After 2nd Big Ten Title, Ferrell Earns His Spot Among Hoosier Greats

Last April, Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell had a life-altering decision to make. Would he declare for the NBA Draft or would he return to Bloomington  to play his senior season at Indiana University?

Almost eleven months later, Ferrell’s decision to stay not only helped Indiana win its second outright Big Ten title in four years, but it also helped him secure his place among the greatest Hoosiers of all-time.

Ferrell’s statistics point to one of the most accomplished players to ever wear the cream and crimson. He’s the school’s all-time leader in assists (603) and has the 10th most assists of any Big Ten play ever. He’s also the only player to lead the Hoosiers in assists during all four of his seasons at Indiana.

In addition to his record-breaking assist numbers, Ferrell can also score the basketball with the best. He has scored 1,892 points in his career, which ranks seventh in school history. Specifically, he’s one of the best three-point shooters in Indiana history, passing A.J. Guyton for most three-pointers by a Hoosier in Big Ten play (158). Ferrell passed Guyton when he hit his clutch three-pointer with 37 seconds left against Iowa. Ferrell also owns the school record for longest streak of consecutive games with a made three-pointer (68 games).

Lastly, Ferrell owns the record for most career starts for an Indiana Hoosier (132 games) and is the second player in Big Ten history (the other being Illinois’ Dee Brown) to accumulate 1,800 points, 600 assists, and 400 rebounds over his college career.

With all that being said, Hoosier fans value winning more than any statistic and that’s why Ferrell is finally being recognized for his greatness.

Tuesday’s win at Iowa City gave Indiana its conference-tying 22nd Big Ten title. It’s the second for Ferrell with both being outright championships. Yet while other Hoosiers have the same number or even more Big Ten titles, Ferrell’s accomplishment is unique.

Ferrell is the only player on this season’s team that remains from the 2013 Hoosiers which basically means he has won two conference championships with two completely different teams. His two outright Big Ten championships are even more impressive when you realize Indiana had gone 20 years without an outright Big Ten title prior to Ferrell’s freshman season.

Add in all of the clutch shots over his career as well as the great defense he’s played this season and Yogi Ferrell has without a doubt out earned a seat at the table of Hoosier legends.

However, he might not be done. He already ranks among the top 20 greatest players in IU history, but if he’s somehow able to end his senior campaign with Assembly Hall hanging a sixth banner, he’ll easily move into the top 10.


Three Reasons The Hoosiers Are On The Brink Of Winning The Big Ten

The Indiana Hoosiers took care of business on Thursday as they easily defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini 74-47 thanks to a dominant second half performance. With the win, the Hoosiers now sit at 13-3 in Big Ten play and are closing in on their second conference championship in four years.

Yet how did a team left for dead at the beginning of December turn things around so drastically?

Here are three reasons the Hoosiers are one win away from clinching at least a share of the Big Ten title and two wins away from winning the conference outright:

  1. Depth: Very few college basketball teams have nine players  who can contribute on a nightly basis and the Hoosiers take full advantage. Combining their breakneck pace with their ability to rotate players in and out keeps their players relatively fresh enough to make a game-ending run when the opponent becomes gassed. It has also helped the team weather what could have been a season-ending injury when James Blackmon Jr. went down right before Big Ten play began. Instead, freshmen OG Anunoby and Juwan Morgan have grown up quickly and have provided superior defense along with adequate offense.
  2. Schedule: Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: the Hoosiers had a very easy early Big Ten schedule. This was even more important for the Hoosiers as it coincided with their period of trying to adapt their rotation after the loss of Blackmon. Looking back at a couple of those games it’s almost shameful to think that the Hoosier only beat awful Rutgers by 7 points. But those early games against lesser competition let the Hoosiers make a successful transition while not hurting their record. At the end of the day, you can’t control who you face in your conference and the Hoosiers took advantage of things breaking right for them.
  3. Yogi Ferrell: The senior point guard has been great throughout his entire career at Indiana but this year he has taken it to another level. In Big Ten games this season, Ferrell is averaging 17.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game. On top of that, his defense has reached a level he’s never played at before and it has resulted in 1.31 steals per game in conference play for a player who has never averaged over one steal at any point in his college career. But what’s been the most impressive is his leadership. I only mentioned Big Ten games because those are the games he’s played with Blackmon out of the lineup, showing that Ferrell has stepped up in his absence. Ferrell reinforced the notion that he can carry the Hoosiers when the team needs it by posting 27 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists against Illinois in a game Indiana was without Rob Johnson and saw Troy Williams play limited minutes due to an injury. In the second half alone, after trailing the Illini 28-27 at half, Ferrell had as many points in the second half (19) as the whole Illinois team. He may not win Big Ten Player of the Year, but Ferrell has arguably been the most valuable player in the conference and is starting to climb the list of greatest Hoosiers of all time.

