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The Missouri Tigers traveled to Bloomington for the lone Big Ten-SEC regular season matchup of the 2013 regular season Saturday night and left Memorial Stadium with a 45-28 victory.
The Hoosiers’ defense forced three turnovers and four punts but allowed 623 yards, which is the most yards IU has allowed at Memorial Stadium.
Senior safety Greg Heban said the defense didn’t play as well as it needed to against Missouri’s well-balanced offense.
“I just think we could’ve been a little more aggressive,” he said. “Besides that, I just think the execution we had — they kind of nickeled and dimed us.”
Missouri quarterback James Franklin led the Tigers’ offense, completing 32-of-47 pass attempts for 343 yards and two touchdowns. Six different Missouri receivers recorded a reception against IU. Marcus Lucas and Dorial Green-Beckham both logged more than 100 receiving yards.
Heban had two interceptions in the first quarter, and freshman linebacker Marcus Oliver forced a fumble early in the second quarter.
“We got the turnovers, but the turnovers were really maybe just stops because it really happened in their end of the field,” IU Coach Kevin Wilson said.
After the Hoosiers tied the game with touchdowns on consecutive drives in the second quarter, Missouri defensive lineman Kony Ealy broke the game open with an interception return for a touchdown.
“The guy made a heck of a play, and unfortunate for us and fortunate for them,” sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld said. “I wish I had that one back.”
It was the first of three interceptions that Sudfeld threw on the night. Sophomore quarterback Tre Roberson also saw action under center Saturday night because Wilson said the Hoosiers needed a spark.
“We will keep working both those guys in our game plan. There’s not a quarterback
controversy,” he said. “We will just keep playing them and see how it goes. We put Tre in because we felt that we needed a little change of pace.”
IU’s quarterbacks were a combined 29-of-53 on their pass attempts for 377 yards.
The Hoosiers only ran the ball 26 times for 98 yards.
Wilson said the key to the game was Missouri’s balance on offense and employment of a rushing attack that the Hoosiers lacked.
“I think our opponent played with some balance on offense, and we didn’t,” he said. “That’s a credit to their defense and not a credit to ours. Their offense was well-executed, and we didn’t.”
Missouri ran the ball by committee for 280 yards. Four Missouri players had double-digit carries, but sophomore tailback Russell Hansbrough was the Tigers’ only 100-yard back.
Wilson said he appreciated the way that the Hoosiers fought, but IU has to learn to play more efficiently in big games.
“We can’t fall behind, give up points and be a one-dimensional team,” he said.
Wilson said it is disappointing for the Hoosiers to be 2-2 after a “pretty good non-conference schedule.”
“We have an open week,” he said, “which will give us a chance to get some guys healthy, and we will see if we can do some self-evaluation on what we need to do to put our players in better positions and play at a higher level.”
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Several IU football players met with the media after the Hoosiers’ 45-28 loss to Missouri.
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Indiana is the only school in the Big Ten to face a team from the Southeastern Conference in football this season.
The Missouri Tigers (2-0) will travel to Bloomington to play the Hoosiers at 8 p.m. Saturday. The matchup will be the first meeting of a two-year home-and-home series.
Missouri was 5-7 (2-6) in its inaugural season in the SEC in 2012 — five of the team’s losses were against teams ranked in the top 10 in the country at the time of the matchup.
Missouri is undefeated this season with wins against Murray State and Toledo. The Tigers’ last game was Sept. 7, giving them two weeks to prepare for IU.
Saturday’s matchup has the potential to be a high-scoring affair. Both the Hoosiers and the Tigers are in the top 10 in the FBS in points per game.
Missouri is led on offense by senior quarterback James Franklin. IU Coach Kevin Wilson said Franklin is a dual-threat quarterback and the player who makes the Tigers’ offense go.
“Most of the time you say dual threat, you’re saying a guy that can run,” Wilson said. “He’s a guy who would rather pass than run.”
Wilson said Missouri’s offense is very balanced. The Tigers are averaging 274 passing and 265 rushing yards per game this season.
Franklin has completed nearly 67 percent of his pass attempts this season for 530 yards and four touchdowns.
“(The) ball’s going to get in space,” Wilson said. “They’re fast at back, several backs playing, including their quarterback who is a run around guy.”
Franklin is one of four Missouri players with at least 100 rushing yards this season. The Tigers are averaging nearly six yards per carry and Missouri has eight rushing touchdowns on the season.
Even though IU hasn’t faced Missouri since 1992, Wilson is familiar with Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel and the Tigers’ coaching staff. Wilson coached in the Mid-American Conference at Miami (Ohio) from 1990-1998 when Pinkel was the head coach at Toledo.
“Shoot, there are coaches on that staff that when I was an assistant in Miami we were recruiting against them, and they were at Toledo,” he said. “Same guys, they’ve been together forever. The players know what they want to practice and coach.”
In 2001, Pinkel became Missouri’s head coach, and Wilson joined the University of Oklahoma in the following year, where they once again competed, only this time in the Big 12 Conference.
Wilson said Pinkel’s coaching staff has changed some, but the core is the same.
“It starts with Coach Pinkel, who is a class act, great coach, proven winner, very, very consistent in what he’s done,” he said. “I know their program is bouncing back from what was a disappointing year by their standards and what he’s created.”
Wilson said the Tigers are well-coached and play well in all three phases of the game.
“They’re not going to lose the game,” he said. “You have to beat a team like Missouri.”
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Last week was a bloodbath for the AP Top 25. No. 1 Duke lost at Miami (FL) by 27. Louisville lost three consecutive games in the Big East to No. 6 Syracuse, Villanova and Georgetown. Minnesota lost four straight games in the Big Ten. With all of the losses by ranked teams, the No. 1 position is up for grabs and three teams have cases to claim the top spot in this week’s updated polls.
Kansas’ case to be ranked No. 1
The Jayhawks are 18-1 and their only loss was by three points to then-No. 21 Michigan State in the second game of the season. Since its only blemish on its 18-1 record, Kansas beat No. 7 Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio and topped No. 11 Kansas State on the road. Bill Self’s squad is off to a 6-0 start in the Big 12 and the team has won 33 consecutive games at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas is nearly unbeatable at home and its two victories against ranked opponents were on the road, which proves that the Jayhawks can win anywhere they play. They also beat Ohio State, who gave Michigan its only loss of the season, by eight points.
Michigan’s case to be ranked No. 1
Similarly to Kansas, Michigan only has one loss this season and it was also by three points when the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Wolverines on Jan. 13. Michigan has two wins against ranked opponents. The Wolverines defeated then-No. 18 North Carolina State at home and then-No. 9 Minnesota on the road. The co-leaders of the Big Ten are 19-1 (6-1) and have 15 double-digit wins this season. Michigan’s resume also includes wins over Pittsburgh, Kansas State and Illinois, who are all teams that have been ranked at some point during the season but weren’t when they lost to the Wolverines.
Florida’s case to be ranked No. 1
The Florida Gators are 16-2 (6-0) and tied with Ole Miss for the SEC lead. Their only two losses are a 65-64 loss at Arizona, a competitive game in which Wildcats guard Mark Lyons hit the game-winning jumper with seven seconds left, and a six-point loss to Kansas State. The Gators have rattled off eight straight wins and have dominated their SEC opponents in conference play. The most points that Florida has allowed in an SEC game is 52 and four of the Gators’ opponents have scored in the forties. Florida’s average margin of victory in conference play is over 26 points and earlier this month they defeated then-No. 17 Missouri 83-52. Granted, the SEC lacks proven teams and depth outside of Florida, Ole Miss and Missouri but the Gators are the team to beat down South.
Kansas has the strongest case because they beat the Ohio State Buckeyes, who later handed Michigan its only loss, on the road by eight. Of the three teams, Florida’s case is the weakest because the Gators have two losses and play in arguably the weakest of the power 6 conferences.
Indiana University sophomore Alecia Kauss was named the Big Ten women’s tennis Athlete of the Week on Tuesday. Kauss, a native of Overland Park, Kan. and graduate of Blue Valley West High School, earned the honor after winning all seven of her matches in the adidas IU Winter Invitational, which was held at the IU Tennis Center over the weekend. It is her first time being recognized as Big Ten women’s tennis Athlete of the Week.
She was 2-0 in singles play in the second flight with wins against Bowling Green’s Nikki Chiricosta 6-4, 6-2 and Missouri’s Rachel Stuhlman 7-5, 6-3.
The sophomore had five doubles victories with three different teammates over the weekend. Kauss and sophomore Shannon Murdy defeated Bowling Green’s Maddy Eccleston/Katie Grubb 9-8 (5). Along with fellow sophomore Katie Kylczek, she topped Missouri’s Cierra Gaytan-Leach/Elisha Gabb 9-7 and Rocio Diaz/Erin Gebes of Marquette 8-6. With junior Sophie Garre as her doubles partner, Kauss won matches against Marquette’s Aleeza Kanner/Gebes 8-2 and Gaytan-Leach/Gabb of Missouri 9-8 (6).
Kauss is coming off of a freshman year in which she went 21-15 in singles play and 21-9 in doubles matches. In her 2012-13 campaign, she is 6-4 in singles, with two losses to nationally ranked opponents, and 11-3 in doubles matches.
The Hoosiers will be back in action this Saturday when they travel to Cincinnati, Ohio to face Miami (OH) and Cincinnati in the first dual matches of the spring season.
The adidas IU Winter Invitational was the IU women’s tennis team’s first competition in two months and the team’s final chance to fine-tune its game before heading into dual matches.
The No. 49 Hoosiers hosted No. 52 Missouri, Marquette and Bowling Green over the weekend in a tournament that was organized into seven singles flights and one doubles flight.
“It was really important to get a lot of matches in because the last time we played was the first week of November, so it was important to play before we start dual matches,” IU Coach Lin Loring said.
On Friday, Indiana was 7-1 in singles matches and picked up two wins in doubles matches.
Senior Leslie Hureau defeated Bowling Green’s No. 87 Emily Reuland 6-4, 6-2 in the top flight. Sophomore Alecia Kauss, junior Sophie Garre, sophomore Katie Klyczek and junior Gabrielle Rubenstein also won their matches in straight sets.
Sophomore Carolyn Chupa and senior Jithmie Jayawickrema won their matches in tie-breakers against Bowling Green’s Katie Brozovich and Marquette’s Vanessa Foltiner, respectively.
In doubles play, Jayawickrema and Rubenstein teamed up to beat Bowling Green’s Reuland/Nikki Chiricosta 8-4. Kauss and sophomore Shannon Murdy battled with the Bowling Green pairing of Maddy Eccleston/Katie Grubb before winning a tie-breaker 9-8 (5).
The team continued its success on Saturday by going 6-1 in singles. In doubles, the Hoosiers were 6-2, and three different Indiana pairings won two matches.
Hureau and Garre defeated Marquette’s Aleeza Kanner/Ana Pimienta and Bowling Green’s Reuland/Eccleston by 8-3 margins. Chupa and Rubenstein topped Missouri’s Rachel Stuhlman/Maria Christensen 8-6 and Cierra Gaytan-Leach/Elisha Gabb, the No. 26 doubles team in the country, 8-3. Kauss and Kylczek bested Gaytan-Leach/Gabb 9-7 and Marquette’s Rocio Diaz/Erin Gebes 8-6.
Indiana finished the tournament with a perfect doubles record of 6-0 on Sunday. The Kauss/Garre, Chupa/Klyczek and Rubenstein/Jayawickrema duos each won two matches.
Kauss and Garre capped off Indiana’s undefeated day with a win against Gaytan-Leach and Gabb. The pair of Hoosiers took a 6-3 lead before their opponents stormed back to tie the match. With their teammates cheering them on from an adjacent court, Kauss and Garre won the tie-breaker 9-8 (6).
Not only did the Hoosiers win most of their doubles matches but they did so with many different doubles pairings. In fact, Loring used eight different doubles combinations during the weekend.
“What was good for us is we had a couple kids out at different times with injuries, and we won a lot of the doubles,” Loring said. “I was pleased that everyone was able to adjust and play with new partners and still play some good doubles.”
Overall, Indiana was 13-2 in its singles matches and 14-3 in doubles play.
While IU had success in the weekend’s tournament, Loring said the women’s tennis team still has room for improvement as it heads into dual matches.
“We have to lob better in doubles, we have to serve better in doubles, and those are the two big things that we need to do better in doubles,” Loring said. “I think our singles is coming along pretty well.”
The Hoosiers will face Miami (Ohio) and Cincinnati Jan. 19, when the team travels to Cincinnati for its first dual matches of the season.
After a two-month respite from competition, the IU women’s tennis team will be back in action this weekend during the adidas IU Winter Invitational at the IU Tennis Center.
Due to NCAA regulations limiting the amount of time coaches can spend with their players, the women carried on their training, both collectively and individually, during winter break without the coaching staff.
