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Indiana coach Tom Crean spoke on a conference call regarding the Maui Invitational after the bracket was officially announced this afternoon, and here’s the full transcript:
How does Thomas Bryant change and make your team better?
Well, in a lot of different ways. The one area statistically that I think will change is our field goal percentage defense because now we’re going to be a little bit better at the rim, which is going to enable us to get out and pressure the ball a little bit more. We didn’t block shots very well last year. I think we blocked a shot about one out of every 23, 24 possessions. A team like Kentucky blocked a shot one out of every 11 or 12. You’ve got to have rim protection, so right away he brings that. He moves his feet pretty well. He’s really working hard to get down and understand what he’s got to be able to do in the short space as far as two things at once, three things at once, defending the ball, defending in help and then getting back and rotating. He’s learning those things. But he’s really going to affect us offensively, too. Because he demands the ball in the post with his body and he’s getting stronger. His squat went up in six weeks. It went up almost 100 pounds when we tested today. So that’s a good sign. There’s a guy that really, really understands that he’s got to get stronger. He can score. He’s an emerging shooter and a guy that’s going to be able to not only shoot catch-and-shoot 3s, but a guy that’s going to be able to shoot it off the move. We’re going to be able to do a lot of things in the ball screen with him, and eventually—I don’t know if it will be by November—but it will eventually lead with him handling the ball in the ball screen. But we’re excited about him and he’s got an infectious energy on his teammates.
We already know Indiana is set for a first-round matchup with Wake Forest. Now we know how the Maui Invitational bracket looks on paper.
IU’s opening game against the Demon Deacons will tip off on Nov. 23 at 5 p.m. Eastern and air on ESPN2. The winner will face either Vanderbilt or St. John’s at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 24. For the Hoosiers, it all adds up to a potential meeting with UCLA or Kansas in the final.
After spending much of the last year stateside, Will Sheehey is returning to Europe.
The former Indiana forward recently signed with SO Maritime Boulogne in France’s Pro B League, according to a tweet by his agent, Keith Kreiter of Edge Sports. Sheehey spent this summer with the New Orleans Pelicans’ Las Vegas Summer League team, appearing in two games and scoring 14 points in 25 minutes. His stint in Las Vegas ended early after he suffered a hamstring injury.
Sheehey started last season in Montenegro before joining the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in January. His stint in Fort Wayne lasted only a month before he requested his release and joined the Los Angeles D-Fenders. Sheehey played 17 games between both teams in the D League, averaging 9.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per contest. He shot 47 percent from the field and 38 percent (15-for-39) from 3-point range.
Last weekend, Sheehey joined former IU teammates Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford in The Tournament, scoring a combined 46 points between both games for Armored Athlete.
“A real team player, with good passing skills, very good outside shooter,” his new coach Germain Castano said in a quote translated from French to English via the team web site.
Indiana and Kansas could meet for a primetime game in Hawaii a year earlier than expected.
That would be the case if both teams advance to the final round of this November’s Maui Invitational. According to a report from ESPN’s Andy Katz, the Hoosiers and Jayhawks will headline their respective brackets when this year’s tournament begins on November 23. The Hoosiers will open against Wake Forest, setting up a second-round matchup with the winner of Vanderbilt and St. John’s. It all builds to a potential final round showdown between IU and either Kansas or UCLA. Indiana is ranked No. 14 in ESPN’s early rankings.
An official announcement for this year’s tournament bracket is expected Tuesday afternoon.
Indiana and Kansas are also scheduled to play in the 2016 Armed Forces Classic, which will be held on a Naval base in Pearl Harbor. Both events are staged in conjunction with ESPN. The Jayhawks, ranked No. 6 in ESPN’s early top 25, will open with host Chaminade. The Bruins, coached by former Hoosier great Steve Alford, start the tournament against UNLV. Alford’s staff at UCLA also includes former Indiana walk-on Kory Barnett and former Park Tudor coach Ed Schilling.
The Demon Deacons finished 13-19 last season, losing to Virginia Tech in the first round of the ACC Tournament and ending the year ranked No. 124 in the KenPom.com metric. Wake Forest has won each of the previous two meetings, including the last one in 2008.
The Maui Invitational, which is held annually during Thanksgiving week, will run Nov. 23-25. Earlier this summer, it was announced that Austin Peay, Cal Poly, UMBC and Northern Colorado will play opening-round, on-campus games against the seven participating schools. According to a report on Austin Peay’s official web site, IU will host the Governors at Assembly Hall on Monday, Nov. 16.
Indiana’s non-conference schedule continues to fill up. The Hoosiers will host Creighton on Thursday, Nov. 19 in the inaugural Gavitt Tipoff Games and will travel to Duke for an ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup on Wednesday, Dec. 2. IU will also face Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic on Dec. 19 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana has also signed game contracts with McNeese State and Kennesaw State.
According to an open records request filed by the Indiana Daily Student last month, Morehead State has also signed to play a game at Assembly Hall on Dec. 5.
Indiana also has its conference matchups set for next season, though dates and times have not been announced. IU will have home-and-home matchups with Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin. The Hoosiers will host home-only games against Maryland, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue, and travel for road-only matchups with Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Rutgers.
