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As it continues to fill its 2015-16 non-conference home schedule, Indiana has signed contracts to host McNeese State and Kennesaw State next season, a Herald-Times open records request confirmed Thursday.
McNeese State will travel to Bloomington on Saturday, Dec. 12 and Kennesaw State will follow with a game prior to Christmas on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
These games are in addition to four other in-season events that are confirmed for the upcoming season. The Hoosiers will host Creighton on Nov. 19 in the inaugural Gavitt Tipoff Games, which pit Big Ten schools against those from the Big East. IU will also join Kansas, St. John’s, UCLA, UNLV, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Chaminade in the 2015 Maui Invitational field from Nov. 23-25. Indiana is expected to play on the road in this year’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge and will also face Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic on Dec. 19 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
IU beat Kennesaw State, 90-66, on Dec. 22, 2013 in the only prior meeting between the schools. The Owls, ranked No. 343 out of 351 Division I teams, finished 10-22 last season before firing coach Jimmy Lallathin after one season. Former Boston College coach Al Skinner was hired in April. Kennesaw State was ranked No. 325 in offensive efficiency and No. 332 in defensive efficiency last season by KenPom.com.
Indiana and McNeese State have never met. The Cowboys, ranked No. 288 overall by KenPom.com, went 15-16 last season and finished in the middle of the Southland Conference standings with an 8-10 record.
Indiana also knows its conference matchups 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.
Matt Dooley picked up his cap and gown on Tuesday, but he’ll return them before the weekend begins.
He won’t walk across the stage with his classmates and he won’t attend Indiana’s spring commencement ceremony on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Dooley’s plans have changed.
Instead, the former IU long snapper will be at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie minicamp trying to make a good first impression and earn a more permanent spot in the NFL.
“Even though my family was planning on flying in, this takes priority,” Dooley said. “I’ll get my degree in the mail.”
Dooley wasn’t expecting to get drafted last weekend, but he was expecting to field some interest from NFL teams looking for another specialist to work out during camp season. That interest was slow to arrive.
It was a bit surprising considering that Dooley earned his place as one of the Big Ten’s top specialists over the last four years. He served as the Hoosiers’ long snapper in each of the team’s 48 games in his career and earned IU Special Teams Player of the Year honors as a senior in 2014.
“I was just hoping to get picked up in free agency afterward and I didn’t get any calls,” Dooley said. “It was a little discouraging at first, and a little confusing because I at least expected a workout or something. It was just delayed a little bit and then my agent called (Tuesday).”
So now he’s headed to Pittsburgh, but he won’t be traveling alone. Dooley will board the same flight as former Indiana center Collin Rahrig, who signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent on Saturday evening. In an unforeseen turn of events, Rahrig and Dooley are the second set of former IU teammates to land with the same NFL franchise after Atlanta drafted running back Tevin Coleman in the third round and signed receiver Shane Wynn shortly after the draft. Bobby Richardson, the fifth IU player to ink an NFL deal, signed with New Orleans. (more…)
Indiana boarded a plane and flew East this week, leaving four losses and the troubling trajectory of its season in its wake.
Three games at No. 20 Maryland yielded three wins, capped by Sunday’s 6-2 victory over the Terrapins, and rerouted the Hoosiers’ postseason hopes in a more favorable direction. The weekend sweep in College Park, Md. keeps the seventh-place Hoosiers (26-19, 9-10) in the hunt for a Big Ten Tournament invitation and puts an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament within reach.
In finishing off the big road series, Indiana outscored the Terps 25-9. It combined for 30 hits and saw all three weekend starters go five innings, while the bullpen allowed only three runs over 12 innings of work.
“It’s huge for us,” right fielder Will Nolden told BTN on Sunday. “We have our backs against the wall these next couple weeks. That was our goal to come out and play well, and obviously we did that really well this weekend.”
IU finished with six hits and the top six batters in the lineup each scored once on Sunday, beginning with a five-run top of the third that sent the Hoosiers on their way. Brad Hartong’s RBI groundout drove in Casey Rodrigue for the first run of the afternoon, before Maryland starter Jake Drossner lost command of the strike zone. With two outs and Nick Ramos on second, Drossner walked Scott Donley on five pitches and hit Logan Sowers on the second pitch of his at-bat. With the bases loaded, Drossner threw eight consecutive balls to walk in Ramos and Donley and, after a pitching change, Austin Cangelosi drove a two-run double to left field and pushed Indiana’s lead to five. (more…)
Collin Rahrig is heading to Pittsburgh.