Mistake-Free Indiana Able To Hold Off Rival Purdue

The Indiana Hoosiers’ Achilles’ Heel all season has been turnovers and so the question became “how good would the Hoosiers be if they didn’t commit turnovers?”

They answered that question on Saturday when IU committed only four turnovers as they beat archrival Purdue 77-73 to break a three-game losing streak in the series.

The Hoosiers went the first 17:06 of the first half without committing a turnover and only had one at half while the Boilermakers had eight. The four total turnovers for the game ties for the fewest by the Hoosiers in the last three seasons.

“We want to play fast, we just don’t want to play reckless,” said Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean about how the team’s mindset led the way for there being so few turnovers. “I think (our players) have a lot of respect for Purdue. They know how good that defense is. They put a lot of pressure on you. So to me, we needed to make the simple play.”

Indiana (22-6, 12-3) also showed it has multiple players who can take a game over at a moment’s notice. The first half featured Troy Williams and Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell ripping apart Purdue’s defense as the duo accounted for 28 of IU’s 35 first half points. In the second half, Thomas Bryant scored the Hoosiers’ first seven points of the second half while Max Bielfeldt had all of his 10 points and 6 rebounds after halftime, including a stretch where he was responsible for eight points during a 12-0 IU run.

Williams led all scorers with 19 points and in the process became the 49th Hoosier to score 1,000 career points. Ferrell also broke out of his shooting slump as he went 7 of 13 from the floor to score 18 points.

The Boilermakers (21-7, 9-6) were led by freshman big man Caleb Swanigan, who had 14 points and eight rebounds. He was also a key player behind Purdue’s 21-9 rally during the final seven minutes of the game, in which he scored half of his points.

Purdue almost had a shot to tie or take the lead when A.J. Hammons blocked Ferrell’s drive to the basket with 7.1 seconds left but was called for goaltending. Despite looking like a questionable call in the moment, replay showed that Hammons touched the rim during the block attempt which by rules certifies a goaltend. Indiana was able to hang on from there.

The Hoosiers won’t play until this Thursday when they travel to face Illinois. The game will be at 9pm eastern time and will be on ESPN.

From The Boxscore:

  • For those of you who want proof that Indiana only turned the ball over four times (and I don’t really blame the skepticism), here is a list of the four turnovers and what happened during those possessions:
    1. The first one didn’t come until the 2:54 mark of the first half and it came on a Robert Johnson offensive foul, which technically counts as a turnover because you did something that gave the ball to the opponent without the reason being a missed shot.
    2. The second one came with 9:07 left in the second half and was credited to Yogi Ferrell.
    3. Max Bielfeldt committed the third one with 7:36 left in the second half.
    4. It wasn’t until the fourth and final turnover that Purdue made Indiana pay for a mistake. Ferrell’s second turnover of the game with 44 seconds left was a result of a Purdue player poking out the ball from behind while Ferrell was dealing with the press in front of him. P.J. Thompson got the steal and assisted on a Dakota Mathias three-pointer that made it a one-possession game.
  • This is the third time in the last 20 years that the Hoosiers have won 12 of their first 15 Big Ten games. The other times were 2008 and 2013.
  • Ferrell, after shooting 10 of 40 his last four games, ended his slump when he made 7 of 13 on Saturday.
  • This was Ferrell’s 130th career start at IU which ties him with Christian Watford for the most career starts by a Hoosier.
  • Troy Williams becomes the 49th Hoosier with 1,000 career points and the eighth player to do it under IU head coach Tom Crean.
  • Having only 4 turnovers to Purdue’s 13 is great, but what’s even better is that IU had 20 points off turnovers compared to Purdue’s 3 points off turnovers.

Three Questions From Indiana’s Blowout Loss At Michigan State

Even though they led by as many as 10 points late in the first half, the Indiana Hoosiers still had to feel really good about their play going into half even though they were down by one. However, that feeling disappeared when the Michigan State Spartans dominated in the second half and ended up demolishing Indiana 88-69.

