BOZICH: Indiana Awaits Tar Heels as UK Eyes Fighting Irish - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH: Indiana Awaits Tar Heels as UK Eyes Fighting Irish

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Jordan Hulls is making better than 50 percent of his three-point shots this season. Jordan Hulls is making better than 50 percent of his three-point shots this season.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WDRB) – Kentucky does not make the trip to Assembly Hall this season. North Carolina joins Indiana as a team that has departed the UK schedule. Enter the Big Ten/ACC Challenge to arrange a perfect replacement moment for the Tar Heels and Hoosiers.

North Carolina visits IU Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. -- with Dick Vitale and Dan Shulman working the ESPN microphones here for the first time since they were nearly trampled in the aftermath of Indiana's 73-72 victory over Kentucky last Dec. 10. 

The Tar Heels were dusted by Butler, 82-71, in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational last week. But North Carolina has also won five games by 15 points or more. Indiana has won six games by 10 or more, including the Hoosiers' punishing 101-53 victory over Ball State here Sunday night.

Early in the 2004-05 season, North Carolina beat IU and Mike Davis, 70-63, during another Big Ten/ACC Challenge game. That UNC team won the NCAA title. This one isn't ranked as highly, but the Tar Heels still have more McDonald's all-Americans than Indiana.

"They're a very good basketball team that's coming off a loss," said IU associate head coach Tim Buckley, who pinch-hit for Tom Crean at the post-game press conference. "That always gets you a little bit more refocused.

"They're really good on the backboards. We've got to do a good job of rebounding the ball. You might want to bring a neck brace. That ball is going to be up and down the floor all night. It's going to be a very fast type of environment out on the floor, but we can't play too fast."

*Indiana played fast – and efficiently – against Ball State. The Hoosiers made better than 60 percent of their field goal attempts (38 of 63) and shot 41.2 percent (7 of 17) from the three-point line. Indiana is ranked first -- just ahead of Duke and UK -- in Ken Pomeroy's offensive efficiency ratings.

Will Sheehey led IU in scoring with 19 points in 19 minutes, missing one of nine shots. Jordan Hulls had 17 points, making three of six three-pointers.

Hulls has now made 193 three-point shots. Only two Hoosiers have made more – Tom Coverdale (200) and A.J. Guyton (283). Hulls will catch Coverdale by next week. Guyton can relax.

"I put a lot of time in my shooting," Hulls said. "I'd like to shoot the ball well every game."

*Sheehey's 19 points followed two mediocre games in Brooklyn. He made only 4 of 10 shots, missing all four three-point attempts and all three free throws against Georgia and Georgetown. This was the most Sheehey has scored since he hung 21 on Butler a year ago.

"Where it starts with our guys is when they feel like they haven't played well, and Will probably didn't shoot it was well as he would have liked when we played in Brooklyn," Buckley said.

"He got in the gym and he worked. He got shots up. He shot free throws. He did all the things you have to do to get better."

"I took open shots and teammates found me," Sheehey said. "That's it."

*Credit Austin Etherington with a basket in the final 20 seconds that pushed the Hoosiers over 100 points and ensured a free meal at Qdoba for the first 100 people to show up with a ticket stub.

"His eyes lit up when he saw we were at 98 because he wanted to get that burrito," Sheehey said. "He's probably at Qdoba right now."

*North Carolina at Indiana isn't the only five-star game of the week. Kentucky plays in one of the toughest environments in college basketball Thursday – the Joyce Center at Notre Dame.

That game is part of the SEC/Big East Challenge. Louisville is not a participant in the challenge this season.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the Irish are 37-1 at home. That includes victories over top-ranked Syracuse last winter, Louisville and Connecticut's 2011 NCAA champs.

The Fighting Irish live for moments like this and have the ability to introduce folks like football coach Brian Kelly and linebacker Manti Te'o to get the adrenaline percolating in the crowd. John Calipari's young team faces a daunting assignment in South Bend -- and then return home to play a rebuilding (4-2) Baylor team on Saturday.

Copyright 2012 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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