Hoosiers prepare for uptempo North Carolina

Ever since the Indiana schedule was released, Nov. 27 has been the date to circle in the non-conference schedule. Last week’s Legends Classic in Brooklyn was certainly a challenge for the No. 1 Hoosiers (6-0), but Tuesday’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup with No. 13 North Carolina will likely be their biggest test prior to conference play.

The Tar Heels possess more athleticism than any team the Hoosiers have played to this point, and they bring an element to the game unlike any Indiana has seen during the Tom Crean era. At 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night, a track meet could well break out at Assembly Hall.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever seen a fast break come into Assembly Hall in our time here like we’re going to see,” Crean said Monday. “Their transition is literally second to none. It always is with Roy Williams teams. We saw it first-hand when we were at Marquette and he was at Kansas and we played in the Final Four. As hard as we prepared for it, it was unlike anything we’d seen. That’s the way that they are right now.”

North Carolina (5-1) loves to push the tempo whenever possible. The Tar Heels will certainly run on missed shots and turnovers, but they’re also plenty willing to go on the break off a make.

“We can’t celebrate a nice play because they’ll be scoring in two seconds on the other end,” sophomore Cody Zeller said.

There are several keys to the Carolina break. First, nearly everyone Williams puts on the floor is an offensive threat. The Tar Heels have seven players that average at least 7.3 points per game (though P.J. Hairston won’t play on Tuesday). Second, they space the floor very well, with shooters spotting up on both sides of the court. And finally, freshman guard Marcus Paige is exceptional at pushing the ball and finding the open man.

“Teams that aren’t committed to running run to the wings. They run to the corners,” Crean said. “And you have to guard them in the corners. It’s not like you can just go back and get in your normal help defense routine and roll against them, you’ve got to go get to the corners. Everybody on the break is a legitimate threat to score.”

The Hoosiers also excel in transition and love to play fast, which could make for an uptempo, high-scoring game. But while they want to play fast, the Hoosiers know they must focus on slowing North Carolina down on the defensive end.

The defensive focus will start with 6-foot-8 sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo, who earned co-MVP honors in the 2011 McDonalds All-American game. McAdoo is averaging 16.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest, leading the Tar Heels in both categories.

“McAdoo is as good of a rebounder — especially offensively — that these young men have seen this year or any other year,” Crean said.

Defending McAdoo will be even more difficult given the Hoosiers’ continued lack of frontcourt depth because of suspensions to Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea and an injury to Derek Elston.

“He’s definitely very good,” Zeller said. “I’ve played with him a few times in AAU. He’s definitely very talented. I don’t think you’re going to stop him, it’s just whether you’re going to slow him down or not.”

North Carolina’s only loss came against Butler (82-71) in the Maui Invitational last week. In that game, the Bulldogs — who Indiana will play on Dec. 15 — jumped out to a huge lead and withstood a furious Tar Heel rally.

Crean said he has not watched the tape of the entire game, but he has examined it in segments.

“Butler got off to a great start, they were very physical with them, and they made shots,” he said.

The Hoosiers will certainly try to do the same thing on Tuesday night, though quick starts haven’t been their strong suit so far this season.

Notes

· Short-handed Tar Heels: North Carolina will be without Hairston on Tuesday after the sophomore guard injured his left knee in practice on Sunday. Hairston, who is averaging 10.8 points per game this season, will not travel to Bloomington for the game.

· Weird playing Carolina?: During Zeller’s recruitment, North Carolina was in his final three. His older brother, Tyler, played there. Cody is plenty familiar with the Carolina coaching staff and its players. So what will it be like to play the Tar Heels?

“A lot of things have changed since even the last time I was down there,” Zeller said. “But I know them all really well. I have a lot of respect for the coaching staff. They’ve always treated me and Tyler really well. But at the end of the day, it’s just who can score the most points.”

