Know Thy Opponent: Boston College Eagles

SYRACUSE, NY - MARCH 25: Head coach Steve Donahue of the Cornell Big Red reacts against the Kentucky Wildcats during the east regional semifinal of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Carrier Dome on March 25, 2010 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)After a 15-16 season, an eighth-place finish in the ACC and failure to reach the postseason in 2009-2010, Boston College parted ways with Al Skinner and hired Steve Donahue from Cornell.

Donahue, who led the Big Red to the Sweet Sixteen in last year’s NCAA Tournament, returns four starters and six of BC’s top nine scorers from a season ago.

Donahue’s run in March was impressive not only because of the teams he was able to  knock off — No. 4-seed Temple and No. 5-seed Wisconsin — but also because it was the first time since 1979 that an Ivy League team played in the second weekend of the tournament.

(You might remember Donahue, Ryan Wittman and the Big Red from the 2008-2009 season, when the eventual Ivy League champions fell to the Hoosiers at Assembly Hall for one of IU’s six wins.)

But back to the task at hand. The cupboard, unlike the mess inherited by Tom Crean in Bloomington, is not completely bare in Chestnut Hill.

The centerpiece of the returning group is junior guard Reggie Jackson, who is averaging 17.7 points through six games. (Jackson, by the way, is being cited by many of the experts over at ESPN as the reason BC will beat IU on Wednesday. Only Andy Katz and Dana O’Neil are going with the Hoosiers.)

Senior forward Joe Trapani, a third-team All-ACC selection a year ago and the team’s leading returning scorer and rebounder, is also back to help anchor the frontcourt.

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Inside the Hall Twitter Mailbag: November 29

BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 23: Tom Crean the Head Coach of the Indiana Hoosiers gives instructions to his team during the game against the North Carolina Central Eagles at Assembly Hall on November 23, 2010 in Bloomington, Indiana. Indiana won 72-56. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Inside the Hall Twitter mailbag is a weekly collection of questions tweeted to us via our Twitter account, @insidethehall.

Tweet us your questions each week and we’ll answer as many as we can. Now, onward …

@zipsofakron writes: So are the Hoosiers formidable this year or this a smoke and mirrors-type thing?

Ryan Corazza: For now, formidable is probably too strong a word for these Hoosiers. But the facts remain: Through six games, they’re better on both sides of the ball, more mature, flashing confidence and having some fun, too. I’ll have a post up detailing the specifics of their improvements soon. Now, as I wrote Friday night, tougher tests are around the corner against Boston College and Kentucky. If IU pulls out victories on the road in both these contests, expectations will rise for this team. A record above .500 and sneaking into the top half of the Big Ten would be a reasonable talking point. Lose one or both and we’re about where we’re currently at: A team on the rise that still needs more time and experience to blossom into a formidable collective.

@0caleb0 writes: I read that a renovation of assembly hall does not make sense $ wise, any longterm plans on the table for a new gym??

Zach Osterman: In 2007, the board of trustees officially decided not to make anymore capital improvements to Assembly Hall, meaning that additions or renovations like the hanging scoreboard will no longer be an option. The department can — and has had to — invest money in necessary repairs, like the leaking roof, but that’s the extent of it. That said, I talked to Fred Glass about this recently: There are no current plans to build a new arena. It’s something the board acknowledged would be necessary in that same 2007 meeting, but put absolutely no timetable on the issue, and especially given the capital improvements just completed (North Endzone, Cook Hall) and ones Glass still plans to pursue (badly needed new baseball and softball fields), I wouldn’t expect a new arena any time soon.

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Video: Hanner Perea’s ridiculous dunk

And subsequent interview with Daniel Poneman of SWAGair:

Those block were pretty nice, too, and Perea’s ability to elevate just looks effortless.

Is it 2012 yet?

(HT: Greg Rosenstein)

Notes from the much anticipated debut of Trey Lyles

Joe Eberhardt is a high school sports blogger and regular contributor to Inside the Hall. You can follow him on twitter at @IndyHSHoops and read his blog, IndyHSHoops.com.

In one of the more anticipated Indiana high school basketball debuts in recent memory, Trey Lyles took the floor for Arsenal Technical High School on Wednesday, Nov. 23.

The 6-9 freshman forward, who committed to Indiana in September, scored 12 points and pulled down 19 rebounds, helping lead Tech to a 53-45 victory over Manual.

