Indiana ready for challenges North Carolina brings

  • 03/25/2016 8:15 am in

PHILADELPHIA — After last week’s win against rival Kentucky, Indiana was rewarded with a trip to Philadelphia for the Sweet 16 – and a date with No. 1 seed North Carolina.

IU versus UNC is expected to be the most watched game of the weekend, just like IU-UK was last weekend.

“It’s a great challenge, because I mean they don’t put anybody out on the court that can’t defend at a high level or score at a high level,” Tom Crean said. “I think one of the things that separates this Carolina team so much is the way they pass the ball. So it all starts with your transition, because they get out and run.”

The Tar Heels are full of long, athletic forwards that can run – something the Hoosiers haven’t seen much of this season. Crean says the only other team in the Big Ten that can compare with the speed and transition game that UNC has is Iowa.

“Carolina just keeps putting more forwards out that continue to get out – they do such a great job with their first three steps of getting out on the break in every area and throwing the ball ahead. So you have to get back,” Crean said. “You can’t be in the middle of the court. You can’t be wondering who you have. You can’t be thinking about who is going to get to the rim. If you’re first, you’ve got to get to the rim.”

The Tar Heels have won seven straight games – all of which came against teams that made the NCAA tournament. Four of those teams made the Sweet 16 – Syracuse, Duke, Notre Dame and Virginia.

“They’re a great team,” Nick Zeisloft said. “They’re a No. 1 seed for a reason. They play well and play fast. And they’re very athletic and talented. I mean, it adds some motivation to go out and get them and prove what we’re about. But we just have to stick to playing their guys and doing what we do out there on the court.”

The two position battles to keep an eye on are at point guard and in the post. Yogi Ferrell will be matched up with Marcus Paige, another senior, who is counted on to distribute the ball to the plethora of playmakers UNC has. He averaged 12 points and 3.7 assists in the regular season.

“We can’t let him catch the ball,” Ferrell said. “When he catches the ball, anything can happen for his team. He can dish it off to anybody. Score at will. Can shoot it from NBA range. So the main thing with him is you limit a guy’s touches, you limit a guy’s attempts.”

On the inside, Thomas Bryant – along with Max Bielfeldt, Juwan Morgan and OG Anunoby, will have the task of guarding Brice Johnson, one of the best players in the country.

Johnson averages a double-double per game, and has several talented forwards around him in Justin Jackson, Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks. Anunoby said he will likely have some time against Johnson.

“It feels great to finally go against them,” Bryant said. “Brice Johnson is a great athlete, gets out there in transition and carves out space in the low block. So does Meeks. This is a great team with great post players. We’ve just got to stay disciplined and go out there with a mindset of trying to win the game out there.”

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  • HuntinHoosier86

    This is going to be a very long work day…

  • Did you hear the press conference from yesterday, where in Bryce Johnson said Thomas Bryant is kind of weird looking? Wow, talk about giving us some ‘bulletin board’ material. I mean he quickly said he is a very good player and gave him a bunch of accolades immediately following, but…. That is what he said.

  • pcantidote

    Wow, the domination by the higher seeds last night has me even more nervous now. C’mon Hoosiers!

  • cooper

    Bryant cannot pick up an early foul and definitely can’t get 2. Hartman and Biefedlt aren’t athletic enough to play together against them for an entire half

    Interesting to see who starts. Go small to see if IU can make them change or go big to combat their size

  • BL

    Surprised if we change our starting lineup. When necessary, MB can take Meeks and OG can take Johnson. Both will have some success defensively and both can spread the floor on our offensive end.

  • MB hopefully will do well against Meeks. Most folks say Meeks is not 6′ 10″ he’s more like 6′ 9″, so MB should be able to handle that.

  • BL

    Knowing about our early morning workouts; my only concern is tip time. Hope the coaches and players began sleeping in each morning after the UK game.

    Strong feeling we’re going to see a classic. Too many upperclassmen and tough kids to see either team give in early like Miami, A&M and Mary.

