Morning Five: 04.23.14 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on April 23rd, 2014


  1. Kentucky freshman Julius Randle confirmed what many expected yesterday as he announced that he would be entering the NBA Draft. Most considered Randle an almost certain one-and-done even before he committed to Kentucky so this is hardly a surprise despite how long it took him to declare. Randle did nothing this season to make us question his decision to leave after one season although we still have questions about whether he can be dominant at the next level since he will not be able to overpower NBA players to anywhere close to the same degree that he did in college. Regardless of that he will probably be a top-five pick in June.
  2. Clemson junior forward K.J. McDaniels also announced that he will be entering the NBA Draft. While not quite the prospect that Randle is, McDaniels is still projected to be a mid-first round pick so it makes sense particularly with the steady progression in his game as his scoring has increased from 3.9 to 10.9 to 17.1 points per game. McDaniels stock has also risen throughout the year as he led the Tigers in points, rebounds, blocks, and steals last season while picking up ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors. His athleticism and steady progression should make him an interesting pick-up for some team in the latter half of the first round.
  3. If Duke’s incoming freshman class was not impressive enough they added another significant piece when Sean Obi announced that he would be transferring from Rice to Duke. As a freshman at Rice last season, Obi averaged 11.4 points and 9.3 rebounds, but decided to transfer after Ben Braun was fired. Obi also considered Michigan and Vanderbilt. Although Obi will sit out next season (yes, we know it’s a shocking concept) that might would out for the best for Duke and Obi as Jahlil Okafor is expected to log the majority of the minutes and touches inside for the Blue Devils next season, but is expected to be a one-and-done so Obi will be available just in time for Duke when Okafor leaves.
  4. Isaiah Austin might be one of the poster boys for why players should leave early when they can be a first round pick. Yesterday, Austin declared that he would be forgoing his final year of eligibility to enter the NBA Draft. At this point, Austin is probably a late second round pick if he is even selected at all. Austin averaged 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, which are both respectable numbers, but are down from his freshman year averages of 13.0 and 8.3 respectively. Before his drop in production and his weaknesses being exposed he was a possible first round pick after his freshman year. He probably would have been out of the NBA in a few years, but at least he would have had a few years of NBA money.
  5. We have no idea why Georgia State has become such a popular transfer destination, but they picked up another (relatively) big name yesterday when Jeremy Hollowell announced that he would be transferring there. Hollowell follows Ryan Harrow and Kevin Ware as well-known transfers to the school in the past year meaning that Ron Hunter will have landed transfers from Kentucky, Louisville, and Indiana. Hollowell only averaged 5.7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore at Indiana, but was a top-50 recruit coming in so he certainly has the potential to be much more. Hollowell will sit out a season per the transfer rules, but will have two more years of eligibility left starting with the 2015-16 season.
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Indiana’s Roster Changes Leads to Lack of Continuity and Chemistry

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on March 26th, 2014

Indiana’s offense will look very different next season because of a few key departures that were announced in the last couple of days. It isn’t surprising to see Noah Vonleh declare for the NBA Draft because he is an excellent prospect with great size (6’10″) who has a chance to become a good rebounder in the Association. But the news about Jeremy Hollowell and Austin Etherington transferring is a bit surprising and it will create a hole in the Hoosiers’ lineup next year. Even though neither player was a major contributor this season, their departures will hurt the continuity of an offense that averaged just 1.0 point per possession during conference play.

Noah Vonleh will be missed in Bloomington.

Noah Vonleh will be missed in Bloomington. (AP)

Talent was not an issue for Tom Crean this year, but Indiana’s starting five never meshed all that well together. The half-court offense mostly involved the guards trying to break down their defenders one-on-one, and when it didn’t work, passing it to another guard to score in isolation. This chaotic approach to offense led to numerous turnovers as Indiana ranked last in the Big Ten with a 21.9 percent turnover rate this season. Vonleh and Hollowell will probably be replaced with talented freshmen, but it also means that Crean will have to start over with the offense again next year.

