Steve McClain cites individual improvements

Indiana assistant coach Steve McClain took questions on the Big Ten teleconference Monday morning in place of coach Tom Crean. He faced several questions on topics other than Indiana, including Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and the growth of the pick-and-roll as an offensive play, but he was also asked about the individual improvements of players and what that can do for IU going forward.

“I think you start with Verdell,” McClain said. “Has he been better? Yes he has. Up until the point he got hurt for that little bit of time, his game was continuing to grow. He was taking better care of the basketball. He was getting in areas where he knows his shot is. I think his overall leadership of the team has definitely grown.  I think when you look at his numbers taking care of the basketball  and just being a leader, he’s really grown. Jordy Hulls. I think again for me, I have to go back and watch film of last year to see where he was a year ago, but to become a guy that teams now have made an emphasis on, so he’s had to learn how to raise his level of play and where to get his shots. We’ve seen him do that. His overall strength and his ball handling has improved, so he’s really grown. Christian. We all look at young players, and I think that’s the part sometimes when you’re building something young players get thrown in at the beginning. I think Christian his growth has continud to come. He was coming off his best game maybe ever in an Indiana uniform at Michigan State when he had the hand injury, then had to go through a little setback there. I think his growth overall in his ability to score. Here’s something I’d say about all of them. I think their growth physically and in the weight room and that area has shown in all of them and will continue to show. That’s another area I think as Christian gets another year older and gets more strength, he’ll even score better in the post. He’s really developed himself into a very good 3-point shooter. I think his game has shown growth.” (more…)

Thad Matta evasive about Bob Knight’s advice

Thad Matta spoke at length about advice he got from Bob Knight to improve Ohio State’s defense on Sunday after the Buckeyes win over the Hooisers, but was oddly more tight-lipped about it Monday on the Big Ten teleconference.

Some necessary circumstantial information first. The vast majority of the Indiana press corps was not present for Matta’s post-game press conference on Sunday because Indiana coach Tom Crean held court at the same time in the IU coaches’ locker room. I personally wasn’t aware that Matta had solicited advice from Knight until well after the game when I read this story from Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

However, when I got on the Big Ten teleconference this morning, I had not yet read this story by Bob Baptist, which described the drill itself — which sounds pretty generic, four men defending five to improve defensive movement and rotation — in greater detail. So without knowing that, I asked Matta what the drill was and when Knight provided the advice.

His answer was interesting and complementary to Knight, but it didn’t really address either part of the question.

“I’ve spoken with Coach Knight quite a bit just over time,” Matta said. “We talked about more than defense and just coaching philosophies and different things. I grew up idolizing him as a coach. The one thing I’ve found about him is he’s a man that is truly passionate about the game of basketball and it being played the right way. It’s great to have him as an alum of the university. Just the fact that he’s been back a couple of times and got to spend some time with him there.” (more…)

Knight named to Hall of Fame

Not sure how this is going to go over today, but it’s news. Bob Knight was one of eight named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

He’s joined by Ralph Sampson, Chris Mullin, Cazzie Russell, Eddie Sutton, Joe Vancisin and Eddie Einhorn.

ScoopTalk: Out of Answers

Photos: Indiana vs. Ohio State

Ohio State 82, Indiana 61

COLUMBUS, Ohio — At one point during the first half Sunday, Deshaun Thomas had 14 points. Indiana had 13.

The freshman forward from Fort Wayne scored 22 points for the game, leading the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes to an 82-61 win against Indiana.

The Hoosiers briefly held the lead and the game was tied 8-8 for some time, but Ohio State went on a 16-2 run, fueled by the streaky Thomas, and cruised the rest of the way.

Indiana turned the ball over 14 times — five alone from Christian Watford.

Indiana was 0-of-8 from 3-point range in the first half.

Indiana shot 38.5 percent for the game.

Indiana did not have nearly enough energy, did not execute at a high-enough level and had trouble matching up with Ohio State’s players.

The offense was not sharp, with not enough movement early on. Jordan Hulls struggled, finishing 1-of-9. Ohio State’s David Lighty said the focus was on disrupting Hulls, which is something many a team has tried but have not always been successful at.

Indiana has now lost six games in a row and remains the No. 11 seed in the Big Ten Tournament if the regular season ended today, instead of a week from now.

Discuss: Indiana vs. Ohio State


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