New-look Hoosiers ready for another in-state test

  • 12/16/2011 12:46 pm in

The last time the Hoosiers played Notre Dame, the Indiana basketball program was in shambles.

It was November of 2008, the beginning of Tom Crean’s first season in Bloomington. The Hoosiers lost to the No. 8 Fighting Irish 88-50 in the Maui Invitational, their first of 25 losses in a trying season.

Indiana’s leading scorer that day was Tom Pritchard (14 points, six rebounds), who has been part of the program’s resurrection since then.

“It definitely feels different,” Pritchard said. “It’s just been a giant step. From the team freshman year to where we are now — I’m blessed to be on this team.”

The No. 20 Hoosiers (9-0) enter Saturday’s game against Notre Dame (7-4) at Conseco Fieldhouse as the heavy favorite — a far cry from where they were three-plus years ago. They’re fresh off a 73-72 upset of then-No. 1 Kentucky, and they’ve had an entire week to prepare for their Crossroads Classic opponent.

Even though final exams kept the Hoosiers from having a normal practice schedule, Crean said his team is ready and focused for the Irish.

“I don’t want them to put [the Kentucky win] behind them. I want them to build on it,” Crean said. “If we tried to downplay that game, it wouldn’t make much sense.

“[Notre Dame] is a really good team. They’re learning to play without Tim [Abromaitis], and you can see that. That’s a veteran group. … You’ve got to be really locked in to knowing that their spacing is their great weapon. They can drive it, they can pass it and they utilize the corners.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Hoosiers will be preparing for a team that plays nothing like their previous opponent. Whereas Kentucky thrives in the fastbreak game and looks to drive for easy baskets, the Irish live and die by the 3-pointer. Notre Dame has made 72 3-pointers in 11 games, compared to only 48 for Kentucky through nine games.

Leading the way in that department for Notre Dame is guard Eric Atkins, who has made 16 shots from beyond the arc and is averaging 13.9 points per game.

“We’ve been watching film on it and we’ve been studying it,” said Indiana guard Victor Oladipo. “We’re just going to continue to play good defense and stress help side defense.”

Notre Dame is coming off back-to-back wins against Maine and Dartmouth, but the Irish have struggled against quality competition this season. They’ve played only two ranked teams (Missouri and Gonzaga), and lost by 20 or more points to each of them.

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey knows his team will face a similar challenge against the Hoosiers — especially after the win they just had.

“We’re facing at team that’s extremely confident right now, given what’s happened the last two weeks,” Brey said. “I looked at the score from the last time we played them in Maui. It’s just opposite now. They had all young guys running around and walk-ons. We had all men who won together. It’s really kind of the scenario has flipped.”

NOTES

+ Crean said forward Derek Elston, who missed last week’s game against Kentucky with a back injury, has practiced all week and has looked good.

+ After Butler made back-to-back runs to the NCAA Championship game and Purdue and Notre Dame made the NCAA Tournament last season, it seemed unlikely the Hoosiers would have a chance to become the state’s premier team this season.

A win against the Irish on Saturday would put them a step closer to taking back the state.

“One of our goals was to dominate in-state so we’ve just got to continue to do that,” Pritchard said.

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  • IUJeff

    I actually like having 2 cupcakes after this game as it will give Remy and AE some great practice in preparation for the B1G. 

  • IUJeff

    Kept their starters in for 71% of the minutes and pounded IU by 38. That is all. 

  • IUJeff

    I agree w/ you now after actually thinking about what I posted yesterday. I doubt CTC would do what Brey did anyhow in 08 and Remy, AE, and Elston need to get some serious PT to prep for the B1G. 

  • HoosierSmitty

    That may be true to an extent, but “we” can’t give anyone playing time as fans. Only Coach Crean can do that, and can’t imagine for one second that CTC gives playing time to anyone just because they went through some hard times and owes them. I don’t think that’s what’s being suggested at all. He plays the guys that give IU the best chance to win, plain and simple. 

    Owing and appreciating what these guys have been through are totally different things. Plus, not only did they come here, they stuck it out when many would have left and gone elsewhere. And now they are playing roles to help this team succeed, most notably VJIII and The Pritch, rather than sulking and acting disgruntled. 