  • BL

    Exactly. I was one of those “folks”. Saw video of him going up against a player listed at 6’8. No noticeable difference. Meeks may score but MB will not make it easy and Meeks will tire chasing MB on the perimeter on our offensive end.

  • Ms hoosier

    Yea I heard that and I thought the same thing you did. If I were Thomas I would be highly motivated to play against Brice but this team don’t seem to get caught up in all that they just focus on what their job is!!

  • pcantidote

    Not too worried about the late tip. Many of our best performances were late tip games (@Michigan, @Illinois, both Iowa games). What’s another hour right 😉

  • Rushman

    That’s no lie…

  • ForeverIU

    God, so what if he said that? He’s kidding around. Quit being so dang righteous.

  • ForeverIU

    Have some humor!

  • Yes, me too in a way. But. that said, its’ unlikely that all of them would win, or that more than one or at most two would lose, so we might as well go ahead and make UNC be the one that loses.. right?

  • Trevor Howenstine

    who’s being righteous here, lol

  • ForeverIU

    He’s been righteous-hounding me on another thread, so there is context, lol.

  • Ms hoosier

    Quit being a smart A$$!!!

  • ForeverIU

    Oooo, Ms hoosier, show me some temper! If you can’t be funny, at least be mad. LOL.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    No, I didn’t hear that. That’s fine, though. He can think he’s funny looking all he wants while we’re playing in the Elite 8 and he’s watching TB on tv from his couch in Chapel Hill.

  • HuntinHoosier86

    I’m not worried about late tip time. Everybody at work keeps giving me a hard time about needing to take a nap in the middle of the day to stay up for the game tonight. I know once it tips off, my adrenaline will be pumping so fast I probably won’t be able to sit down! Just gotta try not to wake the baby up….I’m sure our Hoosiers will be WIDE AWAKE tonight!

  • iluvatarin

    The good news is that the ACC was 0-2 on the wrong end of some of those games last night… That’s a trend we can keep going!!

  • Creek0512

    At least you have work to keep you busy, for some of us, today is a holiday. Don’t feel to sorry for me.

  • I wish I had the day off. I’d just binge Daredevil on Netflix to pass the time. Now I have to actually use my brain for something else all day, and how the heck is a person freaking supposed to do that when IU plays freaking UNC tonight in the Sweet Freaking Sixteen?

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Drink heavily, take a nap then drink some more till the games start.

  • I didn’t get a chance yet to watch their pressers, but from what I’ve heard they were serious and respectful. So don’t know what Johnson meant about TB being “weird” other than maybe TB is so passionate. Interesting comment.

    What I found most interesting about the UNC quotes I read is the bit about this essentially being a roadblock on the way to Houston for UNC. This is a game they need to get past to do what they’re expecting to do. It’s subtle, but I know our kids look at this game differently.

  • Bruce Clark

    Seems TW is almost an afterthought. Go get ’em good TW! Double double with just 2 turnovers 🙂

  • Maybe TW is just a secret weapon! 🙂

  • I would, but I have to run this damn site all day.

  • Agreed. Not much locker room material from this UNC group. I think they’re a team full of decent hardworking kids, a lot like us. I mean, I _hope_ that deep down they’re looking past us, because that plays in our favor, but if I were a betting man I wouldn’t put my money on it.

  • DB

    Likewise, I see Bryant’s potential foul trouble dictating a lot. If he does get into foul trouble, do you guys think we’ll need to focus our scoring from the perimeter? Defensively, no Bryant is kinda scary (underneath, anyway). Could lead to a score-at-will set up for UNC. What do u all think?

  • vicbert caladipo

    Hi #34. Have a great Easter weekend. Let’s go Hoosiers. I think I’m going to work out a few hours so I’ll be too tired to throw things, then maybe a nap, then heavy drinking, Gonna join Forever on Kirkwood and tip over some cop cars. I’ve celebrated every win this season and I’m not about to stop. Bring our A game and we advance. Maybe Roy will fall asleep during the game with such a late start. Do what you do fellas and we’ll move on.

  • I was just reading a story on ESPN, and the focus defensively was on TB. I think that ignores what’s been this team’s strength–team defense. And really, MB is better defensively than TB. I think we need TB more for offensive firepower, and we’ll rely on tenacious and smart team defense to win.

