HD Video: Oladipo, Sheehey preview Minnesota

Indiana juniors Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey met with the media to preview Tuesday’s game at Minnesota.

Watch and listen to their comments in the embedded media players below:

HD Video: Tom Crean previews Minnesota

Indiana coach Tom Crean met with the media this afternoon to preview Tuesday’s game at Minnesota.

Watch and listen to his comments in the embedded media player below:

Notebook: Oladipo wins Big Ten player of the week

IUMSUITH0011For the second time this season, Indiana junior Victor Oladipo was named Big Ten player of the week. The award is announced every Monday morning by the conference.

It was the second player of the week award this season for Oladipo, who scored 19 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had five steals in last Tuesday’s 72-68 win at Michigan State.

“There were a lot of very deserving guys this week. There were a lot of excellent games as there usually is in the Big Ten,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said earlier today on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. “Victor did some amazing things, especially at the end of our Michigan State game.”

Oladipo also won the award on Jan. 28 and Cody Zeller has won it twice as well (Jan. 14, Feb. 4).

Michigan’s Trey Burke has three player of the week awards, which leads the conference.

Oladipo injury update

Despite playing at what he described as 85 percent healthy, Oladipo put together what Michigan State coach Tom Izzo called  a “MVP” type performance in IU’s win at East Lansing.

But with a tough four-game stretch to close the regular season, a week between games could end up being beneficial for IU’s player of the year candidate as he rehabs a sprained left ankle suffered in IU’s 83-55 dismantling of Purdue.

“We were very careful with that,” Crean said of Oladipo’s ankle. “He looks fine. There’s no question about it. We pulled him in and out of a few things, but at the same time though, he looked good.”

Indiana had off days on Wednesday and Saturday because it played three games the week before, but the time off or the injury didn’t stop Oladipo from putting in extra work as he’s done all season.

“It sure didn’t stop him from being in the gym extra, I know that,” Crean said. “I think he’ll be fine. What level he’s at, I think we’ll just have to wait and see what it’s like tomorrow night, but I know it’s a lot better than it was.”

(more…)

What to Expect: Minnesota

022412uerIndiana returns to action for the first time in a week on Tuesday night with a trip to Williams Arena in Minneapolis to take on Minnesota. The Golden Gophers are just 6-8 in conference play, but are 5-2 at home. The Hoosiers won the first meeting between the two teams, 88-81, on Jan. 12 at Assembly Hall.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 7 p.m. with Mike Tirico, Dan Dakich and Sam Ponder on the call:

With last Tuesday’s win at Michigan State, Indiana now controls its own destiny in the race for the Big Ten regular season championship. The Hoosiers are two games ahead of the Spartans, Michigan and Wisconsin in the loss column.

The road doesn’t get any easier tomorrow as “the Barn” has historically been a tough place to play, but working in IU’s favor is the fact that Minnesota is in the midst of a skid. The Gophers have lost four of five and are coming off a pair of blowout road losses: 72-51 at Iowa and 71-45 at Ohio State.

PERSONNEL

As tough as wins have been to come by for Tubby Smith’s team as of late, Minnesota did come into Assembly Hall earlier this season and push Indiana to the brink after getting crushed in the first half. Minnesota actually had an opportunity to draw the game even late before Jordan Hulls iced the game with free throws.

That was during a stretch where the Hoosiers were struggling to finish off games and had yet to put together anything close to a complete game of strong play in the Big Ten. Things have changed in that regard in recent weeks as the Hoosiers won running away at Ohio State and then won in East Lansing for the first time since 1991.

Minnesota is balanced offensively with five guys scoring nine or more points per game, but no player averages more than 13.6 points. The Gophers start three guards in Austin Hollins, Andre Hollins and Joe Coleman, and each brings a different dimension. Andre Hollins is the team’s leading scorer, shoots 39 percent on threes and 79.8 percent from the foul line. The sophomore guard also averages a team-high 3.3 assists and has a 25 percent assist rate.

Austin Hollins is second on the team in scoring at 11.1 points per game, but has struggled from the perimeter in conference play. He’s hitting just 34.6 percent of his attempts from distance and was 0-of-4 in the loss at Ohio State. Coleman has scored in double figures just once in Minnesota’s last 10 games, but is one of the more physical guards in the league.

