Indiana basketball continues their young season into game two where they will be taking on the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds. This game should be a little more competitive than our first game against Chicago State, as the Blackbirds have a pretty solid resume coming into the season. The defending champions of the Northeast Conference, Brooklyn, offers more resistance but it likely still won't be enough.
Through the first weekend of the season, Brooklyn's win over Saint Peter's on a neutral court has them ranked 243 according to Ken Pomeroy and his weighted metrics. Currently, 1 game is hardly any sample size, but to start the season Pomeroy adds his own biases to try and keep them as accurate as possible through the first 10 games. I'd trust Pomeroy's ratings with this one. LIU is considerably tougher than Chicago State, but are still going to be only a slight resistance.
Despite LIU Brooklyn's recent run of conference titles, they're looking at a rebuilding season in which they were picked to finish fourth in the conference. The player expected to front a lot of the load to try and carry the Blackbirds to an underdog run at a conference championship is likely Jason Brickman. The senior Brickman played 36 minutes a game last season (21st in the nation) and did a bang up job at it.
As the team's point guard, a lot of credit can go to Brickman for every player that played more than 6 minutes a game being statistically efficient on offense. Honestly, as you look at their offensive efficiency numbers from last season it is quite impressive. Brickman should get a ton of credit for that. He puts his teammates in a position to succeed. Add to the impressive assist numbers is a 3 point shooting % of 46.2. The guy has a real chance of being a problem tonight and it will be up to Yogi to lock him down.
Joining Brickman on the floor will be the only other returning starter sophomore EJ Reed, a 6-6 low post forward, and a lot of guys that spent time as role players last year. Brooklyn was expected to have the services of a 6th year senior in Julian Boyd, but a knee injury is now going to keep him out until January. Instead, they're going to have to rely on 6-6 Reed and 6-6 Landon Atterberry to do the grunt work in the trenches. Obviously, that's going to be a glaring weakness for Brooklyn.
Because of an extreme lack in size (there's a chance Indiana could have 5 players on the court at points taller than any player Brooklyn runs out there) Brooklyn is going to get out and run. Their first game of the year saw a 74 possession pace, but I wouldn't be surprised if that goes higher. Indiana and Chicago State put up an insane 86 possession in their game, so Indiana will obviously get out and try run with them. This is where Indiana can use a lot of its length to disrupt even the most savvy of guards in Brickman. Should be a big day for deflections. You just hope to see Indiana take care of the ball better than Friday.
In the end, this game should be another blow out, although I don't expect it to come on the back of 55 free throws. Brooklyn is going to do a better job of staying in front of their man, but they're going to be physically overmatched in the front court. Look for Indiana to go to the paint early and often. On Friday the Hoosiers scored one basket outside of the lane. I expect more of the same from this game. Why shoot threes when you can easily get layups? Hoosiers win this one Indiana 94- LIU Brooklyn 63