Tag Archives: Indiana University

Glass presents game day fanfare additions

IU Athletics has made an annual effort since 2009 to improve the IU football experience for fans and players alike.

This year, five years since Memorial Stadium was overhauled with the facelift of the north end zone, IU Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass announced Monday that he will add more fanfare to the game day experience.

IU Athletics Director Fred Glass announces the new changes to the upcoming football game day experience Monday at Memorial Stadium. The changes included new cheers, bringing the cannon back for touchdowns and changing the walk to the stadium. (HALEY WARD | IDS)
IU Athletics Director Fred Glass announces the new changes to the upcoming football game day experience Monday at Memorial Stadium. The changes included new cheers, bringing the cannon back for touchdowns and changing the walk to the stadium.
(HALEY WARD | IDS)

The enhancements were broken down into four categories: infrastructure improvements, building awareness for game day, pre-game and in-game.

The two physically apparent additions are the prow of the U.S.S. Indiana and the 154.5-foot flagpole constructed near the south end zone. The concourses have been updated with new flat screen televisions. Some improvements were designed for the fans, including improved cell phone connectivity through Verizon, three more t-shirt machine guns and a cannon, “Big Jake,” that will shoot off after IU scores.

The effort to build awareness for IU football isn’t limited to gamedays. There will be Thursday flash mob rallies, Friday night spirit patrols and an increased social media presence, which will feature contests for fans.

The Hoosier football team’s pre-game walk will now begin at 17th and Woodlawn and will include a stop by the tailgate fields so that fans can more actively interact with players before the games.

There will be new cheers, a weekly helmet giveaway and performance awards that could allow fans to get discounts at Kilroy’s and Papa John’s. Daniel Weber and Brice Fox, who produced “This is Indiana,” will make a new football song and video that will premiere at the Penn State game Oct. 5.

“We’re trying to keep a kind of a campaign edge, kind of a revolution edge,” Glass said, “and challenge ourselves just like we sort of challenged the things that were here when we got here five years ago.”

Glass, who was hired in 2009, said after making the changes to the north end zone and hiring IU Coach Kevin Wilson, this year was more difficult to find ways to make major improvements, but that he thinks fans will find the gameday experience at Memorial Stadium much better.

“I think one of the real challenges for anyone who’s involved in a leadership position … is that you’ve got to keep looking at your role and what’s going on with external eyes,” he said. “That’s real easy when it’s new, and it’s easy when you’re challenging the views of the previous regime, and it’s easy when you’re solving the poblems of the previous regime. It’s harder when you’ve been there long enough to create your own problems and your own things need to be re-evaluated, and so it’s sort of like the revolution.”

As part of its evaluation of the Glass “regime,” IU Athletics decided to incorporate the student body. Since the fans are a large part of the gameday experience, the Student Athletic Board met with the Marching Hundred, Redsteppers, Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association, IUSA, Resident Assistants and Student Orientation Leaders in order to seek advice that accurately represented the IU student population.

With eight home games on the IU football slate in 2013, IU Athletics will have many opportunities to showcase the numerous enhancements.

Glass said the process has been “highly collaborative” with the football staff, and he said he frequently met with Wilson to discuss the additions.

“We really appreciate the work that Mr. Glass, the administration and our student leaders contributed to make Memorial Stadium the place to be on gameday,” Wilson said in a press release. “The commitment from our administration has been awesome and we can’t thank everyone enough. Hoosier Nation, we need you to come out in full force, be loud and let’s win together.”

Click here to read this article on the Indiana Daily Student website.

Sri Lanka native Jayawickrema at home, away from home

For IU senior women’s tennis player Jithmie Jayawickrema, home is Colombo, Sri Lanka, where she first discovered her love for tennis.

“It was pretty much my life,” Jayawickrema said. “I mean, I didn’t have anything else but tennis.”

Jayawickrema started playing when she was 8 years old, and she represented Sri Lanka in the Federation Cup, the world’s largest international women’s tennis team competition, by the time she was 17.

At the junior level for International Tennis Federation play, Jayawickrema compiled 73 total victories. She was a four-time national champion in Sri Lanka from 2005-08, and her ITF junior world ranking peaked at 309.

Jayawickrema attended Bishop’s College in Colombo, Sri Lanka, before committing to Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Tex., in January 2011.

“In high school, that was the thing to do, for you to go to the U.S. and get a scholarship to play tennis,” Jayawickrema said. “In my country, there were a lot of people who did that, but for me it was a big deal to come here.”

Last year, Jayawickrema was a first-team All-Southland Conference selection in doubles play after posting a 20-3 record and being ranked as high as No. 17 nationally.

Despite her successes at SFA, Jayawickrema decided she needed a change.

