Notebook: Indiana preparing to blend in Mosquera-Perea, Jurkin

Indiana’s front line could receive a significant boost in Saturday’s game with Butler when freshmen Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin will be eligible to play for the first time after serving a nine-game suspension from the NCAA.

With the Hoosiers sitting at 9-0 and No. 1 in the country while playing at a high level, it sounds as if both guys could be worked slowly into the rotation.

“We’ve been very cautious with them coming back because there’s been no pressing need for them to have to play in the games,” Crean said Monday on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. “So you want to make sure you’re doing a good job of letting guys get adjusted, be in the mix, not rush them and try to help build their confidence. The bottom line is you don’t want to put anybody in a situation they’re not ready for, especially in a situation like this where we’re already nine games in, going into game ten.”

Mosquera-Perea, who has battled a left foot injury for most of the fall that’s forced him to wear a walking boot at times, was healthy enough to play in recent weeks, but Indiana has remained cautious as he works his way back.

Crean wouldn’t say whether or not Mosquera-Perea is back to full strength.

“Full strength is a relative term. I don’t know if I would call it full strength, but he’s in a situation where he’s getting better all of the time,” he said. “He certainly would have been able to play, but as to what level and how long remains to be seen because we didn’t bring him back that way in the sense when this became the situation that it was with them having to sit out.”

The Hoosiers have yet to win a game by fewer than ten points despite having a relatively thin front court which has forced Will Sheehey and Jeremy Hollowell to log minutes at the four.

Getting Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin integrated should provide a major boost to IU’s athleticism and depth in the front court.

“I think the length that they bring is tremendous,” Crean said. “I think the fact that there’s a toughness around the rim, defensively, without question. Rebounding, without question. I think the scoring will come through the course of the offense, through the course of the game and then they’ll get integrated more and more into what we’re trying to do as far as plays and concepts and things of that nature. I think just the overall attack and aggressiveness on the defensive end and the rebounding is what will start it.”

Strength of schedule not much of a concern

Through nine games, Indiana’s strength of schedule sits at 269th in the country, but Crean said Monday that when putting together a non-conference slate, projecting strength of schedule isn’t top of mind.

“We don’t spend a lot of time on the strength of schedule part of it as much as projecting where we think somebody is going to be inside of that year,” he said. “You try to look at the statistics, you try to look at the past, who they have coming back.”

Continuing to play in-state opponents will be a priority for Indiana as next year’s schedule includes a neutral court game with Notre Dame and Evansville will return to Assembly Hall to complete a 3-game series.

IU is also expected to play on the road in next year’s Big Ten/Challenge, which will be a major consideration when completing the rest of the non-conference schedule.

“We want to make sure we’re trying to counter-balance the Big Ten/ACC Challenge with playing a home game when we’re going to be on the road and vice versa,” Crean said. “And then trying to find the best situation for us that year when it comes to the exempt tournament.”

Etc.

· Crean on Illinois: The Illini are the league’s surprise team at 10-0 and are coming off a win at Gonzaga on Saturday night. Crean was very complimentary of the start for Illinois under new coach John Groce.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that they have great energy,” Crean said. “They’re really moving the ball. They’re playing extremely fast and I think that Illinois is a little bit more like how Michigan has been in the sense that the break is ongoing.”

· Big Ten player, freshman of the week: Illinois guard Brandon Paul was named the Big Ten’s player of the week on Monday morning and Michigan State guard Gary Harris was the league’s freshman of the week. It’s the second freshman of the week honor for Harris this season.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I am fine with beating them down at any point.

  • CreamandCrimson

    “Looks like Louisville has a good chance of being on the schedule as a neutral site game next year in Indy”.

    I don’t think that’s accurate. Tom Crean has repeatedly said they are not interested in another game in Indy (already playing ND there). They are interested in adding an elite home game for next season. They play a road game in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and CTC wants a major home game every season. He tweeted this last week and I see no way Louisville gets on the schedule unless they agree to a home-and-home beginning at Assembly Hall next season.

  • Benhyoung14

    Do you remember in 2001 when we surprised everybody and made it to the NC game? We had a top 5 SOS. 2 I think. It’s not like we have 4 freshmen starting. What happens if the team gets relaxed and lose 4 in B1G play?

  • Benhyoung14

    I would like 2 more top 50 – 75 teams. Nothing major, but at least the competition would be a little tougher.

  • http://www.facebook.com/doug.wilson.9404 Doug Wilson

    I will be watching my third Australian Televised game when IU plays Butler, just saying!

