Mailbag: Sept. 24, 2013

You asked them, I answered them. Get updated on Indiana football and basketball in today's mailbag.

ryork23 writes: Gut feeling we get JBJ (James Blackmon Jr.)? Percent chance???

JUSTIN ALBERS writes: I'm going to stay away from percent chances because that's virtually impossible to calculate with a recruit. It'd be purely a guess on my part. I do think Indiana remains in good shape with Blackmon Jr., and he is expected to visit campus again, either officially or unofficially (or both). Kentucky will have him on campus for Big Blue Madness, but Tom Crean continues his relentless pursuit of Blackmon Jr., and that could pay off in the end.

jahel writes: What are your guesses as to who will be IU's first commits in 2015 and 2016?

ALBERS writes: Again, nearly impossible to predict. But here's my guess: In 2015, Malachi Richardson. In 2016, Tyus Battle. That's best-case scenario in both instances, but I think IU is in great shape with both players. I actually could see Battle committing before Richardson. Again, write that in pencil, but that's my educated guess at this point in the game.

SouthernMichael writes: I attended my first IU football game last Saturday and have a weird question. I was close enough to the field to see when the players got tackled and where the ball should be spotted. I noticed that the officials moved the ball to a yard line forward or backwards on plays that gained yards. Have you ever noticed this and is this to make things easier. I just was curious considering some first downs are made by those inches.

ALBERS writes: That's an interesting question. From the press box, we don't exactly get that close-up view you describe. I would imagine that if the ball is close enough to one of the yard lines, the officials would move it there. But if it's right in the middle, I doubt they move it forward or backward half a yard. But like I said, that's not something I've ever noticed so it's a good observation on your part. I'll have to keep a closer eye on it going forward.

RockMagnum writes: Indiana just won a recruiting battle for Robert Johnson. Beating out a "Blue Blood" program in North Carolina. Crean has won a few of these (Cody, Troy Williams, Noah) over the past few years. I don't follow recruiting at other schools too much, but has anyone else in the Big Ten recently won a recruiting war for a player again a "Blue Blood" hoops program? Thanks.

ALBERS writes: That's a good question. Since you said "recent", I'll keep it strictly in the 2014 class. There's two answers for you off the top of my head: Ohio State and Illinois.

The Buckeyes earned a commitment from D'Angelo Russell by beating out schools like Arizona, Florida, Louisville and North Carolina. And then Illinois got Leron Black by beating out IU, UCONN, Florida, Ohio State and UCLA. So there's two off the top of my head.

The thing about those two kids is they were fairly local to the schools they chose. In the case of Robert Johnson choosing Indiana, that wasn't the case. The Hoosiers effectively stole a player from North Carolina in that instance, and I'm not sure that's happened in the last couple years for other Big Ten schools.

jmsgws writes: Will I live to see Indiana back in a bowl game? (I'm pushing 50, and in decent health.)

ALBERS writes: Yes. Don't think it'll be this year given the 2-2 start, but Indiana should return to a bowl game in your lifetime. I do think Kevin Wilson is the right guy to get the Hoosiers back in the postseason, and I think it'll happen here in the next two or three years. Hang in there. Top Stories