Indiana coach Tom Crean walked into the locker room and saw Will Sheehey getting mobbed by his teammates.
It was Feb. 27, just six days ago, and the Hoosiers had just defeated then-No. 20 Iowa, 93-86, in Assembly Hall. And Sheehey, Indiana’s lone fourth-year senior on scholarship, had just recorded a career-high 30 points, along with three assists, against the Hawkeyes.
As Crean walked in only minutes after the buzzer, he saw his players “going crazy” for Sheehey. They were so excited, Crean recalled, for his career-best performance in one of his final games in Assembly Hall.
“He deserved it more than anyone,” sophomore Austin Etherington said.
But what caught Crean’s eye as the players congratulated Sheehey was the senior’s reaction to the attention. He deflected the praise to guards Evan Gordon and Yogi Ferrell for their passing and getting the Hoosiers open, controlled looks on a night in which a high-tempo game could have resulted in an ugly offensive effort. It’s exactly what Crean wanted to see.
Rules are here, for those unfamiliar.
Yogi Ferrell was the pick to click winner for Illinois (game one), Michigan State (game one), Penn State (game one), Wisconsin (game one), Illinois (game two), Michigan, Penn State (game two), Purdue and Wisconsin (game two). Noah Vonleh was the winner for Northwestern (game one), Michigan State (game two), Minnesota , Northwestern (game two). Will Sheehey was the winner for Nebraska (game one), Iowa and Ohio State. The leaders through 16 games are available here.
Pool for Nebraska: All players are eligible to be picked.
Picks are due by 6:45 PM ET on Wednesday.
A few reminders:
· State the name of the player (not a nickname) that you’re picking. If you use a nickname for a player, your pick will not be counted. Also, please state who you are picking as the first thing in your comment. We’re tracking hundreds of picks per game. It’s more difficult to keep track of everyone’s pick if it’s not the first thing in your comment.
· Please make sure you are using a valid e-mail address if you are not registered.
· Please make sure you are using the same name each time to pick if you are not registered. We are tracking wins by the name you use to submit your pick. If your name changes on a game-to-game basis, credit for your pick will be given to the name used to submit the pick.
IU’s four seniors — Evan Gordon, Taylor Wayer, Jeff Howard and Will Sheehey — met with the media on Tuesday evening in advance of senior night and Wednesday’s game with Nebraska at Assembly Hall.
Watch their comments in the media player below:
Indiana finishes off its home schedule on Wednesday when it welcomes Nebraska to Assembly Hall on senior night. The Cornhuskers, who are 17-11 overall and 9-7 in the Big Ten, won the first meeting between the two teams, 60-55, on Jan. 30 in Lincoln.
The game will be broadcast on BTN at 7 p.m. ET and on the IU radio network (Sirius 92, XM 190):
Senior night at Indiana is always one of the most anticipated games of the season, regardless of the opponent. Schools across the country handle the honoring of their senior classes differently, but it’s hard to argue that any tradition is better than what takes place in Bloomington. Win or lose, fans stick around almost unanimously to listen to the coach’s postgame comments as well as those of the graduating class, who are joined on Branch McCracken Court by their families.
The night, obviously, is largely defined by the senior speeches which are always filled with a wide range of emotions. The proceedings last March were especially captivating given what Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford and Derek Elston went through over their four years in Bloomington. There were smiles and there were tears as those three addressed the Assembly Hall faithful and much of the same is expected on Wednesday when IU honors Will Sheehey, Taylor Wayer, Jeff Howard and Evan Gordon.
But what can’t be lost in the emotion of a big evening for the program is the fact that there’s a significant game to be played before the ceremony takes center stage. Nebraska, much like Indiana, is fighting for its NCAA tournament life and this game represents a major opportunity for both teams to inch closer to 20 wins.
Cody Zeller was a program-changing recruit for Indiana.
In his two seasons in Bloomington, the All-American forward led the Hoosiers to 56 wins and an outright Big Ten championship before entering the 2013 NBA Draft, where he was the No. 4 overall pick by the Charlotte Bobcats.
Inside the Hall had the opportunity recently to talk at length with Zeller about his rookie season and about his time at Indiana. In part one of a two-part series that will appear this week on the site, Zeller reflects back on his collegiate career as a Hoosier:
Inside the Hall: Going back to your time at IU, what would you say was your favorite memory from your time as a Hoosier both on and off the court?
Cody Zeller: Wow, that’s a tough one. I can’t think of one. I definitely miss playing in Assembly Hall in front of the Hoosier fans. It was always so loud every game. It’s so easy to play hard just because you’ve got so much adrenaline and you kind of feed off the crowd. So I definitely miss playing at Assembly Hall. The campus was always fun off the court. There was always something to do and a lot of people hang out with. There was always something going on so I do miss the college campus a lot.
ITH: How much do you keep in touch with your former IU teammates these days?
On his weekly radio show Monday night, Indiana coach Tom Crean talked about his four seniors on this year’s roster heading into Wednesday’s senior night against Nebraska.
Below are Crean’s entire comments on Evan Gordon, Jeff Howard, Taylor Wayer and Will Sheehey:
“Evan Gordon is a guy that wanted to be back at Indiana, has a great future in front of him. And I just wish we would have been able to coach him longer because he would be even more indoctrinated into what we’re trying to do. But he’s getting better, he’s working at it and he’s spending time improving. And with his intensity level this high, we’re a better basketball team.”
After a month hiatus, “Bubble Watch” is back following a pair of IU wins over ranked teams last week and a revival of NCAA tournament hopes for the Hoosiers.
The return of Bubble Watch takes a look at IU’s current nitty gritty profile, what the Hoosiers might need to do to reach the tournament for a third straight season and other Big Ten teams currently on the bubble.
It’s been an up and down season in Bloomington as Indiana has home wins over four ranked teams, but also has home losses to Northwestern and Penn State and just three wins away from Assembly Hall. With two conference games and the Big Ten tournament to go, there’s an opportunity for Indiana to play its way into the big dance.