After a one-year absence from the NCAA tournament, the Hoosiers will make their debut in the 2015 edition of the “Big Dance” this afternoon as they face Wichita State at 2:45 p.m. ET in the CenturyLink Center.
It’s a moment that Indiana’s veterans been waiting for since their exit in the Sweet Sixteen in 2013. For Indiana’s newcomers over the past two seasons, it’s one they have been waiting for their entire lives.
“When I came to college, I assumed I would be in the NCAA tournament at some point,” junior Nick Zeisloft said. “And now it’s finally here. I’m excited and it doesn’t really matter the venue, even though this is one of the greatest ones out here. I’ve played here before and it’s going to be a great atmosphere.”
The glory of playing in the NCAA tournament is something many of the Hoosiers dreamt of growing up. Only juniors Yogi Ferrell and Hanner Mosquera-Perea have experienced it in their careers.
Throughout the week, they have told their teammates of what that experience is like. For some, it’s exactly what they came to Bloomington for.
OMAHA, Neb. — A bit less than two years ago, Yogi Ferrell played in his first NCAA tournament game. He was a freshman at the time, one of Indiana’s least-experienced players on a No. 1 seed squad.
Yet he was a starter on that 2012-2013 Hoosiers team, playing against No. 16 seed James Madison.
On Friday afternoon, Ferrell will make his return to the “Big Dance” when the No. 10 seed Hoosiers play No. 7 seed Wichita State. He is one of just two remaining Indiana players from that eventual Sweet Sixteen team.
Now he is one of the current Hoosiers’ leaders, and Ferrell on Thursday reminisced about his first NCAA tournament game. He said there is plenty he can take from that experience as they prepare for the Shockers.
“I remember the first game we played, JMU, I was going out there and playing for my teammates, really,” he said. “I feel like if we can do that, play for each other, play desperate, play like we don’t want to go home, we can win.”
From the time the Hoosiers’ name was announced on Sunday evening during the NCAA tournament selection show, both Ferrell and Hanner Mosquera-Perea knew they could help their teammates prepare for the Shockers.
OMAHA, Neb. – Tom Crean, Yogi Ferrell, Nick Zeisloft, James Blackmon Jr. and Troy Williams addressed the media earlier today at the CenturyLink Center in advance of Indiana’s game tomorrow
THE MODERATOR: Nick Zeisloft, James Blackmon, Jr., Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell represent the student body of the Indiana Hoosiers. They’re the No. 10 seed in the Midwest region; they’re out of the Big 10 conference, they will play No. 7 Wichita State in Friday’s second game.
Q. Yogi, as you look at Wichita State, what are some of the things that they present that make them a difficult match for you guys? What makes them good?
YOGI FERRELL: One thing about their team is they’re a very solid team. They’ve got basically five solid positions, and that’s what makes them such a great team. They start junior and seniors, so they’re obviously a lot more experienced than we are. They’ve got great 3-point shooters; they’ve got great post presence. Like I said before, just a great experienced team.
OMAHA, Neb. – Indiana players met with the media on Thursday at the CenturyLink Center on Thursday afternoon before taking the floor for an open practice. Check out 48 photos by Jamie Owens in the embedded photo gallery after the jump. See more images and purchase prints from J. Scott Sports.
OMAHA, Neb. – If the decision is left up to him, Indiana junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea will be on the floor tomorrow afternoon when the Hoosiers meet Wichita State in the 2015 NCAA tournament at the CenturyLink Center.
But Perea, who participated in Indiana’s practice on Wednesday at Creighton University as well as the open practice on Thursday afternoon at the CenturyLink Center, won’t be making the final call.
“The trainers haven’t really told me a whole lot,” Perea told assembled media inside IU’s locker room. “They’ve looked at the MRI, the x-ray and all of those things. They haven’t really given me a lot of information. Coach Crean told me as soon as this happened to do whatever they tell me to do and that’s what I’ve been doing. Hopefully they clear me by tomorrow.”
What happened to Perea last Thursday in IU’s 71-56 win over Northwestern in the Big Ten tournament was similar to the injury that forced him to miss seven games earlier this season.
He described that first injury as a dislocation of his knee as well as a hyperextension, but said Thursday that this time it was “basically the same thing, but just not as bad.”