No. 15/15 Hoosiers To Take On Penn State Thursday in Big Ten Tournament
March 6, 2012
THE OPENING TIP
IU swept the season series, winning 88-82 at Penn State on Jan. 8 and 73-54 in Bloomington on Jan. 22. The winner will face fourth-seeded Wisconsin on Friday afternoon.
The Hoosiers are riding a four-game winning streak and have won seven of their last eight games. Indiana swept the season series against Purdue following an 85-74 victory on Senior Night. IU knocked off the Boilermakers following a 70-55 win over No. 5/5 Michigan State, giving the Hoosiers three wins over top-five teams in the regular season for the first time in school history.
The Hoosiers completed an undefeated non-conference mark (13-0) for the first time since the 1989-90 season. Indiana is ranked 15th by the Associated Press and 15th in the USA Today/Coaches poll, after entering the rankings for the first time under Tom Crean's tenure following a 73-72 win over No. 1 Kentucky, on Dec. 10 in Bloomington. IU also edged No. 2 Ohio State (74-70) on New Years Eve. IU is the first Big Ten team since Minnesota in 1952-53 to defeat the top two ranked teams in the same season. This week is the 511th appearance in the AP Poll (seventh all-time among Division I programs). Indiana is the most improved team among major conference programs with a +12 in the win column from the previous season.
Patrick Chambers is in his first season as the Penn State head coach after spending the previous two seasons at Boston University and compiling a 42-28 mark with the Terriers.
WHAT IU IS DOING RIGHT
Indiana has the top non-conference RPI in the country which includes wins over Kentucky, Notre Dame, NC State and Butler.
Two other non-conference foes are winning their respective leagues (Stony Brook, American East and Savannah State, MEAC).
The Hoosiers are slotted ninth in the Sagarin Ratings, 10th by kenpom.com and are 11th in the RPI. IU has wins over five teams that are currently nationally ranked in Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame.
Indiana has shot 49.1 percent from the field, 43.2 percent from 3-point range and 75.9 percent from the free throw line. The Hoosiers are second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage, sixth in field goal percentage and lead the Big Ten averaging 77.5 points per game.
IU leads among BCS teams making 18.6 free throws per game. The Hoosiers are also the leader in 3-point field goal percentage, second in field goal percentage and free throw percentage, and seventh in scoring among major conference teams.
Cody Zeller's presence inside has allowed the same players to improve the team's 3-point field goal percentage from 162nd (34.5) in the nation last season, to second in the country (43.2).
This is Tom Crean's sixth 20-win season as a head coach. In his final seven seasons at Marquette, Crean's teams averaged 22.8 wins per season.
Sophomore Victor Oladipo was named to the Big Ten's All-Defensive Team and an Honorable Mention All-Conference choice. He had 13 points and two steals against Michigan State and 12 points, eight rebounds and two steals at Minnesota. He had 16 points, six rebounds and two steals against NC Central. He is 50-of-59 (82.5) from the free throw line in the last eight games. He had 15 points at Iowa, 12 points, six boards, four assists and two steals against Northwestern and 18 points against Illinois. He also had a career-high 23 points in the win at Purdue. He leads the team with 46 steals, which ranks fifth in the Big Ten (1.3). He had 15 points, six boards and three steals against Ohio State. He had the game-winning layup in the final minute to give IU the win over the Buckeyes.
Junior Christian Watford was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten choice. He had 19 points against Purdue and had 10 points and a career-high 14 rebounds against Michigan State. He had 12 points and six rebounds against Minnesota, and made all seven of his free throw attempts. He had 18 points and five rebounds against Illinois. He had a 15-point night against Iowa. He is second among all Big Ten juniors with 1,199 career points, becoming the 43rd IU player to top the 1,000-point mark in his career. He hit the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Kentucky earlier this year.
Senior Verdell Jones III had 12 points, four rebounds and two assists against Michigan State, had 11 points and seven boards against Minnesota and is averaging 9.7 points per game in his last four games. He had six key points in the final four minutes against Northwestern. He also had three rebounds, four assists and two steals in 18 minutes off the bench. He had not played in the previous two and a half games because of a bruised shoulder. He had one of his best games of the season against Iowa in Assembly Hall with 14 points and nine assists, which matched his career-high. He is seventh among active scorers in the Big Ten with 1,347 points. He has made 103 career starts. He had 12 first-half points against Wisconsin.
Junior Jordan Hulls was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection. He had 10 points and five assists against Purdue, 10 points and three steals against Michigan State and 12 points and three assists at Minnesota. He had 16 against Illinois, 10 points at Purdue and a team-high 18 points at Michigan. He is second in the league hitting on 48.0 percent of his 3-point attempts. He is one of the best in the league in free throw shooting making 88.0 percent of his charity tosses. He is averaging 11.1 points per game and has made 60-of-125 triples. He is the Hoosiers' active leader with 71 consecutive starts.
Senior Matt Roth has hit 34-of-56 long distance shots (60.7) since December 19. He hit all three of his bombs against Purdue, and also had 12 points at Iowa and hit all four of his treys. He had six huge points in the win over Northwestern and also added an assist and a rebound. He had 22 points off the bench at Penn State and made 5-of-6 triples in that game. He leads the Big Ten making 57.4 percent of his 3-point attempts. He also has shot 58.2 percent from long distance in the Big Ten. Roth is the sixth Hoosier to eclipse the 20-point mark, a Big Ten best.
Sophomore Will Sheehey has started the last four games and had 16 points and five rebounds against Purdue. Against NC Central he had 12 points and seven rebounds. He had seven points at Iowa and six points against Northwestern. He had seven points, seven boards and a career-high three blocked shots at Purdue, including a game-saver against Lewis Jackson late in the contest. He made his first start of the season and had 10 points, four rebounds and two assists against Iowa. He was averaging 9.5 points per game off the bench. He was named Tournament MVP after he scored a career-high 21 points against Butler in the championship game of the Hoosier Invitational. He had a key blocked shot late in the game at Purdue to start a game-ending 13-0 run.
Junior forward Derek Elston had a 3-pointer and five rebounds against Minnesota. He has made 7-of-12 long distance shots in league play. He had 10 points against NC Central and posted back-to-back double-figure scoring games. At Iowa, he had a season-high 13 points. At Purdue, he had five points and six rebounds. He had nine points against Michigan after he matched his season high with 11 points against Iowa (11 vs. Stony Brook in season opener). He had eight straight points and a block in a 68 second span in the win over the Hawkeyes.
Freshman Remy Abell was huge off the bench at Purdue when he scored a career-high 13 points and added four rebounds. He made 5-of-6 field goal attempts and hit a dagger 3-pointer with just over a minute to go to clinch the game. Against Michigan, he came off the bench and had four points, two rebounds and an assist in 16 minutes of action.
Senior forward Tom Pritchard came off the bench and had four points and six rebounds against Northwestern. He also was a spark plug in the Hoosiers 103-89 win against Iowa, scoring seven points, grabbing four rebounds and taking a pair of charges in 14 minutes of action. He also had a steal that led to a fastbreak layup that he converted during the Hoosiers run late in the first half to extend to a 17-point halftime lead.
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