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:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

De'Ron Davis (2016) has committed to Indiana, signed NLI

De'Ron Davis, Tom Crean, Indiana Hoosiers, Indiana basketball, IUBB

Indiana has landed their 2016 big man: De'Ron Davis, a 6'9" PF from Aurora (CO), committed this evening to Hoosier Nation. Tom Crean and staff have been recruiting Davis since he was a freshman in high school and all of that hard work has paid off. Davis, who chose Indiana over Mississippi State, cited the "family atmosphere" and his connection with Coach Crean as some of the factors that went into the decision.

Davis should have an immediate impact on the Indiana program. Under Crean, the Hoosiers' offense has been much more effective with a capable big man in the mix. Indiana will benefit this season having star freshman Thomas Bryant, fifth-year transfer Max Bielfeldt and freshman PF Juwan Morgan in the front-court. Those three guys will get a ton of minutes following the offseason departures of Emmitt Holt, Devin Davis and Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

Indiana had long been considered the leader for Davis, though late developments with Mississippi State and the offseason departure of Steve McClain cast some minor doubts. McClain had been the point man on Davis' recruitment and after he left to be the head coach at UIC, Crean relied on assistant Chuck Martin to keep the relationship strong. At the same time, new Mississippi State coach Ben Howland has assembled a fantastic 2016 class and sold Davis heavily on being part of something new and playing with 5-star guard Mario Kegler (who committed to the Bulldogs yesterday).

Crean's 2016 class now consists of 4-star Davis, 4-star guard Curtis Jones (Highland Springs, VA) and 3-star guard Grant Gelon (Crown Point, IN).  Davis and Gelon have signed with the Hoosiers and Jones is expected to sign this coming Monday.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mario Kegler (2016) commits to Mississippi State; De'ron Davis decides tomorrow

The writing has been on the wall for a while, but Mario Kegler made things official today and committed to Mississippi State. Kegler, who plays at Oak Hill Academy but hails from Jackson Mississippi, also considered Indiana, Arizona State, Baylor and Maryland. He took official visits to all five schools, including a trip to Bloomington for Hoosier Hysteria last month. In the end, the opportunity to join a fantastic incoming MSU class and return back to his home state was too much to pass up.

Indiana got in on this recruitment a bit later than most, but made enough of an impact to get Kegler in Assembly Hall in October. The Hoosiers' main target in the class is Colorado big man De'Ron Davis, who will announce his college decision tomorrow (THU 11/12). He has narrowed his list down to just Indiana and Mississippi State, but in this case the Hoosiers have been involved for years. New MSU head coach Ben Howland has had an impressive summer, assembling a 2016 class that now features four four-star prospects plus five-star Kegler. Davis would be the sixth member of the class but only the second big-man, joining 6'10" center Schnider Herard.

But my gut still tells me that Davis is Bloomington-bound. I understand the mutual interest with Mississippi State, but in the end the Hoosiers have been there the longest and offer a great opportunity for his career moving forward. Front-court minutes are widely available, with freshmen Thomas Bryant and Juwan Morgan being the only two current Hoosiers projected to be on the team next year. Davis is a phenomenal talent and I expect good news tomorrow for Hoosier fans.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Indiana defeats Bellarmine 73-62 in second exhibition game

The Hoosiers emerged victorious Monday night, completing their exhibition season with a 73-62 over DII power Bellarmine. Just like last week, the game was an opportunity for Indiana to work out some kinks, test out different lineups and generally tune-up for this Friday’s season-opener against Eastern Illinois. All in all, Indiana’s two exhibition games went about as well as any fan should hope they could have. There are things that are already clicking (offense), things that still need to be worked out (defense, turnovers), but the team looked good and won two games without injury.
Yogi Ferrell, Troy Williams, Indiana Hoosiers, Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana University, Tom Crean
Box Score - Indiana v Bellarmine (exhibition)

Monday, November 09, 2015

Mario Kegler and De'Ron Davis set announcement dates

Mario Kegler and De'Ron Davis, the two 2016 prospects that we wrote about last week, have each set a decision announcement date for this week. Kegler will announce on Wednesday 11/11, which is National Signing Day. He chooses from a final five of (alphabetical): Arizona State, Baylor, Indiana, Maryland and Michigan State. He made official visits to all five schools, the last one being Hoosier Hysteria last month.

The following day, Thursday 11/12, Davis will annouce his decision at Overland High School. He had previously cut his list down to just Indiana and Mississippi State. Davis was in Starkville late last week, but Tom Crean and Chuck Martin paid him separate visits in the week leading up to that visit.

If I were a betting man, I'd say Indiana has a great shot at landing Davis, who they have been recruiting heavily since his freshman year. Kegler is more of a long shot, with hometown MSU being the favorite in my opinion. But I am just a guy with a website, so I will not pretend to be an expert. That's just the feeling I get for both guys. With the way the Indiana roster is structured, a quality big man would seem to be a lot more valuable to Indiana right now.

Either way, this is a huge week for Indiana recruiting.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Indiana battling Howland, Mississippi State for recruits

The two highest profile recruiting targets for Indiana in 2016 -- De'Ron Davis and Mario Kegler -- are both nearing decisions. They both are also considering Mississippi State as a college destination. New Bulldogs' coach Ben Howland has been cleaning up on the recruiting trail ahead of his first season in Starkville. Just this week, Howland picked up four-star commit #4 in the 2016 class as top-5 center Schnider Herard popped for the Bulldogs. 247Sports lists the current MSU class as the 10th best in the country, but it seems Howland is not done. That's where Tom Crean and the Indiana Hoosiers come in to play.

Not often are Indiana and Mississippi State battling for the same recruits, but that's the situation we find ourselves in now with the decisions of Davis and Kegler looming in the (probably) not-too-distant future. Davis, a 6'10" PF from Aurora, Colorado, has been on Indiana's radar since he was a freshman. Steve McClain was originally lead recruiter, having ties to Colorado following his three-years as as an assistant at CU. With McClain now the head man at UIC, it seems Chuck Martin may now be taking the lead

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Hoosiers handle Ottawa 82-54 in exhibition opener

Indiana welcomed the uOttawa Gee-Gees to Assembly Hall Tuesday night for an international exhibition extravaganza. Despite some sloppiness early on, the Hoosiers cruised to a 82-54 victory in front of an excited and optimistic crowd. Expectations are high this season for Indiana, ranked #15 in the preseason AP Poll, and this was Hoosier Nation's first chance to check out the latest crop of freshmen. McDonald's All-American Thomas Bryant brings an entirely new facet to the Indiana offense, crowding the paint and imposing his will inside. The big freshman finished with 12 points and a team-high 11 rebounds in his unofficial IU debut. He shot just 5-16 from the field, but it is already apparent that Indiana's offense will not need to be as reliant on three-point shooting this year. Fellow freshmen Juwon Morgan and O.G. Anunoby chipped in four points each. A full IU box score after the jump...

Charlotte Hornets exercise fourth-year option on Cody Zeller

Cody Zeller NBA Charlotte Hornets Indiana Hoosiers IUBB
Chuck Burton/Associated Press
Former Hoosier All-American Cody Zeller will spend at least one more year with the Charlotte Hornets. The team announced Monday that they would be exercising their fourth-year option on the reserve big man, which means Zeller will earn just over $5.3 million for the 2016-17 season. That's over a million more than he is making this season with the Hornets, who drafted him fourth overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Through the first three games this season, Zeller is averaging 6.0 points and 6.3 rebounds (2.3 offensive). From his rookie season to last year, Cody's stats improved across the board. He started in 45 of the 62 games in which he appeared last year, after having just started three times as a rookie. By exercising his option, it's clear that the  organization believes that he will continue to improve throughout this season and surely acts a vote of confidence regarding his future in Charlotte.

Zeller missed practice on Monday after unexpectedly losing 10 pounds, but medical tests revealed it to be a dehydration issue.

Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld named Wuerffel Trophy Semifinalist

Indiana senior quarterback Nate Sudfeld was named one of eight semifinalists for the 2015 Wuerffel Trophy, awarded annually to the player "who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement" (official website). The award is named after former Florida QB and Hesiman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel and past winners include Tim Tebow, Sam Acho, Matt Barkley and Gabe Ikard. 

Sudfeld's community serice includes a spring break service trup to Uganda with his family and volunteer work with the Boys & Girls Club, the Andrew Luck/IU Health Change The Play Program and Read Across America (IU press release). Sudfeld is also a nominee for the Senior CLASS Award, an award won by Indiana basketball guard Jordan Hulls after the 2012-13 season. 

On the field, Sudfeld is in the final year of an impressive Indiana career. Last week against Michigan State, Sudfeld grabbed a share of the Indiana career touchdown passes record (48). So far this season, he has passed for 2,049 yards and 14 touchdowns with just 4 interceptions. He also rushed for three touchdowns on the year, giving him 54 total career touchdowns as a Hoosier. 

An alphabetical listing of the eight semifinalists is located at the bottom of this post. The three finalists will be announced on November 24th and the winner announced on December 8th in New York City. 

Monday, November 02, 2015

Indiana debuts at #15 in the Preseason AP Poll

The official Preseason AP Poll was released today and the Indiana Hoosiers find themselves at #15. The validity of preseason polls can be debated - no one can actually know how "good" teams and players are before the season actually starts - but it's a definite positive that Indiana finds itself in this position. The top 15 are as follows, and you can find the entire poll HERE. Number in parenthesis is first-place votes received.

1) North Carolina (35)
2) Kentucky (10)
3) Maryland (14)
4) Kansas (5)
5) Duke
6) Virginia (1)
7) Iowa State
8) Oklahoma
9) Gonzaga
10) Wichita State
11) Villanova
12) Arizona
13) Michigan State
14) California
15) Indiana