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No. 1 Indiana steamrolls North Carolina

Nov 28, 2012, 12:30 AM EDT

North Carolina v Indiana Getty Images

North Carolina probably wishes they never turned the lights back on.

With 19 minutes left in the second half of the Tar Heels visit to Bloomington, the lights cut out at Assembly Hall. They immediately came back on, but the Tar Heels never showed back up. After using a 15-6 surge to close the half and break a 31-all tie, the Hoosiers proceeded to open up the second half with a 22-3 run, taking a 68-40 lead and turning one of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge’s marquee matchups into a laugher.

Are you still convinced Duke is the best team in the country?

If you are, that’s fine, but Indiana sure did provide a convincing argument to the contrary, as Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey combined for 58 points on 24-39 shooting in the 83-59 win.

Indiana was firing on all cylinders on Tuesday night. Zeller routinely beat every Tar Heel defender down the floor in transition — off of makes and misses — getting at least four layups simply off of hustle in the first 25 minutes of the game. Oladipo did what Oladipo does, coming up with easy buckets off of offensive rebounds and cuts to the rim while locking up Reggie Bullock on the defensive end of the floor. Sheehey proved to the nation why he’s the clubhouse favorite for sixth-man of the year while Yogi Ferrell and Jordy Hulls took turns carving up North Carolina’s defense to the tune of a combined 14 assists to just a single turnover.

Think about this: Indiana was this impressive, and they got nothing out of Christian Watford. Well, that’s not completely true; he did score once, a thunderous dunk with five minutes left to put the Hoosiers up 31. He was 1-9 from the floor.

Indiana still have some weak links. For as well as the Hoosiers were moving the ball, and for as many wide open shots as they were getting all night long, it was frustrating to see Watford force a couple of jumpers. And while Oladipo and Ferrell are both terrific defenders, when Hulls and Watford are on the floor together, the Hoosiers will be playing with two guys that are below-average defenders.

But after a performance like this, that almost feels like I’m picking nits.

The Hoosiers have so many weapons, so many talented players that understand and excel in their roles. Case in point: Oladipo has the physical tools to be a first round pick, and while he needs to prove that he can be dangerous as a scorer, I doubt you’ll see him do much more than play the role of Indiana’s glue-guy this season. He wants to win, and he knows that the best chance for the Hoosiers to win big are if he spends every second that he’s on the floor as the hardest-worker.

That’s a luxury.

And so is Assembly Hall. Even when the lights stayed on, that place was as loud and intense as any sporting venue you’ll ever see.

No wonder John Calipari didn’t want to play there.

Can you really blame him?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

  1. gosport474 - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    HOOSIER domiNATION !!!!!!

  2. ukcatsfan - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:01 AM

    WOW is about all you can say about IU right now!!!!

  3. gatordontplay - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    Cats fan that smack us around. They are clearly the #1 team in the nation.. I think carolina will be fine come conference play

    • ukcatsfan - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:38 AM

      I agree they are a very clear #1. I also think that UNC is down a little this year but Roy Williams is a good coach and will get these guys playing together by March!!!

      • metalhead65 - Nov 28, 2012 at 9:06 AM

        wow a classy uk fan! thanks you do not see very many of those around.

      • arlingtonsynn - Nov 28, 2012 at 5:34 PM

        Patience on UNC though.

        They are a young team and much like Kentucky last year, they will be better as their players learn to mesh and play off each other.

  4. gatordontplay - Nov 28, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    Cat same situation with you guys when you lose 4 1st round picks you’re going to be down.. We have alot of talent at the guards position with 2 guys who can come off the bench and catch fire at 3’s( you probably didnt see it last night) mcadoo is a 18-10 guy for the season the other post player will be a weakness all year.

    • ukcatsfan - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      Gator I agree with you about UK we are definetely a work in progress. We don’t have quite as many reliable pieces off the bench as you all do and our bigs need to toughen up BIG time!

      Metalhead sorry you haven’t found to many UK fans with class…..

      • metalhead65 - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:22 PM

        don’t mean to insult you or others but you should read the message boards and stories about IU and the insults that follow from uk “fans”. I know they do not represent all of you but those are the ones that seem to talk all the time.yours is the first reasonable post I have seen.

      • ukcatsfan - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:46 AM

        No insult, I completely understand. I have friends that are the same way!

  5. gostlcards5 - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    I completely disagree with you calling Hulls a “below average defender”. What he gives up in athleticism to the guards he has faced, he more than makes up for in effort, hustle, and intensity. He was not consistently beaten by more athletic guards in either the G’town or UNC games. Even when he ended up on a big off of a switch, he wasn’t beaten in the G’town game. I would call him an average to slightly above average defender.

  6. stlouis1baseball - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    The atmosphere in Assembly Hall last night was electric. So much so…you couldn’t here the person right next to you unless you yelled at the top of your lungs (much like a heavy metal concert). Simply electric.
    And Rob…you are dead on in regards to the Mafia Don not wanting to play in Bloomington.
    But even moreso…he hasn’t lost at Rupp arena yet. Wonder why he doesn’t want home and homes?

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