Notebook: Ferrell-Paige matchup, injury updates and more

  • 03/23/2016 7:55 am in

For a second straight game, Indiana will face a powerful blue-blood program in the NCAA tournament when it tips off with North Carolina late Friday night in Philadelphia.

Yogi Ferrell will once again lead his team, and also will have another high profile position battle with Marcus Paige, another four-year player.

“He’s been a guy that’s stayed all four years like I have in that program,” Ferrell said. “The way he’s impacted that program with his presence of play, being able to shoot it from deep, being able to pass it, being a crafty point guard.”

Paige averaged 12 points and 3.7 assists per game during the regular season for the Tar Heels.

Ferrell said he also played Paige back in high school on the AAU circuit, and that he’s about the same player – just far more polished and refined at his game.

Tom Crean said that while he isn’t in the UNC locker room, he knows that team has good leadership, just like IU does. He also doesn’t want to make the Paige versus Ferrell match-up the focus, just like how he viewed Ferrell against Tyler Ulis.

“It’s not about matchups as much as it’s about tendencies, like what they want to do,” Crean said. “He’s a tremendously quick shooter, he’s a veteran, very quick, very good on ball defender, runs his team, plays with great speed, change of direction is really good. It’s not so much about Yogi and Marcus Paige, it’s about what does Marcus Paige do really well that we have to take away.”

Injury updates

Crean described the status of Robert Johnson for Friday’s game as “iffy” after the sophomore guard re-injured his left ankle in the first half of Saturday’s win over Kentucky.

Johnson missed four straight games before returning for IU’s NCAA tournament against Chattanooga last Thurday.

“We’re just going to have to see,” Crean said.

As for Juwan Morgan, who also left the Kentucky win early with another shoulder injury, he’s been practicing this week and making progress, but had to get stitches for a head injury.

“Juwan’s getting better,” Crean noted on Tuesday. “He had some stitches to his head today in practice, so he was out there.”

Bryant looks to avoid foul trouble

In recent games, Thomas Bryant has collected two early fouls and been forced to ride the bench for long stretches of the first half.

It’s important to break this trend against the Tar Heels, as Bryant will be faced with the tall task of guarding Brice Johnson – who has posted 20 double-doubles this season, and averages 16.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per contest.

Despite not agreeing with the fouls called on Bryant against Kentucky, Crean said it’s difficult to focus too much on not fouling, especially against a team as quick as UNC.

“The more we talk about don’t foul, the easier it is to foul,” Crean said. “This is going to be a very big personnel game for us.”

With Morgan banged up, and Collin Hartman also not 100 percent, both Bryant and Max Bielfeldt will be called on to defend Johnson, as could OG Anunoby.

Bryant does feel like he can do something to avoid those early fouls.

“Mostly just moving better,” Bryant said. “Being in spots faster, talking more out there and being in a position where the refs don’t have to make those iffy calls.”

Zeisloft steps up on defense

With Robert Johnson missing time due to an ankle injury, Nick Zeisloft has stepped forward to fill Johnson’s shoes – especially on defense.

His teammates have taken notice of the extra work he is putting in.

“Nick’s taking a lot more pride in defense I feel like,” Ferrell said. “He’s been doing a lot of extra stuff, even playing 1-on-1 against some of the guys. He’s getting film on guys he could possibly be guarding to know what they like to do. He’s just wanting to go out there and get a stop.”

In practice, Zeisloft has been playing against Josh Newkirk, a speedy guard that played in the ACC last year and knows what the Tar Heels are all about.

“Him and Josh have been going at it,” Bielfeldt said. “Josh isn’t exactly the slowest person on the perimeter so it’s nice for him to move his feet against a quick guy like him.”

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  • bleeding crimson

    I like the M.I. reference.

  • bleeding crimson

    Also keep in mind that we have Curtis Jones coming in.

  • bleeding crimson

    I sorta disagree, he never did say RJ would play the last game, it was a day to day. Same as JM.

