The Inside the Hall Mailbag: December 7

  • 12/07/2011 1:21 pm in

The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehalland sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can. Now, onward … 

@hmc210 writes: What are the chances IU makes the tourney this year?

Alex Bozich: At this point the chances seem fairly good. Assuming Indiana finishes the non-conference 12-1 (that includes a February non-conference game with North Carolina Central), they’d probably need eight Big Ten wins to become a legitimate candidate to be included in the NCAA Tournament field.

With the strength of the conference in the computer rankings thus far, it’s hard to imagine a 20-win Big Ten team not making the field. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves just yet. Given Indiana’s struggles down the stretch over the past few seasons, there’s plenty left to play out once the conference schedule rolls around.

@HBHoosier writes: Do you think IU tries playing any zone defense on Saturday?

Justin Albers: Yes. I think Tom Crean will show Kentucky a number of different looks to keep the Wildcats on their toes. Part of the reason for this is IU will have matchup problems all over the court. Who’s going to guard Terrence Jones? Who gets Marquis Teague? What about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?

Because Kentucky doesn’t have a good number of 3-point shooters, zone should be effective in short bursts. It would make sense for IU to slow the game down in such a manner because Kentucky could turn it into a dunk fest in a hurry.

@hoosierfan34 writes: What do you think is the critical element for us on Saturday?

Alex Bozich: There are plenty of critical elements, but two things jump out. The first is keeping Kentucky off of the offensive glass. This is too good of a team to allow second chance opportunities. Kentucky’s offense is the third best in the country right now according to Indiana will have its hands full trying to contest shots and cause misses. Allowing too many second chances will be tough to overcome.

Indiana taking care of the ball is the other area I’d consider critical. A careless pass against Kentucky turns into a dunk on the other end. Not a layup. A dunk. The Wildcats really like to get out and create points off their defense in transition. So the Hoosiers must have crisp ball movement and avoid mindless turnovers.

Andrew Bishop via Facebook writes: Why not give Remy Abell more minutes? Verdell Jones is too unpredictable with the ball.

Justin Albers: You make a good point here. I was telling someone last week I don’t think Jones will be in the starting lineup by the time we get to the Big Ten season. Or at least he shouldn’t be. Crean seems to be high on Jones, but he doesn’t fit what the Hoosiers are trying to do on either end of the court. He’s a good individual scorer, but he needs the ball to be effective. He still dribbles with his head down, and he isn’t a great outside shooter. Because of his slight size, Jones can be a liability on the defensive end as well.

So you’re right when you say Jones should play fewer minutes. But is Abell the guy that deserves more? I’m not sure. He was impressive in limited minutes at N.C. State, but I still need to see more of him before I say he should be part of the Hoosiers’ rotation. For now, I’d like to see Crean insert Will Sheehey into the starting lineup and bring Jones off the bench.

Mark Shlyankevich via Facebook writes: Sheehey is 6th on the team in minutes. That absolutely needs to change, right?

Alex Bozich: Wrong. Take a closer look at the minutes. Six guys are averaging 20 or more, but no player is over 30. So it’s not like Sheehey is playing far less than any of the regulars.

I’m not necessarily in agreement with Justin that Sheehey will or should take over for Jones in the starting lineup. Sheehey has embraced the role of coming off the bench as a guy that can bring scoring and more importantly, energy. If he continues to excel in that role and the Hoosiers continue to win, why change the lineup?

Dylan Harris via Facebook writes: How long till we crack the top 25?

Justin Albers: Hard to say. If IU beats Kentucky on Saturday, it immediately jumps into the top 25, and probably the top 15. If not, though, the Hoosiers could crack the top 25 if they beat Michigan State to open the Big Ten season Dec. 28. I do think they’ll be ranked at some point this season.

@rick_park writes: Given the emphasis on defense, do you think we’ve improved as a team or are we simply benefitting from Cody’s presence?

Alex Bozich: There’s no doubt that several of Indiana’s players have improved defensively. Some of it is probably a result of getting quicker and stronger in the offseason and some of it has to do with Cody’s presence.

The jury is still out on how this team will defend as a unit against elite competition. But with Kentucky and Ohio State coming to Assembly Hall this month, we’re about to find out. In terms of how Zeller impacts the game, it’s huge for the Hoosiers to have a 6-11 presence that can challenge shots while avoiding silly fouls. It’s also pivotal to have such a well conditioned big man who doesn’t get beat often for easy buckets on the break.

