What We Learned: Hoosier Hysteria

Hoosier Hysteria is over. Here's what we learned about this year's team.

Hoosier Hysteria came and went on Saturday night, and the atmosphere was just as electric as it has been in recent years. Here are a few things we learned from Indiana's Midnight Madness event.

1. Yogi Ferrell IS EVEN BETTER: It's not hard to understand why Ferrell was named to the preseason first team All-Big Ten. Ferrell is even better than he was a year ago and he now has a plethora of new shooters to throw the ball to on the perimeter.

Ferrell led his team with 14 points in the scrimmage, and he did a solid job on James Blackmon Jr. after he opened with 10 quick points. Ferrell should have a huge year for the Hoosiers.

2. JAMES BLACKMON JR. CAN FLAT-OUT SCORE: Blackmon is as pure a scorer as Indiana has had in recent years. He can put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways, making Indiana's backcourt one of the best in the Big Ten and the nation. He still has room to improve on the defensive end, but Blackmon is a natural scorer that is ready to contribute right away.

Blackmon Jr. led all scorers with 19 points in Saturday night's scrimmage, albeit in a losing effort.

3. UPSET IN THE DUNK CONTEST: Troy Williams was the heavy favorite in the Hoosier Hysteria dunk contest, and Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Devin Davis were thought to be the main competition. But walk-on Nate Ritchie surprised everybody by upsetting all three players and winning the title.

For his winning dunk, Ritchie had Stanford Robinson throw him a pass off the backboard, which he dunked in impressive fashion on his first attempt.

4. SHOOTERS GALORE: We've written about Indiana's influx of shooting all offseason, and it was on display on Saturday night. Freshman forward Max Hoetzel won the 3-point competition, beating out Illinois State transfer Nick Zeisloft in the finals. Hoetzel was asked afterward by Sage Steele about growing up in Hollywood, to which he uttered one of the best lines of the night.

"I know some people," he said. "I'm Max Hoetzel. That's all you need to know."

5. DEFENSE A WORK IN PROGRESS: Indiana won't have much of a problem scoring the ball this year, but the Hoosiers' defense is still a work in progress. Tom Crean was unhappy with his team leaving shooters in the scrimmage, and that's something that must be corrected. We didn't get a great idea about Indiana's post defense because there aren't that many interior scoring options on the roster.

Crean admitted it's still early and that the team hasn't even put in much of its defensive strategy. But for this team to get where it wants to go, it will have to improve on the defensive end.

RECRUITS ON HAND: Among the recruits on hand for Hoosier Hysteria: 2015 commits Juwan Morgan and Oguga "O.G." Anunoby, 2016 guards Rawle Alkins and Eron Gordon, and guard JaQuan Lyle. Lyle was denied admittance to Oregon and would be a candidate to enroll for the second semester. He's a five-star guard and was taken around Assembly Hall by IU's assistant coaches on Saturday night.

Indiana assistant coach Steve McClain spent a good amount of time sitting and talking with Eric Gordon Sr. after the event was over.


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