Indiana comes back to the hardwood just a few days removed from a game that didn't go as expected. This time they're taking on a former ally in Bennie Seltzer and his Samford Bulldogs. Seltzer, who was on the Indiana coaching staff until last year when he took the job at Samford was an integral part of the recruiting effort for IU. If not for Seltzer we probably wouldn't have the likes of Christian Watford or Maurice Creek as part of our history. Now, he's trying to build his own history at Samford and a good start to that would be handing Indiana a home loss.
The Bulldogs come to town this evening sporting a 1-1 record after dropping a Tuesday game to the University of Texas in Arlington. So far on the year, as a team, Samford has been struggling in all aspects of the game. They've been inefficient on offense and struggled to stop teams on the defensive end of things. Still, they're roughly the same quality of team that LIU Brooklyn was. Maybe a little worse, but the idea remains that we can't take these guys too lightly. Let them stick around and think they can win and there's always the chance they do.
To get more specific, it appears that the biggest guy to watch out for in this young season for Samford is the inside-out duo of Raijon Kelly and Tim Williams. Kelly is a 6-4 distributor that could really cause some problems with a young perimeter defense. He's a big enough threat to score at 16 points a game that they have to stay honest, but a good enough passer (86th in the nation last year) that he can make you pay on a botched rotation. Not quite the shooter that LIU's Brickman was, he's still good enough to keep Indiana honest.
On the inside 6-8 sophomore Tim Williams offers a post threat. Though he's not the most efficient scorer in the post he's a hell of a rebounder for his size. At 6-8 he isn't huge, but he uses his athleticism and instincts very well. So far through two games he's top 200 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentages, ranking 61st in the latter category. He's a athlete that can battle for rebounds with the best of them. From a scoring standpoint his efficiency is down on the season but he finished last year with a 109 offensive rating. Good enough to finish just inside the top 500 nationally. He's a threat to score, but mostly you have to be concerned about him providing second chance points for the rest of his squad.
The starting lineup for Samford rounds out with 6-1 guard Isaiah Williams, 6-6 forward Tyler Hood and 6-4 guard Connor Miller. Williams so far has been electric in split time with sophomore Russell Wilson. Williams has been scoring at a clip of 1.27 points per possession ending with him. Which means that when he gets the ball good things tend to happen. At least through two games this year.
Once again, the Hoosiers SHOULD be able to roll in this one. I don't feel quite as confident in a large margin like I did on Tuesday due to that performance and neither do Pomeroy's #s, but it should still be an easy victory. There are threats on offense that can beat you if you let them, but a decent rotational defense should stymie most of what Samford can offer. I do expect to see some twists throughout the game though. Few guys understand the mind of Tom Crean like Bennie Seltzer. I expect for him to have some wrinkles that throw off our Hoosiers for at least a few minutes. In the end, IU should cruise. I'm going to take Indiana 87 - Samford 65