National media discussion on conference races and National Player of the Year

87 comments by   |   Wednesday, January 2, 2013 - 7:36 pm EDT

With New Year’s comes conference season and therefore a bunch of evaluation and re-evaluation by national media members about their thoughts on conference races. Since there isn’t much more immediately pressing news on the horizon, here are links to a few of them for your amusement/edification/ire/fuel for conspiracy theory.

ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan says Indiana has shown some warts, but should still be considered the Big Ten favorite over Michigan. He does suggest that Michigan’s Trey Burke is now the favorite for conference player of the year, however.

In Jason King’s Kings Court column on ESPN.com, he suggests that Minnesota and Trevor Mbakwe have the best chance to unseat Indiana in the Big Ten.

CBS’s Jeff Goodman ranks Indiana behind Michigan in the Big Ten and says that Burke is ahead of Cody Zeller for Big Ten POY honors. Also says Jordan Hulls is the best shooter in the country.

Ken Pomeroy ran 10,000 statistical simulations on each conference to determine who had the best chance of winning each. Indiana won in 5,489 of the 10,000 run on the Big Ten. Michigan actually came in fourth in those simulations, winning 1,065 times. Duke was the most overwhelming favorite in any conference, winning 8,797 of the 10,000 simulations run in the ACC. (Epic nerd stuff, I know.)

Pomeroy also began his national player of the year board, which statistically takes into account things that are beyond my level of understanding. Currently, he ranks Cody Zeller as the No. 3 player in the nation beghind Duke’s Mason Plumlee and Louisville’s Russ Smith.

CBSSports, meanwhile, has Zeller ranked ninth on its Player of the Year list. It also ranks Plumlee No. 1 followed by Creighton’s Doug McDermott and Michigan’s Trey Burke.

 

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87 comments:
#1
Geoff
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 1:26 AM EDT

I wonder if Jason King would bet me $1000 on who finishes higher – Minnesota or Michigan…

I love having Cody in candy stripes, but I can’t take any writer seriously who has Zeller ahead of Dipo for any type of award or recognition. That being said, I have absolutely no problem with naming Burke the mid-season B1G POY.

 
#2 Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 2:12 AM EDT

WHOA – after seeing Purdue beat Illinois, I’m starting to appreciate our win at Iowa more. B1G road games are no joke.

 
#3
Hoosier Clarion
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 10:08 AM EDT

Is Illinois a paper lion or did the PUke W happen because of Mackey?

 
#4
Southport65
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 12:37 PM EDT

Plumlee plays 5-6 minutes more a game than the others including VIc and Cody because Duke has a weak bench that will cause them trouble down the road. Give Vic or Cody those extra minutes and they would have numbers better than Plumlee. IU is the most talented and deep team in the country. HC it will be hard to win on the road anywhere in the Big Ten this year as we saw the worst team in the conference just win at home.

 
#5 Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 12:50 PM EDT

No offense to anyone here, but, I wonder how long some have been around Big10 basketball? The Purdue W is simply a home win for them. Let the season progress a bit more whether we decide if Purdue is a powerhouse or not.

This is going to happen to every ranked Big10 team this year…lose a few on the road. It’s the team that can minimize road losses that comes out on top….OUR HOOSIERS, already with a W in a facility that produces difficulties for every Big10 team every year.

 
#6
Dan
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 2:32 PM EDT

I’ve been avidly watching B1G Basketball for over 20 years. From a top-to-bottom standpoint its almost always the toughest league in the nation, and this year is probably the best I’ve ever seen the overall conference.

Out of the 12, Purdue, Penn State, and Nebraska are the only teams that aren’t “tournament level” and they’re all just beneath that (not saying everyone else makes the tournament, but they probably deserve to). This will be a brutal season. Should be GREAT to watch. Every team in the league is going to be tough in their own buildings. The @Iowa win is a great-great start for IU.

I have no problem with Zeller being ranked above Oladipo (or vice versa), they’re both great players, as are several of our guys. Player-of-the-year races are just that, “player of the YEAR”, its about stats and numbers and luck and that’s fine. It’s not really about “whose actually the best”, it shouldn’t be conflated with that and its not worth getting excited about.

 
#7
Geoff
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 3:48 PM EDT

Dan, not that you were talking to me specifically, but I’ll address your last sentence… I won’t ever get too excited about what a writer puts out there, but I will discount them if I sense they aren’t paying attention.

Why should I bother to read or care about a writer’s opinion on other IU topics if he doesn’t watch enough IU basketball to understand something as simple as who has been IU’s most impactful player this season… If you continue to rate Zeller ahead of Dipo on any awards list then you aren’t paying attention, and you’re simply writing his name further down the list because you don’t want to drop him off it. It’s not like Zeller is playing poorly, but he is nowhere near national POY level to this point. Maybe that changes, maybe he just continues to play well and be a force… But if you watch very IU game and come away thinking that Zeller has been better to this point than Dipo then I am not going to pay attention to anything else that comes out of your pen on the topic of IU basketball.

 
#8
Chet
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 6:31 PM EDT

It’s much harder to be recognized as POY if you’re playing on a very good team, with 4 starters averaging in double figures and you have ten players earning quality minutes.

Put Cody on a crappy team and he might run away with the award.

 
#9
Laffy
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 7:19 PM EDT

I think Cody’s stock fell not because “we have so many great players around him” but because he looked like a girl against Butler.

And, he hasn’t shown us the outside shot he worked on all summer.

I doubt anyone outside of rabid IU fans would say he’s improved since last year.

 
#10
Podunker
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 7:20 PM EDT

I don’t believe Cody Zeller cares about any individual awards/honors/recognition. I think he’s all about team, and doing what he can to help his team be successful. Oh sure, he’s probably flattered, like everybody else, when he is recognized for his performance, but does he covet such individual honors? I doubt it. Does he modify his behavior because he might have the opportunity to receive honors/awards? Apparently not! If that POY honor was important to him, I think you’d see Zeller behaving differently (i.e., more selfishly) on the court.

