Current record: 2-2
2010-11 record: 11-21 (6-12 Big South)
2010-11 RPI: 262
2010-11 Sagarin: 256
2010-11 Pomeroy: 270
Pomeroy scouting report
Series: first meeting
TV: 6:30 tonight, BTN
IU has done everything that could have been expected to date. The Hoosiers have not played an overwhelming schedule by any means, but have won every game comfortably, including a game at Evansville. A trip to Evansville won't soon be mistaken for a trip to Lexington or Columbus, but in a setting where the defending NCAA runner-up had failed a few days earlier, IU dominated. IU's offensive stats, in particular, have been excellent to date. Even adjusting for a relatively weak schedule, IU ranked #12 in Pomeroy's adjusted offensive efficiency, #3 nationally with an effective field goal percentage of 63.8, #12 nationally with a three point percentage of 47.5, #8 with a two point shooting percentage of 60.9, #59 with a free throw percentage of 74. IU's turnover percentage is not great but is better (18.5, good enough for #71 nationally), but perhaps more importantly, IU is forcing turnovers on over 25 percent of its opponents' possessions. Point guard play will remain a limitation for this team, but I'll be happy if we remain comfortably in the black.
After tonight's home game against Gardner-Webb, the meat of the non-conference schedule awaits: IU faces Butler on Sunday evening in Bloomington, NC State in Raleigh on November 30, and after a home game against Stetson on December 4, faces Kentucky in Bloomington on December 10 and Notre Dame in Indianapolis. We've seen that IU is a much better, more dangerous, and more consistent team, but we haven't seen how the Hoosiers will respond in a close game against a team with comparable or better talent. Those test await.
Before that, of course, the Hoosiers wrap up their pre-Thanksgiving slate with a game tonight against Gardner-Webb. Based on the numbers and recent performance, the Runnin' Bulldogs are the weakest team IU has played to date, and GW's only game against major competition, Clemson, resulted in a 21-point loss. Still, the Bulldogs have been dangerous in the past: the program's crowning achievement was an 84-68 win over Kentucky in Lexington in 2007. Head coach Chris Holtman is in his second year and went 11-21 in year one. To the extent that the Bulldogs can be said to have strengths, they appear to be on defense and the boards.
The Bulldogs seem to have a fairly balanced scoring attack, with their top five scorers averaging between 6 and 12 per game. Jason Dawson, the Bulldogs' leading scorer, is in his first year playing for GW, having transferred from Wofford, where he played a minor role on a team that reached the NCAA Tournament. He is shooting 47 percent from behind the arc. The Bulldogs' second leading scorer, Max Landis, is a freshman who played at Perry Meridian in Indianapolis, where he averaged 24 points per game as a senior. I'm not as dialed in to high school basketball as I used to be, but if anyone has any insight on Landis as a player, add it in the comments. Landis is getting most of his attempts from three point range and is making nearly 40 percent. For perhaps the first time this season, Cody Zeller will be facing someone his own size, 6-11 center Michael Byron.
Again, this game should be a comfortable win, and IU hasn't yet flirted with disaster in a game like this. Hopefully another solid performance will lead in to the Hoosiers' preparation for Butler.