Hoosier Hysteria, Indiana basketball’s version of midnight madness, is back once again to give fans their first look at the Hoosier men’s and women’s teams. Doors to Assembly Hall will open at 5 p.m. Saturday, with the event scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
For the second time, ESPN personality and Indiana University graduate (’95) Sage Steele will emcee Hoosier Hysteria. The Big Ten Network will provide coverage on BTN Plus.
Both teams will warm up and have player introductions on Branch McCracken Court. The men’s team is expected to have a three-point shooting contest, dunk contest and scrimmage, but the contestants and teams for the scrimmage have not been revealed.
Here are a few storylines to watch for on Saturday:
The first look at Indiana’s new players—Sixty percent of Indiana’s roster is new to the team this season, which means this is a mostly a brand new Hoosier squad. While some Hoosier fans may have traveled to Montreal this summer to watch Indiana play its five-game exhibition tour on Canadian soil, this will be the first time for most fans to watch Indiana’s six scholarship freshmen, two new walk-ons and graduate transfer Nick Zeisloft. Indiana Coach Tom Crean said at the Big Ten Basketball Media Day last week that seven-foot center Jeremiah April is suffering from an ankle injury and will be unavailable to practice until at least early November, but the other eight newcomers should be in action on Saturday.
Troy Williams’ first Hoosier Hysteria—Williams’ was sidelined at last year’s event due to a right hand injury. The then-freshman performed an introductory dance and he was a judge for the dunk contest, but he was unable to show off his athleticism in front of thousands of Indiana fans. Hoosier Hysteria is made for athletic specimens and flashy players like Williams. Whether he’s showing off the five inches he added to his vertical leap in the dunk contest or playing point guard in the team’s intrasquad scrimmage, it should be a joy to watch him play.
Indiana’s outside shooting will be on display—Excluding point guard Yogi Ferrell’s three-point shooting last season, the Hoosiers were 88-of-292 (30.1 percent) from behind the arc. Ferrell made the same number of threes as the rest of his teammates combined and attempted 220 shots from distance, a single-season record for the program. The Hoosiers shouldn’t have to worry about their outside this shooting with the additions of Nick Zeisloft, James Blackmon Jr., Robert Johnson, Max Hoetzel and Tim Priller. Plus, Stanford Robinson and Troy Williams, who were a combined 9-of-45 (20 percent) from three-point range last season, have taken strides to improve their shooting. Robinson switched his shooting hand and Williams made 10,000 three-pointers in the offseason. The dunk contest is usually the marquee event between Hoosier Hysteria’s two contests, but the three-point contest could be the best competition of the evening.
Who will play the ‘three,’ the ‘five’ and backup point guard? Ferrell, Blackmon Jr., and Williams have likely locked up positions in Indiana’s starting lineup. Ferrell and Williams have started every game of their Indiana careers, and it’s unlikely that Crean will bring Blackmon Jr., a former McDonald’s All-American, off the bench. Will newcomers Robert Johnson or Nick Zeisloft claim the third guard position, or will Stanford Robinson and his right-handed jump shot make an appearance in the starting lineup?
Hanner Mosquera-Perea is bigger and more athletic than Devin Davis, but Davis proved last season at Michigan that he can be effective as an undersized big man, scoring nine points, making every shot he attempted and grabbing six rebounds in 25 minutes as Indiana’s starting center. A “visa related issue” prevented Hanner Mosquera-Perea from going on the team’s Canada trip this summer, so fans will get to see on Saturday if he has made the necessary strides to play starter’s minutes this season. The two forwards should be on opposite teams in Saturday’s scrimmage, which means they’ll get the chance to battle head-to-head on both ends of the floor.
While Ferrell is a preseason First Team All-Big Ten selection, he is neither indestructible nor immune to fouls and fatigue, which means Indiana has to figure out who will run the point when Ferrell takes a breather. Blackmon Jr., Johnson, Zeisloft and even Williams could all be in the running; given that it’s physically impossible for Ferrell to play point guard for both teams in the intrasquad scrimmage, we’ll have to wait and see who the Indiana coaching staff lines up against him. Based on the composition of the teams and players’ performances in the scrimmage, fans may be able to get some insight into who’s going to start this season and how deep the Hoosiers’ rotation will be.
Here’s the official Hoosier Hysteria release from iuhoosiers.com:
Sage Steele, a 1995 graduate of Indiana University and one of ESPN’s most versatile on-air personalities, will serve as emcee for Hoosier Hysteria which will be held Saturday, October 25, in Assembly Hall. Steele, who currently serves as the host of the Friday and Sunday editions of NBA Countdown – ABC’s and ESPN’s NBA pre-game show, is proud of her Hoosier roots and returns for the second time (2012) to help the IU men’s and women’s basketball teams tip-off the 2014-15 season.
Doors open at 5 p.m. with the program scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
“It’s just really humbling to come back every time,” Steele said prior to hosting the event in 2012. “This place (IU) is the only reason I made it. When I come back every time, it’s so emotional for me.”