Does it feel like football season yet? If not, it should. Big Ten Media Days get underway in Chicago on Thursday morning, when we’ll get our opportunity to check in with IU coach Kevin Wilson and the crew. As always, there’s plenty to check on this week, whether it be position changes, disciplinary issues, the whole Antonio Allen mess, injury updates, hopes and dreams and all the other typical spring/summer updates. Wilson will be joined on Thursday by Nate Sudfeld, Adarius Rayner and Jason Spriggs, so we’ll get a good amount of time to chat with all four.
In the meantime, while we wait for the real stuff to happen, let’s take a look at what our friends at three of the major national preview magazines believe is in store for the Hoosiers in Year 5 under Wilson. Opinions and projections vary, and you’ll find a whole lot more by purchasing the following publications, but here’s a sampling of where things seem to stand entering the fall.
National projection: No. 60
Record projection: 6-6 overall, 2-6 Big Ten
Big Ten finish projection: Sixth in the Big Ten East
Bowl projection: Austin Bowl vs. Miami (NOTE: Since publication, this bowl has been shelved for at least one year)
All-Conference selections: Jordan Howard, 2nd Team running back; Dan Feeney, 2nd Team guard; Jason Spriggs, 2nd Team tackle.
Recruiting ranking: No. 9 in Big Ten.
Team analysis: “The Hoosiers took a step back in 2014, but the return of QB Nate Sudfeld from injury should be enough for Indiana to challenge for a bowl. Sudfeld is among the Big Ten’s top quarterbacks and will be joined by talented UAB transfer Jordan Howard at running back to replace Tevin Coleman. Defense remains the biggest concern. The Hoosiers have allowed at least 30 points per game for five consecutive seasons, and the 2015 unit doesn’t figure to be significantly improved. With four winnable games in non-conference play, combined with two key swing games at home, IU should be in position to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2007.” (more…)
One thing is agreeable entering the 2015 college football season — Ohio State is the team to beat.
In the Big Ten preseason media poll conducted by cleveland.com, the defending national champions are the unanimous choice to earn a second consecutive Big Ten title. Ohio State also boasts the preseason Defensive Player of the Year in defensive end Joey Bosa and the preseason Offensive Player of the Year in running back Ezekiel Elliott.
On the other end of the East Division standings, Indiana is picked to finish last. None of the 23 players to receive votes between the two individual awards were Hoosiers.
All 40 voters, including yours truly, also picked Michigan State to finish second in the East. In the West, Wisconsin received 32 first-place votes, followed by Nebraska (five) and Minnesota (three). The poll was compiled by Doug Lesmerises of cleveland.com and included a collection of Big Ten beat writers. The league itself stopped releasing a preseason poll in 2011.
Since the inception of the cleveland.com poll, none of the four previous favorites have gone on to win the league. Nebraska was picked to win the Big Ten in 2011, but Wisconsin ended up as the conference champion. A year later, Michigan was the favorite before Wisconsin beat Nebraska for the Big Ten title. Ohio State was the favorite in 2013, but lost to Michigan State in the championship game. The Spartans were also the preseason favorites last season following a revote after Braxton Miller’s season-ending injury. But Ohio State went on to beat Wisconsin in the conference title game before winning both College Football Playoff games and claiming the national title.
Indiana’s most optimistic showing in the poll came in 2013, when the Hoosiers were picked to finish fourth in the Leaders Division. IU went on to finish 5-7 despite eight home games that season. Last year, Indiana was picked sixth in the poll.
Bosa, a unanimous All-American in 2014, received 37 first-place votes. Bosa finished last season as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year and also earned Defensive Lineman of the Year honors. Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun was second in the poll and Penn State defensive tackle Anthony Zettel was third.
Elliott received 31 first-place votes to run away with the offensive crown. Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook received three first-place votes and Ohio State quarterbacks Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett finished third and fourth in the voting.
Follow along after the jump to see how the voting in both divisions shakes out. I’ll also post my ballot for the league standings and individual awards. Visit cleveland.com for full results for the defensive and offensive award voting. (more…)
CHICAGO — Four former Hoosiers entered DePaul University’s McGrath-Phillips Arena on Saturday night with the dream of winning a share of $1 million alive.
Only one walked out still dreaming.
Former Indiana University standout Rod Wilmont and the Ants Alumni team, which also featured the likes of former Indiana Pacer Stephen Graham and ex-Auburn star Chris Porter, built a lead of as many as 15 points in the second half, then held on for a 76-72 victory over Armored Athlete and the former Hoosier trio of Jordan Hulls, Will Sheehey and Christian Watford in the quarterfinals of The Basketball Tournament.
Wilmont and his squad, consisting of former members of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, advance to play in the semifinals in New York City next weekend against Team 23.
The Ants used a similar pattern in both the first and second half on Saturday night, building a big lead in each half and holding on.
Sheehey had eight points off the bench in the first half, and little-known Lloyd Johnson added 11 points to help pull Armored Athlete within two at halftime, 36-34.
A 15-2 run by the Ants to start the second half saw the lead stretch to 51-36 before Armored Athlete came back to life, this time with Hulls dropping in a pair of 3s for his only baskets of the game. Sheehey added another 3 to further tighten things up as the game headed down the stretch.
Watford finally got going with three late 3-pointers, his first points in two nights, with the last 3 pulling Armored Athlete within 73-72 with 18.3 seconds left.
But the Ants made two free throws, and Arizona product Mark Lyons’ contested 3 for the tie was off the mark, allowing Wilmont and company to escape with the victory.
Sheehey scored 18 points to lead Armored Athlete, while Wilmont finished with five points in 12 minutes for the Ants.
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