Hoosiers face toughest test yet at N.C. State

  • 11/29/2011 7:58 pm in

Indiana faced and easily passed its first road test of the season on Nov. 16 at Evansville.

But that game was only a couple hours away from Bloomington against a team with inferior talent.

When the Hoosiers (6-0) travel to North Carolina State (5-1) for a 7:15 p.m. tip Wednesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the test will be much stiffer.

“I don’t think we will have 2,000 people from Washington, Ind. at this,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said Tuesday, referring to the fans from Cody Zeller’s hometown who made the trip to Evansville. “It will be different, but it’s good. The Big Ten is like that. … We’re going to have to play. Let’s go see where we stand and let’s go in there knowing the task is high.”

The Wolfpack feature remarkably balanced scoring, with six players averaging at least 10.2 points per game. C.J. Leslie, a former McDonald’s All-American, is the leader of the group.

After contemplating a move to the NBA after last season, the 6-foot-8, 206-pound Leslie opted to return to school. He missed the first three games of the season due to suspension, but has averaged 16.7 points per game off the bench in the last three – including a season-high 20 points in N.C. State’s only loss to No. 19 Vanderbilt on Nov. 19.

Leslie likes to attack the rim and rarely settles for an outside shot. He hasn’t attempted a 3-pointer this season. He also uses his length to his advantage defensively as he has recorded seven steals and blocked seven shots in three games.

“It’s very hard to prepare for that. It’s like preparing for a 6-foot-8 Victor [Oladipo],” Crean said. “His second and third efforts are tremendous. His first effort is very good, his first step is very good, but it’s the second and third effort from him that I think separates him. … You have to constantly be aware of him.”

Richard Howell (13.7 points, 8.8 rebounds), Lorenzo Brown (13.2 points, 6.5 assists), Scott Wood (11.4 points), DeShawn Painter (11 points, 6.2 rebounds) and C.J. Williams (10.2 points, 4.2 rebounds) also average in double figures for the Wolfpack.

N.C. State has scored 80 or more points three times this season, and the Wolfpack beat Texas 77-74 on a neutral court.

Crean said he’s concerned with N.C. State’s offensive explosiveness, but he’s even more worried about the Wolfpack’s ability to rebound. The Hoosiers are ranked just 213th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage, and N.C. State has more size than any team Indiana has played to date.

“We’ve got to rebound the ball better, there’s no doubt about that,” Crean said. “We’ve got to block out better. … If you don’t make first contact, that’s a problem. Well in this game if you don’t make first contact, they will jump over you, and that’s something this team hasn’t seen yet.”

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  • Anonymous

    So…your solution to stopping a potential NBA lottery pick is throwing a true freshman that has barely any playing time in IU’s previous games and has a major size disadvantage at him?  It’s going to be a combination of Pritchard, Elston, Sheehey, Watford and probably even a little bit of Zeller.  I don’t see Remy Abell being part of that rotation. 

  • Anonymous

    Christian Watford currently doesn’t have a draft stock.  He isn’t even in the top 100 right now.  CW is nowhere close to an NBA player right now.

  • IUJeff

    We are going to have to go zone to counter the athleticizm of NC State. 

    Our 6′-8″ guys will have to play some real D and block out big time in order to get a W tonight.

    VO needs to stop patting himself on the back (or face). Let your game speak for itself Vic.  

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    This game is now garnering quite a bit of national pub. Possibly the 2nd most hyped and expected game tonight.  This is a must win for us tonight to prove Indiana can be thought about again.  This will be a tough test and if we win, we move up the ladder a couple more rungs.  I believe it is going to be close, but the boys will bring a W home.  Indiana 86-NC State 84 in overtime.

  • IUJeff

    – Love the NBAers at our games

    – Matta can have Deshawn. That’s the last good player he gets. And that’s perma-tan. He bathes in it and is the spokesperson for it. “Tan w/out the harmful effects of the sun”. 

    – Craft is a football player disguised as a bball player. Very solid.

  • MillaRed

    Honestly I don’t know any more than what I see on the court. You could be 100% right. But he definitely tries to punk people out there. It’s not terrible but he is loving him some Jared. That’s for certain.

