BTN today announced the most-compelling Big Ten men’s basketball non-conference television schedule in network history. The slate features six matchups of teams that appeared in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, including the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats at Purdue on Nov. 14 as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games and the 2014 national champion Connecticut Huskies at Ohio State on Dec. 10. The network’s schedule includes two Final Four teams from each of the last three seasons.
Premier matchups also include Oklahoma, fresh off a Final Four appearance, traveling to Madison to take on the Badgers and the Oklahoma State Cowboys visiting College Park to take on the Maryland Terrapins on Dec. 3. In-state rivalry games will feature Creighton and Nebraska on Dec. 7 and Butler and Indiana in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis on Dec. 17. The State Farm Chicago Legends at the United Center will feature Dayton vs Northwestern and BYU vs. Illinois also on Dec. 17.
Yogi Ferrell is ready to begin the next phase of his life, as a professional. After four seasons in Bloomington, the Park Tudor and Indiana University graduate will head to Brooklyn to prepare for training camp near the end of August, one month before camp opens.
Ferrell went through 16 pre-draft workouts but did not get drafted, although teams were interested in drafting and stashing him overseas. Instead, the 6-foot point guard elected to go the route of free agency.
The co-host of “Mythbusters” on the Discovery Channel has a degree in Russian language and linguistics from Indiana University. For 13 years, “Mythbusters” dazzled audiences by exploring myths from films and folklore, and it aired its final episode in May. A favorite topic? Perhaps the episode that focused on whether it was better to use an ax or firearm to protect yourself during a zombie apocalypse.
With Yogi Ferrell’s departure, all eyes will be on Blackmon this season in Bloomington.
That’s likely fine with him. Despite other questions about his game, one thing is undeniable: Blackmon can put up a lot of points in a hurry. He missed 22 games due to injury last season, but when he did play, he scored at will – Blackmon averaged 15.8 points per game.
Blackmon is a fantastic shooter (46.3 percent from deep last season) and is capable of breaking defenders down off the dribble. He scored 33 points on just 15 shots last year against Alcorn State, and if the Hoosiers’ offense is ailing, Blackmon is the guy who can stop the bleeding.
Indiana updates 2016-17 roster with uniform numbers, heights, weights
The most significant changes came for what appears to be a bulked up frontcourt. Thomas Bryant, who was listed at 245 pounds as a freshman, is now 255 pounds.
Sophomore Juwan Morgan is up 25 pounds from a season ago and is now listed at 230 pounds. He’s also now listed at 6-foot-8 after being listed at 6-foot-7 as a freshman. Sophomore OG Anunoby is now listed at 235 pounds after being listed at 215 as a freshman.
Junior Josh Newkirk is also up 10 pounds to 195 and James Blackmon Jr. is up five pounds to 200. Senior Collin Hartman also moved from 215 pounds to 220.
The updated roster also has uniform numbers, heights and weights for seven new players.
Freshman De’Ron Davis, who will wear No. 20, is listed at 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds. Freshman Curtis Jones, who will wear No. 0, is listed at 6-foot-4 and 175 pounds. Freshman Devonte Green, who will wear No. 11, is listed at 6-foot-3 and 186 pounds. And freshman Grant Gelon, who will wear No. 24, is listed at 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds.
Junior Freddie McSwain will wear No. 21 and is listed at 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds.
Walk-ons Johnny Jager (No. 10) and Zach McRoberts (No. 15) are also on the updated roster.
Tuesday roundup: Crean addresses Ravens, top newcomers, more
Indiana coach Tom Crean was in Indianapolis over the weekend for the Baltimore Ravens-Indianapolis Colts preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Ravens are coached by Crean’s brother-in-law, John Harbaugh, who has attended several Indiana games over Crean’s tenure in Bloomington. Harbaugh has also addressed the Indiana locker room on multiple occasions.
