Following a convincing win over North Carolina in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday, the No. 1 Hoosiers return to Assembly Hall on Saturday for a meeting with Coppin State. The Eagles (1-5) are coming off a 67-51 loss to Loyola MD at home and have yet to beat a Division I opponent.
The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.
If you’re expecting Indiana to get much of a challenge on Saturday night, it may be time to readjust your expectations. Using the Pomeroy Ratings as a barometer, Coppin State is Indiana’s weakest opponent on the schedule.
Their five losses to-date have come by an average of 12 points, but in their two games against major conference opponents, they fell by 14 to Southern Cal and 23 to Texas.
STYLE OF PLAY
If there’s one thing you can point to with Coppin State and say they’ve been effective, it’s forcing turnovers. The Eagles are turning their opponents over on 27.7 percent of their possessions, which was good for 11th nationally through Thursday’s games. Although those turnovers aren’t really leading to much offensively, they’re still on Indiana’s radar heading into the game.
“They start with ball pressure. They’re not always in the full-court, man-to-man type of look, but they do a good job of scrambling and helping,” assistant coach Kenny Johnson said Friday. “They’re in the passing lanes, they’re aggressive. They’re overplaying, so they’re forcing you into unforced turnovers at times. Other times, they’re just always gonna be there. You’re not gonna have any space to operate.”
Beyond their effectiveness in creating turnovers, the rest of the profile for Coppin State is well below average. Offensively, they’ll enter Assembly Hall with an effective field goal percentage of 37.2 percent, which is 344th out of 347 Division I teams. Nearly 43 percent of their field goal attempts are coming from behind the 3-point line, but they’ve been woeful from distance (23.7 percent) through six games.
Despite the obvious shortcomings on paper for Coppin State, the Hoosiers still appear focused on treating this game like any other.
“We just don’t want to play to the level of our competition,” freshman guard Yogi Ferrell said. “We always want to play the best that we can. We played very well against UNC, of course, but like now we’re playing Coppin State, we just can’t play down to their level.”
Indiana senior Jordan Hulls, freshman Yogi Ferrell and assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Kenny Johnson met with the media Friday to preview Saturday’s game at Assembly Hall with Coppin State.
Watch and listen to both press conferences in the embedded media players below:
Beyond the relentless break this Indiana team throws at opponents, beyond the individual talent of their Starting Six, there’s this truth: These Hoosiers, they of the most efficient offense in the country, show a special ability to share the ball and make the extra (and sometimes extra-extra-extra) pass.
A deep look at a prime example of their unselfishness in the latest edition of Film Session.
Indiana punches the lead out to 19 in the second half against North Carolina and the water smells of blood.
Cody Zeller snags a rebound on the left block off a Tar Heel miss. He immediately outlet passes to Jordan Hulls. Hulls pushes it up the left side of the court. Will Sheehey — who bragged before the season that “there’s nobody in the country that can run as far and as long as I can,” and a re-watch of Indiana’s torrid run in the second half can make you a believer in such things — and Victor Oladipo sprint down the right side and look to fill an opening in the middle of the floor near the top of the key:
Yogi Ferrell is down in the right corner already ahead of the defense — he started his sprint down the court with less distance to cover than Sheeladipo — but there’s risk in Hulls playing that angle with Marcus Paige sitting under the free throw line. So Hulls opts to slow things down with Indiana not having the numbers to take advantage, as North Carolina has all five players over halfcourt.
Recognizing there will be no fast-break score here, Sheehey immediately goes and sets a ball screen for Hulls. It becomes a double ball screen when Cody Zeller enters the play as well. You can see that Hulls starts to split the defenders as both ball screens free him from Leslie McDonald and Joel James makes the decision to reach for the ball instead of getting his body in front of Jordy:
Ryan Scherer (aka HoosierRyno) writes: Even though they will soon be back, how costly will Perea and Jurkin’s suspensions be to the depth of the front court, since they have not been able to actually play against unfamiliar opposition or opposing teams?
