The Inside the Hall Pick’em Challenge is back. Just like last year, we’ve set up a group over at Yahoo! where you’ll be able to compete against other ITH’ers for bragging rights.
Just like last year, the group is public, so let friends and family know about it. The more, the merrier. And most importantly, have fun out there. (If the first group fills up, we’ll open a second group and so on as needed.)
Indiana coach Tom Crean, sophomore Jordan Hulls, senior Jeremiah Rivers and sophomore Christian Watford met with the media following the Hoosiers’ season-ending 61-55 loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament.
COACH CREAN: I thought our guys played with tremendous heart, discipline, toughness, and they left it out there, and I think that’s what’s most important. Penn State did, as well. And we knew that’s the kind of effort we were going to need to play against them, and obviously they felt the same way. It was a hard-fought game, and we didn’t shoot the ball great. We didn’t rebound the ball nearly as well in the second half. But we still played at a very high level of competitiveness.
When we play that way, we have capabilities. We’ve done that certainly at times this year, and when we have, we’ve been successful. Tonight we weren’t successful obviously with the win, but our guys have a mindset that’s growing, and I’m proud of what they did, and that’s where I’m at.
Q. Jordan, starting the game out, Penn State on a pretty good opening the game up, you knocked down a couple shots yourself and you had a three and then that stretch, Victor off the bench, what did he bring to the team, no doubt a lot of energy?
JORDAN HULLS: Yeah, Victor no doubt brought a lot of energy on offensive rebounds. I don’t know how many he had, but he definitely brought that to our team, which we needed. But there in the first half, we cut it to — or they got it up one to end the half, so that was tough for us. But like I said, Victor just played great for us today.
Q. Jeremiah, more so just your journey now, your final game. Talk about the last three years at Indiana and what your emotions are like right now knowing this is your final game?
JEREMIAH RIVERS: Yeah, it has been a journey. I mean, two years at Georgetown, two good years at Georgetown, three good years here really. Honestly, I’ve created such a strong bond with my teammates. Like I told them in the locker room after the game, this is my family and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This was the best experience of my life. I’ve grown so much as a man and as a person and seeing these guys grow and getting better and better and moving forward, it was a blessing, and I thank them for having my back all the time.
Thoughts on a season-ending 61-55 loss Penn State:
That’s all she wrote, kids.
This season is in the books.
And it ends on a nine-game losing streak.
Despite strong starts in both halves from Penn State, Indiana was in this one the whole way. But every time it threatened to pull even or go ahead in the second half, the Hoosiers would a) foul or b) fail to hit the shots they needed to hit to make it interesting. Additionally, Penn State would often a) grab an offensive board which b) led to second-chance points.
That latter point was perhaps the biggest difference in this one. Penn State snagged a ridiculous 15 offensive rebounds on 26 misses. It aided in 17 second-chance points for the Nittany Lions. The Hoosiers only managed two such second-chance points.
So every time it looked as maybe it was going to happen for IU, it just never did.
The Hoosiers were able to grab an advantage with some active hands, racking up 10 steals which led to 11 points on the break.
But there were some familiar demons which came out to haunt the Hoosiers tonight. It again lost the free-throw battle (20 for Penn State, though they made just 11; Indiana was 7-of-11 on the evening), as Penn State went 20-plus minutes in this one without registering a foul. (Which is crazy.)
Indiana also had a rough go of it from 3-point range, despite getting plenty of good looks. They were just 4-of-18 for 22.2 percent. Over their last four games, the Hoosiers hit just 22.3 percent overall from long range (15-of-67).
This is not good.
Especially in a game where a few more makes from distance could have been the difference between extending your season or going back to Bloomington with your head hanging low.
Indiana coach Tom Crean met with the media on Wednesday to preview Indiana’s matchup on Thursday with Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament. Watch what Crean had to say in the embedded media player below, courtesy of IU Athletics on YouTube:
And former Indiana coach and ESPN analyst Bob Knight, adamant follower of all NCAA guidelines, took to the airwaves to defend his friend Tressel this morning on Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio.
His comments can be described as nothing less than hypocritical for a man who prided himself for always running a clean program while in Bloomington. Witness:
“There is no coach in college sports that’s a better example, in my mind, of what coaching is all about and what it should be and how things should be done than Jimmy Tressel. He has done a great job at Ohio State, not because he’s won a lot of games, but because he has won a lot of games doing things the absolute right way. And I think that he would be at the top of the heap when it came to picking guys that did things the way they were supposed to be done. There isn’t anybody who is better in that regard than Jim Tressel is.”
Pressed by Mike Golic with the information that Tressel was made aware of potential NCAA violations within his program and failed to report them, Knight offered this response:
“Well then, if that is the case. And that really impresses me that with a Notre Dame degree you are so conversant with all of this. But seriously Mike, if that is the case and then it comes to my attention, then I’ve got to do something about it. And if it did come to Jim’s attention and he failed to do anything about it, then that’s something that he should have taken care of. But that being said, I still say what I’ve said about Jim Tressel and his overall approach to college football.”