Last year, right around this time, I made a relatively bold prediction about our Indiana Hoosiers. I predicted — nay, demanded — that they win 25 games in the regular season. That was, of course, before the nonsense derailed the Hoosiers and saw them end their season with a meek tournament performance. Weak.
This year, I harbor no such illusions. It’s not that the schedule’s (view here) tougher — it’s that this IU team is so much less talented, so less lauded, and so obviously the first phase of long-term rebuilding. And that’s OK. We all know it. No one is setting the bar too high.
Merficully, the schedule doesn’t start with the impossible out-of-conference schedule Mike Davis saddled himself with. Tom Crean’s first Hoosier team will face only three early challenges in the non-conference portion: Notre Dame, Kentucky, and Wake Forest. Making matters worse, none of the three is at home; Notre Dame will be during the Maui Invitational, Wake Forest is in Wake Forest, and IU will travel to Lexington for the Wildcat revenge. Yikes.
Once the conference season starts, things don’t look much better. Instead of detailing the losses, let’s take a look at the games that we know — absolutely know — IU can win:
– Jan. 7 vs. Michigan
– Jan. 17 vs. Penn State
– Feb. 4 vs. Iowa
And that’s about it. (When I was taking some quick cursory notes about the schedule, next to Penn State I actually wrote “win!”, complete with the exclamation point, because I was so excited to be sure that IU could win one game. No Geary Claxton! Whoo!)
Then, of course, are the rivalry games. I don’t hold much hope for our one game against Purdue this season; the Boilermakers will be well-oiled and the game is at the (Bud) Mackey Arena. But as long as we get one — just one — of the two games with Illinois this year, I will be happy. Incredibly, deliriously happy. The rest is just a bonus.
Here is the complete release from IU Media Relations. You can view the complete schedule here.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana University men’s basketball team could play as many as 11 teams which played in the 2008 NCAA Tournament during the coming season. The Big Ten Conference released its schedule today with times and television assignments listed for all 18 league games and will finalize times and television for each school’s non-conference schedule later this week. Each of the Hoosiers 30 regular season games will appear either on the Big Ten Network, CBS, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. IU will play 15 games in Assembly Hall, four games on a neutral court and 11 road games.
“Considering our circumstances, we are very thankful to have the opportunity to be on national television the number of times that we will be this season,” said first-year Coach Tom Crean. “The day-to-day coverage that our program will get via the Big Ten Network is so important for us. Not many programs have a 24-hour vehicle to exclusively reach so many alumni, family, friends and fans. We are very fortunate that there is so much interest in Indiana basketball.”
The Hoosiers will open up with four games in Assembly Hall hosting exhibition games November 7 (Anderson) and November 11 (Bemidji State). IU will then begin the regular season November 15 (Northwestern State) and also play November 18 (IUPUI) before heading to Hawaii to participate in the 25th Annual EA Sports Maui Invitational November 24-26.
The Big Ten has released the conference schedule for the 2008-2009 season and here’s how it shakes out for the Hoosiers:
Jan 3 – at Iowa, 4:30 pm, Big Ten Network
Jan 7 – vs Michigan, 6:30 pm, Big Ten Network
Jan 10 – at Illinois, 3 pm, Big Ten Network
Jan 13 – at Ohio State, 7 pm, ESPN
Jan 17 – vs Penn State, 6 pm, Big Ten Network
Jan 25 – vs Minnesota, Noon, Big Ten Network
Jan 28 – at Northwestern, 8:30 pm, Big Ten Network
Jan 31 – vs Ohio State, 4 pm, ESPN2
Feb 4 – vs Iowa, 6:30 pm, Big Ten Network
Feb 7 – at Michigan State, 4 pm, ESPN
Feb 10 – at Minnesota, 9 pm, Big Ten Network
Feb 15 – vs Illinois, 1 pm, CBS
Feb 19 – vs Wisconsin, 9 pm, ESPN/ESPN2
Feb 21/22 – at Purdue, TBA, TBA
Feb 25 – vs Northwestern, 6:30 pm, Big Ten Network
Feb 28 – at Penn State, 6 pm, Big Ten Network
March 3/4/5 – vs Michigan State, TBA, TBA
March 7/8 – at Wisconsin, TBA, TBA
Now that the Big Ten schedule has been released, expect an announcement soon from the IU Media Relations department regarding the full schedule for Tom Crean’s club.
Tipton senior Derek Elston, who was unable to play this summer due to a knee injury, is reportedly two weeks away from returning to full strength and will talk to Jody Demling tonight at 7:42 EST on 93.9 The Ticket. Fans outside of the Southern Indiana/Louisville area can stream the show at 939theticket.com.
While they’re entering the fray a bit late, the Hoosiers are right in the thick of the race for 2009 five-star guard Dominic Cheek. Cheek’s ties to new Indiana assistant coach Roshown McLeod have been well documented. Here’s a look at Cheek for those of you who haven’t had a chance to check him out:
There is potentially a new twist in the recruitment of Lawrence North forward Stephan Van Treese — the possibility that he will join Indiana next season as a walk-on. It seems the rumor originated with John Decker over at Hoosier Nation and then trickled onto the discussion forums where it’s become a hot topic.
Van Treese’s stock has taken a tumble nationally and he’s no longer listed in the Rivals 150 for the 2009 class. While he was impressive at the Kentucky Hoop Fest in July, the major concern seems to be his ability to score in the post against top notch talent.
The five schools he was considering at the start of the summer — UCLA, Kansas, Ohio State, Louisville and IU — have all backed off considerably. That leaves Van Treese with one offer from a high major school in South Bend — Notre Dame.
Whether or not this walk-on rumor is a real possibility remains to be seen, but the likelihood of a scholarship offer being extended from the coaching staff is basically non-existent. The focus for the 2009 class has shifted primarily to Dominic Cheek, Christian Watford, Roger Franklin and others. The interest from Van Treese in the IU program is still there — his brother is currently a student in Bloomington, his best friend is Bobby Capobianco and he’s been an IU fan for most of his life. Will that translate into a willingness to accept a walk-on spot to play for the program he loves?
J.D. Campbell, the Director of Media Relations from IU, sent the following release earlier this evening:
Indiana University senior Kyle Taber injured his knee last week and will undergo surgery tomorrow. He is expected to be out for 10 weeks.
“This is very unfortunate for Kyle,” said IU Coach Tom Crean. “He has been a strong presence and has done things the right way for us since we arrived here. We will move forward and help him through his rehabilitation and look to him to provide us with the leadership that is expected from a fifth-year senior at Indiana.”
He started four games last year and averaged 1.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in 22 games.
So instead of Indiana starting the season with one returning scholarship player, it’s looking like they’ll start the season with zero. In fact, Brett Finkelmeier will be the lone returning player on the roster when Hoosier Hysteria kicks off in October. Despite all of the recent optimism around the program, make no mistake about it, it’s going to be a rough season in Bloomington.
Update: Taber surgery goes off without a hitch (IDS basketblog)
(Photo credit: The Hoosier Scoop)