INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Christian Watford #2 of the Indiana Hoosiers attempts a shot against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the first round of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 10, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Savannah State Tigers
2010-2011 Record: 12-18
Conference: 1st year in MEAC
Sagerin Ranking: 264
Pomeroy Ranking: 263
Series: 1-0 hoosiers
TV: Big Ten Network- 8 pm
The Savannah State Tigers have been a program in the past that has many more downs than ups. They set a school record last year for number of Division I wins at 12. For their first ten years as a Division I school they were an independent with little to no chance of making the NCAA tournament even with a good season. They also put up an 0fer season in 2005. Because of that and the upcoming transition into the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, sixth year Savannah State coach Horace Brodanax, redshirted two players who weren’t freshmen. Rashad Hassan and Arnold Luis come into this season bigger and stronger and with an extra year of learning due to the redshirting and it has showed.
Hasan has been the leading scorer for the Tigers this season at 14. The majority of those points have come in the post. Even at only 6’7" for a post player, Hassan can battle. Add him with Luis who averages nearly 8 rebounds a game to go with his 8 points and there is a frontcourt that will be tough to handle. In fact you can add those two in with 6’8" sophomore Jyles Smith who averages another 5 rebounds a game and Cody Zeller will have his hands full trying to curtail their rebounding prowess.
Rebounding and their ability to force turnovers are the only real strong suits of this Savannah State Tigers team. If the Hoosiers can control the boards and keep the ball out of their hands on defense this game should be over relatively early. This will be a good test of Zeller’s ability to stay a major part of the game despite having an opponent capable of neutralizing him. The Tigers don’t have the physical size to match up with Zeller but they have the strength to possibly push him around. Watford will be equally challenged. His ability to grab rebounds for the Hoosiers so far this year has been invaluable and he needs to continue this trend despite a more physical challenge.
The players most likely to have a big game tonight are Jordan Hulls and Victor Oladipo. The Tigers effective FG% this season is near the bottom of D-I at nearly 60% a game. This game has the potential to be a perfect storm of hot shooting for the offensive powerhouse Hoosiers. The Tigers also have the tendency to turn the ball over as well. So I really expect some break away thunder dunks from Oladipo tonight. I’m tempted to go out on a limb and say tonight is the first 30 point night of Oladipo’s career. He should be huge this evening.
Expect the length of the bench to get used tonight as well. Remy Abell and Austin Etherington will likely get a big chunk of the "4th quarter" play. With some sharp shooting AE has the potential to get himself a couple of points to finish up the game in garbage time. He has the size and skill that if the game gets out of hand really early he could find his way into double digits as well. I honestly believe that this game on the offensive side of the ball will push triple digits on the evening. There will be a lot of scoring in a lot of transition. Though I don’t think the game will be super competitive it will be fun to watch the up and down street ball feel of transition basketball. Expect a 40 point game tonight.