Tag Archives: Wisconsin Badgers

Vonleh shows NBA potential, improvement

Following IU’s 61-56 victory against Northwestern on Saturday in Evanston, Ill., Northwestern Coach Chris Collins brought up a topic that has been in the back of Hoosier fans’ minds all season — freshman forward Noah Vonleh’s stock for the 2014 NBA Draft.

“I’m looking out on the floor and they got a guy who’s going to be a top 10 pick in this year’s draft,” Collins said of Vonleh, calling him a “monster.”

Vonleh has been on the NBA’s radar ever since he started the season with four consecutive double-doubles.

With a 6-foot-10, 240-pound frame and 7-foot-4 wingspan, Vonleh has been an elite rebounder since arriving on campus last summer.

He grabs 27.5 percent of available defensive rebounds — the 10th-best mark in the country — when he is on the court, according to
kenpom.com.

The freshman leads the Big Ten in rebounds per game with 9.3, well ahead of Michigan State’s Adreian Payne, who sits in second place with 7.7 per game.

Apart from his work on the glass, Vonleh has elevated his offensive game in Big Ten play.

IU Coach Tom Crean said Vonleh showed outstanding aggression in IU’s 69-58 loss Tuesday at Wisconsin.

“He’s getting better constantly,” Crean said.

The freshman’s most notable improvements are in his 3-point shot and driving ability.

“He’s getting more comfortable away from the basket with the ball not just with shooting the ball,” Crean said.

Vonleh merged his low-post scoring with his jump shot by becoming better at dribbling. During Tuesday’s loss against Wisconsin, Vonleh orchestrated the Hoosiers’ offense on several possessions at the top of the key.

In one offensive set, he was alone at the 3-point line. Senior forward Will Sheehey, junior forward Austin Etherington and graduate student guard Evan Gordon were on the left wing, drawing their defenders away from the lane. Sophomore point guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell was in the opposite corner.

Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky was defending Vonleh and forced the freshman to dribble right by angling his body in that direction.

Vonleh dribbled with his right hand, planted his right foot at the right elbow and utilized a spin move to get to the rim for an easy layup.

“The game he had tonight was the driving game,” Crean said after the loss. “He’s getting better with not wasting dribbles. Cody (Zeller) went through the same thing.”

IU’s sixth-year head coach said the Hoosiers emphasize constant improvement, even in walkthroughs on gameday.

“We’re working on our driving game, splitting traps, working on getting to the rim, all the different things that go into making you a better ball-handler,” Crean said.

Vonleh said the team has been focusing on its ball handling every day in practice with various cone drills.

“We’ve been working on … keeping the dribble low, pushing it out, (and) just getting to the rim,” he said.

Crean said the next step for Vonleh is to master driving in a straight line to the basket. The Haverhill, Mass. native is bigger than most college players, which makes him difficult to defend.

“He just needs to push the ball out in front, drop his shoulder and go,” Crean said. “When you’re driving to the rim, it’s not about one-on-one play —  there’s not enough time.”

Vonleh’s improved dribbling and driving ability led to him taking double digit shot attempts in consecutive Big Ten games for the first time this season.

His new opportunities on offense have led to greater production from the freshman forward. In the past two games, he scored 30 points on 13-for-26 shooting.

Crean said once IU’s players are able to comfortably add dribbling moves to their repertoires, the Hoosiers try to implement them in games to use to their advantage.

“And that’s exactly what’s happened with Noah,” he said.

Hoosiers going to Wisconsin

The Hoosiers travel to Madison, Wisc., Tuesday with hopes of winning consecutive games for the first time since IU’s victory against the Badgers on Jan. 14.

Tuesday marks the first of three games against ranked opponents in a six-day stretch for the IU’s men’s basketball team. After playing No. 14 Wisconsin, IU (15-11, 5-8) will return home to play host to No. 20 Iowa Thursday and No. 22 Ohio State Sunday.

With a weeklong gauntlet looming on IU’s schedule, IU Coach Tom Crean said Monday on the Big Ten Coaches Weekly Teleconference that IU is focusing entirely on Wisconsin.

