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Indiana Hoosiers v. Stony Brook Seawolves (preview).

Stony Brook Seawolves
Current record: 0-0
2010-11 record: 15-17 (8-8 in America East Conference)
2010-11 RPI: 240 (IU was 191)
2010-11 Sagarin: 244 (IU was 103)
2010-11 Pomeroy:216 (IU was 75)
Pomeroy scouting report
Series:  first meeting
Head Coach: Steve Pikiell (7th season, 58-91)
TV: 7 p.m. Friday, Big Ten Network
Blog: Unranked AE (conference-oriented)

With what everyone hopes is a program-changing recruiting class signed, sealed, and delivered, the Indiana Hoosiers now turn to the next order of business: turning around the fortunes of the program on the court after three consecutive losing seasons.  The first order of business: the Stony Brook Seawolves from the America East Conference.

Despite the idyllic-sounding name, Stony Brook's full name is the State University of New York Stony Brook, and it's a fairly large campus located on Long Island, with 16,000 undergraduates and 25,000 students total.  The Seawolves have been in Division I for about a decade, and the program has taken huge strides under the leadership of coach Steve Pikiell, who is beginning his seventh season.  Pikiell played for Jim Calhoun at Connecticut, and was a member of the Huskies' first-ever Big East championship team, and seems to be replicating Calhoun's program-building on a smaller stage.  While the improvement hasn't been linear, Pikiell has led the Seawolves from a 4-24 record in his first season to 22-10 and an America East regular season championship in 2009-10.    The Seawolves took a slight step back last season, going 15-17 and 8-8, but reached the finals of the conference tournament, losing a 56-54 heartbreaker to Boston University, falling just short of their first NCAA Tournament appearance. 

At least on paper, the Seawolves look much like a stereotypical Big Ten team in style.  The 2010-11 Seawolves averaged a very slow 63.6 possessions per game and were much better defensively than offensively.  Because of that orientation, it's no surprise that their leading scorer from last year, Bryan Dougher, a 6-1 senior on this year's team, averaged only 12.3 points per game and shot 34 percent from the field (although 35 percent from behind the arc, where he took more than two thirds of his shots.  Overall, Stony Brook is above average in its reliance on three point attempts, which accounted for more than 36 percent of its overall attempts last year. Marcus Rouse is the second-leading returning scorer at 7 points per game and similar percentages and ratio to Dougher.  One player to watch is Leonard Hayes, who played only 20 minutes per game last year but shot 45 percent from the field and behind the arc.  While the Sea Wolves struggled offensively last season, all told they return seven of their top eight scorers from last season, and Pomeroy projects them to contend for the America East title with an 11-5 record.  The AE has been more low major than mid-major in recent years, but that doesn't mean that the Seawolves don't present a danger to IU.  Hoosier fans should be mindful of IU's loss to Boston University in Puerto Rico a couple of years ago.  And, despite its relatively short Division I history, Stony Brook has a Big Ten scalp to its credit: in 2006-07, the Seawolves won at Penn State in what appears to be the school's highest-profile Division I win.

If the program's recent history is any guide, then Stony Brook will be a tougher test that most of our other one-off non-conference opponents.  Pomeroy's preseason ratings rank Stony Brook at #151, and only Evansville, Butler, NC State, Notre Dame, and Kentucky rate higher on IU's non-conference schedule.  This is a solid and experienced team, and its offensive strength (or, well, at least its offensive preference), perimeter shooting, matches IU's defensive weakness and was a point of concern from the exhibition against UIndy.  Of course, IU should have decided advantages in size, talent, and homecourt, but it will be interesting to see how IU plays defensively, and simply to see how these guys look.  For those of us who missed the webcast of IU's first game, a webcast that the BTN declined to replay because of quality issues, this is our first look at IU after a long offseason and our first chance to see Cody Zeller, Austin Etherington, and Remy Abell in uniform.  I can't wait.