Hoosiers not up to the challenge at Wake

James Johnson scored 21 points and No. 15 Wake Forest shot 62 percent in route to a 83-55 win over Indiana Wednesday night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

The Hoosiers (4-3) committed 20 or more turnovers for the fifth time this season and shot just 37 percent from the field and 54 percent from the foul line.

“I think 26 turnovers tells the story,” Tom Crean told reporters after the game.

Three other players besides Johnson scored in double figures for the Demon Deacons (7-0). L.D. Williams had 16, Indianapolis Pike product Jeff Teague had 14, all in the second half, and freshman sensation Al-Farouq Aminu chipped in 12.

Matt Roth was the lone bright spot for Indiana on offense. The freshman guard had 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting. Tom Pritchard struggled against the athletic frontcourt of Wake Forest and scored just four points in 29 minutes.

The win moved Wake Forest to 8-1 all-time in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and dropped Indiana to 3-5 in the event.

Indiana will return to action on Saturday against Gonzaga at Lucas Oil Stadium. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network at 1:30 EST.

Live Blog: Indiana @ Wake Forest

You know the drill. ITH, Hoosier Scoop, Hoosier Nation and the IDS. 6:45. Be there.


Know Thy Opponent: Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Each year in college basketball, there is a group of young teams flying somewhat under the radar yet capable of a deep run in the tournament.

In 2006, a team in the aforementioned group was Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators. They were a fringe top-25 team coming into that season, refined their ridiculous pool of talent during SEC play and ended up cutting down the nets.

To call this year’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons a threat to win it all would be a bit premature at this point in the season, but the talent is certainly there for a serious run.

Led by another Indiana kid who got away in sophomore Jeff Teague from Indianapolis Pike and a pair of do-it-all forwards in sophomore James Johnson and freshman Al-Farouq Aminu, the Hoosiers are going to have their hands full Wednesday night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Teague has opened the season on fire — 21.0 ppg in six Wake wins — while shooting a ridiculous 57 percent from 3-point range.

Johnson (15.0 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and Aminu (13.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg) are perhaps the most athletic front court duo anywhere in the country. They’ve been so good early on that head coach Dino Gaudio has two five-star freshmen in Tony Walker and Ty Woods that have yet to see major clock.

The result of this mismatch will not likely be pretty for our Hoosiers, but fans of good basketball will enjoy watching one of the up-and-coming teams in college basketball that just might make a run come March.

Dan Dakich rules Joe Hillman on Indianapolis radio

Last year, Dan Dakich was at the unfortunate intersection of the Kelvin Sampson fallout — and the issues Sampson’s kids had both been dealt and had created for themselves — and Dakich was the one that eventually kicked Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis off the team. Given that history, color me surprised that Dakich would come out in such vehement defense of those players on the radio … but that’s exactly what he did on his Indianapolis-based radio show a little while ago.

Thanks to the Hoosier Scoop, we have the audio (as well as Chris Korman’s incredibly thoughtful take) here. Give it a listen.

The back story is this: Joe Hillman said this in Terry Hutchens’ Indy Star preview story a few weeks ago:

“He came in and he cleaned house,” said Hillman, who played on the 1987 championship team. “He got rid of all those punks and bad guys, and just said, ‘Hey, this is the way we’re going to do it. We’re going to take some lumps, but we’re going to do it the right way.’

Dakich’s response:

“While Joe Hillman was playing golf at a country club,  Jamarcus Ellis was living in a car.”

That, my friends, is what we call getting sonned. Joe Hillman, you may take your seat.

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Candy Stripes: Hold that thought

Candy Stripes is an IU basketball comic by Shane Johnson Studios that appears bi-weekly on Inside the Hall. You can purchase prints or original artwork by contacting Shane at ShaneJohnsonStudios@gmail.com.

No TMA this morning; open thread instead

As my one final act of irresponsibility from my week-long vacation, I’m ignoring The Morning After yet again today. Sad. I know. But I was traveling home through treacherous snow all day, didn’t see much of the game, and I’m not going to fake my way through it. That’s what she said.

So again, here’s an open thread. Got something you want to add? An early-morning revelation? Something you’re just dying to get off your chest? Post it in the comments below.

I’ll get us started: Last night, I had not one but two Whoppers from Burger King, and I’d like to posit that nothing makes you feel simultaneously great and horrible than a full meal from Burger King. It’s like eating a physical contradiction.

That is all.

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Good, Bad and Ugly: Cornell

THE GOOD:

IU beat a defending conference champion who was favored to win by two. (Even if it’s an Ivy League champ, one that’s about as athletic as your local high school team.) Tom Pritchard continued to be on beast mode, posting a career high in points (23) and snatching seven boards.

Nick Williams showed us why he was named Alabama Player of the Year, as he scored a career-high 18 points. As a few people pointed out in the live blog, Williams plays with great confidence. And when it’s all said and done, he might be the brightest star on the team this season.

Most importantly, the Hoosiers didn’t let Cornell hang around. Unlike the IUPUI game,  IU was able to put some breathing room between them and the inferior team, and breeze to a double-digit win.

And hey: they even hit 15-of-19 from the line. Not too shabby.

THE BAD AND UGLY:

That Verdell Jones incident in the first half was scary. It’s not often you see a stretcher out on a basketball court. I don’t think we got an official diagnosis yet, but here’s to hoping Verdell is doing OK and will have a speedy recovery. (UPDATE: Looks like he’s doing well.)

As has been the case this season, IU fell into defensive lapses where open shots — and I mean wide open shots — ran rampant. Twenty turnovers is never a good thing, either.

But yeah: this was certainly IU’s best win of the season. On a night like tonight, not a lot of bad or ugly.

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