Chicago State pressure could present challenge for IU

  • 11/08/2013 9:12 am in

Forget the fact that Chicago State went 11-22 last season and started the year 1-12 against Division I competition. The Indiana Hoosiers believe they are in for a significant test tonight in their regular season opener to the 2013-2014 season.

Though Chicago State has not necessarily had the on-court success that typically garners the respect of an opponent — the Cougars are 21-74 in their past three seasons — Indiana has taken notice. And the Hoosiers think they are in for a battle.

“I mean, when you’re going against a pressure team, you have to play basketball,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said on Thursday. “It’s going to be very good for us to have to do that.”

So, why has Crean taken notice of the challenge Chicago State’s pressure may present? After the Hoosiers turned the ball over 33 times in their two exhibitions, they are now facing a team that ranked in the top in the NCAA last season in steals per game (9.42). Even though it is a new season, the Cougars return eight seniors and many of their rotation players from last year. Indiana, in contrast, has only one returning starter and four upperclassmen.

Combine the age difference and experience factor with Chicago State’s defense prowess, and the Hoosiers believe they have a challenge on their hands.

“I know they’re a pretty good team,” freshman Noah Vonleh said. “They like to press, so we’ve really been practicing hard and working on things to try to break that tomorrow. They’re really athletic.”

“They feed off their energy and they feed off their press,” sophomore Yogi Ferrell added. “Once they get a couple steals from their press and get a couple of buckets, they’re going to get fired up. So it’s going to be a good test for us to see how well guys handle the ball and how well we can make certain passes. We just have to be patient with it and try not to speed up.”

As Ferrell and Vonleh mentioned, breaking Chicago State’s press will be one of the Hoosiers’ priorities tonight. But that is just the beginning of the Hoosiers’ concerns. Crean thinks the Cougars will play in multiple zone defenses, including the 1-2-1-1 and 2-2-1 press. He knows what Chicago State is capable of: trapping the ball, forcing turnovers, deflecting the ball.

So when the lights come on, the Hoosiers will try to limit their turnovers more than anything. After all, they think Chicago State “will create some havoc for us.”

“The pressure that they’re capable of putting on is enormous,” Crean said. “We’re gonna find out what kind of instincts we have. We can’t come down and turn the ball over. This team will turn it into easy baskets.”

Sheehey ‘fine’, according to Crean

Crean told the media on Thursday that senior Will Sheehey should be ready to go for the Hoosiers’ season opener tonight.

After colliding with senior Evan Gordon early in the second half of Indiana’s exhibition against Hillsdale on Monday, Sheehey left the game with an apparent calf injury. After the game Crean was optimistic but unsure of Sheehey’s prognosis. However, as the week has progressed, Sheehey has been practicing as normal.

“He’s been fine. He’s practiced well,” Crean said. “You really couldn’t tell a difference with him. Sometimes Will thinks he’s a little bit older than he really is.”

Other notes

· After shooting 0-for-8 from the free throw line in Indiana’s two exhibition games, Vonleh is well-aware of his poor shooting effort. Speaking to the media on Thurday, though, Vonleh said he isn’t too worried about it heading into tonight’s regular season opener.”I’m not really concerned about it, too much,” Vonleh said. “Everybody knows I went 0-for-8, but in practice I’ve been shooting the ball pretty well from the free-throw line. I’ve just got to zone everything out and focus on my shooting confidence and my ability.”

· Sophomore Hanner Mosquera-Perea’s footwork is so improved this season compared to last that it’s among the most impressive improvements Crean has ever seen from one year to the next. Crean said Perea’s much more comfortable this year, which has led him to improve not only his footwork, but his defense, fitness and even his shooting.

· It’s been no secret that Jeremy Hollowell will have an increased role in this year’s team. With an inherent lack of guard depth, the 6-foot-8 sophomore will be forced to play at both the forward and guard positions this season. That said, Crean has been impressed with his game so far but wants just one additional aspect to improve more.”I would say it’s the rebounding,” Crean said. “And we really need that from him no matter what position he’s in.”

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  • CreamandCrimson

    Over/under of 30 fouls for Chicago State tonight…I’ll take the over.

    I think these first few games are perfect for this young and inexperienced squad before heading to the Garden for some serious tests. The Hoosiers will be challenged to take care of the ball but I think they should dominate the glass and based on recent history, they should lock down Chicago State’s offense. There are no “gimme” games and I don’t think anyone can know for certain what we’ll be seeing from this team for a while. It’s just going to be great to be able to watch this team again (of course, not tonight because of the lovely BTND).

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    “I mean, when you’re going against a pressure team, you have to play basketball…”

    Actually, I think it’ll be a gas if they just stopped for one possession to go dodgeball. Nail them on the head, back the pressure right off. As the wise man once said, if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball… wait, what does that have to do with anything?…



    Ok, jokes aside now: An early test against a pressure defense is a good thing for this team. The youth and turnovers are of course an oft stated concern, but facing a full-court defensive team is precisely one of the best vaccinations they can get to condition them on ball security. This game came along at the right time: Early in the year while the team is still learning to come together. Because of that, and because of the nature of that sort of defense they’ll face, lessons the coaches give will really sink in. The team will be better for it. It’s just a matter of them truly learning from it, and adjusting their play to get better.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Should give the Hoosiers experience against a pressing team that might be similar to what they could run into in March–like a VT.

  • Ya, mon.

    Expect to see a lot of players get PT, don’t fret over the score, enjoy the defense and watch the offense develop.

  • David Macer

    Uncle – I think you meant VCU, didn’t you ??

  • HoosierinCT

    Poor pressure D means we will get to see alot of our athleticism on display going to the basket with free looks, should be fun to see what guys like Hanner, Troy, and Noah can come up with in open space.

  • SCHoosier

    Young IU team..quick pressure D from the opponent…may result in official scorer having to use two pages for TO’s..and the maintenance guys having to repaint the FT line? Too bad the mop lady isn’t still active..Hoosiers could probably use her to clean up the court from what I expect to be a very sloppy game tonight. Man there is going to be some helter-skelter b-ball:)

  • ThinkingOfYouAlot

    It’s tough to win when you have an inexperienced team right? This is such a tough matchup looking at Chicago State’s record, I think a banner should be hung after this win.

  • Jeremy Pinnell

    The Mop Lady is on twitter if they need her to clean the court. She is usually busy putting down Purdue and UK. I do think the first couple of games will be sloppy. I am hoping they clean it up before the conference season starts just before New Years.

  • shknqk

    It may be counter intuitive, but pressure might result in lower turnovers.

    I think packed in defense and causes us to press a bit.

    Between yogi Stan and Evan, with hollowell and Noah as release valves,

  • unclekerfuffle

    Thanks, Dave.
    I guess I’m still shook up from the last time we played VCU even though we won by a hair–that was scary

  • Yes, that was scary.. However, you have to wonder if the Chargers have the athletes to make it effective against the Hoosiers for am entire game.. We’ll see, but I think eventually we’ll solve it. Go Hoosiers!!!

  • Evan

    Anyone have a link to the game?

  • mla10493

    Does anyone know of any streams for this game since I am in South America, it’s the only way I can listen or watch. Thanks!

  • IULore

    I’ll be glad when people stop doubting this team. This is going to be fun year.