Inside the Hall’s power rankings are back and will appear throughout Big Ten play each Monday beginning Jan. 7. But as a precursor, let’s take a look at the league with the start of conference play just five days away.
Inside the Hall Big Ten power rankings: Non-conference edition
12. Penn State (7-4) … Perhaps the Nittany Lions don’t belong in the cellar, but after struggling to put away teams like Delaware State and Army at home, a blowout win over New Hampshire isn’t enough to justify putting them any higher. Without Tim Frazier (ruptured Achilles), the Nittany Lions may struggle to win more than one Big Ten game.
11. Purdue (5-6) … Oh how quickly things can change. Our offseason power rankings placed the Boilermakers at No. 7, but that type of optimism is hard to place when you look at Purdue’s current resume. Their best win is at Clemson and a loss at lowly Eastern Michigan back on Dec. 8 is tough to defend. Freshman big man A.J. Hammons has played well in spots, but Purdue needs more consistently from Terone Johnson (44.6 eFG%).
10. Nebraska (8-4) … Unlike Purdue, Nebraska doesn’t have an awful loss and while the computer numbers suggest they’ll be the league’s worst team, their performance to-date lands them at No. 10. The bad news for Huskers fans is their brutal start to league play: at Ohio State, Wisconsin, at Michigan and at Michigan State. Yikes.
9. Northwestern (9-4) … The Big Ten lost some star power when the Wildcats lost Drew Crawford for the season earlier this month with a torn labrum. Without Crawford, it’s tough to imagine Northwestern reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
8. Iowa (11-2) … This is where things begin to get tricky. The Hawkeyes have played one of the worst schedules in the country (331st according to KenPom.com), but this looks like a team that could be a tough out in league play. Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White are an underrated duo and the ancillary pieces are better than they were a season ago.
7. Wisconsin (8-4) … We’re only six teams in and we’ve arrived at another club forced to overcome a substantial injury. For the Badgers, it’s guard Josh Gasser. This looks like the year that Bo Ryan’s streak of finishing in the top four in conference play will end, especially if his club continues to shoot 63.9 percent from the foul line.
· Collin Hartman (Indianapolis Cathedral): Out for several weeks after suffering a fractured left wrist that required surgery. Cathedral beat Brebeuf Jesuit 68-58 on Dec. 22.
· Devin Davis Jr. (Warren Central): Twenty-five points and 16 rebounds in a 99-94 triple overtime loss to Indianapolis Pike on Dec. 19.
· Luke Fischer (Germantown, WI): Thirteen points in a 71-45 win at Port Washington on Dec. 21 and seventeen points, including two 3-pointers, and three blocks in a 80-36 win over East Troy on Dec. 22.
· Noah Vonleh (New Hampton Prep, NH): Did not play as New Hampton is off until Dec. 27.
· Stanford Robinson (Findlay Prep, NV): Ten points, six steals and five assists in a 70-37 win over Moanalua (HI) on Dec. 19. Four points, five rebounds and four assists in a 73-63 win over Coolidge (D.C.) on Dec. 20. Five points as Findlay Prep beat Montrose Christian 40-35 on Dec. 21 and four points in a 61-53 win over La Lumiere on Dec. 22. All games in the Iolani Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, which Findlay Prep won and Robinson was named to the all-tournament team.
· Troy Williams (Oak Hill Academy, VA): Twelve points in a 78-37 win over Kamehameha on Dec. 19. Seventeen points in a 62-30 win over ‘Iolani (HI) on Dec. 20. Thirteen points in a 70-67 loss to La Lumiere on Dec. 21. Ten points in a 65-48 win over Montrose Christian (MD) on Dec. 22. All games in the Iolani Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii, where Oak Hill finished 3rd and Williams was named to the all-tournament team.
Indiana freshman Yogi Ferrell tallied a career-high nine assists against Mount St. Mary’s in Wednesday evening’s 93-54 win. The Hoosiers shot 70.6 percent for the game and Ferrell’s assists aided in the strong shooting, as several led to looks at the bucket or open 3-point attempts.