Steele, who joined ESPN in 2007, has served as a co-host of ESPN’s SportsCenter, the network’s flagship news and information program and continues to contribute to the show while hosting NBA Countdown.
Steele graduated from IU (Bloomington) in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in sports communications. In her spare time, Steele volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Association events, enjoys horseback riding, exercising, and spending time with her husband (a 1993 IU Bloomington graduate) and their three children.
Details for next week’s event include:
- The women’s team takes the floor for a workout from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Introductions and team activities will begin for them at 6 p.m. The men’s team will follow and are expected to have a three-point and dunk contest and a brief scrimmage.
- Parking is free in and around Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium and fans are encouraged to come early and tailgate.
- The Student Athletic Board will be sponsoring a 64-team 3v3 basketball tournament on the day of Hoosier Hysteria, October 25th. The tournament will be played in the parking lot just South of Assembly Hall on official portable basketball courts. The tournament will begin at approximately 8:30am and last until roughly 3:30pm. The championship game will be played at 5:30 p.m. in Assembly Hall.
- Admission is free but fans are encouraged to bring a canned food item and donate it to Hoosier Hills Food Bank. Generally, the event brings in 10-12,000 pounds of food.
- Beginning at 10 a.m., there will be a DJ near the 3 v 3 tournament. An outside edition of the Varsity Shop will be open around 1 p.m.
- The men’s team will sign autographs for an hour after the event on the Assembly Hall concourse. Fans may purchase the traditional IU men’s basketball calendars from the Varsity Shop or a free autograph card will be provided. Players will sign just one item per person.
In IU’s home reopener, the Hoosiers defeated another ranked opponent in Assembly Hall, topping No. 20 Iowa 93-86.
It was the team’s third home victory against a ranked opponent this season and the win kept the Hoosiers from falling into a five-way tie for last place in the Big Ten.
It was the Hoosiers’ greatest offensive outburst since scoring 102 points against Washington on Nov. 21.
Ten IU players scored but two wing players were responsible for more than half of the Hoosiers’ points. Senior Will Sheehey and freshman Stanford Robinson recorded 30 and 17 points, respectively, which were career highs for both players.
Sheehey said the team’s game plan was to run to the corners and space the floor, opening up the middle of the court.
“I think our team from the start was built to run like this,” he said.
The senior could have passed for a wide receiver Thursday night, consistently beating Iowa’s transition defense down the court.
He said the key to his offensive success was his teammates finding him in transition.
Sophomore point guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell threw multiple overhead passes to an open Sheehey and Robinson found him on back cuts.
“I was scoring without the ball in my hands,” Sheehey said, crediting his teammates for finding him in transition.
He got off to a hot start for the second consecutive game, scoring six of the team’s first eight points. He scored IU’s first seven points against Wisconsin but was held scoreless for the final 37 minutes in Madison, Wis., Tuesday.
The senior didn’t let up against Iowa. He nearly matched his previous career-high in the first half, recording 19 points.
Crean said Sheehey was fantastic against Iowa.
“What an unbelievably ironic thing for him to have his career high on the night in which he was honored for his 1,000th career point,” he said. “I thought he was going for 2,000 tonight.”
The pace of play in the first half could have given the scoreboard operator carpel tunnel as the teams combined for 101 points.
The fast-paced nature of the game caused both teams to take advantage of their depth.
“We knew it was going to be a game where depth was key because of how good Iowa’s depth is,” Crean said.
Thirteen Hoosiers saw action Thursday and IU recorded a season-high 42 bench points.
Robinson said Crean frequently tells his players that they will never know when their time will come.
Even though the freshman guard said IU is better when it is able to utilize its athletes in transition, Hoosier fans shouldn’t expect an encore of Thursday’s game, which may have been mistaken for a track meet or a high-flying Cirque de Soleil performance.
Points will be hard to come by when the Hoosiers play host to No. 22 Ohio State Sunday. It would be an understatement to say the Buckeyes play stingy defense. Ohio State has the third-best adjusted defense in the country, according to kenpom.com.
“Obviously there are teams in this league who have no interest in having any kind of pace,” Crean said.
The Hoosiers will travel to Evanston, Ill., Saturday with hopes of earning a payback victory against a Northwestern team that forced the first domino to fall for IU in its string of recent struggles.
Four days after the Hoosiers knocked off No. 3 Wisconsin at home, the lowly 8-10 Wildcats took all of the wind out of IU’s sails with a 54-47 victory at Assembly Hall.
Since defeating the Badgers, IU has lost six of its last eight games, fallen off the NCAA Tournament radar, had a player arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and had its home temporarily jeopardized by a piece of metal plating.
Starting at 8:15 p.m. Saturday, the Hoosiers have an opportunity to make amends and climb up the Big Ten standings.
Northwestern, which is on a four-game losing streak, is ninth in the conference, one place ahead of IU.
