It didn’t take long for Purdue coach Matt Painter to face the question.
What do the Boilermakers think about rival Indiana being picked as the Big Ten’s top team?
“I think everything that they have been able to accomplish, they have earned and they’ve done it the hard way,” Painter said Thursday at Big Ten Media Day. “When we took over at Purdue, we were in last place, too. So I understand that climb.”
Indeed, the Hoosiers have rebounded in a big way from the aftermath of the Kelvin Sampson scandal. IU is No. 1 in a slew of preseason polls, including the USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll announced last week. They also will likely be the top team in the Associated Press poll, which will be released today.
The preseason poll of Big Ten media members also has the Hoosiers as the conference’s top team, and Cody Zeller is the preseason player of the year.
This time a year ago, IU was predicted to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten. So how does Tom Crean ensure his players don’t buy into the hype?
“Our team has had to deal with a lot of other hype that wasn’t necessarily positive,” Crean said.
“A year ago when there really weren’t those outside voices talking in a totally positive light about where the team was at, that didn’t faze [the players), they continued to work. … They’re receiving a lot of attention [now] and we’re trying to keep our business-as-usual approach as much as we can … and deal with it as it comes.”
The Hoosiers have to deal with injuries as well as the preseason accolades. Freshman forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea missed most of the summer with a foot injury and re-injured it last week. And senior Derek Elston tore a meniscus during last Saturday’s Hoosier Hysteria event and will undergo surgery today.
Reports on Wednesday night said Elston could miss up to eight weeks, but Crean said, “We have a baseline of what we’re looking at, but you can never tell until they get in and do the work and start the rehab process with him.”
Elston had a similar injury in high school.
“He knows what’s expected of him and he knows what we do, and I think that will help him when he comes back. There won’t be a great learning curve,” Crean said. “In the meantime, people will have to grow into what there are trying to get to and at the same time do more with the veterans.”
The injuries in the frontcourt are offset by the return of Zeller and Christian Watford, both of whom considered leaving early for the NBA before option to return for a shot at a national championship.
“Christian Watford shows what happens when you continue to improve,” Crean said. “The biggest thing for Christian this year, if our team is going to get better, is he needs to model the consistency day in, day out, that he needs to be, to be at his best.”
And while Crean was reluctant to compare Zeller to other top players he’s coached, such as Dwyane Wade — “that’s for days when it’s all said and done” — he did praise the sophomore’s mental toughness.
“He’s not easily rattled. His confidence is high, but I don’t see anything from Cody that would make you think he thinks he’s arrived or achieved greatness,” Crean said.
Painter, for one, thinks Zeller — and the Hoosiers — have arrived.
“They just needed that ‘impact’ guy and I think they have that in Cody Zeller, who I consider the best player in college basketball,” Painter said. “They have a chance to contend for a Big Ten championship, and anybody who can do that is good enough to get to the Final Four and put themselves into position for a national championship.”
It didn’t take long for Purdue coach Matt Painter to face the question.
Moore, Samuels won't return to ISU basketball team
Indiana State men’s basketball coach Greg Lansing continues to re-calibrate the Sycamores as they prepare for the 2014-15 season.
Lansing said Thursday that forward Demetrius Moore and center Mike Samuels will not return to the program next season.
ISU Blue-White Game is Friday
The spring game at the Football Championship Series level is a bit different than it is for the Football Bowl Series programs.
Unlike FBS, FCS teams like Indiana State can continue to recruit junior college and Division I transfers after their spring practice is over. It means the dynamic of the FCS spring game is different than the finality it has at the FBS level.
Rose-Hulman beats DePauw in baseball
Rose-Hulman scored eight runs in the fifth inning and five runs in the sixth to earn a 16-9 baseball victory over DePauw University on Thursday afternoon.
Clamping down: Pitching, defense lift ISU to third straight victory
Indiana State’s baseball trip to Victory Field on Wednesday to face Butler turned into a virtuoso performance in pitching and defense.
Metro roundup: Rose swimmer honored as CCIW’s best
Rose-Hulman sophomore Orion Martin of Dublin, Ohio, has been named the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Male Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive year, according to voting by league coaches.
Til it's over: Grand memories usher in a new era for ISU track
John McNichols won his first Missouri Valley Conference championship in outdoor track at Indiana State’s Marks Field back in 1988. He’s gone on to win eight more — in addition to his two indoor track and eight cross country crowns. In 2016, McNichols will have a chance to add that outdoor title total on the site of a brand new facility — proposed to be named Gibson Track and Field by ISU President Dan Bradley.
Metro roundup: ISU trails by 4 with 18 holes left
Indiana State is four shots out of the lead and McCall Christopher five shots from the individual lead after the second of three rounds of the Missouri Valley Conference golf championships was completed Monday at Panther Creek Country Club.
Immense power: A leaner A.J. Reed making play as elite prospect
Reed took his talents to Kentucky and the Southeastern Conference in 2011 and hasn’t looked back in the baseball sense. After a standout career at Terre Haute South — he was Indiana’s Player of the Year in 2011 — area fans had an idea of the wind Kentucky was sowing when it coaxed Reed to Lexington, Ky.
METRO ROUNDUP: Odum shines in Portsmouth Invitational
Former Indiana State guard Jake Odum had a productive first night at the Portsmouth Invitational late Thursday.
The Terre Haute native scored 16 points, had six assists and three steals for the Portsmouth Partnership team in its 88-81 victory over Cherry Bekaert.
ISU falls to Canisius in first of three-game road series
The Indiana State baseball team fell behind early and never could get the lead as host Canisius posted a 3-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series Friday at Demske Sports Complex.
The Sycamores (24-11) and Griffins (21-13) will meet again at 2 p.m. today, but the venue will switch to Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, N.Y. The same two teams also will play Sunday back at Demske Sports Complex in a noon start.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods sweeps doubleheader over Rose-Hulman
Over the years, defeating its crosstown rival has not usually been easy for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods or Rose-Hulman when they’ve met in college softball.
But on Wednesday afternoon at The Woods, the home team made its doubleheader sweep look easy to first-year coach Mark Feller with five-inning decisions of 10-0 and 11-1.
Terre Haute North grad O'Leary to transfer from Loyola
Matt O’Leary is one of three men's basketball players at Loyola recently granted a release from his scholarship from the Missouri Valley Conference school.
The former Terre Haute North standout told the Tribune-Star he doesn’t yet know his next move.
Rose-Hulman, Woods to face off on softball diamond
The Rose-Hulman softball team will visit a familiar foe today when the Engineers take on crosstown rival Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in a nonleague doubleheader.
ISU baseball holds off Eastern Illinois for 24th win
Indiana State freshman left-hander Ryan Keaffaber won his first game as a Sycamore and senior catcher Mike Fitzgerald went 3 for 3 as ISU defeated host Eastern Illinois 6-4 in college baseball Tuesday.
Top returners lead Cream over Crimson in Hoosiers' spring game
The Cream team at Saturday’s Cream and Crimson intrasquad game had Indiana’s top returning rusher and receiver and the Hoosiers’ top-rated passer from last season.
No surprise, then, that Tevin Coleman, Shane Wynn and Tre Roberson guided the Cream to a resounding 24-14 win over the Crimson.
Rose-Hulman baseball gets wild doubleheader sweep
Host Rose-Hulman came back from an early six-run deficit in the first game Saturday and went on to a 13-12, 7-1 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball sweep over Mount St. Joseph.
The wild opener featured a Rose-Hulman comeback from an 8-2 deficit and included 18 hits and two school records for the Engineers.
METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball earns doubleheader sweep at Missouri State
Yvette Alvarez’s one-hit shutout capped a dominant day of pitching Saturday as Indiana State swept a Missouri Valley Conference softball doubleheader at Missouri State by scores of 6-1 and 4-0.
“We pitched well,” coach Shane Bouman said. “Both Taylor Lockwood in the first game and Yvette Alvarez in the second game threw great. When you pitch good and you play good defense and get some key hits, good things are going to happen.
ISU football set for first spring scrimmage
Thanks to a limited number of available offensive linemen — a group that will at least double in numbers in the fall with the addition of recruits and currently injured players — the Sycamores won’t have a full-scale scrimmage, but will still intersperse scrimmage plays (with officials) among other practice drills.
“We’re thin,” coach Mike Sanford admitted after practice Thursday. “The scrimmage will be part of practice — probably 30 or 40 plays altogether. We only have five to seven healthy offensive linemen, so we can’t go [in a scrimmage format] for long stretches of time.”
METRO ROUNDUP: Waltman's funeral Saturday at Indianapolis
Royce Waltman’s visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke’s Methodist Church at 100 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis.
ISU baseball falls to Vanderbilt 6-2
The seventh-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores took control early to defeat the Indiana State Sycamores 6-2
ISU baseball sweeps doubleheader against Wichita State
Indiana State baseball coach Mitch Hannahs finally got what he’s been looking for from the Sycamores’ Friday and Saturday starters ... and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Wichita State is in town for a crucial series. With ISU 2-4 in the league, it was vital for the Sycamores to validate their better-than-expected form in nonconference play with MVC success in Saturday’s doubleheader at Bob Warn Field.
METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman's nine-game winnings streak snapped
Rose-Hulman had its nine-game winning streak snapped with two tightly contested losses at defending Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference champion Manchester on Saturday.
Sycamores get commitment from junior-college point guard
Following Indiana State’s loss to Marquette in the WNIT, coach Teri Moren touched on the future of the program after the loss of Sycamore senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir.
Prusator gives ISU a shooter for 2015
Grant Prusator, a native of Rochelle, Ill., has made a verbal commitment to play basketball for Indiana State starting in the 2014-15 season. He will have three years of eligibility with the Sycamores as he played just one year for Highland Community College.
Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium
The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.
Indiana State secondary could be mending into a strength
During Indiana State’s injury-ravaged 2013 season, there wasn’t a unit on either side of the ball that was spared from the carnage.
But if one had to be singled out as hardest hit in the injury department, it would be difficult to out-do the Sycamores’ secondary.
Every player that started in ISU’s season opener at Indiana not only missed at least one game last season, but the entire starting unit was out of action by the end of September.
Reed named Midseason National Player of the Year
Half of the college baseball season is done and one prominent college baseball publication thinks Terre Haute’s A.J. Reed is best player in the land.
Reed, a junior at Kentucky, was named the Midseason National Player of the Year by Perfect Game USA, a website devoted to college baseball.
Laramie to transfer from ISU women's basketball program
Indiana State forward Marina Laramie averaged 9.9 points and started all 32 games as a sophomore for the Sycamores.
But the 6-foot-2 women’s basketball player will continue her career elsewhere.
Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings
Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.
Chicago guard commits to ISU women's basketball
The Indiana State women’s basketball team picked up a verbal commitment from Chicago guard Kiera Brooks on Tuesday.
The 5-foot-7 junior for North Lawndale College Prep visited ISU’s campus for the first time, met the team and chose her college home. Brooks averaged 18.7 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals for coach Corey Morgan’s 15-11 squad.
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- Moore, Samuels won't return to ISU basketball team