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Hoosiers transitioning from practice to ‘game shape’

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Whether Indiana’s 2014-2015 squad is ready or not, the season is fast approaching.

The Hoosiers’ first exhibition against Northwood University is now just a week from today, and the season opener against Mississippi Valley State is only two weeks from Friday.

With that time-crunch, Indiana coach Tom Crean said he faces the annual challenge of getting the team into “game shape.” But as of last Saturday, Crean said the Hoosiers still have a long way to go.

“I think we have a lot to learn,” Crean said following Hoosier Hysteria. “I think we’re learning a lot. Like I said to them, right now, we’re in practice shape. And we’ve got to get more and more into game shape. And you only get game shape by being in games and being in multi-scrimmages. And we haven’t had a lot of scrimmage situations.”

Since the Hoosiers traveled to Canada in August for their five-game exhibition tour, the team has yet to scrimmage at an extensive level. Saturday’s Hoosier Hysteria was the longest the team had even scrimmaged this preseason — and that was for just 20 minutes.

Crean said on Saturday that he has spent more time than usual “breaking it down,” as this year’s squad is behind in their details of in-game speed. With nine newcomers, it is not their fitness that is lacking, however, more of their defensive awareness, Crean said.

“So what happens is it’s not the fatigue that shows up real easily, well this guy didn’t run hard, or this guy didn’t cut hard or this guy didn’t have his feet ready,” he said. “No, it’s the fatigue defensively. It’s the fatigue where maybe we’re not as vocal, or we don’t have our ball-side foot up on the weak side, or we don’t have our hands up as much or we’re not stunting and stepping, all the little things we’re trying to teach.”

But Crean has taken encouraging signs from the Montreal trip.

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Around the Hall: Ferrell among nation’s best

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

· Yogi Ferrell is the 37th best player in college basketball according to SBNation.com and James Blackmon Jr. is listed among “50 more who just missed” the top 100.

· Nike announced Charlotte Hornets rookie Noah Vonleh is one of three rookies to recently join the Jordan Brand team.

· Ferrell and Blackmon are a big reason why Indiana is one of the top 20 backcourts in America, according to NBCSports.com and Ferrell was also listed as the fifth best lead guard in the country by NBC.

· ESPN.com released its preseason power rankings and the Big Ten has five teams in the top 25.

· In an ESPN Insider piece (premium link), ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman picked Indiana to finish eighth in the league.

· In a season primer of sorts, the Associated Press writes that Indiana is changing its attitude to change its course.

· Zach Osterman’s takeaway from Hoosier Hysteria: Hanner Mosquera-Perea is better.

· Ken Pomeroy details what factors play into his preseason ratings, which have Indiana slotted at No. 26 nationally.

· Four former Indiana players are on NBA rosters to begin the 2014-2015 season: Eric Gordon, Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller and Vonleh.

· The one-month contract that D.J. White signed in Spain expires next week.

Indiana schedules Haunted Hall of Hoops for Nov. 1

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Indiana announced on Monday it will hold its annual Haunted Hall of Hoops this Saturday, Nov. 1, at Assembly Hall.

The event, which will start at 12 p.m., is free of charge and will include a practice and scrimmage open to the public.

During the practice, games and candy will be available in the south lobby of Assembly Hall. Following the scrimmage, children in costume will be allowed to parade around the Assembly Hall floor and take pictures with both the coaching staff and players.

“We always enjoy this event with our fans,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said, according to a press release. “It’s important to have our team prepare as many times as they can in front of people and there are no better fans to play in front of than the Hoosier Nation.”

Indiana at No. 26 in initial KenPom.com ratings

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Ken Pomeroy released his preseason ratings for the 2014-2015 college basketball season and the stats guru’s model is bullish on Indiana.

Pomeroy has Indiana at No. 26 in his ratings and projects the Hoosiers to finish 20-11 overall and 9-9 in the Big Ten along with Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska and Minnesota.

The four Big Ten teams ranked ahead of IU in his initial ratings are Wisconsin (6), Michigan State (12), Ohio State (14) and Michigan (15).

The Hoosiers sit at No. 21 nationally in offensive efficiency in the preseason, according to Pomeroy and at No. 40 in defensive efficiency.

The highest rated non-conference opponents on IU’s schedule according to Pomeroy’s ratings are Louisville (3), Georgetown (22), Pittsburgh (23) and SMU (36).

Indiana also plays five opponents ranked 300 or worse in Pomeroy’s ratings: Savannah State (300), Grand Canyon (305), New Orleans (332), Lamar (345) and Mississippi Valley State (346).

Photo Gallery: More from Hoosier Hysteria

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Check out 37 additional photos by Jamie Owens from Saturday’s Hoosier Hysteria at Assembly Hall in the embedded photo gallery after the jump. Purchase prints from J. Scott Sports.

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Notebook: New tradition begins at Hoosier Hysteria

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Saturday evening’s Hoosier Hysteria was a first for many on Indiana’s 2014-2015 roster. For nine of the program’s 15 players, it was their first time donning the cream and crimson in front of a crowd at Assembly Hall.

It also was a night of firsts for Indiana basketball in general, as the Hoosiers debuted a new tradition they expect to continue for years to come.

Hoosiers start new candy-striped pants tradition

One of the most recognizable symbols in college basketball is Indiana’s candy-striped pants, something the Hoosiers have worn since the 1971-1972 season.

And on Saturday night, Indiana started a new tradition in front of the fans at Assembly Hall, handing its nine newcomers their first pair of candy-striped pants.

The ceremony included former players Matt Nover, John Laskowski, Gary Long, Greg Graham, Todd Leary, Errek Suhr, Jamaal Meeks and Jerry Memering, who each handed a pair of the pants to the nine first-year Hoosiers: Nick Zeisloft, Max Hoetzel, Nate Ritchie, James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson, Ryan Burton, Jeremiah April, Tim Priller and Emmitt Holt.

“I loved it,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “I think it’s fantastic and I think it will really take off as a tradition. Something we can make a big part of this.”

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Photo Gallery: 2014 Hoosier Hysteria

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Check out 36 photos by Jamie Owens from Saturday’s Hoosier Hysteria at Assembly Hall in the embedded photo gallery after the jump. Purchase prints from J. Scott Sports.

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