Not many expected the Hoosiers to win in East Lansing, but it was the fact that IU showed it was capable of winning that game that has Hoosier Nation asking questions. While I don’t have the correct answers, I’ll still give my opinion on what I think are the three of the biggest questions that have surfaced from this loss. If you have a different opinion or just want to add on to my opinions, please leave a comment below.

  1. Is it time to bench Troy Williams?
    • Benching Williams is not a viable long-term solution, but it may be a good short-term one. The man I call “Tornado Troy” has been a force all season, wreaking havoc against both Indiana’s opponents and Indiana itself. When Williams is at his best he’s an NBA lottery pick, but when he’s at his worst he’s a walking turnover-machine. Even though there were quite a few good things from Williams on Sunday, the fact he was scoreless in 20 minutes of play outweighs all of them. My solution would be for Williams to come off the bench for just Indiana’s next game (home against Nebraska) and in his place start OG Anunoby. Williams’ play has responded positively to being benched in the past, and might be what he needs to get going again. It’s also arguably the easiest game the Hoosiers have left so if the switch backfires IU would still be able to overcome it. Williams is the wild card in determining IU’s fate this season and like it or not he needs to play.
  2. What’s the reason behind Yogi Ferrell’s shooting slump?
    • The overwhelming theory is that the heavy minutes load is starting to catch up to him. While that does sound reasonable (Ferrell is playing 34.2 minutes per game), one look at his yearly stats and you notice he played around the same amount of minutes both last year (34.9mpg in 2014-2015) and during his sophomore year (33.8mpg in 2013-2014). Instead I think it goes a little deeper. With James Blackmon Jr. out, Ferrell has made it a point to put the team on his back Add that with the fact the Hoosiers have had a hard time functioning on the court without him and you end up stacking even more pressure and stress onto those minutes. The only real fix to this is if the Hoosiers can prove they can play well enough without Ferrell for extended periods of time so Ferrell can rest a few more minutes. The good news is that IU did just that in its win over Iowa. Now it’s up to Ferrell to take advantage of any extra minutes of rest.
  3. How crucial is it for Indiana’s NCAA tournament resume to get a road win over a great team?
    • I really doubt that not winning a road game against a top team is going to keep the Hoosiers out of the NCAA tournament. I also don’t think it will affect seeding that badly (one seed-line at most). If Indiana is able to grab wins over Maryland and Purdue, it won’t really matter to the selection committee that those games were in Assembly Hall. Where road wins are important to IU is in the Big Ten title hunt. Despite the loss on Sunday, Indiana still controls its own destiny as the Hoosiers still have one more game against Maryland and Iowa. However the game against the Hawkeyes will be in Iowa and is now a must-win, but only in terms of winning the Big Ten.

Resilient Hoosiers Earn Signature Win Over Iowa

Only one word properly describes this year’s Indiana Hoosiers: resilient.

The Hoosiers defeated the fourth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes 85-78 on Thursday night to move into a tie for first place in the Big Ten. It was the kind of signature win that the Hoosiers’ tournament resume really lacked and IU earned it by being resilient.

Indiana (20-5, 10-2) broke open a back-and-forth game with a 20-4 run from the 17 minute mark until the 10 minute mark of the first half. Indiana would extend that lead to as large as 16 when the Hoosiers led 36-20 with 6:03 left until halftime.

Yet Iowa (19-5, 10-2) steadily chipped away as they responded with a 25-9 run that had the game tied at 45-45 with 17:39 left in the second half. Both teams would continue to exchange buckets but with 9:35 left, the Hawkeyes held a 60-56 lead as well as momentum.

With a 16-point lead gone, the Hoosiers were on the ropes. Their star and senior leader Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell had missed on his last nine shot attempts and the Hoosiers as a team were two for their last ten. It felt like all the pressure to win this game, which would give IU their first win against a ranked opponent this season, was collapsing in on the Hoosiers.

However, this Indiana team has actually thrived when it has had its back to the wall. Time and again the Hoosiers have faced obstacles only to grow from overcoming them. From rebounding from a sixth place finish at the Maui Invitational to the embarrassing loss at Penn State last weekend, the Hoosiers have shown resilience all year by never losing back-to-back games.

“When things get bad you can fall off and crumble or you can rise to the occasion. I think that we’ve done a really good job of rising to the occasion when adversity hits,” said Collin Hartman about the team’s resiliency this season.

