Marlen Garcia of USA Today examines Zeller’s impact

  • 12/28/2011 12:02 pm in

USA Today: Zeller big reason for Indiana’s early success

Zeller leads the team in scoring with a 15.1-point average, rebounding (7.3) and steals with 25. His brother Tyler is a starting senior for North Carolina, averaging 14 points and 8.4 rebounds. His oldest brother, Luke, played at Notre Dame. All three were named Indiana Mr. Basketball in high school.

“Those guys have been through stuff,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said of Indiana’s hard times. “With the addition of (Zeller) inside, it kind of solidifies everything.”

As conference play opens, questions loom for Indiana, but they are the how-good-can-they-be variety.

The answer could come soon. Indiana’s first three league games are against ranked teams. Its game at Michigan State marks just the second time the Hoosiers have left their state. The Hoosiers will play second-ranked Ohio State on Saturday and No. 16 Michigan on Jan. 5. Those games will be played at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

Zeller sees himself as a complementary piece in Indiana’s offense. “I get a lot of credit, but the others are shooting incredibly from three,” he said.

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  • Anonymous

    MSU has some really big and strong guys on their roster.  It will be interesting to see how Cody handles getting banged around in the paint.  I think he will do very well because he is more athletic, skilled, and can run.  He has to be really aggressive on the boards tonight.

  • I think we have a good shot at winning this game if Will is able to play well.  CZ is talented and smart.  VO has been great and CWat steps up in big games.  Hulls has been tough and the bench – esp Sheehey have been great as well.  Again Elston needs to rebound otherwise Pritch can do this effectively.  We were overmatched with pUKe and CZ had Davis on the bench for long stretches.  CZ is a smart and talented ballplayer and deserves the praise he gets….  We are however 10 point underdogs – this game is a great litmus test, and good D will do it for either team….

  • Anonymous

    We’re actually only 5.5 point dogs…which, at Breslin, shows even Vegas is giving our Hoosiers respect now.

  • Anonymous

    We’re actually only 5.5 point dogs…which, at Breslin, shows even Vegas is giving our Hoosiers respect now.

  • cooper

    Zeller is really going to have to control Green on the boards or it could be a very long night down low.

  • Anonymous

    Last I heard, Will won’t be playing tonight and Verdell is questionable. 

  • Anonymous

    2 out of 3 “ifs” have to happen for Michigan St to have a chance to win this game:

    “if WS and Jones are out or not near 100%” and
    “if Adrienne Payne has the game of his life” and
    “if MSU out rebounds us by 10+”                 

      otherwise, Hulls is better than Trice, Oladipo is better than  Wood and Appling, Sheehey and Jones are better than Dawson right now, Watford and Green wash, and Zeller is better than Payne, the bench’s probably wash…………… we should win this game, I’m confident we will.          

  • Anonymous

    2 out of 3 “ifs” have to happen for Michigan St to have a chance to win this game:

    “if WS and Jones are out or not near 100%” and
    “if Adrienne Payne has the game of his life” and
    “if MSU out rebounds us by 10+”                 

      otherwise, Hulls is better than Trice, Oladipo is better than  Wood and Appling, Sheehey and Jones are better than Dawson right now, Watford and Green wash, and Zeller is better than Payne, the bench’s probably wash…………… we should win this game, I’m confident we will.          

  • HoosierSmitty

    I’m just ready for the tip off…this day is dragging…

  • Anonymous

    The only thing I am actually worried about is the rebounding.  If we can be within a handful of rebounds and not allow Mich St many offensive rebounds, we will win this game.  I have no doubts about that.  Just have to remember to run the offense through Zeller.  Even against UK, they were a totally different team when they did.

  • HoosierSmitty

    I’ll play the IF game from IU’s side…

    IF IU stays out of foul trouble AND 
    IF Elston steps up in Sheehey’s absence AND 
    IF Abell steps up in VJIII’s absence…

    IU will win. 