  • Takota E Weigold

    It will be a tough one just like the Kentucky game. But whoever plays the smartest and plays the hardest will always end up winning in the end. No matter what it will be a great game. GO HOOSIERS!!! Hoosier Nation.

  • bleeding crimson

    Plus we need to close down the lane and make them shot the 3 and watch for the long rebounds.

  • bleeding crimson

    Totally agree, he need to play within himself and not bring the ball up or drive the lane with 3 def’r, then create a TO or charge.
    Otherwise let him loose. I think he dibbles the ball too high for my liking.

  • Erik Holm

    My thoughts exactly. CTC did this in the purdue game to avoid a TB-hammons match up right away. TB get a foul to start every game.

  • millzy32

    Officiating was probably about the best I’ve seen it in the Kentucky game. Fouls were being called pretty consistently both ways. I did notice in the UNC vs Providence game that I thought the Refs favored UNC a lot. I hope this game is called fairly like the KY game was and I’ll be happy with that aspect at least.

  • millzy32

    Bryant just needs to play smart. He gets a lot of silly fouls from trying to recover after he gets beat. Just let them go if you’re beat and get them next time. I don’t think there’s anything to gain from not starting the best players at all positions.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    I feel like I’ve started a sensation bringing up Kenny Rogers…..

  • HuntinHoosier86

    I saw that! It was awesome! Isiah had nothing but good things to say about Yogi and called him the best point guard in college basketball.

  • QuestFor6

    Love that Newkirk is helping out in any way he can, especially having previous experience in the ACC. Also, I think the least talked about, yet vitally important, factor is OG coming off the bench and giving Brice a different look than either TB or TW on defense. If we can get Brice out of his rhythm and Yogi goes to work against Paige, the possibility of moving on to the next round could look much more promising.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    Ok, fine………….SIX THINGS!! SH*T! Maybe I better start following rugby or something….

  • By the way, did everyone know it’s CTC’s birthday on Friday? Add into the mix then the players’ desire to give him a nice birthday present.

  • Bill Graham

    This is a tough matchup. Bryant doesn’t have the lateral quickness to hang with Johnson. Besides if we put Bryant on Johnson that puts Max on Meeks (who has 2-3 inches and 15+ lbs on Max). Jackson is also a problem, he is extremely good in transition (our habit of guarding the spot and not the man in transition might be exposed by this team).

    Paige is the number one concern though. Make no mistake Marcus Paige is not Tyler Ulis. He is better. He is a better defender, a better shooter, and a better distributor. And the kid is a senior with major clutch time experience. I’ll still take Yogi over him (and yes I’m biased) but Paige will still get his. This is a classic example of a team where we have to stop the ball first in transition. Otherwise, this game will be full of Paige driving and dishing back to a trailing Jackson or Berry for the open 3.

    This is the best team we have seen all year by far.

  • TomJameson

    IU has gotten past the last two opponents by playing through injuries, playing through a few silly fouls, and playing through bad shooting nights from three. But they’ve done pretty good keeping turnovers down and playing with great intensity. And, their defense has been outstanding. So, all they have to do is more of the same with just an uptick on defense, and shooting from distance.

    IU will still have to play through the injuries, but they CAN go out and shoot lights-out from distance, their defense CAN pick up, and they CAN play with great focus (intensity, hustle, etc…) for all 40 minutes. We know that IU can do this, just need to do it for the whole game.

    My biggest worry is the foul trouble that is possible. I know some think that TB getting those 2 quick fouls in the first 4-5 minutes is all his fault, but I’ve seen too many “ghost” fouls to believe that totally. Thomas has improved all year and isn’t nearly as foot-slow as he was at the beginning of the season. If he gets to play the majority of the game, I think IU has a great chance.

    GO IU

  • Is that what we like about him? Notice I didn’t use the terminology, ‘love’.. cause I ain’t in love with the guy.. In fact I almost don’t like admitting to liking him.. Are you sure we really like him.. even?