“I talked to the coaches here (at IU), and I really liked them, so I decided to take a visit to see how it was,” Jayawickrema said. “I really liked it.”

She also considered transferring to Purdue, Virginia, N.C. State and Central Florida but ultimately decided to attend IU, where she found her home away from home in Bloomington.

“I liked it here because the coaches made me feel like I’m more welcome, and I’m more comfortable here,” Jayawickrema said. “When I came to visit, they really made me feel like I’m at home.”

Senior Jithmie Jayawickrema transferred to Indiana University from Stephen F. Austin University. (Image courtesy of iuhoosiers.com)
Senior Jithmie Jayawickrema transferred to Indiana University from Stephen F. Austin University. (Image courtesy of iuhoosiers.com)

She said the coaches helped her transition smoothly to IU.

“Both of them are so helpful to me,” Jayawickrema said. “They’re just so nice. They’re some of the nicest coaches I know personally, so it helps you to get through your matches and in the whole season. They care about you.”

Jayawickrema said the team’s preseason goals were to win the Big Ten, get to the NCAA Championships and be ranked in the top 30.

As the season has progressed, the Sri Lanka native, who aspires to go to graduate school to study physical therapy, has had more opportunities to help the Hoosiers accomplish their lofty goals.

“She’s been our first one off the bench up until now,” IU Coach Lin Loring said. “I think she’s excited to be in the starting lineup, and she just needs matches right now. She’s only been in the lineup for three or four starting matches, so she’s still kind of getting her feet wet.”

Loring said Jayawickrema’s biggest match of the season was defeating the No. 13 player in the nation, Nebraska’s Maike Zeppernick, 6-4, 6-4 in the No. 6 singles match April 7.

“I’m hoping that that match will give her a lot of confidence for the rest of the conference season and the Big Ten Tournament and hopefully the NCAA Tournament,” Loring said.

In a competitive conference with four Big Ten teams ranked in the top 25, Jayawickrema might prove to be the spark the Hoosiers need to accomplish their preseason goals. Not only is her 15-1 record in her past 16 singles matches the best for any IU player, but Jayawickrema is 9-1 in the No. 6 singles spot. IU is 7-5 when any other player competes in the same position.

She said IU’s two wins against top 10 opponents, No. 2 Duke and No. 10 Michigan, brought the team together and that the team’s chemistry is peaking at the right time.

In addition to IU’s team unity, the Hoosiers’ home-court advantage will be one of their biggest assets in the postseason.

Jayawickrema said she thinks IU can do well when the team plays host for the Big Ten Tournament at the IU Tennis Center, where the Hoosiers are 10-2 this season.

It is only fitting that in her senior season the Big Ten Tournament is in Bloomington, on a campus she has grown to love as her second home.

“I think (I) just like the atmosphere itself. It’s not like it’s a big city at all,” Jayawickrema said. “I like it that way, and I love the campus.

“Just being around it, you feel like you’re at home. You don’t feel like you’re out of place.”

Click here to read this article on the Indiana Daily Student website. 

The rebuilding of Indiana’s women’s basketball program

This news feature was written for my JOUR-H 200 Reporting, Writing and Editing course. I would like to thank IU Coach Curt Miller for being honest about the IU women’s basketball program when I talked to him in January as well as Jeremy Gray and Robby Howard for their insight on the Hoosiers.

Indiana University is rich in basketball tradition and success. Five men’s national championship banners hang from the rafters in Assembly Hall.

However, the Lady Hoosiers have recently experienced some dark years with a 29-60 record over the past three seasons. Indiana hired Curt Miller, who won six Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year awards and advanced to the NCAA Tournament five times at Bowling Green State University, to replace former IU Coach Felisha Legette-Jack, who was fired after the Hoosiers went 6-24 last season.

IU Coach Miller won MAC Coach of the Year six times in his tenure at Bowling Green State University.
IU Coach Miller won MAC Coach of the Year six times in his tenure at Bowling Green State University.

IU Coach Miller said that the Hoosiers are building the program by improving team chemistry, being involved in community service work and competing in the classroom.

“The wins—it’s going to take a couple of years,” Miller said. “It’s not going to be as easy to see the building on the court but we’re doing a lot of things to build the program and not just a team. A lot of that is off the floor that people don’t see.”

While IU Coach Miller is focused on improving the team off the court, he said that the Hoosiers are excited about winning because he said wins are hard to come by for his Indiana squad that is limited offensively.

On Wednesday, Feb. 20th, the Indiana women’s basketball team showed signs of growth when it earned its most significant win in the Curt Miller era. IU defeated No. 22 Purdue 62-61 after senior guard Jasmine McGhee hit the game-winning shot as time expired. It was Indiana’s first win over a ranked opponent since Dec. 5, 2010 and it was a promising result for a program eager to rebuild.