The Hoosiers rose to the occasion again as Harrison Niego’s baseline jumper marked IU’s first non-layup field goal in over five minutes. That make was the beginning of a 19-6 run that would put the Hoosiers ahead for good. It was also a run that featured Troy Williams “coming back to life” and Ferrell finally making his second basket of the game.

“Troy was like Lazarus, he resurrected himself a couple of times during the game,” joked Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean about Williams’ performance. Williams was mostly ineffective during the majority of the game, but Williams ended up being one of the main reasons behind the late run. Williams scored seven of his 13 points during those last nine minutes, which included a see-to-believe moment where Williams split two defenders and nailed a fadeaway jumper that barely beat the shot clock during the final minute of the game.

Indiana still has a lot of obstacles to overcome if  the Hoosiers want to stay at the top of the Big Ten standings amidst a grueling schedule that next has IU traveling to East Lansing to face Michigan State on Sunday. The only thing we know for sure is that Indiana will continue to be resilient no matter what happens.

A Play-By-Play Recap Of How Indiana Went To Half At Michigan On A 25-0 Run

The Indiana Hoosiers kicked off the second half of the Big Ten season with a statement win over the Michigan Wolverines 80-67 in Ann Arbor.

After playing against teams with a combined 20-46 Big Ten record (19-38 if you remove games against IU) during the Hoosiers’ first nine conference games, the Hoosiers had a lot to prove as their final nine opponents were a combined 44-31 (44-29 removing games against IU) in conference play. Well on Tuesday night they continued to roll.

Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell fell just short of a double-double as he finished with a game-high 17 points and nine assists. Rob Johnson also played a huge part as he added 16 points and six rebounds.

Things actually looked very bad at the beginning when the Wolverines (17-6, 7-3) soared out to a 15-4 run during the first 5:26 of the game. For the remaining 14:34 of the first half, the Hoosiers (19-4, 8-1) outscored the Wolverines 41-9, including a 25-0 run from the 9:05 mark until halftime.

Here is a play-by-play breakdown of that 25-0 run that took the Hoosiers from a small deficit to a commanding lead:

8:43 – Michigan had just scored what would end up being its final points of the half off of a Duncan Robinson three-pointer. So Indiana’s run begins with the Hoosiers responding with a Thomas Bryant layup on the next possession. (Michigan leads 24-22, IU on 2-0 run)

7:48 – To go on such a long run, you need to play as close to mistake-free as possible. Well the Hoosiers only committed two turnovers during their 25-0 run, with the first one happening when Johnson turned it over at the 8:11 mark. Johnson atoned for his mistake by immediately forcing a Wolverines turnover which set up a possession that ended with a Collin Hartman layup. The second turnover occurred when Troy Williams tried to do much. As you’ll see coming up, he too made up for his mistake. (Tied 24-24, IU on 4-0 run)

5:56 – This is around the time the Hoosiers’ defense began clamping down on the Wolverines’ offense. In the span of two minutes, all the Michigan offense could produce were two missed three-pointers and a Zak Irvin layup attempt that was blocked by OG Anunoby. Johnson is able to convert his layup attempt on the other end and the Hoosiers take the lead and never give it back. (Indiana leads 26-24, IU on 6-0 run)

4:58 – Another interesting fact about Indiana’s 25-0 run is that only once did the Hoosiers make a trip to the free throw line during that span. Williams, who had just rebounded another Irvin miss, ended up splitting a pair of free throws on the following offensive possession. (Indiana leads 27-24, IU on 7-0 run)

3:34 – After an offensive foul by Robinson, Williams exchanges missed three-pointers with Aubrey Dawkins. On the Hoosiers’ next possession, Ferrell finally sinks a three-pointer off of a great assist by Anunoby. On the next offensive possession, Max Bielfeldt misses his three-point attempt but Williams keeps the possession alive with a rebound and sinks a jumper of his own. (Indiana leads 32-24, IU on 12-0 run)

2:34 – Coming out of the final TV timeout of the half, this is when Indiana’s run starts getting out of hand. During the next two possessions, it’s Derrick Walton Jr. and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman who miss shot attempts for Michigan. At this point, the Wolverines have now missed eight shots in row and it only gets worse. While this is happening, on the other side of the court Ferrell connects with Williams on back-to-back possessions, one resulting in a layup and the other resulting in a dunk. (Indiana leads 36-24, IU on 16-0 run)

