Around the Hall: Draft discussion, Big Ten TV deal, more

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall staff.

Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated has his annual pre-NBA draft column featuring feedback from anonymous NBA sources more than 50 prospects. The words on Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams aren’t particularly kind:

Yogi Ferrell, 6-foot senior guard, Indiana: “I like that he got better, especially as a defender. He thinks he belongs. He’s a good shooter, but he’s tiny, and he’s not a dynamic athlete. Good player but not at our level.”

Troy Williams, 6’7″ junior forward, Indiana: “I don’t see it. Plays too fast, doesn’t know who he is as a player. Not a lot of substance there. Awful decision to come out. Very possible he goes undrafted. Good athlete, but a poor shooter and a very low basketball IQ. He’s just out of his mind, he’s so wild. He can do highlight-reel stuff, but for every good play he makes, the next three are gonna be ugly. He’s not a great shooter, but he thinks he is. He’ll have an opportunity to play because of his athleticism and energy, but I don’t think he sticks very long.

Rob Dauster of NBCSports.com runs through his list of potential breakout lottery picks in college basketball next season:

O.G. Anunoby, Indiana: I’m not sure Anunoby fits the criteria here, considering that he didn’t declare for the draft and spent much of his freshman season playing limited minutes behind Troy Williams. But once Tom Crean realized what he had in Anunoby, he became a integral piece of Indiana’s puzzle. He’s such a talented and versatile defender, if he can make himself into some kind of offensive threat on the perimeter he’ll be a first rounder. If he turns into a guy that can average 15 points and shoot 40 percent from three, he might be a lottery pick.

Jeff Borzello has a summer recruiting road map for Indiana over on ESPN Insider ($):

And that brings us to the big question of the 2017 cycle for Indiana: what will it need 10 months from now? With Durham taking Hartman’s vacated scholarship, the Hoosiers are already at 13 scholarships for the 2017-18 season. However, Blackmon, Anunoby and Bryant could all leave early for the NBA. Blackmon tested the NBA Draft waters this past spring before coming back for another season, while Anunoby and Bryant decided in April to return to Indiana for their sophomore campaign. All three could leave after next season, meaning Crean could need some reinforcements. We’re likely to see the Hoosiers look for big men, given they still lack size up front — as well as a scoring guard or wing, and potentially a pure point guard depending on how the freshman class performs next season.

Teddy Greenstein of The Chicago Tribune writes that Big Ten coaches are excited about the news of the league’s new deal with ESPN:

Delany declined to confirm the deal in a text message to the Tribune, saying the conference was not the source of the SBJ story. Delany said the conference has had “constructive discussions with ESPN” and he hopes to have more to say later in the summer.

A logical time and place for an announcement would be Big Ten football media days July 25-26 in Chicago.

The conference has asked coaches and athletic directors not to comment on the pending deal, but their excitement is palpable — and not just over the prospect of an extra $20 million per year.

“An amazing deal,” one coach called it.

Awful Announcing breaks down what the new Big Ten TV contracts mean for viewers:

For those who watch Big Ten Network, nothing will change, It will still carry 35-40 football games and 60-65 in-conference basketball games and selected tournaments games. Fox has 51% ownership of the Big Ten Network, but now by getting half of the main Big Ten contract it adds to its college sports portfolio and brings some big games to FS1.

As for ESPN/ABC, you won’t watch the major football and basketball games after this season. Starting with the 2017-18 season and going through 2022-23, the ESPN family won’t be the main network for the Big Ten. That now shifts to Fox which will have first pick of the football games for much of the season. In addition to keeping the Big Ten Football Championship, expect to see games like Michigan-Ohio State, Michigan-Michigan State and other big conference games on Fox/FS1. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will continue to air Big Ten football, but ESPNU which carried its share of conference football games will see a reduced schedule to almost none.

