The Inside the Hall Mailbag: September 23


The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), submitted on our premium forum and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

mcoghlan on the premium forum writes: What do you think the ceiling and floor is for this year’s team?

Wasting no time putting me on the spot, mcoghlan. Although I do have a bit of an advantage from seeing IU’s games in Canada, those games didn’t include Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Emmitt Holt, two players I expect to have an impact on this year’s team. I certainly believe this team has the personnel to get into the NCAA tournament, assuming the turnover problem is improved upon and IU is able to hold its own defending the paint and on the glass.

The floor would likely be a repeat performance of last season’s team in which turnovers are still a major problem and a young team struggles to finish off opponents after grabbing a lead. — Alex Bozich

kmark22 on the premium forum writes: For the 2015 or 2016 class do you see IU pursuing a point guard and if so, is it more in the mold of Robert Johnson or Yogi Ferrell?

Indiana is recruiting Shake Milton, who can play either guard spot, in the 2015 class and I think it’s a fair assumption that the Hoosier staff will be looking for point guard help in the 2016 class. With Yogi Ferrell locking down the point guard position since the day he arrived on campus, it probably hasn’t been the easiest sell to recruit a pure point guard in the last few classes.


2014-2015 ITH season preview: Iowa Hawkeyes


With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Iowa finally reached the NCAA tournament last season in year four of the Fran McCaffery era, but the Hawkeyes didn’t get there easily.

After an 82-70 win at Penn State on Feb. 15 that put its record at 19-6, Iowa dropped seven of its final eight games, including a NCAA tournament “first four” game to Tennessee. The pressure is now on McCaffery to follow up last year’s campaign with another postseason berth and it appears he has the pieces to do just that.

Despite losing leading scorer Devyn Marble to graduation and two other contributors in Melsahn Basabe and Zach McCabe, the Hawkeyes return a solid nucleus of talent that includes three starters. The leader of that group is senior Aaron White, who may be the most underrated player in the conference.  As a junior, he led the Big Ten in effective field goal percentage and was second in free throw rate. He shot over 63 percent on 2s and was also in the top 10 in the conference in defensive rebounding percentage.

The other two starters returning are junior point guard Mike Gesell and junior center Adam Woodbury. Gesell was third among Big Ten players a season ago in assist rate (28.6), but was a poor shooter (43.5 effective field goal percentage). Woodbury, who was viewed as a major recruiting win for McCaffery, hasn’t developed offensively but is a solid offensive rebounder (11.5 OR%) and shot blocker who is very foul prone.


2014-2015 ITH season preview: Purdue Boilermakers


With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Purdue Boilermakers.

After a CBI appearance two seasons ago and missing the postseason altogether last season, it may be a make or break season for Matt Painter in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers finished just 15-17 a season ago, which led to a candid speech from Painter following a home loss to Northwestern on March 9.

“First of all, it’s my fault,” he said. “It’s my job to get guys to play together, it’s my job to get guys to play, it’s my job to get guys to play smart, and we don’t do any of those. And so that is my fault. When you start off, people will always give you a break. But when you’re somewhere for nine years, they shouldn’t. They absolutely shouldn’t, because it is my fault we are in this position.”

If Painter is to orchestrate a turnaround this season, he’ll have to do so with a made over roster. Last season’s leading scorer Terone Johnson graduated, point guard Ronnie Johnson transferred and three other rotation players are gone.

A.J. Hammons opted to return for his junior season, which was a major offseason victory for the program and three sophomores who showed promise a season ago — Basil Smotherman, Kendall Stephens and Bryson Scott — are all back as well. Purdue also welcomes a five-man recruiting class that includes a 247Composite top 100 post player in Isaac Haas, a solid point guard in P.J. Thompson and Vince Edwards, another top 150 recruit.


2014-2015 ITH season preview: Northwestern Wildcats


With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Northwestern Wildcats.

Welsh-Ryan Arena has a new high-definition, 23-foot wide video scoreboard.

It will have little to do with Northwestern’s on-court play, but for those witness to the archaic, somewhat laughable screen that still hung from the rafters just last season, it’s symbolic of the program’s shift from Bill Carmody to Chris Collins: Modernity is the new rule.

