Don’t be surprised if Christian Watford has a monster game Saturday against Butler in the Crossroads Classic at Indy’s Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
He was on fire in last Saturday’s win over Central Connecticut State with 21 points. All signs are the bouts of inconsistency he’s shown this season are over.
The big reason for his big game, coach Tom Crean said, was his preparation.
“He was coming off his best practice of the year,” Crean said. “He had a good week. (The day before) he was unguardable because nobody could score on him. It carried right back into it (against Central Connecticut State).
“He played with tremendous energy. I sat him a long timie with two fouls. We were up and I didn’t want to risk it.
“He did a really good job.”
IU will bring a 9-0 record and a No. 1 ranking into Saturday’s game. Butler is 7-2. The physical Bulldogs will give the Hoosiers their best example of a Big Ten team before Big Ten play begins on Dec. 31 at Iowa.
Yes, it’s WAY early, but ESPN.com NCAA tourney bracket guru Joe Lunardi projects IU as a No. 1 seed opening play in Lexington. He has the Hoosiers playing the winner of the play-in game between Texas Southern and Western Illinois.
Texas Southern, by the way, is coached by Mike Davis. That’s the same Mike Davis who coached IU to a 115-79 record after Bob Knight was fired.
That would be an interesting twist.
IU football has landed a couple of linebackers to boost its commits for the Class of 2013 to 18, and its number of linebackers in the class to five.
Steven Funderburk, a 6-3,225-pounder from Iowa Western Community College, will join the program. He’s from Florida. He totaled 49 tackles, 7.5 for loss with two interceptions (returned for touchdowns) and a fumble recover.
He played a year at Tulane.
Iowa Western went 12-0 and won the junior college national championship.
Also committed is Kristopher Smith, a 6-2, 225-pounder from Georgia. He’s a three-star prospect who picked IU over Purdue, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Colorado and Pitt.
The NCAA is going all March Madness a couple of months early for its 75 Years or March Madness celebration. That includes the top 75 All-Time March Madness Players, the 25 All-Time March Madness Teams and the 35 All-Time March Madness Moments.
Indiana is a big part of that. Among the top 75 players are five Hoosiers: forward Scott May(1975-76), center Kent Benson (1975-76, 1976 MVP), guard Isiah Thomas(1980-81, 1981 MVP), guard Steve Alford (1984-87) and guard Keith Smart (1987-88, 1987 MVP).
The 32-0 1976 national champions are among the top teams.
As far as the top moments, the 1976 title team and the 1987 title team are included. Since 1976, only two teams have entered the NCAA tourney undefeated. No team has finished as an unbeaten national champ.
The ’87 team won on Smart’s dramatic game-winning jump shot. He scored 12 of IU’s last 15 points in the victory over Syracuse.