Twitter Mailbag Archive

The Inside the Hall Mailbag: March 21

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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.

rmclelan on the premium forum writes: How will playing time in Indiana’s backcourt play out next year? Assuming Yogi Ferrell commands 30 plus minutes per game, how will James Blackmon Jr., Stan Robinson and Robert Johnson share time? With the likelihood of Noah Vonleh turning pro, do you foresee Indiana playing a three guard lineup (reminiscent of Dee Brown, Deron Williams and Luther Head several years ago at Illinois)? Unlike this past season, competition seems very steep at the guard position for Indiana next season.

You’re definitely going to see a lot of three-guard lineups next season. There were plenty of three-guard lineups this past season, too, but the major difference will be that IU should be able to surround Ferrell with a couple of more versatile scorers in Blackmon Jr. and Johnson. Those guys should also help guys like Robinson and Troy Williams as well because defenses won’t just be able to sag off and help when they attack the basket with Blackmon Jr. and Johnson roaming the perimeter.

In most cases, Indiana should be able to get away with three guards and even an undersized four (Williams, Devin Davis) on the court at the same time. The frontcourt situation obviously still has a lot to play out and is perhaps the most interesting storyline of the offseason. — Alex Bozich

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The Inside the Hall Mailbag: March 11

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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.

@rlcarr34 on Twitter writes: Why do you think HMP plays less after having his best game when the need for a big is there? (Vonleh out, J. Morgan crushing us)

I think a lot of it has to do with matchups. Against Ohio State, Mosquera-Perea was effective in the screen and roll and defensively, he was essentially able to hover around the rim because Amir Williams and Trey McDonald aren’t threats on the perimeter.

That obviously wasn’t the case against Nebraska as Walter Pitchford plays the five, but operates primarily on the perimeter. That likely would’ve been a poor matchup defensively for Mosquera-Perea.

Against Michigan, if you look at what Indiana was running offensively, most of it was coming off of movement from the sides. IU had great spacing, which allowed for plenty of easy baskets at the rim. That’s not really conducive to using Mosquera-Perea because that’s just not his game. Morgan did hurt IU inside, but IU also scored 80 points and had its best offensive output in Big Ten play, so I’m not sure it was a bad tradeoff. IU was going to have to score a ton to win in Ann Arbor and the lineups used probably gave them the best chance to pull it off, even though they fell short. – Alex Bozich

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The Inside the Hall Mailbag: February 6

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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.

JRFarrell on the premium forum writes: It is widely known IU’s non-conference schedule was weak this year. And even if they are a bubble team by season’s-end this will reflect poorly on them and surely reduce their chances at an at-large bid. I understand IU will play Louisville next year in NY, but have there been any talks about doing a 4-team series similar to the Champions Classic played earlier this year? (IU, Louisville, Kentucky, and OSU OR Cincinnati would be great and make sense regionally in the heart of basketball country).

While it’s true that IU’s strength of schedule wasn’t good in the non-conference (KenPom ranks it 327th nationally), I’m also not sure a more ambitious schedule would have helped the Hoosiers. IU finished that part of its schedule with a 10-3 mark. With a young team, I’m not sure playing two or three more games that could have been potential losses would have been a good thing long term. If IU was, say 12-10 right now instead of 14-8, would its chances of an at-large bid be better? I would say no. With the strength of the Big Ten, IU’s chances to get to the NCAA tournament are largely going to be determine by its conference record and who the Hoosiers beat in league play. The bubble is soft this year and if the Hoosiers can get to nine Big Ten wins, they will certainly have an argument to be included.

As for the second part of the question, IU is already locked into the Crossroads Classic which rotates between Butler and Notre Dame as well as the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The Louisville game as part of the Jimmy V Classic will obviously be a nice boost for next season, but I don’t think there’s going to be another four-team event starting up unless the Crossroads Classic ends. A major part of non-conference scheduling is getting in a certain number of home dates, so that has to be taken into consideration as well. — Alex Bozich

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The Inside the Hall Mailbag: December 28

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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.

HoosierSmitty on the premium forum writes: Aside from the turnover issue, what is going to be Indiana’s biggest obstacle in the B1G?

Though turnovers are going to be an issue with this team going forward, I think Indiana’s biggest obstacle heading into the Big Ten season outside of that will be finding some diversity in its scoring.

It’s been well-documented that Indiana has struggled from beyond the arc this season, and come Tuesday, teams will start trying to force Indiana to shoot from the outside. Opponents will have the tools to stop the Hoosiers in the paint, and if outside scoring is a struggle already — only 18 percent of their scoring comes from 3-pointers, 22nd-worst in the country — they might have even more trouble scoring come conference play. That in itself might be the Hoosiers’ biggest obstacle in the Big Ten outside of its turnover issues at the moment. — Jordan Littman

HoosierFan76 on the premium forum writes: Do you feel that the starting lineup is set in stone? This year promised more variation in the lineup, but to this point the only change was starting Jeff Howard in place of Jeremy Hollowell for one game, which seemed to work pretty well to motivate Jeremy. Some advocate moving Luke Fischer into the starting lineup and sending either Troy Williams or Jeremy to the bench. Others question whether Evan Gordon or Stan Robinson should start in place of Troy. Do you see any of those possibilities as likely to happen, or do you think that Coach Crean has found his starting five and will stick to it the rest of the season?

