Skip to content

Christian Watford a key figure for No. 3 Indiana this month

Mar 15, 2013, 2:30 PM EDT

Christian Watford, Joseph Bertrand AP

The Indiana Hoosiers have depth and they do have two of the nation’s best players in junior wing Victor Oladipo and sophomore center Cody Zeller. Zeller scored 24 points (9-of-11 FG) and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Hoosiers past Illinois on Friday afternoon by the final score of 80-64, and Oladipo added 12 points and 11 rebounds.

But for as good as those two have been all year for Tom Crean’s team, whether or not the Hoosiers (27-5) can win a national title will also depend on what they get from senior forward Christian Watford.

Watford scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds against the Fighting Illini, a step in the right direction after struggling down the stretch.

In three of Indiana’s final four regular season games Watford failed to reach double figures, averaging 7.0 points per game and shooting 26.7% from the field in those four games. Entering Friday Watford was averaging 12.4 points per contest and shooting 43.2% from the field (48.6% 3PT), and he shot 50% from the field (3-of-6) while also getting to the foul line (7-of-8) against Illinois.

As a team the Hoosiers shot 54% from the field on Friday and outscored the Illini 40-24 in the paint. With the number of options at Crean’s disposal the Hoosiers are going to be tough for any team to slow down, but that doesn’t mean their road to Atlanta will be an easy one to navigate.

There will be a game during the NCAA tournament in which either Oladipo or Zeller struggle offensively, and that’s where a player like Watford, Jordan Hulls (seven assists) or Will Sheehey (11 points off the bench) comes into play.

“It takes our whole team to win,” said Oladipo following the win. “When guys off the bench step up and when Christian and Jordan step up, it’s huge for us. They’re very capable of that. Without them, we can’t win.”

Watford’s been consistent for much of the season, but in the aftermath of that rough stretch to end the regular season he needed a game like this one to get back on the right track.

And if Watford’s playing well, a Hoosier squad that’s one of the pre-tournament favorites to win it all becomes even tougher to beat.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Latest Posts
  1. Four-star combo forward decommits from Ohio State

    Aug 21, 2014, 11:06 PM EDT

    mitchell

    More than two months after his older brother left the football program, Mickey Mitchell has decided to decommit from Ohio State.

  2. Power forward becomes Missouri’s first 2015 commitment

    Aug 21, 2014, 10:14 PM EDT

    Kim Anderson AP

    6-foot-7 forward Kevin Puryear was a point forward for his high school team last season.

  3. Creighton’s logos draw ire of Major League Baseball franchise

    Aug 21, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT

    Creighton University Creighton University

    The Toronto Blue Jays aren’t thrilled with Creighton filing an application to trademark its logo, which was unveiled last September.

  4. Bounceback season lands formerly maligned Big 12 coach an extension

    Aug 21, 2014, 7:21 PM EDT

    Baylor Bears v Texas Longhorns Getty Images

    Rick Barnes entered last season on nearly every pundit’s “hot seat” rankings, only to turn things around and win 24 games.

  5. Little League phenom has dreams of playing for Geno Auriemma

    Aug 21, 2014, 5:55 PM EDT

    Mo'ne Davis Mo'ne Davis

    Mo’ne Davis is currently focused on winning a LLWS title, but down the line she really wants to run the point at UConn.

  6. Former Temple great returns to join Fran Dunphy’s coaching staff

    Aug 21, 2014, 4:37 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Aaron McKie ranks sixth on Temple’s all-time scoring list, and he played 13 seasons in the NBA.

  7. Kevin Ollie wisely adds series with Ohio State, Arizona

    Aug 21, 2014, 3:57 PM EDT

    Kevin Ollie AP

    UConn’s league schedule is only getting weaker. They need to beef up in the non-conference.

  8. John Calipari can be a great coach with being an x’s-and-o’s mastermind

    Aug 21, 2014, 3:19 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    A quick explanation of why John Calipari can be a great coach without being a great x’s-and-o’s coach.

  9. Report: College of Charleston to consider bringing back Bobby Cremins

    Aug 21, 2014, 12:46 PM EDT

    bobby-cremins AP

    But would hiring Cremins be a way to get Anthony Johnson the job?

  10. Throwback Thursday: A wild college hoops comeback (VIDEO)

    Aug 21, 2014, 10:34 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Five points down, 2.8 seconds left, and victorious?

  11. Louisville’s Terry Rozier is ready for his bigger role this season

    Aug 21, 2014, 9:34 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Rozier will be the most important player for Louisville this season.

  12. Florida guard continues to work towards full recovery from leg injury

    Aug 20, 2014, 10:46 PM EDT

    Southern v Florida Getty Images

    Redshirting helped Eli Carter as he looks to recover from a broken leg suffered in 2013, but he still isn’t at the level he was prior to the injury.

  13. Reports: Former Memphis center to enroll at Tennessee

    Aug 20, 2014, 9:59 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    According to reports Dominic Woodson will be enrolling at Tennessee in time for the start of classes Thursday.

  14. Florida State lands its first 2015 verbal commitment

    Aug 20, 2014, 9:16 PM EDT

    D1Circuit/Nike Basketball D1Circuit/Nike Basketball

    Four-star shooting guard Terance Mann picked Florida State over Arizona State, Boston College, Indiana, Marquette and Rhode Island.

  15. Assigned Reading: The rise and fall of Curtis Malone

    Aug 20, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    dc-assault.org dc-assault.org

    Curtis Malone is serving a 100-month sentence after pleading guilty to being a part of a drug ring that brought in $80,000 in profits per month.

  16. Oregon State freshman hospitalized after collapsing during workout Tuesday

    Aug 20, 2014, 6:42 PM EDT

    Jesse Skoubo/Corvallis Gazette-Times Jesse Skoubo/Corvallis Gazette-Times

    A report stated that a blood clot in Chai Baker’s leg may have resulted in his collapsing during a workout on Tuesday.

  17. Report: Former UNLV guard transfers to UT Martin

    Aug 20, 2014, 5:38 PM EDT

    Deville Smith, Skylar Spencer AP

    Deville Smith averaged 9.7 points and 2.7 assists in 32 games last season, making 18 starts.

  18. Mixtape for Duke-bound guard Luke Kennard (VIDEO)

    Aug 20, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    Luke Kennard AP

    Kennard is the No. 19 recruit in the Rivals top 150.