Hoosiers begin busy stretch tonight against No. 22 SMU

  • 11/20/2014 9:02 am in

Whether they are ready or not, Indiana is about to get plenty of game experience quickly.

In the span of the next five days, the Hoosiers are set to play SMU, Lamar on Saturday and Eastern Washington on Monday.

The quick succession begins with tonight’s battle at 8 p.m. against the Mustangs, ranked No. 22 in the latest AP poll. And as far as if it has come in good timing, according to Indiana coach Tom Crean, it actually proposes several challenges.

“As far as this next stretch of games, is it optimal? It is what it is,” Crean said on Wednesday afternoon. “Ask the players if they want to play games and they say they love it. As for the coaches, you have to make sure that you aren’t getting away from making your team better, and not just turning it into preparation time.”

Indiana’s first opponent in the three-game stretch will be its toughest. SMU, despite its loss on Monday to Gonzaga, is rebounding 41.4 percent of its misses thus far — and Indiana has allowed 30 offensive rebounds in its first two games alone.

But the Hoosiers will get some necessary help, starting with tonight’s game. Suspended players Troy Williams, Stan Robinson and Emmitt Holt all are eligible to play tonight after missing the Hoosiers’ first two games — and all should be able to help on the boards.

“I know they are anxious to get back,” junior Nick Zeisloft said. “We are anxious to have them back too. We’ve been wanting them to be with us the whole time and unfortunately, they couldn’t be. We’re glad to have them back and they will add a lot to our team.”

“We are really happy to have those guys back,” junior Yogi Ferrell added. “Troy and Stan can get in there and rebound for us. They will mix well with us in helping us spread out the court. Pretty happy to have them back.”

Tonight’s battle against the Mustangs will also help the Hoosiers get a better gauge of where they stand, as well. The game will be the first test for the much-changed Indiana squad that lacks size but now has a much-improved shooting ability.

It has not affected the team thus far against the likes of Mississippi Valley State and Texas Southern. But it has yet to face a team with the size and athleticism like SMU has.

“Definitely it’s a good test for us,” Zeisloft said. “We will see where we are as a team. They are very athletic and long, and we haven’t really seen an opponent like that thus far. So it will be a good test for us.”

Of course, following tonight’s game, the Hoosiers will have a quick turnaround for Saturday’s game and another before Monday’s game. It means Robinson, Williams and Holt will all get needed game experience in a short span.

But it also means the Hoosiers will need to remain focused in such a short span, as Crean warned. It’s something that Zeisloft said his teammates are quite prepared for.

“It definitely is a big deal for us,” Zeisloft said. “We’ve got to take care of our bodies and also be mentally ready for each game because they are hitting you pretty quickly. You’ve got to take it one game at a time and once one is done, have that fast transition into the next game.”

Filed to:

  • Hoosier Hall

    I predict that we will be 5 – 0 after Monday night. Troy was a decent rebounder last season and has added bulk. Stan is similar to Rob as far as rebounding from the guard position and Emmitt should help as well. Our defense has to improve all around but is anyone concerned about our boys putting points on the board?? I don’t think so!!

  • BC2

    Crean has appointed Zeislof as a team leader. He sounds like a leader in his interviews. but, his on court play has looked anything like a leader. I might just need to change my expectations. I was expecting a guy who could hit the jumper when open and be an example on how to take care of the ball. I’m not a stats guy and I don’t know his turnover rate. The eye test tells it’s pretty high. If he’s the on court leader than the turnover issue doesn’t look like it’s going to get fixed.

  • Hoosier Hall

    He’s had no issues knocking down shots but he definitely has had some turnovers. He may still be adjusting to our style of play…

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I agree – I think assembly hall will be rocking tonight and excited to root for the suspended players. We also should learn more about HMP tonight. If he stays out of foul trouble, gets 8+ rebounds, limits turnovers, and scores in the natural flow of the game (like the OSU game last year), then we can all take a moment and say, nice job HMP!

  • He has the third highest effective field goal percentage in the country through two games. I’d say he’s hitting open shots just fine.

    We’ll see what happens on the turnovers (he hasn’t been good so far), but his numbers last year at Illinois State would have been the best on IU’s team.

  • Kyl470

    Just some stats for you. He is shooting 80% on FG and 71% on three pointers. He does have four turnovers in two games, but Yogi has double that so I’d say he is more of a turnover problem than Nick at this moment.

  • John Temple

    The issue for the three suspended players is where they will play. The 3 spot will be crowded and that’s all three’s natural postion. Substituting them as starters for Blackmon, Johnson or Yogi just reduces our offensive production. Right now I think they all have to be seen as backups for Hanner and Zeitsloft and need to earn their way back as starters.

  • Kyl470

    I like our chances in this game because personally I think SMU is overrated and is not a top 25 team. I think come seasons end they will be a bubble team as far as making the NCAA tournament. Either way this is our first real test as the year and I’m excited to watch the team pass that test with a 9 point victory (take that Vegas).

  • Kyl470

    My guess is Stan comes off the bench, but Troy will most likely start. Holt is the wild card not sure how many minutes he will get. My best guess on Holt is under 8 minutes.

  • BC2

    My worry was only his turnovers not his shooting. I think HH made a good point about still adjusting to our style of play.