“They are obviously hot for a reason,” Crean said. “They are playing both ends of the court with great confidence and we have our work cut out for us. There is no doubt about it.”

Wisconsin has been a streaky team all season. Similarly to January’s matchup in Assembly Hall between IU and Wisconsin, the Badgers enter Tuesday’s game on a winning streak.

They started the season on a 16-game winning streak before IU ended their undefeated run. It was one of the Badgers’ five losses in a six-game span. Wisconsin has since righted its ship, winning five consecutive games and defeating three top-15 opponents in the process.

Crean said Wisconsin is playing with extreme confidence.

“They are shooting the ball at an amazing rate right now, with the way they are shooting it from three, the way they are getting to the foul line,” he said.

During their current win streak, the Badgers are shooting 39.2 percent from behind the arc and are averaging eight 3-pointers per game.

IU sophomore point guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell said Wisconsin is always a threat to score, no matter who is on the court.

“They have shot the ball extremely well, especially from the outside so we have to take away their open jump shots,” he said.

Forwards Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker carry the offensive load for Wisconsin and create matchup problems because of their size and ability to score from anywhere on the floor. The duo averages 26.8 points and 12.6 rebounds per game.

Kaminsky stands at 7 feet tall and shoots 41 percent from behind the arc. Dekker is 6 feet 8 inches tall and is a 36.8 percent 3-point shooter in his college career.

Crean said Kaminsky is able to score off the dribble, at the rim and from behind the arc.

“He’s literally taking the ball from the 3-point line and getting all the way to the basket,” Crean said. “The shooting is there, the post-up is there, without question, but the driving game is something that obviously they are spending a lot of time on. They have always been a very, very good isolation, one-on-one, get-the-matchup-
that-they-want team, whether it’s in the post or on the perimeter.”

While the Hoosiers held Kaminsky in check in January — limiting him to 11 points and no 3-point attempts — en route to a victory and a court-storming at Assembly Hall, Crean said IU is living in the present.

He said he is pacing his team during the entire season, and it wouldn’t serve a purpose to reflect on the past.

“You’re trying to get them to the point where they are playing good basketball deeper into the season, where they’ll continue to improve, and I think you just can’t get away from improvement,” Crean said.

Hoosiers defeat No. 3 Wisconsin 75-72

The streak is over with a 75-72 win against Wisconsin.

IU had lost its previous 12 matchups against Wisconsin. IU Coach Tom Crean had never defeated the Badgers since arriving in Bloomington.

The Hoosiers trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half, but IU fought back to take the lead with a Noah Vonleh hook shot with 9:02 remaining in the game.

Wisconsin junior guard Traevon Jackson virtually couldn’t miss, connecting on 9-of-11 shots for 21 points, but he only scored two points in the final seven and a half minutes.

Both teams traded baskets down the stretch but IU never lost the lead after Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell made a layup with just more than four minutes to play. Ferrell wasn’t always efficient (10-of-24 shooting) but he led the Hoosiers’ resurgence with had 19 second half points.

After Ferrell made a pair of free throws to give IU a three-point lead with 19 seconds left in the game, Wisconsin missed two game-tying three-point attempts. IU freshman guard Stanford Robinson corralled the rebound and secured the Hoosier victory.

Robinson provided a spark with 13 points and four rebounds off the bench.

As a team, IU shot 51.6 percent from the field and four players scored in double figures.

IU improves to 12-5 (2-2 Big Ten) with the win and the Hoosiers ended Wisconsin’s 16-game winning streak.

HALFTIME: Wisconsin leads IU 35-34

Despite Wisconsin making its first seven shot attempts of the game, the Hoosiers fought back to cut the Badgers’ lead to 35-34 at halftime.

Noah Vonleh made a pair of three-pointers in the first three minutes to carry IU’s offense early in the first half.

Wisconsin jumped out to an 18-10 lead during a stretch in which the Hoosiers didn’t score for more than four and a half minutes.

