No. 23 Indiana 75, NC Central 56
The Indiana Hoosiers spent some time listening Wednesday
Coach Tom Crean told his team the last time Indiana completed a
perfect non-conference season, he was a graduate assistant on Jud
Heathcote’s staff at Michigan State. San Francisco 49ers head coach
Jim Harbaugh provided the pregame and halftime pep talks.
And the Hoosiers responded with a staunch effort against
overmatched North Carolina Central.
Cody Zeller had 17 points and seven rebounds, and Victor Oladipo
scored 16 points, leading No. 23 Indiana to a 75-56 rout and its
first undefeated season in non-league play in more than two
”I had all the coaches go around the room and talk about where
they were in 1989-90, so they dated themselves a little,” Crean
said, drawing laughter. ”But it’s the first undefeated
nonconference season here since 1989-90 and that’s a big, big
It’s another milestone in the Hoosiers’ remarkably resurgent
In December, they became the first Big Ten school in six decades
to beat the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams in one season. A week
ago, the Hoosiers (21-7) gave Crean his first 20-win season since
coming to Bloomington in 2008, and now they have a 13-0 record
outside Big Ten play.
Crean couldn’t have crafted a better script for this
Harbaugh. his brother-in-law, decided to visit after arriving
for this week’s annual NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
Harbaugh sat on the bench throughout the game and even trotted onto
the court with stools during timeouts.
”I’ve never sat on the bench before,” he joked afterward.
But Crean was more worried about the anomaly Big Ten
schedule-makers dealt Indiana with two byes in less than two
The concern was that the Hoosiers might get stale with that many
So Indiana asked the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school to
move the game from Dec. 7 to Feb. 22.
”Having a whole week off would have been a long break for us,
so just getting out there and playing was nice,” Zeller said. ”We
can learn from games like this, even games like this compared to
Big Ten games. So we’ll watch the film and try to get better every
All it really did, though, was prolong the inevitable for a
school in its first season as a full-fledged Division I member.
The Hoosiers were too big, too strong, too deep and too athletic
for the Eagles (14-13).
Indiana shot 51 percent from the field, had a 35-16 rebounding
advantage and never gave the Eagles a chance to challenge after
building a double-digit lead midway through the first half. Indiana
has won four times in five games and is 15-1 at home.
”We game-planned for this like we do for anybody else. You’re
coaching to win the game,” Crean said. ”Practice is a time to
improve, but you want to improve in the game and you’ve got to
bring substantial qualities into the game to do that.”
North Carolina Central was led by NBA hopeful Dominique Sutton,
who had 21 points. Emanuel Chapman and Jeremy Ingram each had 10
points, not nearly enough to prevent a third straight loss in the
series or a seventh straight loss to Big Ten schools since making
the move up from Division II.
The loss ended a stretch of five wins in six games, and the
Eagles must play their final four regular-season games on the
None of it will compare to the buzz saw they faced
”I thought we played decent defense, but once they missed, they
were able to get some putbacks,” coach LeVelle Moton said. ”We’re
just not big enough.”
The disparity was evident all night.
North Carolina Central went more than 9 minutes in the first
half without getting a rebound and had only four during the final
15:09 of the half. Even worse, the Eagles were never really in
Moton called time out after Indiana scored the first six points.
The move was only a speed bump for the Hoosiers, who used a 13-3
run to make it 21-7 midway through the first half, then extended
the margin to as much as 24-9. After North Carolina Central closed
to 28-18, the Hoosiers built a 39-26 halftime lead and put it away
with a 10-2 run early in the second half.
”It builds our confidence a little bit because it’s an
undefeated (non-conference) season,” Oladipo said. ”But we’ve got
to turn right back around and play another and a road game at