Get in your picks before 5:45 ET tonight. Remember, please state your selection first thing in your comment. Good luck.
No TV: Tonight’s game will not be televised. ESPNU, which the schedule originally indicated would air the game, will broadcast college football: Akron vs. Bowling Green. Might be time to sound check your radio.
Scoring update: You can view the standings on this spreadsheet. Christian Watford won the first two games and Jeremiah Rivers was the winner against Ole Miss.
THE GOOD: FIRST FIVE MINUTES.
This is what this Hoosiers team can be. Running the break efficiently, not letting teams get set up on D, pushing the pace, getting controlled buckets in transition with Jeremiah Rivers and Verdell Jones leading the charge. It actually looked slow to me at points, because IU wasn’t trying to do too much — just simply taking what they were offered.
Rivers had a nice play during this stretch, as he grabbed an air ball and went coast to coast. But then Ole Miss turned up the pressure, started dominating inside, starting hitting shots, blocking IU’s shots, and IU began turning the ball over at an alarming rate. What was once a 20-11 lead quickly became a double-digit deficit.
Ole Miss just had too much to throw at the Hoosiers. They blocked a ridiculous 12 shots on both lines (starters DeAundre Cranston and Eniel Polynice had two each; Terrico White had one, while the bench picked up the remaining seven), and scored at will in stretches. They overpowered IU. The Hoosiers were able to make mini-runs here and there — something last year’s team would not have done — and had it to 69-61 with a bit over 5:00 to go. But after yet another turnover on a fast break (an errant Devan Dumes pass), that was basically it for their chances at a comeback.
For seven minutes in Puerto Rico, Indiana looked capable of hanging with Ole Miss.
And just like that, the Rebels reeled off a 28-5 run en route to a comfortable 89-71 win in the opening round of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Tip-Off Classic.
“I thought our guys responded to Indiana coming out and being aggressive, which you would hope an experienced team would do,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “We have some experienced guards and made some adjustments.”
Indiana had no answer on the inside for Ole Miss (3-0), which blocked 12 shots, out-rebounded IU 46-43 and shot 51.5 percent from the field.
Murphy Holloway scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Rebels and Chris Warren had 16.
“We tried to get Murph behind the zone, because they got so extended on the perimeter,” Kennedy said of Holloway. “It opened up some opportunities behind the zone.”
The Hoosiers (2-1) committed 21 turnovers, 14 in the first half, and shot just 12 of 27 from the foul line.
“We made too many mistakes to win the game,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “They were more physical and we didn’t do a great job of playing through that.”
After trailing by as many as 15 in the second half, Indiana had a chance to cut the lead to six with 5:40 remaining. But an errant pass from Devan Dumes to Jeremiah Rivers on a 3-on-1 fast break ended IU’s 9-2 run.
Maurice Creek led three Indiana players in double figures with 18 points. Verdell Jones added 17 and Rivers had 14. The bench, however, contributed just nine points.
“A loss is a loss,” Jones said. “We just have to come back and improve and get tougher.”
Pick to Click: Jeremiah Rivers
Up next: Boston University at 6:00 ET on Friday.
Tough game for Watford: The freshman from Birmingham (AL) hit just 2 of 10 shots and scored five points. Watford was averaging a double-double in his first two games.
Off the mark from outside: The Hoosiers shot just 3 of 15 from behind the three-point line.
Opponent: Ole Miss Rebels
Date: Thursday, November 19 | 5:00 EST
Arena: Coliseo de Puerto Rico – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Line: Ole Miss by 9
All-time series: First meeting
TV: ESPN 2 (Jon Sciambi and Hubert Davis)
Radio: IU Radio Network (Jeremy Gray and Todd Leary)
- Ole Miss (2-0): Chris Warren, Terrico White, Eniel Polynice, Murphy Holloway, DeAundre Cranston
- Indiana (2-0): Jeremiah Rivers, Verdell Jones, Maurice Creek, Christian Watford, Tom Pritchard
As always, game predictions and thoughts are welcome in the comments leading up to tip-off and during the game.
Get in your picks before 4:45 ET on Thursday. Remember, please state your selection first thing in your comment. Good luck and check out our new ITH apparel.
Scoring update: Several people are two for two, so we’ll wait until the scoring thins out a bit at the top to post a leaderboard.
Roth injured: Not that it matters for PTC purposes because he’s yet to be picked, but Dustin Dopirak of The Herald-Times/Hoosier Scoop is reporting that Matt Roth is injured and likely will not play at all in Puerto Rico.
Two games into the 2009-2010 season, we’ve learned little about the Indiana team that should blossom into a respectable squad once conference play rolls around in late December. Sure, the Hoosiers have won two games comfortably, but it’s hard to judge progress against the likes of Howard and USC Upstate. We know IU is better — but how much better? Our understanding of this question will come more into focus Thursday when IU takes the floor with Ole Miss in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Tip-Off Classic in Puerto Rico.
Plagued by an injury bug that claimed guards Chris Warren, Trevor Gaskins and Eniel Polynice for the season, Andy Kennedy’s admirable coaching job in 2008-2009 led Ole Miss to seven conference wins and a 16-15 record. Warren and Polynice have both recovered from left knee injuries and are joined in the backcourt by sophomore guard Terrico White (pictured), who is projected as a fringe lottery pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
White emerged as Kennedy’s best player as a freshman and averaged 18.4 ppg in conference play on his way to being named the SEC freshman of the year. “Rico,” as he’s called by his coach and teammates, hit close to 50 percent of his two-point attempts as a freshman, but shot just 63 percent from the foul line. Expect Jeremiah Rivers to draw this assignment.