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… and in general, so just now able to get caught up on posting my stories from the week. It doesn’t slow down any time soon, either. I know, whine, whine. Anyway, here’s what I worked on this week:
I wrote IU basketball season previews for both newspapers, with Monday’s Post-Tribune story focusing on Maurice Creek’s comeback. Word came down Tuesday that Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin would have to sit out the first nine games of the season, per the NCAA; here’s what I wrote that night for the Post-Tribune. And the news is reflected in my season preview for the Tribune-Star that ran today.
Of course, football’s still going on as well, and last Saturday’s win over Iowa means the Hoosiers still have a chance at playing in the Big Ten title game. Technical problems at the Tribune-Star meant my game story from Saturday didn’t make it online, so I’m posting that below the jump. But here’s my game story and notebook for the Post-Tribune. I’ve also got a midweek story looking ahead to this Saturday’s game against Wisconsin, the biggest football game in Bloomington in awhile.
Looking ahead, I’ll have previews of that game as well as IU basketball’s regular season opener against Bryant, coverage of both games, a preview of the basketball team’s Monday night game against North Dakota State, etc., etc., ad infinitum.
My aforementioned IU-Iowa game story for the Tribune-Star:
By Andy Proffet
BLOOMINGTON —Suddenly, the notion of Indiana playing for the Big Ten Championship isn’t quite so far-fetched.
The Hoosiers rode a stingy defense and the combination of Cam Coffman-to-Cody Latimer to rally past Iowa on Saturday, 24-21.
IU (4-5, 2-3 Big Ten) won consecutive conference games for the first time since 2007 — also the last time the Hoosiers went to a bowl game.
But the Hoosiers aren’t jumping too far ahead.
“Our business right now is, we’re a 4-5 football team, we’re 2-3 in the Big Ten, and that’s not very good,” Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said.
“We’re just taking this one game at a time,” cornerback Greg Heban said. “We’re not looking past Wisconsin (next week’s opponent), they’re a great team. We’ve got to focus on them starting tomorrow.”
There’s room for improvement judging from the way IU performed against the Hawkeyes (4-5, 2-3).
The Hoosiers fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter, with James Vandenberg throwing a 24-yard touchdown pass to Kevonte Martin-Manley and Christian Kirksey returning an interception 18 yards for a score.
The interception was Nate Sudfeld’s first of the season; he had replaced starter Coffman after two series.
“I thought early that Cam threw an early play off his back foot,” Wilson said. “I think sometimes he’s a little cautious because that’s his nature, and as a quarterback, that’s a great quality, but you’ve also got to dare.”
Coffman paid attention well enough to go back into the game for IU’s final possession of the first half. He was 5-of-5 on the drive for 83 yards, capped by his 15-yard scoring strike to Latimer.
“I already got benched once, I just went out there and said I’m going to have some fun now,” Coffman said.
The score brought IU within 14-10 at the break, and Coffman’s second score to Latimer put the Hoosiers ahead for the first time, 17-14, in the third quarter.
Iowa regained the lead with a 4-yard TD run by Damon Bullock early in the fourth quarter. But Isaiah Roundtree returned the ensuing kickoff to the IU 39, and four plays later, Coffman and Latimer connected for their third score of the night.
Latimer became the first IU receiver with three touchdown catches in the same game since Tandon Doss had three in the 2010 finale at Purdue. He finished with seven receptions for 113 yards.
“I think he’s got a lot of upside, I don’t think he’s close to what he’s going to be,” Wilson said of Latimer, who had two touchdown receptions this season before Saturday.
The Hoosiers also got a 100-yard receiving day from Kofi Hughes, who caught six passes for 110, including a 77-yarder down to the 1 that, after a slew of penalties on both teams moved the ball back and forth, led to Latimer’s second score. And Coffman threw for 315 yards, the most for an IU quarterback since Ben Chappell.
Martin-Manley had seven receptions for 131 yards for the Hawkeyes.
