Indiana releases 2009-2010 men’s basketball schedule

Indiana released it’s 2009-2010 men’s basketball schedule just a couple of minutes ago. Aside from a few dates and times, the schedule is complete and features the following non-conference opponents: Howard, USC-Upstate, Ole Miss, Northwestern State, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Kentucky, North Carolina Central, Loyola (MD) and Bryant. Not exactly full of juggernauts, but for a young team looking to improve upon a six-win season, that’s to be expected.

The Hoosiers will open Big Ten play on New Year’s Eve at Assembly Hall against Michigan at noon on ESPN2. A couple of other Big Ten games of note: at Ohio State on January 6, at Michigan on January 14, at Illinois on January 30, vs. Purdue on February 4, vs. Michigan State on February 16 and at Purdue on March 2/3/4.

You can see the complete slate of games here and we’ll dig deeper into the schedule in just a bit. For now, let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.

Bobby Capobianco and Christian Watford speak

We’re a couple of days late to the punch on these, but since I was on vacation last week, I have a reasonable excuse, no? Last week, the four IU freshman who’ve been on campus all summer, Bobby Capobianco, Christian Watford, Derek Elston and Jordan Hulls, were available to the media for the first time as IU players.

And someone from IU was on hand with a camera to ask questions. Interviews with Capobianco and Watford are available in the embedded video players below. Both come off as intelligent guys that should represent the program well.

Maurice Creek says he’s headed to Bloomington

The last time we were able to speak with Maurice Creek was at the at the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic in late April. At the time, we were under the assumption that Creek would arrive with the other IU freshmen in time for the beginning of the first summer session in Bloomington.

When Creek didn’t show, both Jordan Cohen of the Indiana Daily Student and Chris Korman of the Herald-Times confirmed that the Hargrave Military Academy product would not be present for either summer school session.

Since that time, numerous attempts to reach Creek have been unsuccessful and we’ve been left with Facebook, yes, Facebook, as our primary source for information. (We also sprinkled in an update from Tom Crean.) In an update earlier this evening, Creek revealed via Facebook that he’s headed to Bloomington this week:

So why, you ask, is this significant? By no means should this be interpreted as confirmation that Creek has been cleared by the NCAA to play this fall. It’s certainly encouraging that he’ll be on campus, but as we’ve seen in the past, getting the green light from the clearinghouse overlords can take time.

If Creek does indeed qualify, his impact on next season’s team could be greater than any of the other freshman. He’s the most polished incoming offensive player and has the work ethic on defense that the staff will demand to earn playing time. Missing the summer sessions could set him back a bit in getting acclimated academically, but he shouldn’t miss a beat on the floor. He’s been playing pickup with Kevin Durant in Baltimore.

For now, we’ll heed to Crean’s advice and wait with cautious optimism for Creek’s eligibility status to all shake out.

Could Rick Pitino’s indiscretions put Marquis Teague back into play?

Until recently, the idea of prized 2011 Indianapolis Pike guard Marquis Teague playing college basketball somewhere other than Louisville was hard to imagine.

Teague’s father, Shawn, played for Louisville coach Rick Pitino at Boston University. And after the Louisville coach passed on Marquis’ older brother Jeff, a NBA first round pick this past June, Pitino and his staff set their sights on the younger Teague as the cornerstone for their 2011 class.

But the whispers of a Teague commitment to Louisville have all but gone silent after The Louisville Courier-Journal revealed last week that Pitino admitted to having sex with Karen Sypher and then paid her $3,000 for health insurance which was used for an abortion.

And while Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich and President James Ramsey have publicly backed Pitino following his public apology last week, this story still has twists and turns to navigate further. There are pending federal charges against Sypher for attempting to extort up to $10 million from Pitino. Until Sypher’s trial is resolved, she’s perfectly capable of doing even more damage to Pitino’s crumbling reputation.