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The Inside the Hall Mailbag: December 5

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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.

kmark22 on the premium forum writes: Draft Express has Noah Vonleh #8, NBADraft.net has him #9, and ESPN’s Chad Ford has him at #9 as well. Is it more realistic than we think Vonleh could be one and done?

It’s early December and as interesting as it is to discuss mock drafts or big boards at this point, they’re relatively meaningless. The most important games of the season have yet to be played. If you went back and looked at the mock drafts from this time last year, most of them probably had Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress as lottery picks and Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke nowhere near the lottery. And we all know how that worked out.

Vonleh is going to be highly coveted by NBA teams whenever he decides to come out. He has the physical attributes that NBA general managers and scouts love, he’s a high character kid and he wants to get better.

The one thing that has me hesitant on all of this buzz for Vonleh coming out after one year is just how loaded this draft is at the top. His ceiling in the 2015 draft may be much higher (which is somewhat important when you look at the rookie salary scale) and he’s also just four months removed from turning 18. Right now, I’d use these predictions and rankings for entertainment value and not put too much stock into viewing them as indicative of what’s to come. – Alex Bozich

NervousWreck on the premium forum writes: Rotations and substitution patterns seem to be a hot topic. In your opinion – who’s getting too little playing time on this roster and who’s getting too much playing time?

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The Inside the Hall Mailbag: November 7

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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 writes: Outside of free throws, Noah (Vonleh) has looked very impressive and seems to have a lot of potential. Do you see him eventually becoming a better player than Cody (Zeller)?

If we’re talking eventually as in one day down the line in the NBA, I’ll say maybe. If we’re talking eventually as in while at Indiana, I’ll say no. And that’s no knock on Noah Vonleh. I think he has a chance to be an outstanding player.

But Cody Zeller was just the No. 4 pick in the NBA Draft and deserves a ton of credit for Indiana winning 56 games over the past two seasons. He was the best running big man in college basketball and arguably the most efficient big last season. It’s no coincidence that Indiana went from 12 wins in 2010-2011 to 27 in 2011-2012. Zeller was not only excellent himself, he made others around him better. There’s no doubt Vonleh will be very good with a chance to be great, but Zeller has already done it so I’ll stick with him until proven otherwise. — Alex Bozich

kleeman20 writes: I guess I’m one of the few who hasn’t noticed the big improvements from (Jeremy) Hollowell and (Hanner) Perea that were touted all off season. I know it was just two exhibitions, but if those two aren’t major factors, aren’t we at best an NIT team?

Even though you haven’t seen the improvements from both Hollowell and Perea yet, they definitely have both improved over the offseason. And I think that improvement could even mean they are both much more comfortable on the court than they were in their freshman seasons.

If, for some reason, neither of them can contribute on the court, I think this team can survive. That said, the depth and experience — in both the backcourt and frontcourt — would be severely impacted, and I wouldn’t expect them to make the NCAA tournament and think the NIT would certainly be a more realistic option. That said, I see both Hollowell and Perea making contributions to this team and think that an NCAA tournament berth is certainly within reach this season.  – Jordan Littman

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The Inside the Hall Mailbag: October 17

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

@daviddoss8315 on Twitter writes: Tom Crean was in to see James Blackmon Jr. recently. What is his status?

Not surprisingly, Blackmon Jr. remains a topic of conversation for Indiana fans as the Hoosiers have still been recruiting him hard. And the recent news that he is no longer planning a decision on Oct. 22, immediately after his Kentucky visit, provided some optimism.

As for his status, I traded texts with Blackmon Jr. this week and it does sound as if Indiana will get another visit before his final decision is made. Publicly, he’s working from a list of five finalists: Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, but Kansas and Michigan State aren’t considered serious contenders.

Blackmon Jr. has already taken an official visit to Michigan and the trip to Lexington takes place this weekend. Assuming current plans don’t change, Indiana figures to get the last crack at a visit and a decision should follow shortly after that. A potential domino to watch is Devin Booker, who is a similar player to Blackmon Jr. and is also being recruited by Kentucky and Michigan. — Alex Bozich

Terry Beard on Facebook writes: When is Devin Robinson expected to announce his college choice?

There’s been some vague reporting that Robinson “could” announce a decision this week, but it’s Thursday and no plans have been firmed up at this point. Oklahoma State and Florida have been in to visit Robinson this week at the Christchurch School (Va.) and Indiana and Notre Dame are expected to follow suit.

I reached out to Robinson’s high school coach, Ben Thompson, earlier this week, to get his thoughts on when a decision may come. Here’s what he told me: “I don’t get any sense of urgency so that’s why I don’t get why people are jumping the gun that he’s going to make a decision right away. I don’t know when that’s coming. He’s going through the process right now without setting any kind of timetable.”

Things can always change quickly, but as of this writing, there’s no firm plan on a timetable. – Alex Bozich

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