Thursday, January 31, 2013

Indiana positioned to knock off No. 1 Michigan

Are you like us? Did you see the news-breaking story that Heidi and Spencer reveal how they blew $10 million and ask yourself, who the bleep are Heidi and Spencer, and who gives a bleep about their irresponsible spending habits.

Sorry. We sometimes get carried away in these giddy times, when Indiana appears set to rule the college basketball world.

GameDay is coming to Bloomington on Saturday. So is No. 1 Michigan and the odds are that ranking won’t last the night.

You won’t hear that from Tom Crean and his No. 3 Hoosiers, of course. They’re WAY too smart and mature for that, but we don’t have that burden. In a month or so we are going to celebrate our 29th birthday for like the 200th time and, as such, we can afford to be a little mouthy.

Sorry. Maybe we’ve spent too much time around Will Sheehey, who has been known to incite, say, Purdue’s Paint Crew, among others, with his passion and energy.

Crean is cool with that, by the way, as long as Sheehey doesn’t go over the top with it and, say blow $10 million with Heidi and Spencer.

See how it all connects.

Anyway, IU played its most complete game of the season Wednesday night. Granted, Purdue helped by playing submission basketball, but that misses the point, which is the Hoosiers sustained their level of play throughout the game. They’ve struggled to do that this season, especially against Big Ten teams. Remember that awesome first half they played against Minnesota, only to almost give the game away in the second?

Anyway, there was none of that at Mackey Arena, and Crean, for one, was pleased.

“Our guys never took their foot off the gas pedal, so to speak, which is really, really important for us as a team to take the next step,” he said.

IU knows all about getting buried by teams. The Hoosiers were everybody favorite patsy in the aftermath of the Kevin Sampson era. It took Crean three years to turn it around, and now he has a squad powerful enough to contend for was a victim off that

“We have had enough of a viewpoint of some of the great teams in this league like (Purdue coach Matt Painter’s) have been when you had guys like JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Robbie Hummel, Lewis Jackson, all those guys that just kept going and going and going and getting better as the game went on,” Crean said. “When you see enough of that over a period of time, you either become that or you keep getting it done to you.

“Our guys have really learned to become that type of team, and the growth process for us continues, but I loved how they approached this game, and we got a really good result because of it.”

Indiana wants another good result during Saturday’s heavily hyped game courtesy of ESPN and its PR machine. IU is 19-2 to Michigan’s 20-1, which is the Wolverines’ best start in school history. They are tied for first in the Big Ten with Indiana, both at 7-1.

IU has lost once at Assembly Hall, last month to Wisconsin. There’s no way it loses twice.

No way.

Heidi and Spencer, by the way, couldn’t agree more.


Here are some more honors for Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Yogi Ferrell.

Zeller and Oladipo are among 12 players mentioned in a mid-season watch list for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, a national player of the year award presented by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

Ferrell is one of 12  players on the Wayman Tisdale Memorial Trophy for freshman of year.

Oladipo, as you know, has put himself into position to be a first-round draft choice next season, perhaps in the top 20 (although not a lottery quick). He thrives all over the court, and has a passion for the game that will translate well at the next level.


So what’s up with Peter Jurkin? If a guy can’t play in the 37-point win over Purdue, when you think you’d want to empty your bench to give everybody a chance, when can he play?

Against the Boilers Raphael Smith played. Jeff Howard played. In all 13 Hoosiers played.

But not Jurkin.

Now, Jurkin might be hurt. He’s wearing an air cast on his left leg, and Crean has mentioned some minor injury issues, but nothing specific.

The 6-11 freshman has played in only three games since returning from a nine-game suspension for impermissible recruiting benefits. He’s played a total of seven minutes and his stat line consists of one missed field goal attempt. Everything else is zeroes.

A more likely reason for Jurkin’s lack of playing time is that he’s just not ready. Yes, he is tall and runs well and has athleticism, but he struggles to catch the ball during pre-game warmups. You can only imagine how much more magnified that is in practice, and would be in games. He lacks the fundamentals necessary to compete in the Big Ten.

He might someday be able to help the Hoosiers in a reserve defensive role, but at this stage it doesn’t seem likely it will get beyond that.


If you believe the Indianapolis Star’s Kyle Neddenriep, and there’s no reason not to since he does a great job in recruiting, Indianapolis Bishop Chatard’s Joe Fagan will be a preferred  walk-on next season. A separated shoulder has limited the 6-4 guard to eight games. He averages 14.1 points and 7.0 rebounds.

1 comment:

  1. I'd bet the house on IU Saturday but I've been homeless since the Wisconsin game.