“The coaches couldn’t be with us, but we played on our own, and we played here [at the IU Tennis Center] before we went back home, where we practiced by ourselves,” senior Leslie Hureau said. “This week is going to be important to get back and play with the girls.”
The tournament is the final tune-up, as the Hoosiers head into the spring season and dual matches that come with it.
“In the fall, we only had three tournaments, and they weren’t dual matches,” Hureau said. “The spring is much more intense with the Big Ten matches and big matches against teams such as Tennessee. The big season is in the spring.”
No. 49-ranked IU will face Bowling Green, Marquette and No. 52 Missouri in the three-day tournament.
There will be two nationally ranked singles players in the field. Missouri has No. 71 Cierra Gaytan-Leach, and Bowling Green junior Emily Reuland is No. 87 in the country.
IU’s pair of players from France, Hureau and junior Sophie Garre, is ranked No. 31 in doubles. Missouri’s Cierra Gaytan-Leach and Elisha Gabb make up the No. 26 doubles pairing in Division I women’s tennis.
Doubles matches will be the focus for the Hoosiers in the invitational.
Hureau said that IU has room for improvement in that area.
“It’s something that we haven’t been really good at in the past couple seasons,” she said. “I think that, this year, it’s going to be really important to be better in doubles. This tournament is going to be a good way to play a lot of doubles.”
IU Coach Lin Loring said he shares Hureau’s goal for IU to be a good team in terms of doubles.
“I want us to play good doubles,” he said. “This weekend we’re set for two singles and five doubles, so there’s a big emphasis on doubles. The goal is to see a continuation of the good, smart tennis that we were playing at the end of the semester.”
Loring said he trusts the hours his players have spent practicing during the past several months instead of implementing major changes in the team’s training with spring season quickly approaching.
“We don’t do a lot of individual changes at this point in the season,” he said. “You have to go with what you have, and we just work more on strategy. This semester we worked a little more on strategy and less on mechanics.”
While the Hoosiers want to play well this weekend, Loring looks at the adidas IU Winter Invitational in the context of the entire season.
He said it is important for the team to mentally prepare for their dual matches that are in the following weekends.
Hopefully, they will finish in the Big Ten Tournament and play in the NCAA
Championships, Loring said.
Conference play is officially underway in most conferences, which means that it’s time to evaluate whether it’s time to buy, sell or hold stock in some of the country’s top college basketball teams.
The Bulldogs’ two losses came in the team’s first five games and since their loss to Illinois, who is currently ranked eleventh, Brad Stevens’ squad has rattled off nine straight victories, including a win over No. 1 Indiana. Butler is playing their trademark tough defense and the Bulldogs have wins over Marquette, North Carolina and Northwestern in addition to knocking off the Hoosiers. Butler is the favorite to win the A-10 and its stock can continue to rise with a good conference record.
The Rams suffered three early losses to Wichita State, who is likely the second best team in the Missouri Valley, Duke and Missouri. However, VCU rebounded and is 12-3 with favorable chances to win a wide open Atlantic 10.
The Golden Gophers started the season unranked but have won their way to the ninth spot in the rankings. Their lone loss was to Duke, which is certainly nothing to be ashamed of considering the Blue Devils’ success this season. Minnesota is on a nine game win streak and has won six consecutive games by double digits, with the latest being a 76-63 home win against No. 18 Michigan State.
In Bruce Weber’s first year as head coach of the Wildcats, Kansas State is off to an impressive 12-2 record. K-State lost to Michigan and Gonzaga early in the season but have put those behind them with wins over Florida and Oklahoma State. The Wildcats will be in the mix of teams competing for second place in the Big 12 behind Kansas.
UK was way overrated at No. 3 in the preseason but the Wildcats have had time to work out some of their kinks in their non-conference schedule. Ryan Harrow gives them a good option at point guard that they were missing early in the season. They lost to Duke and Louisville, two of the top four teams in the country, and Notre Dame in their first true road test. Many of the growing pains are out of the way and a top three finish in the SEC isn’t out of the question as the will compete with Florida and Missouri for the conference title.
The Buckeyes have faced three ranked teams-Duke, Kansas and Illinois-and lost all three games. With six ranked teams in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes will have to win big games, especially on the road, and they haven’t proven that they’re up to the challenge just yet.
