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Indiana Hoosiers basketball vs. Eastern Illinois: Game Preview, odds, tv channels, tipoff times, and more!

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It's orangeball time in Indiana.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

GAME INFO / HOW TO WATCH:

Who? Eastern Illinois Panthers (#266 KenPom) v. Indiana Hoosiers (#13 KenPom)

When? 7:00 PM, BTN Plus

Vegas? INDIANA -16

Pomeroy? INDIANA by 22, 97% chance of Indiana victory

_______________________________________

BASKETBALL BACK

Seven months ago, the Indiana basketball team slowly walked off the court of the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska after being beaten in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by the Wichita State Shockers 81-76. The Hoosiers had failed to hold on to a precarious three point lead at halftime as the Shockers paraded to the free throw line in the second half, something that didn't go unnoticed by Coach Crean. Indiana had shot the ball well for the first time in a long time while also playing decent defense (Shockers shot 41% from the field) but they couldn't overcome the massive free throw differential, and were sent home.

The offseason brought a lot of question marks, as they tend to do in this era of college basketball. Who would leave? Where would they go? Transfers have become more numerous and Indiana is certainly no exception. Freshmen Max Hoetzel and Jeremiah April transferred, while junior Hanner Mosquera-Perea, sophomore Devin Davis, and freshman Emmitt Holt were dismissed for various legal infractions that capped off the second straight tumultuous offseason for Tom Crean and his players

Additionally, Hoosier fans had to sweat out the NBA decisions of three starters, as James Blackmon Jr., Troy Williams, and Yogi Ferrell all considered their professional options before they all decided to return to Bloomington for one more go-around.

Early April brought news of one of Crean's finest recruiting coups in recent memory, as he brought Indiana way from the back of the pack at the eleventh hour to secure the services of Thomas Bryant, beating out Syracuse, Kentucky, and a concerned mother for the McDonald's All-American big man. Tom Crean also convinced fifth-year transfer Max Bielfeldt to come to Indiana from Michigan to help add depth in a frontcourt depleted from offseason departures.

Finally, a pair of 4-star recruits in OG Anunoby and Juwan Morgan joined the team, giving Crean another hyper-athletic, lengthy wing and further reinforcements for the frontcourt, respectively.

Offseasons are a six-month math equation, and by the end of Indiana's, the additions had far outweighed the subtractions. Analysts and experts around the country like Indiana's returning experience in the backcourt, an offense that should (again) be one of the very best in the country, and how last year's biggest weakness (the frontcourt) was addressed in spades by the staff. This culminated in a #15 ranking in the preseason AP poll and a lofty spot (13th) in Ken Pomeroy's initial projections. Many expect Indiana to finish near, if not at, the top of the Big Ten standings and that is probably what Tom Crean and his staff need to restore the fanbase's faith after two years of offseason turmoil. Last season was a step in the right direction, but ultimately not a big enough step for most.

So with the past in the rear view, Indiana starts their eighth season under Tom Crean, with a roster that wouldn't look out of place in the Final Four, but whether they play up to that level remains to be seen.

HERE WOULD YOU LIKE SOME FACTORS?

Four Factors

eFG% TO% OR% FT Rate
INDIANA (Offense) NULL SET { }
NULL SET { } NULL SET { } NULL SET { }
EASTERN ILLINOIS (Defense) NULL SET { } NULL SET { } NULL SET { } NULL SET { }

eFG% TO% OR% FT Rate
INDIANA (Defense) NULL SET { } NULL SET { } NULL SET { } NULL SET { }
EASTERN ILLINOIS (Offense) NULL SET { } NULL SET { } NULL SET { } NULL SET { }

So, as you can see, the stat preview isn't all that helpful since there isn't any data. For those unfamiliar with how we preview games around here, I'll show you the Four Factors for each team on offense and defense and then spend this part of the post breaking that down for you. I'll throw in stuff about specific players and starting lineups so that you can be familiar with the opponent. If you want to know more about the four factors, check out this handy guide. In the absence of helpful data, let's just google them.

In an exhibition game against St. Francis (Ill.), the Panthers held off their NAIA opponent 74-71, their starting lineup consisted of: Cornell Johnston (5-7), Demetrius McReynolds (6-2), Trey Anderson (6-5), Patrick Muldoon (6-7), and Luke Piotrowski (6-11). A.J. Riley (6-4) was their top minutes guy off the bench. As a team, the Panthers barely shot worse from the three point line (47.1%) than the free throw line (47.6%) while letting their opponent hit 13-26 from deep.

Last season, this team shot well from the perimeter (52nd in the nation) but struggled to do much effectively on defense. Johnston and Anderson combined to hit 47.1% of their three point attempts last season. Anderson, in particular, appears to be the team's centerpiece on offense, as a junior he used up 32.7% of the team's possessions (only five guys used up more in the entire country) and took 32.1% of the team's shots. Unfortunately, he paired that with a slightly below average offensive rating of 99.2, so Coach Jay Spoonhour (which is an all-timer as far as coach names go) will be expecting quite a bit more from their senior leader.

STUFF TO WATCH FOR:

  • The starting lineup. After Coach Crean made it a point to say he wasn't married to a particular starting lineup, he trotted out the same five guys for the tipoff in both exhibition games. Given Eastern Illinois' ability to start five guys with corresponding Division I size, I wouldn't anticipate any changes from the Ferrell-Blackmon-Williams-Bielfeldt-Bryant line we've seen the past two games, but who knows? Substitutions will likely be frequent and random, as the staff continues to evaluate what players mesh best together. I imagine this game will have a similar feeling to the previous two exhibition games, except it's going to count and should something catastrophic happen and Indiana lose, they'll have to bear the weight of it on their résumé all year.
  • Shooting touch. Anyone not named Yogi Ferrell probably didn't shoot very well against Bellarmine. While the senior point guard knocked down 5 of 9 from deep, everyone else was 3-16 from beyond the arc and hit barely 40% of their shots overall. For a team filled with question marks on defense, it's cold shooting nights like this that terrify fans. You can probably survive them against teams like Bellarmine and Eastern Illinois, but if the shots don't fall in Cameron Indoor, yikes.