After what upperclassmen have been through, there’s no such thing as overlooking Purdue
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Now that was a performance.
Indiana has played better in a half this season (See: Minnesota), but the Hoosiers had yet to put together a complete game like they did Wednesday night at Mackey Arena.
Some Indiana fans have acted spoiled at times this year, nit-picking small details from games the Hoosiers have won. It’s going to be hard to find much fault from them in this one.
No. 3 Indiana, who some had predicted would be looking ahead to Saturday’s showdown with No. 1 Michigan, completely dismantled rival Purdue on its home court. The Hoosiers played workmanlike half-court defense, they got out in transition, they hit shots, and they had the Purdue crowd leaving with more than eight minutes still to play in the game.
Indiana 97, Purdue 60. The worst loss ever for the Boilermakers at Mackey Arena.
“I was just excited we were able to play a full 40-minute game,” senior guard Jordan Hulls said. “We’re gonna need to do that to win in the games that we want to. Every game is a big game for us. It was great to see everybody play great team defense and watch that flow into our offense.”
Hulls and his fellow seniors were around in 2010 when the Hoosiers lost 74-55 in West Lafayette. They were 0-4 in their first four games against the school’s biggest rival, losing three of the games by double figures.
Even though the team’s younger players weren’t around to experience such embarrassment, there was little chance Indiana’s upperclassmen were going to let them take the Boilermakers lightly. This is Indiana-Purdue, after all, and the Hoosiers clearly own this rivalry again.
“We’ve had enough of a viewpoint of some of the great teams in this league, like Matt [Painter’s] have been when you had guys like JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore, Robbie Hummel,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “When you see enough of that over a period of time, you either become that or you keep getting it done to you. And our guys have really learned to become that type of team.”
This was a perfect example of how good this team can be when it plays up to its capability. The Hoosiers (19-2, 7-1) got production from their bench like they will need to win a Big Ten title. Jeremy Hollowell’s performance was especially encouraging, even though it only resulted in two points. Derek Elston got back on the floor, and Will Sheehey continues to play well.
Sheehey dished out seven assists to go along with his seven points, and he fired up the Purdue student section near the end of the game before Crean grabbed him and settled him down.
“Will’s got a great edge to him,” Crean said. “He’s not the player that he is without that edge and that energy. It’s no accident we’re playing better because he’s playing so well right now.”
I. There was talk of the Hoosiers seeing beyond this one to their College Gameday matchup with the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday, that the Boilermakers may be overlooked. But such speculation was put to rest early tonight inside Mackey Arena. Indiana asserted itself as the agressor, as the better team. And there was little doubt the Boliermakers were in trouble from the tip. Cody Zeller went to work early on A.J. Hammons, saddling him with foul trouble. Will Sheehey got a a steal and a dunk. Victor Oladipo hit a corner 3 off a Sheehey offensive rebound. The lead was 10. And it would build from there. Sixteen after a Christian Watford 3-pointer. All the way to 20 by the time the halftime buzzer sounded.
We’ve seen the Hoosiers play a crisp first 20 in some Big Ten games, only to watch the opponent slow them down and outscore them in the second half. But not tonight. Not against this rival. The Hoosiers were not done. The lead continued to balloon. Twenty-five after a Yogi Ferrell 3-pointer. Up to 27 and then 28 after a Sheehey and-1, the theatrics were on full display as Sheehey flexed his right bicep to the Purdue crowd. The Hoosiers were smiling and having fun all the way to the bank tonight, and ended this one with a 37-point slaughter of this younger, inexperienced, little brother Purdue team after Derek Elston and Maurice Creek joined in the 3-parade late.
97-60, the statement made loud and clear: We’re ready. Bring on the Wolverines.
II. This was a balanced attack; the Hoosiers had five players in double figures — Zeller (19 points), Watford (17 points), Oladipo (17 points), Ferrell (11 points) and Hulls (10 points). Sheehey added seven to go along with a career-high seven assists. Watford (4-of-5) and Ferrell (3-of-4) were hot from beyond the arc. The Hoosiers, after struggling at times from the line this season, were absolutely money in that department as well tonight, going 19-of-20 (95.0 percent). After Sunday’s Michigan State game, Indiana was turning the ball over second most in the conference with only Minnesota being more careless with the ball. Tonight, Indiana excelled in that department, turning the ball over on just 12.3 percent of its possessions, while Purdue had some serious issues there (27.0 TO%), leading to 20 points for IU.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Six Indiana players — Christian Watford, Cody Zeller, Derek Elston, Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo and Yogi Ferrell — met with the media following the Hoosiers’ 97-60 win over Purdue on Wednesday night at Mackey Arena.
