Indiana’s basketball team isn’t focused on the preseason hype.
No. 1 rankings, magazine covers … to a man, the players say they’re not letting the outside distractions get to them.
“We’ve just focused on getting better every day,” Christian Watford said Thursday. “We’re not worried about where we’re ranked.”
After all, hype or no, the Hoosiers have plenty of work to do. Improving their defense and integrating a talented freshman class are at the top of the list.
“It’s a lot of little things we need to do on defense,” said poster boy and preseason player of the year Cody Zeller. “We could score a lot last season; I don’t think it’s going to be a problem scoring. I think defense is going to be a key on how far we can go.”
Considering IU’s turnaround campaign ended in a 102-90 loss to eventual national champion Kentucky six months ago, Zeller has a point.
“We know we’ve got to get better defensively,” Watford said. “We’re going to try to get up in a lot of people, try to create some turnovers.”
The addition of four ballyhooed freshmen will help. Consider Peter Jurkin, the 7-footer who should complement Zeller quite nicely in the post.
And with the Hoosiers deeper than they’ve ever been under coach Tom Crean, Jurkin and his classmates don’t have to be thrown to the fire.
“That’s going to be one of the biggest points for Peter, to be able to just sit down and watch the game even as we go through it,” Derek Elston said. “For us coming in, we were thrown in the fire right away and we kind of had to use what we had.
“When I was coming in as a freshman, I had to try to be a [center], then shoot and do all this stuff. Peter’s a true [center] who’s so long, he just has to sit there; someone gets beat on defense, he blocks literally everything. Now, whether it be a goaltend or not, that’s another debate. He just blocks everything, and right now that’s what we need him to do.”
Fellow freshman Yogi Ferrell gives the Hoosiers four able ball handlers, with Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo and Remy Abell.
“We can all handle the ball, we can get out, run the floor, get some easy baskets,” Abell said.
Working those four, as well as Maurice Creek, into the rotation will be one of Crean’s biggest challenges this season.
Creek returns after missing all of last season with an injury. It was the third time in his three seasons at Indiana that his campaign was cut short.
“The freshmen we have now, very talented … it’s very competitive. We all want minutes. We’re all going to go compete to get the minutes,” Creek said.
A good problem for Crean to have.
“This season could be a breakout for a lot of people,” Elston said.
Indiana basketball ranked high in preseason
Indiana’s basketball team isn’t focused on the preseason hype.
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Rose women too strong for Illinois Tech
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Saint Mary-of-the-Woods won the MacMurray Classic on Saturday, getting a game-high 17 points from Stephanie Moore in downing the host team 80-62 in the championship game.
Rose-Hulman rides stingy defense past Manchester
The first half of Saturday afternoon’s Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball game was probably a better assessment of host Rose-Hulman than the last 20 minutes.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Indiana State’s men’s basketball team is doing fine ... really
Indiana State’s men’s basketball team is doing fine.
The Sycamores have a funny way of showing it. They keep teams beneath them in ability in games — like Alaska-Anchorage, Missouri-Kansas City ... should I go on? — long past the time they should. But the win-loss record doesn’t lie. The Sycamores are 7-2 and in a good position with three nonconference games left before Missouri Valley Conference play begins.
Notre Dame never trails in topping Hoosiers in Crossroads Classic
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The Irish never trailed in defeating the Hoosiers 79-72.
How big was this win for the Irish (8-3)?
Sycamores depend on post game to rally at Missouri-Kansas City
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What did it was pounding the ball inside. Over and over and over again.
Sycamores facing old friend today
Indiana State men’s basketball coach Greg Lansing has never been shy in his sentimentality towards his former colleagues and friends in the college basketball world, but that trait only goes so far. At 3 p.m. today, Lansing will face his friend Kareem Richardson — currently in his first year as coach at Missouri-Kansas City — and Lansing made it plain where he stands on facing buddies in the business.
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Marshall's Duncan, North's Weatherford help EIU playoff run
In Dino Babers’ world there is no pretty good. There is only good and everything else.
“Don’t even use the PG word,” the high-energy head coach at Eastern Illinois said. He laughed, but he wasn’t joking.
Rose-Hulman's Strickland being more assertive in senior year
Nobody would argue that Rose-Hulman senior Julian Strickland has been a good basketball player, at the very least, since his high school days at Pike in Indianapolis.
Some might say “great,” although he seemed to shy away from the spotlight.
Rose-Hulman builds early lead, holds off DePauw
Rose-Hulman built a 19-point halftime advantage and withstood a second half rally to earn a 64-61 victory at DePauw University on Wednesday night.
DePauw forward Pat Haggin missed a potential game tying three-pointer in the final seconds as the Tigers nearly rallied from a double-figure deficit.
IU holds Oakland marksman in check
Oakland’s Travis Bader came into Tuesday night’s game at Indiana University’s Assembly Hall as the NCAA’s active leading 3-point shooter in men’s basketball.
The Hoosiers didn’t give him a chance to shoot the Grizzlies to an upset.
Bader’s NCAA-leading streak of games with a made 3-pointer ended at 62 as IU cruised to an 81-54 win.
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It wasn’t a smooth ride for Indiana State’s women’s basketball team against IUPUI on Monday. Defense wasn’t up to par. Turnovers were rampant. Foul shooting was not consistent and misses were ill-timed.
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Wabash VaIley athletes swept Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball honors on Monday, with Indiana State’s Anna Munn named Player of the Week and Evansville’s Sara Dickey, a Riverton Parke graduate, earning Newcomer of the Week honors.
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Rose-Hulman placed three players in double figures and relied on a strong defensive effort to top Millikin 64-55 in men’s college basketball action Monday night.
Metro: Indiana Hall of Fame lauds two Wabash Valley athletes
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ISU picks up the defense to take down Eastern Illinois
When it's cold outside, it takes a while for your car engine to crank.
It wasn't cold inside Eastern Illinois' Lantz Arena on Saturday, but the same principle applied for the Indiana State men's basketball team.
Once the Sycamore engine revved up, the Sycamores cruised to a 66-48 victory over the Panthers.
Michigan State shakes up national title chase with win over Ohio State
Michigan State shook up the BCS title chase again Saturday night.
The No. 10 Spartans regained the lead on Connor Cook's 9-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Price with 11:41 left and upset No. 2 Ohio State 34-24 to take the Big Ten title and put Auburn back in the national title hunt.
Zurek, one of ISU's best defenders, also working hard off the court
Winning basketball teams need glue players, the term sometimes used when referring to someone who helps hold it all together.
In some cases, that means getting the ball in the right place at the right time. Or having a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
It’s more often than not coming away with a loose ball on the court. It’s deflecting so many passes that you become the player that most annoys the opponent.
For Indiana State, that’s Natasha Zurek. The junior athletic training major was inserted into the starting lineup for the past two games.
Zurek leads the Sycamores with 16 steals through six games, which isn’t surprising to anyone on the team.
EIU might come at right time for ISU
Sometimes an opponent lines up just right on the schedule that suits a team’s needs.
That’s true for Indiana State as it travels to play Eastern Illinois at 8 p.m. today at Lantz Arena. And it’s not because the Panthers have struggled, even though they have.
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Strickland leads RHIT men to win
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The Engineers (0-4) will look to defend their title after capturing the Clabber Girl Trophy for the first time since 2008 with last season’s 80-74 victory.
ISU’s Underwood named first team All-MVC
Sophomore linebacker/defensive end Connor Underwood was named to the all-Missouri Valley Football Conference first team on Monday, heading a list of five Indiana State players honored.
Red-hot Strickland leads Engineers past Wabash 77-68
Julian Strickland tied his career-high point total with 31 Monday night — his third consecutive 30-point game this season — as host Rose-Hulman downed Wabash 77-68 in Hulbert Arena.
Metro sports: ISU women play today at No. 15 LSU
Indiana State’s women finish a three-game road swing by playing nationally ranked LSU at 12:30 p.m. today at Baton Rouge.
Rose-Hulman women fall short to Marian
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