Indiana and Louisville set for ‘a hell of a game’

  • 12/09/2014 10:02 am in

Indiana’s preparation through its first eight games this season has all led to tonight.

The Hoosiers (7-1) scheduled SMU for the Mustangs’ defensive pressure and steals it forces. It focused on Pittsburgh’s defense in the days leading up to the ACC/Big 10 Challenge meeting. But Indiana coach Tom Crean acknowledged none of Indiana’s eight prior opponents compare to No. 4 Louisville (7-0).

The two teams play tonight at approximately 9:30 in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

“This is a really big, athletic, mobile team that can rebound well,” Crean said. “They can post up. They can drive it. Their pressure is really strong.

“For us, we are going to have to play out of our minds.”

As with most Louisville teams under Rick Pitino, this year’s Cardinals squad is already establishing itself as one of the top defensive corps in the country led by 6-foot-8 junior Montrezl Harrell. As of Monday evening, the Cardinals ranked No. 2 in the nation in defensive efficiency, allowing 0.84 points per possession. Opponents are also shooting just a 35.2 effective field goal percentage (No. 2 in the nation) and are being forced into an average 27.7 turnover percentage (No. 4 in the nation).

The Hoosiers were tested on Saturday against Savannah State, which pressed and forced an IU 20.6% turnover rate. Louisville will do the same tonight. But Indiana has yet to experience a defense the caliber of Louisville.

“They have as good of a pressure defensive team as I have seen to this point,” Crean said. “Our offense is going to have to be outstanding, because they are going to do different things, defensively, but you really have to be able to run your zone offense and run it crisply and sharp and get movement.”

Defensively, the Hoosiers once again will have to deal with a team that will challenge them on the boards. The Cardinals are averaging a 41.4 offensive rebound percentage — the 11th best rate in the country — and their effective height ranks No. 33 in the nation, as well. They also are shooting 54.1 percent in the paint.

The numbers have Indiana’s attention. The Hoosiers know they have to be at their best on both ends of the floor.

“We have to make good decisions on offense and on defense,” junior Yogi Ferrell said. “They attack and put pressure on you the whole game so you have to be ready.”

Louisville also faces a challenge against the Hoosiers, Pitino said following the Cardinals’ 82-57 win over FIU on Friday.

He admitted Indiana is a better shooting team. He admitted the Hoosiers are a better passing team. But he also admitted the Cardinals will have to focus most on defending the three.

“Tom and I got together before the season started at a function, and he said he’s going to take anywhere from 25 to 35 threes per game,” Pitino said. “And they shoot it really well. So we’ve got to extend our defense and play much better than we did with that second unit tonight giving up those threes.

“It will be a hell of a game.”

Crean said he has seen his team make progress through the first three and a half weeks of the season.

The Hoosiers, over their past two games, have allowed two of their three lowest effective field goal percentages this season. The offense continues to click and ranks No. 12 in the country.

That improvement will be put to the challenge tonight. As Crean said, “they will get severely tested.”

“I have as much respect for (Pitino) as I can possibly have,” Crean said. “He is very, very hard to prepare against. But you look forward to it because you know you are going to have to play extremely well against his teams.”

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  • eville87

    I’m saying it and I haven’t started drinking yet. This is Indiana!!!!! WE watch every game no matter how good the coach or the team is! Now back to the game. If and it is a big IF. We get hot from 3 shoot 50 percent handle the press and Holt and Hanner give us anything we have a chance. We play to win the game. If Crean starts with the crazy subs again someone needs to tackle him!!!! Go IU

  • cooper

    I’m not a big fan of saying your team has to play the game of their lives to win. You can think it, most of us think it, but there is no reason for the coach to say it. Tired of constantly trying to lower expectations.

    Anyway this is a match up nightmare for IU. IU wants to play fast and UL plays faster with a much better front court

    Very interested to see if the team keeps up the intensity and plays better defense this game. Also, if they get down hopefully they show some mental toughness, rebound and play defense. Hopefully the the players stay within themselves on offense and play good team offense

  • cooper

    Christian Watford isn’t walking thru that door folks

  • Hoosier1158

    If IU can block out and keep Harrell and Onuako from having career rebounding games they should have an opportunity to win. It wouldn’t hurt also to light it up from beyond the 3 point line.

  • Eastwood88_2

    Crazy stuff posted below. Can’t see April getting a single minute. HP will get his dinner served the first 5. Holt comes in and balances us off. I am trying to understand the Vegas line. Why a 4 pt move with our shooters? Louisville going to hold us to under 60? I don’t see it. They could score 90 with easy rebounds and turnovers. It feels like a sucker bet, but I am all in. Just don’t get down 20 in the first half and we have a shot. Have to figure the kids will have nerves.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    As a fan, I’m thinking tonight is a real opportunity for Yogi, RJ, JBJ, to establish themselves. Yogi, in particular, could use a dominate game to get noticed more for the pro’s. I’m thinking that if Yogi plays to his potential, both offensively and defensively, Louisville doesn’t have an answer and we simply outscore them.

  • They have an aggressive half court D too. Getting good shots against them won’t be as easy as savannah state.

  • HoosierHuckleberry

    I watched the IU-Duke game at Rupp Arena and he played like he was a combination of Oscar Roberson on offense, Charles Barkley on the boards and Joe Dumars on D. I don’t think he ever thought of himself as “Da Man”, but I’m pretty certain he never walked off a court wishing he had done more while he was in there. We have no one on the roster who plays with the heart he had. And he had a name custom-made for the cheering sections Aay Jay Moe Yea.

  • eville87

    I’m watching this and it is a perfect ex ample of why Coach has to go were getting killed down low. Hey let’s act like we’re uk and platoon before the half….. idiot….. please Cuban give us 12 million.

  • Guest

    Hey here is an idea rebiund.

  • eville87

    Offensive rebounds 25 to 6……..

  • eville87

    Or let’s act like crean is so great and be happy being a .500 program…..

  • eville87

    Looks l8ke the zone works … 20 and 11 with 7 dunks for Harrell

  • eville87

    I want a new coach now. I don’t care if it costs 12 million. …this team is NIT bound.

  • eville87

    No one tackled him before half.

  • RealHoosierFanatic


  • HannerTime Hoosier

    Predicted IU loses by 15, guess I suck as I was off by 5. Wake up ITHers, CTC is NOT a great coach. Mediocrity sux.