A Fierce Rivalry 

Jeremy Gray, IU’s Assistant Athletic Director for Broadcast Services, said that the two Big Ten in-state rivals are on the opposite end of the spectrum in college basketball, which made the Hoosiers’ victory even more impressive.

“Purdue is a tournament team and Indiana is absolutely in a rebuilding effort,” Gray said.

He described Assembly Hall as having one of the two largest crowds for an IU women’s basketball game this season.

“There were a lot of students there for that game, they stayed throughout and they were a factor in the end,” Gray said.

Robby Howard, one of the two Indiana Daily Student women’s basketball beat writers, said that IU Athletics, the Crimson Club and the IU Varsity Club did a very good job marketing the game to students.

“They were really trying to attract students to the game and it obviously worked because it was the first time you had an actual student section at the game,” Howard said. “That obviously played a large role when you actually have audible fans and the team was really able to feed off that energy. You could see them making a lot of hustle plays and the crowd would come to its feet—that’s something that hasn’t happened all season long.”

Jeremy Gray said that the teams traded baskets the entire night, the play was at a high level and that the entire game was exciting. The excitement peaked when McGhee’s shot fell through the net as time expired, which prompted pandemonium on the court.

“As soon as the ball went through, literally as the time expired, her teammates charged her and hugged her,” Gray said. “Some of the men’s basketball players came on the floor and gave her big hugs.”

Indiana’s Assistant Athletic Director for Broadcast Services said that the win was huge for the Lady Hoosiers.

“It made SportsCenter’s top ten plays the following day, it got over 10,000 hits on YouTube and it was one of those games that when the program gets turned around in a couple of years, you can look back on this game as one that helped change everything for Indiana,” Gray said.

IU Coach Miller’s Rebuilding Effort

When asked how he was going to build IU’s women’s basketball program, IU Coach Curt Miller said, “Well a lot of areas, although they are not necessarily going to equate statistically. We believe that you build a championship team in the locker room first.”

He said that he knows statistical success will take a few years to develop but in the mean time, he is trying to change the culture of the program in his first season at IU.

Robby Howard said that Miller has told members of the media all season that Indiana is the worst team in the Big Ten. Despite having limited talent and few scholarship players on his roster, the Hoosiers’ first-year head coach teaches his players to give their best effort every day, whether in games or in practices.

“The big thing with Curt Miller and this program is that he wants his team to play hard and aggressive every single night,” Howard said. “It’s just tough to do when you only have seven scholarship players and eight players who are playing on the roster. It’s tough to play physical in that nature when you just don’t have a lot of bodies on the court.”

Howard cited the transfer of former Hoosier Quaneisha McCurty as an example of Miller making tangible changes on the culture of the program, especially with an emphasis on effort.

“It was simply due to the fact that she wasn’t playing hard in practice,” Howard said. “Miller’s whole philosophy is if you don’t play hard in practice, then you don’t play [in games].”

A Blueprint Right Across the Hall

Indiana’s women’s basketball team isn’t the only program that plays in Assembly Hall that has recently undergone a rebuilding process.

According to an Indiana Daily Student article from May 2008 that was written by Chris Engel, former IU Men’s Basketball Coach Kelvin Sampson’s impermissible phone calls caused the NCAA to put the program on probation.

ESPN’s Andy Katz wrote an article recapping the sanctions against Indiana in November 2008. Katz wrote that Indiana was placed on a three-year probation, the men’s program lost scholarships and that the coaching staff was severely limited in its access to high school players.

As a result of the penalties, IU’s men’s basketball team went 28-66 in IU Coach Tom Crean’s first three seasons. It took Crean three seasons to achieve his first win against a ranked opponent as well as to eclipse 10 wins in a single season.

While IU Coach Miller took over a Hoosier basketball program under different conditions, the Hoosiers’ win against Purdue allowed him to accomplish both of those achievements in his first season at the helm of Indiana’s women’s basketball team.

Robby Howard said that entering the season, a lot of comparisons were being made between IU Coach Crean’s revival of IU’s men’s basketball program and the rebuilding process that IU Coach Miller embarked on when he became the new women’s basketball coach at Indiana University.

Miller said before the season that the blueprint for the women’s program was right across the hall in the men’s program, which has been ranked No. 1 in the country for the majority of the season.

The most iconic element of IU Coach Crean’s rebuilding of IU basketball was the Hoosiers’ 72-71 victory over No. 1 Kentucky at Assembly Hall last season, which was completed by then-junior Christian Watford’s last-second three-pointer.

The Lady Hoosiers followed in a similar suit this season with a buzzer beater of their own, also against a major rival, when Jasmine McGhee’s 18-foot jump shot connected at the buzzer on Feb. 20th.

