The Minute After: Illinois

Thoughts on a 72-48 spanking at the hands of the Illini:

Beatdown in Champaign today, kids.

The Illini, when they play this well, are just too much for a team like Indiana. They have more size on the interior. They have more athleticism on the perimeter. Oh, more experience and talent, too.

These mismatches were exploited on both ends of the floor all game — the emotions swirling around senior night, er, afternoon surely helped with this — and the Hoosiers, a team on a quick turnaround from Thursday night’s loss, were really never in this game.

Demetri McCamey (22 points) got off to a hot start in the first half, and it was one giant orange snowball that kept building and rolling over the Hoosiers all afternoon. When the Illini weren’t scoring with ease around the bucket, they were locking down defensively in the halfcourt, making it difficult for the Hoosiers to find any sort of rhythm or success on offense.

The next thing you knew, Illinois had dropped 46 points by halftime on 54.3 percent shooting (5-of-11 for 45.5 percent from three), after only managing 49 points in their first contest with the Hoosiers earlier this season.

And though the offense slowed some in the second half, the Illini often toyed with the Hoosiers with a series of alley-oops.

They were smiling. They were having fun.

It was the difference between a team that’s feeling better about itself heading into the Big Dance and one that’s failed to win away from their home court this season, and is limping to the finish line of 2010-11 on what is now an eight-game losing streak.

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HD Video: Washington’s Cody Zeller vs. Vincennes Lincoln

Inside the Hall made the trip on Friday evening to Huntingburg Memorial Gymnasium for Washington’s 56-36 Class 3A sectional semifinal win over Vincennes Lincoln.

IU signee Cody Zeller finished with 13 points (5-of-9 FG, 3-of-4 FT), 11 rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot in 32 minutes.

Watch 18 high-definition quality video clips of Zeller in the embedded media player below:

Live Blog: Indiana at Illinois

Pick to Click: Illinois

Rules are here, for those unfamiliar.

Pool for Illinois: All players are eligible to be picked.

Picks are due by 11:45 AM ET on Saturday morning.

Five way tie for first place going into the final game of the season between Budso, Diesel, Perry, IUCannon and Sallad.

A new 2011 name surfaces: Evanston forward James Farr

There’s a new 2011 name to keep tabs on: 6-9 Evanston (IL) forward James Farr.

Dave Spahn, a writer for Slam Magazine, tweeted last night that Tom Crean checked out Farr earlier this week and Mike Pegram of Peegs.com tweeted that Farr was in attendance for last night’s game against Wisconsin.

Farr was indeed in Assembly Hall on Thursday night and offered this review of his trip to Bloomington to ChicagoHoops.com:

“The visit to Indiana was amazing. The campus was huge. The school and arena had a great atmosphere and I could tell every student I saw truly loved Indiana University.”

According to the brief story on ChicagoHoops, Farr is considering Xavier, Virginia, Boise State, Ball State, Illinois State and Nevada. His senior season at Evanston ended on Tuesday with a 58-51 loss to Schaumburg in the Class 4A regional semifinal. Farr finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

ESPN ranks him the 109th best power forward in the class and calls him a “mobile, aggressive and skilled power forward” that can create matchup problems. There’s also this YouTube video from Daniel Poneman:

The Minute After: Wisconsin

Thoughts on a 77-67 loss to the Badgers:

Hats off to the Hoosiers.

On senior night, they played with the maturity of a team with more than just one in the lineup.

In fact, it was a similar style to their opponent: A low-turnover (just five), efficient performance.

And, if you can believe it, they calmed their incessant fouling (19 fouls) enough that Wisconsin committed more (22) and shot less free throws (20-of-22) than Indiana (21-of-26). Finally, a net positive in that department.

When you don’t turn the ball over, get to the line more than your opponent and shoot well enough (46.8 percent) — you give yourself a chance against good teams, as Indiana did tonight. This version of Indiana  — had they shown up for more than just this evening — would be flirting with .500, or maybe even on the right side of it.

But there was one man who would not be denied. Jordan Taylor dropped a career-high 39 points. And it was a HARD 39. Taylor hit a dizzying amount of bailout buckets as the shot clocked danced near zero. He sunk three after three with a palm in his nostrils. He hit all 10 of his free throws.

It was just a little too much.

After senior Jon Leuer went out with his fourth foul at 11:37 in the second half, Taylor scored 17 straight points for Wisconsin. What was once a one-point deficit for IU ballooned to 13 by the 6:19 mark.

And then Wisconsin went all Wisconsin on the Hoosiers: working the shot clock, maximizing its possessions and hitting its free throws. It was just too strong a wall to break through.

Indiana shoot just 2-of-11 (18.2 percent) from beyond the arc.

A few more triples — say seven, the Wisconsin-record-tying amount Taylor hit tonight —  and maybe things turn out with Assembly Hall’s faithful storming the court.

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Senior Night Video: Tom Crean, Jeremiah Rivers

Watch Tom Crean and Jeremiah Rivers address the Assembly Hall crowd following Indiana’s 77-67 loss to Wisconsin on Thursday night in the embedded media players below:

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