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Game Preview: Savannah State Tigers

Indiana won't have the option to deploy four white guys and an Egyptian, but we could try four white guys and a Colombian.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

GAME INFO:

Who? Savannah State Tigers (3-5, #305 KenPom) at Indiana Hoosiers (5-1, #63 KenPom)

When? 7:30 PM, BTN

Vegas? INDIANA -23.5

Pomeroy? INDIANA by 20, 96% chance of victory

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If a Cupcake Game Occurs on Championship Saturday, Did It Ever Really Happen?

On a day when millions will be tuning in to see the final weekend of the college football regular season, Indiana is hosting yet another team ranked in the 300s via KenPom. If you're into the transitive property of sports (which isn't reliable), you can see how we'll stack up against Louisville on Tuesday night, as the Cardinals just hosted this team. Rick Pitino tried everything to keep from embarrassing them but his Louisville squad still kept the Tigers scoreless until a little over 4 minutes in the half and without a field goal until there were less than two minutes until halftime en route to an 87-26 victory.

I probably don't need to say this, but Tuesday's game against the Cardinals will not be determined tonight. If Indiana defeats Savannah State by a narrower margin than 61 points, it doesn't automatically mean they stand less of a chance against Louisville than previously thought. If they, somehow, beat them by more it also doesn't give them a better shot in the Jimmy V Classic. That is going to be a very difficult assignment that will take Indiana's best performance to date and nothing that happens tonight (save a significant injury) will have any impact on that matchup.

Now ... back to the game.

Savannah State brings the 344th ranked offense and the 155th ranked defense to Assembly Hall to match up with the Hoosiers and their 14th ranked offense and 160th ranked defense. That's right, kids, Indiana's defensive efficiency now ever so slightly beneath Savannah State's. The Tigers are one of the least experienced teams in the country, with all but two non-minor contributors being freshmen or sophomores. But for all they lack in experience, they also lack in height, ranking 338th in effective height with only one player over 6'5" and that's 6'7" sophomore Saadiq Muhammad.

Stat-Filled Goodness

Four Factors
eFG% TO% OR% FT Rate
INDIANA (Offense) 59.7% (6th) 16.9% (44th) 36.6% (64th) 42.8% (44th)
SAVANNAH ST. (Defense) 49.6% (208th) 23.4% (41st) 35.9% (293rd) 44.0% (260th)
eFG% TO% OR% FT Rate
INDIANA (Defense) 50.5% (232nd) 19.3% (212th) 34.6% (269th) 23.4% (9th)
SAVANNAH ST. (Offense) 42.3% (317th) 29.3% (350th) 30.7% (186th) 39.3% (146th)

As you might expect, Savannah State does not excel at many things. On defense they struggle to prevent offensive rebounds and send people to the line pretty frequently while doing a poor job of preventing made shots, especially two-pointers that they're allowing to be made at a 50.8% clip. They do better on the perimeter, allowing 31.7% from distance. They also excel at turning their opponents over, and will likely provide a good test for a Hoosiers team that is enjoying a renaissance in protecting the ball, now 44th in the country, which is almost 300 spots better than last year's Indiana squad. Savannah State, however, does turn the ball over at a 2013-14 Hoosiers level but this iteration of IU doesn't force a lot of turnovers, so one of those statistics is going to give tonight.

All signs point to a blowout for the home team, but we'll see if this Indiana defense can take a step forward and put the screws in against a very, very poor offensive team. It's the final tune-up before the biggest game of the non-conference slate on Tuesday night.

Go Hoosiers!