“Obviously the Indiana men’s team is a lot better than the women’s team but the analogy holds up in that it was a moment that got a lot of notoriety,” Jeremy Gray said as he discussed the comparison between the rebuilding processes of IU’s men’s and women’s basketball programs. “It showed that Indiana can compete in the Big Ten against high quality teams and player for player, Indiana was out-manned in that game. They found a way to get that done and I think that speaks to coaching.”

The Hoosier players have been the ones competing on the court but it has been the relentless preparation and determination of IU Coach Miller that has willed Indiana to two Big Ten victories in a season in which he told the media that “prognosticators said that Indiana wouldn’t even win a game [in the Big Ten] this year.”

Jeremy Gray and Robby Howard agree that IU Coach Miller needs to bring in great recruiting classes in order to elevate Indiana to the top of the Big Ten. Miller may have found his Cody Zeller—his All-American player around whom he can develop a championship program—in 2014 commit Tyra Buss, who Howard said was leading the country in scoring average per game earlier this season at roughly 38 points per contest.

“He knows what he has to do and now that he has a name like Indiana behind him, I think he’s just going to do phenomenal things,” Howard said.

IU Coach Miller is ready to turn the women’s program around because there is no job in the country that he would rather have.

At Hoosier Hysteria on Oct. 20th, 2012, in front of 17,472 excited Hoosier fans, IU Coach Miller said, “This is my dream job and I’m living my dream now.”

With his passion for Indiana University and his positive attitude about rebuilding the IU women’s basketball program, Curt Miller may just be the right coach to bring Indiana’s first women’s national championship banner to Assembly Hall.

Hoosiers fall short against 2 SEC opponents

Entering the weekend, IU Coach Lin Loring said the No. 54 Hoosiers might not be favored in a dual match for the rest of the season due to the strength of the competition.

After starting the spring season with an eight-match win streak, in which IU won all of the matches with a score of 6-1 or 7-0, the Hoosiers had their first losses of the season this past weekend on the road to SEC opponents, which Loring said is the toughest conference in the country.

On Friday, IU lost to No. 25 Tennessee, and the Hoosiers fell to Kentucky on Sunday. The Hoosiers were tied 3-3 heading into the final singles match against both the Volunteers and Wildcats, but were unable to pull off a victory on either occasion.

The Hoosiers’ match against Tennessee at the Goodfriend Tennis Center was the team’s first match against a ranked opponent this season.

IU started its match against Tennessee by winning the No. 2 doubles match. Sophomores Carolyn Chupa and Katie Klyczek defeated Tennessee’s Joanna Henderson and Caitlyn Williams, 8-5.

Tennessee responded by winning the No. 1 match, in which the No. 3 doubles pair in the country, Brynn Boren and Kata Szekely, topped IU’s No. 44 junior Sophie Garre and senior Leslie Hureau, 8-5.

After the teams split the first two doubles matches, sophomores Alecia Kauss and Shannon Murdy battled back from an early deficit to win the No. 3 doubles match 9-7 against Tennessee’s Sarah Toti and Mimi Fotopoulos, which gave IU a 1-0 lead.

Loring said it was good for the Hoosiers to be able to start the match by winning the doubles point. He said it showed improvement from past IU teams and it had been a few years since IU had won the doubles point against a top-25 team.

Tennessee tied the score when Hureau retired during the No. 1 singles match against No. 18 Boren, 6-0, 1-0. Hureau pulled her quadriceps muscle in the match and Loring said she retired because the team would need her against Kentucky.

Volunteer senior Szekely bested Klyczek 6-2, 6-1 at the No. 2 position.

IU gained its first singles win when Murdy defeated Toti 6-0, 6-3 in the No. 6 match. The Hoosiers took a 3-2 lead and came within one point of the victory when Chupa topped Fotopoulos 6-3, 6-4.

The Volunteers tied the match at three, however, when Williams knocked off Kauss 6-4, 7-6.

The No. 4 singles match was the only one not won in consecutive sets. Garre won the first set 6-4. Henderson bounced back and won the second set 6-1.

Garre took a 3-2 lead in the final set, but Henderson won the set 6-4, which gave Tennessee a 4-3 victory.

Even though the Hoosiers lost, Loring said the women competed very hard, especially since it was IU’s first road match against a top-25 team.

“We didn’t know quite what to expect because we hadn’t played a team at that level, especially on the road,” he said. “I thought we responded well and we were close enough to win. That’s why those losses are kind of painful because we were in the match.”

Loring said the Hoosiers had an easy practice Saturday in the Boone Tennis Complex at Kentucky to adjust to the courts and to be prepared for their match against the Wildcats.