Steven Harris via Facebook writes: Looking at how we match up in each position with Kentucky, where do you think IU is most disadvantaged, and where may we actually have some key advantages?

Justin Albers: They’re the most disadvantaged in the matchup against Terrence Jones. There’s just no way around that. Jones is 6-9, he’s athletic enough to take the ball to the rim, and he can shoot from the outside. He’s really a combination of Christian Watford’s size and Victor Oladipo’s athleticism and quickness. I would think Watford would start on him, but I’m guessing Crean is going to rotate guys on Jones all afternoon. Sheehey might be Crean’s best option, given his 6-6 size and desire to draw the opponent’s best offensive threat.

As far as where IU’s advantages come, they don’t really exist on paper. Cody Zeller and Anthony Davis will likely cancel each other out inside. Oladipo is capable of defending Doron Lamb well, but will it take away from his offense? The one area the Hoosiers may be able to exploit is Jordan Hulls vs. Marquis Teague. Teague, an Indianapolis native, is one of the top freshmen in the game, but Hulls is far more experienced and polished as a junior. I think Hulls could have a big scoring day against Kentucky.

Filed to:

  • You aren’t alone in thinking we have a chance to go to the tourney. I’ve seen us projected as an 8 seed. There are a bunch of decent teams that would be expected to compete with us for tourney invites that are having horrible pre-conf seasons  ie the entire Pac 12, so if we can be respectable our season will be extended. The problem with playing Kentucky and Ohio State early is that whatever violations or payola they may be involved in probably won’t be uncovered until later in the season. LOL

  • Anonymous

    Well Jordy in the past has pretty much owned Teague, so I do see us having that advantage. I also noticed Tylers stats against pUKe and he had like 14 pts and 8 rebs. I feel that Cody seems a lot better in the post than his brother, so I should see CZ drop 25 to 30 on them if we can get him the ball. Nobody even mentioned Elston which is a Indiana kid that would definitely want to make a statement off the bench. He is playing so much better and I think he thrives off CZ. There’s no question about it were gonna have are hands full but I’ll be the first one to say it on here Indiana wins 85-83 on a last second shot by Hulls…. Go Hoosiers!!

  • Anonymous

    You, my friend, are certainly an optimist. I would give a kidney to see Jordy (or even better Danny Moore) stick a 3 right in Teague’s face at the buzzer to win it. We have to be realistic about IU’s chances though, as I’ve said before, pUKe has the best team money can buy.

  • Anonymous

    Kentucky’s length and shot blocking ability is scary, but that very ability of Kentucky can be exploited.  Zeller is a very smart player with a nice pump fake.  I think he may get himself to the line quite a bit and surprise everyone with a big game.  Indiana has been able to get to the free throw line a ton this year, and Indiana will need to do that against Kentucky.  Easy buckets, foul trouble for Kentucky and really slows the game down.  Can’t wait.  The whole family getting together.  20+ people.  Chicken wings and IU bball…..GO IU

  • Anonymous

    Very nice! I’ll be at the game working security so I’m hoping that I have to stop students from rushing the court…lol I CAN’T WAIT ether it’s going to be a great game and I think CTC will pull some strings to get us a W. Have fun with Chicken wings and the game sounds like a party I would like to be at.

  • Anonymous

    I completely agree, and haven’t heard many others talking about this as one of our advantages! Cody is VERY smart and like you said, he has a great pump fake.  Watching Kentucky play St. Johns, i saw that they will jump at absolutely everything, because they expect to be able to make big, athletic, shot swatting plays. St. Johns also seemed to be playing pretty stupid against them. They tried to take it right to Davis, without any fakes or trickery, just straight up towards him. That won’t work, he’s simply too athletic.

    I think if we stay smart, and make sure we focus on boxing out and being tenacious on defense, we have a great chance on Saturday. I’m not saying we are going to win; it’s possible, but i definitely think we can give them a hard fought game to the buzzer.

  • Anonymous

    Well when things are going well these days in the Hall. I do like are chances because I think if we get in their heads emotionally we will have the ability to knock off the kitty kats.

