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BTN to televise 17 IU games for 2014-2015 season

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The Big Ten Network announced television designations for 17 Indiana games for the upcoming season and also announced that it will show three games on its web-only platform, BTN Plus.

The conference also announced tip times for several games on the schedule.

Remaining games will be picked up by Big Ten television partners ESPN or CBS and times and network designations will be released at a later date.

Below are all of the TV assignments announced today:

BTN games

November

14, Mississippi Valley State, 7 p.m.
17, Texas Southern, 6 p.m.
20, SMU, 8 p.m.
22, Lamar, 8 p.m.
28, UNC-Greensboro, 9 p.m.

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2014-2015 Big Ten preview: Top non-conference games

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With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue 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.

Minnesota vs. Louisville on Friday, Nov. 14
Event: Armed Forces Classic at the Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico
TV coverage: ESPN

The 2014-2015 season tips off with a battle in Puerto Rico between father and son. It will be the second-ever meeting between Rick Pitino, head coach of Louisville, and his son Richard, head coach of Minnesota, as the two squared off in a 79-55 Louisville win over Florida International in 2012. It also will be the first look at Rick Pitino’s 2014-15 Cardinals squad, which stands at No. 10 in the CBS Sports preseason rankings.

Michigan State vs. Duke on Tuesday, Nov. 18
Event: Champions Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis
TV coverage: ESPN

The Champions Classic opens its inaugural event with an early-season bout between two college basketball heavyweights, and it will take place in the Hoosiers’ backyard. The Spartans lost the likes of Gary Harris, Adreian Payne and Keith Appling over the offseason, so the test against an elite squad like Duke will be a gauge on where the Spartans stand with their new-look squad.

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Q & A: Robert Johnson on fall workouts, benefits of Canada trip, more

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Indiana freshman guard Robert Johnson had a strong start to his college career as he averaged 9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.2 steals, 1.6 turnovers in 24 minutes per game during IU’s five-game tour of Canada.

The Richmond (Va.) native recently spoke to IUHoosiers.com about the start of the fall semester, the benefits of IU’s foreign trip and more. The complete Q & A is available below:

On how school and workouts have been thus far:

“So far I think it’s been good for the team with workouts, weight lifting, conditioning and all things like that. Moving forward, everybody’s starting to take it to a second gear. Class is good, everyone’s pretty much adjusted by now so we’re just trying to keep the wheels rolling.”

On what makes Indiana such a special place:

“One of the main things by far is the support. Anywhere you go, you have people saying they can’t wait to see you play and they expect highly of you and they’re behind you no matter what. When you have fans and support like that, it just makes you want to work that much harder so you can have a successful season.”

On the importance of Cook Hall in your development:

“I think it’s like a second home now. I’m in here two or three times a day at least getting work in, getting shots up and that’s something I just love to do. I think it’s helping me raise my game and get better everyday so I think it’s good.”

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Big Ten’s top 25 players: 5-1

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With the official start of practice less than three weeks away, UM Hoops and Inside the Hall have again partnered to bring you a preseason breakdown of the top 25 players in the Big Ten for the 2014-2015 season.

Our selection process involved much deliberation to arrive at a list we hope will provide plenty of reaction and debate. The series will be broken into five parts and our fifth and final installment of players 5-1 is available below: (Previously: 25-21, 20-16, 15-11, 10-6)

5. Yogi Ferrell, Indiana (6-foot, guard, junior)
33.8 mpg, 17.3 ppg, 3.9 apg, 3 rpg, .8 spg, 52.1 eFG percentage

As a sophomore, Ferrell made a leap from bring primarily a distributor to one of the league’s top scorers. The Hoosiers put the ball in the Indianapolis native’s hands often and he accounted for half of the team’s made 3-pointers on the season with 88. He was also reasonably efficient from distance as he managed to knock down 40 percent of his attempts from behind the arc. Ferrell ranked seventh in the conference in assist rate (25.6 percent) and while his turnover rate (18 percent) was improved, it was still too high as Indiana finished as the Big Ten’s worst turnover team. Going into his junior season, Ferrell’s workload may decrease a bit as the Hoosiers have added several key backcourt pieces, including James Blackmon Jr., which should allow him to score more efficiently and also distribute the ball more.

