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Football (both kinds) under a gray sky

While Dustin tried to avoid the flooding in San Juan — seriously, it took him two hours to drive five miles through torrential downpour — I visited Indiana’s respective football teams to check in as they prepare for the stretch run.

The men’s soccer team watched film and held a team meeting before a brief workout Wednesday. They’ll host Louisville at 7 p.m. Thursday in a first round NCAA Tournament game. These Hoosiers, much to their credit, seem to appreciate the opportunity they’ve been given after going 10-9-1 in the regular season. Playing an extremely difficult schedule — and fighting through a Big Ten that uncharacteristically got a lot of respect from the selection committee — allowed them not only to make the tournament but also host the first two rounds (should they advance).

Louisville beat Indiana 4-0, finished 13-2-4 and is ranked No. 6 by the coaches right now. They’ll be thrilled getting on the buses headed north.

There’s really no magical twist to this story: either a talented Indiana team comes together immediately or it becomes the first in program history to lose 10 games in a season. Head coach Mike Freitag is hoping an arduous regular season has melded his team into one that can make a deep run.

Jeremy Price will be at Armstrong Stadium to find out, and he’ll of course be live blogging.

As for the football guys who wear pads, well, the story isn’t much more complicated there. Indiana will host Purdue at 3:30 Saturday, with nothing but pride and an Old Oaken Bucket at stake. It’s an emotional week, with 21 seniors preparing to play one final time in an Indiana jersey.

Indiana head coach Bill Lynch continued to emphasize the similarities he finds in the Hoosiers and Boilermakers. Both have had ups and downs, but were competitive in every game but one (Wisconsin obliterated Purdue). Of course the Boilermakers were able to beat Ohio State, while Indiana never finished off an upset.

Much of my focus this week has been on figuring out where the program is heading now. Obviously this senior class — made up of fifth-year guys who signed just a few months after Terry Hoeppner became coach and fourth-year guys who were part of the group that became the first to be targeted and signed by the Hoeppner staff — has had a major impact on the program. They’ve talked a lot about culture change, and have largely succeeded in giving the program a more professional and determined feel. Now the question is: will it last?

We’ll have coverage of this and more both here and at HoosiersHQ.


Cincinnati at IU women’s basketball

FINAL
Jamie Braun’s steal on Cincinnati’s next possession clinched the win for IU along with a pair of Hope Elam free throws. HOOSIERS 64, BEARCATS 57

SECOND HALF
0:31.8: An unlikely hero for IU. Andrea McGuirt comes in and hits the go-ahead 3. After a defensive stop, Hope Elam hits a baseline jumper. HOOSIERS 62, BEARCATS 57

1:28: Cincinnati took a brief lead with 2:14 to go. A Chaplin free throw tied it, and IU has the ball now. HOOSIERS 57, BEARCATS 57

3:54: This has gone from a game IU had firmly in their grasp to: Can the Hoosiers hang on? HOOSIERS 54, BEARCATS 50

7:07: A rash of IU turnovers has helped Cincinnati tremendously. Bearcats got within four points a moment ago, but Hope Elam’s jumper restores the lead to six. We’ll see if IU can regroup down the stretch against a Cincinnati team gaining confidence. HOOSIERS 54, BEARCATS 48

10:00: Cincinnati cut the lead to 45-39, but a Jamie Braun 3 stemmed the tide, then Braun got a layup on a nice assist from Hope Elam to put IU back up by 11. HOOSIERS 50, BEARCATS 39

11:56: IU giving up too may offensive rebounds and making too many turnovers right now as Cincinnati tries to creep back into it. HOOSIERS 45, BEARCATS 34

15:13: Indiana started the half with a 5-2 run to go up 16, and we’ve settled into another lull since then. HOOSIERS 43, BEARCATS 29

HALFTIME
A very good half of basketball for Indiana, who finishes matching its largest lead of the game. Hope Elam’s 3 put IU up 32-19. After Cincinnati got within 33-23, Jamie Braun’s 3 with 40 seconds left in the half restored the 13-point margin.

Elam leads IU with 9 points, and Jori Davis has 7 off the bench. IU does have 10 turnovers, but has forced 12 Cincinnati turnovers. Side note, the Bearcats do feature a trio of Indiana products in Elese Daniel of South Bend Clay, Kahla Roudebush of Hamilton Southeastern and Daress McClurg of Lawrence North. HOOSIERS 36, BEARCATS 23 (more…)


Roth injured

[7:25 UPDATE]

An IU spokesperson has said that it appears unlikely that sophomore guard Matt Roth will be able to play in Puerto Rico. He has rejoined the team after having x-rays, and will be evaluated further when Indiana returns to Bloomington following the tournament.

