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Best/worst from nonconference play

With today the start of the Big Ten season, it seems an appropriate time to go ahead and look at some of Ken Pomeroy’s numbers for individual Hoosiers. Below are the three best and three worst Hoosiers in several key categories:

OFFENSIVE RATING

BEST

Matt Roth — 152.5

Jordan Hulls — 132 (No. 33 nationally)

Christian Watford — 116.8 (No. 245)

WORST

Verdell Jones — 90

Tom Pritchard — 98.1

Bobby Capobianco — 101.5

ANALYSIS: The top-three are not terribly surprising; Roth’s high mark is due to limited minutes and the fact he often comes in with an expressed purpose (to shoot and score). The fact the team’s point guard and most consistent player over his career has the team’s worst offensive rating is certainly a concern. Really, it’s a big concern.

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Hoosier Morning

Indiana guard Jeremiah Rivers is fouled by SIU Edwardsville guard Kevin Stineman during the team’s game on Dec. 17. The Hoosiers play host to Penn State in today’s Big Ten opener.

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Crean on Penn State

With it being Dec. 26 and a large portion of the media out of town, Indiana elected to send quotes from coach Tom Crean in advance of Monday’s Big Ten opener against Penn State.

The game is obviously an important one: the first of the Big Ten season, but also coming off two losses in the Las Vegas Classic. The quotes, pasted below, reflect a coach looking to get more out of his team than he did in Las Vegas.

On the Penn State Game
Tom Crean

“We got back from Las Vegas very early in the morning on Christmas Eve and gave the guys the day off.”

“First and foremost, we saw that we are a far better team when we play as one and within ourselves.  We have a lot of guys on this team who can do good things at any time, but we have to trust our system and most importantly, trust each other.  We don’t have anyone on our team that can carry the load by themselves and when we try that, we don’t have the same success.”

“Our lulls in Las Vegas were because of lapses on offense with quick shots or missed kick outs. We should have played our bench more at certain times of the game against Northern Iowa and Colorado.”

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Bruin headed to MLS

Spoke to Indiana soccer forward Will Bruin, and the junior confirmed internet reports that he will forgo his senior year at IU and did sign a Generation Adidas MLS contract last week.

Bruin, who is among three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy (to be given out Jan. 7) after an 18-goal, five-assist campaign this season, will participate in the MLS Combine Jan. 8-11 with the MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 13.

“It feels good,” Bruin said of making the decision. “I’m going to miss everything about school and playing college soccer, but I’m also excited at the same time to challenge myself further and take the next step.
“I weighed the pros and cons of saying yes and no. After sitting down with parents and weighing everything, a gut feeling just told me it was time.”

Bruin’s contract is three years guaranteed with two option years, and includes an educational grant to allow him to finish his degree.

“Without that, I probably wouldn’t have gone,” Bruin said.


Merry Christmas

From me, Dustin, Andy, Jeremy and the rest of the Herald-Times/Hoosier Scoop staff, a hearty Merry Christmas to all of you. We appreciate your support all year long, and sincerely hope this Christmas brings you whatever you are looking for.

If you have the time, and the inclination, two stories touched me this Christmas Eve, as I traveled from Las Vegas to Bloomington.

The first came from Sports Illustrated’s Austin Murphy, and it profiles the Phillips family months after the patriarch, Bill, tragically died in a plane crash. The second-youngest of his four sons, Paul, is a freshman tight end at Indiana.

It’s a beautiful story, about tragedy, heroism and family. You cannot help but be impressed by the youngest boy, 13-year-old Willy.

Bowman had a limited supply of Demerol and Valium, which she intended to divide up among the survivors.

“No,” said Willy. “Please give my share to somebody else.” While his dad’s body remained in the fuselage, he spent the night under the wing, huddling for warmth with Bowman.

Some 17 hours after the crash Willy was airlifted to the Providence Medical Center in Anchorage. And what did he remember of that flight? “Not too much,” says Willy. “I had to pee really bad when I got there. It’d been about 12 hours… .”

A few days later Andrew handed him the phone. Harbaugh wanted to talk to Willy. “He’s a hero,” says Harbaugh, recalling that conversation. “I wanted to talk to a hero.”

The second is from the Boston Globe’s Yvonne Abraham, and it’s the best kind of story: simple, sweet and inspiring. It focuses on a family, and a 17-year-old high school football player that was a stranger a few months ago, but now comes to the home four nights a week to lift a severely challenged 8-year-old boy up the stairs that lead to his room.

And so Rudy had barely knocked on the door Tuesday night before Ben was at it, jumping up and down, yelling, “Rudy is here! Rudy is here!’’

He greeted the Parkers, and went over to Sammy, gently lifting the boy’s left arm and sliding his hands under his back, the way Rudy’s father, a professional caregiver, had shown him. He lifted Sammy and held him close to his chest, and as the boy made his joyful O, Rudy carefully maneuvered him around the corners on the narrow stairway.

You couldn’t help but be struck by the painful contrast between the two boys: The robust athlete cradling the pale, helpless child; the young man preparing to go out into the world carrying someone who never will.


ScoopTalk: A bad, bad week


IU goes 0-2 in Vegas

LAS VEGAS — Indiana fell behind by 19 points to Colorado midway through a largely hideous second half and a furious comeback late fell short, as the Hoosiers lost 78-69 in the consolation game of the Las Vegas Classic.

Colorado senior swingman Cory Higgins led the Buffaloes with 22 points while classmate Marcus Relphorde added 14 points. Junior forward Austin Dufault had 10 points and seven rebounds while senior guard Levi Knutson added 10 points.

Freshman guard Victor Oladipo had 16 points and seven rebounds, including five on the offensive end, to spark a late rally that brought the Hoosiers back to within three points. Sophomore guard Jordan Hulls hit three early 3’s and led the team with 17 points. However, each of IU’s top three scorers for the season had rough nights.

Sophomore forward Christian Watford still managed 14 points in the game, but was 3-for-14 and missed his first 11 shots. Junior guard Verdell Jones had yet another gouth night, shooting 4-for-15 from the field, and sophomore Maurice Creek also continued to strubble with a 1-for-4 shooting outing.

The Hoosiers had a sub-par defensive outing for the second straight game, allowing Colorado to shoot 54.5 percent from the field, including 64.7 percent (11-for-17) in the second half.

IU cut the deficit to three points with 3:08 left in the game and then 69-66 with 1:33 to go. However, Higgins drove for a 3-point play on the next possession to start a 7-0 run and the Hoosiers were never closer than seven points after that.

AUDIO: Tom Crean discusses the loss

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls tries to explain the lulls

AUDIO: Victor Oladipo talks about the spark he provided


Merchandise

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