  • Anonymous

    I saw the projected 8 seed, it was projected by . . . NBC? What do they know about college bball? I think we can make 20 victories and get in the NCAA bracket, but who knows what seed. After the last 3 seasons who cares as long as we get in. Remember an 8-9 or 7-10 are tough games.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know how many of you have seen it, but there’s an article on ESPN right now that kind of surprised me.  It’s a college basketball roundtable with 7 ESPN writers, and when asked what the next big upset would be, 3 of the 7 said Indiana over Kentucky. Now, i have hopes for that myself, but i am very surprised to see the national recognition of it! here’s the link:

  • SHEEHEYisApimp

    Mark my word…IU finishes 3rd in the BIG 10 and is rewarded with a 5 seed. I’m not worried about making the tourney, I’m concerned with who our 12 seed opponent will be! I don’t want our great season to be tarnished as the 5 who gets doped by a 12!

    It also kills me to say this, but I have a bad feeling about Saturday. Our boys will play well, but I have a gut feeling that we will get hosed by the zebras. I see VO and CZ in foul trouble from the get go. Jordy will get hosed too, and we’ll be stuck watching VJ3 dribble the ball til pUKe defenders eventually fall asleep.

    Prognostication: pUKe 79 IU 75

  • Plane1972

    If your second paragraph scenario plays out, the final score won’t be that close. I had a bad feeling going in against Butler and again with NC State, so I’m going to show more faith in my boyz and predict a hard-fought W against that Cats. What a coming out party that will be for Crean and this program. Can’t wait for this one.

  • MillaRed

    Alex is right, we have to keep them off the offensive glass or it will be ugly.

    Officials will play a big part in this one unfortunately.

    Regardless, this is part of The Movement. If we get whipped, it’s part of the process. I appreciate the fact our kids will stick around and remember what this game was like over the next few years. The kids attending Pre-NBA University do not know anything about this rivalry, and next year they won’t care. College is a 1-2 year field trip for most of these kids.

    Best case scenario is a really hard pass goes wild and hits Calipari in the face, leading to an uncontrollable bloody nose. Am I a bad person?

  • Anonymous

    IU is definitely going to need to play 40 minutes of great basketball to win this one.  pUKe is obviously more talented, but I think IU is more determined.  To win, we have to keep the Cats off the glass.  IU has to be as aggressive on the boards as they have ever been.  I think pUKe will come out intimidated by Assembly Hall.  They have played away from Rupp for three games:a game in NYC against Kansas, two in Connecticut against Penn State and Old Dominion.  They only have four upperclassmen, so almost the entire team has never played in The Hall.  IU has to jump ahead early and keep going from there.  I am extremely biased in this one, so I will not make a prediction.  Go Hoosiers!

  • HoosierDadE

    Call me crazy, but I have a good feeling bout Saturday…

    But I also had a good feeling about jorts, member’s only jackets, Dewey defeating Truman for President, and of course Madonna being picked for the Super Bowl Halftime Show

  • Devout Hoosier

    The one thing I DON’T want to see is us making major changes to our game plan as many suggest.  We’re shooting as well, making as many steals and deflections, and started 8-0.  Don’t break the chemistry by starting different players to go big, playing zone that we have not done all year, or change the bench rotation with Will or anyone.  Only if there are foul troubles, a large deficit, or other obvious necessities.  I’ve seen Crean make lots of smart coaching decisions this year now that he has options and I’m gaining confidence in him as a coach and agree vastly with him.  I don’t think Crean will break from his formula.  If he does in this game it will most likely be an immediate consession.  I don’t want that.  It’s time for KY to come and react to Indiana basketball.  Our averages of 85 points per game, 50+% shooting, # steals etc… are awesome.  Jordan is shooting 100% from the free throw line for crying out loud and the media won’t even mention it.  We have two Indiana Mr. Basketballs that know what this KY game is about.  I’ll take our players over theirs any day, and we will win.

  • Anonymous

    Love the comment. If we get yo the point whereweareworred about our seeding, life is good!

  • Anonymous

    Bloody nose and a knocked out front tooth (to help fit in where he lives).

  • Anonymous

    One tooth is an accident for a city slicker.  He needs to lose at least 5-8 teeth to fit in.

  • Tim

    Encouraging predictions, but those writers need to rethink their “next unranked team to emerge nationally” predictions.  How could all three that pick IU to beat Kentucky not also pick IU as the next unranked team to emerge nationally?  IU is already on the verge of being ranked.  If they beat Kentucky, they’ll HAVE to be in the top 25!

  • Anonymous

    Michael Lewis was in the Hall with Butler.  He can help!

  • Anonymous

    That’s exactly the way I’m looking at this one.  Playing solid Indiana basketball in the Hall has been pretty good for us to date.  This is a very talented, determined bunch of tough kids who can put up a ton of points in a hurry.  I think we’ve forgotten what it’s like to watch a one seed come to the hall and wish they hadn’t.  Time to refresh that memory and I believe this bunch can do it.

