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Schools use IU basketball team as classroom tool

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When Danilsa Andujar wants her class at Arlington Heights Elementary in Bloomington to settle down, she calls out a chant and expects students to respond.

With Hoosier fever running rampant , it is fitting that one of Andujar's chants revolves around an Indiana University basketball player.

"Ol-a-di-po," Andujar calls out to her students. They immediately respond with five claps and silence.

Arlington students are hyped about IU's winning men's basketball season. The top-seeded Hoosiers play their opening game in the NCAA basketball tournament Friday at 4:15 p.m. against James Madison University in Dayton, Ohio.

One only needs to look outside of Ann Shedlak's fourth-grade classroom to see how closely the students have been following the games. They have created a bulletin board that outlines their love for the Hoosiers and displays stats of each player from Cody Zeller, to Jordan Hulls, to Victor Oladipo.

The students also keep graphs, meticulously drawn with crayons, of top scorers, top rebounders and assist leaders.

"Three boys in my class are goo-goo over it," Shedlak told The Herald-Times. "They update the games as they progress all year."

The stats and graphs, Shedlak said, give her a fun way to incorporate math with a topic her students are passionate about.

Their passion is clear.

Sit with a few students taught by Shedlak and Andujar — who played for IU's women's team through the 2011 season — and it doesn't take much to get them talking basketball. As for their favorite players, the answers vary.

Marissa Calabrese likes Christian Watford — he once gave her an autograph made out "especially" for her — while Lucas Cline leans toward Zeller, who he believes is the fastest player on the team.

A group favorite tends to be Oladipo, who recently made a surprise visit to the class.

"I was in the hallway and all of a sudden ... I ran and was like, 'Victor Oladipo's here!,'" recalled Lauren Ladaker.

But it isn't just Oladipo's visit to Arlington that makes him a favorite. When it comes to dunking the ball, the young students are impressed with his style.

"Cody Zeller he just, like, throws it in when he dunks it," Marissa said. "When Victor Oladipo does it, he does a spin or something. His 360 dunk was awesome!"

Students like Cole Miller know the Hoosiers have some work ahead of them if they want to end the year as champions — they need to "pick up on defense" and "keep their head in the game" — but he and his fellow classmates believe IU can take it all the way.

"I think Indiana is going to make it to the championship and probably win," Cole said.

If they do, Hoosier fan T'mari Crawford-Stepheson, who "just goes crazy" after a win, will be ready to celebrate.

"If they win the national championship I'm going to ask my mom to buy some pizza," he said.

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  • wholesome
    At my house there are IU, Butler, and Marquette fans. So sad that only one of us can win, but the players on all the teams seem to be role models and student-athletes, so who could ask for more?

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