Monday, November 29, 2010

Basketball W's, Soccer L, ACC-B10 Challenge

The Men's Soccer team had a rough season-ending loss at Akron, 2-1. The Zips had the better run of the play, but a miscue on the back line was IU's undoing. Right after the Zips scored the first goal, a bad clearance led to a 1v1 with the keeper, and Akron made IU pay. IU bounced back with a late goal from Adlard, but these miscues on the back line is really something that Yeags has to work on during the offseason. The losses of Daniel Kelly, Andy Adlard, Rich Balchan, and Cameron Jordan will be felt, and their hard work for the Hoosiers is appreciated. Thanks guys! Still, some great offensive weapons and a good defensive core returns, and Soffner seems to be improving (he evidently had 6 saves and broke a bunch of dangerous chances), so the outlook is good for next season. How good comes down to whether Will Bruin goes pro or not. He clearly has the talent to do so, and he suffered an ankle injury before the game at Akron, so who knows? If he returns, IU could make the jump to title contender again next season.

The Men's basketball team took out North Carolina Central and Northwestern State. The notable developments here were that Oladipo seems to be taking a step forward (maybe his confidence has been lifted with that great 3/4 court halftime buzzer shot vs. NC-Central), Matt Roth has returned to the line-up (in spot minutes), and the team as a whole seems to be slightly reducing its egregious turnover rate. However, the next two weeks will give IU fans a much better idea about the true progress of the team. A road game at Boston College awaits, and BC appears to be on the road to being the bubble team that I thought they would be. The Eagles don't shoot well from outside but do give up some threes to their opponents, and they don't cause a ton of turnovers (despite getting a lot of steals) or hit the offensive boards. However, they do score well from inside the arc and they don't turn the ball over themselves. IU should be able to hang with BC, even on the road, especially as the Hoosiers appear to be a much deeper team. Still, as this is IU's first real road game and Jones still rounding back into shape and Maurice Creek nowhere near 100%, I think BC wins this game by about 10 points. Here's hoping I'm wrong!

Overall, I think KenPom has the best take on ACC-B10 challenge, and I think the key games are indeed tonight's Virginia at Minnesota game (2 starters for Minny are out) and Maryland at PSU. As long as the Big 10 wins those home games, they should be fine. Maryland at PSU will be a tough one, tho, as Maryland will be a bubble team and PSU is a NIT team at best. PSU could really use a re-emergence of Andrew Jones' defensive prowess to lock this one up, as Maryland has had a hard time not turning the ball over or shooting well from outside, and I really doubt the Terps have any answer for Talor Battle. Go Big Ten!


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