———–

Sophomore guard Matt Roth injured his right foot at Indiana’s first practice of the day Wednesday. He was taken for x-rays, and at this point, the Hoosiers are uncertain as to the extent of the injury or whether he will play tomorrow. He was not at Indiana’s shootaround at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico.

I got to watch Indiana’s shootaround, though I was told that whatever happened there was “off the record.” I don’t know if that meant what was said or what was actually done. One way or another, you didn’t miss much.

There’s one thing I’d like to point out, though, which may make a difference in this tournament and it may not. The court at the Coliseo plays weird. When the ball hits floor, it sounds hollow, and I think there are dead spots out there. Not sure if that helps any team more than another, and not sure if it affects anyone at all. Just something to think about.


Can’t complain about the access

I’m not sure what to make of this exactly.

Maybe it’s another sign that newspapers are losing money and that very few are willing or able to send reporters to cover games off the U.S. mainland. Maybe it’s a sign that even though the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament has a strong field, it still hasn’t built up its brand to the level of say, the Maui Invitational. Maybe it’s just a sign that there wasn’t a lot of notice about when coaches would be available for interviews today and no one even realizes these guys are here.

One way or the other, each coach has been available for 15 minutes before their respective practices at the  Coliseo de San Juan since 9:55 a.m. , which I found out at about 9:50 this morning when I was told I was in the process of missing Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy’s availability. When I showed up around noon, I was told I was the first media member to arrive. Two more guys have arrived since I got here, and one of them is from the Carribbean Sports Network, and, I believe, lives on the island.

Regardless, instead of sitting in for the press conferences I was expecting to have all day, I have one-on-ones. I don’t have a lot of them, because I missed Ole Miss (trying to contact their SID to get a mulligan on that) and George Mason, Villanova bailed, Indiana and Boston are later and Georgia Tech isn’t coming. I do have Q&A’s with Dayton’s Brian Gregory and Kansas State’s Frank Martin, which I hope you find somewhat interesting.

(more…)


Going to the game? Get there early

From Indiana University:

In anticipation of heavy traffic, fans planning to attend Saturday’s IU vs. Purdue football game (3:30 p.m. EST) are advised to arrive at Memorial Stadium as early as possible. (more…)


Hoosier Morning

IU_BB_UPSTATE

Indiana guard Devan Dumes takes a jump shot over USC-Upstate’s Ryan LeGates during the second half Monday. Chris Howell | Herald-Times

Welcome to Hoosier Morning, a daily batch of links intended to keep you informed of what is going on at Indiana, in the Big Ten and throughout the college sporting world. (more…)


Selby’s mother: We’re watching Indiana closely

HOWARD Indiana basketball

Fans hold up signs before the Howard game Friday encouraging top-10 recruit Josh Selby to commit to Indiana. Chris Howell | Herald-Times

Josh Selby’s mother Maeshon Witherspoon said that the five-star guard’s unofficial visit to Bloomington went well this past weekend, but said there is a lot she and her son still want to know about Indiana.

Two of the things Witherspoon said would be very important in Selby’s decision would be style of play and team chemistry. Witherspoon said she and her son got to watch IU practice Saturday, but that they didn’t feel like that gave them a clear idea of the Hoosiers’ style.

“We’re going to have to pay attention to their games and watch how they play,” she said. “Some of those schools that are recruiting him, I grew up watching a lot of those schools, we kind of know what they expect to do. We have to pay close attention to Indiana’s games to see what their style is.”

Witherspoon also said she and Selby expect to learn alot about the Hoosiers’ team chemistry by watching them throughout the season.

“They’re young,” Witherspoon said. “So we’ll be paying attention to how they play through adversity. Do they fight back when they’re down?”

Witherspoon did say that she and her son were impressed by coach Tom Crean.

“He really understands the game of basketball,” she said.

She also said she’s been impressed with the recruiting efforts of assistant coach Roshown McLeod, a former Duke star and four-year NBA player.

“Roshown is a great guy,” Witherspoon said. “With him having played in the NBA as long as he had, I think he’d been asset to any kid. … He’s been upfront and honest with us throughout the whole process.”

Selby has already visited and is working to schedule a visit to Kentucky. He will also take visits to Miami and Syracuse.



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