For the first time this season, IU lost the doubles point. Kauss and Murdy won the No. 3 match against Kirsten Lewis and Jessica Stiles 8-3, but the Wildcats took the No. 1 and No. 2 matches.

Kentucky took a 3-0 lead when Nadia Ravita and Jessica Stiles won the No. 1 and No. 2 matches, respectively, in consecutive sets.

However, IU stormed back to tie the match by winning the No. 4, No. 3 and No. 5 singles matches. Garre defeated Lewis 2-6, 6-0, 6-2; Kauss topped Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff 3-6, 6-3, 6-2; and Chupa bested Caitlin McGraw 6-0, 6-1.

For the second time in three days, IU’s match came down to the final singles match. In the No. 6 match, Kentucky’s Stephanie Fox defeated Murdy 6-2, 6-1, which gave Kentucky a 4-3 advantage in the match.

Loring said that the team needs to learn from this weekend’s matches, get better and move on because every match the rest of the season will be just like those.

“This was a very disappointing weekend because we played good enough to win at least one of these tough road matches,” Loring said. “We just couldn’t get everyone to play good at the same time.

“We had some outstanding performances each day but not enough at the same time.”

Hoosiers prepare for weekend against the SEC

The No. 54 IU women’s tennis team is 8-0 after defeating Xavier and Ball State in Bloomington last weekend. The Hoosiers will play their first weekday match of the spring season when they travel to Knoxville, Tenn. to face No. 25 Tennessee at 4 p.m. Friday.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, IU will take on Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.

IU Coach Lin Loring said an ideal schedule is one divided evenly into three segments: matches in which IU is favored, matches that are a toss-up and matches in which IU’s opponent is favored.

The Hoosiers were favored in their first eight matches, but he said the team will face much tougher competition. Loring said IU is transitioning to the second and third phases of its schedule with the team’s matches this week.

With better opponents comes ranked competition. Tennessee has two ranked singles players and one ranked doubles pair. Junior Brynn Boren is No. 18 in singles and senior Kata Szekely is No. 34. In doubles, Szekely/Boren are the No. 3 combination in the country.

For IU, senior Leslie Hureau and junior Sophie Garre are ranked No. 44 in doubles.

The Lady Volunteers are 0-4 this season with losses to No. 17 Nebraska, No. 22 Georgia Tech, No. 16 Michigan and No. 18 Notre Dame.

All four losses were by a margin of 4-2 or 4-3 on the road. In the past decade, IU is 3-7 against Tennessee and the Hoosiers have lost 5-2 to the Volunteers in each of the past two seasons.

Loring said Tennessee is traditionally very good and the Volunteers are normally a top-20 team, which is why he said the Vols are probably favored in the dual match.

He said the Volunteers’ challenging schedule and IU’s experience on the road has prepared both teams for Friday’s dual match.

“I think they’re definitely ready for us because they’ve played tough competition,” IU Coach Loring said. “We’ve played on the road already twice so I think it’s going to come down to who plays best that day.”

Kentucky is 4-2 with wins against Morehead State, Belmont, Marshall and Ohio State.

The Wildcats suffered a 4-3 loss to No. 48 Penn State as well as a 6-1 defeat against Tulane. In the past decade, IU is 6-3 against Kentucky, including a current Hoosiers win streak of three dual matches.

IU Coach Loring said Sunday’s match will be a toss-up between the two teams.

“We beat them the past two years, but last night they beat Ohio State 4-3 and Ohio State is always a good Big Ten team,” he said. “They’re better this year than they have been, and that’s going to be a tough road match too.”

Loring said similarly to Big Ten teams, IU should be familiar with Tennessee and Kentucky’s players since the Hoosiers play them on an annual basis.

However, he said this weekend’s SEC road trip will be a new experience for the sophomore class, which is a disadvantage for IU.

“We’ve already played twice on the road and Tennessee has a really nice new facility so hopefully we won’t have any adjustment problems,” Loring said. “Kentucky will probably be a little faster but hopefully it won’t be as fast as Marshall.”

IU will practice on Saturday at the University of Kentucky to become acclimated to the new courts and the Hoosiers will have a the day to prepare for their second dual match in three days.

“Hopefully the experience we’ve had so far will get us ready for them,” IU Coach Loring said. “We know we have two really good SEC schools on the road this weekend.”

Preview: No. 1 Indiana v. Nebraska

There’s a new sheriff in town in the Big Ten, even if it’s only momentarily. For the first time of the 2012-13 college basketball season, No. 8 Michigan State (21-4, 10-2) has sole possession of first place after handing No. 4 Michigan a 75-52 loss in East Lansing, Mich. on Tuesday.