On Saturday, Harbaugh asked Crean to address the Ravens following a 19-18 win over the Colts:
Coach Tom Crean promised Davis a scholarship before the power forward even got into high school, offering a spot on the Hoosiers roster back when Davis was an eighth-grader. Of course at the time, Davis was the top-rated eighth grader in the country, so it wasn’t a terrible idea. Like most early rankings and early offers, theirs was tested. Davis’ ranking didn’t remain static as he matured. Plus the Hoosiers didn’t necessarily remain a safe choice, as Crean’s job security came under heavy scrutiny. Davis scored more than 1,500 points, pulled down more than 1,000 rebounds and set a Colorado state record in blocked shots in high school. The two sides remained loyal, and the result is an upgrade from a formidable Hoosiers frontcourt into a downright terrifying one. With Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby electing to stay in school, defending Big Ten champion Indiana is loaded.
The other newcomers on the list: Josh Langford and Miles Bridges of Michigan State, Minnesota’s Amir Coffey and Penn State’s Tony Carr.
Four-star point guard will take official visit to Indiana
2016-2017 Big Ten preview: Top non-conference games
With the start of college basketball practice season five weeks from Friday, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next couple of months. Today, we begin our look at the Big Ten with ten non-conference games, listed in chronological order, that you’ll want to mark on your calendars as must see. Note: Rankings are from Eamonn Brennan’s preseason top 25 on ESPN.com.
No. 11 Indiana vs. No. 4 Kansas, Nov. 11 Event: Armed Forces Classic TV coverage: ESPN
We won’t be waiting long to get a premier matchup in college basketball this season. Two of the most storied programs in the country will square off on the first day of the season, which is on Veterans Day. The venue will be unique as the Hoosiers and Jayhawks will meet at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu. The individual battles in this game could be fascinating. Kansas has a veteran backcourt that could give Indiana plenty of problems plus Josh Jackson, who could be the nation’s best freshman. But the Jayhawks will have to contend with IU’s depth up front, which includes a Blue Ribbon preseason first team All-American in Thomas Bryant.
No. 10 Michigan State vs. No. 12 Arizona, Nov. 11 Event: Armed Forces Classic TV coverage: ESPN
If it wasn’t enough to watch Indiana play Kansas on the opening night of the season, the Armed Forces Classic will also feature the Spartans and Wildcats doing battle. Both of these teams have plenty of young talent. Michigan State will be relying heavily on Miles Bridges and Josh Langford, a pair of freshmen McDonald’s All-Americans. Arizona, meanwhile, loaded up again in recruiting with Rawle Alkins and Lauri Markkanen, a native of Finland to go along with some strong returnees, including Allonzo Trier.
No. 2 Villanova at No. 14 Purdue, Nov. 14 Event: Gavitt Tipoff Games TV coverage: TBA
The Boilermakers will have a chance to make a statement early in the season as the defending champs make a trip to West Lafayette. Villanova’s preseason ranking isn’t window dressing as Jay Wright has the roster to again contend for a national title. Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, Phil Booth and Jalen Brunson are all back in the fold and five-star freshman big man Omari Spellman arrives. Purdue, meanwhile, could have one of the nation’s best frontcourts but still has questions in the backcourt. Mackey Arena will provide an amazing atmosphere, but Villanova can win anywhere.
No. 10 Michigan State vs. No. 3 Kentucky, Nov. 15 Event: Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden TV coverage: ESPN
How’s this for a start to the season for Michigan State? The Spartans play Arizona in Hawaii and then Kentucky on three days rest in New York City. After a second round NCAA tournament exit to Indiana last season, John Calipari has again loaded up his roster with stud recruits. Tyler Ulis is gone, but the Wildcats welcome in five recruits ranked in the top 21 in the final RSCI top 100 rankings. The last time these two teams met in the Champions Classic, Michigan State prevailed 78-74.
