Indiana ends nearly a week's layoff with a home game against what appears to be a solid team.
Central Connecticut Blue Devils
Current record Current RPI Current Sagarin
2011-12 RPI 2011-12 SagarinPomeroy scouting reportSeries: Head Coach: Howie Dickenman (17th season, 253-227)
Indiana returns to action tomorrow night when they host Central Connecticut State at Assembly Hall. It doesn't say much about IU's non-conference schedule, but this is probably IU's sixth-toughest game of the pre-conference, and other than Butler, the only remaining pre-conference game against an opponent ranked better than #200 by Pomeroy. CCSU is led by a veteran coach, Howie Dickenman, who has taken the Blue Devils to the NCAA Tournament three times during his tenure, most recently in 2007. Since going 16-2 in the Northeast Conference in 2007, the Blue Devils generally have been a middle-of-the-pack team in their league. Still, this year's team upset a pretty decent LaSalle team on the road. CCSU's Pomeroy profile reveals a team that likes to run a bit (69.4 possessions per game) and generally is pretty effective offensively. The Blue Devils rank #117 in adjusted offensive efficiency and shoot 37 percent from three point range and 50 percent from two point range. They lead the nation with free throw shooting of 83 percent, although they are nearly last in the nation with only .25 free throw attempts per field goal attempt. They also take good care of the ball, with only a 17 % turnover percentage, although they don't do much on the offensive boards. On defense, the picture is a bit uglier. CCSU forces turnovers on 22.4 percent of defensive possessions, but that's about it. The Blue Devils are sub-300 in effective field goal percentage and allow their opponents to make 42 percent of three point attempts and 50 percent of two point attempts. This would not appear to be a recipe for success against IU.
Despite their quick pace, the Blue Devils have a very tight rotation. All five of their starters average 30 minutes per game, and their top reserves average only about 14 minutes per game. All told they average only 42 bench minutes (out of 200). Kyle Vinales, at 25.9 is the nation's qualified scoring leader right now, although his shooting percentages (46/41/85) are very good but not overwhelming. He takes 7 three point and 13 two point attempts per game. Vinales is a 6-1 sophomore and to his credit is also his team's assist leader. Second leading scorer Matt Hunter, the only other Blue Devil in double figures, is a junior college transfer in his first season at the school. He is the team's leading rebounder as well. Adonis Burbage is CCSU's most accurate three point shooter among the starters at 44 percent, and Malcolm McMillan averages 3.6 assists per game.
This game will be a nice test for the defense. CCSU isn't going to match Ohio State or Michigan, but they do have a solid offense. If IU stymies the CCSU offense, that's a good sign. On the other hand, a subpar defense against what remains the nation's most effective offense seems like a bad matchup. Hopefully the Hoosiers will produce a more consistent effort than in last weekend's Coppin State game, and then can move on to final exams and preparation for next Saturday's game against Butler, the last notable event before the 12/31 Big Ten opener at Iowa.