Six Hoosier bench players saw action in the first half but no one made a bigger impact than freshman guard Stanford Robinson.

The guard had six points in the half, connecting on three of his four shot attempts.

Sophomore forward Jeremy Hollowell, who was benched against Penn State, did not take his warmups off in the first half and sat toward the end of the bench.

Senior forward Will Sheehey led IU in scoring with eight points in the first half as he took advantage of Wisconsin freshman Nigel Hayes.

Badger guard John Gasser led Wisconsin in scoring with nine points and all of the team’s starters have at least four points.

Abbrederis Runs for First Touchdowns of Career against Hoosiers

MADISON, Wisc.–Before the Hoosiers traveled to Madison, Wisc. to face the No. 22 Badgers, IU Defensive Coordinator Doug Mallory said IU’s defense needed to know where Wisconsin senior wide receiver Jared Abbrederis was on every play.

His responses at the team’s weekly press conference indicated that he was worried about IU’s ability to both stop Wisconsin’s rushing attack and defend Abbrederis in one-on-one matchups on the perimeter.

Abbrederis entered the matchup with 54 receptions for 849 yards and six touchdowns this season, putting him among the best wide receivers in the Big Ten.

Abbrederis, the wide receiver, was the least of IU’s defensive worries at Camp Randall Stadium.

Wisconsin sophomore quarterback Joel Stave only attempted 15 passes in the game and Abbrederis was held without a reception.

Instead, Abbrederis, the ball carrier, torched IU’s defense. He ran three times for 86 yards and the first two rushing touchdowns of his career.

“That’s something that we’ve practiced a lot,” Stave said. “It’s well-rehearsed and to get an opportunity to actually use it in a game is pretty exciting. He showed he’s pretty good at that jet sweep.”

IU redshirt senior safety Greg Heban said the Hoosiers never saw those plays when studying film of Wisconsin’s offense.

“It was definitely new to us and it’s something that we didn’t prepare for,” Heban said.

Heban said the defense was trying not to make the same mistake twice. He said the Badgers modified the motions on each of Abbrederis’ touchdown runs.

“It kind of messed with where our fits where and where the corner and safety needed to be,” Heban said. “It was just a good job on their part, (a) good play call.”

Sophomore defensive end Nick Mangieri said the lack of film on Abbrederis’ reverses is not an excuse.

“We still gotta stop it,” he said. “It’s just a generic reverse, we gotta be ready for it.”

On each of the Abbrederis’ trips to the end zone, he benefited from his teammates blocking downfield.

Wisconsin redshirt sophomore running back Melvin Gordon said it was phenomenal to see the Badger wide receivers blocking downfield.

“We get the ball a lot, we are a running team, and those guys try to make the best of what they got,” he said. “They aren’t selfish and that’s the best part about it.”

Click here to read this post on the Indiana Daily Student’s Hoosier Hype blog. 

Wisconsin Scores on Its First Play and Never Looks Back

MADISON, Wisc.–No. 22 Wisconsin scored the game-winning touchdown on its first play from scrimmage in a 51-3 blowout victory against visiting Indiana.

On the first possession of the game, IU sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld saw wide receiver Nick Stoner downfield in single coverage. Sudfeld underthrew the pass and Wisconsin cornerback Sojourn Shelton intercepted the throw as he was falling down.

The Badgers took over on offense at their own 7-yard line.

On Wisconsin’s first play from scrimmage, one minute and 11 seconds into the game, the Badgers faked a fly sweep to running back Melvin Gordon.

Wisconsin redshirt freshman offensive lineman Dan Voltz said the Badgers actually made an adjustment as they were running out of the tunnel before kickoff.

“My coach came over to me and we kind of switched up the ideas a little bit,” Voltz said. “It was just a zone play to the right, nothing special.”

The game-time adjustment and apparent lackluster play call paid off.

IU redshirt senior safety Greg Heban said Gordon drew one of the Hoosiers’ linebackers or linemen away from his assigned gap.

“Against Wisconsin, if you’re not gap sound, they’re going to expose you,” Heban said.

