Sunday, November 22, 2015

Indiana senior LT Jason Spriggs named Outland Trophy semifinalist

Indiana Hoosiers football Jason Spriggs Outland Trophy IUFB IU
Indiana senior left tackle Jason Spriggs was named one of six semifinalists for the Outland Trophy, awarded annually to the nation's top interior lineman. Spriggs, a native of Elkhart, Indiana, has started 45 games in his Indiana career and has allowed just four sacks this 2015 season.

The other finalists, in alphabetical order, are: Spencer Drango (Baylor), Joshua Garnett (Stanford), Ryan Kelly (Alabama), A'Shawn Robinson (Alabama) and Ronnie Stanley (Notre Dame). The list will be shortened to three finalists on November 24, then the winner announced on December 10 during the Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN.

Indiana has never had an Outland Trophy winner, but past winners include NFL Pro-Bowlers Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska), Joe Thomas (Wisconsin), Orlando Pace (Ohio State) and Hall-of-Famer Bruce Smith (Virginia Tech).

Friday, November 20, 2015

Hoosiers have no trouble with Creighton, win 86-65

The Hoosiers played perhaps their most complete game of the season on Thursday night as they completely dominated the visiting Creighton Bluejays to improve to 3-0. Indiana was in control from start to finish. After taking a 21-10 lead with 12:22 left in the first half, the gap between teams never reached single-digits again. The lead at the break was 51-32 and the game already felt out of reach at that point.

James Blackmon Jr. was once again the Hoosiers' leading scorer, dropping 19 points on 7-13 shooting. The sophomore had a great all-around game, hitting from all over the court while adding 7 rebounds and 4 assists to the stat sheet. Senior Yogi Ferrell led the team in both rebounds (9) and assists (6). Troy Williams brought the house down with more dunks, scoring 13 points while shooting 6-13 from the field.
Yogi Ferrell, Troy Williams, Indiana Hoosiers, James Blackmon Jr, Thomas Bryant, Tom Crean
Box score: Indiana v Creighton 11/19/15

Thomas Bryant, who hit a 3-pointer in the first half, was fantastic. He did take/miss 3 more (probably ill-advised) three-pointers, but he made all of his 2-point FG's and finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks. The freshman big man is the real deal... he's such a delight to watch, as he plays with a ton of emotion but is (so far) able to channel it all into positive energy. He really gets the crowd at Assembly Hall going and I think his teammates feed off of it, as well. The way Indiana has incorporated Bryant's game into their offense so quickly is incredibly encouraging looking forward.

Watching from home, it was clear that this was the best game the Hoosiers have played so far this year. Creighton may not have Dougie McBuckets anymore, but they are certainly no cupcake opponent. Cruising to a dominating victory over a solid opponent is exactly the send-off the Hoosiers need as they head off to Maui. This is a crucial 7-day period for Indiana, as they may very well face #17 Vanderbilt and #4 Kansas on Tuesday and Wednesday after meeting Wake Forest Monday. It's safe to say that Test #1 was passed with flying colors.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2016 SG Bruce Brown chooses Miami (FL)

Bruce Brown committed to Miami (FL) today in a televised announcement on ESPNU. Brown, a top-40 recruit in the 2016 class, had narrowed his list down to Miami and Indiana on Monday. The Hoosiers already have a commitment from 4-star SG Curtis Jones Jr, who signed his letter of intent on Monday, and continue to recruit SG's Rawle Alkins, Malik Monk and Eron Gordon in the 2016 class.

Brown is the second member of Miami's '16 class, joining 4-star center Rodney Miller out of Oak Hill Academy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Three Hoosiers named to Wooden Award Top 50 list

Indiana senior guard Yogi Ferrell, junior wing Troy Williams and sophomore guard James Blackmon Jr. were all named to the Wooden Award Top 50 list. The Wooden Award is one of two major player of the year awards in college basketball (along with the Naismith Award).

I know it is still November and a watch list doesn't actually mean anything, but it is still exciting to see these guys getting national recognition. Not to mention that this only help recruiting efforts, as Indiana is one of only two schools with three players named to this list (the other being one-and-done/NBA rental factory Kentucky). 

Indiana has had one Wooden Award winner in its history: Calbert Cheaney in 1993. Scott May won the Naismith Award in 1976, a year before the Wooden would make its debut.

The Big Ten leads the nation with ten nominees. Joining the three Hoosiers are Maryland's Jake Layman & Melo Trimble, Michigan's Caris LeVert, Michigan State's Denzel Valentine, Purdue's AJ Hammons and Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes & Bronson Koenig.