Obviously the suspensions have put both Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin behind in terms of gaining valuable game experience, but they’ve also been able to practice with the team every day, so they’re not completely out of the loop. Looking at the schedule, they’ll have home games against Mount St. Mary’s, Florida Atlantic and Jacksonville that should all provide the opportunity to play solid minutes before Big Ten play arrives. And Indiana’s Big Ten slate is somewhat backloaded in terms of the difficulty of road games, so I’m not sure I see the suspensions being as costly as some may believe. — Alex Bozich
Mark Joseph writes: Piggy-backing on first above question – What problems do you think the Hoosiers will encounter incorporating the players currently suspended into a lineup that has been playing together and adjusting for 9 games?
There will be growing pains anytime you’re integrating new pieces into a team, especially one that’s been on a roll and winning. And it’s not only Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin who will potentially be introduced to the rotation — Derek Elston is also expected back in late Dec. or early Jan. from a torn meniscus.
The good news is Elston has been in the system for three years and has a grasp of what’s expected. Tom Crean has mentioned Elston has been very involved in practice and on the bench during games, so that’s a favorable development in terms of his capabilities as a leader. As I mentioned in the first question, I think those three home games with Mount St. Mary’s, Florida Atlantic and Jacksonville are going to be pivotal. Crean isn’t going to experiment too much because Indiana needs to stay sharp, but he’s going to do his best to get Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin as acclimated as possible into their potential roles on a short timetable. — Alex Bozich
@tim_skibbe writes: What is your take on the Watford/Sheehey debate of who should start (debated quite a bit on the forum)?
To be honest, I’m not sure how much it matters. Both are playing comparable minutes. Watford is at 25.7 per game and Sheehey’s at 21.7, so it’s not like starting versus coming off the bench is creating a large separation there. In Tuesday’s win over North Carolina, Watford started as he has for nearly every game in his career and Sheehey came off the bench. At halftime, Sheehey was giving the Hoosiers more, so he started the second half.
Overall, I think Sheehey seems to enjoy coming off the bench and providing that spark of energy, so assuming Watford is able to rebound from Tuesday’s effort, I’d be surprised to see any type of permanent switch to move the senior out of the lineup, at least for now. — Alex Bozich
Indiana coach Tom Crean appeared on the new Jim Rome show on Showtime Wednesday evening. Here’s a recap of Rome’s interview with the coach of the 7-0, No. 1-ranked Hoosiers:
· Rome started by pointing out that the Hoosiers “smacked” North Carolina and noting that Will Sheehey called the win a huge statement. Crean was asked if that’s how he saw the win and also what message it sent to the rest of the country.
“I don’t know what [message] it sent the country. The message that our team wanted to send is that they can really defend. We knew we were playing a great team. We knew we were playing a transition team, a tremendous rebounding team. They were averaging 18 offensive rebounds a game, so we were going to have to be great on the glass. I think it sent the message that our guys take defense very serious at a high level.
· Rome asked Crean the significance of being ranked No. 1 given where the program was a couple of years ago:
“It means a lot, personally. But it means a lot because I think it means so much to so many people because of the way they have stuck with us.”
· Rome brought up one-and-done players in the college game and what Crean’s stance is on bringing them to Bloomington:
“To me, it’s part of the deal. And as long as they come in… They have to unpack their bags. I know that sounds like a corny statement and I’m stealing it from one of Mike Krzyzewski’s books one time where he talked about Carlos Boozer had to keep his bags unpacked. And I think that’s exactly what’s gotta happen if somebody comes into the program. You’ve gotta unpack the bags and get into it. If you’re not into the team, if you’re not into education, if you’re not into school, it’s going to catch up with you and you’re going to lose games. Now, if you come in and you’re about the team and you’re about improvement and you’re about doing your very best in school and you leave after one year, two years, so be it. That’s fine.”
Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall staff:
· Indiana’s defense against the Tar Heels impressed the Big Ten Geeks over at BTN.com.
· Gary Parrish of CBS Sports believes the Hoosiers looked like the nation’s best in their win over North Carolina.
· Rick Bozich of WDRB.com writes that he’s never seen North Carolina get dunked on like they were Tuesday night.
· Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News writes that an early second half stretch on Tuesday showcased endless possibilities for IU.
· Assembly Hall is in the top tier of home court advantages in college basketball, Andy Katz of ESPN.com writes.
· IU’s win over North Carolina reaffirms that Assembly Hall will be a house of horrors for visiting teams according to Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports.
· Tuesday’s loss in Bloomington was a myriad of misfires for the Tar Heels.
· North Carolina big man Desmond Hubert believes Cody Zeller is a more athletic version of his older brother, Tyler.
Indiana recorded a season-high nine steals against Ball State in its 101-53 win on Sunday evening.
A look at three steals the Hoosiers quickly turned into scores — a large point of emphasis for a defense now ranked No. 6 in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom — in the latest edition of Film Session.
I. Jauwan Scaife is guarded by Maurice Creek up top:
Majok Majok comes to set a ball screen for Scaife as Zeller hedges:
As Scaife looks to split the defenders, Zeller gets a hand in and pops the ball loose:
Christian Watford snatches it up, looks ahead and passes up to Zeller:
If there was any question whether Indiana deserved its No. 1 ranking, last night answered with a resounding “yes.” The Hoosiers dominated the Tar Heels in every facet of the game, utilizing their deep, talented roster to cruise 83-59 at Assembly Hall.
To break down IU’s win last night, ESPN.com’s Eammon Brennan joins hosts Matt Dollinger and Greg Rosenstein on this week’s show. The group also examined IU’s outlook the rest of the season and what questions still remain as Big Ten play approaches.
Among the topics discussed on today’s show:
· Cody Zeller and Jordy Hulls’ dominance against the Tar Heels
· The continued improvement of Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey
· Christian Watford’s role and his ongoing struggle with consistency
· How Indiana would fare in a dream matchup against Duke
· Potential problems against Butler and other future opponents
So tune in and enjoy. As always, feel free to drop us a note at email@example.com.
In the days leading up to North Carolina’s trip to Bloomington to face No. 1 Indiana in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, Roy Williams talked about the variety of offensive weapons on the IU roster.
Specifically, Williams mentioned that the Hoosiers possess too many scoring threats to warrant putting more than one guy on Cody Zeller with any regularity.
On Tuesday night, those words rang true as the Hoosiers (7-0) had four guys in double figures and showed their incredible balance in an 83-59 rout of the Tar Heels.
“The thing I like about them is, they really are a team,” Williams said after watching his team trail by as many as 32 points. “They don’t have one guy that beats you up. They beat you in so many different ways.”
While Zeller was brilliant and looked more than capable of charging to the top of the heap in the national player of the year race, the contributions of Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey were equally important.
Hulls finished with 13 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and no turnovers. The senior guard from Bloomington now has 31 assists and only five turnovers on the season.
Oladipo and Sheehey, who were under recruited and overlooked by major programs coming out of high school, each scored 19 points.
“You look at Hulls and think, ‘that’s really something- five of eight, eight assists, and zero turnovers,'” Williams said. “Oladipo, man what an aggressive basketball player he is. The stat sheet says he had one block and zero steals, but I felt like he stole the ball from us ten times. His energy level for them on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor was really something. Sheehey comes off the bench and gets 19.”
Hoosiers lock down defensively on McAdoo, Bullock
After North Carolina drew even at 31 on a pair of free throws by James Michael McAdoo with 4:14 remaining in the first half, Indiana turned the game with defense.
The Hoosiers exploded for a 37-9 run over the next 13:23 to put the game completely out of reach.
“It was 31-31 the last time I looked at the score in the first half and then we just had a drought and we don’t put the ball in the basket the last two to three minutes in the half,” Williams said. “Then we start the second half and we only make one of our first eighteen shots in the second half. Against a very good team you can’t go 2-for-7 to end the half and go 1-for-18 to start the second half. I’m pretty good at math, and that’s three for 25 and you just can’t do that.”
One key adjustment Indiana made was putting Sheehey on McAdoo, North Carolina’s most talented player and leading scorer.
What Sheehey gave up in size, which was at least two inches, he made up for with making McAdoo uncomfortable for most of the night.