The Jan. 18 meeting between the teams was a defensive struggle, with 101 total points scored on a combined 34-of-111 shooting performance. IU shot 4-of-18 from 3-point range.
“No question, when you don’t have as many outside shooters, the defense dictates so much of how the offense is going to look,” IU Coach Tom Crean said on Monday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference.
The Wildcats came into Assembly Hall and controlled the pace of the game, limiting IU to only four fast-break points.
Northwestern, the worst team in the Big Ten in rebound margin, held IU to a one-rebound advantage on the boards.
Despite freshman forward Noah Vonleh’s 17-point, 12-rebound performance, Crean said Vonleh isn’t as aggressive as he needs to be with the ball.
“Some of that is the offensive rebounding, some of that is taking advantage of driving opportunities when they’re there, some of that is being ready to shoot, some of that is not looking to pass the ball as soon as he catches it,” Crean said.
The Hoosiers have the opportunity to set the tone in Welsh-Ryan Arena. Through Wednesday, IU is 62nd in the country in adjusted tempo, according to kenpom.com. The Wildcats are the 334th-slowest team in the nation.
Crean said defenses can’t dictate how the Hoosiers move on offense.
“A person in movement has constantly got to be trying to create a look, trying to create an opportunity for someone else,” he said. “That’s why transition is good for us. That’s why transition pick and rolls are good for us because the game’s in movement and the defense isn’t set yet.”
IU will have a clear advantage if it turns Saturday’s matchup into a track meet, because of its depth. Ten Hoosiers played against Northwestern in January.
Northwestern Coach Chris Collins used an eight-man rotation against IU, but only six Wildcats played significant minutes.
Senior guard James Montgomery III played less than a minute and senior forward Nikola Cerina, who played four minutes at Assembly Hall, is suspended for Saturday’s game after throwing a punch against Ohio State Wednesday.
At IU’s press conference Tuesday, after the IU vs. Iowa game was postponed after a metal plating fell from Assembly Hall’s ceiling, Crean said the team was ready to play but the Hoosiers would have to adjust to the schedule change.
“It’s all part of resiliency, you just get ready to go do what you have to do when it’s time to do it,” Crean said.
It has been nearly three weeks since IU’s last win and only six regular season games remain for the Hoosiers. If IU is going to make a run towards an NCAA Tournament berth in the home stretch, the time is now.
Follow reporter Andy Wittry on Twitter @AndyWittry.
After an eight-foot piece of steel plating fell from the ceiling of Assembly Hall onto seats in Section F on Tuesday afternoon, IU brought in engineers to examine the structure of the arena.
IU Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass and Tom Morrison, Vice President of Capital Planning and Facilities, met with the media Wednesday afternoon to provide an update on Assembly Hall’s status.
IU brought in two cranes Wednesday
IU Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass said the first crane’s wheels weren’t broad enough to absorb the weight of the crane. In order to avoid damaging Branch McCracken Court, the engineers switched to a second crane.
IU utilized its own in-house engineers as well as external engineers from Arsee Engineers in the evaluation of the structure of Assembly Hall.
“It’s (a) 135-foot crane from our friends at MacAllister Machinery,” Glass said. “They’ve been very cooperative with us. They brought it down from Indianapolis so we got it here at 12:15.”
Glass said the engineers took up the wooden floor and laid down “rubberized sub-flooring” to protect the surface of the court.
The engineers confirmed the initial speculation
Glass said there’s an “intentional design valley” in the roof of Assembly Hall.
“Snow collected in there and as snow melted, it slid in and created sort of a super load in that area,” he said. “They speculate that it was the biggest load this ceiling, the roof has borne.”
The load on the roof caused pressure that forced the metal facing to pop off Tuesday around 2:30 p.m., according to Glass.
Engineers found loose steel plates in other areas of the ceiling
Glass said IU officials and the University’s engineers believe they understand the cause of the steel plate falling. He said the engineers were able to make a complete visual and physical inspection both internally and externally.
He said the inspection revealed there were two or three other places where the steel plating was loose.
“None of which was eminent to fall,” Glass said. “I want to emphasize that there weren’t any plates that they thought were in any kind of short-term danger of popping off but there were some that were loose.”
Engineers will continue to exam the purpose of the steel plates
Glass said engineers are working to examine the purpose of the steel plates, whether they are part of Assembly Hall’s structure or merely exist for cosmetic reasons.
“We have been told that they are confident that they’ll be able to completely assess and remediate…the plating and give us a 100 percent all clear and confirmation that the plating is secure and Assembly Hall is safe,” Glass said.
IU expects to host Ohio State on March 2
Glass said the engineers are confident that they will be able to repair Assembly Hall and confirm its safety before IU is scheduled to host Ohio State on March 2.
He said IU is also confident the repairs will be done in time to hopefully reschedule the Hoosiers’ game against Iowa at Assembly Hall at a time that is mutually convenient for both teams.
Follow reporter Andy Wittry on Twitter @AndyWittry
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