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And now, an attempt at answering your Bawa Muniru inquiries

Believe it or not, we actually get some emails here at ITH from time to time. Normally, they fall into two categories: 1) Here is a link to an article I would post if I was an editor. I think you should post it. NOW! 2) Can you please break down said player and give me some more information like his stats and whether or not he’ll play right away when he gets to Bloomington. Also, a link to his Facebook page would be good, too.

This afternoon, I’m going to address número dos. The subject: Bawa Muniru. Here is a sampling of the questions you’ve submitted, either via email or by your comments followed by my responses.

What is the deal with Bawa? I have not seen any video or stats.

The deal with Bawa is that he’s a 7-footer with tremendous upside, but at this point, he’s extremely limited offensively. He’s not Tijan Jobe limited, but he’s got some work to do and with the help of Roshown McLeod, I’d expect him to improve immensely in that aspect of his game. As far as video goes, this clip, which basically shows him throwing down a couple of thunderous dunks is all I’ve been able to scrounge up. The reason his stats haven’t been reported is that very few, if any, newspapers cover Mt. Zion Academy’s basketball team and the school’s Web site doesn’t report stats.

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Dominique Keller: Not a fan of IU

In the 14 months I’ve lived in my apartment, I’ve gotten in about three fights with my roommate. These fights have not stemmed from taking out the trash, or rent, or leaving too many dishes in the sink: They’ve all been sports related. He’s an Illinois fan. I’m an Indiana fan. He’s a Cubs fan. I’m a White Sox fan. That should just about do all the explaining for you.

This year, during both IU-Illinois matchups, there was no bickering. He realizes IU is in a down year. Before the first game, he even made some off-handed remark about it “not even being a rivalry this year.”

And besides Bruce Weber’s comments before the year about how Indiana was going to be real bad and to “not print that on the Internet,” everything in Illini Nation seems a bit more calm than last year. Bruce has been cordial in both meetings. Chester Frazier, he of Eric Gordon pregame pushing fame, was nice in his postgame comments Sunday. I think it’s a combination of Kelvin Sampson being gone (he was the hated villain in all this, really), Gordon going pro, IU not being very good this year and Illinois fans having respect for Tom Crean and his choice to clean house and do things the right way.

This is not to say the rivalry does not still exist, or that fans on both side of the fence don’t feel hatred towards one another. But, it is to say, at least for this year, those tempers have died down a bit.

Unless you’re first-year Illinois JUCO transfer from Lee College, Dominique Keller — a guy who wasn’t even on the team last year.

“I’ve only been in this rivalry for one year, and I can tell you right now, I do not like this school,” Keller said. “I don’t like the coach, and I don’t like the fans. As a matter of fact, I don’t like the gym. It’s just something about Indiana I just don’t like. You can quote me on that.”

You have been quoted, Dominique. But dude, what have we done to you?

Feb. 16, 2009: The day the Internet decided to bash Indiana for all the wrong reasons

Let me tell you about my morning. I got up late. I put on clothes I wore out to a bar Friday night. I took a cab to work. I wrote some blogs posts for the day job. Typical Monday.

And then, sometime in the late morning, I was on Ballhype, and saw this post on Josh Q. Public. And I laughed. Let’s just say that Josh — IF THAT’S EVEN HIS REAL NAME — might be wise to know at least a little something — this is all I ask, just a little something — about the situation he’s writing about before he goes and posts it on a popular, Digg-esque, sports blog site by himself and has other people “hype it” for him, and before he e-mails it to Deadspin. (We’ll get there later.)

First:

Since Knight’s firing, Kelvin Sampson led the Hoosiers to a 21-11 record overall and a 34th appearance in the NCAA tournament only to be forced to resign due his role in the controversial recruitment of star player Eric Gordon.

Ah yes, this is why Sampson resigned, remember guys? Eric Gordon’s decision to come to Indiana. Nothing to do with that phone call stuff. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Second:

How does this happen? How does one of the most esteemed basketball programs in the nation fall so far?

Dude, it happened because due to the Kelvin Sampson fallout, only 30 total points scored — 30! — returned from last season. That was 1.2 percent of IU’s total scoring output from last season. Some dudes left, others went pro, others got kicked off.

