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November 8, 2013
New chapter begins tonight
It's one thing to replace four starters, another if those four include a pair of top five NBA picks and two other four-year starters. But that what's ahead for Tom Crean and his Indiana program in 2013-14.
Everything gets started tonight at 7 p.m. when the Hoosiers host Chicago State at Assembly Hall. Like IU's two exhibition games, this one is not going to be televised live by any network. You can watch it online live for a fee at BTN.com or Indiana's All-Access channel. The Big Ten Network will show a replay of the game Sunday night at 10:30 p.m. ET.
You won't find many teams as dominated by seniors as the team theĀ Hoosier face this evening. Fourth-year head coach Tracy Dildy is projected to toss out five senior starters tonight and has six among his top seven.
"I've known Tracy Dildy for a long time," said Tom Crean yesterday. "I knew him as a player when he was at UIC and I know him as a coach at Chicago State. He has a team now that has experience and is deep in every position."
Dildy seems to have his program on the right track. Last season in his third year at the helm, the Cougars went 11-22, seven more wins than the prior season. The team came on late, winning the Great West Conference Tournament Championship last March. That gave the Cougars an automatic berth in the CollegeInsider.com tournament where CSU fell to cross-town rival UIC, 80-69.
It's the year of major conference realignment and Chicago State is a new member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).
6-foot-4 wing Quentin Pippen will lead the way. The nephew of Chicago Bull Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen averaged 10.4 points last year. Inside the team will rely on 6-foot-8 Matt Ross. The 220-pounder averaged 9.8 points and a team high 6.3 boards a year ago.
"They are coming off a good finish last season and they have a lot of guys back," said Crean. "Quinton Pippen does a lot of things on offense and Ross is an outstanding forward. We are excited for the game and it's going to be very interesting, to put it mildly, to see how a very inexperienced team deals with that kind of pressure inside of this game. We are looking forward to that and we are looking forward to a great crowd. "
While Indiana returns starting point guard Yogi Ferrell, the Hoosiers ball handling should be tested tonight.
"He's got an outstanding defensive team, and judging by how many steals they get, they are a tremendous trapping team with screens and trapping in the backcourt," said Crean. "With their trapping, switching, and pressure, they're going to create some havoc for us. It's a great opener for us because it gives our guys a chance to go against a more experienced and older team, and it's going to put tremendous pressure on them defensively as well as offensively, by the way that they drive and the way they run in transition."
The Cougars will throw a lot of different things at Indiana tonight.
"They mix it up," said Crean. "There's a zone pressure that's 1-2-1-1, there's a 2-2-1 press, and I think as scary as any of that is, is the way they trap out of their zone and the way they trap the ball screens. This team is going to force the tempo defensively and it will be very good for us to have to deal with that."
Projected Chicago State starters and key reserves with prior year stats: