Indiana jumped two spots in the new Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Men’s basketball polls released today.
The Hoosiers are No. 11 in the AP Poll and in the USA Today/ESPN Poll, IU is No. 12.
The favorite to win the Big Ten, Michigan State, is No. 6 in both polls. Wisconsin is the only other Big Ten team ranked in the top 25. The Badgers are No. 25 in the AP Poll and No. 24 in the USA Today/ESPN Poll.
We’ll be back tomorrow to wrap up the Big Ten preview. Have a safe and happy new year.
The Hoosiers are finished with their cupcakes and the New Year is nearly upon us, which can mean only one thing: It’s Big Ten Preview Time! Here’s a look at the teams that will challenge the Hoosiers for the conference crown … or fall under the weighty boot of crimson dominance. Probably the latter. Today: Illinois.
If anything can be said about the Illinois Illini — besides the weird obsession among its fans about a vaguely racist Indian minstrel mascot — it’s that these dudes defend. It’s the one immutable rule of Bruce Weber’s tenure: No matter how much talent Weber puts on the floor, his team will be one of the best in the Big Ten, and perhaps the country, at stopping opposing offenses. Unfortunately for chanters of I-L-L everywhere, the past two years, there is another immutable rule about the Illini: They are horrid offensively.
The story remains the same in 2007-08. A quick glance at Ken Pomeroy’s scouting report tells the tale. The Illini are sixth in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency; they are 87th on offense. They are ninth in the country in effective field goal percentage against; they are 228th (!!) on offense. They are 16th in the country defending against the three; they are 320th in the country shooting them. It goes on and on. The Illini are a good defensive team that is both horribly slow and horribly inefficient on offense. It’s an ugly combination.
Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson seemed a bit irritated in the Chicago State post game press conference when asked about the strength of Indiana’s non-conference schedule. Here’s a transcript of that exchange:
Reporter: Kelvin, you haven’t played a winning team, a team with a winning record in a while, do you really feel the schedule is readying your team for what’s coming ahead here?
Sampson: Yes, do you?
Reporter: Seriously, I’m wondering.
Sampson: What do you wonder?
Eric Gordon scored 22 points and D.J. White posted his eighth double-double of the season with 21 points and a career-high 15 rebounds as No. 13 Indiana crushed Chicago State 97-59 Saturday night at Assembly Hall.
Gordon struggled from the field for the second straight game as he shot just 3 of 12 but the 6’4″ freshman hit 14 of 14 free throws.
Indiana opened the game on a 11-0 run and led 28-6 on a Lance Stemler three-pointer with 10:30 remaining in the first half.
“I thought we were ready to play,” Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson said. “I thought our defense was really, really good the first 20 minutes. We dominated every phase of the game.”
The Hoosiers (11-1) shot 47 percent from the field, out-rebounded Chicago State 56-26 and had 11 blocked shots.
Armon Bassett returned from a three-game suspension and scored 13 points.
Chicago State (4-12) shot just 36 percent from the field, committed 18 turnovers and missed all five of their free throw attempts. David Holston led the Cougars with 25 points.
The win extended IU’s home court winning streak to 26 and moved Kelvin Sampson to 24-0 at Assembly Hall.
Indiana will open Big Ten play Wednesday evening at 9 p.m. ET against Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“We’re excited about starting Big Ten play on Wednesday,” Sampson added.
In case you’re wondering, the lovely lady to the right is former Indiana cheerleader, Megan Martz. Now, onto the festivities at hand.
Opponent: Chicago State
Date: Saturday, December 29, 2007 | 7:06 EST
Arena: Assembly Hall (17,357) – Bloomington, Indiana
All-time series: Indiana leads 1-0
TV: Big Ten Network (Mel Proctor and John Laskowski)
Radio: IU Radio Network (Jeremy Gray and Todd Leary)
- Chicago State (4-11): John Cantrell, David Holston, Mike Wilson, Carl Montgomery, Nemanja Stankovic
- Indiana (10-1): Armon Bassett, Eric Gordon, Jamarcus Ellis, Lance Stemler, D.J. White
Game Notes (Adobe Reader required to view)
As always, your predictions and comments are welcome in the game thread.
The Hoosiers are finishing up their cupcakes and the New Year is nearly upon us, which can mean only one thing: It’s Big Ten Preview Time! Here’s a look at the teams that will challenge the Hoosiers for the conference crown … or fall under the weighty boot of crimson dominance. Probably the latter. Today: Purdue.
There a couple of things you need to know about the 2007-2008 version of the Purdue Boilermakers. First, they’ve got an outstanding crop of home grown freshmen. Second, they’ve shown the capability of knocking off a respectable team. They beat Louisville on a neutral court and lost a close game at Clemson. Third, they’ve done what young teams do in college hoops: lose games they should have won. For example, they lost at home to Wofford and to Iowa State on a neutral court. And one final thing, Matt Painter has the best hair of any coach in the league.
So what should we expect out of our friends in West Lafayette? A young, inconsistent team that will improve throughout the season.
Purdue’s top six players are freshmen (Scott Martin, Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson) or sophomores (Keaton Grant and Chris Kramer). Out of that group, the most impressive contributor at this early juncture of the season has been Martin, a Valpo product. He’s a crafty lefty who looks to create his own shot. He’s still learning to adjust to the physical play at the collegiate level, but when it’s all said and done, he’ll be an All-Big Ten performer.