Hoosiers face significant rebounding test against No. 23 Butler

  • 12/19/2014 5:45 pm in

Heading into Saturday’s game against No. 23 Butler in the annual Crossroads Classic, Tom Crean said he already has known for a while what the game will come down to.

“Rebounding will be a huge factor in the game tomorrow,” he said on Friday. “No matter who wins it, that number is going to probably have a lot to do with it.”

Indiana’s rebounding issues have been well-documented this season — the Hoosiers allow opponents to rebound 35 percent of their misses, ranking No. 274 in the country as of Friday afternoon. Butler, meanwhile, rebounds 35.2 percent of its misses — ranking in the top 75 in the nation. Indiana has had time to prepare, though.

With final exams this week, the Hoosiers have not played since Saturday against Grand Canyon — leaving them time to prep for Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. game in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. In that span, sophomore Collin Hartman said, Crean has come up with a game plan for the Bulldogs. A plan the Hoosiers are quite confident in.

“We have a great game plan,” Hartman said. “We just have to focus on staying with them and defending. They’re a tough team. They play hard, they crash the boards. We have to box out and run with them on the floor. Just stay to us and focus on what we need to do and our own game plan.”

What caught the Hoosiers’ attention the most about Butler this season stemmed from its 74-66 win over North Carolina — in which the Bulldogs had 28 offensive rebounds against the then No. 5-ranked team in the country. In that game, 6-foot-9 Kameron Woods led the team with eight offensive boards. Just behind him, a name Indiana is all-too familiar with: 6-foot-4 junior Roosevelt Jones, with six.

During Indiana’s 88-86 loss to Butler in the 2012-2013 season, Jones nearly recorded a triple-double: scoring 16 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and notching seven assists. On Friday, Crean acknowledged just how difficult it was — and still is — to stop him.

“We didn’t do a very good job of getting him under control a couple years ago,” Crean said. “He drives well. He’s very strong. It’s very hard to put anybody out there because of that size and the way that he plays. When he’s able to drop his shoulder, he’s really going to a runner, a floater type of shot. He gets it up high off the glass. He’s a tremendous rebounder. You just have to be very efficient, stay in front of him, not give him any angles.”

Freshman James Blackmon Jr. said the Hoosiers have prepared all week for the challenge of being competitive on the boards on Saturday. Crean reiterated multiple times his team will have to be effective in blocking-out to have a chance of winning.

But with classes completed for the semester, Indiana has readied for one last test this week. And Crean knows it won’t be an easy one.

“We have a lot of respect for Butler, a lot of respect for how they play,” he said. “They’re one of the more experienced teams. A lot more experienced than us. But I think our guys are excited to go in for that challenge and play in that environment.”

Filed to:

  • aHoopandaPrayer

    Any chance we’ll go after Semi Ojeleye again now that he’s back on the market?

  • Guest

    ESPN reported that these schools have already reached out to him: Wisconsin, Kansas, Kansas State, SMU, Oregon, Iowa, Illinois, Creighton, Wichita State, California and Washington. He comes from Ottawa, KS.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    ESPN reported that these schools have already reached out to him: Wisconsin, Kansas, Kansas State, SMU, Oregon, Iowa, Illinois, Creighton, Wichita State, California and Washington. He comes from Ottawa, KS

  • FinEndNow

    Louisville offensive rebounds- 26
    Louisville defensive rebounds- 26
    Indiana total rebounds- 24
    I don’t think it can get any worse.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    If IU losses to Butler again things will start to get ugly again for CTC.

  • Ole Man

    Let them have him.

  • Lance76

    We are one player away from being very competitive. Can you imagine Louisville without Harrell? The opportunity exists for Hanner to make a statement on the boards. Blackmon’s comments about defense lead me to believe that he realizes perimeter defense needs improvement, now let’s see if players can lock their man down.

  • FinEndNow

    JBJ is a smart kid. It’d be nice if Hanner would see the aggression he needs to play with.. though it is harder for him because we’re screwed if he gets into foul trouble.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I agree. He’s a PF/SF combo guy. Likes to shoot threes and whatnot. I’m sure he’ll be a great player somewhere but he’s not the piece to our puzzle. There are a couple bigs looking to transfer already though.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I say put Yogi on Jones. He shut down Stauskas last year and I think he could do the same to Jones. Have to keep the ball away from Dunham though because he’ll light it up from outside. Stan could prove valuable in this game as a lock down defender if he can control himself on offense.

  • FinEndNow

    The better bet would be putting Yogi on Dunham. Jones can’t shoot a lick and would just take Yogi to the post. Jones is like a smaller Draymond Green. Whoever is guarding him is really going to have to step up. If it is Troy then he is going to have to show worth on this team finally. If it is Rob.. just be smart and strong.

  • Ole Man

    Right. Patience is the key for IU. Spring signing period; see who’s available by transfer. IU simply needs to wait at this time.

  • FinEndNow

    Can Luke Fischer transfer back?

  • ForeverIU

    Who are those bigs? I want Stephen Zimmerman or Thon Maker (looks like he wants to reclassify to 2015). I was watching our B1G championship game against Michigan, and I don’t think we should wish for any less than Cody-type players.

  • FinEndNow

    Well Cody is a Top 10 Hoosier of all time… could be hard to find another one lol.

  • Gregory Spera

    You could basically run this same headline with any team on the schedule for the rest of the season.

  • John D Murphy

    Bring Brad Home!

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    Why not both? Zimmerman could play 20 min and Maker the other 20 min.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    Wonder if Tony Bennett would leave Virginia…

  • ForeverIU

    I thought about that, but what would you do with Hanner? He will be our main man down low next year, with Zimmerman or Maker as backup.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    Not necessarily…Emmitt has shown an ability to block out, rebound AND shoot free throws. It’s a little difficult to gain experience and build your game confidence watching film and sitting on the bench. If given some PT today, I believe he’ll make his Momma and the IU fan base proud!

  • Hoosier Hall

    I’d love to have another Cody or someone of that caliber. I think we already lost Thomas Bryant but have at least a small chance at Zimmerman or Maker. Jordan Hare is one name that comes to mind on the transfer list but he’s probably going to Michigan.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I’m certain you’re joking here. Hanner will be solid for us next season but Zimmerman and/or Maker won’t be playing 2nd fiddle to anyone. I’d love to see a lineup of Yogi, JBJ or RJ, Troy, Hanner and Zimmerman/Maker.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Yogi and Stan are our best 2 defenders but I think Hartman would be safer than Troy when trying to shut someone down.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Landing a big man that can run the floor and rebound is going to be huge for us. I like our lineup even if JBJ gets drafted (even more if not) but we’ve got to have a big man that’s ready to play. Only other option is April and that’s a coin toss right now.

  • Hoosier Hall

    That guy is going to be key for Marquette. He completely changed their outlook for the season.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Yogi been forcing shots all game! Wtf?

  • John D Murphy

    Tony’s sister was our women’s coach and we fired her. Seems unlikely he would come to IU.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    Forgot that Kathi is his sister…I thought she was doing a good job w/the program. I often wondered how great an impact her injury had on her ability to run the program. She was/is regarded as one of the most intelligent coaches in WBB…