A blast to Indiana’s past in Iowa matchup tonight

  • 02/18/2014 9:36 am in

Throughout this season, one in which Indiana has struggled with the ups and downs of having a young team, Hoosiers coach Tom Crean has watched plenty of other teams and evaluated how they are doing. It’s part of his job, after all.

One team he has watched quite often is No. 15 Iowa (19-6, 8-4), who makes the trip to Bloomington for tonight’s 9 p.m. matchup against the Hoosiers (14-11, 4-8).

And each time Crean has watched the Hawkeyes, one recurring thought comes to mind.

“It reminds me when we watch them — and it has been this way all year — of what we had last year with our team with the experience, shooting, scoring and guys that have been there in a lot of hard games,” he said on Monday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference. “And also some young fire power that brought some energy to the table.”

Indeed, Iowa comes into Assembly Hall tonight as one of the most seasoned teams in the Big Ten, with almost all of its active players having at least a season and a half of experience. On Crean’s radio show Monday night, he commended Iowa coach Fran McCaffery on how he has built the Hawkeyes program with talent but without the “pro hits” that Indiana has suffered.

That mix Crean referred to, that the Hoosiers had in the 2012-2013 season in seniors Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls and future NBA players Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo, has helped the Hawkeyes this season. Coming into tonight’s game led by seniors Roy Devyn Marble and Melsahn Basabe, junior Aaron White and sophomores Adam Woodbury and Mike Gessell, Iowa is just one game out of the Big Ten lead.

A direct comparison of the 2012-2013 Indiana squad and the 2013-2014 Iowa squad shows both teams have a top-two offense in Big Ten play, both have the top tempo, both are No. 1 in FTA/FGA ratio and 3-point shooting percentage and both are in the top three in opponent’s effective field goal percentage. For this year’s Hawkeyes, an NCAA tournament bid is all but certain.

Indiana, a year removed from that same success, has struggled with consistency all season with the Big Ten’s second-least experienced squad. In fact, only one starter from that 2012-13 squad remains on the Hoosiers roster: sophomore Yogi Ferrell. And come tonight, he and his teammates will have the task of stopping a team quite similar to the one he played on one year ago.

“Iowa is a very deep and talented team with a lot of versatility and an excellent offense,” Ferrell said. “You have to defend with a purpose because so many guys can score for them. We have to be ready for the challenge.”

Ferrell selected as finalist for Bob Cousy Award

On Monday, the Basketball Hall of Fame announced Ferrell is among 23 finalists for this year’s Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate point guard.

Ferrell was one of only three Big Ten guards chosen as a finalist, the others being Michigan State’s Keith Appling and Ohio State’s Aaron Craft. LIU Brooklyn’s Jason Brickman, Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis and Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier were among others chosen.

In his sophomore season, Ferrell leads the Big Ten with 17.9 points per game while shooting a 52.8 eFG% and a 42.1 3-point rate, up from only a 7.6 PPG clip last season. He also is sixth in the conference with 3.9 assists per game.

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  • Speed

    Perhaps unreasonable to expect an upset but always hopeful. Such a frustrating season. Hoping we can finish the season on a positive note and build into next year.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I bet we will beat Iowa. Then lose to Nebraska and Northwestern. That’s the kind of year we’re having. Nice to see Yogi get the recognition but I think Ennis has it locked down. He averages more steals than turnovers, STEALS!

  • Nick Claghorn

    When I saw the headline, I thought I’d be graced by the presence of a Luke Recker reference. Sadly disappointed. Ha.

  • deebo

    Yogi is our heart and soul. imagine how much worse it would be if he wasn’t having this kind of year?

  • pcantidote

    Let’s keep it classy at the game tonight. Keep your booing to yourself. Every ounce of negativity directed at this program puts us one step closer to imploding during the offseason. As CTC acknowledged last night, this team is very delicate. It won’t take much to send kids packing.

  • Walton

    They could use the 6th man tonight

  • jasonwehlage

    If Iowa reminds him of last season’s squad, common sense suggests a zone defense this evening would be extremely effective

  • JetpackJunky

    Sheehey?

    But you’re absolutely right. The crowd can be the determining factor in this game if they want to be.

  • Laffy

    I don’t want anyone on the team that is “very delicate.”

  • OhioHoosier

    Aaron craft lol.

  • Alford Bailey

    Get get the feeling we beat Iowa. Yogi is due to go nuts again.

  • ForeverIU

    You don’t get to choose tough guy.

  • ForeverIU

    It’s sad that we’re even having to warn against our own fans booing our own Hoosiers. If we don’t rally behind them, who will?

  • codyump

    I hope Assembly Hall is rockin tonight. A nationally broadcast game against a top 15 team should be enough to get the place loud. Plus, if the 6th man shows up tonight loud and proud after last weeks multiple embarrassments, I think that would give the team the extra juice it needs. Let em know we’re still behind them, through the good AND that bad!

  • Alford Bailey

    Well I don’t like it either but to me it speaks volumes about the state of the program. Its happening for a REASON!

  • HoosierGrampy

    I imagine how much better we’d be if Noah Vonleh got about 20-25 touches per game instead of 20-25 “looks”.

  • ForeverIU

    It speaks volumes about the state of (some of) our fans. We should be better than soccer hooligans.