No. 8 Wisconsin at No. 20 Creighton, Nov. 15 Event: Gavitt Tipoff Games TV coverage: TBA
There was an adjustment period for the Badgers last season as they shifted from Bo Ryan to Greg Gard, but there will be no rebuilding project this season in Madison. Gard returns every notable piece from last season’s team that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Creighton put together a solid 20-15 season in 2015-16, but missed on the NCAA tournament. The Bluejays return most of their core and also welcome Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster. The Century Link Center provides one of the better home court advantages in the country, which could make an upset possible in Omaha.
No. 25 Syracuse at No. 8 Wisconsin, Nov. 29 Event: Big Ten-ACC Challenge TV coverage: ESPN
This is a rematch of last season’s thriller at the Carrier Dome, which Wisconsin won, 66-58 in overtime. The Orange lost a ton from last year’s surprising Final Four team, but return Tyler Lydon and welcome top 35 freshman Tyus Battle. The Kohl Center is one of the nation’s toughest venues, but the Badgers surprisingly lost three non-conference games there last season. Don’t expect that to happen again in 2016-17.
No. 10 Michigan State at No. 1 Duke, Nov. 29 Event: Big Ten-ACC Challenge TV coverage: ESPN
Michigan State could enter this matchup with plenty of confidence after games with Arizona and Kentucky. Or the Spartans could emerge from those two games with a long list of items to work on. Either way, going to Duke won’t be easy. In a normal year, Kentucky would have easily had the nation’s best recruiting class. But this wasn’t a normal year. Coach K went out and nabbed two of the nation’s top four players in Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum. The Blue Devils also return Grayson Allen, a Blue Ribbon preseason first team All-American. Cameron Indoor Stadium will be rocking for this game.
No. 14 Purdue at No. 13 Louisville, Nov. 30 Event: Big Ten-ACC Challenge TV coverage: ESPN
It might not get the same billing as the other marquee Big Ten-ACC Challenge games, but this should be a fascinating matchup. Both programs typically win with defense and given the size Purdue can put on the floor, Louisville is going to be challenged in the paint. But will Purdue’s guards be able to handle the defensive pressure? The Boilermakers have three potential point guards in Spike Albrecht, P.J. Thompson and Carsen Edwards and one of them better be ready to meet full court pressure head on.
No. 6 North Carolina at No. 11 Indiana, Nov. 30 Event: Big Ten-ACC Challenge TV coverage: ESPN
For the second time in five seasons, the Tar Heels and Hoosiers will meet in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge in Bloomington. This is also a rematch from last year’s NCAA tournament Sweet Sixteen game in Philadelphia, which North Carolina win comfortably. Indiana was undefeated last season in Assembly Hall and this will be the first and only marquee non-conference home game next season. After a heart breaking loss in the national title game, the Tar Heels return the talent to beat anyone with Justin Jackson, Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks, Theo Pinson and Joel Berry all back in Chapel Hill.
No. 11 Indiana vs. No. 13 Louisville, Dec. 31 Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse TV coverage: TBA
After locking horns in the 2014 Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden, Indiana and Louisville agreed to a three-year series in the summer of 2015. This is the first of the three games and it’ll tip off in Indianapolis before shifting to Louisville in 2017 and Bloomington in 2018. Fans of both programs hope it will become an annual series. The Cardinals like to win with defensive pressure and Indiana can be turnover prone at times, which will present a challenge for a backcourt that graduated Yogi Ferrell. The Hoosiers could enjoy a frontcourt advantage with Bryant, Anunoby, Juwan Morgan and De’Ron Davis. Given how both fanbases travel to support their teams, Bankers Life Fieldhouse should be full and rocking for this one.
De’Ron Davis now on campus, high school coach says
The wait is over for De’Ron Davis to arrive at Indiana.
Overland coach Danny Fisher told Inside the Hall this morning that Davis, a class of 2016 four-star forward, arrived in Indiana this morning.
“He’s there,” Fisher said via text message. “Arrived early this morning.”