Lyles scored six of his team-high 12 points at the foul line, using his size and ball-handling to create mismatches and draw fouls. He looked extremely comfortable handling the ball, often running the point and setting up the offense for Tech. He was able to beat opponents off the dribble and did a stellar job of getting to the line. Lyles finished 6 of 10 from the charity stripe, 3 of 10 from the field and missed his only 3-point attempt.

For a freshman with the national spotlight on him, Lyles played with poise and didn’t look rattled on the road. He certainly has the shooting touch to be a threat from the perimeter, but forced the jumper at times rather than establishing himself in the post. His footwork in the post is tremendous and his array of post moves allows him easy scoring opportunities in the paint. Lyles has a great spin move that creates separation from the defender and he used it twice to get a great look at the turnaround jumper, but missed both looks. During the third quarter he used that same spin move on the left block and laid in an easy basket off the glass with two hands.

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Zeller opens season with 30-point, 13-rebound effort

Throughout the season, Inside the Hall will keep you posted on how 2011 signees Austin Etherington and Cody Zeller, IU’s seven verbal commitments and other notable prospects being recruited by the Hoosiers, are performing at their respective schools.

You can send us stats or results for this report at insidethehall@gmail.com. Here’s our latest update:

2011 SIGNEES

+ Austin Etherington (Hamilton Heights): Six points in 62-54 overtime loss at Lebanon on November 24. 16 points (three 3-pointers) in 58-54 win at Mt. Vernon on November 27.

+ Cody Zeller (Washington): 30 points and 13 rebounds in a 70-42 rout of Barr-Reeve on November 24.

2012 COMMITMENTS

+ Hanner Perea (La Porte La Lumiere): Nine points and 10 rebounds against Rakeem Christmas and Academy of the New Church (PA) on November 25. 15 points and 17 rebounds against the nation’s No. 1 prep school, Findlay, on November 26. La Lumiere also played Brehm Prep (IL) on November 27, but no stats were available as of early Sunday morning.

+ Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell (Park Tudor): Following his commitment to IU, Ferrell scored 13 points as Park Tudor crushed University, 78-29, on November 24. Park Tudor moved to 2-0 with a 53-36 win at Indianapolis Washington on November 27. Ferrell had 17 points, four steals, four assists, six turnovers and one rebound. (Thanks to Chris Engel for the stats.)

+ Peter Jurkin (United Faith Christian Academy, NC): No information available.

+ Ron Patterson (Broad Ripple): Will open season on December 3 at Guerin Catholic.

2012 CLASS

+ Gary Harris (Hamilton Southeastern): 32 points in 84-78 win over Indianapolis Northwest on November 27.

+ Jeremy Hollowell (Lawrence Central): 22 points, including four 3-pointers, in 61-55 loss to Lawrence North at Hinkle Fieldhouse on November 24.

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Northwestern State postgame: Crean, players react

Listen to the comments of Indiana head coach Tom Crean following Indiana’s 100-66 win over Northwestern State in the embedded media player below:

And watch what Verdell Jones (24 points), Victor Oladipo (12 points) and Maurice Creek (14 points) had to say after the Hoosiers broke the 100-point mark for the first time since December 15, 2007:

The Minute After: Northwestern State

Notes on a 100-66 win over Northwestern State:

At first, Northwestern State’s pressure defense, strong rebounding and ability to match IU’s energy brought some worry.

Would this be the the team’s first loss of 2010-11?

But as we’ve seen a few times so far this season, the Hoosiers weathered the first-half storm and put it well out of reach in the second half on the backs of their defense — one that led to a dominating transition offense.

For as much talk as there was about how many points the Demons were scoring this season before tonight (86 a contest), they were getting them more on the strength of their pace (75.4 possessions a game, good for third in the nation) than on their offensive efficiency (99.3, adjusted, only 180th in the nation) or effective field-goal percentage (51.2 percent, 102nd in the nation).

And the Demons are an even poorer defensive unit. Entering tonight, they were letting opponents score 106.6 points per 100 possessions (adjusted, 290th in the country) and giving up an effective field-goal percentage of 55.5 percent, which ranks near the bottom of all Division I at 313th in the nation.

If you want to know how IU got to the century mark for the first time in the Tom Crean era, start there.

This isn’t to say the Hoosiers’ effort should be discounted. It was a strong, balanced performance on both sides of the ball. They got it done tonight. No doubt. They’ve been getting it done all season, and should take much confidence and pride in their performance thus far for a squad that hasn’t tasted a lot of success the last two seasons. 6-0 is a great start for the  program and for a fanbase starving for success.

But it’s time for a test.

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