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Game Preview: Texas Southern Tigers

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


Who? Texas Southern Tigers (0-1, #280 KenPom) at Indiana Hoosiers (1-0, #25 KenPom)

When? 6:00 PM, Big Ten Network

Vegas? INDIANA -20.5

Pomeroy? INDIANA by 21, 96% chance of victory


Before you read this preview, make sure you've read Kyle Robbins' excellent piece about Mike Davis who TCQ had a chance to interview last week. It is worth your time, I promise.

Cupcakes Are Delicious!

The Cupcake Parade (COPYRIGHT CRIMSON QUARRY DOT COM) continues with a little familiar flavor for the Hoosiers, as former Indiana coach Mike Davis will be opposing current Indiana coach Tom Crean on Monday evening in Assembly Hall. Davis is a really great guy who has been very candid about his experience with the Hoosiers and answered our questions when he certainly did not have to, but his Texas Southern squad is, quite simply, not good.

They're coming off a 24-point drubbing at the hands of future Hoosier opponent Eastern Washington (#185, KenPom) and, at least on paper, seem to lack the horses to keep with Indiana over the duration of the game. They don't have enough effective height to exploit the Hoosiers' lack of depth in the post, with only one player over 6'5" getting any extended run in the game against Eastern Washington. The 6'8" junior Tonnie Collier played 30 minutes off the bench and was the Tigers' leading scorer, with 23 points on 6-16 shooting (2-7 3PT, 9-10 FT).

The Tigers were missing their star player Jose Rodriguez, who they hope to have back for this game. Rodriguez had an eFG% of 52.7% last season and hit three pointers at a 42% clip (though only took 45 such shots). To put it in context, the Tigers had an eFG% of 33.3 and a 3PT% of 16% in their game against Eastern Washington. So this offense could certainly use an infusion of shooting. Rodriguez, who stands 6'7", would also bring some needed size for Mike Davis' squad.

Outside of the Mike Davis connection, however, there's not much that would differentiate Texas Southern from the litany of sub-300 teams that come through Assembly Hall at the beginning of every season. They're undersized and not overwhelming with talent, thus the Hoosiers should not struggle, even as Troy Williams, Stanford Robinson, and Emmitt Holt serve the fourth and final game of their offseason suspensions.

The Four Factors:

The Four Factors (Offense)
eFG% TO% OR% FT Rate
INDIANA 75.4 (2nd) 23.5 (207th) 53.6 (5th) 62.7 (34th)
TEXAS SOUTHERN 33.3 (268th) 19.6 (150th) 38.3 (61st) 51.7 (74th)
The Four Factors (Defense)
eFG% TO% OR% FT Rate
INDIANA 37.7 (45th) 13.6 (235th) 25.5 (79th) 28.8 (74th)
TEXAS SOUTHERN 61.7 (261st) 21.0 (117th) 37.8 (213th) 23.4 (39th)

(REMINDER: we have one game of data, this information isn't that helpful.)

As you can see, through ONE ENTIRE GAME, the Hoosiers are good / great at everything (except limiting / causing turnovers) and Texas Southern is bad / atrocious at everything (except getting offensive boards and getting to / keeping opponent from the free throw line.) As a side note, I was shocked to see the Hoosiers 75.4% eFG not be enough to be tops in the country. Not only are they 2nd, but the team in first place has them by 3.5%! So here's your TCQ TRIVIA QUESTION: who was the team with the top eFG% through the first game? And no cheating, don't be lame.

None of IU's stats should come as a surprise, as they pretty much match up with what your eyes told you following a disturbingly overmatched MVSU squad. The majority of mistakes the Hoosiers made were self-inflicted, a trend that is now over a year old. They were able to power through this by shooting the ball at an absurd rate. All five starters shot the ball with an eFG of 66.7% or better, and it was Yogi Ferrell who was the lowest among them. Zeisloft lead the team with a 93.8% mark, with James Blackmon Jr. not far behind at 85%.

You will win a lot of games shooting at that rate. #analysis That said, the Hoosiers probably aren't going to sustain that clip as the competition stiffens. Though, it's not out of the realm of possibility it continues Monday night, as Texas Southern has defended with hardly anymore efficiency than the Delta Devils did.

Three Things to Watch For:

  • Can we push the pace without losing the ball? This was the first thing I listed to watch for on Friday night and it's #1 again this week because enough is enough. You are not required to play at a breakneck pace, so if the Hoosiers can't figure out how to do it without committing an unconscionable amount of unforced errors, than it is time to slow it down. These are the kind of games you can win with one hand tied behind your back (maybe), but the trends you develop during these games will be tough to change when the B1G teams start rolling in. It's good that the Hoosiers have an offensive identity they are striving for, but perhaps try it at half-speed until more familiarity and chemistry develops.
  • Can Collin Hartman show improvement as he plays more minutes? Hartman has been a surprise through two exhibitions and a real game, showing to be a completely different player than the tentative freshman at the backend of the bench that he was in 2013. He played 13 minutes against MVSU and put up a pretty great line (2-3, 1/1 3PT, 4 rebounds (2 ORs), 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block). Assuming IU continues to throttle up his minutes as the season goes on, can he extrapolate that performance? There are certainly a wealth of minutes available for another lengthy wing player.
  • Are Jeremiah April's injuries behind him? April was among the less-known of the players in this recruiting class, and became practically anonymous as he missed the majority of the offseason and the entire Canada games with various foot-related ailments. He was surprisingly available and played 7 minutes against MVSU despite missing both exhibitions. Did he escape without any setbacks and be available for similar or more minutes against Texas Southern?