  • InTheMtns

    I agree. If the fans at Assembly Hall give it the old “This is our house and we expect to win” vibe that can carry right out to the team and lift them up – or as you said, give them the extra juice they need. Victory, victory, victory to the Hoosiers!!! Go team!!!

  • VAHoosier

    I don’t know… Fran is an awfully good coach, and I have to believe he will throw everything but the kitchen sink at Yogi. It may be up to someone else to step-up. Troy? Maybe Evan will re-appear…

  • Rie

    There is a strong sense of entitlement the students in Assembly Hall feel. It was hard being there during the Sampson debacle, but it taught us to enjoy the successes of our broken team. Now that students are cycled through who knew nothing of that time, they expect last years team to be the norm. Not chastising them one way or another, but it certainly makes the crowd more understandable. I cannot imagine how deflated I would have felt during that home collapse last week.

  • ForeverIU

    I think the difference is that we’ve already played Neb and North, and it is unlikely we will lose against them twice.

  • ForeverIU

    The great irony is that when our own fans start booing us, we’d be better off on the road.

  • Rie

    This team is never better off on the road. Also, the actions of a few should not outweigh the actions of many.

  • ForeverIU

    Of course, I agree with you. Not trying to make more of this than I should. I’m sure (or hope) it’s a small minority of fans. But the idea of booing our own team baffles me.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I was there…right around the 3-point line, top row of the bottom section. The students were far from the only problem. I don’t disagree with your opinion of the student’s feelings because I have no idea how entitled they are or are not. So this is not to refute your post at all. I will say that there were very vocal people within my earshot that were downright venomous towards the coaches and players on our team. Singling out certain players and calling them “stupid” and saying they were “terrible”. Yelling less than flattering things at Tom Crean….and that’s when we were up by double digits. As soon as the collapse was complete, the boos were very loud and they weren’t labeled as “this boo is only for the coach”. I really hope the atmosphere is less toxic all around tonight…students and fans alike.

    I’m confident things in the Hall will be back to being a raucous and tough place to play next season if the team is doing well but I don’t like for the home support to waiver based on the success or failure of the team on the floor.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I wouldn’t call anything unlikely this year. 2 weeks ago, I would’ve called a home loss to Penn State unlikely.

  • ForeverIU

    Imagine if future recruits were to witness this travesty.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Right now…I think it is unlikely we beat anyone, including Northwestern, on the road. That could change before we head to Evanston but beginning tonight, we need to see some indication that this team isn’t just playing out the string

  • Alford Bailey

    I mention Yogi because he seems to be the only player on this team who can go on a scoring run and not be put on the bench for 10 minutes.

  • ForeverIU

    Let’s keep in mind though that two bad games in row are not statistically significant in terms indicating a trend. I’m not denying the presence of a mental issue, but that in itself could become a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. After all, we are the same team (minus Hanner) that beat and had close games against really good teams this year.

  • Rie

    Yeah, there is no excuse for such behavior. There is a big difference between what you outlined and the picture I envisioned when I heard the crowd.

    What baffles me is whoever is with these (most likely too drunk) people should really help in policing their friends to behave in a more civil manner. Who knows though, maybe with such a rabid group that would just lead to fighting.

  • Alford Bailey

    Its not just the students its the old people too. You know, the ones who have been buying season tickets for 25+ years. And its not just because of this season, its the general trend.

  • Rie

    “And its not just because of this season, its the general trend.”

    What do you mean?

  • CreamandCrimson

    Very true…I have no idea what to expect from this team but if we were playing at Northwestern tonight, I would probably be expecting a NW victory. Things can change quickly and it’s entirely possible that these guys rally, battle back, beat Iowa and make us rethink the remainder of the games once again.

  • Shaggy_C

    Shouldn’t be that surprising – you’ve got what should be a boring matchup against lowly Penn State on a weeknight during the coldest, grossest time of the year in Bloomington. Students don’t even get tickets to all of the home games any more, so you have to imagine feeling a bit jaded if you’re one of the unlucky souls to get stuck with PSU rather than one of the marquee opponents. Couple that with the general letdown of this season as a whole and you’ve got a tinderbox of malcontent on your hands. A meltdown in the second half just sent it over the edge. Let’s hope circumstances are a bit better tonight with a ranked opponent in the building!

  • Laffy

    I would never boo, but if the team isn’t even trying, they deserve it.

  • SCHoosier

    A-Hall crowd has to shake the Hawks up tonight because Iowa is the total package. In fact..given their talent level, depth and experience they have under-performed a bit IMO. Let’s hope they don’t bring their A game tonight against IU. Of course if he Hoosiers show 20 TO’s again .Iowa won’t NEED its A-game. It would also be nice if one of our “shooting guards” could make a shot tonight.

  • Robert J Morgan

    Have been watching thre Texas/ IOWA St. Bb game. They both especially Texas team passes the ball 3 or 4 times before it hits the floor, constantly looking for and open man moving without the ball. I wonder how they can recruit high school players who know how to work the ball like they do. SURLY the coaches do not teach them to work the ball. LOL.. No coach at IU seems to know how to do this, or coach big men to move and get open. I wonder what the asst coaches do at practice ??