The Panthers cracked the AP Top 25 with an appearance at No. 24 but it will be short-lived after losing to Cincinnati and Rutgers in their first two Big East games, which makes then tied for last place in the conference. Pittsburgh had two freshmen in the starting lineup, which could make for a slow start to conference play.
Mick Cronin’s Bearcats reached as high as eighth in the rankings but Cincinnati lost to New Mexico and St. John’s in the team’s last three games. UC has a challenging next matchup when it hosts No. 21 Notre Dame on Monday.
The Badgers entered the season in the AP Top 25 but fell quickly out of the polls after losses to Florida, Creighton, Virginia and Marquette. Wisconsin plays Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State in consecutive games in January, which bodes for a difficult month and a bad start to Big Ten play.
The Blue Devils have passed every test that has been thrown at them this season but they can only move down in the rankings from the No. 1 spot. Duke will be expected to win the ACC but North Carolina State, North Carolina or Maryland all have the talent to upset the Blue Devils in conference play.
Sean Miller’s Wildcats are the best team out West but San Diego State, Colorado and Utah’s close losses have shown that Arizona is vulnerable and it could suffer its first loss to a PAC-12 opponent this month.
The Fighting Illini are a very difficult team to examine. They won by double digits against Butler and on the road against Gonzaga. Then Illinois lost to Missouri and Purdue in a three-game stretch, followed by a dominating win over Ohio State. Illinois is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten but their up and down play gives the impression that they will have their share of impressive wins and tough losses this season.
The Cowboys blew out North Carolina State early in the season but have lost consecutive games to No. 10 Gonzaga and No. 25 Kansas State, which means that Oklahoma State still has room for improvement in the remainder of the season.
The country’s No. 2 team is off to a 15-0 start but it is only a matter of time until the Wolverines lose their first game. The Big Ten schedule for every team is a mine field–one bad step or slip up and Michigan can receive the first blemish on its 2012-13 campaign. However, the Wolverines are one of the best teams in the country and will give Indiana a run for its money to win the Big Ten.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sports.Eat.Sleep.Repeat.!
Last week, the Big East’s seven Catholic, non-FBS schools voted to leave due to the uncertainty of the conference’s future. DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova are set to officially leave the Big East on June 30, 2015 according to Big East spokesman John Paquette and ESPN.com.
Ideally, the “Catholic Seven” will campaign to other schools to join them in the creation of a ten-team conference. The schools have two options for the expansion of their future conference–either recruit only Catholic, non-FBS universities or take in the best available schools regardless of their religious affiliations.
If the Catholic Seven want to go the Catholic route, they could acquire Xavier, Dayton and Saint Louis to form a ten team conference. While all three programs would currently be classified as “mid-majors,” they bring recent success that would help the depth of the future conference. The Musketeers have gone to the NCAA Tournament every year since 2006 and have made the Sweet Sixteen five times in the past decade. While Dayton hasn’t made the tourney since 2009, the Flyers’ record has been respectable. UD has a 117-59 record since the ’07-’08 season and the school won the NIT in 2010. Saint Louis is often up and down in the A-10 standings but the Billikens are fresh off of 25-7 season in which they lost in the third round to No. 1 seed Michigan State.
On the other hand, if the seven schools want to compile the best field of teams, then they could look to take Butler and Virginia Commonwealth from the Atlantic 10, in addition to a third school of their choice. Under Coach Brad Stevens, the Butler Bulldogs have a 147-42 record, two National Runner-Up titles, four NCAA Tournament appearances and four conference titles. With an 8-2 start, including wins over No. 9 UNC and No. 1 Indiana, the Bulldogs are back in the spotlight as one of the country’s most relentless teams. Assuming that Butler would be willing to leave the A-10 only a few years after joining the conference, the Bulldogs would be a great addition to the Catholic Seven. Similarly to Butler, Virginia Commonwealth has a young coach who has led the Rams to unimaginable success in the NCAA Tournament. In Shaka Smart’s first season at VCU, the team won the 2010 College Basketball Invitational. In the next two seasons, the Rams made the Final Four and the third round of the tourney. This season, VCU is 8-3 with close losses to No. 5 Duke and No. 13 Missouri. Acquiring Butler, VCU and Xavier would make the Catholic Seven a stronger basketball conference than the future Big East, Pac-12 and A-10.
There are a lot of moving parts in this conference re-alignment but the Catholic Seven have a number of schools to choose from and there are no bad choices among them.