Would any of us trade the POY award for being a part of the NCAA Championship team? I wouldn’t, and I don’t think Zeller would either.

 
#11
The Festrunk Brothers
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 7:49 PM EDT

For me Cody is POY so far.

His team did not lose a single game with him on the court.

If Crean plays him we will win.

 
#12
Laffy
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 7:52 PM EDT

I don’t think he covets the award either.

I think he wants to go as high in teh draft as possible, though.

And if he doesn’t show more toughness and/or an outside shot, I think he’s gonna drop out of the lottery.

The draft is weak this year so maybe it won’t matter that much.

And how is playing tougher “selfish”? That’s just stupid.

And last I checked, he’s the one that said over and over, “I worked on my outside shot because the TEAM needs it.”

So, where is it to help the TEAM?

 
#13
Geoff
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 8:24 PM EDT

Po – I agree 100% with that as well…

 
#14
Harvard for Hillbillies
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 9:39 PM EDT

Do you think it’s purely athleticism that puts a player like Cody at the top of POY list..especially at the initial start of the season?

Is their a possibility that character and importance to the team is playing(pun intended)into the voting?

Cody has never been an explosive player..He’s never going to dominate in the NBA.

So what is he? It all depends on what the definition of is, is(thank you, Bill Clinton)..

What he is is the most important recruit to come to Indiana in 30 years..

What he is is…reliable, crafty, heady, symbolic, skilled with the ball, and very, very, tall.

What he is is…the reason Tom Crean can have his job for another 10 years.

Will that get him POY. No. Does it make him deserving of the hype initially? I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since it sure beats listening to Geoff and the Establishment while we would sit in the cellar of the Big 10 for the next 10 years.

Actually, there would be no Geoff on the Scoop blog if we were in the cellar. There would only be Downing and Husky Tom and a photo doctoring mystery man some believe to be an actual invisible man. …and maybe JPat.

So, thank you, Cody. Thank you for coming to IU and allowing Geoff to be Hoosier Scoop’s ‘BOY’…a.k.a ‘Blogger of the Year.’

 
#15
Punjab
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 9:43 PM EDT

National media types don’t have the luxury of breaking down every minute detail of every IU game like we do. They have to cover the entire country. So it’s understandable how Cody gets the nod for POY from some– he had more preseason press than anyone, and from a purely numbers standpoint he tends to look better on paper than Oladipo.

But Vic has made more impactful plays at critical times and does more stuff that won’t necessarily show up on a stat sheet.

At this point in the season, I call it a toss up. Call Cody the best player, and Vic the MVP. Or vice versa. I won’t argue with you, either way, I’m just glad we have them both.

 
#16
Harvard for Hillbillies
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 9:58 PM EDT

I vote Hulls as PHOOEY!(Playa’ HOOsier of Every Year!) because he had to endure VJ and Jeremiah Rivers being treated like the real “stars” of a crappy team simply because Crean found VJ behind a trash can as an abandoned baby and Jeremiah behind the glory of his 5-star brother that would always go to Duke before Indiana.

No wonder the kid looks Grumpy. He gets only bad press yet he’s the soul of Indiana. He came for the glory to only slip those beautiful candy-stripes onto his thighs.

 
#17
Harvard for Hillbillies
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 10:20 PM EDT

Jordy buries big shot after big shot his entire career with zero national spotlight and Seth Davis finds an a$$hole to throw a beer at his face.

He goes blank in a scoring column for the first time since the 3rd grade and suddenly he’s the anti-Christ…and we here more garbage about how our team would be so horribly lost without “Three fingers to the Temple” and Crean’s Hola-D-Wade-Dipo.

 
#18
Geoff
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 10:55 PM EDT

Cool… So now I’m a fair weather fan… Add it to the list of things I’ve been called by Harvard.

So it’s not ok for the Establishment (who dont have ties to IU) to take swings at Hulls, but it’s fine for you to take 7th grade level pot shots at Sheehey and Dipo?

 
#19
Geoff
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 11:11 PM EDT

It’s easy to see why Cody got so much pre-season hype… Not only was he the best player on the best team heading not the season, but he is extremely skilled for his size, athletic for his size, has a high basketball IQ, and he’s a great kid who is easy to root for.

I still think he has all the potential to be a top POY candidate at the end of the year… He just hasn’t shown that to me yet. What he has done is play well enough for IU to win 13 games, and poorly enough for them to lose 1. He is a great player. If he sticks around for 4 years he’ll be an absolute legend. He is the most skilled big man I’ve ever watched in a Hoosier uniform… He is also a tad frustrating for me this year because I don’t believe he is playing up to his potential. I would like him to play physically tougher.

I don’t really care if he ever wins an award (except that I would like that for him personally), nor do I really care what his NBA stock is (although I would like to see all kids live out their dreams and be successful if they work hard towards it)… I just care that he helps IU win basketball games. Luckily that aligns with what Cody cares most about as well (I choose to believe).

 
#20 Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 11:43 PM EDT

Still needs that quick turnaround jumper from 10-12 ft from the hoop!!! Kirk Hastings had that his last year, even hitting a game winning 3 vs No1 Michigan State his last year.

 
#21
Harvard for Hillbillies
Thursday, January 3, 2013 - 11:51 PM EDT

“He is the most skilled big man I’ve ever watched in a Hoosier uniform…?”

You need to talk to papa or do a little research.

We all choose to believe…I believed in happenstance getting Remy on the floor last year.

I believe Cody is taking too much crap. He’s 10 games into his second season. He was damn sick(and that sickness likely lingered for a month)and not himself for a stretch of games. Let the wine mature before you turn everything from Indiana to corn cider simply because you want to claim your Massachusetts hero, Hola-D-Wade-Dipo the “star” of the team.

