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Crean, Jones and Roth talk Illinois

Tom Crean, Verdell Jones and Matt Roth met with the media Friday afternoon to talk about Saturday’s matchup with Illinois. Here are a few highlights:

Jones on the rivalry between Indiana and Illinois:

“The whole week, that’s the talk about this big game, Indiana versus Illinois. I’ve grown to see Indiana fans really don’t like Illinois fans and I know for sure Illinois fans hate Indiana fans. So it’s a great rivalry and I hope we keep it going.”

Crean on having Calbert Cheaney around practice the past week:

“He just talked to the team at the end of practice. As a fan, as a coach but most importantly as a man, it’s unbelievable to have him here. He is a wonderful guy. He has been good to me since the first time I talked to him. He loves this university. He loves this state, that’s obvious. He’s got a great future in whatever he wants to do, whether it’s in basketball or outside of it. And for him to come in here and have that presence, he has truly been an E.F. Hutton in this program this week. And he has really observed. He wanted to get a firsthand account, so he hasn’t done a lot (of practicing) but he has definitely been here and he had a point to make. And he’s been good for us as coaches for us to talk to him. Any former player, they (current players) know that those championship banners mean something. They may not understand everything about them but they know that they mean something.”

Roth on the hostile environment expected in Champaign:

“That’s something we are all looking forward to, we like that challenge. We like the challenge of going on the road. We had a great non-conference schedule; going on the road and playing at Wake Forest and places like Kentucky where we played in front of 22,000. So I think we are going to prepared for that.”

A lesson in motivational speaking: The fist

As the Hoosiers prepare to take on Illinois tomorrow afternoon, it’s the perfect time to relive one of the most moving speeches ever delivered.

Let me set the scene: It’s the 2005 National Championship game at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Coming off a comfortable 15-point win over Louisville, the Illini were ready to take on one of the most storied programs in college basketball, North Carolina. A win would mean their program would possibly become relevant. A loss and well, status quo: irrelevant.

So like any master motivator, Bruce Weber knew what he had to do: Deliver the words that would lead his men to the promised land. Like Winston Churchill before him, who said:

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

… Bruce knew this one had to be special. And indeed it was. Ladies and gentlemen, prepared to be moved by the … fist.



Around the Hall: Shot selection and a whole lot of awesomeness

Around the Hall is recommended reading from the Inside the Hall crew.

+ Matt Dollinger, the Indiana Daily Student beat reporter for the men’s basketball team and friend of ITH, took it upon himself to chart IU’s shot selection against Michigan. The result? IU’s most economical and efficient shots were three-pointers from the wing. {Basketblog}

+ Bloomington South sophomore Spencer Turner makes it no secret what his favorite word is: awesome. It’s awesome that IU is coming to watch him. It’s awesome that Jordan Hulls is going to IU. Tom Crean is an awesome guy. You get the point. {The Hoosier Scoop}

+ Michigan blogger Brian Cook didn’t want to bring it up, but the Wolverines are still painfully young and are not as good as their record. And who are we to disagree with him? {mgoblog}

Quotable:

Nobody is going to give Indiana a break. Nobody’s looking to give Indiana a favor. Indiana just has to go take it. It’s an unbelievably tough pill to swallow right now.” – Crean on the uphill battle his team faces.

Candy Stripes: New Year’s resolution

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.

+ Connect to Inside the Hall with Facebook: Inside the Hall readers can now login and post comments using their Facebook account. Just click the Facebook Connect link under the comment box to get started.

The Morning After: Michigan, or clapping alone

Hey, so that was fun, right?

Haha, just kidding! That wasn’t fun at all! That was precisely as much fun as a rusty ballpeen hammer to the eye socket, only less violent, so long as you don’t count “throwing an empty can of whatever stupid health drink I’m swilling these days across the f–king room” as violence. The only thing that could have made last night’s second half less fun was if Tom Hamilton and Shon Morris were screaming and rattling off stupid one-liners, respectively, throughout the entire godforsaken telecast. Oh, wait. They were.

F–K.

I mean, really, where to start? With IU’s brilliant, peerless, unbelievable and unlikely first half? With Michigan’s inversely horrible one? With the Hoosiers’ slow descent in the second half? With the way Michigan gradually edged their way back in the game — not at all once, but with the methodical surety of a team absolutely confident of their superiority?

Instead I’ll start (this is sort of a start I guess; the actual start, as you likely noticed, was the angry diatribe at the top of the post) with halftime. Right in the middle, before the flood. IU was winning by a margin I’d honestly rather not recount. A few seconds after the buzzer sounded for halftime, I found myself doing something peculiar: clapping. To myself. This isn’t exactly rare; it happens every time I get even marginally excited about beating some snotty Brit in FIFA 09. But I did catch myself, and stop for a second, and pay attention to my computer again, and think, and that’s when it hit me:

The Dread.

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Good, Bad and Ugly: Michigan

THE GOOD:

We played very good for very long against a borderline Top 25 team, who has beaten the likes Duke and UCLA. The first half was so promising, so full of life, it was a feeling we haven’t felt all year. Good times. Good, yet fleeting times.

IU showed great resilience in their defense all night. Michigan just happened to start hitting in the second half.

Matt Roth. Roth is slowly becoming quite the fan favorite. His game certainly doesn’t jump out at you, but outside of a guy that can dribble drive and slam down a rim-roaring dunk, the deep three that hits nothing but nylon is one of this game of basketball’s pretty plays. He made 3-of-7 attempts from three-point land on the night, for a total of nine points.

Devan Dumes. He’s hot, he’s cold. He’s under control and looking good, he’s wild and taking boneheaded shots. But hey, tonight, he hit some key buckets, and you just need to take the good and bad with Dumes. He shot nine threes tonight, hitting four of them. For the evening, he had 17 points.

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Hoosiers lose heartbreaker in OT, 72-66

Indiana head coach Tom Crean couldn’t have drawn it up any better.

After a head scratching home loss to Lipscomb to close out 2008 and a road loss to Iowa in the Big Ten opener, the Hoosiers returned to Assembly Hall for a meeting with Michigan, who hadn’t won in Bloomington since 1995.

And with a 44-24 lead with 18:26 remaining, it appeared Indiana was on its way to a win over a team that was ranked in the top 25 as recently as last week with wins over UCLA and Duke.

But in this season of rebuilding, the upset wasn’t in the cards. Michigan closed the second half by outscoring the Hoosiers 35-15 to send the game into overtime and won 72-66 in front of 11,044 fans.

“There are no moral victories,” Indiana freshman guard Verdell Jones said. “We are all competitors and a loss is a loss whether you lose by 30 or you lose by one. We don’t want to feel like this again.”

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