  • inLinE6

    And Marcus Paige immediate nudged him reminding him that he was talking to the media, and Johnson shrugged off and said, well, I was being honest. What? Seriously? Good thing is, we don’t play their rankings or their betting odds. We play their players. Let’s find out tonight!

  • inLinE6

    Most of those lower seeds got beaten because they were truly lower seeds. Remove our early bad loses and we’re not a lower seed. If anybody was thinking about a FF run, you have to play some marquee game along the way. Some of the lucky teams only play one, but we get to play two marquee games, which is fun.

  • henrymonte

    Silly comment. What in the world is being “self righteous” about having even just a little consternation about being called weird looking – because he’s not. Now Thomas has even more motivation to go out and do what he’s already been been doing.

  • ForeverIU

    You’re a stuffy puritan. It’s a friendly taunt.

  • henrymonte

    You just like internet attention by saying stupid stuff.

  • ForeverIU

    I get plenty of attention in my life without having to say stupid stuff. Not everyone has to adhere to your sterile puritanical way of talking.

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Vicbert!! You are in Btown also? Don’t work out to much. You still have the 12 ounce curls tonight. Seriously, you in Btown also?

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    The Virginia vs Iowa State is already done. ISU laid an egg.

  • It wasn’t said in humor.. it was said in a degrading, poking fun at manner.. Oh yeah, when his partner nudged him and reminded him it was a press conference, he started saying nice complimentary things about TB.. But I guess you think it’s really classy, and yes funny, to sit in a nationally broadcast press conference event and call your upcoming opponent, “kind of a weird looking guy”.. Man FIU you are a class act.

  • Well then watch the presser. They ask him if he’d seen Thomas play.. and he said, “Yeah, other than he’s kind of a weird looking guy”.. Then when he was reminded it was the presser, he started saying more complimentary stuff about him… Not sure I thought it was being respectful. In fact, I was thinking, Damn I hope we beat those guys…

  • I went ahead and watched them, and he more said “Bryant looks weird out there,” as in the way he plays. I’m not sure if I take it as outright disrespectful, more indicative of someone who really doesn’t know about about TB as a player. We know he has his own style of play, no doubt about that. Whether it’s “weird” or not is open to debate. It’s entirely possible that it reflects a lack of respect in a basketball sense, and to the extent that the UNC players don’t know so much about IU’s players, clearly that plays in our favor.

    Paige seemed like a smart guy, though, and knew what to say and what not to say. But heck, why am I writing this now? Game time is in less than two hours, so I should be getting my game face on. 🙂

  • ISU has the lead whittled down to 9 points now,, Trying to make a game of it.

  • Tha’s right.. Go Hoosiers!!

  • vicbert caladipo

    Well considering ken likes to call people out when they’re wrong including myself……even when the meaning is there…..CH being picked by decourcy to his all big ten team, when in reality he said he wanted to pick him but picked hill instead….allow me to return the favor. You, Mark, are the correct one here. The EXACT quote was..”He does look a little weird out there sometimes” he then goes on to say “watching him on film, he’s not the norm”. No reference to what he looks like….I took it the same… as more being an unorthodox player than a personal insult. Now with that being said, I’m not a big fan of arguing a point back and forth so this is the only time I will comment on this subject. I try to stay away from these personal confrontations with other posters because we are all IU fans….and I don’t feel like I am any better/smarter than any of you as well as I don’t want to feel like I am any lesser or worse a person. But for some, these forums are a way to puff the old chest out. I am more of the mindset of MLK JR. We are all equals….well except if you’re a Peeyoo fan!! GO IU!

  • Ricky Hicks

    Loving life just one 2k , I told everybody Hoosiers not a tournament team, the spread was 5 lol.. It should have been 13, I still would have one lol.. Great night, I just prey they the Low class Hoosiers make it in next year so I can win big again, not a tournament team, YEEEESSS 2K ALLDAY

  • Ricky Hicks


  • Neal Moody

    No, I don’t think they were ready for the challenges