In order to keep pace with the Spartans, No. 1 Indiana (21-3, 9-2) will have to defeat Nebraska (12-12, 3-8) at Assembly Hall tonight in Bloomington, Ind. The Cornhuskers are in eleventh place in the Big Ten with two wins against Penn State and one against Northwestern. When at its best, Nebraska has played some of the Big Ten’s best close with a six point loss to Wisconsin, 10 point defeat at No. 22 Michigan State and a seven point loss against No. 11 Ohio State; however, the Cornhuskers have four conference losses by at least 15 points, which is why the Hoosiers enter as a 23.5 point favorite.

The Hoosiers have a bad taste in their mouths after losing 70-69 to Nebraska last season. No. 1 Indiana will hope to avoid another slip-up against the Cornhuskers tonight. (Image courtesy of http://abcnews.go.com/meta/search/imageDetail?format=plain&source=http%3A%2F%2Fabcnews.go.com%2Fimages%2FSports%2F32b8b9e1b1b94913a2f81ac16c578f77)
The Hoosiers have a bad taste in their mouths after losing 70-69 to Nebraska last season. No. 1 Indiana will hope to avoid another slip-up against the Cornhuskers tonight. (Image courtesy of http://abcnews.go.com)

This week is the closest thing to a respite that Indiana will have during its Big Ten schedule with home games against Nebraska on Wednesday night and Purdue on Saturday afternoon. Last week, the Hoosiers were unable to play a full 40 minutes in the front of an orange sea of Illinois fans at Assembly Hall West in Champaign, Ill. when they lost 74-72 on Tyler Griffey’s last second layup. Indiana redeemed itself and held on to its No. 1 ranking with a decisive 81-68 victory against No. 10 Ohio State. The win was Indiana’s first road win against a ranked opponent since November 26, 2002 against No. 21 Gonzaga, which was a major step for the Tom Crean era at Indiana University.

The top-ranked Hoosiers are electric on offense. They ranked second in the country in points per game with an average of 83.2 points per contest. Indiana shoots 50.2% from the field as a team, which is good for fourth in the nation. IU is a nightmare to defend because the Hoosiers have six players who have proven that they can score 15 to 20 points on any given night. Sophomore center Cody Zeller leads the team in scoring and rebounding with averages of 16.5 ppg and 8.3 rpg. However, the pre-season All-American and national player of the year candidate may not even be the best player on the Hoosiers roster. Junior guard Victor Oladipo, who is coming off of a 26 point and 8 rebound performance against Ohio State, does not take any days off. The Upper Marlboro, Md. product averages 14.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.5 apg and 2.3 spg. It is not uncommon for Oladipo to have at least 20 deflections in a single game.

For Nebraska, a trio of upperclassmen leads the way. Junior guard Ray Gallegos leads the time in scoring at 13.3 ppg. Gallegos’ partner in the backcourt, senior Dylan Talley, averages 13.1 points per game and he is the team’s second best rebounder at 5.4 rebounds per game. The third Cornhusker that averages double figures in points scored per game is senior forward Brandon Ubel. Ubel scores 11.9 ppg and grabs a team-best 6.9 rpg.

Nebraska’s biggest woes are on offense. The Cornhuskers average 59 points per game, which ranks 332nd out of 347 Division I men’s basketball programs. The team shoots 41.2% from the field, 68.4% from the free throw line and  just 30% from behind the arc. Only Gallegos and Talley have made more than six three-pointers this season but both players make less than one-third of their shots from long range.

Nebraska has held Big Ten opponents to 71 points or fewer in 10 of their 11 conference games but it’s tough to win games when a team struggles to score.

Key Matchup

Cody Zeller-So.-Center-7’0″-240 lbs. vs. Brandon Ubel-Sr.-Power Forward-6’10”-234 lbs.

Over the past four games, Cody Zeller has averaged 19 points, 9.5 rebounds and seven free throw attempts per game. He will be facing Nebraska’s Brandon Ubel, who is statistically Nebraska’s best offensive weapon because of his 47.8% shooting percentage. Ubel is very inconsistent and Zeller could be a dominant force if Ubel does not show up at Assembly Hall ready to play. He made six of his seven shots for 13 points against Minnesota two weeks ago but was limited to only one rebound and fouled out after 26 minutes of matching up against Trevor Mbakwe. Nebraska’s big man made just two of his 10 shots against Ohio State, 4-13 against Northwestern and 4-11 against Illinois. Brandon Ubel gives up only a two inches and a few pounds to Cody Zeller, which means that the control of the paint will be determined by whether or not Ubel shows up to play and how often Indiana feeds Zeller early in the game.

X-factor

Victor Oladipo-Jr.-Guard-6’5″-214 lbs.