  • I’d worry more about Notre Dame.. I don’t think Wisky gets by them and even if they do, I think I’d actually rather face Wisky than ND. ND has some streaky guys that if they get hot, they can throw a lot of point up.. I’m bettin’ if we play Wisky, NH doesn’t score more free throws than we even attempt.. That was ludicrous. What’d they have 32 FTs as a team and we shot 13 or something like that? And Nigel had 22 of those? Seriously.. That stank..

  • bleeding crimson

    Yes, we have to like him even though you don’t always agree with him. He is always direct to the point and loves TW. Keep in mind that he is ole school. I don’t like every thing he post but most of the time he is correct about his comments before and after the games. But just like the rest of us, we are all IU fans and have different opinions…whether or not we agree.
    Just ask him, he will tell you what he thinks. He is not one to react on pure emotion and just start typing. He just tells you like he sees it..

  • I am so glad you guys aren’t coaching this team.. You are out to lunch..

  • I’ve known Ole man for over three years (from over on the Premium forum), so I’m really careful about acknowledging any ‘like’ for him. I wouldn’t want it to go to his You pretty much have him figured out though.. for sure.

  • BMusic

    Does anybody else think it’ll be somewhat of a home environment, with both Wisconsin and Notre Dame fans siding with us?

  • BL

    Bill, Meeks is listed at 6’10 on the UNC site; 6’9 on ESPN and Draft Express. I watched a recording of a UNC vs. UV game. A player listed at 6’8 on the UV site was assigned to Meeks. I didn’t see any noticeable difference in height between Meeks and the UV player. IMO, he’s no taller than 6’9. Perfect matchup for TB and Max.

    TW can handle Jackson. I’d give CH a chance to take Johnson. Stay in front of him then block him out; make him beat us with his jumper. If healthy, CH can flip the script when we’re on offense. Will be interesting to see how Johnson does chasing CH and playing in space on the perimeter. Will be good for our offense to pull him out away from the rim. Love to see CH knock down three’s in transition and I believe CH can beat Johnson off the dribble. Naturally, if CH struggles, it’s OG time. Btw, can’t wait to see that match-up. Senior vs. freshman but no way am I betting against OG.

    Agree that UNC is for real and deserving of their #1 seeding.

  • BL

    Possible. If I was attending the event and Wiscy was playing UNC, I’d be pulling for the BIG school.

  • BL

    Comin’ For You BRICE

  • Lance76

    Agree with consistent calls. I also don’t recall a game with so many offensive guard push offs called. Yogi even pick up one.

  • dwdkc

    Paige is not a good shooter, he struggled from 3 this year, but then so did Ulis but Ulis got hot against us. Paige is much slower and will be much easier to keep in front than Ulis. While bigger and older, in no way is Paige better than Ulis (and Berry isn’t close to Murray). Inside however NC is far superior to KY.

  • unclekerfuffle

    Very true. Next man up.


    I can’t go into exactly how I feel about the foul situation from that game, cause if I do I’ll still be typing at this time tomorrow, I’ll just say that it was total BS and one of the worst officiated games I’ve ever seen. F you bucky freakin’ badger !


    Which means that his turnovers and his, might as well have been a turnover(s) have to be held to an absolute minimum for it to be a situation where he made a difference and to where we can honestly say that he brought his A game.


    The Eraser cometh !!

  • BL

    UNC is deep in the backcourt. Assuming RJ is out or gimpy, we’re going to have a real disadvantage there. Means our front court is going to have to play lights out; especially our wings. TW will need to play his best game of the year (including filling in at PG for a brief stretch or two like he did against UK), CH must be effective shooting from the perimeter, and JM/RB will have to contribute some solid minutes. Most importantly, OG will most likely need to make a bigger contribution than he did against UK, and that’s asking a ton. Notwithstanding, I believe he will. Watch out Brice Johnson!

  • ForeverIU

    True, Yogi is a bear, not a dog, after all. Thanks for the correction, LOL.