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Indiana Hoosiers v. SIU Edwardsville Cougars (preview).

Southern Illinois Edwardsville Cougars
Current record: 2-9
Current RPI:
Current Sagarin:
Current Pomeroy: 340
2009-10 record:  5-23
2009-10 RPI:
2009-10 Sagarin:
2009-10 Pomeroy: 337
Pomeroy scouting report
Series:  first meeting
TV: 7 p.m. tonight, Big Ten Network
Blog: none

IU begins its play in the IBN/Las Vegas Classic tonight when the Hoosiers play the SIU-Edwardsville Cougars at Assembly Hall.  This game and Sunday night's game are part of the Classic, but I'm not exactly sure how or why.  IU's Sunday night game against South Carolina State also is part of it, but it's not a tournament at this point.  In other words, an unexpected loss tonight or Sunday would not prevent IU from going to Las Vegas for the two games next week. (EDIT: apparently there are two brackets in Las Vegas.  The "small school" bracket, for lack of a better team, includes SIUE, South Carolina State, The Citadel, and Longwood.  This week, those schools are playing teams from the major bracket: IU, Northern Iowa, Colorado, and New Mexico).


SIUE is in its third year of a transition to Division I, and the Cougars are struggling, as would be expected.  SIUE is 2-9 this season and its wins have come against something called McMurray and against Kennesaw State.  The Cougars have played Iowa, and that is their only major conference matchup to date.  The Hawkeyes aren't a dominant team (they are 5-5 with losses to South Dakota State, Wake Forest, and Long Beach State) but beat SIUE by 61 points.  IU's schedule isn't great, but this game stands out nonetheless. 

The Cougars are somewhat like Northwestern State, the team IU hung 100 points on, in that they favor a fast paced game.  They average 71 possessions per game, #29 in the nation.  They also shoot a lot of three pointers, although not particularly good.  It's a struggle to find any statistical strength for the Cougars.  They block a fair numver of shots (#172 in block percentage).  They shoot 47.3 percent from two point range.  Beyond that, they have sub-200 rankings in every tempo free or other category.  This truly is one of the worst teams in the country.

SIUE has had some hard luck this season.  Mark Yelovich scored 15 points against IPFW in the opener, but broke his foot and will miss the rest of the season.  Cornelius Chatt, Corey Wickware, and Nikola Bundalo lead the way for the Cougars, ranging from 11.1 to 10-1 points per game. 

This one should be a blowout, and it's worth some concern if it isn't.