Freshman Vic Law, a local product from St. Rita, arrives as the program’s top recruit in two decades (Evan Eschmeyer, 1993) — and just maybe its best ever. Law figures to draw the starting wing spot for Collins and be a top contributor from the get-go. Northwestern loses veteran Drew Crawford (15.7 PPG) off a team with limited bodies last season, but JerShon Cobb (redshirt senior, 12.2 PPG) and Tre Demps (reshirt junior, 11.0 PPG) return. They were the only other double-digit scorers for Collins during the 2013-2014 campaign.

Down low, Alex Olah is back for his junior season. At 7-foot and 265 pounds, he’s a bruiser and tough cover. Olah made great strides last season, developing more of an offensive game and improving his field goal percentage (41.5 percent to 50.9 percent). Olah also became a more respectable shooter from the charity stripe (58.3 percent to 68.0 percent) and proved a modest threat from distance (30.3 percent) for a player his size. He’ll be essential for the Wildcats during the physical Big Ten season on both ends of the court (block percentage of 6.3).


More TV designations announced for IU’s 2014-2015 schedule


The Big Ten announced television designations on Thursday for the remainder of league games that will be shown on either CBS or the ESPN family of networks.

Indiana will have a total of six conference games shown on the ESPN family of networks, two shown on CBS and a flex game against Rutgers that will be televised by either BTN or CBS.

The Hoosiers will also have one non-conference game on ESPN, two on ESPN2 and one on ESPNews.

Below is a list of all of the designations announced today by IU media relations and the Big Ten:

ESPN family of networks

24, Eastern Washington, 7:30 p.m., ESPNews

2, Pittsburgh, 7 p.m., ESPN2
9, Louisville, 9 p.m., ESPN
27, Georgetown, Noon, ESPN2

10, Ohio State, Noon or 1 p.m., ESPN or ESPNU
22, Maryland, 9 p.m., ESPNU


2014-2015 ITH season preview: Penn State Nittany Lions

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Penn State Nittany Lions.

What a difference a year makes. After Penn State finished the 2012-13 season with a meager 10-21 record and 2-16 mark in conference play, the Nittany Lions showed last season they could be a formidable threat under Pat Chambers.

They pushed Indiana to the wire in State College. They beat Indiana in Bloomington. They also beat NCAA tournament squads Ohio State (twice), Nebraska and Mount St. Mary’s en route to a 16-18 (6-12) record and a berth into the College Basketball Invitational — their best season since 2010-2011.

Of course, that’s all in the past. But entering year four at Penn State, Chambers has proven he can make the Nittany Lions competitive in the Big Ten. And this season, the Nittany Lions could surprise, once again.

The big, glaring loss from last season’s team, though, is that of guard Tim Frazier, one of the all-time Penn State greats. The all-time assists leader at the school, Frazier provided the Nittany Lions with both on-court and off-court leadership — he was the team captain for three years, too. His loss leaves a lot to be made up for this season.


2014-2015 ITH season preview: Rutgers Scarlet Knights


With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we continue our look at the Big Ten with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Last season was Eddie Jordan’s first at the helm of the Rutgers basketball program, and it didn’t come easy.

The Scarlet Knights struggled and lost to the likes of UAB, Drexel, William and Mary and Farleigh Dickinson — and that was just in the non-conference season. Playing their first and only season in the American Athletic Conference, the Scarlet Knights finished just 5-13 in conference action, ending the season with a 92-31 loss to Louisville in the AAC tournament and an overall 12-21 record.

And things won’t get easier from here. On July 1, Rutgers officially joined the Big Ten, a perennial power league in college basketball. And for a school that has not had an overall record at or above .500 since the 2005-2006 season and a league record of .500 or better since 2001-2002, it will face an uphill battle as it makes the transition from the old Big East to its new home in the Big Ten.

For Jordan, he sees the process as “rebuilding.” Over the offseason, the Scarlet Knights lost two starters in Wally Judge and J.J. Moore. Both were forwards and former transfers, averaging a combined 18.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game and giving Rutgers some experience and stability in an otherwise tumultuous season. Rutgers also lost guards Jerome Seagears and D’Von Campbell, who both transferred out of the New Brunswick school.


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