A look at three such dimes in the latest edition of Film Session:
I. Kristijan Krajina sets a ball screen for Rashad Whack:
As is usually the case this season on a ball screen out on the perimeter, Zeller hedges. He gets a hand in on Whack:
Whack puts the ball behind his back to avoid Zeller’s hands, but Yogi is behind him and gets the steal:
Notebook: Hollowell remains out with ‘personal and private matter’
Freshman forward Jeremy Hollowell missed his second consecutive game Friday night due to what Indiana coach Tom Crean said was a “personal and private matter.” Unlike Wednesday night, Hollowell wasn’t even in uniform for Friday’s game against Florida Atlantic. He sat on the bench in sweats.
Following No. 6 Indiana’s 88-52 victory over the Owls, Crean opened his postgame press conference with a prepared statement about Hollowell.
“Jeremy is dealing with a personal and private matter that is in no way related to academic, behavior or disciplinary issues,” Crean said. “He has our full support as we look for a quick resolution, and out of respect for he and his family, we will not discuss it any further.”
Hollowell is averaging 5.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per game this season. He last played in the Hoosiers’ 88-86 overtime loss to Butler on Dec. 15.
Perea getting more comfortable, Jurkin plays
While fellow freshman Hollowell sits out, Hanner Mosquera-Perea continues to get more and more comfortable on the floor for the Hoosiers.
Perea was suspended for the first nine games of the season, and he is clearly still a work in progress. But in his third appearance of the season against Florida Atlantic, Perea showed several positive signs.
The 6-foot-8 forward had four points, 10 rebounds, an assist and two blocked shots in 14 minutes.
“That was the quickest 10 rebounds I’ve ever seen,” sophomore Cody Zeller said. “That’s what he does. He’s good at that.”
Perea did have three turnovers, caused mostly by his inability to grab or hold onto the ball on a couple of occasions. On one play, Perea was wide open under the basket and the Assembly Hall crowd began to anticipate an electric dunk. But Perea failed to look the ball into his hands and dropped it.
“I already knew what kind of dunk I was going to do,” Perea admitted after the game.
Added Crean: “I thought he played well. We reminded him that you actually have to catch it before you dunk it because I think he had a couple SportsCenter plays in mind before he caught the ball. But he’ll be fine. He’s still feeling his way through things.”
Perea did throw down one emphatic dunk in the first half — his first of the season — in a pick-and-roll with Christian Watford. His other basket came in a tip-in shortly thereafter.
HD Video: IU players react to win over Florida Atlantic
Hanner Mosquera-Perea (four points, 10 rebounds), Victor Oladipo (16 points, eight rebounds) and Cody Zeller (24 points, six rebounds) met with the media following Indiana’s 88-52 win over Florida Atlantic on Friday night at Assembly Hall.
Watch and listen to the press conference in the embedded media player below:
HD Video: Tom Crean reacts to win over Florida Atlantic
Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 88-52 win over Florida Atlantic at Assembly Hall on Friday. Crean addressed Jeremy Hollowell’s absence, the play of freshman Hanner Mosquera-Perea, the growth of Victor Oladipo and more.
Watch and listen to the press conference in the embedded media player below:
I. This was the performance from Cody Zeller some were waiting for. Getting the ball early. Attacking. Making moves in the post and looking to finish strong. Even hitting a 16-footer. Couple this with his typical scores on the break, and it lead to a season-high 24 points in 22 minutes. To top it off? The Washington product, who has had some early-season struggles from the line was near perfect on the evening (12-of-13). (Aside: Zeller did get his shot blocked somewhat emphatically by smaller players twice.)
Christian Watford also played a particularly aggressive game out of the post and connected on 2-of-4 from distance on the evening to score 17 points.
II. Welcome to the floor, Peter Jurkin. It appears any talk of the Sudan native redshirting will now be laid to rest. (Jeremy Hollowell on the other hand? He sat the full 40 for a second consecutive game.) Jurkin’s hands were at issue in the preseason — if you remember, his elder buddy, Derek Elston, came up with the idea of playing baseball catch with him — and it reared its head early. Jurkin mishandled a rebound off a Florida Atlantic free throw and it fell out of bounds. Jurkin also had a smaller Florida Atlantic player make a move and score over him. But this much is certain about him: He’s tall. Really tall. (Analysis!) If he’s able to work into the speed of the college game and find his groove a bit, some decent reserve minutes may still be in store for him. You can’t teach that size and length.
