Indiana takes on UNLV in the 5th place game of the Maui Invitational today at 5pm. Let's get to it.
Who: #13 Indiana vs. UNLV
Where: Lahaina Civic Center, Lahaina, HI
Watch: ESPN2, WatchESPN
Line: Hoosiers, -7.5
REMEMBER THESE BIG DUDES?
There's an easy storyline ripe for the picking when discussing Tom Crean's Hoosiers matching up against Dave Rice's Rebels. Indiana was heavily involved in the recruitment of UNLV big men Stephen Zimmerman and Goodluck Okonoboh. Tom Crean's staff fell out of favor seemingly with both, of course, and Zimmernan's recruitment wasn't without some weird drama, too. You can bet Crean will be wanting to show the two what they missed out on at Indiana, likely not out of vengeance, but likely out of social media self-preservation. Indiana fans will have a heyday if the two are wildly productive this afternoon in Maui.
That's of course, if Zimmerman plays. The freshman 7-footer missed yesterday's game against Chaminade with the flu -- and as of noon ET, there's been no determination on whether or not he'll play later today. Okonoboh fills a much smaller for the Rebels, using less than 16% of his possessions and alternating time with Ben Carter and Dwayne Morgan opposite Zimmerman.
HERE WOULD YOU LIKE SOME FACTORS?
|INDIANA (#3 Adj. Offense)||62.5% (5th)||22.9% (321st)||38.6% (44th)||29.7% (286th)|
|UNLV (#78 Adj. Defense)||46.6% (107th)||22.6% (36th)||33.3% (239th)||34.3% (110th)|
|INDIANA (#85 Adj. Defense)||49.5% (180th)||22.1% (41st)||28.9% (142nd)||29.9% (58th)|
|UNLV (#149 Adj. Offense)||49.2% (165th)||19.8% (234th)||39.5% (35th)||49.4% (54th)
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Bryant vs. ZImmerman, Round 1. Bryant looked better yesterday against St. John's, but struggled to defend the pick-and-roll against Wake Forest. Zimmerman should provide a similar challenge working with UNLV's guard play. It's worth watching this freshman vs. freshman matchup, both are skilled offensively, but might struggle to guard each other. If Zimmerman's fully healthy, this should be a fun one to watch down low.
Troy Williams vs. Patrick McCaw. McCaw's averaging 19.5 a game to start the season, and Indiana will need to contain him if they'd like to win this contest. However, he's the biggest scoring guard Indiana has faced yet this season at 6-7, and will pose matchup problems on the outside. It would make sense for Troy Williams to draw this assignment on the outside, but who fills in when Williams is off the court. Rob Johnson? Collin Hartman? Neither of those two make tremendous sense. Don't be surprised to see Troy Williams play heavy minutes to matchup with McCaw today. If he needs to step out, Tom Crean might be wise to take a shot at OG Anunoby's defensive versatility to give him a crack at stopping McCaw's hot run of games. He's had at least 20 points in each of the last three games.
UNLV might be a decent RPI win come March. Indiana needs it. If Zimmerman plays up to or exceeds expectations, UNLV has a shot to pick up a number of good wins in non-conference play. They've got Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State, and Wichita State ahead in the next month. If the Rebels could grab one or two of those and pair it with a decent Mountain West schedule, they're a possible tournament team come March. Pomeroy has the Rebels slated for a 17-14 season right now.
Check back around tip-off for our GAMETHREAD, featuring a free live stream of Don Fischer's call from Maui. Roll dang Hoosiers.