Watch their postgame reaction to the largest win by an opponent ever on Gene Keady Court in the embedded media players below:
Following Sunday’s win over Michigan State, the No. 3 Hoosiers hit the road for West Lafayette and a showdown with rival Purdue. The Boilermakers are 11-9 overall and 4-3 in the Big Ten.
The game will be broadcast on BTN at 8:30 p.m with Dave Revsine and Jim Jackson on the call.
The second contest in a three-game stretch over six days sends Indiana north to Mackey Arena where Purdue, a club hovering around the .500 mark for much of the season, awaits. Matt Painter and the Boilermakers would like nothing more than to play spoiler and knock Indiana off track prior to Saturday’s meeting with No. 1 Michigan on ESPN’s College GameDay.
It’s been a tough first half of the season for Purdue, which struggled early without Robbie Hummel, who graduated last spring. Some of the losses on the Purdue resume are head scratchers: at Eastern Michigan, Xavier at home and Oregon State on a neutral court. But the Boilermakers have started to play better in recent weeks and have won four of five coming into tonight.
Purdue’s roster underwent a significant overhaul in the offseason with the graduations of Hummel, Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith. There are reinforcements in place in the form of a freshman class that has shown promise, but the reality is that Purdue is 11th among Big Ten teams in terms of experience.
In recent weeks, Purdue has essentially started four guards with the Johnson brothers — Ronnie and Terone — along with D.J. Byrd and Raphael Davis. Byrd, a 6-foot-5 senior, would be a guard on most Big Ten rosters, but plays the role of undersized four for this group. He’s a volume shooter from the perimeter with 131 of his 177 field goal attempts coming from behind the 3-point line. His percentage has dipped considerably from his junior season (35.9 percent compared to 43 percent), but he’s certainly capable of filling it up if given space.
Junior Terone Johnson is the team’s leading scorer and is most effective when using his strength in driving to the basket. But Johnson’s efficiency isn’t a strong suit as he shoots just 34.9 percent on threes, 41.1 percent on twos and 57.4 percent on free throws. Keeping Johnson out of the lane isn’t always easy to do, but look for Indiana to use Victor Oladipo to slow him down. His younger brother Ronnie, a freshman, has stepped in as the starting point guard and is Purdue’s most effective player at getting to the foul line. He’s not shooting well on those attempts (60.2 percent) and has also struggled shooting from the field as he’s just 39.4 percent on twos and 13.8 percent on threes.
Davis, another freshman, has shown promise in recent weeks and has replaced Anthony Johnson in the lineup because of his ability to score. Although it’s a much smaller sample size, the Fort Wayne native boasts a 53.9 effective field goal percentage, the highest mark among starters.
Standings through five games are here. (Note: Everyone who made a pick the first game was added to the spreadsheet even if they didn’t get the pick correct. After that game, only new people that got a correct pick were added to the spreadsheet. As a result, some people might not see their names on the spreadsheet if they didn’t pick the first game and haven’t gotten any correct picks in the following games. If a scoring error is identified, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments addressing scoring in this thread will not be addressed.)
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Film Session: Michigan State storylines
Victor Oladipo’s steals. Michigan State’s jumping of the outlet pass, its ability to exploit Indiana’s zone on the backline and with inside-out play for 3-pointers. Cody Zeller’s huge drive to seal the victory.
A look at the biggest storylines from Sunday’s win against the Spartans in the latest edition of Film Session:
I. AN OUTLET JUMP, AN MSU INSIDE-OUT 3
Christian Watford rips down an Adreian Payne miss:
He instinctually turns around and throw an outlet pass to Oladipo. But with everyone else hustling back down the court, Travis Trice is pouncing on the pass:
He intercepts it with Oladipo helplessly still heading the other way:
HD Video: McClain, Hulls and Sheehey preview Purdue
Steve McClain, Jordan Hulls and Will Sheehey met with the media on Tuesday to preview Wednesday’s game at Purdue.
Watch and listen to both press conferences in the embedded media players below:
From humble beginnings, Oak Hill standout Troy Williams has become a star
By Justin Albers
Watch highlight videos of Indiana commit Troy Williams, and it’s easy to understand why so many college coaches coveted him. Few players can do some of the things he can on a basketball court.
But it wasn’t always that way. Williams wasn’t always good at basketball. He didn’t even always love the sport.
One night when Williams was a freshman at Phoebus High School in Hampton, Va., his entire family came to one of his varsity games. His aunt and uncle, and his mother and grandmother traveled to watch him play in this particular game, but Troy never got off the bench.
He played only sparingly that entire season, and admits now that he didn’t take basketball all that seriously at the time.
“We didn’t see the potential in Troy til late,” says Boo Williams, Troy’s uncle, legal guardian and AAU coach. “He was clumsy and unorthodox. Sometimes we get kids that have always been good basketball players. Troy wasn’t always a great basketball player. He hardly ever played his ninth grade year.”