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Maui Invitational, game 2: St. Joseph's.

St. Joseph's Hawks
Current record: 1-2
Current RPI: 78
Current Sagarin: 78
Current Pomeroy: 191
2007-08 record: 21-13 (lost to Oklahoma in first round of NCAA Tournament)
2007-08 RPI: 50
2007-08 Sagarin: 54
2007-08 Pomeroy: 54
Series: IU leads 2-1
Last IU win: 12/15/1984 (81-44 in Bloomington)
Last St. Joseph's win: 12/30/68 (80-72 in Philadelphia)
Pomeroy gameplan
TV: 1:30 pm today, ESPNU

IU enters the loser's bracket of the Maui Invitational today and plays St. Joseph's, a team that has struggled a bit this season but has been one of the most successful programs in the Atlantic 10 in recent years. As noted above, this is the fourth meeting all-time between the schools. The most memorable to IU was was in the 1981 NCAA Tournament. St. Joe's upset top ranked DePaul in the second round of the tournament, but ultimately lost 78-46 to IU in the regional final, and IU eventually won the title.

As for the current team, St. Joe's was, like Notre Dame, an extremely efficient offensive team last year. The Hawks ranked #19 in raw offensive efficiency last year, and ranked in the top 30 in both two point and three point shooting percentage. According to this CollegeHoopsNet preview, St. Joe's lost its leading scorer and most of its big men, and like IU, the Hawks should be more of a perimeter-oriented team. The Hawks lost 68-50 to Texas in the first round in Maui, and after a season-opening 69-57 win against Rider, but lost 73-69 to Holy Cross. Even a much better IU team may well have lost to Notre Dame, but this game strikes me as something of a bellwether that will tell us whether the 2008-09 Hoosiers might flirt with an NIT bid, or whether we are headed for a single-digit victory total. Obviously, IU is young and inexperienced and should improve as the season goes on, so I don't want to overemphasize this game. But I think it will tell us more than last night's game told us.