Rahrig told The Herald-Times in a text message Saturday that he signed a free agent contract with the Steelers, becoming the third Hoosier to find a professional home. The South Bend native started 36 of the 40 career games he played at Indiana, making 19 of those starts at center, 12 at left guard and five at right guard. As a senior, Rahrig was named a All-Big Ten honorable mention selection by both coaches and meida. He was also a nominee for the Rimington and Burlsworth trophies.
Rahrig started the first six games of last season before moving to left guard for the final six. NFL teams like him at center in a zone blocking scheme, which the Steelers have used since 2013. He was second among Indiana linemen with 56 knockdowns last season.
I am blessed to say that I am going to be a Steeler! And can't wait to get to work in Pittsburgh and rep the black and yellow!!
— Collin Rahrig (@crahrig64) May 2, 2015
Shane Wynn and Tevin Coleman won’t be separated.
One day after Coleman went to Atlanta in the third round of the NFL Draft, the Falcons reached out to Wynn with a free agent contract after the IU receiver went undrafted on Saturday. Wynn’s agent, Ed Wasielewski, confirmed his destination on Saturday evening.
Wynn ran a 4.29 40-yard dash at Indiana’s Pro Day in late March, a time that would have been the second-fastest mark at the NFL Combine. He could profile as a return man in the NFL.
Wynn finished his four-year career at Indiana tied for second in receptions (189), third in kick return yardage (1,854) and tied for third in receiving touchdowns (20) on the Hoosiers’ career leaderaboards. Wynn started the final 36 games of his career and appeared in all 48, standing as the only player in IU history with a receiving, rushing, kick return and punt return touchdown in his career. He is also the eighth Indiana player to record 100 catches and 1,000 yards for his career.
Now he’ll try to latch on and keep his partnership with Coleman going for a few more years.
Shane Wynn to the Falcons, very deserving, never been around a player with a bigger heart, go get em!! #iufb
— IU Coach Kevin Johns (@IUKevinJohns) May 2, 2015
As an eighth-grader, Harrison Niego remembers watching Nick Zeisloft lead Lyons Township High School to back-to-back regional championships in Illinois.
Now, the two are set to become teammates at Indiana.
Niego, a 6-foot-2 point guard from Zeisloft’s alma mater, committed to IU on Friday night as a preferred walk-on for the 2015-16 season. He, like Zeisloft, will add another knockdown shooter to Indiana’s bench.
“This team has a lot of potential to make a great run this year,” Niego said. “(I liked) the culture of winning, and it starts from the top and goes all the way to the bottom. It was irresistible and it’s how I work, too. That was really attractive.”
Niego’s father, Joe, a former fourth-round draft pick of the Houston Rockets in 1987, said Indiana has shown interest since his son’s sophomore season. North Dakota State, Illinois-Chicago and Northern Illinois each offered Niego, who was also considering Ivy League schools Yale, Dartmouth and Cornell.
IU coach Tom Crean and assistant Tim Buckley were both involved in Niego’s recruitment. Peegs.com’s Jeff Rabjohns was first to report Niego’s commitment.
“Harrison got the call from coach Crean asking us to come to campus and to visit with the coaches again,” Joe Niego said. “We sat down and looked at film, and coach laid down his plan on how he saw Harrison fitting in. We got there, and after talking to coach Crean and the players and seeing the history there and what they’re continuing to build on, he just got excited for the opportunity. He came home and we did the pros and the cons of the other opportunities.”
Niego joins an IU roster that currently has only four guards, including Yogi Ferrell, Robert Johnson, James Blackmon Jr. and Zeisloft. That supporting cast, along with a deep backcourt, made it an easy sell.
“He’s a guy that shoots the ball extremely well,” Niego’s father said. “He has a real high basketball IQ. One thing he’s never really had a chance to do in his basketball career is really play with athletic players around him. He’s a guy that feels he can use the talent around him and there’s a lot of athleticism there that he’s excited to get going with.”
He’s excited to team with Zeisloft, too. As Niego weighed his college options and considered the possibilities of accepting a basketball scholarship at a mid-major, playing in the Ivy League or walking on at Indiana, he leaned on Zeisloft for advice.
Those conversations, and all the other factors, including the chance to play for a Big Ten championship contender, led Niego to Bloomington.
“I’ve been in contact with Nick a lot over this recruiting process as Indiana became more and more one of the possibilities for me in walking on,” Niego said. “Nick’s a great guy. He’s been awesome to me. I grew up watching him. It’s really cool to now be on the same team as him.”
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