So where, you ask, does Marquis Teague fit into this equation? For now, Shawn Teague told Jody Demling last week that the latest Pitino news changes nothing in his son’s recruitment:

“It hasn’t changed a thing for us. Of course, I want to see some things fall out a little bit more. Things happen and things can change – even with this situation – and we still have to look to see if anything is going to happen as a result of what did happen. But in terms of who Rick Pitino is and how I feel about him and how my family and Marquis feel about him, there’s no change in that whatsoever.”

With the uncertainty of Pitino’s job status moving forward and two years of high school remaining for Teague, it’s hard to imagine a commitment to Louisville being anything close to imminent. Which puts Indiana and other schools in position to continue making a push for Teague while Pitino tries to convince the guard and his family that he’ll be in Louisville two years from now. Consider the recruitment of Teague far from over.

Fan Report: Bawa, Pritchard, Dumes and Verdell

If you’re following us on Twitter, you know by now that Bawa Muniru is in Bloomington and Maurice Creek should be there shortly. And if you’ve browsed the various IU message boards, you may have read some reports of Bawa and the rest of the IU team playing pickup at the HPER.

What you haven’t read is the following report from Inside the Hall reader Bryan, who told us via about his encounter with Bawa and also details the physical transformation of Tom Pritchard, Devan Dumes and Verdell Jones.

I know there was a story run in the IDS about Bawa being at the HPER playing with all of the guys. Just to add to that story, I saw him today and offered him a ride. He was incredibly nice, smiled, and politely shook his head. I then told him to get used to ridiculous things like people stopping in traffic on the bypass. Yeah, that’s another thing, he was walking on the bypass. At the Dunn intersection. Weird. His face even has defined muscles, it’s quite ridiculous.

I thought it might be a good idea to run a small piece on the progress of players over the course of the summer. I’ve seen a lot of players everyday over the course of the summer and some of them have undergone incredible body transformations. Tom Pritchard is a big-fat-for-instance. At the beginning of June I saw him and he looked like a wad of cookie dough. I saw him today and he looks like he’s lost at least 20 pounds. He looked really lean. Devan Dumes looks bulked up, and the stories about VJ3 hitting the weight room hard have to be true because seeing him last year and then this year yields a glaring difference. I’m a monstrous 6’2, 165lbs and I used to look about the same frame-wise as he did, but now he has some muscle to go with those 7ft. arms.

So there you have it. Bawa’s face has ridiculous muscles and Pritchard, Dumes and Verdell are making strides in the weight room. We’re a Maurice Creek sighting away from a full roster in Bloomington. And that should happen next week. Only 63 more days until Hoosier Hysteria.

Report: IU and Duke will get official visits from Irving

After a glowing performance at the Nike Global Challenge in Oregon this past weekend, St. Patrick’s (NJ) point guard Kyrie Irving revealed on Tuesday to Dave Telep of that he will take an official visit to Indiana.

Irving, the MVP of the Nike Global Challenge, has already visited Bloomington twice and now the Hoosiers will get an official visit this fall.

The point guard’s first look at Assembly Hall was last fall for IU’s season opening win over Northwestern State. More recently, Irving’s New Jersey Roadrunners participated in the adidas May Classic the weekend of May 15-17.

According to Telep’s report, Irving will also visit Duke and is still contemplating visits to the other schools on his list, which includes Virginia, Texas A&M, Seton Hall, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Connecticut.

Dominique Ferguson headed to Florida International

In a move that he says will place him in a program that will build around him, former Lawrence North forward Dominique Ferguson is headed to Florida International. Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports and Evan Daniels of broke the news earlier this afternoon.

Ferguson, who recently announced plans to leave Jack Keefer’s program at Lawrence North, will play this fall at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham (VA) before playing at FIU for Isiah Thomas.

There’s no denying the talent of Ferguson, a consensus top 25 player in the 2010 class, but perceived academic and attitude issues led some of his more notable suitors to take a wait and see approach.

The 6-9 wing de-committed from Kentucky after Billy Gillispie was fired in early April. He attended Indiana’s Elite Camp in June, but did not participate due to an injury. The Indiana staff had expressed interest in Ferguson after he opened up his recruitment, but didn’t offer a scholarship.

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