Per Rivals' Jeff Rabjohns, the list will be shortened/revised a few times throughout the season, culminating with the Wooden Award All-American team being named Elite Eight week and the Award Winner announced on April 8.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Indiana scores 102 points in rout of Austin Peay

There was a stretch of about 10 minutes in tonight's game between Indiana and Austin Peay where you almost felt like the Governors were going to keep it close. The Hoosiers had gotten out to a fast start but allowed their opponent to stick around. Austin Peay got within 7 points briefly in the second half before the Hoosiers' shots just started falling. Like... all of them started going in. For one stretch, IU fired off 15 straight made field goals en route to a 26-point victory.

By most accounts, Indiana played their game and played it well. The turnovers are still high -- 20 of them tonight -- but some turnovers are to be expected when a team plays as fast and energized as the Hoosiers do. Defense can still use some work, but again Indiana's style of play does account for high scores on the opposite end. If you can turn the ball over 20 times and give up 76 points to an OVC team and STILL win by 26, some of those negatives don't look quite as bad.

Yogi Ferrell put up some serious numbers: 22 points on 8-10 shooting (4-5 3PT), 9 assists and 6 rebounds. James Blackmon Jr. poured in 20 of his own, going 4-6 from beyond the arc. Senior Nick Zeisloft, who took just one shot in the season opener and appeared to at least dislocate a finger on his shooting hand in the first half tonight, went an impressive 5-7 from deep to finish with 15 points. Troy Williams dunked everything in sight (as soon as the highlight video is uploaded I will include it). The craziest stat of the night? Indiana, as a team, shot 81% from the field in the second half. Yeah, eighty-one.

The Hoosiers face their first tough opponent on Thursday night at Assembly Hall as the Creighton Blue Jays come to town as part of the Gavitt Tip Off games, a series between the Big Ten and Big East.

See below for Tom Crean's post-game comments.

Bruce Brown names final two of Indiana and Miami, decision coming Wednesday

A solid 2016 recruiting class might get even better this week for Indiana. 4-star shooting guard Bruce Brown, ranked the 40th best prospect in the class by 247Composite, has announced his final two schools are Indiana and Miami. He will make the decision this coming Wednesday 11/18. Brown plays at Vermont Academy and has made official visits to both of his finalists -- Indiana on 10/16 and Miami on 10/30.

Indiana landed a coveted big man recruit last week when De'Ron Davis picked the Hoosiers over Mississippi State. 4-star guard Curtis Jones Jr., who committed to Indiana back in September, just signed his letter of intent this morning to make things official. Tom Crean also picked up a signature from in-state sharpshooter Grant Gelon.

Here's some footage on Brown (as you can see, this dude can go upstairs):

Friday, November 13, 2015

Indiana opens season with 88-49 rout of Eastern Illinois

The regular season kicked off tonight across college basketball and the Indiana Hoosiers came flying out of the gate with an easy 88-49 win over visiting Eastern Illinois. The Hoosiers were led in scoring by sophomore James Blackmon Jr., who poured in 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Senior Yogi Ferrell added 13 points and Robert Johnson and Troy Williams dropped 12 each. The game was never in doubt for Indiana, who took a 7-5 lead just over two minutes into the game and never looked back.

The hyped Indiana offense did not disappoint, putting up an impressive 88 points despite shooting just 33.3% from beyond the arc (9-of-27) and 60% from the FT line (15-of-25). Star freshman Thomas Bryant kicked off his Indiana career with 11 points and 9 rebounds, going 4-4 from the field and 3-4 from the stripe. His night was punctuated by an emphatic slam dunk late in the second half that earned him a technical foul. The whistle didn't damper the Bryant's enthusiasm, who plays with a ton of emotion. After the game, coach Tom Crean said he decided to leave Bryant in the game after the technical because "he handled it well."

Perhaps the most telling stat of the night was the rebounding margin: the Hoosiers out-rebounded EIU 51-17, including 21 offensive boards. The aforementioned Bryant led the way with 9 boards, followed by Williams (8), Max Bielfeldt (8), Blackmon Jr (7) and Ferrell (7).

Fifth-year transfer Bielfeldt came off the bench in favor of Collin Hartman, but made the most of his time on the court. The big man from Peoria scored 11 points on 3-3 shooting to go with those 8 rebounds in just 15 minutes. Every Hoosier was able to get on the court due to the blowout and perhaps the loudest cheer of the night came with Tim Priller grabbed an offense rebound and scored on a put-back lay-up.

#15 Indiana did exactly what they needed to do: take care of business against a weaker opponent and start the season off on the right foot. Full box score after the jump: