ScoopTalk: Nothing ends. It changes.

Northwestern 73, Indiana 58

This is how it ends.

Indiana had a lead into the latter half of the second half Thursday, and then Northwestern — which reached 20 wins for the first time in program history — began hitting shots. The Hoosiers, who finish the year 11-21, had no way of countering.

We’ll have updates from Indiana’s post-game press conference in a bit.


Crean’s here. He’s brought Christian Watford, Verdell Jones and Derek Elston with him.

According to the Crean, the story of the game was that the Hoosiers were up six and then had six turnovers and ended up down by four.

“Maybe we were tentative with the first post-season action for a lot of guys, maybe half the team,” he said.

The focus from here on out will be “building will” and the rebounding mentality that the Hoosiers showed late in the season.

Verdell Jones thinks Indiana did not follow the game plan against the zone, and therefore faltered against it.

Elston says many of the players wanted to do “their own separate thing” early in the year, but that the players came together.

Jones says the players “finally learned how to mesh” after not playing well together in the season.

Watford: “We came together toward the end a little bit and gave it a run.”

Elston reflects on his year and said he was beating himself up during the middle of the year. He wanted to be like his dad, who played at North Carolina. So a bunch of people, including Tim Buckley, sat him down and told Derek to just be Derek. So he did.

Question for the players on the summer ahead.

Main thing for Watford to work on: getting stronger.

Jones: getting stronger, improving his outside shot.

Elston: His defense, guarding one-on-one.

Now to Crean.

Repeating that Indiana was tentative and not alert. Laments the play where his guys weren’t awake on the in-bounds and Northwestern got an easy basket.

Crean’s asked what happened with Hulls today, who went from hitting eight 3s on Saturday and only had three shots today.

“He played like a freshman today,” Crean says. Hulls was “pre-determining” his decisions in the first half.

Overall, Crean says “a lot of guys have made a ton of progress.” But his guys need to get stronger and “learn how to defend at this level.”

Crean says this is the “best conditioned team in March” he’s ever been a part of. That shows a lot of spirit for these kids, who went through so much.

Crean says he is shocked at how far the program has come, even though the win-loss record might not show it.

UPDATE 9:33 p.m.

Dustin Dopirak here. We have audio, and some of it, for the first time all season, comes from the Indiana locker room. Gotta love Big Ten tournament access rules. There was apparently a snafu there, as the guys who stayed for the press conference apparently didn’t get a chance to get to the open locker room because of some miscommunication I didn’t quite understand. Because we rolled two-deep to this, though, we got it all covered. So audio follows.

AUDIO: Northwestern’s Michael Thompson and John Shurna talk about what it means to advance and win 20 games

AUDIO: Bill Carmody wonders how Reggie Miller ever made that many 3-pointers at Conseco Fieldhouse

AUDIO: Bobby Capobianco talks about how this team stuck with it

AUDIO: Jeremiah Rivers says the Hoosiers “played not to lose.”

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls says the Hoosiers were too tentative

AUDIO: Derek Elston says Michael Thompson’s threes were daggers

AUDIO: More Jordan Hulls

AUDIO: Christian Watford says he’s not transferring

Indiana vs. Northwestern: Discuss it here

Let’s make it a day, shall we?

Why don’t we start it off with our regular 11 a.m. chat? We can discuss whatever you want, and I’m guessing we’ll have plenty of talk about Indiana’s Big Ten Tournament game against Northwestern and the bizarre dismissal of assistant coach Roshown McLeod.

At 4:30ish, we’ll begin our live chat with the magnificent Mr. Bozich of Inside the Hall fame and the absolutely terrific IDS Kids. Maybe Matty Dollinger and Zach Osterman will stop by, too.

Should be a good day. Join us. Thanks.

Tales from IU Pro Day

Indiana held its Pro Day on Tuesday in Bloomington. It was closed to the media, the officials times haven’t leaked out yet, and I’m still trying to reach all the former IU players who were there but I’ve been able to figure out a few things so far and will have a full story later.

Offensive lineman Rodger Saffold didn’t participate in any of the drills he did in the combine, because he was confident in the times and measurements he posted there and didn’t want to risk injury or a dropoff. He did position specific drills as some of the offensive line coaches in attendance worked him out.

Defensive end Jammie Kirlew did all of his combine workouts again and showed some improvement across the board. His agent said he ran the 40 in the 4.8 range, a moderate improvement over a time in the 4.9 range at the combine. He also bench pressed 225 pounds 29 times, three more than he did at the combine.

Cornerback/kick returner Ray Fisher ran the fastest 40-yard dash time. Fisher said he posted times of 4.32 and 4.34 in his two runs. Another source said it was probably closer to 4.4 but it was still the best time by anyone at the pro day. Fisher also said he broad jumped 10 feet 2 inches and had a 38-inch vertical jump. Still looking for verification on those numbers.

Tight end Troy Wagner also had a good pro day, bench pressing 225 pounds 29 times. The 6-foot-5, 260-pounder probably won’t be drafted, but increased his chances of being invited to an NFL camp.

More info when I find it.

Crean discusses McLeod, Northwestern; The walking wounded speak

Tom Crean had to meet, face to face, with the Indiana media for the first time Wednesday since dismissing assistant coach Roshown McLeod late Sunday night. The IU coach said he understood the reasoning for the question, but said he wouldn’t be any more forthcoming about the situation than he has already been.

“It’s where it’s at,” Crean said. “I really don’t want to go a lot further than that. I understand the positions that you guys are in with asking that question and wanting to know more. I understand that. But everything from me right now is to make sure that we are totally focused on what we’re trying to do here. That doesn’t mean that I’m not already in the process of thinking of what I’m going to do the next time. It would be foolish for me to say, ‘Oh, I’m going to put all that off and not think about it until the end of the year.’ Of course I think about it. My job, day in and day out is to make this program better than it was the day before in every aspect and get everybody pulling in the same direction all the time. It’s a lot easier said than done.” (more…)

Abraham won’t visit IU, still considering Hoosiers

Moses Abraham won’t visit Indiana as planned this weekend but will still make his decision on Sunday and will be considering the Hoosiers as one of six teams in the running.

The 6-foot-9, 235-pound four-star forward has a tournament this weekend so he won’t be doing any visits, his guardian Joe Boncore said, but he still wants to make his decision. Georgetown, Maryland, Indiana, Tennessee, Seton Hall and UCLA are the team’s on Abraham’s radar, and of those three, he has only visited Georgetown, Maryland and Tennessee.

Boncore, however, said even he can’t handicap Abraham’s decision.

“I think everybody’s in the same boat,” he said. “To be honest, he’ll surprise me with whoever he picks.”

Boncore said the Nigerian-born Abraham wants to watch all of the conference tournaments before he makes a decision.

“He wants to go someplace where he’s going to make a difference,” Boncore said. “He’s a grown man. I just hope he makes the right decision.”

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