  • MillaRed

    I know. It was quite barfy.

  • Anonymous

    I really don’t know what to expect from this game. 

    But my season long prediction is this: if both Watford and VJ have one of their good games we win.  If one or the other has a good game: 75%.  If they both have bad games:  coin flip.

  • Anonymous

    I am waiting for Sullinger to lose it.  He has been able to keep his cool lately because his teams are going against inferior opponents, but if a team can get in his head I can see him pulling a Suh.

  • HoosierSmitty

    Is it 7:15 yet? 

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Yeah, OSU may have finally sold out Value City Arena!  (Last year, the ranked match up with Purdue for control of the B1G didn’t sell out — or at least there were empty seats by the dozens).

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    You forgot to put “thousand” after the “six”

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    There aren’t any cliffs in Lafayette anyway…

  • HoosierDadE

    Done and Doner…

    At the end of the day, IU wins by 6,000 and pUKe is disqualified for the rest of the season (kinda threw that last one in for fun)

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Change “for the rest of the season” to “forever,” and you’ve got my vote.

  • Plane1972

    I just hope the guys are serious but loose. Hopefully they are more relaxed than the entire fanbase is right now. So fun to have this feeling again.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know if we can go zone all night.  I agree that our guys will have to play some real D in order for us to get a W tonight.  I think this is the game where TP, CW, VJIII and WS need to step up on D and play the game of this young season.  I would say we need to play a combination of guys on CJ Leslie tonight, along with zone.  Keep him off guard and guessing.  I would say play WS on him for awhile, WS seems as though he is one of the guys who steps up and says “give me your best”.  I think VO will need to shut down Lorenzo Brown on the outside.

    Something else we need to dictate the tempo of the game.  I think they have a bigger front line but if we get out an run it is possible we can wear them down.  Our bigs are able to get out and run well as we have seen.  I hope we stay close in the first half and are within striking distance midway through the second half.  I think we have a good chance in this game.


  • zellers and wadkins is cracking me up.

  • guest

    lets go boys!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I lived on Oahu for about 3 years and dreaded traveling (although I was gone about 50% of the time I “lived” there).  I would say from personal experience that it could have something to do with it.  Sometimes when I traveled to the east coast the jetlag was horrible, even for a 5-6 hour difference.  Other times it didn’t seem to bother me at all and it was only a day before I was back to normal time. 

    Going from mainland to Hawaii and then back could have been part of the reason.  Three teams lost yesterday that played in Maui.


    Could be jetlag, could be bad coaching, could be just an off night.

  • SHEEHEYisApimp

    Our bigs are too slow to hang stop him 1 on 1. Have the smaller quick guys stay in his junk and work on swiping the ball. I’d rather see him shooting 18 ft jumpers instead of blowing by our slow bigs, which will allow him to get our bigs in foul trouble and shooting uncontested shots from the charity stripe. So, yes, that Is MY solution.

    I agree with Aceman, Will is going to have to Be in the mix too.

  • Anonymous

    i think we’ll be down by 1 at halftime and hang with them in the 2nd half. Then, we’ll be down by 7 with about 3.5 minutes to go, hit our foul shots, get some defensive stops, quit turning over the ball, Jordy will hit a big 3, Vic will take a steal the distance for a 2 handed behind the head dunk, we’ll hit more FTs and win by 11.

    …but that’s just purely a guess.

  • Anonymous

    the only reason Leslie was coming off the bench is because his shift at McDonalds ends when the dinner shift starts (he has to work off the $410 in impermissable benefits somehow).

  • Anonymous

    determinators <— I don't care who you are, that's funny right there.

  • Anonymous

    their mye too favrite playerz on thise teem.

  • SHEEHEYisApimp

    The true freshman looked pretty friggin good!

  • Anonymous

    He played well.  However, he didn’t guard CJ Leslie at all.  I never suggested Abell wouldn’t play or contribute (I was surprised to see him in the first half though).  The comment was about guarding CJ Leslie.  That responsibility fell to Watford and he did an excellent job.