Plus, some sidebars from my basketball season preview for the Post-Tribune (a reminder, these were written before the suspensions of Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin):
By Andy Proffet
KEYS TO THE SEASON
1. Dealing with expectations. With No. 1 rankings in both preseason polls and a preseason AP All-American in Cody Zeller, there are high expectations for the Hoosiers. That also means a target on their backs.
2. Meshing the freshmen and Mo Creek into the rotation. All five players who started for IU in the NCAA Tournament are back, but it will be a challenge to find minutes for them, Creek, Yogi Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell.
3. Eligibility for Jurkin and Mosquera-Perea. Per Tom Crean, the Hoosiers are in the midst of the process to ensure the two big freshmen are eligible to play. How soon that situation is resolved is still unknown.
4. Defense. The Hoosiers were better on defense last season, but still had breakdowns — see the Sweet Sixteen loss to Kentucky. Offense shouldn’t be a concern; it’s the defense that will decide just how far the Hoosiers go.
5. Staying healthy. While it’s true the Hoosiers are as deep as any team in the nation, there are key players—Zeller and Watford, for two — whose health will be watched closely.
1. November 19-20, Legends Classic in Brooklyn. Indiana’s only true road games during the non-conference schedule come in this tournament, with a game against Georgia and then against either UCLA or Georgetown. Two wins here will go a long way to making that No. 1 preseason ranking hold up.
2. November 27, vs. North Carolina. A step up in competition for the Hoosiers in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Tar Heels, an Elite Eight team last season, are No. 11 in the AP preseason poll.
3. December 31, at Iowa. The Big Ten season-opener. Last season’s game in Iowa City saw the Hoosiers lose 78-66, the fourth straight loss for IU in Iowa.
4. January 15, vs. Wisconsin. Of IU’s nine losses last season, two came at the hands of the Badgers — the only team to beat the Hoosiers twice. In fact, Wisconsin has won 10 straight in the series.
5. March 14-17, Big Ten Tournament in Chicago. The Hoosiers have never won the conference tournament. Is this team good enough to change that?
No. Name Ht. Wt. Pos. Yr. Blurb
0 Will Sheehey 6-7 200 F Jr. A jersey change for IU’s outstanding sixth man.
1 Jordan Hulls 6-0 182 G Sr. Will share PG duties with Ferrell and get more chances as sharpshooter.
2 Christian Watford 6-9 232 F Sr. ESPY winner is Big Ten’s top active career scorer (1,287 points).
3 Maurice Creek 6-5 194 G RS Jr. Making his third comeback from major injury.
4 Victor Oladipo 6-5 214 G Jr. All-Big Ten defender whose dunks electrify the Assembly Hall crowd.
10 Jonny Marlin 5-10 175 G Soph. Transfer from IPFW gets Sheehey’s old number, will sit out season.
11 Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell 6-0 178 G Fr. His speed will make IU that much more dangerous on the fastbreak.
12 Hanner Mosquera-Perea
6-8 225 F Fr. Battling a foot injury and eligibility questions, could miss start of season.
13 Austin Etherington 6-6 206 F Soph. Didn’t get much playing time last year but could be a spark off bench.
15 Raphael Smith 6-3 172 G RS So. Bench player for the Hoosiers.
20 Taylor Wayer 5-11 172 G Jr. Academic All-Big Ten honoree last season.
23 Remy Abell 6-4 201 G Soph. Took on a greater role after Verdell Jones’ injury last season.
24 Jeff Howard 6-8 238 F Jr. Academic All-Big Ten honoree last season.
32 Derek Elston 6-9 216 F Jr. Torn meniscus will likely sideline him until conference schedule begins.
33 Jeremy Hollowell 6-8 217 F Fr. Should push for playing time in loaded frontcourt.
40 Cody Zeller 7-0 240 F Soph. Preseason All-American makes IU a national title contender.
42 Peter Jurkin 7-0 230 C Fr. Eligibility and strength are concerns for the big guy.