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Joking Aside, Indiana Makes the Wrong Move in Turning Down the CBI

Posted by Brendan Brody on March 17th, 2014

Indiana was at the top of the list of the most-discussed NIT snubs once the field of 32 was announced in the aftermath of the NCAA Tournament bracket reveal yesterday. The Hoosiers fell from a #1 seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament to one that couldn’t even make the NIT this season. Word was also released that Indiana had been invited to compete in the even less prestigious CBI, but had declined the invitation. Athletic Director Fred Glass said, “Finances wouldn’t be an issue if we thought it made sense, but we’re Indiana, we don’t play in the CBI.” This is the certainly the wrong approach to take, and there are several reasons why turning down the chance to play more games is the wrong move here for Indiana.

The momentum that was built up over the last two seasons came crashing to a halt this season for Tom Crean's Indiana team. (Getty)

The momentum that was built up over the last two seasons came crashing to a halt this season for Tom Crean’s Indiana team. (Getty)

First, in the interest of complete fairness, several other schools such as Maryland, Marquette, Washington and UNLV reportedly turned down the CBI as well. But those schools didn’t spout off about how they were essentially too good to try to improve in a postseason tournament that very few people notice. Indiana has an outstanding basketball history, as everyone knows. The school is one of a handful of “blue-blood” programs with an extended legacy and multiple national championships. But the days of Bob Knight heading a national contender every season are long gone. The program under Tom Crean has gone 101-97 in his six years at the helm. It is true that he inherited an absolute mess upon arrival, but it’s not like the Hoosiers have been at the top of the sport for a significant amount of time only to have one bad season. The horrific teams of Verdell Jones and Tom Pritchard would have killed to have had an opportunity to play in whatever postseason tournament they could get into. You’re not all the way back to complete relevancy by simply having two good seasons out of six.

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Four Quick Thoughts on Indiana’s Win Over Iowa

Posted by Brendan Brody on February 28th, 2014

Iowa continued its late season freefall after dropping a shootout in Bloomington Thursday night, 93-86. The Hawkeyes have now tumbled to a 19-9 overall record and will lose what would have been a healthy seed in the NCAA Tournament if they don’t get things turned around rather quickly. Indiana once again proved that, despite their inconsistencies, they are dangerous at home. They’ve now knocked off Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa in their own gym this season.

Here are four observations from last night’s fast-paced affair.

Will Sheehey scored a career-high 30 points Thursday as Indiana knocked off Iowa. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Will Sheehey scored a career-high 30 points Thursday as Indiana knocked off Iowa. (Andy Lyons/Getty)

  1. Where has this Will Sheehey been all season? Sheehey was a legitimate force on offense for the Hoosiers all night long. He proved to be equally adept at knocking down shots from the perimeter and also getting by the Iowa defense to finisih on the fast break. He went 11-of 13 on twos, and put up 19 points in the first half alone. If Sheehey had played even half this well over the course of the entire season, the Hoosiers might have a considerably better record than 16-12. He’s been missing in action on numerous occasions and seemingly has been without the mojo that came from playing on a much more talented team last season. If he can ride the momentum from this outstanding performance into the last three games and the Big Ten Tournament, Indiana can clearly play the spoiler role in early March.
  2. Iowa needs Mike Gesell at his best: Gesell was uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball all night, which led to a statistical line that produced only six points and five turnovers. He had a team-high seven assists, but much of that was due to the uptempo nature of the game. Fran McCaffery doesn’t need 20 points per game from his sophomore point guard, but he needs to consistently knock down open looks and he can’t give the ball away so much if the Hawkeyes are going to look to push it. Read the rest of this entry »
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Four Thoughts on Indiana’s Loss to Syracuse

Posted by Max Jakubowski on December 4th, 2013

Indiana was dismantled by Syracuse Tuesday evening, 69-52. The Hoosiers were looking to avenge last season’s Sweet Sixteen loss in the NCAA Tournament, but that lengthy Syracuse 2-3 zone stumped Tom Crean’s offense again. Here are four thoughts on last night’s game and what it means for Indiana going forward.

