No. 1 Indiana's 83-59 win over No. 14 North Carolina on Tuesday night was a perfect representation of where the Big Ten and ACC conferences stand this year.
The Hoosiers, who lead a Big Ten conference that could potentially send eight teams to the Big Dance this year, absolutely dominated the rebuilding Tar Heels, who represent an ACC conference that appears to be in line for a down year.
Indiana and UNC bring a lot of history to table, and as such, this was arguably the most anticipated ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup of the day, but the Hoosiers ran the Heels out of Assembly Hall in an absolute clinic.
Cody Zeller overwhelmed James Michael McAdoo in a battle for NBA scouts' hearts.
Victor Oladipo did his best Michael Kidd-Gilchrist impression, using his endless energy to somehow be everywhere on the court at once, as well as being unstoppable when he got a head of steam.
Jordan Hulls hit some threes and compiled an infinity (8-to-0) assist-to-turnover ratio. Yogi Ferrell displayed some absurd passing skills, and Will Sheehey chipped in 19 points off the bench to cap off an inspired, energetic performance.
Indiana out-ran, out-transitioned, out-shot, out-executed and out-played North Carolina. It shot 44.6 percent from the field (to North Carolina's 37.7) and made 33 baskets on 21 assists and just 11 turnovers.
Oh yeah, and Christian Watford, arguably Indiana's second-most talented player, had just two points.
So, to sum up, Indiana showed no real flaw and clearly deserves its current No. 1 ranking.
It only took about 30 seconds of actual game time for CBS' Jeff Goodman—and pretty much everyone else watching the game—to realize this:
Poor Desmond Hubert.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) November 28, 2012
Why exactly? Not only did Zeller absolutely abuse Hubert with a pump fake and baby hook on one of the first plays of the game, but then he proceeded to beat him down the court and out of the game with a fast-break dunk.
That's OK, Desmond. Zeller did that to everyone else, too. From Rob Dauster of ballinisahabit.net:
I mean, how many times is North Carolina going to get beaten down the floor by Cody Zeller? Four times in 25 minutes is unacceptable.— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) November 28, 2012
That, of course, was one of the main stories of this blowout, as evidenced by this lopsided stat (via ESPN Stats & Info):
Points off turnovers in 1st half-- Indiana 16, UNC 2 #ACCvBigTen— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 28, 2012
And that was North Carolina's good half.
The second half is when Indiana blew this thing wide open and started causing a lot of (deserved) gushing tweets like this one (via Rush The Court's Evan Jacoby):
#mindblown by Indiana's offense, you can't possibly move the ball around any better— Evan Jacoby (@EJacobyRTC) November 28, 2012
Seriously, though. The Hoosiers looked like the regular-season version of the 2011-12 San Antonio Spurs.
Of course, this one had just as much to do with the fact that North Carolina is in rebuild mode as it did with how good Indiana is (via John Gasaway):
With all due respect to IU, whom I have at No. 1, I'm on full 2009-10 alert with UNC.— John Gasaway (@JohnGasaway) November 28, 2012
MVP: Jordan Hulls
I'm going to be honest with you—I put Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Jordan Hulls, Yogi Farrell and Will Sheehey's name in a hat and just picked one. A case could legitimately be made for any one of them.
I'm not sure on this, but I'm pretty sure Zeller outscored North Carolina's entire team in transition points. He constantly out-ran everyone down the court en route to 20 points and eight rebounds. He also chipped in an impressive four blocks.
Oladipo was an energizer bunny on speed. He couldn't be stopped and contributed in every aspect of the game: 19 points, four rebounds, one assist, one block.
Farrell established himself as one of the more exciting passers in the league by displaying unreal court version. He finished with six assists (to just one turnover) to go along with a surprising five rebounds.
Sheehey came off the bench and dropped 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting, while chipping in five rebounds and two steals in a real chest-pumping performance. Much like Oladipo, he provided limitless energy.
But Hulls played nearly a perfect game.
As always , he was lights out from beyond the arc (3-of-5) for 13 points. He constantly got the Hoosiers in transition and racked up eight assists to zero turnovers. He even added a surprising seven rebounds as well as two steals .
Indiana has impressive depth, but when its "starting six" plays like this, it's going to be hard to beat.
The Tar Heels will try to right the ship against UAB at home on Saturday, while Indiana hosts Coppin State on the same day.