  • Anonymous

    love the enthusiasm matt, and i as well am anxiously awaiting this thing to tip…for a little medicine i would recommend the Stone IPA and a steady dose of watching the last two first halves against KY from ’09 & ’10…we were able to take Terrence Jones out of the game last year by drawing early fouls and if we can instill in this team the same ability to draw fouls- UK is not very deep, especially in the backcourt…like our chances and drink some juice

  • Anonymous

    I don’t put any stock in it but it is fun…  Another bracket prediction.  Another IU inclusion, as a 7 this time.

  • Anonymous

    yea especially Terrance Jones… He is a head case and has never responded well when being yelled and screamed at, which is exactly what id say about 17,465 people are gonna be doing saturday.  Im predicting a terrible game from jones… only reservation i have is he has seemed to mature a lil and that may result in him going off for about 30 points

  • Anonymous

    We have to get Jones or Davis in foul trouble to win.  Davis is averaging 4.5 blocks/game and Jones is averaging 2.5 blocks/game.  They are going to try to swat the ball into the seats.  Zeller has proven he can use a shot fake very effectively.  He should be able to get them into the air and draw fouls.  Once we establish a post presence, the guards will be forced to crash.  Then Zeller can use his passing skills and pass it out to one of our guards for an open three.  Every play must run through Zeller.  He is the most important player on the floor.  He also must stay out of foul trouble at the other end.  I believe he is up to the challenge.   

  • Anonymous

    I agree it has worked well and will continue to work well against other teeams but this is a different animal we are playing saturday.  I don’t think major changes will be the right answer by any means, but a zone wont be the worst idea considering Kentuckys inablility as a team to shoot

  • Anonymous

    Another off topic, anyone see IllAnnoy get lucky? Looks like VO will be put on Paul, that guy just gets to the rim.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    I should’ve asked the mailbag what the over/under will be for the announcer’s referencing Mo Creek’s 31 from a couple years back.  The line from Vegas is 3.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll take over on that one.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see CZ going for 25+ points…..we’re going to need CW to really step up in this game along with some great guard play.

  • Anonymous

    He has 9 B1G teams in there. I really wouldn’t put much stock in it.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone know if Buss, Yogi, Hanner, PJ, or JH are planning to attend the game? It would be sweet if any of their schedules allow. Boys this is what your “welcome to IU” is gonna look and sound like;)

  • Anonymous

    I like the prediction of jumping out early. 8-14 point lead throughout with a couple KY runs where they may even take the lead, but will only last for 30 seconds or so and we win the game by 8.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, i was thinking the same thing. If they really believe that IU will beat Kentucky, then they have to be believe that we will be the next unranked team to get ranked. Personally, i don’t think they really believe we will win, that’s just the next huge potential upset that will be interesting to watch. I’m sure they still give the edge to Kentucky, but they would like to be quoted saying we could win if it actually does happen. lol

  • Anonymous

    I thought there was nothing more I hated than people blaming the refs for a loss after a game. But I found it: predicting they will be the cause a for a loss before a game.

    Thats a new one.

  • INUnivHoosier

    If you want some strong medicine, check out a local – Upland’s Winter Warmer.

  • INUnivHoosier

    If that happens, I would step out of the way.

  • BBB

    Anybody notice that both and now have CZ as the #8 pick in their 2013 Mock Drafts? If he keeps playing the way he has been, it wouldn’t shock me one bit.

  • Anonymous

    Everything I’ve read indicates he’s out for the season.

  • Anonymous

    Word is, Hollowell and Trey Lyles will be there.  Also 2014 commit JaQuan Lyle (All per ITH)

  • cdog

    Don’t get to excited about smokin them in Rupp Arena.  They don’t get smoked there very often.  Right now we have a better recruiting class, but KY will still bring in 2-3 commits in the spring that will probably be 5 stars.  They won’t know until then how many of their current group will be going pro.  They also have a stud that transferred from NC State.  Slimepari still has money in the bank to buy a few more recruits.  You go to pUKe to showcase your NBA talent.  On talent alone, they should not lose a game this year.

  • Anonymous

    hope we knock them off saturday especially being ranked #1.  rebounding,D, shot selection,and a little luck they can do it. ihave no doubt!!  GO HOOSIERS !!! whatever happened to TIJAN JOBE!! lol