The Rematch Looked a Lot Like the Original. (Getty)

The rematch looked a lot like the original. (Getty)

  1. Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh led Indiana with 12 and 17 points, respectively, but after that there was minimal offensive production from the other Hoosiers. Senior Will Sheehey really struggled from the field, going 1-of-7 and finishing with only three points. Ferrell will get his from long-range shooting and Vonleh can finish on the blocks and on putbacks, but Sheehey has to give Tom Crean another offensive weapon for this team to be successful. Over the previous two seasons, IU hadn’t faced a problem of offensive inconsistency, with players like Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo able to create their own shots. This season, the veteran Sheehey needs to really improve as a three-point threat to keep the offense flowing (he’s shooting a career-low 21.7 percent). With Sheehey also Indiana’s best on-ball defender, it’s proving tough for him to transition from defense to offense.
  2. One way to beat a 2-3 zone is shooting from beyond the arc. Indiana didn’t follow through on that tip, shooting a dreary 28 percent in last night’s game. Last year, the Hoosiers had four players who shot over 40 percent from distance. This year, Ferrell has the highest percentage at 38 percent, and he was the only one to make a three against Syracuse (4-of-7). Sheehey can normally knock down perimeter shots and freshmen Collin Hartman and Troy Williams can shoot as well, but the key shooter is sophomore Jeremy Hollowell.  Hollowell resembles his former teammate Christian Watford; a big, athletic wing who can stretch defenses with his bombs. The problem is that Hollowell only attempted one three-point shot against Syracuse; he needs to become more than just a specialty guy when he’s on the floor 29 minutes for Tom Crean’s team. Read the rest of this entry »
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Big Ten M5: New Year’s Eve Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on December 31st, 2012


  1. Wolverines’ guard Tim Hardaway Jr. did not play against Central Michigan on Saturday because of an ankle injury. Even though Trey Burke made sure that Michigan wrapped up its non-conference schedule with a win (88-73), Hardaway’s injury could be concerning for John Beilein if it remains an issue in the conference season. The coaching staff did not release any specifics around his exact date of return or even the nature of the injury but Burke added that “it could be a bone bruise.” Opening the Big Ten season against Northwestern on the road won’t be easy without Hardaway because the Wildcats have been looking for a signature win at home and played the Wolverines very well there last season but lost in overtime.
  2. After missing three games, freshman Jeremy Hollowell will be back for the Hoosiers for their conference season opener today against the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Hoosiers reported a “secondary violation” to the NCAA and per the proposal, he will be reinstated immediately and travel with the team to Iowa. Hollowell has averaged 5.7 PPG and 3.0 RPG during the non-conference slate, and more details about the violation will be disclosed later this week by the athletic department. Tom Crean will need Hollowell’s services against Iowa and the Gophers over the next two weeks to tip off Big Ten play.
  3. Illinois’ Tracy Abrams had a great homecoming on Saturday as the Illini edged Auburn 81-79 at the United Center in Chicago. Playing in front of his hometown family and friends, Abrams scored 27 points and dished out five assists against the Tigers. Brandon Paul only scored 13 points in this game but Abrams made sure the Illini did not hobble into conference play by dominating the game. The sophomore guard handles the primary point guard duties for John Groce and has averaged 12.1 PPG despite shooting just 30% from beyond the arc. Even though he isn’t consistent from long range, Abrams has shown glimpses of his ability to get to the basket by successfully taking his defender off the dribble.
  4. As the Spartans prepare for their Big Ten opener against the Gophers, Tom Izzo has indicated that he will continue to play Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne over the next few weeks as Branden Dawson continues to recover from last season’s ACL injury. Izzo was particularly impressed with Nix’s 25 points against Texas and wants to see Dawson play at the small forward position as his playing time increases during the season. A frontcourt of Nix, Payne and Dawson will be tough to defend and the Spartans should be able to control the boards with this group in most games. Dawson also provides Izzo with flexibility on defense because he usually locks down the best wing on the opposing team. He is expected to guard Gophers’ talented Rodney Williams (13.0 PPG) on Monday.
  5. After 12 non-conference games and a 10-2 record, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta has not been very impressed with his team thus far. Two losses to elite teams Kansas and Duke is reasonable, but the Buckeyes need better shooting (37% 3FG) from their stars during Big Ten play. The Buckeyes understand that there are few weak teams in the B1G and they can’t afford to have many bad shooting nights. Matta added, “This team is not good enough for us to not be playing at the level we’re capable of,” when asked about the season so far. Sophomore center Amir Williams (3.8 RPG) started for the first time this year and will need to provide a better defensive presence in the post if the Buckeyes hope to again compete for the conference title.
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Big Ten M5: 12.24.12 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on December 24th, 2012