The freshman big man is also now listed in IU’s online student directory, as pointed out by Zach Osterman and Stu Jackson.
Davis spent the summer in Colorado working out with Fisher and finishing up academic requirements.
Davis chose the Hoosiers last November over Mississippi State. He is ranked the No. 40 prospect nationally in the final RSCI rankings for the class of 2016.
Jonathan Givony of Draft Express caught up with Anunoby for an interview, which is available below:
Video: 2017 center Luka Garza Peach Jam highlights
Class of 2017 The Maret School (D.C.) and Team Takeover big man Luka Garza picked up a scholarship offer from Indiana over the summer and was watched closely in July by the coaching staff. In the EYBL Finals at the Peach Jam, Garza averaged 9.4 points, 9.0 rebounds and one block in 26.2 minutes per game.
With the help of Krossover, we recently broke down some film of Garza from the Peach Jam to provide Indiana fans with a feel for his game and style of play.
As UMHoops pointed out recently, RPI is the only value that matters when evaluating a schedule after the fact for strength of schedule, but it isn’t much use in projecting how good teams on a schedule will be.
Bart Tolvik, who developed a ranking to forecast how good a particular team will be for the upcoming season, already has his preseason rankings out for the 2016-17 campaign. Using a variety of factors, including percentage of returning minutes, Tolvik projects that Indiana’s non-conference slate will include four top 50 opponents.
They are, in order, North Carolina (home), Kansas (neutral), Louisville (neutral) and Butler (neutral).
Beyond that, he projects the Hoosiers to play just one other team ranked in the top 200 with eight teams projected to rank 269 or lower. All eight of those games – UMass Lowell, Liberty, Mississippi Valley State, SIU Edwardsville, SE Missouri State, Houston Baptist, Delaware State and Austin Peay – will be played at Assembly Hall. (It’s important to note that a team in this list could surprise and outperform projections.)
Here’s a look at last season’s final KenPom, RPI and Sagarin rankings for all 13 of IU’s non-conference opponents for next season along with Tolvik’s rankings prediction for 2016-17.
Guarantee games are nothing new in college basketball, but with athletic departments set on filling a certain number of home dates, they’re a necessity.
The problem with these games, however, is they have very little value when the NCAA tournament selection committee sits down to evaluate a team’s overall body of work.
Indiana was penalized in last year’s selection process for eight wins against opponents ranked 200 or higher in the RPI. Three of those games were in conference (Minnesota twice and Rutgers). So while it was a surprise to some when the Hoosiers – the outright Big Ten regular season champion by two full games – received just a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament, it probably shouldn’t have been.
Indiana played just the 87th toughest schedule in the country a season ago. Every team that landed a No. 4 seed ahead of Indiana in last year’s bracket played a schedule ranked in the top 25. Some of the lower than anticipated strength of schedule stemmed from playing two weaker than expected opponents in Maui – St. John’s and UNLV.
In 2016-17, it appears Indiana could again face an uphill battle when its strength of schedule is evaluated. With just five (presumed) opportunities before league play to get wins against the top 200, the Hoosiers won’t be able to afford a misstep like the one in Maui last November. (By contrast, Indiana had eight non-conference games last season against the RPI top 200.)
Rolling through the non-conference schedule with just one or two losses would set up Indiana with a solid base going into league play, but an unforeseen stumble or two could do just the opposite.
One thing to keep in mind is Indiana should get a strength of schedule boost in Big Ten play with a tougher slate than last season. Tolvik’s model projects just one Big Ten team outside of his top 200 and that is Rutgers which Indiana plays just once.
Beyond that, Indiana has double plays with Wisconsin, Purdue, Northwestern and Michigan, all of which are projected to be top 75-ish teams.
Video: A look at Indiana’s offseason workouts
Via its official Twitter account, Indiana today released an in-depth video showing footage of offseason workouts with strength and conditioning coach Lyonel Anderson: