Video: Tom Crean talks Evansville

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2010-2011 ITH Season Preview: Northwestern Wildcats

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 12: Head coach Bill Carmody of the Northwestern Wildcats watches game action against the Purdue Boilermakers during the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 12, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Wildcats lost 69-61 to the Boilermakers. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)It’s time for Inside the Hall’s team-by-team breakdown of the Big Ten Conference. Today: The Northwestern Wildcats.

The prevailing storyline for Bill Carmody’s Wildcats last year centered around if 2009-10 was finally the season the team broke through and made their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

But alas, it was not to be.

The Wildcats finished a healthy 20-14 (7-10 Big Ten), and were bounced out of the first round of the NIT at the hands of Rhode Island.

Such a finish was accomplished without the team’s best player, Kevin Coble, who missed the entire season due to a foot injury.

But Coble has decided not to return to the team for his senior year. At first, reports framed it as Coble wanting to focus on academics. But today comes word from Coble that a dispute between him and Carmody over his reluctance to go on the team’s trip to Italy in August when he was still recovering from the injury was also to blame.

Whatever the case, Coble is gone, and the Wildcats are likely worse off for it this season.

But they do still sport a decent facsimile of Coble in junior John Shurna, a Glenbard West product who averaged 18.2 points a contest last season, and has already hung 31 on Northern Illinois and 20 on Texas Pan-American this year.

He can fill it up.

Senior point guard Michael “Juice” Thompson is also on board for 2010-11, and his 3-point shooting prowess is about as good as it comes in the Big Ten. Sophomore Drew Crawford is off to a hot start in 2010-11 (25 points against NIU, 20 against TPA).

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Former Hoosier A.J. Moye suffers stroke

CHICAGO - MARCH 15: A.J. Moye #2 of the Indiana University Hoosiers scores while under pressure from Brian Cook #34 of the University of Illinois Fighting Illini during the Big Ten men's Basketball Tournament at the United Center on March 15, 2003 in Chicago, Illinois. Illinois defeated Indiana 73-72. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Former Hoosier and fan favorite A.J. Moye, who’s playing for the Deutsche Bank Skyliners in Germany this year, suffered a stroke Tuesday.

Some details from Eurobasket:

On Monday, Moye and another player collided with their heads, but the two players were able to continue to practice. On Monday night, the step father of Moye spoke with his step son and noticed that he had problems speaking. On Tuesday at the morning shoot around before the Eurochallenge game against Maccabi Haifa, there was abnormal behavior detected with the Los Angeles native. As his behavior got more intense, Moye was brought to a Frankfurt hospital. At the hospital his condition worsened. The diagnosis that Moye had a stroke has been confirmed in the hospital. Further diagnosis about his recovery and therapy can not be determined at the present moment.

Awful, tragic news. Our thoughts are with Moye and his family, and we hope after his recovery he’s able to again play the sport he loves at a high level.

(Via Peegs.)

Update: A couple of encouraging tweets to mention. First from JMV:

from reps of former IU player AJ Moye in Germany.After suffering a stroke he is doing well and full recovery is expected. Great news.

And from Hugh Kellenberger:

A.J. Moye is in good spirits and is showing no signs of paralysis or loss of motor skills, his agent, Aaron Smith, said.

2010-2011 ITH Season Preview: Wisconsin Badgers

March 21, 2010:  Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan urges his team during first half round two NCAA Division 1 East Regional action between No. 12 Cornell Big Red (Ivy League) and No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten) at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.It’s time for Inside the Hall’s team-by-team breakdown of the Big Ten Conference. Today: The Wisconsin Badgers.

I think we can all agree by now that anyone who doubts a Bo Ryan-coached team does so at his own peril. Not unlike T-Pain and Cameron Newton, all he does is win.

Ryan is into his 10th season in Madison now. The previous nine ended in the NCAA Tournament. Given his track record and the return of all-action forward Jon Leuer, there’s no reason to think that this season will play out any different.

And, as has been pointed out ad nauseam by now, he does it in a very Bo Ryan-esque manner. Wisconsin under the slick-haired, hard-faced coach will simply play almost mistake-free basketball. The Badgers are always at or near the top of the Big Ten in turnover margin (third in 2010) and assist-to-turnover ratio (second). Their turnover percentage last year was an impeccable 14.9 percent, easily tops in the conference.

The Badgers also led the conference in scoring defense, allowing less than 57 points per game, a rather absurd number even in the nose-to-the-grindstone Big Ten.

The other thing that makes Ryan’s Wisconsin program so special is that it never wavers. A slew of solid players have passed through the program since Ryan took over in 2001, including Brian Butch, Trevon Hughes, Alando Tucker, Devin Harris and Kammron Taylor. Every time one departs, we assume his loss will somehow negatively impact the next season’s squad, and yet it rarely ever does.

Thus far this season, it’s Leuer and Jordan Taylor carrying the program on. Leuer was expected after a stellar if not injury-shortened season last year. Taylor was a back-up last year, but had solid stats, particularly in the assists category, something that’s translated to the beginning of this season.

The real revelation (and we’re talking just two games, but it’s still impressive) is freshman guard Josh Gasser. Officially listed as a point on his Rivals page, Gasser was an unranked three-star according to the recruiting service. Through the first two games of his college career, Gasser is averaging 14 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

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The inaugural, first-ever, never-before-seen ITH Podcast

We’re so 2004.

Yes, it’s true, Inside the Hall is adding to our media arsenal a weekly podcast. It’s not Bill Simmons — yet — but hopefully it fills a little bit of a void in the IU basketball world. Every Thursday morning, we’ll post a new installment of the podcast, hosted by this ginger and featuring all manner of Indiana basketball-related guests.

This round, we kept it simple, seeing as it was our first go at this foolishness. Dustin Dopirak, Indiana beat writer for the Bloomington Herald-Times and long-time friend of Inside the Hall, joined us in the ITH studios (my back porch) to chat about recruiting and the current team. We touched on Yogi Ferrell, Gary Harris and Jeremy Hollowell, Christian Watford, Maurice Creek and defense, among other things.

So give it a listen. Let us know what you think. Given that this is our first try, we absolutely value (and in fact beg you for) your opinion. Enjoy, and holler back. Also, much love to Peter Stevenson for acting as de facto producer for our first show.

(Alex’s Note: Little did Zach know, there was once, an Inside the Hall podcast. 3 episodes in fact. Waaaaay back in 2007. Good times.)

Here’s the direct link to listen or you can do so in the embedded media player below:

2010-2011 ITH Season Preview: Iowa Hawkeyes

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 22: Head coach Fran McCaffery of the Siena Saints looks on from the sidelines during a game against the Louisville Cardinals during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena on March 22, 2009 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)It’s time for Inside the Hall’s team-by-team breakdown of the Big Ten Conference. Today: The Iowa Hawkeyes.

After the Todd Lickliter experiment failed miserably (38-58 in three seasons), the Iowa Hawkeyes turned last March to a coach with a polar opposite style of play — Fran McCaffery.

The quick demise of Lickliter in Iowa City was a bit surprising considering his success at Butler — two NCAA Sweet 16’s and a national coach of the year award in six seasons — but his 22-loss season in year three, an inability to keep players in the program and waning fan interest ultimately sealed his fate.

Enter McCaffery, who spent the previous 11 seasons at UNC Greensboro and Siena.

At Siena, McCaffery compiled a 112-51 record and reached the NCAA Tournament in his final three seasons. (Something you might not have known: He was also once the youngest head coach in Division I back in 1985 when he took the reigns at Lehigh.)

Unlike Lickliter, who slowed the game to a near unwatchable pace at times, McCaffery will look to push the tempo in a conference that’s not exactly known for such a style. The reality, however, is that until McCaffery is able to fill the program with a respectable level of talent, the new up-tempo Hawkeyes will likely struggle mightily regardless of their pace of play.

A quick roll call of the talent currently amassed in Iowa City is not particularly impressive. Aaron Fuller, who would have been the Hawkeyes’ best returning post player, transferred to Southern Cal. Forward Brennan Cougill was declared academically ineligible before the season. And Iowa’s top two recruits, Ben Brust and Cody Larson, both opted for releases from their National Letters of Intent. Brust ended up at Wisconsin and Larson at Florida.

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The four factors: Mississippi Valley State

If you’ve been reading Inside the Hall since last season, you know we made an effort a year ago to dive into the four factors to winning the game of basketball: effective field goal percentage, turnover percentage, offensive rebounding percentage and free throw rate.

The four factors, established by Dean Oliver, are building blocks for Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency formula, which we’ll also be using as the season moves along. It’s important to mention, as noted by Stat Sheet, that the factors are not weighted equally. Research shows the best way to weight the numbers is as follows: shooting (40 percent), taking care of the ball (25 percent), offensive rebounding (20 percent), and getting to the line (15 percent). That said, here’s a look at the four factors in last night’s 71-54 win:

Free throw rate: The Hoosiers did a solid job of getting to the line (29 attempts), but left nine points there as well. Nonetheless, close to a 50 percent free throw rate is a very good number and came close to matching the output for the Wright State game, where the Hoosiers had a free throw rate of 52.5 percent.

Turnover percentage: The 23.3 percent mark here was IU’s best performance of the young season. Making it more impressive was the helter skelter style of play that the Delta Devils tried to employ which many believed would give IU ball-handling woes. Through IU’s first two games, only eight teams ranked worse nationally in turnover percentage, so this is a number to keep close tabs on as the season moves along. The Hoosiers must get better here, period.

Effective field goal percentage: This was a mediocre performance by both teams, but for IU, it’s nice to see a blowout win despite the woeful shooting. In the first two games, the Hoosiers were remarkable in this category — 64.9 percent against Florida Gulf Coast and 65 percent against Wright State. That won’t happen too often. Bottom line here is that while IU didn’t shoot well, it was negated by the fact that MSVU shot even worse (41 percent effective field goal percentage).

Offensive rebounding percentage: A very solid performance here — 38.1 percent — but just 11 second chance points is a bit low. This was a strength for IU a season ago (35 percent, 89th nationally), but it was also a bit negated by the fact that the Hoosiers allowed opponents to rebound at a 35.4 percent clip.

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