  1. Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas had a tough second half against Kansas on Saturday. The junior forward shot just 4-of-16 from the field and ended up with only 16 points as he was smothered by the Jayhawks’ Travis Releford coming off screens. Thomas said afterward, “they just played hard,” when asked about his frustrating game. Thomas cannot afford to have off nights during the Big Ten season if the Buckeyes expect to contend for a conference title. Even though Bill Self’s defensive schemes were designed well to defend Thomas, the junior should have been more patient and adjusted his game when his jumpers were not falling.
  2. Despite Illinois’ first loss to Missouri (83-72) on Saturday night, the senior guards – Brandon Paul and D.J.Richardson – are very happy with their new offensive system under head coach John Groce. Both players understand that they have the green light to shoot and believe Groce’s uptempo system has given them more confidence in their game. Even though Groce encourages guards to shoot unlike his predecessor, Bruce Weber, Paul still needs to be selective with his shot selection and engage his teammates throughout the game, as he dished out five assists against Missouri. Richardson’s stated goal during the offseason was to become the defensive player of the year in the Big Ten and assume the challenge of guarding the best wing from the opposing team. Even though Missouri’s Phil Pressey had 11 assists during the game, he was held to just 3-of-19 shooting from the field as Richardson did an admirable job defending him for most of the night.
  3. Michigan’s Trey Burke has averaged 17.4 PPG and is shooting 51.9% from the field so far this season. Even though Burke has been more of a facilitator as exhibited by his 7.1 APG, he is still one of the best closers in the game. According to, in fact, he is the second toughest player in college hoops to defend after Louisville’s Russ Smith. Burke has dished out 51 assists over the last seven games while turning the ball over only seven times. That is an incredible assist to turnover ratio for the sophomore! Per Seth Greenberg, Burke is one of the best in the game in bringing up the ball at “warp speed” in transition but can “stop on a dime” and change direction making it very tough for defenders to keep him out of the lane.
  4. Tom Izzo and Michigan State have not lost a non-conference game at home since 2010 to Texas. The Longhorns returned to East Lansing on Saturday, but Derrick Nix made sure that this year’s outcome would be different, as the Spartans won 67-56. Nix’s presence in the post proved to be very important because the Spartans shot just 2-of-11 from beyond the arc. The senior forward was impressive as he played 32 minutes and scored 25 points while pulling down 11 boards against the big UT front line. Izzo has insisted that Nix’s post game will be important despite the team’s depth at the guard position and it paid off against the surging Longhorns, who had entered the game coming off an upset win over North Carolina in Austin.
  5. Indiana freshman forward Jeremy Hollowell missed the second consecutive game on Friday against Florida Atlantic. According to head coach Tom Crean, Hollowell is “dealing with a private matter that is in no way related to academic, behavior or disciplinary issues,” as Hollowell sat on the bench in his sweats for that game. In limited action, he has averaged 5.7 PPG and 3.0 RPG so far this season. Crean did not miss him, though, as the Hoosiers thumped Florida Atlantic 88-52 in Bloomington. Their next game against Jacksonville should not be much of a challenge either, but Hollowell’s services may be needed for their home opener at Iowa on December 31.
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Night Line: Indiana Displays Just Some Of Its Potential In 24-Point Blowout of UNC

Posted by EJacoby on November 28th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @EJacobyRTC on Twitter. Night Line runs on weeknights during the season, highlighting a major storyline development from that evening’s games.

