogi is gone.  What do you think?

  • Anonymous

    I agree. I definitely think we should go after either Anya or Willis. Adding Anya would make us an extremely dominant rebounding team. I actually believe Willis is too good for us. We have too many scoring options to go to in 2012 and I see him demanding big minutes. He’s really good. I feel Anya would be a great low post threat much like Glen Davis or even A Dejuan Blair. I think we are better off pairing him with Zeller, Perea, and Jurkin in the frontcourt. It makes our second team well rounded. Very well rounded. As for Jaquan Lyle, I’m sorry to say this but I get the feeling we are looking at a future NBA star. I don’t think he comes in and sits behind anyone. Even yogi! Hopefully by then yogi has left his stamp on IU basketball as a two time national champion and top 10 draft pick. This kids style of play, combined with how big he will most likely be by the time he comes in, screams Magic Johnson. I know that’s an “out there” comparison but that’s the first name that came to my mind when I watched him play. I believe that by adding Blueitt and Lyle, we would have the best recruiting class in the past decade.

  • Anonymous

    Like what I’ve seen so far; though improvement needs to continue. Anxious to see how we play against the Butlers, NC States, Kentuckys, etc. I think we can hold our own and even win those games. One concern going into the latter part of the non-conference and onto the Big Ten season is this: will the officiating be on even ground? For whatever the reason(s), I don’t feel that IU got it’s fair share of calls last year.