Jordan Crawford, Indiana’s freshman guard, doesn’t appear to be bothered by his left ankle, which he hurt Sunday.
He’s shooting fine, although he is wearing a black brace.
With A.J. Ratliff at home dealing with family issues, Crawford will need to play 20 minutes tonight.
With almost 90 minutes left before tip-off, there was a growing corps of media, including such recognizable figures as the Jays – Bilas and Mariotti – surrounding the court at Assembly Hall, but few other people. Some arena workers and a stray Illinois player or two getting in some early shooting.
The students were waiting outside in line, ready to make this place explode with noise and the color orange.
We’ll be here all night describing the action on and off the court. We’ll soon be seeing Gordon and the students as warm-ups begin.
INDIANA (14-9, 7-4) drops NORTHWESTERN (4-19, 0-11), 74-58
The Hoosiers have a great opportunity tonight to gain some ground in the Big Ten standings. Two of the three teams tied for first play each other as No. 19 Ohio State visits Purdue. If IU can defend home court against the league bottom-dweller that has yet to win a conference game, they will remain a game and a half behind one or two teams, depending on how Iowa does at home against Michigan State. However, whichever team loses of the Buckeyes and Boliers will then fall to second in the standings ahead of the Hoosiers.
Amy Jaeschke, 26 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks
Nadia Bibbs, 11 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals
Jamie Braun, 16 points, 3 assists
Amber Jackson, 14 points, 7 rebounds
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Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson told ESPN Radio today that senior guard A.J. Ratliff did not travel with the team due to “personal reasons.”
Doug just spoke with Ratliff’s uncle and legal guardian, Josh Gilbert.
Gilbert said Ratliff is dealing with a family matter and that he expects him to be back for Indiana’s game at Ohio State Sunday.
Like I said in our vodcast yesterday, I think the environment Eric Gordon and Kelvin Sampson will face in Illinois’ Assembly Hall will be as intense as they’ve ever experienced.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Illini have had this game circled on their calender all year, and if there’s one game coach Bruce Weber wants to win more than any other, it’s the one tonght.
I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how harsh the crowd will be on the 19 year-old Gordon.
- I think Brian Randle could have a big game offensively because of IU’s weakness at the four spot. Do you all out there think Kyle Taber will start again? I highly doubt it, on the road in a huge Big Ten game. I’m guessing Lance Stemler will get the nod.
- This will be a great chance to see how tough this team is, like Kelvin Sampson said earlier this week. And more particularly, how Gordon handles the insane amount of pressure he’ll be under. The Orange Krush, the Illini student section, is surely going to make their thoughts known every time EJ touches the ball.
Prediction: Illinois 65, Indiana 58
We’ll be having our usual Thursday Indiana sports Q&A at 11 a.m. before hitting the road for the love-in in Champaign. We’ll talk about Sampson’s team, Lynch’s recruiting and maybe even Knight’s resignation.
Please join us. You can submit any questions or comments by clicking here.
We didn’t address every question during the chat, so feel free to ask any you have in the comment section.
We’re about to be treated to a slide show, narrated by Lynch.
Tyler Adetona, WR, Gainesville, Ga.
“A really good kid, and really explosive,” Lynch says. “Really physical, maybe more so than what we’ve been able to bring in.”
Larry Black Jr., DT, Wyoming, Ohio
“We feel like we got three big, inside linemen who can stop the run,” Lynch says, “and Larry is one of those.”
“He’s a really solid, anchor type guy.”
Shane Covington, RB, Milwaukee, Wis.
“He can really do the whole deal,” Lynch says, noting that Covington has played multiple positions on both sides of the ball. “A very versatile guy who can run.”
Mark Damisch, OL, Buffalo Grove, Ill.
“He’s the type of offensive lineman we’ve been looking for,” Lynch says.
Tandon Doss, WR, Indianapolis
“We’ll take good players from anywhere, but we really want to do well in Indianapolis because that’s sort of our home base,” Lynch says. “He’s another kid who has played a lot of places. We really like what he adds. Great kid.”
Adam Follett, QB, Caledonia, Mich.
“He’s a thrower,” Lynch says. “Alma (his high school) was running a spread. We saw him last summer and really liked what we saw.”
Alex Hunt, RB, Flowery Branch, Ga.
“Alex is a running back, but we’ve also seen him play other positions,” Lynch says. “He’s another really good track guy. . . He’s quality and a really good athlete.”
Kyle Kozak, DE, Columbus, Ohio
Kozak is already here on campus.
“I was at workouts and saw him a bit,” Lynch says. “He moves pretty well and is that type of guy we like coming off the end.”
Charles Love III, WR, Memphis
“We didn’t know him as well before, but we were sold on him on tape all the way to last spring,” Lynch says. “He’s got good size.”
Will Matte, OL, Wheaton
“Will is one the offensive lineman that’s not quite as big,” Lynch says. “But he is a football player.”
Matte, who is 6-2, is slated to play center.
Mick Mentzer, DL, Fort Wayne
“He’s a big athletic kid,” Lynch says. “He is 290, and he played linebacker. He was the biggest high school linebacker I ever saw.”
Justin Pagan, OL, Chicago
“Another one of those guys who was here at camp, so we had first-hand knowledge of working with him,” Lynch says.
Chad Sherer, LB, Arcadia, Ill.
“Man, he’s a football player,” Lynch says. “He was one of those guys, an outside linebacker who can play outside the box or in the box, which is important with the spread offenses.”
Nick Sliger, DT, Fishers, Ind.
“He’ll be king of the training table,” Lynch says. “He’s a really good football player.”
Cortez Smith, RB, Detroit
“He’s another physical kid,” Lynch says. “He’s a thick, strong looking kid.”
Peter St. Fort, S, Naples, Fla.
“He’ll hit you now,” Lynch says. “Classy kid and a good football player.”
Marquelo Suel, WR, Ft. Wayne
“This guy’s an athlete,” Lynch says. “This one kid kept jumping out at me and I said, ‘Who’s that guy?’ . . . He’s a player.”
A.J. Thompson, OL, Lakeland, Fla.
The other player on campus now.
“He’s a big, thick kid,” Lynch says.
Darius Willis, RB, Franklin Central
“He’s the real thing,” Lynch says.
Bill Lynch has taken to the microphone to discuss Indiana’s 19 new players.
“This is a big day for us,” he says. “This is the culmination of a lot of work, a few years of work with some of these guys.”
Lynch said there weren’t many surprises down the stretch. Indiana had most of its verbal commitments early and they all held.