Up front, Rodney Williams is coming off his worst performance of the season in Columbus. The senior went scoreless in just eight minutes, but has otherwise put together a respectable season. Williams is solid on the offensive glass (9.7 OR%), makes 54.1 percent of his twos and can help the Gophers capture momentum with his ability to finish above the rim. Sixth-year senior Trevor Mbakwe has been dominant on the glass (15.6 OR%, 23.8 DR%). Both figures rank second among Big Ten players. Mbakwe is also getting to the line at a blistering pace as he’s taken 127 free throws, but is only knocking down 61.4 percent of his attempts.

(more…)

Big Ten Power Rankings: February 25

IUMSUITH0009We’re getting down to the wire now, and the Big Ten conference title will be decided in these next two weeks. Every game means even more now as teams battle for NCAA Tournament berths and seeding. Who will claim the crown?

12. Penn State (8-18, 0-14) (LAST WEEK: 12) … Well, it won’t be the Nittany Lions, that’s for sure. The only real question remaining for them is if they will win a game in the Big Ten. With home games against Michigan and Wisconsin and road games against Northwestern and Minnesota remaining, I’m guessing no.

11. Northwestern (13-15, 4-11) (LAST WEEK: 9) … Injuries have really hurt the Wildcats this year, and they have taken their toll in recent weeks. They scored just 41 points in each of their last two home games, losing by 21 to Illinois and 28 to Wisconsin, and then lost at Purdue by 31 on Sunday. Yikes.

10. Nebraska (13-14, 4-10 ) (LAST WEEK: 11) … Very good win for the Cornhuskers against Iowa on Saturday (and a very bad loss for Iowa). The Hawkeyes had a comfortable lead early, but Nebraska didn’t quit, and earned the best win of its conference season.

9. Purdue (13-14, 6-8) (LAST WEEK: 10) … Purdue’s win over Northwestern on Sunday ended a three-game losing streak, but the schedule the rest of the way is much less favorable for the Boilermakers.

8. Minnesota (18-9, 6-8) (LAST WEEK: 8) … What’s going on with the Golden Gophers? This team was supposed to contend for the Big Ten title, and now they’re getting blown out on a regular basis. Minnesota is coming off back-to-back road losses, falling at Iowa by 21 and at Ohio State by 26.

7. Iowa (17-10, 6-8) (LAST WEEK: 7) … The Hawkeyes suffered a bad loss at Nebraska on Saturday, but didn’t fall in the power rankings because of another bad loss by Minnesota. But if we get to Selection Sunday and Iowa misses the tournament, the Hawkeyes can look back to their loss at Nebraska as a primary reason why.

(more…)

Recruit Roundup: Troy Williams posts triple-double

TroyWThroughout the season, Inside the Hall will keep you posted on how IU’s six 2013 signees and James Blackmon Jr. are performing at their respective schools. 

You can send us stats or results for this report to insidethehall@gmail.com.

2013 SIGNEES

· Collin Hartman (Indianapolis Cathedral): Ten points in a 66-39 win at Center Grove on Feb. 21. Cathedral finished regular season with 13 straight wins and will play Lawrence North in the Warren Central sectional on Tuesday.

· Devin Davis Jr. (Warren Central): Did not play. Warren Central finished regular season 11-8 and will host Lawrence Central in sectionals on Tuesday.

· Luke Fischer (Germantown, WI): Twenty-five points in a 90-22 win over Waukesha South on Feb. 21 in the WIAA regional. Twenty points in a 70-44 win over Homestead on Feb. 22 in the WIAA regional. Germantown will play Arrowhead on Feb. 28 in WIAA sectional play.

· Noah Vonleh (New Hampton Prep, NH): Thirteen points in a 63-62 loss to Worcester Academy on Feb. 22 and 13 points and 14 rebounds in a 60-55 win over the Tilton School on Feb. 23.

· Stanford Robinson (Findlay Prep, NV): Sixteen points, nine rebounds and four assists in a 92-79 win over Westwind (Ariz.) on Feb. 21. Fifteen points, eight rebounds and two blocks in a 79-70 win over Westwind postgrad (Ariz.) on Feb. 22. Nine points, four rebounds in an 84-68 win over Future College Prep (Ca.) on Feb. 23. Findlay Prep is now 32-0 this season.

(more…)

The Inside the Hall Mailbag: February 22

IUUMITH0020The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall) and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can. 

@wmontgom447 writes: what’s up with peter jurkin? There have been ample opportunities for him to come off the bench for late game minutes.

