Dec. 30, 2013
THE OPENING TIP
Indiana is in its 114th season of college basketball and will open Big Ten play at Illinois. The Hoosiers are defending Big Ten champions but return just one starter from last year's team, which finished 14-4 in the league and 7-2 on the road. This is the fifth straight year the Hoosiers have played on New Years Eve and the second straight they have started the season on the road (at Iowa).
The Hoosiers lead the nation in rebound margin at +14.0 per game, are fourth in total rebounds per game at 45.5 and are 15th in the country in FG percentage defense at 37.8 percent per game. In the last two games, IU shot 58.9% from the field and in the last five games, 36.6% from three-point range.
SINCE 2011-12 ...
Indiana is 66-19 (.776 winning pct.), 12-9 on the road, 22-16 away from Assembly Hall (road and neutral combined) and 44-3 at home (tied with Syracuse and Arkansas for the second most home wins in the nation in that time frame). Last year, Miami (FL) and Indiana had the best conference road records among BCS level institutions at 7-2. IU captured the Big Ten title with wins at Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State, among others.
Indiana named Tom Crean as its 28th men's basketball coach on April 2, 2008, and he is in his sixth year with the Hoosiers. He is 284-181 all-time as a head coach and during the last two-plus years, he has led Indiana to a 66-19 record, the 2013 Big Ten Championship and back-to-back appearances in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1994. In 2012-13, he was named NABC District 7 and USBWA District V Coach of the Year. John Groce is in his second season as the head coach at Illinois and has a 34-15 record.
SHEEHEY BACK ON TRACK
Senior Will Sheehey tied his career-high with 22 points against Notre Dame and followed that up with 14 points against Nicholls State and 15 against Kennesaw State. In the last three games, he has averaged 17.0 points and has shot 59.4% from the field. He also earned all-tournament honors at the 2KSports Classic after he averaged 14 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals in the four-game event. The Stuart, Fla., native hit the game-tying and game-winning three-pointers against LIU Brooklyn earlier this season and connected on the game-winning jumper in the 2012 NCAA Tournament in the final seconds against VCU.
VONLEH HAS BEEN TOP B1G FROSH
Freshman Noah Vonleh has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week four times and is one of 50 players listed on the Wooden Award Preseason Watch List and Naismith Award Early Season Watch List. He had 17 points and six rebounds at Syracuse and made 13-of-16 free throw attempts. Vonleh is averaging 12.0 points and leads the Big Ten averaging 9.5 rebounds per game. He had his sixth double-double of the year with 13 points and 11 rebounds against North Florida and had 14 points and nine rebounds against Kennesaw State. He also leads B1G frosh in blocked shots (12) and free throws made (57) and attempted (81). He also leads all freshmen nationally in rebounds per 40 minutes at 17.2 per game.
Sophomore Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell is the Hoosiers top scorer averaging 16.8 points. Most notably, he has significantly improved his long distance shooting making 42.7% of his three-point shots after making 30.3 percent as a freshman. He is second in the Big Ten in 3-pointers made per game at 2.7 and has made 32 three-point field goals this season after making 23 a season ago. Ferrell earned all-tournament honors at the 2KSports Classic when he averaged 20 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists and had 24 points against Stony Brook and Washington. Ferrell was also named to the Naismith Award Early Season Watch List. He is eighth in the Big Ten in scoring, sixth in assists and ninth in three-point FG pct. He had 16 points against Nicholls State and a team-high eight assists and 25 points against Kennesaw State.