  • Jp

    The thing with trying to schedule a ranked team, even in the top 50-75 teams are that you never know what you will get. Before the season began, did Georgetown look like a top 25 team? Who knows maybe some of these “cupcake” teams we faced in the non-conference schedule will end up being in the top 75.

    However, we should all take a step back and think about what college sports should be about. It should be helping out other teams, not just ours, scheduling these other unrecognized teams, helps bring revenue and recognition to their schools, helping out the NCAA as a whole. The NCAA should be about helping universities out so they can get some great students to walk their halls and churn out academic talent.

    This is also one of the reasons, I dislike Notre Dame football so much. They are a selfish program who is all about themselves with their money grab. If Notre Dame was a one loss team, I would put all the other one loss teams ahead of them in the BCS bowl games as those teams are helping out others in their conferences by being a part of a group. As much as I dislike Ohio State and Wisconsin too, whenever they make a BCS bowl game it’s helping out the rest of the league and makes all the schools even stronger. This added strength not only helps out the athletic programs but also end the end affects the academics of the other schools. Notre Dame football on the other hand are just about getting fatter on their own wealth.

    So in the end, if IU can help out the Coppin States and Sam Houstons of the world on their way to hanging Banner #6, is everyone as a collective not better off?

  • b_side

    Yep, both you and Marcus are right – I misinterpreted the Coach K reference.

    Louisville is unlikely to be scheduled as a home/home or even neutral court because there would be the chance of playing them in the B1G/ACC Challenge.

  • HoosierTrav

    After watching this team and seeing how driven they are, I’m surprised that you would even suggest this team would be relaxed. Did they seem relaxed when they smacked UNC? This team has senior leaders who want to win a B1G title. You realize we play OSU, Michigan, Minnesota, MSU, and Iowa twice, right? Then we play Illinois @ Illinois, and Wisconsin @ Assembly ( ALWAYS a tough battle). We beat a team in Georgetown, who very well may be a top ten team, @ a neutral location. We beat a talented and ranked North Carolina team by nearly 30 (game really wasn’t even that close). So we could end up with 5, possibly 6, games against top ten opponents and 13-14 games against ranked opponents. In 2001 the B1G was not this good top to bottom. Would you really want us to play the schedule Duke has played thus far considering we will be playing against who i just listed? Remember that we were counting on UK being on the schedule. So who do we add and how much more “prepared” does this REALLY make us for B1G season?

    I know its annoying trying to argue the point to classless Duke fans why we are still #1 over them. I try to remind them that just 1 season ago, there was a team that slayed #1, #2, #5, and a few other ranked squads. Were we even considered for #1? Certainly wasnt. The best team doesnt always have the best body of work early on.

  • HoosierTrav

    For those who keep saying these rankings dont matter, I implore you to read back on statements made by Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams, Stanford Robinson, Dwayne Morgan, Ahmed Hill, Malachi Richardson, etc, etc. These rankings DO matter. When the head coach of the #1 team in the land steps in your high school gym, this ranking matters!

  • HoosierTrav

    hilarious

  • Benhyoung14

    I’m not saying we should schedule Duke, Louisville, and Florida, but we need to make our best guess who will be NCAA tournament teams. UNC, UCLA, and UK have proven that you can’t always depend on rankings. Now, I understand that schedules are made a couple years out, and UK threw a monkey wrench in the process, but we could do a little better.

  • marcusgresham

    Are you two related? lol

  • marcusgresham

    New Mexico would be a good series, for obvious reasons. Also add in the the fact that the arena sits at an elevation you have to experience to truly be prepared to handle and an environment that is generally raucous, and there a lot of reasons to set that up.

  • marcusgresham

    I hate those damn air craft carrier games. Cubs mentioned the wind aspect, but just the thought of being outside on a wood floor seems like a bad idea.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I never said they are going to. I read an artcle this past week talking about the details, and it pointed more towards the positive side. I will try to find it and post the link.

  • kleem42

    I agree. Why don’t we schedule someone a little tougher…like maybe say Eastern Michigan? Bwahahahaha!

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.mannix.5 Andrew Mannix

    You think recruits don’t know about Iu basketball like Kentucky! Wow. Ok. I’m pretty sure that we just signed Vonleh, Standford and Williams after this seasons schedule was released. No? Call me crazy, but a top-3 class next year with a mix of one-and-dones and 3-4 year players I think our recruiting is doing just fine. The 2014 class needs a big and a guard to pair with Blackmon and thats it, and I’m sure CTC will get it.

    All that is important is hanging a banner. Do you really care about Coppin State if we hang #6? And further, you don’t think recruits will notice us if we run the table and go undefeated? Not likely, but it could happen. That would make a December loss to Northern Iowa because of the flu and a sprained ankle look real nice. 36-1, nice. 37-0. We know what that means and EVERYONE will notice!

