About Indiana: Talent Isn't A Problem

The Hoosiers are being pegged as one of the more talented teams in the Big Ten, but they still have to prove themselves on the road.

Shooting is still a problem for Indiana. The Hoosiers are connecting on a league-low 41.1 percent of their shots.

But don't confuse a team that struggles from the field with one that lacks talent and grit. The Hoosiers showed plenty of both qualities in a 67-60 win over Ohio State Jan. 22. As a result, Indiana has reeled off four straight Big Ten wins as it prepares for road games against Minnesota and Iowa.

Count Ohio State head coach Thad Matta among those impressed with Indiana's toughness and skill.

"I've said this all along: I think Indiana is an incredible basketball team," Matta said. "I think they're probably one of the most talented teams we've gone against this year."

Ohio State has already played Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa, so Matta's assessment of the Hoosiers is very meaningful.

The Hoosiers usually feed off the performance of star guard Bracey Wright, who came through with one of the best all-around performances of his career against the Buckeyes. Wright was the game's leading scorer with 23 points and also had seven rebounds and four assists.

In addition to their second-place status in the Big Ten, the Hoosiers are 3-0 at home in conference play. Last year the Hoosiers were 3-5 in home conference games.

Head coach Mike Davis thinks his young team is starting to grow up quickly and he credits D.J. White, Robert Vaden and A.J. Ratliff for their maturity. "Our young guys are playing like they're sophomores now, and that has been good," Davis told the Indianapolis Star. "That's just what we have been working on."

Indiana will try to continue its winning ways with road games against Minnesota and Iowa this week.

NOTES, QUOTES
— Indiana, which held on to defeat Ohio State 67-60 Jan. 22, has beaten the Buckeyes in seven of their last nine trips to Bloomington.

— The Hoosiers are shooting 41.1 percent from the field — ranking last in the Big Ten.

— The Hoosiers are getting it done with defense. Opponents are shooting just 39.7 percent from the field, making the Hoosiers the toughest team to shoot against in the Big Ten.

PROBABLE LINEUP: Point guard Marshall Strickland, shooting guard Bracey Wright, power forward D.J. White, small forward Robert Vaden, guard A.J. Ratliff

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We needed someone to step up and we all know that Bracey can take over games. We've got a lot of talented players on this team. It was hard to look over there and see D.J. hurting like he was, but we have a lot of confidence that we have other guys that can get the job done." — Forward Robert Vaden on his team's ability to come through in the second half in the Jan. 22 win over Ohio State.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
UPCOMING GAMES: at Minnesota, Jan. 26; at Iowa, Jan. 29

KEYS: The Hoosiers are winning tough games at home, now they have to show they can do the same thing on the road. The Gophers are one of the most improved teams in the conference, while Iowa has also stepped up this season. If Mike Davis can come away with a split, he should be happy.

ROSTER REPORT: Guard Bracey Wright scored 23 points in Jan. 22 win over Ohio State and leads the Hoosiers and the Big Ten with an average of 19.1 ppg.

— Power forward D.J. White scored 15 points in the Jan. 22 win over Ohio State — even though he contributed very little in the second half as a result of dehydration. He should be able to play against the Gophers.

— Guard Marshall Strickland leads the Hoosiers with 3.0 assists per game.





Gopher Illustrated Top Stories