Zeller is tough as nails. His demeanor and poise is unparalleled. He quietly sinks his will on the game. You don’t have to be demonstrative or a showboat to be a tough kid.

You jumped on the Establishment bandwagon with purposeful microscopic examination and labels of softness. It’s what you bonfire builders do…Build up and burn down.

 
#22
Punjab
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 12:02 AM EDT

Call me selfish, but I don’t mind CZ’s stock dropping. Winning National– even B1G– POY honors only increases the odds he goes pro. Unfortunately, I think the only way he stays right now is if we somehow falter down the stretch and he gets hungry for another shot at the title. (For which we’d probably be the odds on favorite, again, next year)

IU is doing just fine with a balanced attack,, so everyone screaming that he needs to demand the ball more must not be paying attention to our overall offensive numbers. Am I missing something?

 
#23
Geoff
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 12:40 AM EDT

You are the only one that reads what I write and comes to that conclusion Harvard…

The more concerning issue is your Jekyll and Hyde within the same post. First you belittle my praise of Cody, then you go on to heap praise him yourself. Damn you’re weird.

I believe Cody is a very tough kid. Never said he wasn’t. I said, very clearly, that I wish he played physically tougher. I believe that he is mentally very tough. I agree that he has a great will. But per usual, you will put words in my mouth and paint me as having a different opinion and motive than I do…

How would doing research or talking to my papa change who I have watched in my 37 years of life? I didn’t say he was the best ever… I said he is the most skilled I’ve watched. He is better than Haston, and Jefferies, and Garrett, and White, and Henderson… I’m not sure who else you could even put in the conversation. Talking to my papa won’t change that.

 
#24
Geoff
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 12:50 AM EDT

Punjab,

I don’t see many people (at least in here) screaming that he needs to demand the ball more… And I’m pretty sure I read every comment. The only criticism there is that he wasn’t demanding enough down the stretch in the Butler game as their top 3 bigs we’re fouling out… It was a circumstantial criticism. The main criticisms (at least in here) are that he hasn’t added much to his repertoire and he’s gotten pushed around too much.

You’re absolutely right that a balanced attack is best for our team.

 
#25
Geoff
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 12:55 AM EDT

I guess you could put Landon Turner in the conversation… But I really don’t remember him all that well.. Since I was 6.

 
#26
GooFy Dave
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 4:07 AM EDT

Geoff, only you are the fool here for believing that Harvard actually has a firm position from which he argues. Hopefully you will eventually see that Harv simply needs conflict and duress to survive: agree with him too much and he will soon find the most obscure and bizarre grounds on which to disagree with you!

 
#27
Harvard for Hillbillies
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 6:26 AM EDT

Oh, give me a break you jealous twerp. Goeff gets me. You boys wouldn’t know what to do without ol’ Harvard. And let’s not forget that I got him a ScoopTalk gig with Dustin…What a great hand of friendship from Dustin to put the offer out there after I pitched the idea…A star is born.

When would any other top journalist in this dusty hoops town ever offer a contributor on their blog to be a guest with them on camera..? That’s what makes Dustin so unique…He’s not the “it’s all about me” cut of journalist we get so much of today. At the end of the day he understands why most of us are here…We want to be him..We pretend we’re covering the Hoosiers..We pretend our ideas and thoughts on the team are worthy a column in a paper though they’ll all die in lonely cyberspace. We pretend we do the type of leg work and immersion into the sport that he brings everyday. When he engages us, he makes us feel like we’re momentarily occupying his chair. He lets us play that role and he makes us believe his stage is our stage. Very smart guy. Those genuine ideals and good upbringing to never condescend to your audience is why he’ll go far. Only the best journalists/sportscasters make you feel like they truly appreciate and enjoy the company of those they write and speak for. I know it’s only ScoopTalk, but I sure hope Geoff understands how rare it is to find a professional not intimidated to share some spotlight and show a humbleness to open his ears and not just his mouth.

But can someone answer me this….What has happened to Tsao? Dustin, do you have any idea? Anyone with a clue to why he so abruptly stopped blogging? Sure hope you’re well, Tsao.

 
#28
Punjab
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 6:33 AM EDT

Geoff, re: the screamers:I was speaking more in generalities rather than about this specific thread. I’ve seen plenty of comments about it in one forum or another, especially his “girly” play in the Butler game. (Not to mention from almost every telecaster in every game, ESPN, BTN, or otherwise.)

I’m all for constructive criticism, and there are moments when I find myself asking “where’s Cody?” I felt just as bruised as anybody after Butler. But one relatively bad game– albeit one where he was very much needed– does not warrant the overarching criticisms I see a lot of.

I enjoy reading everyone bicker– err, i mean pleasantly discuss– back and forth at times. Especially in the immediate aftermath and panic of a tough loss. But to see and hear people continually make the same claims about him needing to demand more misses the point of what this very deep team is about.

Side note: what’s with the Hoosier Scoop’s spam protection making me do math before posting every comment? Don’t they know I’m from Indiana?

 
#29
Punjab
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 6:48 AM EDT

And not to pick on you, Geoff, but there’s room for argument over whether Cody is better than Jeffries. As much as I love CZ, and think that by the time he’s done here he’ll be an inner circle Hoosier Legend, JJ came in as the National HS POY and got us to within a few baskets of a National Title in his soph year. Tough credentials to beat. If anyone can do it, though, it’s Cody.

 
#30
Geoff
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 8:52 AM EDT

It’s fine Punjab… I don’t feel picked on. To be honest I put Jeffries in there more because I felt obligated to than because I thought he should be in the discussion. Jared played more like a guard or wing with a mediocre jumper than he did like a big man. Really I’d consider him a small forward. He was very skilled and talented though, no doubt. Cody is certainly a better big man.

That team did make a great and surprising run in the tourney, but overall the team was pretty average for the 2 year sample size Jeffries played. Clearly the talent is a little better now, and the offense is much less restrictive under Crean, so there are naturally more wins and stats are slightly up across the board.

If you grade them as wings, Jeffries is better. If you grade them as bigs, Cody is better. If you grade overall impact to the team (on the court) I say Cody is slightly better. His teams are performing better… Not sure you can expect much more from last years team than losing in the Sweet 16 to the eventual national champ while giving them their toughest game of the tournament. Obviously this year we’ll just have to wait and see.

Tried to find anything stating Jeffries as national player of the year… Couldn’t… Found this…

http://statsheet.com/bhsb/players/jared-jeffries

He was definitely a top recruit, Mr Basketball, McDonald’s All-American, but so was Zeller. Just couldn’t find anything, even in recruiting articles about him, that said he was National Player of the Year. But hey, I usually don’t try to go off memory, because sometimes it fails me. Maybe you could provide me with some evidence and put my mind at ease over this.

 
#31
Chet
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 10:19 AM EDT

Ever heard of Walt Bellamy? He averaged 20.6 points and 15.5 rebounds A GAME. He last game at IU, against Michigan, he had 28 points and 33 rebounds (still an IU record).

THEN he won an Olympic gold medal (alongside Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas , and Jerry West. What a team!)

THEN, as an NBA rookie (#1 overall pick), he averaged 31,6 points and 19 rebounds.

It was a while back but he’d be hard to beat.

 
#32
Hoosier Clarion
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 10:29 AM EDT

Larry,

I agree a turnaround jumper(10-14 ft.)would be dynamic for CZ and more beneficial than shots farther out. Also those shots from closer in(if missed)are the put backs Vic makes his reputation with.

 
#33
Hoosier Clarion
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 10:47 AM EDT

Chet,

So right about Walt Bellamy(1 of my favorites)and I would add McGinnis who averaged 30 points and led the B10 in boards in his only year(Soph.)at IU were Hoosier big men extraordinaire. Bellamy was the quintessential dominate post player. McGinnis for a big man had more moves than running water and with weight and strength needed to bang. Their penchant for rebounding would be impactful today.

 
#34
iuarchie
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 10:53 AM EDT

More on the Big Bell … got drafted by a mediocre Chicago Packers (Zephyrs) team after he was at IU … a team that became the ninth NBA franchise and eventually moved to Baltimore because owner couldn’t get a deal with Chicago Stadium and had to play in Smaller venues like the Chicago Coliseum that sat maybe 7,000. He was a geeat force on the inside and weren’t all IU sports on probation because of violation committed in one sport–football? I think Bellamy is in the basketball HOF now.

 
#35
Laffy
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 11:51 AM EDT

Someone is really begging for attention…….(and goofy was right about him….hence the name-calling back).

And Zeller is not “tough as nails.” Before the game, Butler said, “All we have to do is punch Cody in the mouth and he’ll fold.” They did….and he did. They knew ahead of time he was soft.

And I wouldn’t call him more skilled than Jeffries.

 
#36 Friday, January 4, 2013 - 12:53 PM EDT

I hardly believe Butler punched CZ in the mouth. What they did do is defend his only scoring moves, get the ball wherever on the floor & drive to the basket.

 
#37
Harvard for Hillbillies
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 2:40 PM EDT

Jarrad Odle had more active feet and better post moves than Cody at his current juncture. Odle took it right to Duke at that Sweet 16 game, opened the second half with our first 5 buckets, to entirely change the complexion and momentum of the biggest tournament game for the Hoosiers 10 years preceding and 10 years since. Cody couldn’t bring that at a game of no consequence against a Butler team nothing of the caliber that went to back-to-back championship appearances.

If Andrew Smith made Cody look exceedingly bad, it’s frightening to think how a Jarrad Odle or a Matt Howard would have embarrassed him.

In all honesty, Cody looks like a kid going through the awkward year of puberty…He looks like he lost his feet and coordination..He lunges at the bucket ..Sometimes, on the backside of puberty, coordination never returns.

But Indiana used a 17-5 run over a span of 6½ minutes to close to 63-62 with 5:42 left as Jarrad Odle scored 11 of his 15 points.

Guys love to hear criticism…Makes them step up to the plate.

 
#38
Harvard for Hillbillies
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 2:50 PM EDT

Ever hear of Steve Downing…? Cody needs more than the hand God to be blessed with the moves of that quiet thunder in the middle.

Guys love criticism….Makes them step up to the plate.

Downing stepped up to the plate against anyone the national stage could throw at him…And he embarrassed UCLA’s Cody Zeller, Bill Walton.

Cody Zeller is no Steve Downing. He’s Bill Walton in a skirt.

 
#39
Geoff
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 2:59 PM EDT

Im sure Walt and George were better bigs than Cody… Or maybe it was just a product of the times… Can’t say because I didn’t experience it. I’ll allow y’all to make those determinations.

Jeffries was a more skilled wing and a less skilled big…

If I had to take one to build a team around I’d take Cody every time. I’d take Cody over all the guys listed in my post #23…

 
#40
Harvard for Hillbillies
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 3:05 PM EDT

Who’s the big homely redhead on Wisconsin with the honky fro? There’s your next Bill Walton…and I fear he’ll take it to Cody like Goldilocks eating Wee Bear’s porridge.

Guys love criticism….Makes them step up to the plate.

 
#41
Harvard for Hillbillies
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 3:13 PM EDT

Didn’t “experience it?” Watch some film…Glance at a few YouTube clips..Open a couple books. Do some historical recruiting.

A fart in a wing chair knows Cody is nowhere in the league of McGinnis, Bellamy, or Downing….or Henderson…or nearly ever Indiana big NC, Duke, or OSU has stolen through the last two decades from our borders.

What is he..? Not Jeff Howard..Not yet Jarrad Odle in a big game…Barely Crean’s saving grace is what he is.

 
#42
Harvard for Hillbillies
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 3:28 PM EDT

By the end of the year, I’m confident Cody will be a #1 draft pick for the NBA’s new Victoria Secret Lingerie League…I understand they’ll all be wearing candy-stripe hose and tour the country playing the Globetrotters…It’ll be pay-per-view and Seth Davis will do the color commentary.

 
#43
Geoff
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 4:02 PM EDT

Highlight clips don’t create the experience I need to form an educated opinion on this one… Nor would reading anything.

If there is some video library of IU games from the 60′s and 70′s that I could be privy to I wouldn’t have the time to watch them all…

So like I said, I’ll keep my opinions to my era and allow others to tell me their experiences and opinions of previous eras.

 
#44
Podunker
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 6:56 PM EDT

Since I watched almost (live or on TV) every IU game Landon Turner played in, and was old enough to appreciate his enormous talent, I’d say Landon Turner was the most athletically gifted (talented) big man to play for IU during my lifetime. When he was focused, he was the best player on the floor, could do it all, and was unstoppable. Most people that witnessed the 81 Championship team credit LT’s improved play at the end of the season as the reason why IU won the championship. However, LT was not always focused, made a lot of mental mistakes and spent a lot of time on Bob Knight’s bench. Until the end of the 80/81 season, he seemed to struggle under Knight’s system. Fortunately, he turned it around when IU needed him most.

Ironically, a lot of people thought LT would be a much better player in the NBA than he was for IU. Tragically, he never got the chance to find out how good he could be. But I will alway remember marveling at his enormous athletic ability and how dominant he was when he was focused. It was beautiful to behold!

 
#45
Podunker
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 7:04 PM EDT

As for consistency, physical and mental toughness, I’d have to say Kent Benson was a very effective big man for IU. But people forget that Benson was not very good during his first two years at IU. He really developed into a star during his Junior season (75/76) and was a major reason why IU went undefeated and won the National Championship.

I never got a chance to watch George McGinnis play for IU, but I’ve heard he was an unbelievable talent and probably the best player to ever put on candy stripes.

 
#46
Geoff
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 7:15 PM EDT

Harvard – although you do it constantly, I am not giving you permission to paraphrase and put words in my mouth. The only way you ever think you gain traction in a debate with me is when you either, A) say I said something I didn’t say and then disagree with it… or, B) completely change the subject and start debating in a different direction.

I never came close to saying what you attempted to paraphrase there. Not even close.

As far as Wilt goes, you are of course misremembering that debate as well. Wilt’s career was very well chronicled, both on film and in writing. I’ve seen lots of his games on NBA TV – full games, NOT highlights. I also didn’t argue that Chamberlain was no Shaq… I argued that he was selfish, aloof, and that his numbers were greatly inflated because of his selfishness and the era he played in. I gave plenty of evidence to back it up including first hand accounts of teammates and other sports personalities from his era. I argued that the golden age of centers was the late 80′s into the early 2000′s and provided plenty of evidence to back it up. I was arguing against people who were trying to discredit Shaq.

But hey, remember it however you want. I know you don’t care about reality or fact. You are just here to provoke and entertain, and there’s plenty of room for that in this blog as far as I’m concerned.

Even when you annoy me and/or confuse me I’m still a fan of yours… (sorry Laffy, but even you two seem to be settleing in and enjoying each other lately)

 
#47
Harvard for Hillbillies
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 7:17 PM EDT

I think Benson was eligible his freshman year, but I do believe that during the time of McGinnis and Downing that freshman were only allowed to practice. McGinnis always regretted going pro, not staying on the team with Downing, and the opportunity to spank the hell out of Wooden and the Bruins at the Final Four. Downing outplayed the overly hyped Walton on his own, but can you imagine that Hoosier team with McGinnis?

Enjoyed those posts, Podunker. Perspective rather than tunnel vision..You don’t need to be an NBA lottery pick to be invaluable to your team and provide lifelong memories to your fans…your character and heart and determination when all the chips are on the table…all completely UNMOTIVATED by the almighty dollar sign and selfish glory your own name in lights.

 
#48 Friday, January 4, 2013 - 7:26 PM EDT

Remember when you guys were being nice to each other? Like yesterday? Can we go back to that?

 
#49
Harvard for Hillbillies
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 7:30 PM EDT

Come on, Geoff. We all know Cody is not McGinnis, Bellamy, Downing, Turner, or Henderson…at least not at this point in his college career. You don’t have to live in the era those players, nor study hours of documentaries and film to accept that simple truth. We don’t have to live in the era of Ouinn Buckner n to know Remy is not Quinn Buckner. Cody has been over-hyped. The “why?” behind the over-hyped is a much more complicated issue. It has nothing to do with him being “soft.”

He looks less coordinated this year than last. He lunges. Is it pressure? Is it too high of expectations? Is it too much selfish play from those wanting to put on their personal NBA shows that aren’t feeding him the ball enough? Is it coaching allowing for all this to happen? Is it the late onset of puberty? Is it secondary puberty due to the massiveness of the “stones” bringing on a slight regression in equilibrium/coordination? Maybe one stone drops at the age of 16 and the next stone at 19?

 
#50
Chet
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 7:54 PM EDT

Walton wasn’t overhyped. He was THAT good in college. For goodness sake, the guy once went 21 for 22 in the national title game and he wasn’t dunking those shots. Downing owned him when they played but that was ONE game. He was as good as advertised. He also won titles at the next level despite constant injuries. Had he stayed healthy, who knows?

Comparing eras, well, you just have to compare how they did in their own era. Every outfielder in major league baseball today might be better than Joe Dimaggio but would you rank them higher? Not me.

That being said, from what I’ve seen, Walt Bellamy would be a star today, as would his contemporaries, Oscar Robertson and Jerry West. Oscar Robertson was a lightning quick 6’5″ combo guard who averaged a double double. He’d do just fine today.

I’ll always believe that Wilt, despite his numerous character flaws, was 10 times the player that Shaq was…except, maybe, in a pie eating contest.

Unfortunately, it will always live in the world of opinions. If only they could have played each other…

 
#51
Chet
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 8:05 PM EDT

Now, referring to teams as opposed to players, it makes me think of Coach K’s comments a while back. A sportswriter asked him how his current teams would do against his teams from the ’80s.

He responded, “Are you kidding me? Those guys (from the ’80s) would KILL these guys.”

He was referring, of course, to fact that you were comparing a bunch of skilled 4 year players against teams whose best players were ‘one and dones’.

Who knows what Vic and Cody will do at the end of the season but the fact of the matter is, our current group of Hoosiers is an old school team with a bunch of veterans. That’s not the norm for a top five team (OK, beat me up with stats that show I’m wrong). I really, really like cheering for the same guy for 4 years.

 
#52
Chet
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 8:19 PM EDT

Why do you guys even do this? Are you both (yep, BOTH) that needy? I usually don’t even catch the first oh-so-grievous insult then you two go off on your pantie wadding spree.

Laffy, spare us the whole he’s-so-much-worse BS. Please.

Your guys little feud has become so lame.

 
#53
Harvard for Hillbillies
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 8:24 PM EDT

Nice posts, Chet.

I think there was likely a few games of Downing outplaying other post players on the way to that Final Four. He put IU on his back in that Cinderella run and helped thrust Knight and the Hoosiers into the national spotlight.

Big hearts are made for big moments. Downing was Knight’s first All-American..Read up on what he did down the stretch of the Big 10 season the same year they went to the Final Four. He also fought through a knee injury. He also has to his credit the only recorded triple-double to date as an Indiana Hoosier. He assaulted the boards and was quiet and undemonstrative while doing so. Zero showboating. Wonderfully agile and used the glass to an art form on turnaround jumpers.

Dustin-

I’ll clean it up. I think you fully understand that post #26 was a total cheap shot. I even think you probably know who was responsible. I think you also fully understand modern satire without having to live in the era of the slapstick of ‘The Three Stooges.’ My attacks are satirical and over-the-top for the sole reason how ridiculous I believe the attacking of Cody’s backbone. Your character is on the court. Your internal fortitude is on the court.
If you can attack a kid for being soft and then claim it’s not an affront to his character, then I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with a bit of countering satire.

My knitting a soft jock link was cleaner than what is watched by families all across American on an average Family Guy or Simpson’s episode. It’s all fine.

 
#54
Chet
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 9:24 PM EDT

Don’t worry, Laffy, I’ve been ‘clean’ for a while. Funny thing about having gone through scores (well, a score) of trauma surgeries is all they do is kill pain. The fun stuff stopped a long time ago.

Knock yourself out. Nobody listens anymore, anyway.

 
#55
Harvard for Hillbillies
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 9:34 PM EDT

With all the Harvard myth-busting powers of Geoff in Happy Valley, I’m currently having visions of Cody against Penn State.

 
#56
Podunker
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 10:01 PM EDT

Denigrating Wilt has been a national past time for decades, even years after his death. I believe that’s because he made such a big target, was larger than life, and easily the most dominant basketball player (in relative terms) to ever play the game. But everything is relative to expectations, and expectations for Wilt remained outrageously high throughout his career. When a person does not live up to other people’s expectations, regardless of how unrealistic they may be, those people become disappointed and start taking shots. Cody Zeller is learning that now. He did not create those expectations, but he is required to live up to them.

I’m old enough to remember watching Wilt play while still in his prime. In is prime, no one could stop him. No one! He dominated every other center the NBA could throw at him. With the exception of a couple of years, he was not surrounded by adequate talent, but he often carried weak teams to the playoffs and/or finals. I still get frustrated when I hear “experts” opine that Russell was a better NBA center and how he battled Wilt. Russell battled Wilt like a lion battles a bull elephant; he needed a lot of help to bring him down. Talk about revising history! Russell played center on a team filled with Hall-of-Famers. It was an all-star team for years! In head to head competition against Wilt, Russell got destroyed, but his team often won the game. Sharing a profound memory, Russell once told a story about how he once tricked Wilt and made an easy score early in the game. Wilt was embarrassed, so for pay back, he went on a rampage and scored something like 20 unanswered points and just totally shut Russell down for the remainder of the game. Russell said that Wilt wanted to make a point and that during that game Russell realized, that when really motivated, Wilt was so dominant that Russell and everyone else was helpless against him.

 
#57
Ben
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 10:01 PM EDT

This is sick. Is it that hard just to ignore what you don’t like? Everyone is more civilized then this. Dustin, please do something. I like the majority of the posts people make, but when they involve sexual references involving Dustin, Laffy, Harvard, that’s just plain sick.

 
#58
Ron
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 10:20 PM EDT

Wilt had a 100 point game also, right? I seem to remember the front-page headline in the Indy Star.After his retirement he competed in beach volleyball.

 
#59
Chet
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 10:42 PM EDT

Po,
I remember Wilt a bit and watchd more video. When I watch his fluidity, his speed up and down the court often handling the ball, turn around jumpers like a small forward and then watch a lumbering hulk of Shaq it’s hard to imagine the comparison.

Sure, Shaq was HUGE. He may have even been able to overwhelm Wilt with his bulk. But skill and athleticism? There’s no comparison.

 
#60
Laffy
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 10:54 PM EDT

Don’t worry. I will sue HT, just like I did the Indy Star. I had them on their knees, and will do the same to HT, Dustin, Jeremy, and Andy. Looking forward to consulting with my attorney.

 
#61
Johnny H
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 10:58 PM EDT

Seriously? Your going to sue a blog? Give me a break! You better have Johnny Cochran attorney or something. Only weak people sue. Try being diplomatic. Goes a looooooong way.

 
#62 Friday, January 4, 2013 - 11:35 PM EDT

I can promise you he won’t have Cochran!!!!

 
#63
Chet
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 11:42 PM EDT

Laffy has decided to toss any credibility he has ever had out the window.

