Yogi Ferrell

Indiana defeats previously unbeaten Wisconsin, proves they won’t go quietly in Big Ten


It’s too early to say that this was a must-win type of game for Indiana tonight at home against Wisconsin, but it certainly was close to being just that. The Hoosiers began Big Ten play with losses against Illinois and Michigan State before eking out a 79-76 win over Penn State this past weekend. They seemed destined for a 1-3 start with the Badgers coming to Bloomington.

The issue with the Hoosiers is that they had failed in every test this season. In fact, their best win prior to tonight was a neutral court victory against a mediocre Washington squad.

And then, the Hoosiers beat Wisconsin, 75-72 — a team that was a perfect 16-0 and looking like the class of the Big Ten.

Yogi Ferrell has developed from a mere role player a season ago, to their leader this year, and the sophomore guard put Indiana on his back tonight. Ferrell dropped in 25 points on 10-24 shooting. Despite being benched for the beginning of the second half by Tom Crean, Ferrell came on strong — along with the rest of his team — in the latter part of the half.

The game was nip-and-tuck for the opening half, but Wisconsin looked like they were going to pull away after taking a 52-42 lead with 13:30 remaining on a three-pointer by Sam Dekker.

The Hoosiers, however, had none of it. With so much on the line — perhaps their at-large hopes on life support if tonight ended with another loss — Indiana responded with a 12-0 run, with baskets coming from five different players.

Down the stretch, however, it was all Ferrell and Stanford Robinson as the two combined for Indiana’s final 14 points. Ferrell, in particular, connected on two key free throws with 18.1 seconds remaining to extend their lead to 75-72. Two three-point shots at the end by Wisconsin missed the mark, the Indiana shooting section stormed the court, and one of the four remaining unbeatens were knocked off their perch.

This Hoosier team still has plenty of flaws — namely how turnover prone they are on offense — but they demonstrated they will still be a factor in the Big Ten this season. With a home game against Northwestern coming up this weekend, Indiana is in good position to move above .500 in the Big Ten. Now, a big game at Michigan State looms next Tuesday.

Sun Belt approves new scheduling format

Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference
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With an 11-member setup the Sun Belt Conference has played a 20-game conference schedule the last couple of years, which may be seen as a positive when it comes to determining the regular season champion (home-and-home between every team). But for a conference that spans from North Carolina (Appalachian State) to Texas (UT-Arlington, Texas State) travel was far from easy in that setup.

And with Coastal Carolina joining next season, it was clear that the league needed to do something with its scheduling.

Thursday the Sun Belt members approved an 18-game conference schedule, which will begin with the 2016-17 season when the league consists of 12 members. Included in the agreement is the assignment of travel partners (similar to setups in the Pac-12 and Ivy League), and teams playing no more than three consecutive conference games on the road.

Schools will also be guaranteed at least five weekend home games during conference play, and there will be no more weekends in which teams play conference games both home and away (thus cutting down on travel). Obviously with the addition of Coastal Carolina the Sun Belt needed to make some changes in their scheduling, and this week the conference made the moves they needed to make.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.

h/t ShockerHoops.net