The Minute After: Illinois

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Thoughts on an 80-74 win against the Illini:

Ranked No. 1, they couldn’t do it. Last season in overtime, they didn’t come through. 11 out of their last 12 tries, it didn’t happen.

But on this Sunday afternoon inside the State Farm Center in front of a record crowd of 17,085, the Hoosiers got it done and head back to Bloomington with the W. That’s two road wins in three tries to start the Big Ten season. It’s their third conference win coming into the game as the underdog. Size be damned, these Hoosiers show no panic or fear. They are a confident bunch of kids.

There were wild swings in this one. Indiana fell behind 14-3 as the Illini started hot from the perimeter. But the Hoosiers would bounce back. Illinois allowed dribbled penetration. IU’s guards took it into the paint for scores and kickouts to its 3-point shooters. Some of it came so easy it felt like a non-conference affair. What was once an 11-point deficit became an 11-point lead at 34-23 after a Collin Hartman score. At one point during this run, the Hoosiers stopped the Illini on seven straight possessions. But there came 11 straight points from Illinois toward the end of the half and they tied the ballgame at 34-all. Four points from the Hoosiers to close out the half had them up 38-34 at the break.

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Illinois filling void left by Rayvonte Rice by committee

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Indiana got to know Illinois’s Rayvonte Rice quite well last season — the 6-foot-4 senior’s first with the Fighting Illini.

In his three games against the Hoosiers, Rice averaged 20.7 points per game, with more than 70 percent of those points coming from either on 2s or at the line.

But in the Hoosiers’ lone regular season match-up against the Illini on Sunday, Indiana will not have to deal with Rice, who is out with a left hand fracture.

Instead, the Hoosiers will have to deal with a team by committee, as Illinois coach Jon Groce said on Friday. A team that has the adaptability of a “chameleon,” he said.

“They’ve had different guys step up and make plays at different times in games because everybody can make a play,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “I think they’ve responded really well to the loss of Rice, who’s one of the better players in our league without question. But it’s because of the fact that they have so many guys with versatility to get to the basket and to shoot the three.”

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Devin Davis acclimating to life back in Bloomington

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Sophomore Devin Davis is adjusting to life back in Bloomington.

After being absent from the Indiana men’s basketball team for more than two months while rehabilitating from a car accident on Nov. 1 that left him with a traumatic brain injury, Davis returned to campus on Jan. 6. He has been back for less than two weeks. And he slowly is returning to normal activities.

Saturday evening, Davis will be leaving Bloomington again — but this time it will be with his teammates. After doctors’ approval, Davis will be traveling with the Hoosiers to their Sunday afternoon game at Illinois. It will be his first trip with the team this season.

“His attitude is great,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “He feels he’s doing really well. He feels he’s recovered at a really high rate. But we have to keep trusting the plan and trusting the doctors constantly on what that means. And I like the fact that he’s hungry but you also have to remain patient knowing that we’re all dealing with something that most of us — especially him — … have never dealt with this before.”

While Davis was gone, every day during practices the Hoosiers would leave his jersey and shorts on a chair as a reminder of their missing teammate.

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Video: Crean, IU players preview Illinois

Tom Crean, James Blackmon Jr., Stanford Robinson and Troy Williams with the media on Saturday afternoon at Assembly Hall to preview Sunday’s meeting with Illinois at the State Farm Center.

Watch both press conferences below:

What to Expect: Illinois

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After a pair of wins at Assembly Hall, Indiana returns to the road for a Sunday matinee with Illinois at the State Farm Center. The Illini are 12-6 overall and 2-3 in the Big Ten.

The game will be broadcast on BTN at 1 p.m. ET with Eric Collins and Shon Morris on the call:

Indiana’s 3-1 record through four Big Ten games has included a little bit of everything. A gritty road win in a tough environment at Nebraska. A head scratching blowout at the hands of Michigan State in East Lansing. And a pair of close wins at home over a ranked Ohio State team and a scrappy Penn State group.

The Hoosiers were predicted to start 1-3 in conference play by both KenPom.com and Las Vegas, so it’s hard to find any fault with this start. But as Jordan Littman pointed out earlier today, the road gets tougher quickly. Four of Indiana’s next six games are on the road and will be played without starting big man Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

Indiana won’t look ahead any further than its next game, but this is a stretch where the Hoosiers simply need to hold things together, try to steal games on the road and attempt to hold serve at home. That, of course, is easier said than done, but the next chance for a second Big Ten road win comes Sunday in Champaign.

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Crucial stretch for Indiana begins Sunday in Champaign

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Through 17 games of the 2014-2015 season, Indiana has been flying high.

The Hoosiers have wins over SMU, Butler and Ohio State — all ranked opponents at the time — and an away win at Nebraska, heading into Sunday’s game at Illinois. Indiana is 13-4 overall with a 3-1 mark Big Ten play.

But things are about to get even tougher.

After playing just two true road games thus far, the Hoosiers will play three of their next four games on the road. And without 6-foot-9 junior Hanner Mosquera-Perea, the challenge becomes that much more significant.

“Without his presence inside, without his ability to post, and it sometimes it’s not always the statistics that he gets or doesn’t get, it’s the ground that he covers,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said following his team’s win over Penn State. “For people that really pay attention, they see the ground that he covers and the presence that he has. It’s not always getting caught up in the numbers that he has or doesn’t have. So we’re going to miss him for an extended period of time, and we have to figure out how to play without him.”

Each of the Hoosiers’ four upcoming opponents — Illinois, Maryland, Ohio State and Purdue — has capable size in its rotation.

The Illini have 6-foot-11 Nnanna Egwu, the Terrapins have 6-foot-9 Jake Layman, the Buckeyes have a former McDonald’s All-American in 6-foot-11 Amir Williams and the Boilermakers have 7-foot A.J. Hammons and 7-foot-2 Isaac Haas.

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Film Session: Penn State

The second half of Indiana’s 76-73 win over Penn State featured the Hoosiers shutting down D.J. Newbill, some key Ryan Burton offensive rebounds and a return to form beyond the arc.

A look at it all in the latest edition of Film Session:

With 10:27 to go, Newbill has a double ball screen set up to his right. Yogi Ferrell motions to Troy Williams to watch a drive left, where Newbill has space:

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Newbill takes the first screen:

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And the second. He starts heading downhill and it looks like Burton will have to deal with him:

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