· Elston’s recovery on schedule: Elston, a senior forward, has yet to play a game this season after having surgery for a torn meniscus in October. When asked about how Elston was progressing on Tuesday, Crean said he’s recovering at the rate expected.

“He’s right on schedule,” Crean said. “His attitude is great. It’s like having an extra coach out there. We expect to have him some time after Christmas.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Fischer/691470077 Steve Fischer

    Yes they are a grat team and I expect all the hype but in the back of my mind I know they can lose and so can the team that beat them. No one has proven we can lose …yet.. so I will go with IU!

  • iudawg

    Put Vic on McAdoo.

    Can’t wait for this game.

  • JerryCT

    We have been anointed #1 based on potential from last year. Now we get a chance to “earn” it. I know the kids will give it a good effort. I am thankful it is on our court.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    The game is on IU turf, NO WAY will we lose this game. They are down a forward now, w/ a 6 man rotation, I say we win by 13 . . . 85 – 72.
    Assembly Hall ENERGY will send them sideways and reverberate in the Tar Heel heads for weeks!
    ESPN will start useing subtitles during the game cuz no one can hear their commentary!! A first in NCAA televised history.

  • MillaRed

    I think we need to be patient early. Then wear them down with our depth. Just keep pushing and pushing the break until they are 7–9 deep on the floor. That is where our true advantage is. Especially when we get back to 100%.

    Gotta keep out out of foul trouble, Will needs to stay hot and Jeremy needs to keep his poise.

  • azhoosier

    first slam by a Hoosier will stop the game because the roof will explode off AH…LOL

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    Here’s one thing I’m rather appreciative as well as proud of: I’ve noticed that no Hoosier fans I’ve seen and read have fallen for the trap of overconfidence because Butler beat NC. That’s a bad way of thinking for 3 reasons:

    1. Butler’s not a bad team at all.

    2. They matched up differently. IU plays a more up-and-down athletic game. Butler plays to a different sort of philosophy, and that specific matchup meant that Butler’s style took more of NC’s game away than IU’s does. IU will run the floor too, and that actually plays to the Tar Heels’ style, not against it.

    3. Butler did jump to a big lead and kept it. Who knows what would’ve happened had NC came out of the gate fast?

    But, yes, no one seems to be making that mistake. Which is good! I’ve always thought the fanbase for our team was pretty sharp; this just confirms it. :D

  • MK

    one thing is for sure…Assembly Hall will be rockin tonight!

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    This sounds like a bomb threat. CALL THE POLICE!!! :-O

    ;)

  • http://twitter.com/hoosiersmitty HoosierSmitty

    I can’t wait for this game!

  • http://twitter.com/hoosiersmitty HoosierSmitty

    Nice. I just told my bro 87-74 before getting on here.

  • Benhyoung14

    We will be in good shape as long as we can get back on D and don’t foul. I just hope that Hollowell’s turnover and foul machine doesn’t show up. It’ll be interesting to see if we can draw some charges, and get their guards to back off. Hairston being out will definitely help us. Having our 3 forwards out won’t hurt us as much as it would against teams like Georgetown. We have the speed to keep up with UNC….actually I think ours is better. Having Yogi will be HUGE!

  • OhioHoosier

    I’ll be driving in from Cincinnati for the game tonight. Anyone know radio stations along the way where I can hear pre-game coverage?

  • WhatsUpKnight

    nice thing about the butler game is maybe now ctc has a template he can use to stop them. and they killed unc on the perimeter, so it’s nice we’ve got a plethora of perimeter guys. like Benhyoung said, hopefully we won’t miss our frontcourt guys so much tonight.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    would love to see the careless turnovers go away, and we need to get our hands on some loose balls!

  • http://twitter.com/mjghuner Michael Givan

    1070 The Fan

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I think this will be a back and forth contest trading buckets for the first 30 minutes IF Indiana does not get the outside shots to fall. I think our depth and tenacity of the crowd being at home will let us win going away.