4. Sam Dekker, Wisconsin (6-foot-9, forward, junior)
29.8 mpg, 12.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.4 apg, .8 spg, .6 bpg, 52.8 eFG percentage

Dekker entered his sophomore season with high expectations and while his efficiency dipped a bit from his freshman season, he was a big reason why the Badgers went to their first Final Four under Bo Ryan. Listed at 6-foot-7 during his first two seasons in Madison, Dekker has now reportedly sprouted up a few inches to 6-foot-9 and has the perfect skillset to play the four. He made 55 percent of his 2s, stepped out and hit the 3-pointer when it was available and also was Wisconsin’s second best defensive rebounder behind Frank Kaminsky. He also very rarely turned it over (10.2 turnover percent), which is fourth best among returning players in the league. Two key areas for of improvement Dekker as a junior are his free throw shooting (68.6 percent) and 3-point shooting percentage (32.6), which, if he improves upon both, could catapult him higher up this list by season’s end.

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Big Ten’s top 25 players: 10-6

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With the official start of practice three weeks from today, UM Hoops and Inside the Hall have again partnered to bring you a preseason breakdown of the top 25 players in the Big Ten for the 2014-2015 season.

Our selection process involved much deliberation to arrive at a list we hope will provide plenty of reaction and debate. The series will be broken into five parts and our fourth installment of players 10-6 is available below: (Previously: 25-21, 20-16, 15-11)

10. Dez Wells, Maryland (6-foot-5, guard, senior)
30.6 mpg, 14.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.1 spg, 50.8 eFG percentage

While freshman Romelo Trimble could be the x-factor for the Terps, Wells is the leading returning scorer for Mark Turgeon and should be one of the Big Ten’s most versatile perimeter players. He used 25 percent of Maryland’s possessions as a junior and posted an effective field goal percentage close to 51 percent. Wells uses his body very well to draw fouls and gets to the line as evidenced by his free throw rate of 58.1. His 14.9 points per game rank him as the fifth leading returning scorer in the conference and if Maryland is to rebound from a shaky 17-15 campaign and excel in its first Big Ten season, Wells will have to lead the way.

9. Andre Hollins, Minnesota (6-foot-2, guard, senior)
30.5 mpg, 13.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.4 apg, .9 spg, 47.0 eFG percentage

Hollins battled a severe ankle sprain last season, which forced him to miss two games and had him laboring once he did return to action. His 3-point shooting percentage took a large dip from his sophomore season (nearly seven percent), but he did get to the line far more frequently (49.7 free throw rate) as a junior than in his first two seasons. If he can continue to make attacking off the dribble a bigger of his game rather than just settling for jumpers, Hollins can take advantage of what is one of the better free throw strokes in the conference (84.1 percent). His usage has remained in the 24 percent range throughout his career and he’s a solid pick for an all-league type season as he returns to full health.

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Blackmon Jr., Ferrell make list of Sports Illustrated’s top 20 guards

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SI.com: Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet and Harrison twins lead list of top 20 guards in college basketball

For Indiana to turn a dismaying 17-15 season into ancient history, it has to rely less on a player who averaged 17.3 points and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors. Ferrell’s assist-to-turnover ratio was a middling 1.5-to-1. A Hoosiers team that will rely heavily on perimeter production – there’s no strong post presence after Noah Vonleh left for the NBA, and the top newcomer is prized shooting guard recruit James Blackmon – can’t afford for its most experienced cog to be careless with the ball. Ideally, Blackmon’s proficiency and some improvement from wing Troy Williams can remove the do-everything pressure from Ferrell, and he can settle into playmaking mode. He’s the first Indiana player to record 120 or more assists in his first two seasons since Isiah Thomas.

Juwan Morgan commitment could affect Shake Milton decision

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Throughout this past AAU season while playing for MoKan Elite, new Indiana commit Juwan Morgan forged a bond with teammate Shake Milton, both on and off the court.

Even though it was their first season playing together, Morgan noted, it felt like “we had 10 years of chemistry behind us.”

“Just the way he’s able to find and make passes that you wouldn’t even believe,” Morgan said. “Like coming off the screen and the ball is almost waiting for you when you turn around because he puts so much spin and everything on the ball. It’s crazy.”

Indiana also is heavily recruiting the 6-foot-4 guard Milton, rated the No. 80 prospect in the 2015 class, according to the 247Composite.

The Owasso, Oklahoma, native will take his last official visit to Indiana beginning Sept. 26. And on Wednesday night, Morgan said he is hopeful his AAU teammate will join him in college.

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