Hanner Mosquera-Perea made his third appearance this evening and threw down his first dunk — with authority — off a pick-and-roll with Watford. He also had a nice tip-in. But here’s the key number: The freshman had 10 rebounds in 13 minutes. He’s an excellent leaper and it allows him to get up high and snatch misses off the rim. If the trust is there come Big Ten season, this sort of skill could certainly come in handy in close games for the Hoosiers, allowing for second chances on the offensive end and closing out opponent possessions on the other side of the ball.
There’s still a lot of teaching moments with these guys. In the second half, Jordan Hulls fired a pass into Mosquera-Perea that led him toward the rim. The freshman didn’t get his hands on it. He was subbed out. Kenny Johnson stopped him before he sat down on the bench and looked to be instructing him on what to do next time around. There were also times when their teammates had words of instruction for them during stoppages in play.
If there was ever any doubt as to how well James Blackmon Jr. would be able to recover from last year’s season-ending knee injury, he’s put those questions to rest pretty quickly.
Blackmon Jr., a 2014 Indiana commit, is making up for lost time to start his junior high school season.
The 6-foot-2 guard is averaging 37.3 points per game through Fort Wayne Bishop Luers’ first three games fresh off a torn ACL injury that ended his season last February.
“It really kind of feels the same as it did before because of all the work I put in for my knee,” Blackmon Jr. told Inside the Hall of his success. “I just feel like I got better in different aspects. Sitting out watching, I watched a lot of film and stuff, so I’m a thinker of the game now too. My athleticism got a little bit better even though I had a torn ACL.”
Blackmon Jr. opened the year with 38 points in a 79-74 loss to Mishawaka Marian. He was even more impressive his next time out in front of Tom Crean, scoring a career-high 44 points, including six 3-pointers, in a 79-63 win over Fort Wayne South.
He added another 30 points in a 77-68 loss to Fort Wayne Concordia last Friday.
“This isn’t anything I really expected,” Blackmon Jr. said. “It’s just that, my teammates, I needed them to help me, and they got me open a lot. I did what I could to win the games, but I never really thought about scoring a lot of points. It was just something that came with playing hard and working hard.”
It’s a quick turnaround for Indiana as the Hoosiers return to Branch McCracken Court on Friday night for a meeting with Florida Atlantic. The Owls (5-6) are coming off a 69-68 loss at home to Stetson. Indiana will be looking for its 16th consecutive win at Assembly Hall.
The game will be televised on ESPN2.
The competition doesn’t figure to stiffen much for Indiana until the Big Ten season tips off on Dec. 31, but the Hoosiers will round out the non-conference schedule with a pair of Friday games with Florida Atlantic and Jacksonville.
FAU is up first and the Owls are led by former George Washington and St. John’s coach Mike Jarvis, who produced a winning season and NIT birth in 2011-2012, but has otherwise struggled to gain momentum in Boca Raton. This season doesn’t look promising as Florida Atlantic was picked to finish just fourth in the east division of the Sun Belt.
Indiana will once again get the challenge of trying to contain one of the nation’s leading scorers as FAU features senior guard Greg Gantt (pictured), who is averaging 21.5 points. Gantt is shooting an identical percentage on 2-point and 3-point field goal attempts (42.7) and the distribution of his attempts is pretty equal as well (104 2-point attempts vs. 82 3-point attempts).
The absence of Moody means that Jarvis will need more offensive production from guard Pablo Bertone (7.1 ppg), guard Jackson Trapp (6.5 ppg) and forward Jordan McCoy (5.3 ppg) if the Owls hope to keep things competitive on Friday. Trapp has a solid assist rate (20.2), but is turnover prone (33 in 11 games) and McCoy is the team’s leading rebounder at 6.4 per game.