Ball St.-Indiana Preview
Indiana passed its stiffest challenge to date and will likely get another test during its final game this month.
The top-ranked Hoosiers will first have a chance to tune-up for that high-profile matchup Sunday night against visiting Ball State, but will have to play again without a pair of freshmen.
After prevailing by an average of 34.0 points in its first four games, Indiana (5-0) was taken to overtime by Georgetown in Tuesday's Legends Classic championship game in Brooklyn. The Hoosiers, though, outscored the Hoyas 18-8 in the extra period of that 82-72 victory with Jordan Hulls providing six of his 17 points and Yogi Ferrell scoring seven of his 14.
After being held to six points in a 66-53 win over Georgia in Monday's Classic opener, Cody Zeller matched Hulls for the team lead with 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
"I said that this was going to be an epic battle and we haven't been in a lot of those in November but we were ready for one," coach Tom Crean said. "There is a lot of room for improvement and I think I would be nervous if it was in November and there wasn't. But our guys went and played a high-level team in a high-level way."
The Hoosiers will face another high-level team Tuesday when they welcome No. 9 North Carolina to Assembly Hall as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Indiana will have a chance to prepare for that game during the visit from the Cardinals (2-1), who are making their first trip to Bloomington since a 71-57 loss on Dec. 30, 2006. The Hoosiers won't have freshmen Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin available for this game, the matchup with North Carolina or two home contests to open December after the NCAA upheld their suspensions.
The two were docked nine games after accepting benefits from an AAU coach who was classified as a booster. During its appeal, Indiana said the coach's final $185 donation to the school's Varsity Club was in 1992.
While the Hoosiers could use some depth in Tuesday's game, they would appear to have a good chance to endure Sunday.
Ball State heads into this game after shooting a season-low 32.0 percent in a 68-48 drubbing to Indiana State on Tuesday. Senior guard Jauwan Scaife had a season-high 16 points, and leading scorer Majok Majok, a junior forward, was the only other player in double figures with 15.
The 6-foot-8 Majok, averaging 14.3 points and a team-best 10.3 rebounds, also pulled down 12 boards for the second time in three games.
The Cardinals are 0-12 all-time at Indiana, 1-18 in the series and have dropped 17 in a row to ranked opponents since a 91-73 win over then-No. 3 UCLA in the Maui Invitational on Nov. 20, 2001.
The day after that upset, they fell 83-71 to No. 1 Duke in the Maui championship. In their only other matchup with a top-ranked team, they lost 92-70 at Michigan on Dec. 1, 1964.