1:28 – It looked like Indiana’s run was finally going to end when Hartman fouled Mark Donnal, sending him to the free throw line. However, Donnal missed on the one-and-one and Bielfeldt grabbed the rebound. Like Johnson and Williams, Hartman also made up for his mistake by helping the Hoosiers hit consecutive threes-pointer. Hartman made the first one with 2:03 left in the half and then assisted on Ferrell’s three-pointer with 1:28 left.  (Indiana leads 42-24, IU on 22-0 run)

0:00 – What would a Hoosier scoring-run be without Nick Zeisloft hitting a three-pointer from way behind the arc? After a Dawkins’ missed three-pointer, Zeisloft capped the run with the Hoosiers’ third straight possession with a triple. Defensively, the Hoosiers succeeded in keeping Michigan scoreless with Bielfeldt’s block of Irvin’s layup with four seconds left being the final stop. (Indiana leads 45-24, IU on 25-0 run)

Stats During IU’s 25-0 Run:

  • Indiana: 10-13 FG, 4-6 3FG, 1-2 FT
  • Michigan: 0-12 FG, 0-4 3FG, 0-1 FT

Bryant Helps Hoosiers Survive Minnesota’s Upset Bid

Earlier in the week, when the Indiana Hoosiers played the Wisconsin Badgers, ESPN highlighted Thomas Bryant as a potential “green room guy”, meaning that he has a chance to be invited to the NBA Draft because he would be expected to be picked in the first 10-15 picks. Well Bryant looked like a “green room guy” on Saturday when the freshman big man helped the Hoosiers overcome a Minnesota Golden Gophers rally and win 74-68.

Bryant scored a career-high 23 points, including a huge bucket on an offensive rebound that gave the Hoosiers (18-4, 8-1) the lead again. Both him and Rob Johnson had a game-high eight rebounds.

“(Bryant) brings a lot of energy to everybody and the key is, when it’s not going so well, that he doesn’t get emotional the other way,” said Indiana coach Tom Crean. “That’s where he’s kind of continued to mature. I’m proud of him.”

Bryant scored the Hoosiers last three field goals of the game, which consisted of two in the final two minutes as well as one at the 8:08 mark of the second half. The last field goal was very interesting as OG Anunoby rebounded a missed three-pointer by Nate Mason with 37 seconds left and gave it to Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell. Ferrell noticed the Minnesota team wasn’t getting back on defense and instead of running down the clock to five seconds with a one-point lead he pushed the ball up the court and found Bryant for a dunk that put Indiana up 70-67 with 27 seconds left.

“I felt like they thought we were going to call a timeout, and then I see all four of their players walking to the sideline so I decided to push,” said Ferrell. “Luckily, Thomas was down there and I got him the ball on the dunk. It’s probably one of the weirder plays I’ve ever seen playing in a basketball game.”

The Golden Gophers, who still have yet to win a Big Ten game this season, started the game well with a 7-0 run before the Hoosiers took control of the game. Yet Minnesota never gave up as they steadily turned a 12-point halftime deficit into a one-point lead on a Dupree McBrayer dunk with 3:54 left. That would be the last field goal for the Golden Gophers (6-16, 0-10).

Both Kevin Dorsey and Mason scored a team-high 21 points for Minnesota while Indiana also received double-digit points from Troy Williams and Ferrell as both scored 13.

Indiana is now 8-1 in Big Ten at the halfway point of conference play, but things get tougher in the second half of the schedule starting with a matchup in Ann Arbor on Tuesday against the Michigan Wolverines. Game will start at 9pm and will be broadcast on ESPN.

From The Boxscore:

  • One of the main reasons Minnesota was able to erase a 12-point halftime defecit is that the Golden Gophers were able to get to the rim at will in the second half, connecting on 15 layup or dunk attempts during the final 20 minutes.
  • Another reason the Hoosiers almost lost was due to some uncharacteristic ice-cold three-point shooting. Indiana connected on only 2 of 18 from behind the arc, with the only makes coming from Rob Johnson and Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell.
  • Coincidently, Minnesota also shot exactly 2 of 18 from three-point range with the only makes coming from Dupree McBrayer and Charles Buggs.
  • Thomas Bryant not only scored a career-high 23 points but did it by making 11 of his 13 field attempts.
  • Bryant wasn’t the Hoosier to set a career-high against Minnesota. Johnson also set a career-high with 8 rebounds.