Heading home, can Jones keep up pace? (The Indianapolis Star)
"Indiana sophomore guard Verdell Jones III has scored 20 or more points in four consecutive Big Ten games. No one else has an active streak longer than two games."
Jones stepping up for IU (The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Verdell Jones III is from Champaign, Ill. But he doesn’t put any added emphasis on facing his hometown team, regardless of which Assembly Hall the game is played. "To me," the Indiana sophomore guard said Friday of playing Illinois, "it’s just another Big Ten game."
Indiana needs to "dog" it against Illinois (The News-Sentinel - Fort Wayne IN)
"Verdell Jones smiled through the pain, joked about the retaliation. You’ve got to give as good as you get, better actually, if you’re to get this grit coach Tom Crean demands. So the Indiana Hoosiers practiced as Crean preached Friday. They scrimmaged without fouls. They crashed the boards with consequences. They did it rough because Illinois will play it rough tonight at Assembly Hall."
Illinois at Indiana preview: its a road game, not a neutral game, that makes a difference right? (Hail to the Orange)
"Look, I know that the Illini should win this game, and if they really want to make the tournament, they can't keep losing to the lower tiered teams of the world. And despite showing some signs of life lately that is exactly what Indiana is right now. But I am easily worried, and the strong first half Indiana had against Kentucky is itching the back of my brain, and the fact that the Illini have played less than stellar when they don't have the Orange Krush insulting the virtue of opposing players mothers. Also Verdell Jones III is a local Champaign product who has been playing startlingly well, and who no doubt would love nothing more than to stick it to the team he loved as a kid."
Crean is a driving force for Hoosiers (STLtoday.com)
"After going 1-17 in the Big Ten last season, the Hoosiers already have matched that conference win total but have a long haul ahead. But Crean survived the worst, what he described as "a lot of behind-the-scenes anguish" that he masked with a positive public demeanor. "I learned a lot," he said. "I don't want to make it sound like I'm on the Oprah show, learning about myself, but I did. You bounce back fast when you're in a situation when people are really relying on you.""
Illini travel to play 'different' Indiana in Bloomington (Bloomington, Ill. Pantagraph)
"Our biggest issue is living with guys who don’t understand. There are some unacceptable numbers for us," Crean said. "We can call it inexperience, we can call it youth, but I call it soft. We can’t win with 31 deflections and 35 rebounds (by Ohio State). We got very quiet early on in the game. Leadership is not going to come from one person, not the way this team is built. It’s got to come collectively."
Illinois natives Jones, Roth play big role for rebuilding Hoosiers (Kewanee, IL - Star Courier)
"Now that Jones is a capable Big Ten guard, Illinois coach Bruce Weber gets more questions about he ended up playing his home games in Indiana’s Assembly Hall instead of Illinois’. "We had a backlog of point guards at the time,'' said Weber, referring to Frazier, Demetri McCamey and Jeff Jordan. "I don't even know if we had a scholarship at that time. If we would, I'm not sure it would have been the right fit. He picked a school where he had the opportunity to play, and he's taken advantage of it. "We always talk to guys about extra motivation. Sometimes teams or players play at a high level because of extra motivation.''
Know Thy Opponent: Illinois Fighting Illini (Inside the Hall)
"No, not really. Illinois fans really dislike Indiana. That started long before Sampson and EJ Gordon. If you break it down to the coaching staff, Illinois’ has decades of reasons to enjoy beating Indiana. Weber also spent 18 seasons at Purdue. Jay Price spent 10 years at Purdue." Lots of good stuff in this Q&A with the Champaign beat writer for the Illini.
Crean toughens practice for Hoosiers (The Hoosier Scoop)
"Practice, players said, has been more physical. There have been scrimmages without fouls and some nasty rebounding drills. The team also had to watch film of Wednesday night’s game and see exactly how ugly it was. But Crean said he’s also made a point to show them positive plays on film, contrasting what’s happened when the Hoosiers have done things right to what happens when they’ve done things wrong."
Indiana looks for an edge over Illini (Evansville Courier & Press)
"Indiana will face an Illinois team that features five regulars scoring in double figures."