May olde aquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind…

 
#64
Geoff
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 11:52 PM EDT

Really Laffy…. A week ago 90% of the regulars on here were giving you credit, but apparently that wasn’t good enough… All you cared about was your feud with Harvard and you couldn’t just continue on the path that was best for you and the blog… I don’t get it.

Take a break man…

Come back in a coupe weeks…

I don’t care if you’re serious about the suing thing or not, but even threatening it is weak.

 
#65
Geoff
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 11:55 PM EDT

On another note… I may be really strange, and I’m willing to accept that, but Django is the best movie I’ve seen in years… Years.

 
#66
Chet
Friday, January 4, 2013 - 11:59 PM EDT

The term “laughingstock” comes to mind.

Hey, anybody can sue anyone for anything but 99% of BS gets tossed immediately. In Federal Court (which is where he’d have to sue) they’ll make you pay the defendants costs, as well.

Good luck with that.

 
#67
Chet
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 12:02 AM EDT

I love Quentin Tarantino movies. Guilty pleasures at their best.

 
#68
Inside Scoop
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 12:13 AM EDT

Here is what will happen.

Laffy sues Dustin. Dustin wins, and Laffy losses everything he owns, plus his trailor. Laffy puts his trailor for sale. Dustin buys it. Dustin douses it with gasoline, and sets the piece of crap on fire. Dustin claims lightning struck it, and they believe him. Dustin gets a huge payout, while Laffy goes into the Insane asylum screaming “Tooty Fruity” and “lawsuit”. Laffy escapes, and plunges into the Ohio River. Dustin pays big money, and gets it drained. Laffy meanwhile is swept away in the Atlantic Ocean, where he adapts to sea life, and transforms into a octopus.

 
#69
Geoff
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 12:29 AM EDT

To me this is all sucky… Laffy may not like me now, but I’m pretty sure I’ve been an ardent defender of his. I prefer freedom of speech. I also prefer a certain level of civility although I don’t require it. I enjoy Laffy’s takes when they aren’t riddled with.. I’m not sure I can find the right word… It isn’t hate because I don’t think he cares that much… It’s more just unnecessary spite and aggression.

I’m glad we don’t all get along… It would be way more boring if we did. Right now I’m concerned about Tsao’s health because we haven’t heard from him in a couple weeks… He certainly isn’t my biggest fan, but he’s part of the family and feel his absence. I don’t want to lose Laffy and his personality (which can be really good) too… Obviously this place wouldnt be the same without Harvard either, but I don’t see him as unable or unwilling to tone it down, and I certainly don’t see him threatening to sue.

I don’t want Dustin to have to sacrifice his craft as a journalist to become the moderator of a blog… And apparently that happened tonight while I was away…

Any chance we can put our egos aside for the sake of this blog, which is in my opinion, BY FAR the best place to openly discuss all aspects of Hoosier hoops, both positive and negative.

 
#70
Ben
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 12:35 AM EDT

I agree Geoff, but when you use people to fulfill your sick sexual pleasures, as was the case in deleted post, that’s just wrong. I don’t care what they bring to the table. I have never seen a p,a e that allows so many chances. It’s time to clean up, and get serious around here. It’s time to ban people.

 
#71
Geoff
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 1:02 AM EDT

Chet, I’m telling you man, this is equal in quality to Pulp Fiction. It blows everything in between out of the water. Characters are great. Dialogue is amazing. Violence is tolerable. Story is well done. Actors are perfectly cast. Also very nostalgic with the old timey western feel – with the picture quality and the camera work. Pure Cinemagic Greatness…

…or maybe I’m just a weirdo. But hey, my wife was blown away too, and I wouldn’t say we have the same exact taste in movies.

 
#72
Geoff
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 1:05 AM EDT

Hey last second, but……

I have 2 extra tickets to Monday night’s game. Free for Scoopers. Dustin, they’re available to you too for the friends you’re staying with in Happy Valley, or any of your other local buddies.

Probably could get more if there was a demand.

 
#73
TsaoTsuG
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 1:37 AM EDT

Just a point here, Harvard you are right. Bellamy, Mc Ginnis, Downing (and-in my opinion- even possibly Ray Tolbert were each a significantly better basketball player than Cody Zeller has been thus far.

All four had attributes of speed, agility, quickness, basketball intelligence, and skills. But Bellamy, Downing, and McGiniss were much, much physically stronger, better rebounders than Cody and much more capable of carrying the team on their back when needed.

I also believe that Bellamy, Downing, McGinnis, all three had much stronger disposition and presence than CZ,…they would simply ‘will’ the outcome and impact every one on the floor. Harvard, you are very right , that ‘will’ is a clear determinant that is essential and a facet of the game I have not seen in CZ to this point. (Emphasizing ‘to this point’;…and, by the way, the part of basketball which is absolutely not quantifiable)- I’ll be interested to see if CZ can cross that threshold. (One comment fair to make here, I do clearly see that ‘will’ in Oladipo- the very reason I enjoy watching him play).

(BTW, important to remember that, at the time, Mc Ginnis was the only player in the NBA who could legitimately be compared to Dr. J.

(Not sure where I’d place Landon Turner, who was a great physical athlete. (Knight would later say he was physically the best he had at IU; but, he was as frustrating a player as CZ can be at times. Interestingly, it took both Knight and his team mate Ray Tolbert to bring him(Turner)out to make him the ‘great player he was for the 4-6 weeks when LT led Indiana to the championship).

Walton was a great and dominant basketball player for all of his career…; except for one game, when Steve Downing re-educated him.

Wilt Chamberlain,… Chet has it entirely right…he would have eaten Shack (and Walton)as an appetizer (even as much as I liked Shack and detested Wilt’s ‘behaviors’) and recycled him as processed ‘burritos’ every one of the ten times. No comparison, not even the same galaxie. The only problem with Wilt, there were no players (and I’m not sure there have ever been since he retired)who even approached the dimension he played in. It’s impossible (and unfair to the player being compared to him) to compare Wilt to anyone.