A look at how unbalanced scheduling could shape the 2016-2017 Big Ten race

One of the pitfalls of conference expansion is the unbalanced schedule that accompanies it. With the Big Ten at 14 members, the conference is entering year three of a scheduling format that includes eight single plays and five home-and-home series each season.

The schedule is a major change from the previous 12-team format which included seven home-and-home pairings with just four single plays. But unless the league opts to add more games, the current format is here to stay. And it’s certainly a factor when looking at the conference race each season.

So how might scheduling determine next season’s regular season Big Ten champion?

Using the top eight teams in John Gasaway’s conference power rankings published last month over on ESPN Insider, we ranked the schedule difficulty (from most difficult to easiest) of the projected top eight of the league for next season:

1. Michigan (Gasaway projected No. 5 in standings)
Home: Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue
Away: Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Rutgers
Home/Away: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska, Wisconsin

Comment: The Wolverines get Gasaway’s projected top three – Michigan State, Indiana and Wisconsin – twice each as well as a double play with Nebraska. Their single plays with league bottom dwellers, Minnesota and Rutgers, both come on the road.

2. Purdue (Gasaway projected No. 4 in standings)
Home: Illinois, Minnesota, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Away: Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State
Home/Away: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State

Comment: Purdue’s draw is less than favorable with two games against three of the projected top eight, including two against Indiana and Michigan State. And all of their single play road games will be difficult.

3. Ohio State (Gasaway projected No. 6 in standings)
Home: Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers
Away: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State
Home/Away: Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin

Comment: Ohio State plays three of the projected top seven teams twice as well as a double play with Nebraska, which typically enjoys a nice home court advantage at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Buckeyes also have single plays at Iowa and Michigan.

4. Indiana (Gasaway projected No. 2 in standings)
Home: Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, Rutgers
Away: Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio State
Home/Away: Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin

Comment: The Hoosiers drew double plays with three of Gasaway’s projected top five teams and also have single play road games with Iowa, Maryland and Ohio State. The road to a repeat won’t be easy.

5. Michigan State (Gasaway projected No. 1 in standings)
Home: Iowa, Northwestern, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Away: Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Penn State
Home/Away: Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State, Purdue

Comment: Michigan State only drew Indiana and Wisconsin once, which is favorable. But Sparty does have three of the projected top eight for double plays, including Michigan, Ohio State and Purdue. Additionally, two games against Nebraska won’t be easy.

6. Iowa (Gasaway projected No. 8 in standings)
Home: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State
Away: Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Wisconsin
Home/Away: Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, Purdue, Rutgers

Comment: Iowa has just two double plays against the projected top eight, but it does have road trips to two of the projected top three in Michigan State and Wisconsin.

7. Wisconsin (Gasaway projected No. 3 in standings)
Home: Iowa, Maryland, Northwestern, Penn State
Away: Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, Purdue
Home/Away: Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Rutgers

Comment: Wisconsin has double plays with both Minnesota and Rutgers, the projected bottom two of the league. And of their other double plays, only Indiana is projected to finish in the top four. Road trips to Purdue and Michigan State will certainly be challenging, but in terms of the league contenders, the Badgers might have the easiest road to the title.

8. Maryland (Gasaway projected No. 7 in standings)
Home: Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska, Purdue
Away: Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State, Wisconsin
Home/Away: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Rutgers

Comment: The Terps landed double plays with both Minnesota and Rutgers and their double plays within the top eight are Ohio State (projected sixth) and Iowa (projected eighth). And if that’s not favorable enough, Maryland avoids road trips to Bloomington, East Lansing and West Lafayette.

(Photo credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)

Video: Curtis Jones Nike EYBL highlights

Class of 2016 Huntington Prep (W.V.) and Boo Williams guard Curtis Jones, an IU signee, was one of the standouts last spring and summer on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit.

Over 17 EYBL games in his final season on the circuit, Jones averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. With the help of Krossover, we recently broke down some film of Jones to provide Indiana fans with a feel for his game and style of play.

You can find more Nike EYBL highlights at Krossover.