The latest on Peter Jurkin is that he’s got some type of left foot injury, but details on the injury are not clear. Tom Crean mentioned that Jurkin had some “setbacks” a couple of weeks ago on his weekly radio show, but no further details have been provided beyond that.

Jurkin battled a shin injury for over a year during his prep career that forced him to miss a good portion of his junior season and the entire AAU season prior to his senior year. Now that we’re in the home stretch of the season and Jurkin has played in three games for a total of seven minutes, it’s unlikely we’ll see him at all the rest of the way. — Alex Bozich

Shane Camp writes: Chances Vic and Cody come back next year? I’m dreaming of a starting five of Yogi, Sheehey, Oladipo, Vonleh, and Zeller.

Keep dreaming, Shane. I think this is the question we’re getting most often recently given the fact that both guys are currently looking like lottery picks in June’s NBA Draft. Obviously neither guy is focusing on the draft at this point because their current goals include winning the Big Ten and a national championship, but I don’t see both players returning to school.

Oladipo will have his degree in May and is in the midst of a historic rise up the draft boards. His stock isn’t going to get any higher. Zeller is well on his way to a business degree, could complete any remaining course work after he goes pro and is basically a lock to be a top ten pick. Of the two, he seems more likely to return, but I wouldn’t count on it. It’s also possible that one of them just loves the experience in Bloomington so much that it could sway them to return, but beyond that, why, exactly, would either guy come back? — Alex Bozich

@hoopstrainer writes: Does IU’s performance in the Big Ten tourney secure a #1 seed more, or the regular season?

The performance in the regular season will mean more to the selection committee if the Hoosiers win the championship outright. If there’s a shared regular season title, it’s possible the tournament could be the deciding factor on who gets the top spot in the midwest, but if Indiana wins the regular season title (a share or outright), it will be a No. 1 seed. — Alex Bozich

@mattyork1941 writes: more deserving of poy zeller or oladipo?

(more…)

A closer look at the race for the Big Ten title

IUSMSith0016

We’re getting down to crunch time in the race for the 2013 regular season Big Ten championship with just four games to go in conference play for Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin and five for Michigan.

Here’s a look at the road each team faces the rest of the way and an outlook on their chances to capture the league crown:

INDIANA (12-2)

· Remaining games: at Minnesota (Feb. 26), Iowa (March 2), Ohio State (March 5), at Michigan (March 10)

· Outlook: The Hoosiers took control of their own destiny with Tuesday’s win in East Lansing. Indiana now has a one-game lead over the Spartans in the loss column and an easier schedule the rest of the way. If Michigan State drops one of its four remaining games and Indiana wins three of its four remaining contests, it would clinch its first title since 2002 and first outright title since 1993.

· Projected record: 15-3

MICHIGAN STATE (11-3)

· Remaining games: at Ohio State (Feb. 24), at Michigan (March 2), Wisconsin (March 7), Northwestern (March 10)

· Outlook: Not only did Michigan State lose to Indiana on Tuesday, it likely fumbled away its chance to win the regular season title. The Spartans have the toughest road remaining with three games against the league’s top five teams. Two of those games are on the road against teams Michigan State has already beaten, including Michigan, which was embarrassed in East Lansing and will be seeking revenge.

· Projected record: 13-5

WISCONSIN (10-4)

· Remaining games: Nebraska (Feb. 26), Purdue (March 2), at Michigan State (March 7), at Penn State (March 10)

· Outlook: The Badgers have a favorable schedule the rest of the way with the exception of a game at the Breslin Center. If, and it’s a big if, Wisconsin can win out, it would still have a chance to share the title with two Indiana losses.

· Projected record: 13-5

(more…)

Film Session: Indiana’s late-game execution

Indiana found itself down four points with under two minutes to play, but escaped East Lansing with its first victory since 1991 because it out-executed the Spartans down the stretch.

A detailed look at how it went down in the latest edition of Film Session:

I. WATFORD’S AND-1

Jordan Hulls comes up to the top of the key and receives a pass from Yogi Ferrell after he brought the ball down the court. We see Christian Watford moving over to the left wing:

watshot1

But it’s Watford that slides all the way down into to corner as he and Victor Oladipo cross. Oladipo receives the ball from Hulls:

watshot2

Victor makes a nice behind the back move on Denzel Valentine and actually drops him to the floor. But Victor is looking at Watford as it happens, perhaps because this play was set for him all along:

watshot3

(more…)