BLOOMINGTON – A capacity crowd filled Assembly Hall nearly two hours before the start of Hoosier Hysteria, eager to catch a glimpse of the top-ranked team in the country.
And sophomore forward Cody Zeller provided a sign of things to come. Zeller collected a steal near halfcourt during a scrimmage and made a pass to Kevin Yogi Ferrell. The freshman guard then tossed the ball back to Zeller, who finished the alley-oop with a thunderous dunk.
Fans lined up as early as Friday in preparation for the event, which featured some singing, dancing, long-distance shooting, dunking and a 15-minute scrimmage.
I was just hoping for a packed house, not one where people were turned away an hour-and-a-half before the thing really tipped off. But thats the Hoosier Nation, and thats awesome, coach Tom Crean said. The energy was high. It was fantastic.
The early portion of the night belonged to Victor Oladipo.
The junior guard started by singing a song. Several of his teammates, including Derek Elston, served as background dancers.
Oladipo then turned the long-distance shooting contest into an open-mic night. He took over the emcee duties from ESPNs Sage Steele and provided play-by-play, along with a little trash talking, while his teammates fired shots from the three-point territory and beyond.
Zeller won the tournament-style long-distance shootout. Oladipo won the dunk contest.
Ferrell and fellow freshman Jeremy Hollowell had a nice showing early in the scrimmage. Hollowell had a couple of strong moves under the basket.
Guard Maurice Creek, coming off three serious injuries in the past three seasons, moved well. The guard received a standing ovation, and he thanked the fans and his family after competing in the long-distance contest.
It was fun to get back out there today, Creek said.
Jordan Hulls nailed consecutive three-pointers to keep the scrimmage close for the white squad.
But the red squad had Zeller. And he was a difference maker in the paint, helping the Red to a one-point win.
We definitely wanted to go hard out there, Zeller said. It was good for our freshmen to get a little taste of what playing in front of 17,000 people is like. I thought overall it was a good night.