Report: ESPN keeping half of Big Ten rights package

Following months of speculation that the Big Ten would end its relationship with ESPN, the two sides have come to an agreement on a new rights package.

The Big Ten and ESPN have agreed to a six-year deal that will pay the conference $190 million annually, according to a report Monday morning by The Sports Business Journal.

The conference and Fox agreed to a seven-year deal back in April for up to $240 million annually that would put approximately 25 football and 50 men’s basketball games on Fox Sports and Fox Sports 1.

The ESPN deal, according to SBJ’s report, is for half of the league’s media rights. CBS has also agreed to a new deal that will keep the men’s basketball conference tournament semifinals and title game on CBS through 2023.

According to SBJ’s report, “Fox will have the first pick every year; ESPN will have the second; Fox will have the third, and so on. ESPN will carry Big Ten football games on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. ESPNU will see far fewer Big Ten games than it has in the past.”

When you combine the value of the ESPN and Fox deals, the Big Ten should reap nearly $2.65 billion over the next six years.

(Photo credit: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images North America)

Indiana announces 2016-2017 Big Ten opponents, single plays

Indiana announced its 2016-17 men’s basketball Big Ten schedule this morning.

Indiana will play Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin twice next season.

The Hoosiers will host Illinois, Nebraska, Michigan State and Rutgers for single plays and travel to Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota and Ohio State for single plays.

Dates, tip times and broadcast information for next season’s Big Ten schedule will not be released until late summer or the fall.

IU’s complete release on the schedule is available below:

The defending Big Ten champion Indiana Hoosiers men’s basketball team will welcome nine league members into Assembly Hall during the 2016-17 conference season. Indiana will play home and home matchups with five schools and will play four teams only at home and four others only on the road. Last year, IU finished 17-0 at home, 9-0 in league play and 6-3 on the road in winning its 22nd Big Ten title.

Dates, times and television designations will be announced at a later date, but league play generally begins before New Years Day. The Hoosiers have a been a consensus top-15 pick in most 2016-17 preseason rankings.

IU will have home and home contests with Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. The Badgers are the only team that IU faced twice in the regular season this past year.

The Hoosiers also will have home dates with Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, and Rutgers. Last year, the Hoosiers traveled to Michigan State and Rutgers only and played a home and home series with Illinois and Nebraska.

Indiana will go on the road to take on Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota and Ohio State. Last year, IU hosted Maryland and Ohio State and had a home and home series with Iowa and Minnesota.

IU will open the regular season November 11 against Kansas at Pearl Harbor in the Armed Forces Classic.

Around the Hall: Anunoby’s stock, Yogi’s challenge, recruiting updates

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall staff.

Indiana’s OG Anunoby is a player who could develop into a lottery pick with a strong sophomore season, Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com writes:

Anunoby was ranked 280th in the Class of 2015, according to 247Sports. But he proved last season that he was vastly underrated. And with a bigger role next season, there’s reason to think the 6-foot-7 wing could develop into an elite NBA prospect.

Bob Kravitz of WTHR.com writes about the challenges former Indiana point guard Yogi Ferrell faces leading into next week’s NBA draft:

Somebody is going to make a mistake. Somebody is going to look at Yogi Ferrell’s listed height of six feet and dismiss him from their team’s NBA Draft list because he’s just too darned short. Somebody is going to overlook all the intangibles, the ball handling, the three-point shooting acumen and his recently-acquired ability/willingness to play defense and let him fall all the way to the back of the second round, or possibly out of the draft entirely.

And they’re going to regret it.

North Central wing Kris Wilkes remains high on Indiana and is being told by the staff that he’s the one wing guy the program wants:

Home-state Indiana is in regular contact, and Wilkes spoke to Coach Tom Crean from Team USA camp Wednesday.

“They always say I’m the one wing guy that they want for sure,” Wilkes said. “It’s good to hear that. I talk to them a lot. I talked to (Crean) earlier. He was asking how it’s going down here and stuff like that. He’s a pretty good guy.”

