Notebook: IU claims first Big Ten Tournament win since 2006

  • 03/08/2012 6:59 pm in

Indiana arrived in Indianapolis on Thursday without a Big Ten Tournament win in five years.

It left the floor in Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a comfortable 75-58 victory over Penn State and their third win over the Nittany Lions this season.

“It was just another step,” Indiana junior Christian Watford said of the opening round win. “We’re going to take it a game at a time. It’s been a long time coming, and we’re going to enjoy it, but we know we got to get ready to play Wisconsin next.”

After leading by just six at halftime, the Hoosiers (25-7) ripped off a 14-0 run early in the second half and led by as many 22 down the stretch.

It was their fifth straight win.

“I think our defense picked up in that period [of the second half run],” Indiana freshman Cody Zeller said. “Our defense kind of led into our offense. Where we’re most successful is when we’re defending and rebounding.”

Indiana dominated Penn State on the glass by posting an offensive rebounding percentage of 37.9%, which led to 20 second chance points.

Three players — Victor Oladipo, Watford and Zeller — had 10 rebounds. Aggressiveness on the glass was a huge key, according to Oladipo.

“I was just trying to get the ball because if I rebound, it’s easier for us,” he said. “I feel like if I get a rebound and I lead the break, a lot of us can run and we can get easy layups. I was just trying to be aggressive on the defensive and offensive boards.”

Hulls heats up from the perimeter

Jordan Hulls continued to rebound from a three-game shooting slump in mid-February with his fourth straight double figure scoring performance.

The junior guard finished with a team-high 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting and was assertive from the opening tip.

“Shot were falling down for me,” Hulls said. “Teammates were finding me when I was open, and I was able to create a little bit on my own.”

It was Hulls’ third game with 20 or more points this season and second against Penn State. Hulls scored a career-high 28 points against the Nittany Lions in a 88-82 win on Jan. 8 at Assembly Hall.

Looking ahead to Wisconsin

The Hoosiers will look to knock off one of two Big Ten teams they failed to beat in the regular season — Wisconsin — in a Friday afternoon quarterfinal.

The Badgers (23-8) present a significant challenge from a tempo perspective as they average just 58.9 possessions per game. That’s the slowest pace in all of Division I.

Wisconsin won the only regular season meeting between the two teams, 57-50, 0n Jan. 26 in Madison.

“They take care of the ball really well,” Hulls said of the Badgers. “Obviously they move the ball and they’ve got a lot of shooters and they play defense. There’s lot of different things things we need to do. We’ve gotta execute on offense and create offense through our defense.”

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  • NervousWreck

    Feeling very nervous/anxious about this game tomorrow.  I know IU was a different team when they played in Madison, but I remember that game pretty well.  Verdell played his ass off that game and carried this team when no one else could score.  IU’s defense was also stellar.

    With what happened to Verdell, which literally made me sick for him, someone needs to step up vocally (Hulls).  In addition, what worked best against Wisconsin was Jones attacking the basket, so Victor needs to get redonkulous (like we all know he can) in this one.

    Watford needs to continue to dominate and take Evans out of his game too.  Zeller will be out for revenge in this one after playing not so well in Madison.

    Do that, and play that incredible defense we know they can play, and this should be a W.  A win is a win, but it’d be nice to just blow them out of the freakin’ water…..Don’t stop now boys!    

  • mrjonessodaandme

    If we let them dictate play, they are better.
    If we dictate play, we are much better.

    If we at least play our game to start the game and push a lead, I think we can win no matter where it goes from there.

  • Geoff_85

    I would definitely like to see the Hoosiers team that has Victor Oladipo driving the lane and dunking, getting fouled, or dishing. Attack, attack, attack. I think you try to force the pace in the first half against this badgers team. You can’t make them hurry on offense (they are excruciating to watch 90% of the time with their extremely slow pace), but you can hound them and force turnovers and get out in transition. It’ll be fun to see the chess match between Bo Cryin’ and Coach Crean. In that first game, the Hoosiers darn near beat the badgers at their own game, but any team is hard to beat when it’s 8 on 5 in their favor. Also, it sure seems like Jordan Hulls is improving on defense, but I think you put Oladipo or maybe even Watford on Taylor. The badgers can beat the Hoosiers on a neutral court, but you sure have to feel good about IU’s chances in this one. HOO! HOO! HOO! HOOSIERS!

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Talking about 8 on 5 last meeting…the zebra’s weren’t that bad yesterday.  If we pull Hightower again he might have it in his heart for us on this one.  He used to love IU years ago and then seemed to turn.  But as of late not bad…the one I can’t stand is the old grey hair box head shape zebra, too old to be running with 18 yr olds and he doesn’t like IU…at least his calls don’t.

  • WhatsUpKnight

    going to be sweet, sweet revenge today!!! they’re not going to have the benefit of home cookin’ this time around, and i can guarantee you vj3 is going to deliver the granddaddy of all pregame speeches. win it for vj, boys! win it for vj!!!!!

  • HoosierDawg

    You’re referring to Jim Burr who has been hating on the Hoosiers since the 1980’s. The guy belongs in a rest home, not on the major college basketball scene.

  • DannerPerea

    This is totally off topic, but we Hoosiers wont have to endure Bruce Whiner anymore as the Caoch of illannoy. That’s the good news. The bad news is Shaka Smart from VCU is probably gonna take his place. I don’t follow VCU ball, but he seemed to get a lot out of his players last year.

  • Snoop_Sanders

    Crashing the Dance (Seems like the most data-driven bracketology site) currently has the Hoosiers as a comfortable 3 seed. Maybe in Louisville or Columbus pod. Would be huge!

  • Will The Thrill

    He’s doing it again this year, and has a very unique style of play, especially compared to other B10 teams.  

  • You are right, we are in the running for a 3 seed… more so now that Georgetown and Marquette both lost yesterday.  Joe Lunardi had them both as 3 seeds prior to the losses and this leaves just enough space for the Hoosiers to make the jump.  They just have to beat Wisconsin.  You all are also right about playing at our pace and attacking the basket.  This team has to get penetration into the lane, score in the paint, and put pressure on the Wisky defense.  If we do that, it will only open up kick out opportunities for our shooters.  We also need Sheehey to step up in Verdell’s absence, more so than the others.  Everyone will have to step up, but Will especially needs to play great the rest of the way.  GO HOOSIERS.