IU Coach Kevin Wilson said the Hoosiers were in their base defense and the Badgers simply blocked well on the play.

“All I had to do was run straight,” White said, adding that IU’s defense was out of its gaps.

IU redshirt freshman defensive tackle Ralphael Green III got a hand on White as the Hoosier defender attempted to fight through Badgers left tackle Ryan Groy but that wasn’t enough to bring down White.

“Yeah that was awesome,” Groy said. “I looked up at my guy, missed a tackle and he was off to the races. It was an awesome first play.”

White broke through IU’s last line of defense—Heban and safety Mark Murphy—at Wisconsin’s 15-yard line.

It was a foot race for the final 85 yards.

Murphy gave pursuit but Wisconsin wide receiver Alex Erickson trailed the play and he was there to block the IU safety’s final attempt at preventing the touchdown.

“Erickson had a great block just to keep the guy off me in case I decided to run slow and get caught,” White said.

Voltz said Wisconsin loves playing against 4-3 defenses, which is IU’s formation of choice.

“They don’t do a whole lot of fancy stuff,” he said. “When you play well against a defense like that, the results are going to be pretty good.”

Click here to read this post on the Indiana Daily Student’s Hoosier Hype blog. 

IU football falls to Wisconsin 51-3

MADISON, Wis. — Early turnovers plagued IU at Camp Randall Stadium as No. 22 Wisconsin rolled the Hoosiers 51-3 to keep the Badgers’ Big Ten Championship hopes alive.

IU sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw an interception on the game’s opening drive. On Wisconsin’s first play from scrimmage, senior running back James White ran for a 93-yard touchdown, the longest in program history.

The Badgers never looked back.

Senior running back Stephen Houston, who was starting in the Hoosiers’ backfield in place of injured sophomore running back Tevin Coleman, fumbled a handoff on IU’s ensuing possession, and the Badgers recovered the ball.

With a short field to work with on offense, Wisconsin redshirt sophomore running back Melvin Gordon punched the ball in the end zone from the 1-yard line, giving the Badgers a 14-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game.

IU’s defense settled down after its shaky start as the Hoosiers (4-6, 2-4) held Wisconsin (8-2, 5-1) to 13 points in the remaining 27 minutes of the half.

Freshman linebacker Clyde Newton, who made his second career start Saturday, said IU would have had more momentum if the team had a better start to the game.

“It was only us 70 out there and a few of our IU fans,” he said. “We knew we had to create our own juice. Starting off like that kind of put a hole in us.”

Wisconsin accumulated 198 total yards of offense in the first quarter and scored on each of its first four possessions to take an early 20-0 lead.

The Badgers finished with 554 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 50 carries.

Wisconsin’s offensive performance drew comparisons during ESPN’s broadcast to former Heisman Trophy-winning running back Bo Jackson’s character in the arcade video game “Techmo Bowl” because of the Badgers’ prolific ground attack.

Wisconsin’s rushing statistics were reminiscent of the team’s 2012 triumph in Bloomington, when the Badgers ran the ball 64 times for a school-record 564 yards and seven touchdowns.

Wisconsin had three 100-yard rushers, led by White’s 208 yards on the ground.

It was a completely different story for the Hoosiers, who failed to find a steady rhythm on offense in adverse weather conditions and without Coleman.

Sudfeld and redshirt sophomore Tre Roberson alternated at quarterback throughout the game. They were a combined 12-of-30 for 122 yards.

“It was real frustrating because, as an offense, we’re not used to that,” Roberson said. “We worked during the week and the offseason so that we can come out and score a multitude of points.”

Houston and junior running back D’Angelo Roberts managed to rush for 97 yards on 22 carries, but IU’s running attack missed Coleman’s explosiveness. The sophomore led the country in runs of at least 40 yards through the first 11 weeks of the
season.

All but one of IU’s drives ended in a turnover, a punt or the Hoosiers running out the clock in the half.

“It’s sad,” junior wide receiver Cody Latimer said. “It’s devastating. (We need to) learn from our mistakes and make sure we don’t do it next week against Ohio State.”

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