Southport’s Paul Scruggs breaks down his top schools at the NBPA Top 100 camp in an interview with Scout.com:

When it comes to Indiana, Scruggs has been there many times throughout his career, and continues to have a strong bond with the school.

“The program is a wonderful program,” said Scruggs of Indiana. “They do a good job with their players and they let their guards go. Also they get players to the draft.”

Look for Scruggs to play out the month of July and then make a few visits in August before coming to a college decision.

USA Today profiles Luke Garza, who recently added a scholarship offer from Indiana:

Since entering Maret, he’s grown to 6-11 and 250 pounds and was an American Family Insurance ALL-USA D.C. first team player this past season, averaging 25.1 points and 12.5 rebounds a game. In January of 2015, he had only three offers. Now, he has 15, including a recent one from Louisville.

“Iowa is recruiting me hard, Louisville is recruiting me hard, Georgia, Pittsburgh, Alabama, Indiana, GW (George Washington), St. Joe’s and Northwestern are all recruiting me hard,” Garza said. “I went on an official to Iowa and an unofficial to Iowa, and an unofficial to Columbia with their old staff. I had to reschedule a couple of visits because of the camp.”

ESPN’s Dick Vitale inked a contract extension through the 2018-19 season, the Associated Press reports:

ESPN announced on Vitale’s 77th birthday Thursday that the popular college basketball announcer’s deal now goes through the 2018-19 season.

Vitale says that ”my goal is to be the first announcer ever to call a game and say, `You’re awesome, baby!’ at 100.’

Video: Yogi Ferrell talks Indiana Pacers workout

Former Indiana All-American point guard Yogi Ferrell was back in his hometown on Friday afternoon for a workout with the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers have two picks in next week’s NBA draft – No. 20 in the first round and No. 50 in the second round.

Here’s the full post-workout media availability with Ferrell, via Vigilant Sports:

Site News: User blocking now available in the comments

One of the biggest challenges for those who moderate comments on Inside the Hall is the inevitable dustup that occurs between members of the community.

Inside the Hall continues to grow as we approach the nine-year anniversary of our launch date as nearly 300,000 comments have been posted today.

Today, we’re happy to announce that our commenting platform, Disqus, has launched user blocking. We realize that spam, trolling and personal attacks only hurt the user experience on Inside the Hall, so we wanted to take a few minutes to introduce this new capability.

As pointed out in this blog post over at Disqus, here’s a quick run down of how it works:

How do I block and unblock users?

There are two methods:

No. 1: Via the comments:

block-via-comments

No. 2: Via the profile:

user-profile-block

But, wait, what if I no longer want to block someone?

Head on over to the blocking section of your user settings and remove them from your blocked list:

blocking-settings

This feature doesn’t replace flagging comments, but it does allow for users to take immediate action if they no longer wish to interact with someone in the community.

As Disqus points out, “This is not a feature intended to end all harassment, trolling, and spam across Disqus, but it is an important step forward. Ultimately, this feature empowers you to improve your own experience and provides an alternative to flagging as the only means to removing disruptive content.”

Happy Friday.

Video: 2018 wing Romeo Langford at NBPA Top 100 camp

Class of 2018 New Albany wing Romeo Langford is one of the top players in the country and on Wednesday, he was a standout on the opening day of the NBPA Top 100 Camp at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Here are highlights of Langford’s play on Wednesday via Rivals on YouTube:

Video: Al Durham Jr. Nike EYBL highlights

Class of 2017 Berkmar (Ga.) and Southern Stampede guard Al Durham Jr. was one of the best at getting to the line this spring on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball (EYBL) circuit. Over 16 EYBL games this spring, Durham averaged 15.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

With the help of Krossover, we recently broke down some film of Durham to provide Indiana fans with a feel for his game and style of play. While Durham did struggle with his shot in EYBL play (31.1 percent), he did hit 75 free throws in 16 games.

You can find more Nike EYBL highlights at Krossover.