Indiana coach Tom Crean said at media availability on Tuesday that he expected IU freshman forward Noah Vonleh to play in Wednesday’s game against Nebraska.
That didn’t happen, so Crean wasn’t going to go that far Friday to say what he thought would happen to Vonleh in Saturday’s 6 p.m. game against Michigan in Crisler Arena.
“We’ll see,” Crean said. “He was in practice some today. We’ll see. I fully thought that he’d be able to go the other day and he just wasn’t. I know he wants to play. We’ll just have to wait and see until tomorrow. I’m not going to go out on a limb like the other day. I thought pretty much that he would. We’ll have to wait and see until tomorrow.”
The Hoosiers beat the Wolverines in the teams’ first meeting this year in Bloomington on Feb. 2 by showing them a defensive look they hadn’t previously seen. They used senior swingman Will Sheehey to guard Michigan center Jordan Morgan and switched ball screens to make it tougher for Michigan to get anything off the dribble drive. They used sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell to face guard star shooting guard Nik Stauskas and effectively neutralized power forward Glenn Robinson III by defending him with Vonleh.
The Wolverines will be ready for that look the second time around, and Crean said he expects them to adjust.
“I think they’ll keep Stauskas in great movement,” Crean said. “They’re so good with their spacing. We have some ideas of what they might try to do, but nobody we’ve seen has tried to guard them that way, so it’s not like we’ve seen the adjustments they’ve made. I would imagine that they’ll just keep Stauskas in movement a lot. I think they’ll try to post us some. There’s a lot of different things they can do. We just have to adjust.”
Indiana released a list of roster updates on Friday. Among the pertinent points, defensive end Ryan Phillis has graduated and will stay with the program, but as a student assistant coach and not a fifth-year player. Defensive tackle Alex Todd has opted to take a medical hardship waiver after suffering back trouble last year. He maintains his scholarship and will stay at Indiana, but not play and not count against the 85. Wide receiver Anthony Young has left the program to concentrate on track and field.
Nine players will be limited in spring practice because of injuries suffered last season. They are safety Antonio Allen, tight end Anthony Corsaro, offensive linemen Ralston Evans and Dan Feeney, linebacker Steven Funderburk, wide receiver Ricky Jones, offensive lineman David Kaminski, safety Mark Murphy and offensive lineman Bernard Taylor.
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Indiana closer Ryan Halstead is out for the season with an ACL tear, the Hoosiers learned Friday morning. Halstead suffered the injury in Wednesday’s game against Xavier. Doctor’s expect a full recovery.
Halstead is Indiana’s all-time leader in saves. He was taken by the Minnesota Twins late in last year’s Major League Baseball draft but opted to stick around for his senior year. He would be eligible for a medical redshirt if he is not drafted this season.
1. HOOSIERS HQ
Indiana will introduce new uniforms for the Big Ten Tournament, though the Hoosiers remain cautious about making big changes, Dustin wrote.
It’s been a head-scratching season, even if coach Tom Crean won’t actually say it, I wrote.
The IU women’s basketball team could not match Michigan’s intensity and was bounced in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament, Mike wrote.
2. IT’S INDIANA
Thoughts on Teddy Valentine and a surprising look at Indiana in a blind resume comparison highlight the NCAA power rankings, Mark Titus of Grantland.com writes.
Fort Wayne Homestead big man Caleb Swanigan picked up a scholarship offer from Indiana last week and has picked up his play as well, Justin Kenny of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel writes.
The grandson of former Hoosier Bill Garrett still feels the impact of his grandfather’s work as a race relations pioneer, Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star writes.
IU pitcher Joey DeNato continues to prove the doubters wrong with his continued success on the mound, Evan Hoopfer of the Indiana Daily Student writes.
Takeaways from a road trip to Indiana with a slight Kentucky slant, from Drew Franklin of Foxsports.com.