  • Ole Man

    NZ would give us a four guard lineup; and that we do not need. Sit NZ for Troy.

  • Holt is not a three. He’s a four man that will play inside.

  • MK

    4 turnovers in two games. Are we watching the same sport?

  • drewmiller1

    Yogi handles the bar a ton more, so wouldn’t looking at a stat like TOrate be a better way to evaluate this? Yogi is at 24.5% vs Zeisloft at 30.9%. Even so I think we are still way to early in the season to really have accurate data.

  • millzy32

    I think it is the style of play that causes the high rate of turnovers. Not sure if this will ever change. Crean’s teams always have been turnover machines. I think he must be fine with the trade off otherwise he’d change the system wouldn’t you think?

  • BC2

    I said I didn’t know the stat. My eyes must have lied to me.

  • IU_Fan_99

    Poll question…. if we are 5-0 after Monday… do we crack the top 25?

  • Bill

    Wow. I haD no expectations of zeisloft. He has impressed my with guts alone. The missed free throw – hit a 3. A few other pure guts step back threes.

    Upgrade to Austin for sure. That’s all we can hope four. Role player upgrade. I think we got one. He and Collin are role player upgrades

  • Michael

    You bet skippy

  • Derek Morris

    I’m hoping SMU is legit because we need quality wins on our resume for March. I hope they stay around a top 25 team at least.

  • Robert Weber

    If not, we should at least be receiving votes.

  • David Macer

    He has had a total of 4 TO’s in 57 minutes of playing time. Secondly, the fast paced style of play that IU employees will, by it’s nature, have more TO’s. You do realize that our TO rate was very similar in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    When I looked at this situation objectively, I came to the same conclusion.
    Though I think he has done a pretty good job, particularly for a first year transfer, it is the best solution for Zeisloft to come off the bench.
    More intriguing to me is the RJ, SR situation.
    Those 2 should make each other better with the competition.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    Both Zeisloft, and Hartman make effort a priority.

  • David Macer

    Pre-season #22 in AP. KenPom has them #39. His ratings are far better than a bunch of sports writers (my apologies Alex).

  • jwcasey

    As long as the SEC bias doesn’t keep us out.

  • Hoosier Pride

    I believe Stan is a tweener, he has the ability to play 1-3, Troy is a solid 3 that will probably see more time at the 4 and Holt is a true 4.

  • Dave Carnes

    Tonight will be my first time back to assembly since we lost to the Richmond Spiders in the NIT.Perdiction 80 63 IU Love Nic Moore but they don’t look top 25 to me.

  • KmanCRK

    As obvious a no-brainer as there is. Troy must play and play big for us to win.

  • CreanFaithful

    No votes this week. I doubt it. But we’ll start getting votes with 3 wins this week.

  • KmanCRK

    I can’t imagine that we will ever see effort from Troy and Stan like we will tonight. I loved Stan’s toughness last year and if he and Troy play harder than they ever have, we should have no problems winning this game at Assembly Hall.

    Go Hoosiers!!

  • Hoosier Hall

    I think SMU drops way off in the rankings. They lost Kennedy and didn’t look so good in the Gonzaga game. They are still top 40 IMO, so this will still be a good win. We should be very close to the top 25 if not right in it.

  • Ryan Hill

    Personally enjoy seeing Alex and some of the guys on here from time to time mixing it up with us Arm Chair gurus. Thank you guys for the work as well as being available to your audience.

  • IUDan

    I’ll say this … I expect the “Suspendee Three” to “play like they mean it” tonight … As they’ve said, they owe their teammates.

    That said, will give Holt some leeway as it’s his first game in the Hall. Really looking forward to seeing what we have with him – if not tonight, at least soon.

  • aHoopandaPrayer

    Last year one of our generous fellow fans created and linked to a Google Calendar including all of IU’s games. Anybody happen to have created one of these this year so that I don’t have to?! ; ]

  • E Foy McNaughton

    We will be knocking on the door. But 0 votes as of yet.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I agree that Stan / Troy are natural 3’s — but Stan can play the 2 and Troy can play the 4. So, I believe that TW steps in and plays immediately at the 4 and Stan subs in at both the 2 & 3 spots.

    EH is not a 3, period. I think he subs in at the 4 & 5 spots, but gets less minutes than TW or SR because he will mostly play the 5, just spot minutes unless HMP gets in foul trouble.

  • Guest

    Personally enjoy seeing Alex and some of the guys on here from time to time mixing it up with us Arm Chair gurus. Thank you guys for the work as well as being available to your audience.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    They aren’t going to play a 4 guard lineup against a team with the height & length of SMU

  • E Foy McNaughton

    My son raises both arms to signal a “3” every time NZ shoots a 3… safe to say his shooting is NOT a problem.

  • BigAd007

    Agree that AH will be rocking. It’s the start of Thanksgiving Break for most students, so you can expect us to be pretty rowdy!

  • calbert40

    Not yet. Maybe votes, but not in the Top 25. Also, it depends on how we look in the wins.

  • Ole Man

    Great tip! Thanks.

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  • AgentaAllstar7

    So much for that thinking.Zeisloft knocked down big shots and played quite well!! Thats a confident player