Oladipo is one of the best defenders in the country and has the ability to defend almost every position. Nebraska struggles to break 60 points on a nightly basis and by having him guard Ray Gallegos and Dylan Talley, the Cornhuskers will have even more difficulty establishing their offense than normal. Victor Oladipo is coming off of his career best scoring game and he will have the opportunity to improve his season averages tonight against a struggling Nebraska squad.

Prediction

IU is at its best when the Hoosiers play at Assembly Hall and they will want to seek revenge for last season’s 70-69 loss in Lincoln, Neb. Indiana wins 84-59.

Location: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Coverage: Big Ten Network

Point spread: Indiana -23.5

Over/Under: 133.5

IU women’s tennis improves to 8-0 with a pair of wins on Sunday

The No. 51 Indiana women’s tennis team remained undefeated by picking up two more wins last weekend to improve to 8-0 in the spring season. On Sunday, the Hoosiers faced Xavier and Ball State.

“We just played really well and didn’t do anything to beat ourselves,” IU Coach Lin Loring said.

IU set the tone by picking up the doubles point against Xavier by sweeping the three matches.

In the No. 1 singles match, senior Leslie Hureau bested Katie Pleiman 6-3, 6-4. At the No. 3 position, sophomore Katie Klyczek topped Kally Alkire 6-0, 7-6. Junior Sophie Garre, sophomore Shannon Murdy and senior Jithmie Jayawickrema defeated their opponents in straight sets.

Indiana’s lone loss to Xavier was in the No. 2 singles match. Sophomore Alecia Kauss dropped the first set to the Atlantic 10 Women’s Tennis Rookie Performer of the Week, Alex Brinker. Kauss came out strong in the second set to take a 5-2 lead but Brinker fought back to win 7-6.

Even though Indiana won the match 6-1, Loring said that he was impressed by the Musketeers.

“There were some pretty good players at the top of Xavier’s lineup who hit the ball pretty hard,” he said. “It’s always a big match for them to play us so they gave it their best shot.”

Indiana’s winning ways continued against Ball State. IU Coach Loring made two lineup changes between the matches. Kauss and Klyczek switched between the No. 2 and No. 3 singles positions. In doubles, Jayawickrema replaced junior Gabrielle Rubenstein in the third doubles pairing.

The Hoosiers won all three doubles matches against the Cardinals. Hureau/Garre defeated Courtney Earnest/Courtney Wild 8-2. Kauss/Murdy bested Bethany Moore/Kristel Sanders 8-2 in No. 2. Klyczek/Jayawickrema topped Paola Rodriguez/Ayaka Terashi 8-1.

Indiana won all six singles matches in straight sets. In the No. 1 match, Hureau defeated Wild 6-1, 6-2 and Klyczek bested Earnest 6-2, 6-1 at the No. 2 position en route to a 7-0 Hoosiers victory.

Loring said that an ideal schedule is divided equally into three types of matches: ones in which the team is favored to win, ones in which the matches are a toss-up and ones in which the opposing team is favored. He said that Indiana is moving into the second and third stages of its schedule. Loring said that most of Indiana’s remaining matches will be toss-ups or ones in which the opposing team will be favored to win.

The Hoosiers will be back in action with two matches next week. Indiana travels to Knoxville, Tenn. to play No. 25 Tennessee on Friday at 4 p.m. On Sunday, IU will take on Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. at 11 a.m.

IU women’s tennis team plays host to duals on Sunday

The No. 51 IU women’s tennis team surrendered its first point of the season to Marshall last weekend but still managed to win the dual match to continue its undefeated streak through the first six matches of 2013.

The Hoosiers had this week off and will face Xavier and Ball State this Sunday. IU faces Xavier at 11 a.m. and Ball State at 4 p.m. at the IU Tennis Center.

Indiana’s doubles pairing of senior Leslie Hureau and junior Sophie Garre are ranked No. 31 in the nation. Neither Xavier nor Ball State has any ranked singles or doubles players.

The Musketeers are 4-1 this season. IU and Xavier’s one common opponent this season is the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks. Indiana won by a margin of 7-0 and Xavier won 4-3. IU Coach Lin Loring said that Xavier’s victory against Miami is normally a good win for the Musketeers and he said that he expects Xavier to be tougher than they were last year.

Indiana has played Xavier three times in the past five years and the Hoosiers won 7-0 in each match.

Ball State this season is 5-1. The Cardinals’ loss was to Michigan State, who Indiana will play on March 30 in East Lansing, Mich. IU plays Ball State on an annual basis and the Hoosiers have won every dual match against the Cardinals in the past decade, allowing no more than two points in a match.

Loring said that Ball State’s women’s tennis program is on its way up, however, with Coach Christine Bader in her third season with the Cardinals.