Former North Carolina head coach Dean Smith left plenty of people with plenty of memories, but he has fewer of his own these days as a result of his battle with dementia, Tommy Tomlinson of ESPN.com writes.
4. ONE FOR THE ROAD
For the Dean, Barbara Streisand and “Memory.”
WHAT HAPPENED: Michigan outworked Indiana on the offensive glass, dominated with second-chance opportunities and put away the Hoosiers, 82-57, in the Big Ten Tournament opener at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Wolverines finished with five players scoring in double figures, led by double-doubles from Cyesha Goree (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Nicole Elmblad (15 points, 11 rebounds). Alexis Gassion scored a team-high 12 points for Indiana. Michigan advances to the next round, where it will face Big Ten co-champion Michigan State Friday at 6:30 p.m. The postseason drought continues for the Hoosiers, who haven’t won a tournament game since 2008-09.
Michigan outscored Indiana 24-8 in second-chance points, 42-32 in the paint and 24-8 off turnovers. Michigan shot 50 percent (31-for-62) from the field, while Indiana shot 41 percent for the game (25-for-61). The Hoosiers struggled from the perimeter, where they fired at only 26 percent (5-for-19).
Indiana now returns home awaiting a postseason tournament bid. The team is not expected to learn of any potential WBI or WNIT bid until March 17 or 18.
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By the numbers
0 Nebraska was 0-5 in games played in Bloomington prior to Wednesday night’s victory over the Hoosiers.
1 Number of times Troy Williams has hit multiple 3-point shots in a game after hitting both attempts from distance against Nebraska.
50 Games scoring in double digits for senior Will Sheehey, with 17 of those games coming this season. Sheehey is now 43rd on the IU all-time scoring list with 1,090 points.
James Blackmon Jr., 6-3, G, Marion, 2014: Scored 34 points in the regular-season finale, a 99-69 win over Fort Wayne Snider, then posted 30 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 77-51 win over Logansport in the sectional opener Tuesday. Plays Friday night at 6 against host Kokomo in the sectional semifinals.
Robert Johnson, 6-3, G, Chesterfield, Va., Benedictine Prep, 2014: Had 20 points, seven rebounds and three assists in a 55-53 loss to Trinity in the Virginia state quarterfinals. Will cap the season by participating in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational in Washington, D.C., starting March 13.
Max Hoetzel, 6-7, F, Calabasas, Calif., Wilbraham and Monson Academy, 2014: Scored 10 points in a Class AA quarterfinal win over Marianapolis, 68-48, then had 10 more in the semifinals, a season-ending 61-37 loss to Kimball Union.
Recruit watch II
Amanda Cahill, 6-2, F, Clyde, Ohio, 2014: Closed out her high school career with 25 points and 18 rebounds in a 52-44 defeat in the district finals last Saturday. She finishes with a 99-6 record in four years.
Jess Walter, 5-11, G, Midland, Mich., 2014: Posted 10 points and two assists in a 39-29 Class A district semifinal win on Tuesday. Team lost in district final Thursday night, 70-65 in overtime.
Maura Muensterman, 6-0, G, Evansville Mater Dei, 2014: Led the Wildcats with 21 points in a 73-45 win over Chatard in the Class 3A semistate. Will have shot at winning a third straight state title this Saturday in Terre Haute after claiming the 2A crown the previous two years.
Jenna Allen, 6-3, C, Bedford North Lawrence, 2015: Scored 12 points in the No. 2 Stars’ 62-54 overtime victory over No. 1 Lawrence North in the Class 4A semistate. Will play for a second straight state crown Saturday in Terre Haute.
Michigan clinched its first outright Big Ten title since 1985-86 with a win on the road at Illinois on Tuesday night. So will the Wolverines cut down the nets with a win over Indiana on Saturday?
Not likely, according to coach John Beilein.
“I do not know that,” he said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “I’m sure there will probably be a team (of U-M marketers) trying to put that together, and I’ll probably be the rain on the parade.”