  • CreamandCrimson

    Fair enough…I am just going by what Tom Crean has said since the Kentucky game came off the schedule. He has been very consistent in saying they want at least one “marquee” game at Assembly Hall every season and I don’t think they will be signing any other neutral venue games until they get the marquee opponent at Assembly Hall locked in.

    I know you aren’t saying it’s going to happen but you did post there was a good chance and that’s what I was disagreeing with. I don’t there’s a good chance. No matter, we can both agree a series against Louisville would be a nice addition to the schedule and we can allow the AD’s and coaches to quibble over the details.

  • IUMIKE1

    Agree. Plus whether we like it or not, being ranked #1 for an extended amount of time does not hurt the coaching staff when out on the road. One would like to think that a prospective recruit would base his decision with that not being something that carries that much weight, but it does and he will, just a fact of life on the recruiting trail these days. This will carry less weight down the road with recruits when we have an established record of sending players on to the next level successfully, making a lot of noise in the big dance and hanging banners, but for now I believe it carries a decent amount of weight.

  • IUMIKE1

    We have to remember also that we will, if everything goes as planned, be playing at least one or two of the best teams in the best conference AGAIN at the end of the season in the B1G tourney.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    No it’s all good man. I should have cited my source to begin with. My fault on that. I agree on having at least on marquee non conference game at home as well.

  • IUMIKE1

    Excellent point. If that had been the case and CTC had scheduled those “other” games he would have probably had his scheduling questioned for during, just that.

  • IUMIKE1

    Was thinking the same thing, must have read the same article, but I have no idea where it was that I read it. Old Timers Disease setting in I guess. lol

  • IUMIKE1

    aka living in southern IN and having a more than reasonable inclination to hating pUKe more than most people that don’t live in the southern part of the state.

  • Patrick Galvin

    Big10 is strong enough as is. Outside of increased revenue streams, scheduling strong non conference schedules is a pointless exercise in a conference like the current Big10. In terms of the top 25, you are greatly more penalized by a loss than a weak schedule (look at IU vs. Duke right now at 1 and 2, Duke should be 1 if we are looking at S.O.S). In terms of preparing a team, the current Big10 does a fine enough job putting a team through the paces and looks good to the tourney voters.

    Again, they sure can make money and help you with recruiting. But in terms of current season success, difficult non conference games serve no purpose.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    You got it Mike!

  • MillaRed

    Actually I have no problem where we are right now. Our schedule has given us a chance to get Hollowell, Creek and AE more minutes. The Hanner/Peter deal was just bad luck.

    We are hammering teams. Isn’t that fun to watch and a long time coming? I am not worried at all about the strength. The B1G season cometh and we will get all we can handle.

    Purdue losing to the cupcakes? Yes, I am juuuuuuuust fine with our schedule. And apparently the coaches and media are too. We’re still on top people.

  • MillaRed

    Would love to get Louisville. Yes we are dunking away but look at how many teams are playing the same level of competition and losing or winning by 5 points. We are just hammering people.

    Sorry guys I think it’s fun to watch. Our confidence could not possibly be higher.

  • marcusgresham

    A friend of mine the other day, who is (and this is the rarest of breeds,) a logical, mellow, well-adjusted UK fan, said, “I read some of your posts the other day (on Facebook.) Man, you really hate Kentucky, don’t you?”

  • marcusgresham

    Eagle Up!

  • paco29715

    Agree,after 3 seasons of getting spanked it’s fun to do the spanking… we have time to be challenged and we have played quality talent at least twice and quality coaching more so… another quality coached team on Saturday. I’d say it’s just about the right mix for the situation. If we had a super cream puff schedule they would have already moved Duke ahead of us… god knows they are dying for a reason.

  • paco29715

    Agree completely, I will gladly continue to watch uninterested as we dunk 25 times a game vs. watching uninterested as we put up a solid effort but lose in the pre-B1G season… is this really all we have to complain about?

  • marcusgresham

    The White Shadow 2.0

  • Kenneth234

    Are you sure he will be finding minutes next year? Seems like a tall order for a walk on player, even one who performed well somewhere else as a freshman before transferring to find minutes on a team that will be as loaded as the Hoosiers will be next year whether or not Oladipo comes back and retains his starting role.

  • IUMIKE1

    Does he call you Mr. Obvious ? lol

    I know a couple of pUKe fans like that as well. Sadly they are pretty much shunned & ridiculed by almost all other pUKe fans that I know.

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