“She played at Michigan State so I think that team is going to get a little stronger every year,” Loring said.

Loring said that he thinks Ball State is the weaker of Indiana’s two opponents this weekend, which is why the Hoosiers are playing them in their second dual match Sunday.

Even though the Hoosiers suffered their first singles and doubles losses against Marshall, Loring said that the team isn’t changing its approach to its practices.

“We’re going to keep working on the stuff we’ve been working on because we probably should have lost a few points up until now,” he said.

Loring said that Indiana’s greatest quality this season is its consistency, which could be a major reason why the Hoosiers are a 41-1 during their first six dual matches of the spring season. He said that the team’s goal is to bring its A-game every match.

“We really haven’t had any matches where the team as a whole struggled and I’m not just talking about winning or losing. Our level of play has been pretty high,” Loring said. “We really want to continue a consistent level of play and if it’s good enough to win, we win, but if not, we’ll lose but at least we brought our A-game.”

Press conference previewing No. 3 Indiana at Purdue

No. 3 Indiana (18-2, 4-1) will travel to Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. to face the Purdue Boilermakers (11-9, 4-3) on Wednesday, January 30 at 8:30 pm ET.

On Tuesday afternoon, IU Associate Head Coach Steve McClain, junior forward Will Sheehey and graduate student guard Jordan Hulls met with members of the media in Assembly Hall’s media room to preview the in-state rivalry.

The two schools have a long history and tradition of being competitive in basketball. Indiana and Purdue first met in 1901. The Boilermakers lead the all-time series 112-87. They have combined for 61 NCAA Tournament appearances, 88 All-Americans and 9 Big Ten Players of the Year.

“There aren’t many rivalries in the country that compare to Indiana-Purdue,” IU Associate Head Coach McClain said. “Maybe Kansas-Kansas State, I don’t know how many of them you can find where it’s truly the biggest game.”

Jordan Hulls, a native of Bloomington, Ind. and a Bloomington South High School graduate, said that everyone is going to be excited to play in the game because of the rivalry between the two Big Ten teams.

“Being from Indiana, once you put on the Indiana jersey that’s all that matters,” he said. “You’re a Hoosier for life when that happens.”

Will Sheehey, who hails from Stuart, Fla., said that he recognizes the significance of the Indiana-Purdue rivalry and he said that the matchup hasn’t changed over the course of his three years in Bloomington, Ind.

“We all know that it’s our biggest rivalry, it’s not a secret,” Sheehey said. “The game is going to be tough and hard fought. It has not changed for me since I’ve gotten here, it’s the same level of intensity every year and every game.”

He said that Purdue likes to be physical similarly to every other Big Ten team so he said that Indiana is viewing the game in West Lafayette, Ind. simply as the next game on its schedule.

Although, the matchup against Purdue will be different from every other game that the Hoosiers play this season because of the familiarity between the two teams.

Indiana freshman point guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell and Purdue freshman point guard Ronnie Johnson competed against one another throughout high school. Ferrell played for Park Tudor and Johnson played for North Central. The opposing starting point guards also faced off in AAU basketball.

Hulls and Purdue forward D.J. Byrd first played basketball together for the Indiana Elite when they were in seventh grade.

“We’re pretty good buddies, we played AAU together for a long time and we talk pretty often,” Hulls said. “It’s fun playing against guys that you know and guys that you’re good friends with. We’re competitors so we’re going to compete and try to beat each other. It’s a pretty cool dynamic out there.”

IU Associate Head Coach McClain said that the childhood rivalries will bring some extra emotion for the players but once the game starts, he said that he’s not sure whether or not relationships formed in high school with opposing players will be much of a factor once the game starts. He said that all of the players from both teams have improved from high school.

“Just like Yogi [Ferrell] has gotten better, Ronnie [Johnson] has gotten better,” McClain said. “Yogi’s got to understand what he’s [Ronnie] gotten better at as I’m sure the Purdue coaches will make sure Ronnie knows what Yogi has gotten better at since his senior year in high school.”

Hulls said that his AAU teammate Byrd has developed as a basketball player since high school.

“He’s being very aggressive,” Hulls said. “He’s always been able to shoot the ball, come off screens and quick release but I think he’s playing with a lot of confidence. He’s always played hard, he’s going to make the hustle plays.”

The graduate student and starting guard said that the Hoosiers have to stick together in the crazy environment at Purdue. He said that the upperclassmen need to let the freshmen know that it is going to be a physical game and that they need to come ready to play.

“It’s a rivalry game so you can throw everything out the window,” Hulls said. “You got to bring it no matter who you’re bringing. You have to bring your best game and your defense because it’s going to be pretty hostile up there.”