So this is why Indiana garnered the #1 preseason ranking for the 2012-13 season. Despite coming into Tuesday night’s game with a 6-0 record and 32-point average margin of victory, the AP poll’s top-ranked Hoosiers had yet to produce a statement performance to legitimize their candidacy as the best squad in all of college hoops. It took overtime to dispose of previously unranked Georgetown last week, and Tom Crean’s team faced another tough test with the Tar Heels coming to town for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Indiana did not fool around this time, easily disposing of North Carolina, 83-59, in a game that showcased a tantalizing display of offensive basketball by the Hoosiers from start to finish. All doubts about IU’s true “top-seed upside” are quelled for the time being after it ran a young-but-explosive UNC team off the floor in Bloomington by out-executing and out-smarting the Tar Heels; even in an imperfect shooting night.

Cody Zeller and Indiana soared past North Carolina on Tuesday night (AP Photo)

For long stretches of Tuesday night’s game, the Hoosiers – ranked #2 in this week’s RTC Top 25 – played a completely flawless brand of unselfish basketball. Crisp passes flew around the Assembly Hall floor at seemingly light speed, leaving the Carolina defense with no chance to rotate quick enough to challenge IU’s knockdown outside shooters or strong post finishers. Strong outlet passes from forwards reached lead guards Yogi Ferrell and Jordan Hulls before UNC could catch up, and the Hoosiers converted time and time again in transition. Indiana totaled 21 assists on 33 made field goals through its balanced attack. The game film of this 24-point blowout ought to become its own best-selling clinic video in ball movement, as IU converted at 1.12 points per possession against the #14-ranked team in the country. Tonight’s IU assist total (21) outpaced that of the leading team in that category nationally (Maryland, 19.3 per game), and the performance boosted IU up to the top offensive efficiency rating (125.5) in the nation.

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RTC 2012-13 Top 25: Post NBA Draft Deadline

Posted by KDoyle on May 1st, 2012

It’s never too early for these, right? We all love the debates, projecting who is too high or too low, and taking a closer look at the upcoming college hoops season — six months goes by quickly, promise. In quickly looking at the Top 25, one would surmise that having five of a team’s top players forgo the remainder of their college careers in favor of the NBA Draft would absolutely kill that team’s prospects for the upcoming season, but that is simply not the case for Kentucky. Last year’s National Champions check in at #2 in the Top 25, proving that John Calipari doesn’t rebuild, he reloads. It would not behoove us to let Kentucky steal the storyline, however, as Tom Crean’s Indiana Hoosiers are the top dog in what looks to be a banner upcoming year. In what was arguably the most exciting and high-flying game of last year’s Tournament, the Hoosiers fell to Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen, but have nearly all the pieces back. Just two years ago this was a 12-20 team with no postseason experience, and now they are the top team in the land — according to our group of experts, at least. What a tremendous job Tom Crean has done. The usual Quick ‘n Dirty after the jump…

Whether it is through an exceptional recruiting class, or an impressive finish to the 2011-12 season coupled with a strong nucleus returning, the following five teams surged upward—and for good reason:

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Around The Blogosphere: September 9, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on September 9th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • Jim Boeheim: ‘The Ideal Conference Has 10 Teams’: The Syracuse legend opines on conference expansion. (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)
  • Decision on Kevin Ware expected by tomorrow: “A handful of folks, including those at Scout Focus, are reporting that freshman guard Kevin Ware is expected to receive a decision from the NCAA about his eligibility by tomorrow” (Card Chronicle)
  • Villanova 2011-12 Schedule Released: A look at Villanova’s schedule this season. (VU Hoops)
  • Jon Rothstein Interviews Kevin Stallings: Going through the interview as it was posted on Twitter. (Anchor of Gold)
  • Erik Murphy Cleared To Return To Florida Basketball By Billy Donovan: “Erik Murphy will play for Florida basketball this fall. That’s the news out of Billy Donovan today, who issued this statement on the player who was arrested for an incident at a St. Augustine bar this spring.” (Alligator Army)
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