Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
IU looks to improve to 12-1 against Jacksonville in the final game before Big Ten play begins.
Current record Current RPI Current Sagarin
2011-12 RPI 2011-12 SagarinPomeroy scouting reportSeries: Head Coach TV
There's been plenty of debate about the quality of IU's non-conference schedule, and I tend to fall on the side of those who believe it isn't tough enough. Most important, however, is that it's almost over. After tomorrow night's game against Jacksonville at Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers jump into Big Ten play with their first true road game of the season, at Iowa on New Year's Eve (Monday). First, however, the Hoosiers must play what KenPom considers the Hoosiers' easiest game of the season. After Florida's loss, IU moved back into the #1 slot in the Pomeroy ratings, and the Dolphins are the only sub-300 team on IU's non-con schedule. Pomeroy gives IU a 99.7 percent chance of victory, and projects a 99-57 win (sorry, Qdoba fans).
Jacksonville, for those who don't know, is a historically accomplished program. Led by 20-20 man Artis Gilmore, the Dolphins advanced all the way to the title game of the 1970 NCAA Tournament, where they lost to UCLA. The Dolphins haven't won an NCAA Tournament game since the 1970 Final Four and haven't been to the Tournament since 1986. Still, as bad as Jacksonville has been in the past two seasons, they aren't all that far from some moderate prosperity. In 2011, the Dolphins upset East Carolina in the Collegeinsider.com postseason tournament, and in 2010 they knocked off Arizona State in the first round of the NIT. In the 2010-11 preconference, the Dolphins upset Florida on the road. Still, this year's team has been easily handled by the mediocre major conference opposition (Georgia, South Carolina, Miami) and the Dolphins' best win came against #298 Missouri State (wow, what happened to Missouri State?).
As would be expected of a team with Jacksonville's ranking, they are pretty awful on both ends of the court, most notably in shooting 23 percent from three point range and allowing 37 and 51 percent shooting from three point and two point range, respectively. The Dolphins' leading scorer, Jarvis Haywood, is a freshman. Surprisingly, at least to me, the Dolphins have an Indiana-bred player, freshman Tyler Alderman of Fishers.
I could run down the Dolphins' personnel a bit more, but why? This game will do virtually nothing to prepare the Hoosiers for Big Ten play, but it's the next game. No injuries should be the goal, and then it's on to the Big Ten.