    Elston is obviously a different body than WS, but he’ll be asked to do a lot of things Will would…guard post players, hit the open jumper, snare some rebounds. Insted of just spelling Zeller, he’s going to have to be on the court at the same time as Cody. 

    Remy has already shown he can play well in big minutes, and as much as I really do love VJIII’s effort this year, I think Abell can fill his role as admirably as a frosh can in replacing a senior.  

    That also means The Pritch will need to play added minutes. 

    Several have commented on our strong depth this year, and it’ll be put to the test with a starter and a super sub out of the game. 

    Question is: If Verdell and Will are out, what’s the starting lineup? 

    Do you really give Remy a start in his first B1G game – at the Breslin Center no less? 
    Do you really start DE given that he’s one of our only frontline reserves? 
    Do you really start Matt Roth alongside Jordan Hulls, given the obvious defensive liabilities of having them both on the court at the same time? 

    My guess is Elston, but we will see. 

    I’m really interested to see how the substitution patterns play out this evening. 

  • Anonymous

    I hope you’re right that MSU needs luck to be in this game, but I can’t say I share your optimism. 

    1) Sheehey and Jones won’t be 100% and may not play

    2) Payne has been playing really, really well.  On a “per minute” basis (on KenPom) he has rebounded as well as Zeller, blocks more shots, draws as many fouls, gets to the line more, has a roughly equal turnover rate, and shoots nearly as well (66% for Zeller vs 60% for Payne).  Throw in Nix to wear down Zeller and our advantage at the 5 far less that I’d like.

    3) MSU is one of the best rebouding teams in the country, much better than last year when they didn’t go hard to the boards.  Zeller may hold his own but Watford (on Green) and whoever plays Dawson are really going to have to work.  Appling, Wood, and Trice are very good rebouding guards. 

    Trice turns the ball over too much, hopefully we can get after him.  But Trice and Wood are good shooters and Appling is playing much better than last year. 

    We’re going to have to play well, I look forward to seeing who steps up for Sheehey and/or Jones.

  • Anonymous

    I hope you’re right that MSU needs luck to be in this game, but I can’t say I share your optimism. 

    1) Sheehey and Jones won’t be 100% and may not play

    2) Payne has been playing really, really well.  On a “per minute” basis (on KenPom) he has rebounded as well as Zeller, blocks more shots, draws as many fouls, gets to the line more, has a roughly equal turnover rate, and shoots nearly as well (66% for Zeller vs 60% for Payne).  Throw in Nix to wear down Zeller and our advantage at the 5 far less that I’d like.

    3) MSU is one of the best rebouding teams in the country, much better than last year when they didn’t go hard to the boards.  Zeller may hold his own but Watford (on Green) and whoever plays Dawson are really going to have to work.  Appling, Wood, and Trice are very good rebouding guards. 

    Trice turns the ball over too much, hopefully we can get after him.  But Trice and Wood are good shooters and Appling is playing much better than last year. 

    We’re going to have to play well, I look forward to seeing who steps up for Sheehey and/or Jones.

  • Anonymous

    I think IU wins this game. Crean will have these men ready.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always liked the idea of a Watford, Elston, Zeller frontline.  Too bad we don’t have more depth inside.

  • CorMan

    This could be the biggest test for IU so far, even more so than UK.  This year the BIG 10 is by far the toughest conference.  Proof is in the conference opener last night with Minn & Illinois – 2OT game.  All that being said, I still feel IU is BETTER than what we have seen.  Zeller will find a way to win if we can keep it close. This team does not give up….I think even without Sheehey, we have still not tapped into the bench talent that remains. Given the chance I think they will step up.

  • Jjjjj

    I’m not sure you can just go down the line and say this guy is better then that guy and vice versa. It’s about who plays better as a team, unselfish on O intense and smart on D without gambling or stupid fouls. This is a huge test for any team – I live in Michigan and all accounts have Breslin hoppin tonight because they made it a special alumni izzone. It’s been an expensive ticket all week.

    Mich st. Is also hot right now and has been playing much better then they showed early in the season. They are playing like a team right now unlike early in the season when they were just a collection of individuals.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    I agree if CTC has a team, we don’t have sheehey and VJ.  If Elston and Remy can hold their own then if will be a ball game and don’t forget about Roth.  Injuries will hurt this game regardless of the outcome.  If we win, it could have been by more pts.
    Wait until next year when CTC has his team.

  • CorMan

    I agree, we will need a TEAM effort.  So which side are you on? (living in Michigan)…are you going to the game?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been wondering about the starting five as well.  I kind of think it will be Pritchard or Abell.  Izzo likes to start Payne/Green/Dawson across the frontline, so you could go with Watford at the 3.  Conversely, if you have Hulls/Oladipo/Abell starting, that would in theory give you a mismatch on the offensve end.  But then you have VO on Dawson, probably.  

    I think Pritchard starts, with Elston playing the Sheehey “offense off the bench” role.  Just a guess.  

    Of course, this is all assuming Verdell can’t go.  I’m not sure I’ve seen that officially anywhere, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

  • Anonymous

    We had the shooters before Zeller..but with no scoring threat from TP or J. Rivers..it was easy for opponents to take away the 3 point shot. Now everybody in the line up can score…and 5-6 people can nail an open three. VO and Will can get to the rim..so people have to play the Hoosiers “honest”. That’s why the injuries hurt so much..disrupts the depth and threats in the IU offense..but really hurts us without Sheheey’s defense. MSU will be the best rebounding and overall defensive team IU has faced this year in my opinion.

  • HoosierSmitty

    I don’t know why I didn’t really consider Pritchard. I guess I just figured he has to come off the bench to spell Zeller. Plus, I fear the fouls. 

    We all know if Pritchard just looks at a defender funny or accidentally breathes on him, he’s getting called for a foul. 

  • HoosierSmitty

    I don’t know why I didn’t really consider Pritchard. I guess I just figured he has to come off the bench to spell Zeller. Plus, I fear the fouls. 

    We all know if Pritchard just looks at a defender funny or accidentally breathes on him, he’s getting called for a foul. 

  • Anonymous

    Would like to believe it..but w/o Jones offensive threat..and Sheheey’s defense and offense…I’m afraid the Hoosers are in the hole tonight unless they really light it up offensively and T-over the Spartans big time.

  • Guest

    Man…I love this site, but please turn off the autoplay for that video on the main page. Please?

  • Guest

    Man…I love this site, but please turn off the autoplay for that video on the main page. Please?

  • Anonymous

    IU should have won there last year with a bad team. CZ will lead them to victory.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely.  We gave the game away at the end.  I think IU is better than MSU this season, and we certainly couldn’t have said that last year!

    To win tonight, we need to:

    * win the TO battle
    * win (or at least be competitive) on the boards
    * make more FTs than MSU

    I think if we also can hit a couple 3s early in the game, that will open up the inside for Zeller, and that will be helpful as well.

  • Anonymous

    At the Breslin Center, he might not even have to breathe.  They might just blow the whistle as soon as he steps off the bench.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve a sneaky suspicion it’ll be Matty Roth.

  • BEAT KENTUCKY

    Man this game would be a huge win , to take that next step and go back to the Hall for Ohio St. …There’s no reason for us to get rattled at their place , this team has been through to much for that . I think Watford has to play well. He has to be hitting so he can take Green outside and open it up for Cody and give us a shot on the boards . GO HOOSIERS ! WE HAVE THE TALENTED TEAM NOW ! 

  • Anonymous

    I like this, Hull’s 3, Roth’s 3, with Vo’s ability to drive will spread the defense and hopefully open things up for Cdub and Agent Cody.

  • Jjjj

    I bleed cream and crimson baby graduated last may

  • JohnFromBeyond

    I can’t believe we haven’t beat Mich St on the road since 1991. Alot of very good teams have failed to do what we are trying to do tonight.

  • randy

    he wasn’t a factor at msu…unfortunately…but neither was hulls. hopefully they bounce back and protect home court by shocking osu.