  • HoosierSmitty

    That’s a good point. Not sure how much PT they’ll get during the B1G season, but you want them to be ready in case. Plus, you can’t duplicate real game time experience in a practice. Both have certainly showed some strong flashes in their limited minutes, and Remy’s defensive abilities and size could get him on the court. 

  • HoosierSmitty

    That’s awesome. Welcome to Hoosier Nation! 

  • HoosierSmitty

    That’s awesome. Welcome to Hoosier Nation! 

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Where are you from? Did you follow a certain team before?

  • Anonymous

    You can’t offer what you do not have!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Looked it up. I blocked it from my memory. Got it.

  • HoosierSmitty

    I’m just ready for another game! Been nice to enjoy the high of the victory over UK, but I want to see some more Hoosier basketball and see how the team responds after what could be the most significant regular season win in IU basketball history. 

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    He had some potential with IU. Probably would have won a few more games with him than without him. I liked the upside on Story as well. Love the boys we have now though. They stuck it out.

  • Anonymous

    Sheehey is not a sub but a 6th starter. I agree on at least 10, but I see 11 playing in the first half. Elston needs minutes and he is a tough match up for ND with his size and shooting range for their Bigs or guards. Tom will get to bang with guys like himself, but he is actually better than the opponents big guys. Remy and Danny will be needed to defend the 3-point line. Matt will come in and launch 2 long shots. If either goes down, then he will earn some PT.

  • Anonymous

    Sheehey is not a sub but a 6th starter. I agree on at least 10, but I see 11 playing in the first half. Elston needs minutes and he is a tough match up for ND with his size and shooting range for their Bigs or guards. Tom will get to bang with guys like himself, but he is actually better than the opponents big guys. Remy and Danny will be needed to defend the 3-point line. Matt will come in and launch 2 long shots. If either goes down, then he will earn some PT.

  • Anonymous

    Victor, Will, and Cody ARE the system: athletic, aggressive, great energy, totally committed to the team, skilled, and hard working!

  • Anonymous

    The big goal is always to win the NEXT game. If you do that, nothing but greatness follows!

  • Anonymous

    The big goal is always to win the NEXT game. If you do that, nothing but greatness follows!

  • hoosierof99_bbjunkie

    I’m with ya, however, i think they’ll respond.  This game will show CTC’s influence on the guys and how it translates to the court.  You know he’s done his part to get them ready.  Let’s see how they respond.  My prediction……….18 pt win.

  • hoosierof99_bbjunkie

    I’m with ya, however, i think they’ll respond.  This game will show CTC’s influence on the guys and how it translates to the court.  You know he’s done his part to get them ready.  Let’s see how they respond.  My prediction……….18 pt win.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Three topics:  I think we win by 13 depending on how close the game is called.
    1.  There’s been alot of talk about payback, revenge, etc.  After thinking about it from all perspectives, I think it is OK to give back a little bit but not at the expense of getting a player hurt.  If we are up by 20+ points with 10 to go then bring in the bench for experience and if they start to come back put the starters back in.  But I remember watchign the Stetson game and we were up by over 20pts with like 7 min to go and CTC still left Zeller in until around the 2 min mark.  I even show Zeller on the floor after a ball with the potential of him getting hurt.  This I don’t understand.  Take Zeller our if we are having a blow-out…period.   I don’t think a few more min’s in going to give him that much more experience down the road.

    2.  We forget that we probably would have been this good last year if we could have our 7 ft’r eligable and not having all of those injuries with Creek, Watfor, Jones, Roth and Elston…did I forget one?  The media doesn’t even mention this and is still acting a little surprise about this years team.   Just wanted that off my chest.

    3.  The past three years I probably attended 25 games but this year on HH.  My source dried up.
    My question is:  does anyone know who has attended the games know if they are playing the “This is Indiana Video before or during the games?  After the pUKe game they were singing this song word for word in the streets afterwards…I think this is just awesome and it is a great theme song for our program.   Just wondering?
    BC

  • Anonymous

    Re: #3 above — God I hope not.  I won’t say anything negative, but I’ll just say that I hope that song/video remains a blip in our collective rear view.

  • Anonymous

    Re: #3 above — God I hope not.  I won’t say anything negative, but I’ll just say that I hope that song/video remains a blip in our collective rear view.