(Thanks for your concern HH…I’m ok).

 
#74
Geoff
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 1:45 AM EDT

Good to hear from you Tsao… Vacation?

 
#75
TsaoTsuG
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 2:46 AM EDT

No…my son just retired from the US Army (he was last with the Joint Chiefs in DC) and we were all (son, daughter, in-laws, five grandchildren)able to get together for Christmas for the fist time in more than 20 years. (After a couple of Balkans wars, one Sinai peace-keeping operation, four Iraq and two Afghanistan rotations- including both surges) it puts a lot in its proper perspective.

Hope you had a good holiday.

 
#76
Harvard for Hillbillies
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 4:06 AM EDT

Dr. J…Nothing compared to ‘The Doctor’…Baryshnikov came to the NBA with Dr. J.

He covered so much ground so effortlessly. He hung in the air as if every move he made was a conscious pose for a photo shoot a courtside photographer. He twisted and contorted and slithered…and made defenders appear as manikins positioned solely for his own theater. He held the basketball in his massive palm like he was performing air delivery of priceless jewels to Buckingham. So, so smooth. Everything he did with a basketball was something I had never witnessed before and know I’ll never witness again.

There have been more physical players and certainly more dominant players cut from the mold we all believe a total package basketball player could perfectly morph into if they were a god(MJ), but watching Dr. J was just mind-blowing. Dr. J caressed the game and danced with my heart..He confused me and opened my eyes to sport and the elegance of power mixed with art. He made me want to go out and shovel snow off the driveway to shoot hoops in 30 degree temps. How foolish a young mind can be to think practice and practice and more practice could ever creates a Dr. J. ..But how wonderful to dream and be infected by it all…. The Doctor on a call.

Missed you, Tsao.

 
#77
Harvard for Hillbillies
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 4:32 AM EDT
 
#78
Geoff
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 9:19 AM EDT

Tsao – that is great man! Must have been a wonderful Christmas. Thank you to you and your family for serving and protecting us so faithfully for so long.

Happy New Year. Glad you are well.

 
#79
Punjab
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 9:32 AM EDT

Well, gents, as you’ve no doubt noticed I’m new to this blog. Been reading the articles for a while but never got too involved with the comments until a few weeks ago. I must admit they’re usually fun, and I’m all for spirited debate. Some of the acts can get a little tired when they continually cross the line between sarcasm and oneupsmanship to vitriol and sour, grumpy-old-manhood. But Im an avid reader of the Onion, as well, so I’m not one who’s easily offended.

For the most part, I’m beginning to appreciate the roles and rivalries of the usual suspects and must say: keep up the good work, gentlemen. You make this blog interesting. Look forward to bickering with you all in the future.

And Geoff: looks like I’m about 40 posts too late, but Jeffries was the National Gatorade HS POY in 2000. I wouldn’t have known except he went to my high school and it was in the HT when he committed. I’m sure a simple google search can confirm.

 
#80
Geoff
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 10:21 AM EDT

Already did a Google search and couldn’t find it… Thanks for specifying it was the Gatorade award, just verified that. There are obviously lots of National Player of the Year Awards… USA Today, Nat’l HS Coaches Assoc, Naismith Prep Award, Parade POY, and Mr Basketball USA. He definitely was named Gatorade POY. However, that isn’t mentioned in any of his bios, his wiki page, or any articles that came up when I searched his name + national HS payer of the year.

Now that doesn’t change the fact that if I had to build a team around one guy, I’d take Zeller.

 
#81
Geoff
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 10:23 AM EDT

Welcome to the forum Punjab… I had a similar history – reading for about a year or two before finally adding my 2¢… Keep the posts coming!

 
#82
Chet
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 10:29 AM EDT

Yeah, Geoff, it is kinda sucky but I, too, have gone down the ‘defend Laffy’ road. It’s like picking up the snake and carrying across the road only to have it bite you when you set it down.

You knew it was a snake when you picked it up. I’m done.

TTG, that’s an amazing career. Makes the cup of coffee I had in the Navy seem a little ridiculous. My sister did a tour at the Pentagon after making O-6. Sounds like a great holiday. Welcome home.

Dr. J transformed basketball. Before him the NBA was a league of jump shooters and big centers. Everyone wanted to be Dr. J.

I hate to say it but watching Wilt, particularly his movie career after basketball, and considering his premature death, I’m inclined to think he was taking performance enhancing drugs by the handful.

Punjab, welcome to the Scoop. Stocking feet only, leave your shoes at the door.

 
#83
Hoosier Clarion
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 10:38 AM EDT

Damn, sorry I missed the dust up last night. Must have been a beaut. How many casualties?

Saw the movie Lincoln this week. It too is well done with top notch acting and worth the $/time. It is a + if you know something of that era of history or am a history buff in general. Very little Civil War action involved.

The thing about Wilt is he perfected a variety of BB moves to create offense which made him fun to watch. If he had tried Shaq’s offensive move of backing into your defender, turnaround and shove in with your shoulder, then thrust out with your forearm so as to reach up and dunk, he would have fouled out of many, many games. Bellamy and Wilt played a lot alike. Good D, deadly turnaround jumper and talent with length for rebounding.

 
#84
Chet
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 10:43 AM EDT

Daniel Day Lewis is a lock for best actor for his portrayal of Lincoln.

 
#85
Geoff
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 11:19 AM EDT

Chet, that’s exactly what I said as soon as I saw he was playing the role… Haven’t seen the movie yet, but all 4 of my parents loved it.

 
#86
Hoosier Clarion
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 12:05 PM EDT

I also suspect Sally Fields will be in the mix for best actress. Her performance does stand out.

 
#87
Podunker
Saturday, January 5, 2013 - 10:08 PM EDT

Tsao, congrats to your son and the entire family. A most memorable Christmas holiday to be sure.

 


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