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Hulls erupts for 30 as South remains unbeaten

Throughout the season, Inside the Hall will keep you posted on how the six Indiana signees and 2011 commitment Matt Carlino are performing at their respective schools. Here’s our latest update:

+ Jordan Hulls: Bloomington South improved to 17-0 with a 77-44 win over Warren Central on Saturday. Hulls had a season high 30 points on 11 of 18 shooting. The Panthers will get their toughest test of the season this coming Saturday in Bloomington as Detroit Country Day, led by Ray McCallum Jr., comes to town. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 nationally by USA Today.

+ Christian Watford: The 6-8 swingman dropped 35 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 63-52 Shades Valley win over Pinson Valley. Shades Valley is 23-5.

+ Maurice Creek: No individual stats were available from the Hargrave Military Academy Web site, but the Tigers improved to 20-1 with a 104-77 win over Rise Academy on Saturday.

+ Bobby Capobianco: Loveland split a pair of games last week with Wilmington (50-45 loss) and Winton Woods (53-48 win). In the Wilmington loss, Capobianco had 18 points and 11 rebounds and in the win over Winton Woods, he had 23 points and 13 rebounds.

+ Derek Elston: Tipton, No. 2 in Class 2-A, crushed No. 9 Carroll 65-34 on Friday night. The Blue Devils improved to 17-2 and Elston had 22 points and 11 rebounds.

+ Bawa Muniru: No information available.

+ Matt Carlino: Highland won its regular season finale 58-37 over Central to finish 24-3 and will begin postseason play this week. Carlino scored 14 points.

Hoosiers miss 13 free throws — and lose by 13

To call free throw shooting a problem for the 2008-2009 version of the Indiana Hoosiers would be an understatement. The foul line has been more of a major catastrophe.

Indiana (6-18, 1-11 Big Ten) hit just 11 of 24 free throws and fell 65-52 to Illinois on Sunday afternoon in front of the first sellout crowd this season at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers are shooting just 65 percent from the foul line this season, including 66 percent in Big Ten play.

After trailing 36-15 late in the first half, Indiana closed to within six at 54-48 with 6:27 remaining on a coast to coast layup by Malik Story. But the Illini (21-5, 9-4) immediately answered with a 3-pointer by Chester Frazier and Indiana never got closer than eight the rest of the way.

“We gave ourselves some chances at the end, but really, the way we played in the first half didn’t give us enough,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “Give them credit. They made enough plays and they went up to the free throw line and made the free throws.”

The loss set a school record for losses in a season (18) and tied a school record for Big Ten losses (11), a mark IU will almost certainly eclipse with six conference games remaining.

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Good, Bad and Ugly: Illinois

FINAL SCORE: Illinois 65, Indiana 52

THE GOOD:

The second half. During their first matchup, Illinois was one of the teams this year that IU was never in the game against. At halftime, it sure looked like that was going to be the case again this afternoon. But, as we’ve seen so many times this season, IU did not quit. The Hoosiers did not give up. They fought. And though they never seriously threatened to win this game — six was as close as they got — they showed some amazing resolve in front of a packed crowd at home. Crawling back from a 21-point deficit to come as close as six is never an easy thing.

It was a combination of two things: IU shot 57 percent in the second half, and as Greg Anthony alluded to, IU switched up to a triangle and two on the defensive end, which slowed the Illini down a bit. Oh, also: Illinois stopped blocking all our shots.

Individually, Matt Roth continues to show no fear, as he went for 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

THE BAD AND UGLY:

Free throws. IU lost this game by 13 points. They missed 13 free throws. If they make half of those that they missed — in the six or seven range — the Hoosiers are in better shape the last few minutes of the game. And if they made them all, or close to them all, who knows?

The first half. I’m trying to block that out my memory of it, so I will just say one thing: It was bad. Real bad.

For the game, IU only turned the ball over 13 times.

Tom Crean’s pregame speech against Illinois

… So it didn’t exactly work out as he’d hoped (at least as of halftime), but it’s worth listening to if you didn’t get a chance to hear it. Even in the midst of a blowout, it’s things like this from Crean that give us all excitement for the future of IU basketball:

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