Grace College Lancers
2008-09 record: 4-6 (1-1 in Atlantic Sun)
Location: Winona Lake, Ind.
Conference: Mid-Central College Conference
Coach: Jim Kessler (33rd season, 592-466)
TV: 7 p.m., bigtennetwork.com streaming video ($2.99; replayed on Big Ten Network at 3 a.m. Thursday)
IU continues the current trend of scheduling lower division in-state schools as exhibition opponents. The Hoosiers open the 2009-10 season against Grace College, a NAIA school from northeast Indiana. As noted above, the Lancers are led by a long-tenured coach, Jim Kessler, who is in his 33rd season as Grace's coach and has led the Lancers to nine conference titles and the 1992 NAIA national championship.
As is often the case with smaller schools, the Grace roster is almost entirely composed of in-state players. Of the Lancers' 18 players, 13 are from Indiana. Grace lost two of its five starters from last season and two of its top four scorers. The leading returning scorer is David Swanson, a 6-6 senior from Riverview near Warsaw. As a junior, Swanson scored 13.5 points per game, shot 55 percent from the field, and averaged 9.2 rebounds. Guard David Henry, 5-11 junior from Brownsburg (Bethesda Christian), averaged 8.6 points per game and shot 38 percent from behind the arc and 84 percent from the line. The other returning starter is Kyle Plumlee, (an Internet search does not reveal whether he is any relation to the Plumlee family that includes Mason Plumlee of Duke), a 6-0 guard from Plymouth who averaged 6.1 points and over 5 assists per game. He seems to be more of a distributor than a scorer: he shot 40 percent from the field and only 29 percent from behind the arc.
The only prior Division I game I could find for Grace was in 2007-08, when the Lancers lost 90-59 to Valparaiso. Graces faces something of a rebuilding season, and even an experienced NAIA team might not be able to tell us much about the Hoosiers, but we will know a bit more about the starting lineup, the rotation, and so on after tonight.