After winning the Big Ten regular season title and reaching the Sweet 16 in 2012-13 Indiana’s relative lack of experience proved to be an issue last season, as the Hoosiers finished with a record of 17-15 and did not play in a postseason event after not being selected for the Postseason NIT. Obviously with that being the case the expectation is that Tom Crean’s program will take a step forward in 2014-15, and the Hoosiers will get in some early game action this summer.
Wednesday afternoon the school made official its plans to play five exhibition games over a six-day span in Montreal. The Hoosiers will leave for Montreal on August 7, and they’ll play five games from August 8-13.
Not only does this give a team that will once again be led by point guard Yogi Ferrell valuable game action, they’ll also have the ten practices that a team is allowed to use before leaving the country for a summer trip per NCAA rules. Indiana has just three upperclassmen on its 2014-15 roster at present time: Ferrell, power forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea and center Peter Jurkin.
With the instructional time (two hours per week), practices and games, Indiana will have a “head start” of sorts in strengthening the on-court chemistry of its young roster.
“The ten practices in the past used to be a much bigger deal until they put in the new rule where we will get two hours to work with our players and ten practices,” Crean said in the release. “This trip will give us a chance to do a lot of things in a short period of time and I think that is really good.”
Among the five games are contests against Carleton and Ottawa University, with Carleton having won ten of the last 12 Canadian national titles and Ottawa falling to the Ravens in last year’s title game. It should also be noted that Carleton has been a difficult opponent for NCAA opponents in the past. Just last season Carleton beat Wisconsin and took Syracuse to overtime in exhibition games last summer.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.
For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.
On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.
Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.
Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.
In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.
As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.
(More to come from Chapel Hill…)
North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.
(H/T: The Cauldron)