Pregame Glance: Indiana

Written December 30th, 2011 by Joe Dexter

For Hoosier fans that have been patiently waiting for the resurgence of one of the most prestigious basketball programs in the country, the 2011-12 season has finally been something to brag about.

Head Coach Tom Crean looks like he has finally dug himself out of the hole of Kelvin Sampson’s mistakes. Upcoming in 2012 is arguably the best class in the nation and the most talented in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers return talented play-makers Verdell Jones III, Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo. Add Cody Zeller to the mix, one of the best incoming big men in the country, and it becomes clear why this team has been so competitive.


We had an idea in the pre-season that this team would be good. But knock down Kentucky type of excellence?

The Buckeyes head into Bloomington on the heels of a major win over Northwestern. The Hoosiers will play with a bit of a chip after suffering their first loss of the season to the Michigan State Spartans on Tuesday.

Overall, It looks like we have a great game on Saturday to end the 2011 year.

School: Indiana University
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Founded: 1820
Student Population: 42,464
School Type: Public
Division: NCAA
Conference: Big Ten
Stadium: Assembly Hall
Seating: 17,456
Built: 1971
Head Coach: Tom Crean
Year: 4th

Opponent Overview:

After riding the high of a last second buzzer beater against Kentucky, the Hoosiers headed into Big Ten play continuing to prove that they belong in national talks as one of the favorites to compete for the Big Ten Conference title.

At the end of the night, it was the Michigan State Spartans’ 80-65 victory that uncovered for the first time this season what has been the Achilles Heel of the Hoosiers the last few seasons.

When the game gets physical, the Hoosiers fold.

After putting together a 25-2 run to start the game, It was the Spartans closing things out with a 20-0 run with five minutes left on the clock. Conditioning, positioning, and a downright refusal to give up open looks was the cause for Indiana’s collapse.

Ryan Corazza of the Inside The Hall breaks down the run in his latest edition of Film Study.  As you can see from his great work, things started to fall apart when Cody Zeller couldn’t get involved in the post. Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne were disruptive in forcing the ball to stay out on the perimeter.  Payne, the Dayton native, used his 7’1″ wingspan to his advantage in the post to keep Cody Zeller out of the ballgame.

And when the Hoosiers decided to play zone defense, he slit through it and jam the ball home.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Tom Crean stick to man-to-man defense on Saturday. The only way he is going to slow down Sully is to do so. Cause if you cover him with the 2-2-1 in the post, it will leave three open on the perimeter. As we saw against Northwestern, there is a handful of sharp shooters that have no problem exploiting that.

Overall, the Spartans were able to hold Zeller to just 4 points and 3 rebounds. Michigan State set a blueprint on how to beat the Hoosiers on Tuesday. If you can keep Zeller out of the ballgame, get some second chance opportunities , and let your guards drive to the hoop and hit open shots — you can kill the Hoosiers’ confidence.

Starting Lineups:












Two players to watch for the Hoosiers are Christian Watford and Cody Zeller. Watford eclipsed the 1,000 point mark on Tuesday and has been hot as of late. He has back to back double doubles for Indiana, has shot 8-14 from three point line in the last two games, and had a game high 26 points at the Breslin.

As freshman Cody Zeller goes, so goes the Indiana Hoosier offense. Averaging 14 points per game and shooting 65% from the floor, Zeller has really been the sparkplug that Tom Crean’s squad is missing. Down low he is a bit raw defensively, but off the block, in open space he is dangerous.

As evidenced on Tuesday though, if the passing lanes are clogged, he has a hard time getting the basketball.

Buckeye Notes:

  • If you haven’t checked out Eric and Joe L’s Shots from the Schott from Tuesday’s Northwestern game, make sure you do so. Eric and Joe hit on some key points in the near future of Buckeye roundball and their view from the game.
  • Thad Matta touched on the three point shooting after Tuesday’s Contest - “We were saving it [laughs]. We’ve shot the ball more with this team than any other, and we’ve been hard on them in practice, getting them to understand what is and is not a good shot. We are starting to value shots and possessions more.”
  • Ohio State is now 110-45 all-time against Northwestern. Insane. Or is it more insane that they are 61-6 in their last 97 games? Or how about 115-2 at home against unranked opponents..
  • 11 of Ohio State’s 13 victories have been by double digits. For those of us who think Ohio State is just coming into their own… that’s quite scary.
  • William Buford might be the most underrated Buckeye of all-time. He is one of four to eclipse  1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists in a career.
  • Deshaun Thomas has scored in double digits in 13 consecutive games.







  1. Ian_InsideTheShoeNo Gravatar
    December 30th, 2011 at 11:56 am

    It’s too bad Indiana got their first loss. Could be even more dangerous now. Plus, the added fun of taking on an undefeated Indiana team just sounds fun.

    I think we can pull this one out, but we’ll see later on. Good post Joe.


    DaleNo Gravatar
    December 30th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    It will be ok. Indiana has 2 more white players that start. And we know they can’t jump, so our guys will handle them just fine.


    Joe DexterNo Gravatar
    December 30th, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    White or not Zeller and Hulls can hoop. If left open, they can be dangerous. With experience too, Zeller will be one of the better B1Gs (See what I did there?).

    Should be a competitive game. The Buckeyes have to cut down the passing lanes into the post though and make it a perimeter game.


  2. KenNo Gravatar
    December 30th, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Joe, nice job with the Overview, thanks. Nice job with the player photos; I think I’ll cut them out and mount them on some cardboard, these are much better than baseball trading cards.

    You make some good points on the blueprint to beat ‘The Fightin’ Shrutes’.


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