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Friday, Feb. 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

Hoosiers face North Dakota State

Mens bball v. Bryant

Not 15 minutes had passed since Indiana’s season opening 97-54 trouncing of Bryant, and IU Coach Tom Crean could already reel off a laundry list of areas for improvement he saw in the win.

“Ball screen defense,” he said. “Communication, especially on the weak side. Even better activity off the post double...”

Minutes later, senior guard Jordan Hulls was up with his own list, citing rebounding at both ends of the floor and turnovers as flaws from the Hoosiers’ Friday performance that they need to correct.

Today, just three days later, they get their chance.

In the first of IU’s four games in the Progressive Legends Classic, the team hosts North Dakota State at 7 p.m. today at Assembly Hall.

“They have really good players,” junior guard Victor Oladipo said. “So it is going to be good for us, now playing every other day, or every two or three days, and it feels like we are in the full swing of things.”

The Bison were picked to finish second in the Summit League this season and began the season with a blowout victory of their own on Friday, a 93-47 drubbing of Valley City State.

They return their top five scorers from last year’s 17-14 squad, including guard Taylor Braun, an All-Summit League pick with 15.4 points per game and 6.6 rebounds. Both marks led the team.

“More than anything, we have to do a great job of knowing where we are at on the floor defensively — when to pressure them and when to back off,” IU Associate Head Coach Steve McClain said. “And we have to do a great job on the defensive boards because they do a great job of going to the glass hard.”

The Bison have several links back to Crean and the Big Ten. In 2006, the Bison, with current head coach Saul Phillips as an assistant, upset Crean’s then-No. 8 Marquette Golden Eagles 64-60.

Additionally, Will Ryan, an NDSU assistant coach, is the son of Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan.

“They have a Wisconsin flavor to them in how they play offense and defense,” McClain said.

As part of the Legends Classic, IU will play Sam Houston State on Thursday at home. The tournament then takes the Hoosiers to Brooklyn for a matchup with Georgia on Nov. 19 at the new Barclays Center. Depending on that day’s outcome, they get either Georgetown or No. 13 UCLA the next day.

During today’s game, IU will honor former Hoosier Bill Garrett and the 65th anniversary of him becoming the first African-American player in the Big Ten.

With more than a week between the IU’s lone exhibition game and its season opener, today’s game is a comparatively quick turnaround. This is nothing new to veterans such as Hulls with postseason experience. He and his fellow upperclassmen find themselves in the position of giving advice to the team’s freshmen.

“Take care of yourself. Make sure you get some sleep, a lot of fluids,” Hulls said Friday after the Bryant win. “We were focused on this game. Now we’re focused on the next game. We’ve just got to approach it that way.”

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