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Indiana Hoosiers v. Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (preview): IU's 2010-11 opener.

Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles
Current record: 0-0
2009-10 record:  12-20 (7-11 MAAC)
2009-10 RPI: 321
2009-10 Sagarin: 299
2009-10 Pomeroy: 298
Pomeroy scouting report
Series:  First meeting
TV: 6:30 tonight, Big Ten Network
Blog: n/a

While recruiting developments have focused IU’s attention into the future, the 2010-11 season begins tonight when Indiana hosts Florida Gulf Coast at Assembly Hall.  The Eagles are in their ninth season of existence and their fourth as a Division I program.  Since moving to Division I, FGCU’s best record was 10-20 in 2008-09, but the Eagles should not be taken lightly: they upset DePaul last season.  Certainly, given IU’s struggles against lower-tier programs in recent years (the names Lipscomb, Northwestern State, and Loyola-Md. will be sadly familiar), not to mention IU’s 37 minutes of disaster against Ferris State earlier this week, the Hoosiers should understand that they will need to play hard and play well.  Fortunately, Verdell Jones III, who did not play in either exhibition game, will be back for the opener. 

FGCU is a fairly fast-paced team that forces lots of turnovers and doesn’t take terribly good care of the ball itself.  The Eagles’ top returning players are Anthony Banks and Reed Baker, who began his college career at Michigan.  Ultimately, IU fans will be looking less at the opponent and more at how the Hoosiers play.  Until Guy-Marc Michel becomes eligible, tonight’s squad, presumably absent Matt Roth, will be the team for the foreseeable future.  Can we take care of the ball against a defense that seeks turnovers?  Can we force the opposition into bad possessions?  Can we find a better way to handle shooting droughts like the ones suffered against Ferris State?  We’ll find out soon.