Welcome to another edition of 6-Banner Sunday, where we highlight the six most essential IU basketball stories of the past week.
The Hoosiers’ four-game skid came to a screeching halt as Indiana picked up two blowout wins to put their season back headed in the right direction.
In this week’s edition:
- Hoosiers win two straight convincingly
- Devonte gets the green light
- Zach McRoberts, All-Big Ten defender?
- Indiana high school regular season nearing an end
- The 1959-60 Hoosiers
- Hoosiers in the NBA (plus bonus links)
Hoosiers win two straight convincingly
After missed opportunities against the top three teams in the Big Ten, the Hoosiers have found themselves peaking as the regular season nears its conclusion.
The Hoosiers had two games this week, coming away with a pair of blowout victories to even their Big Ten record at 7-7.
The first win came on Monday when they visited Rutgers. Despite playing with just one day of rest, Indiana didn’t look fatigued. Instead, Indiana came out firing from the start, never trailing in a 22-point hammering of the Scarlet Knights.
Four days later, it was deja vu at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, as the Hoosiers dominated a depleted Minnesota team to come away with another wire-to-wire win. You know it’s a big win when Tim Priller gets playing time at the end. The fan favorite even scored his first point of the season, on a free throw in the final seconds.
Indiana will have a chance to make it three straight on Wednesday, when they host Illinois at Assembly Hall. Tip is set for 8:30 p.m. eastern.
More from this week’s wins:
- Post-Rutgers: The Minute After, Five Takeaways, Postgame pressers (Archie, Pikiell), Film Session
- Post-Minnesota: The Minute After, Five Takeaways, Notebook, Postgame Pressers (Archie, Players, Pitino)
- Assembly Call postgame (Rutgers, Minnesota)
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Devonte gets the green light
Sophomore Devonte Green has always had a special aura about him. His talent and flash are undeniable, yet he’s struggled to put it all together in a Hoosier uniform.
That changed this week when Green had two of the best performances of his career. Given the starting nod after a solid night off the bench at Ohio State, Green was outstanding in Indiana’s two wins. In 61 minutes over the two contests, Green combined to pour in 28 points, grab 7 rebounds, dish out 11 assists, and nab three steals.
Zach Osterman of The Indianapolis Star has more on Green’s stellar week:
Here’s the thing with Devonte Green: He can see the game two steps ahead. It’s a much rarer gift than most people realize. If you re-watch some of those head-scratching passes, you can see what Green was thinking when he threw them.
But not everything has to be a home run. It’s a baseball term basketball coaches love, one both Miller and Green used Friday.
“It’s not always a home run,” Miller said. “You can go for the single every once in a while, and I think he’s starting to go for the singles.”
Miller said it started with a refocused Green behind the scenes, what IU’s coach termed a “humbleness” in practice.
Zach McRoberts: All-Big Ten defender?
Walk-on starter Zach McRoberts just can’t stop hustling. No matter how much energy is required, McRoberts is willing to do whatever it takes to help the Hoosiers.
That starts on the defensive end, where he’s been phenomenal in recent weeks. His steal percentage on the season (4.1 percent) is 22nd in the nation, and that doesn’t account for all of the little things he does while on the floor.
This development has led to many, including Archie Miller himself, pleading McRoberts’ case as one of the Big Ten’s best defenders.
Over at The Hoosier Network, Eddie Cotton has compiled more than two minutes of just McRoberts’ hustle plays, along with a story on why he is one of the league’s best defenders:
McRoberts has gone from an after thought to a matchup nightmare. His knowledge of the pack-line defense has made him the focal point to a defensive system that looks to create deflections and cut off penetration. McRoberts’ versatility defensively has helped Indiana shut down some of the prolific players in the Big Ten in a way that no one could have imagined when McRoberts was playing basketball freshman year at Vermont.
“We’ve been able to move Zach around from Bridges to Diop to Isaiah Washington,” Miller said. “He’s got great versatility, and he’s got great instincts. Definitely, his length is something that gives him an advantage.”
More on IU’s defense:
- Hoosiers adopting tough-minded defensive approach (Herald-Times)
Indiana high school basketball regular season nearing an end
Just two weeks remain in the Indiana high school basketball regular season, and all eyes are on one young man: New Albany’s Romeo Langford.
The senior continued his quest to become the state’s all-time leading scorer this weekend with a pair of games. First, Langford lit up Providence by scoring 53 in a 48-point win.
The next evening at Madison, Langford added 31 points in a win. His career total is now at 2,780, just 354 shy of Damon Bailey’s record.
But Langford wasn’t the only athlete on Indiana’s radar that had an impressive week:
- With Archie Miller and Bruiser Flint in attendance IU commit Damezi Anderson scored 23 points in a top-10 matchup against Indianapolis Cathedral
- Fellow commit Jerome Hunter scored 31 of his team’s 52 in a one-point loss
- Future IU point guard Robert Phinisee had 20 points of his own in a win over Marion
- Jake Forrester showcased his hops on this sweet alley-oop
- Lastly, ITH profiled rising class of 2019 stud Mason Gillis. The New Castle junior, who visited IU during the Northwestern game, scored 27 in a huge win over Hamilton Southeastern
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The 1959-60 Hoosiers
Although they weren’t the most successful team in program history, the 1959-60 Hoosiers are certainly worth remembering.
The squad finished with a 20-4 (11-3) record, but it wasn’t enough to make the NCAA Tournament. That’s because, at that time, the field consisted of only eight teams, with only one team allowed per conference. Unfortunately for IU, which was ranked No. 7 in the final AP poll, Ohio State’s 13-1 conference record was more than enough to separate themselves from the Hoosiers.
For Inside Indiana, Seth Tow spent months working on a wonderful oral history of that squad. Below is a small portion of a must-read. The quote is about legendary coach Branch McCracken:
Bob Reinhart, Indiana guard, 1957-60: He was a great, great motivator. If you played for Mac and he asked you to run through that wall, you’d say ‘How hard?’ That’s the kind of guy Mac was. He was a great, great ambassador of the game.
Hoosiers in the NBA (and bonus links)
Former Hoosiers were all over the NBA newswire this week. Here’s some of what happened:
- All-Star Victor Oladipo used a 35-point night to power the Pacers past the Celtics
- Noah Vonleh was sent to Chicago in a deadline day deal
- OG Anunoby redeemed himself after a missed dunk by throwing down a slam seconds later
- Eric Gordon has been missing time while dealing with a back injury
- Thomas Bryant scored 19 points on Friday for the South Bay Lakers
- Troy Williams put up 30 in a win for Rio Grande Valley
Before you go:
- Our Jerod Morris joined The Hoosier Sound for their podcast this week
- The folks at The Hoosier Network nabbed exclusives with ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and IU Volleyball coach Steve Aird
- IU Women’s Basketball extended their winning streak to four in a win over Illinois
- Five former Hoosiers will take part in the NFL Draft Combine
And with that, the joy of hanging Banner #6 is now one week closer.
Thanks for your continued support for The Assembly Call. We’ll be back next weekend with a new roundup.
Now go enjoy yourself a 6-banner Sunday.