    If the outside shots fall early then lookout because their will be blood in the water. I think our boys will realize that this is a statement game and there is a lot at stake for their season.

    If there ever was a game to not come out flat, and be sharp assassins early then this is it. Go get ‘em boys. This is about Indiana, and this is about taking our place back at the top.

  • WILLTHEREALSHEEHEYSTANDUP

    1070AM

  • WILLTHEREALSHEEHEYSTANDUP

    I think we will see a rotation of Sheehey, Oladipo and Watford on McAdoodoo tonight.
    I alos think Remy will play a big role in tonights game. Look for him to get 20 or more minutes off the bench. IMO

  • Benhyoung14

    I think you switch VIC and Watford, maybe with an occasional Zeller.

  • IUMIKE1

    The mens bball page of the University site has a list of them if I’m not mistaken.

  • http://twitter.com/hoosiersmitty HoosierSmitty

    The matchups will be interesting tonight.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.flynn.106 Chuck Flynn

    Since that Butler embarrassment, I’m guessing Carolina has spent a lot of time working on defending the 3 point line. That should open things up inside for Zeller. I’m hoping for a big game out of the big fella.

  • Moon Man

    Get the Tune In Radio app for your phone and listen to 93.1 FM out of indy

  • http://www.facebook.com/jaime.gongora.520 Jaime Gongora

    Roy williams cam by early in the morning to shake our hands. Nice guy. Hope his team losses but nice guy.

  • Benhyoung14

    I think this is the game that we get out to a fast start given the magnitude of it, and its in AH.

  • shknqk

    This is a proving game for Yogi. He’s been a little less than expected so far going up against a peer with marginal difference in their games. A lot of great players but the point of attack is still point guard.

    I love this matchup!

  • SCHoosier

    This is not (yet) one of NC’s better teams..but they are very dangerous even with a rookie at point and a short bench. U never can discount a great program and/or coach. UNC has both. If IU plays its game..its our for the taking.

  • twarrior87

    We (IU) have a rookie at the point as well…

  • azhoosier

    Students waiting outswide of AH:

    “Fred Glass just stopped by saying cookies are coming late

    Is this a permissible benefit…going to have to report this to NC2A and they will probably suspend these students for nine classes.?…:)

    Tom Crean bought everyone in line pizza from Papa Johns.?

    and what about this?…The NC2A is going to be very glad to hear from me….:)

    Were these same benefits offered to the BB team?..!!

  • azhoosier

    ” BIG TIME “

  • azhoosier

    well if the police come they will have to arrest…17,000 plus fans…

  • yimyames

    Chicken wings are thawing, celery sticks are cut, beer is getting colder by the minute, but Damn! wish I was in Bloomington.

    Have fun all that are blessed to be there!

  • DannerPerea

    Danner Perea took the die-hard front of the line guys 4 dozen donuts and a UK Scaredy-cats T-shirt. The first in line had been there 38 hrs at that point. #superfan …I should go back and give him a free “Free Peter” T-shirt also;-)

  • marcusgresham

    The short-handed bench has had me uneasy about this game since the appeal was denied, and the more I think about it the more angry I become. I’m pretty sure the NCAA is the same organization that runs Wall St.
    I’m just glad Kentucky has already lost so that I don’t have to listen to those morons if things go badly tonight.

  • oldiugymnast

    I am in California… trying to get work done… but I am all excited and end up spending more time trying to get out of the office without anybody noticing than getting work done! Go Hoosiers!

  • http://twitter.com/redandyz REDANDYZ

    Saw someone on Twitter posted earlier that our student section alone would fill 85% of Cameron Indoor at Duke. Are they used to crazy and hostile crowds? Sure, they played at UK last year and they play NCST and Maryland, as well as Duke. I think our guys are charged by the crowd more so than the opponents rattled… they’ll need to play a tugh an gritty game, win the loose balls, and stay out of foul trouble. This will be no blowout – I am thinking 5-10 point game decided by free throws late.

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